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This article advocates honoring both beginnings and endings for a more fulfilling life. Life is filled with beginnings and endings.
Courage, Trust, Beginning, Ending, Newness, Changes, Transformation, Transition, Resistance, Energy, Joy, New, Begin
Copyright 2006 Marshall House
It seems that when I honor the ending, the beginning is more joyous. I admit, I do not always remember to honor the ending. Sometimes I just want the ending to end or the beginning to begin.
As infants, we end our time in the womb to begin our human experience. The other day, I met a less-than-one-week-old (or is that new?) baby, filled with health and wonder, beginning a new life. He was clearly ready to begin this life, keeping his Mom in labor for only thirty minutes.
I have had many beginnings/endings in my life. Probably not more than most people. Some changes have been elegant, some clumsy. Some have been so quick that I did not realize the transformation until it was essentially complete, while some have seemed so slow that I wondered if this is what is meant by eternity. Not all beginnings and endings have been sweet or desired. But each has led to more joy.
Courage and Trust
Many of the planned beginnings/endings have been pure acts of courage: to get married, to start a business, to go to graduate school, to leave a long-term marriage, to relocate my business (twice!), to move across country, to end non-satisfying relationships, and on and on. Even those changes that have not been planned have required courage to carry through.
Of course, everyone knows that the origin for the word “courage” is “heart.” I feel that connection between courage and heart, however, as a matter of practicality for me, I associate courage more with the guts than with the heart. I consider that my inner promptings (which are usually heart-based) guide me to where I need to be, but to act in the midst of doubt takes guts.
Sometimes pure tenacity propels me. I have often recognized that I would not have moved to California, for example, if I had known what a grueling experience those first few years would be. I trusted the process of my inner guidance and bloomed where I was planted. Courage and trust are my keys to joy and transformation.
I have not met every life change with happy, welcoming arms. Going with kicks and screams into something new may seem like a poor attitude, but such dynamics may be precisely what I needed to propel me into the new.
In my days of training managers and others in New York State Government, I learned more about dealing with resistance than in any other setting. I learned to welcome the expression of resistance, but did not feel so adept at dealing with unexpressed (passive) resistance.
In the early years of my business, I offered experiential training programs, primarily for trainers and managers. A former police officer showed up the first day of a 3-day event, loudly displaying his skepticism. His energy was intense, a bit unnerving for some of the participants. But I welcomed his energy, hoping that he would find the inspiration to leave with the same level of intensity, with his skepticism transformed to enthusiasm.
His verbal reflection at the end of the workshop began with “where have you been all my life?” He quickly covered his embarrassment at his positive emotional expression with the explanation, “I have been waiting to have an experience in learning like this all my life. I hated school. I guess I have hated a lot in my life. Now I know that I don’t have to resist everything, I can be myself without proving something.” We taught each other something that neither had experienced before. We came together for a purpose which neither of us had advance warning about, but followed the nudges to show up and co-create an experience.
Showing up for Something New
I know the value of showing up, even if sometimes I do not show up. I know that sometimes I show up physically, but am not present emotionally or mentally or spiritually. In a crowd I can easily conceal this, but in my work I cannot and do not. My clear view and deep understanding of my life purpose empowers me to show up.
Sometimes I activate a transformation simply because I crave something new. I may not even know what I want the new thing to be. I just know that I want something that is different or in a different form or a different color or a different rhythm. Perhaps the new thing will not even seem new from the outside, but it is different.
In my view, the joy of life is about showing up, making it up, experiencing each moment as new and fresh.