On Endings

The only thing that is constant is change. – Heraclitus

As the year nears it’s end what better time to reflect on the role of endings in our life. Endings are both final and perpetual in that each ending ushers in a new beginning and each new beginning necessitates the end of that which came before. I contemplate this truth each morning when I practice the ancient meditation ritual of Kirtan Kriya which involves chanting the five primal sounds saa (infinity, cosmos, beginnings), taa (life, experience), naa (death, change, transformation), and maa (rebirth). This practice teaches me that each moment in time is both an ending and a new beginning. And that the more I can make peace with the inevitable cycle of creation, the better able I am to live fully. Perhaps, this is why as I prepare to leave my position at Westport Family Counseling to pursue new opportunities, rather than grief for what I will lose, I feel a faint restlessness for what will come next. For me endings are exciting in that they are always a prelude to something new.

Of course, endings may also bring a sense of loss. And many of my clients find their way into therapy to process such losses. The end of a marriage. The loss of a job. The move to a new home. And, of course, most significantly the loss of a loved one. Endings come in many different forms and at many different times in our life spans. My work as a counselor is to help each individual process their loss, while also helping clients (in their own time and their own way) to find their way back into the realm of beginnings.

Endings are also an integral part of the therapeutic relationship. Clients come and go. Some get better quickly and move on. Others become frustrated and bail out. Sometimes after a period of time working together it can be difficult for clients (and sometimes even the therapist) to recognize that our work together is done, and they have the insights, skills, and tools that they need to take the next steps in their journey without my support. Though I am always pleased to see my clients move on, I also grieve the loss. Fortunately, I understand that is it normal and natural to have mixed feelings about endings, and that with proper guidance and support dealing with these transitions can actually be quite healing for both myself and my clients.

So, as I spend my last days at Westport Family Counseling and prepare to embark on my new adventure I will remind myself that endings our always bittersweet. And perhaps therein lies their value.