Russian Doll in segments

Every Autumn I attend my women’s group annual meeting. The Group formed thirty-six years ago and I have been in a participant for twenty-one years. There is a tremendous wealth of experience and expertise in the Group, enriched by understanding our professional commitment, passion for our work, focus on our personal obstacles and support of each other. It is my place of retreat.  The place where I do my personal work and Continuing Professional Development.

This year we explored endings, what brings us to an ending and how we manage it. My homework preparation was to think about what had ended for me this year, how that ending had come about and how I had managed it.

When I arrived in the late afternoon, I sat in the Group room awaiting the arrival of the others. I noticed people discussing their journey and being grateful for having arrived.  I was conscious that in an ending, there is a beginning.

I looked at my homework and took added the things that had begun as a result of the endings. Whilst I know that endings are not always an easy or joyful thing to do, I noted that the beginnings I had listed were all positive things. Fun and enjoyment as a result of my personal work; collaboration in my business; peace of mind around finances; freedom and ease in the release of fear; clarity in reverting to my birth name and the realisation of the release in letting go of my holding on to the past.

I am not usually quick to form an ending and often ponder long to end something, especially if it involves a relationship, but once I have made a decision I am hard to move from it. I think it comes from a combination of having spent the time deliberating and being Taurean 🙂 . I think I am generally quite flexible in my attitude but once I’ve made up my mind, it takes a significant conversation or event to convince me.

At some point in the Group session, I was struck by “We end something in ourselves in order to end.” I was fascinated by this and spent some time thinking and reviewing what had I ended in myself to come to these endings.

Sometimes we get to a breaking point. We decide enough is enough. We end things because they no longer work for us. Some of what I ended this year was my sense of ‘less than’, fear of making a wrong choice and dependence on another to feel secure.

The greatest thing I ended was allowing myself to be controlled by another, even though curiously they had no idea that I felt controlled by them. It was a projection of course. It was a belief that if I did something then that person would respond in a certain way. Which, of course, is completely my imagination. I made it up. It was made of my fear. Once I realised that I was creating this and how I was doing it, I could let go of it.

Of course, you could argue that if I know the person and their behaviours that I might be correct in my imagining. That’s true. What I imagine, may well happen. However, we need to trust our ability to deal with the event if it does happen. We can ask for advice or help either in the preparation or at the time but living our lives in a way that restricts us, in case something happens, is not living.

I ended the restriction of myself. In ending that restriction I took off another layer of adaption, revealed another layer of my authentic self. I am willing to be vulnerable. To find my courage. To say ‘no more. This ends here’.

Like the layers of a Russian doll, we build layers over our authentic self, the real self. We do this to protect ourselves. Holding those layers in place takes energy and can be stressful.

In this article, I have been thinking about endings I have made. Next time – how do I respond to endings which happen that are not in my domain or control?

What do you want to end? Do you feel you can’t do it on your own? Need help to find your courage?

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