In the tapestry of our lives, the concept of closure has always been regarded as the neatly tied stitches in the corners. A definitive conclusion that brings resolution and peace - the end of the project, the final chapter. But as we navigate the complexities of our human emotions and experiences, the concept of closure is rarely so simple. Instead, we see a constantly shifting, evolving, and oftentimes painful process that requires deep introspection, acceptance, and sometimes, the courage to leave loose ends.
This time of year always seems to bring up natural opportunities to seek closure. We are quite literally coming to the end of yet another calendar year, and it's typical to use this time to reflect on where we were at the start compared to now. How far have we come? What's changed, and what's stayed the same, for better or worse? Living in the northern hemisphere, it feels even more natural to settle into this quieting. As the leaves fall and blanket the ground, as we experience more darkness and less daylight, we are internally called to close the doors and get cozy. It's time to retreat. It's time to hibernate, so we may restore our energy for brighter days. So we may be reborn.
As I look back on this past year, there are a lot of blessings. I continue to feel more stable than ever, more on top of things, more sure of myself. I've done a lot of work to become more present in my relationships and more intentional in communication. I've embraced hard conversations and, though they are still daunting, I find I can better handle them. The life and practices I've built since my college days are now holding me comfortably. The work has paid off. And though I try to rest in this comfortable knowing whenever I get the chance, I also acknowledge that there are still elements of this chapter that need to stay where they are. They cannot come with me as I progress. And here, at the last page, that's some of the hardest work.
But yesterday, I committed to tying it up. I watched a silly little video on the numerology of November and the current collective time we're in. This video focused on the energy around the "9" and how it signifies the ending of a period. We are moving, supposedly, through a "9" energy cycle into a "1" within the coming months, which brings in the era of new beginnings, so long as we plan intentionally. I should mention that I don't know the first thing about numerology, nor do I really believe in it to be honest, but it was interesting nonetheless. It inspired me, nonetheless, to lean into the idea of an ending and get clear about what really does not need to follow me in my journey. I can feel some really big shifts coming - I can feel the undercurrents rumbling - and I know I need to make space for whatever this newness brings.
So today, I want to delve into the nuances of letting go, embracing ambiguity, and discovering the power in the unfinished. Friend, I welcome you to a journey where closure is not simply the end, but an open stage for a transformative beginning. (How appropriate for the Scorpio new moon! 🌑)
To get really specific on those "loose ends" still hanging around at this point in my life, I've focused a lot of energy this year into my values in friendship and actually facing the tough emotions of these friendships changing. It's something that on one hand I have always known happens - relationships change, and sometimes die - but to actually work through that was an entirely different, much more intense process. There was a lot of heaviness, a lot of tears, and several vulnerable conversations that were long overdue. That said, I still have more conversations (and probably tears) waiting to be held. Just yesterday, I decided to be brave and reach out to a family member who had caused a huge rift in the overall family dynamic earlier this year. We hadn't spoken since July, and for months after I struggled to let go of my anger and sadness toward what they'd done. I'm leaving a lot out in this post, but if you are curious as to how this conflict was initially dealt with, you can read my blog post from August about it.
The good news: we talked on the phone, they apologized, we heard one another, and we said "I love you." They may have more work to do with the rest of our family, but I know now that I can see them again without resentment. I can resume our relationship and appreciate the work they're currently doing to fix things. It's all good. Now onto the other relationships that have been neglected - those that require yet another hard conversation.
Or so I thought.
Another download I've received about closure in the past few days involves an old limiting belief I've carried for quite some time. In this overall journey of trying to become a better communicator, I have established a rule for myself and my vulnerability toward others: always be radically honest. Always tell the truth. Always, always, talk. And while I certainly don't think this is bad advice, I have begun to open up the realm of possibility - because what if that conversation simply cannot happen? I've held onto a relationship for a long time that was once an inseparable best-friend-tier relationship, that now only utilizes a form of communication I like to refer to as "bread crumbing." Every two months or so, one of us will text the other something random that reminds us of the other person. That elicits a response and a small conversation that eventually has one of us saying "I miss you, let's hang out." I assume you know the rest of the story...we never hang out.
