Bye! See you later! Facebook me!!
Not all goodbyes end on a parting wave or a extra-long hug. Some goodbyes ripen over hours or days – even weeks. And what do you do when faced with an inevitable parting that leaves you bereft of an important companion? Are you quick to disappear into solitude to mourn the loss alone? Do you pounce on opportunities to be more social trying to fill the gap?
The volunteer community at Kripalu is now wrestling with these questions as 30 or so now ex-volunteers re-enter the world outside while 30 or no new volunteers arrive. I’m definitely excited to meet the new folks. Earlier today a friend reminded me of the powerful decisions these people had to make to organize their lives in order to be here for four months of service. These people are already rock stars in my book…
And while I welcome the new group, I am grieving the departure of some very dear souls – people I feel incredibly lucky to count as friends; people who have helped me become a more conscious, loving, and authentic human being.
A wise friend prompted me to make lists of the things I wanted to hold onto and the things I wanted to let go of from my relationships with these people.
For example, I took one relationship that had been especially meaningful and I began with what I wanted to release along with his departure…
Letting go of
returning again and again to something that doesn’t feel good
searching for self-acceptance through someone else
using him to love myself
my story about him
the need for him to know everything about my process
Then I carefully recalled all that I wanted to keep with me – the gems, the jewels, the precious moments of who we became through our time together…
growth through dialogue
fun, shared experiences
lessons: be clear with my wants; honor someone’s truth as they tell it
validation of the still small voice
being open to the future as it unfolds
my listening brilliance and keen perception
my desire to dig deep
my willingness to be seen
my desire to love and be loved
the positive impact I can have on others’ lives
not giving up
I invite you to try making lists like this next time you find yourself saying goodbye. Make it personal, create a ritual, tell a story about your experiences with that person. Grieving doesn’t have to be about giving in to sorrow – for me, it meant giving up and letting go of somethings and holding onto others.