How do we know when something has reached completion? How are we sure we are finished?
I ask these questions in a general way. They could apply to a relationship, a job, a commitment to a group or organization, or even a hobby. For creatives, how we do we know a short story or book is finished, a poem, a painting, or a song? We know we can keep dabbing at the paint or continue to rewrite until the cows come home.
It takes an act of courage to end something important to us, when we do it mindfully. I am not talking about avoidance ghosting or impulsively running away. I am speaking of a clean, honest leap of trust into the unknown, believing that something awaits us on the other side of this ending.
It is very apparent to us when some things have finished. We know that last piece of a puzzle says done. We know when a race or a board game has been won and thus has ended. Or we just get fed up with a job or project and we know, “I’m outta here.”
And there are many other situations where it’s just not that clear to us.
I remember one of my favorite process art teachers, Michelle Cassou, answering the question, “When do you know a painting is finished?” She said, (this was many years ago and I am sure I am embellishing) “You will feel like a plant when it has finished blooming, it will cast off a seed of an inspiration into the soil of creation, and your next painting is ready to begin. You know that last painting has arrived at its destination.” I have used that piece of advice many times. And it still requires trust that more will follow.
If I were a condor flying over the timeline of my life, or many lifetimes, I would be able to see that, in fact, endings and beginnings are moving seamlessly through our existence. It’s like when you are in an airplane and look down at the land below, can you really tell where one state ends and the next begins?
We do, however, need to acknowledge completion when ripening has occurred. The fruit does not need to begin to rot on the vine for us to accept its growth has reached its max. We need to feel the bittersweetness of letting go, while anticipating, WHAT’S NEXT?
Last year, as a response to the pandemic, I was looking for a way to contribute on all levels of healing, at the very same time that I myself felt lonely and powerless. I began a free online Sunday Gathering, to create a community of people mutually supporting each other, in good company, while doing some personal growth work as well.
We explored laughter, our mortality, fears, loneliness, racism, and a variety of very brave topics. Participants brought songs they sang, things or stories they had created, poetry or videos they wanted to share. I brought ideas and writings dear to me and facilitated our time together. It has been almost a full year since we began meeting in May of 2020. The circle feels complete. And so this Sunday will be our last gathering.
I want to thank each and every one of you who showed up with open hearts, indulging my sacred rules of engagement to create safety. I will miss our time together. And I know something wonderful awaits each of us on the other side of our shared experience. So we will not say “goodbye” to our gatherings, we will say, “Until we meet again.” The End is the Beginning.