For so long now, I've wanted to stage this hang out just so I can see them in person to say "I don't like that we're doing this to each other. It hurts. Either we amp up our availability to one another, or we effectively 'break up.'" That's the closure I seek. I want them to see my hurt, I want them to know how these years of distancing and weirdness and bread crumbing have taken a huge toll on my social energy, and how I'm still hurting over things they thought we resolved way back when. I want them to acknowledge and apologize. But it wouldn't be fair to dump this on them through a text. So for years, I've been hoping that one of these futile attempts at a get together might actually work out. So far, no luck.
What can I do, then? I've been so caught up on believing that I have to be completely honest and open and vulnerable with them. But here's the download, the redefinition, of what closure can look like: It doesn't have to be given. In fact, it's rarely given so freely and openly as I've been hoping. Instead, I can give it to myself. I can end the story. I have that power. And though there is still a part of me that feels like it's a mean-spirited, selfish approach, after understanding that I've done my due diligence in waiting, and preparing, and being polite, I know that I'm allowed to close this door.
Can I offer you a tiny piece of advice? If you know there are a few doors to close in your own life, imagine this visual: your life force, your energy, is pouring out through that door. Your energy is what keeps you warm, but that open door is stealing your heat. Whether there's a dying friendship on the other side, or a toxic work environment, or literally any facet of life that you know, deep down, is too far gone for saving...close the damn door on it. You're wasting your energy on something that is no longer benefitting from it. At this point, it's only hurting you. So close the door.
I'd like to believe that if we can practice this as individuals, we will see beneficial change on a massive scale. If we could all be brave enough to end the chapters and leave the dead weight behind, we could harness enough energy within ourselves to find motivation again. This is the necessary work for the end of the year, the end of a cycle, the end of anything. And you'll know when you're there. You'll feel the call.
I'd like to believe that we are collectively at an ending right now. We have seen years of unrest and uncertainty, disease and war and fear and catastrophe. With the genocide of Palestinians happening before our eyes, we are at the climax of a point in history where we have a genuine opportunity to change the predicted course of our future. We can choose to close doors on hatred, bitterness, anger, misinformation, and violence. If not on the larger scale, right at this moment, we can do this for ourselves. More importantly, and more effectively, with the new space being created, we can call in swift, intentional action. We can embody peace. We can inspire peace. We can operate from a place of love.
And to do that - to let go of anything, fully - we have to sit with the pain of losing it.
Closure is pain. Endings are steeped in pain. I imagine closing the doors on these awful human patterns feels a lot like ripping demons off our skin after they've already sunk their claws into our flesh. But that's the work we have to do. That's the work we all have to do. I'd be lying if I told you I've done it. Because pain is scary. We don't want to face it.
But for all the people in this world who don't have a choice at the moment to "close the door" on their oppressors, to simply cut ties from the people actively killing them, we owe them a lot of hard, painful work. We need to be strong enough to act for them. To do that, we need to grant ourselves permission to close out any and all habits, patterns and relationships that don't serve our ability to be strong for others. Self care, community care. See? It's all connected.
So in this process of closure I'm currently experiencing, the people of Palestine, and Congo, and Hawai'i, and those living on the streets, and those serving wrongful prison sentences, and those who are deep in the trenches but don't know how to get out, those who need community, those who need love, are the people I'm making space for. As I deepen my relationship to the "wellness" world, I intend to get so radically aligned with what it means to be well, and I know the definition doesn't stop with me. Wellness is collective. It must be, or it's frankly pointless.
I challenge you to join me in closure. Close your doors. Declutter. Get cozy, get warm, make space. Save your energy. You're going to need it.