What are you like with endings?

Just cast your eye over your shoulder for a moment and have a look back at some:

  • Endings in relationships
  • Endings at workplaces or in your career
  • Endings of places you might have lived in
  • Maybe even endings of the lives of loved-ones

Are there any similarities to be found here – any patterns you can detect in the way you handled these times?

For instance, do you tend to anticipate endings long before they actually happen, and spend time building up to them (perhaps silently noting a stream of ‘lasts’)?

Or maybe you get caught up in the lure of the new and gloss over the ending altogether.

Or perhaps you wish it didn’t have to be this way, and do all you can to ignore the warning signs, either reviving or re-living what you secretly know is lost.

Whatever your style of coping with loss, it can be important to get to know it better – because it could be an insight into how you are with your life. A doorway into what it means to be you.

So let’s peer through that keyhole for a moment…

Though life, itself, is quite a mystery, it seems like loss is one of the things you can bank on. Plenty of it. Loss of all different shades and strengths. At all different times – when you expect it and when you don’t. Sometimes they follow one after another, so life might feel like some kind of event horizon, with loss after loss slipping over it’s edge. (And maybe all you can do is stop yourself from going over the edge with them…).

But look again.

What else might there be to be found in all of this loss?

Are there perhaps things we don’t lose … things we might keep (or that maybe keep us)?

Maybe it’s your love for someone.
Or seeing what truly matters to you.
Or realising something essential about your life.
Or knowing what you’ll use to guide you on your path ahead.

Perhaps it’s simply the present moment – and whatever it contains – that remains open to us in times of loss.

Perhaps, as this saying suggests:

“Every moment that’s ever been or ever will be,
is gone the instant it’s begun.

So life is loss.

And the secret …
is to learn to love the moment
more than you mourn the loss.”

What do you make of that?

Could it be possible to embrace life alongside loss sometimes? To welcome that constant element of change into your life? To get to know how you are with it. How you relate to it. How you handle the impermanence we’re all surrounded by.

For maybe, as Steven Levine said:

“The acknowledgment of impermanence

holds the key to life itself.”

So, loss and the acknowledgment of loss – perhaps as painful as they can be, these two aspects of life might be both the keyhole and the key …

(And, if so, what might yours unlock?)


Image: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar

Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also co-facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She was the former editor of a journal on counselling and psychotherapy and she provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.