Bittersweet Endings and Beginnings

I resigned from a Nurse/Health Coach position at a big organization last week and it’s been bittersweet. I’ve made deep friends. It’s how it is when you are hired to support healing. Without this aching heart I might not be as aware of how many people matter to me.

Ah, being human.

I recently read a chapter in a book by David Dieda where he describes love as “simply having an open heart.” That makes sense to me!

I don’t want to close my heart. I've worked hard to open it wide and to take care of it in difficult moments. Goodbyes have never been easy for me. Being a feeler extraordinaire. There are people I would like to stay in contact with. And it’s not all in my hands.

Leaving is an ending and a beginning. I am old enough to know things don’t stay the same simply because I want them too.

It takes courage to stay present to endings. Standing in the discomfort, the aching, the not knowing what is to be. And remembering that to feel means I care.

Endings hold beginnings.

I wish I had that tattooed on my aching heart. But wait because-

Do endings hold beginnings and beginning hold endings?

Is that a part of the mystery of birth and death?  

Are there invisible threads that connect us even if we aren't physically in each others lives?

Do relationships truly end if we continue to hold them in our hearts?

Not sure about that.

Here are some practices that are helpful during these kinds of times. 

1. Dropping my attention to my feet. Sensing their weight, the texture of the floor, shoes, ground. Slowing my breath and focusing on two or three breaths in a row. This doesn't stop the emotions from flowing and it somehow grounds the feelings and settles me a bit.

2. Acknowledge and name the emotions that are rising. Sadness, mixed with gratitude, and a pinch of overwhelm. Notice the bodily sensations; ache in my heart, lump in my throat, tightness in my belly. When I can acknowledge and name things I make room to witness what is happening instead of being overwhelmed by it.

3. And some more specific self-care strategies. Get in water, move my body in ways I love, listen to uplifting music, connect with friends and family,  read poetry, write about it, engage in the larger community I live in, laugh and cry, meditate, get out in the natural world. 

What works for you during times like these?

May your heart be open to love and to loss. It’s the greatest human adventure I know.

"To live in this world

you must be able to do three things:

to love what is mortal;

to hold it

against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go,

to let it go".- Mary Oliver