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Let It Be A Good Death
Closing the year with grace
I know people loathe things like “New year, new you” and all the things about the New Year.
But to be honest, I love this time of year. I love opportunities to reflect. Whether it’s with the seasons changing that remind us of the cycles of life, or years turning over, there is such transformational potential in endings and beginnings.
As Kylie once told me when I was grieving an ending, “Let it be a good death."
What does it mean to let things end well? For it to be “a good death?”
What is your relationship to endings of any and all kinds?
And, more specifically, when it comes to relationships ending, do you hold on? Do you resist the change? Can you hold grace alongside goodbyes?
My answer to those questions in my younger years was: Hell yes, I hold on. Damn right, I resist the change. And grace… what’s that? I knew anger, grief, and how to disassociate from the pain.
I didn’t know the greatest gifts in my life would be found in my ability to end things well… And to let things end.
Which of course makes sense — because how can we orient openly and wholeheartedly towards new beginnings and fresh starts if we can’t fully let go of and grieve what we have been holding?
To stand in the space between — of holding on to what was, while allowing what is to arrive, is a split none of us can truly hold, wholeheartedly.
This isn’t to shame us for trying. It’s really a protective mechanism to hold on to the love we know and memories of our past — even if they’re painful, memories can’t leave us again.
But new love can leave. New possibilities can let us down. New hopes can become new sadnesses.
And you know what truth lives deeply in this?
If you correlate endings to your worth and your value, you won’t see the value in endings. Read that again.
If you believe endings make you invaluable… or if you believe that you’re not worthy because your efforts and attempts toward your dreams and the relationship you want aren’t working… you will miss out on the wisdom trying to be imparted on you by the experiences of your life.
As is said, “Evolve or repeat."
Okay… stick with me. Earlier on today I read this beautiful piece of writing from Heidi Priebe:
To Love Someone Long-Term Is to Attend a Thousand Funerals of the People They Used to Be
The people they’re too exhausted to be any longer.
The people they don’t recognize inside themselves anymore.
The people they grew out of, the people they never ended up growing into.
We so badly want the people we love to get their spark back when it burns out; to become speedily found when they are lost.
But it is not our job to hold anyone accountable to the people they used to be.
It is our job to travel with them between each version and to honor what emerges along the way.
Sometimes it will be an even more luminescent flame.
Sometimes it will be a flicker that disappears and temporarily floods the room with a perfect and necessary darkness.
Okay. So this might bring up thoughts about your current and/or past relationships (which is great… but hold on)… I really want you to think about this in the context of YOU.
Do you allow yourself this level of grace? To love yourself, fully, long-term, is to attend a thousand funerals of who you used to be.
Gosh. That’s a tall task, isn’t it? To love who you were, even, and especially, if you were not proud of that person?
I had this realization years ago that the former versions of me that had the most to teach me were the ones I judged and was most ashamed of. They were the ones I locked in a prison… hoping I wouldn’t notice them and the people who knew me wouldn’t see them. It was a racket that was robbing me of not only being present, but also of loving the totality of my being. I didn’t let myself grieve who I was, and in turn, grow from what I’d learnt. In banishing them (me), I didn’t have access to the wisdom they could impart upon me.
I say all of this so that you can make this year (or any moment that you decide you want) a new beginning. A sacred and beautiful funeral (and wake!). Let it be a good death. Honour who you’ve been. Honour what has brought you here to this moment.
Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open? Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking. The entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.” ~ Rumi
Light a candle. Put on some music. Grab a pen and paper.
In this list below are “sentence stems.” They are a technique to get out of our heads and back into our hearts and our felt experience. Let what comes to you first be the answer. Do not overthink your answers. Do not let yourself get away with “I don’t know.” There is no “right” or “wrong” answer. There’s just what is trying to flow through you. Allow that flow in this process. It can take practice, so be graceful with yourself!
Explore the following prompts (list multiple answers for ones you feel called to):
The last year has felt ________.
What I’m most proud of myself for is ________.
The greatest lesson I learned about myself is ________.
The person who taught me the most is ________.
I’m grateful for them because ________.
Some ways in which I could’ve shown up better are ________.
An area in which I need to build new skills is ________.
How my life would improve if I did that is ________.
Some ways I’m proud of myself for how I loved are ________.
Some things I’m not proud of are ________.
What I learned from each of those is ________.
A younger part of myself I’m most ashamed of is ________.
Where I feel that in my body is ________.
If that part of my body could speak, it might say ________.
Hearing it say that feels ________.
If my younger self could impart some advice for me today because of what they’ve been through, they might say ________.
Hearing them say that feels ________.
What I’m grateful for about them is ________.
In 2023 I’m ready for ________.
I’m committed to ________.
What I’m most excited about is ________.
What I’m going to create is ________.
May your new beginning be filled with abundance and grace.
Here’s to expansion.
P.S. If you’d like support in your transformation, I have a 30-day course called Rediscover Your Wholeness that was developed based on the science of change. I guide you through the process with workbooks, instructional videos, and I give you daily reminders to keep the fire going! Sign up right now and get instant access! This course has changed thousands of people’s lives… to sign up and/or learn more about the course go here.
P.P.S. Here’s what Sarah N. said after taking Rediscover Your Wholeness: "Thank you Mark! This program was a beautiful invitation to uncover some of the hidden places that keep us removed from stepping into our full potential. I have done personal development work in the past but I had several a-ha moments come through for me during this course that were profound. I am so grateful for the work you are doing and the wisdom that it allowed me to unlock within myself."
P.P.P.S. In the comments below, please share what you’re most excited to create and become in 2023!