EndingsToday’s Word: ‘Endings’ as in… the first stage of transition.

All transitions have three stages: ending of something familiar, wilderness, and new beginning. It’s a time to assess where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. But there’s always one constant: everyone moves at their own pace. Those who are comfortable with a change will likely move through wilderness to new beginnings more quickly; others will linger at stages one or two.

Endings are about leaving, losing, letting go, and every transition begins with an ending. You can’t start something new until you let go of the old. Whenever we experience change, we must acknowledge an ending. We also must deal with the pain and loss that comes with change. Depending on the situation, this can be extremely painful. Our default is to default to the past because it gives us a false sense of comfort and control. However, it is important to identify what is being lost, grieve those losses, and let them go.

Successful transition begins with grieving losses and letting go of the old situation.

So here’s the key point: we have to let go of the old thing before we can pick up with the new thing—not just outwardly, but inwardly, where we keep our connections to people and places that act as definitions of who we are.

Over the next couple of days we’ll explore five aspects of the natural ending experience: dis-engagement, dis-mantling, dis-identification, dis-enchantment, and dis-orientation.

These “dis-es” are closely aligned with the five-stage grief sequence Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. One can begin anywhere and move through the rest in any fashion, perhaps even circling back to certain ones several times. But unless one experiences all of them, one doesn’t truly end, and, therefore, can’t truly begin again.

So hang on, my friends!


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