Everything has its time, but when? Sometimes endings simply happen and we have no control over them.
But sometimes the time to accept, permit, let go and surrender is up to us. The challenge is how to know when and then how to release as gracefully as possible.
Of course, many times we let go because we must. For the sanity or health of ourselves or another, or because there literally is no other choice.
Reading the Signs
My dog Leonita died recently and in honor of her I bought some beautiful, purple flowers on long thick stems from an older woman in the market. The flowers were Leonita’s color, expressing her essence precisely. They were perfect.
I placed the delicate blooms in a vase in the living room where I’d see them every day. They were long-lasting flowers, but everything has it’s time.
After about 10 days, I noticed some of the flowers were beginning to sag and wither.
Several days later, some petals lay on the surface around the vase.
I wondered, “Is it time to let these flowers go?”
I gathered the cool firm stems in my hand and ventured outdoors with them, toward the garden compost.
But then, I couldn’t do it. It didn’t seem right to put these flowers, still with a great deal of life emanating from them, in the garbage.
I turned around and returned them to their vase, clipping the ends a bit, in case they had started to dry and seal in their little foray out of water.
The flowers continued a few more days like this, shedding petals now and then. That was acceptable and pretty to me, so I let them be.
The Moment to Release
Then came a time when it seemed the flowers really did not have much vivacity left in them. All the flowers were drooping, drying on their stems. A puddle of petals lay around the vase.
The flowers had passed their prime. There was still some life force flowing through them, but they were more dead than alive.
It was time to let them go. To say good-bye to the initial period of bidding farewell to and grieving the death of Leonita.
I carried the bunch outside, a trail of purple fluttering to the ground as I walked.
I was ready to deposit the flowers into the garden compost bin. They had served their purpose. And although endings and changings are often difficult, they are also natural.
Everything and one has it’s time.
Time to Move Forward
It was time to move forward, into life without Leonita. Into life with more strength and open-heartedness and understanding.
I surrendered the past weeks and said good-bye to this representation of my grieving.
I returned to the living room and lovingly gathered the dry petals. I scooped them into the muslin bag where dry rose petals await being sprinkled over her remains, one day soon.
This is moving through life.
Through this small experience, I contacted the feeling of when it’s enough. When it’s time. When the life of something, in this case a bouquet of flowers, is expressing its time has passed.
A poignant and conscious moment of letting go and surrendering to a death, an ending.
Honoring Endings in Modern Western Society...Not
In our culture, endings and death are not readily accepted and honored as a natural process in the cycle of life. We are not taught or practiced at it.
And so, such a seemingly insignificant example of life’s passing and the appropriateness of moving on served me as a real-time reminder that it’s okay.
Death and endings is normal, inevitable, sometimes sad and challenging, but also, simply THE WAY.
In reality, endings happen all day long. We end a task. The meal is prepared. The meal is eaten. The dishes are washed and the kitchen cleaned.
We move onto a new beginning, the next activity. And that too has a life-span.
And so it all ends. But also time moves and transforms into the birth of the next thing.
And as I heard yesterday on a favorite podcast, "We have no control over what happens in life. We can only control how we deal with it. May we all find the strength to embrace and move through everything that life throws at us."
The first part of the quote I had heard so many times before that I take it for granted. (Though do I take it IN?) The final sentence however struck me. I reflected, “Maybe this is the meaning of life: To move through all that happens, embracing it with strength and surrender.”
With a sense of relief, hope and gratitude, I contemplated, “Maybe that’s enough, because our lives happen, and we can’t control or stop that. Embracing and finding strength to move through what life throws at us might really be the best and most we can do.”
Robin Rainbow Gate
I help people midlife and beyond to find their inner power, health and well being through slow living
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