Closure, Completion and Beginning Anew
How to Close Your Year without Losing Your Lessons
Collectively I think it’s safe to say that we are all excited to say goodbye to 2020. Outside of this being one of the most challenging years in our recent history, the end of the year provides us with a sense of closure. Another year completed and a new one lies ahead.
Making a choice to consciously close out what has passed is how I’m ending the year. There is power in closing things out. If you really opened and closed every activity in your life you would have more space and more energy to handle challenges and create and embrace new possibilities.
You can use this practice of opening and closing for your day, your week, your month, your quarter, your year....
Be intentional. Make it a meditation.
It takes some thought and you're not going to like everything your mind tells you to close out. But play with it. You are not locking doors, you’re just closing them...you can always open them up. But you may not want to.
Start by asking yourself
What can I close out right now?
What can I consciously let go of?
What did I accomplish?
What can I celebrate?
I’m sure a lot of the reason these thoughts of closure are on my mind now is because of my ex-husband and father of my children, Steve. Steve passed away on April 14th. I lost the man who made me a mom, a partner and a friend of several decades. 2020 will be known in this house as the year my kids lost their Dad.
I believe I’m thinking about closure so strongly this week in particular because it was exactly a year ago this week that we all found out about his cancer.
My mind remembers, but really the memory lives in my body.
An ouch on my heart.
Our body has a memory. You might be having an emotional reaction in your body that you can’t explain then realize it’s associated with a trauma that happened around this time in the past... one year, two years, five years ago or maybe even more.
Things can happen that leave your heart raw, bruised, open and bleeding. Something someone said or did. Your body will remember that. Steve’s life came to an abrupt end and this trauma has been a part of our year.
It’s weird because I’ll have a question about something and think to call him and then realize I now need to figure it out on my own. He’s not here anymore.
The kids and I have had our own struggles and successes with this sudden change. We all process differently. But we have been processing. Not only processing, but we've been in the heat of it all year and it’s time to contain it.
This doesn’t mean you forget about it. It just means it’s got its place.
I have been swimming in that loss container and it’s time to get out, dry off, and put it on the shelf.
I don’t need to be consumed by this anymore. I can let it have it’s own space.
It’s outside of me now. I know where the container is and am able to access it when I need to.
From time to time I can head over to the book shelf and pull it out for a visit. Make more peace with the unsettled wounds that fly open on an unassuming Thursday afternoon.
But then I can close it out.
There is great power in completion.
Your phone has apps running all the time. It doesn’t matter if you are using those apps or not, They sap your battery nonetheless. I have apps on my phone that I never use and I wonder why they’re even there. Your body is like your phone. Running apps based on past experiences that trigger certain responses and, unbeknownst to you, using your energy and leaving you with less capacity to handle challenges.
You have to close out those running programs to save energy on your phone, on your computer, and in your life.
Free up energy. Direct it where you want it to go instead of being drained by it.
If you feel like you don’t have enough emotional energy to handle things, then you are stealing joy from your life. You might start taking things too personally (me). You might not have energy to make dinner or cookies with your kids (also me), or you do all things with such low energy that it takes joy from the experience (sometimes me, too).
Consciously say to yourself, “I’m closing out _________.” Close out activities, meetings, dinner, work, relationships, even emotions (although that’s hard and sometimes not healthy). Imagine a golden magnet taking that energy out of your body and the field of energy around your body. Use another golden magnet to call your energy back from that activity. Notice how that different your body feels.
It’s like finishing a book. You can read it again if you want. You have the wisdom, the experience, and the ride, but you’re not in the middle of it with part of you wondering what happens next.
A book series you love is like this. Two dimensional characters become more dynamic as the series builds. Sometimes you have invested years into a powerful, meaningful series of books.
As it comes to a close you get emotional. You start to draw out the ending. You aren’t ready to say goodbye to these characters that have become your friends and with whom you are invested.
I remember one series that I didn’t want to end. I went into nature all by myself to read the final chapter. There, in a forest by a waterfall, I read the last words and wept. Closing out the series that had brought so much joy to me over the years.
Think of a book or series of books you’ve loved. From the 1st word, of the 1st paragraph of the 1st book to the last word, of the last paragraph of the last book read, years have passed.
You are changed by it.
Completing the journey has changed you. From the chapters to the books to the series you grow along with the story.
Closing out a book series gives you satisfaction that it is done. And although it’s no longer a nightly read of wondering what adventure lay ahead, you have experienced it all.
You can always pick it up and read it again.
But it’s different.
You aren’t as captivated as before. The cozy blanket feeling is still there, but you know what is ahead. You can still pick up a gem here and there and often enjoy the different characters from the perspective of knowing their entire journey. You may even have deeper understandings of the characters but...
you can never experience it for the first time again.
Mostly it’s just a great memory to refer back to.
The exciting thing about closing out a beloved series is the potential for a new exciting book to begin.
After closing out the old and finding a place for it on your shelf you can begin a new book with eager expectation and full presence.
A good book is like a roller coaster. You want the conflict, the drama, the unexpected turn or loop. I mean a roller coaster without any drops or turns would be boring, so would a good book, and as easy as we say we want our lives to be, so would our world.
The story of your life will have many ups and downs, turns and dizzy spells. Even though we pray these loops don’t come, they are often the best chapter of our lives.
Because of the growth, because of the strength we find in ourselves. Because of the direct experience we have of ourselves overcoming challenges. Because they remind us what true love looks like.
Closure is necessary. Chapters must end. Series must have completion. We, too, must recognize when chapters of our lives are complete and when healthy grieving has passed. The containers of our lives come and go and many may stick around forever, but by actively closing out the energy, you get to be in control of when and how that container gets opened up.