I've been part of more than a few farewells recently. There have been more endings than beginnings this month. I can only hope that the Phoenix will rise from its ashes and the rest of the year will bring new life and refreshed beginnings.
There's been heartache too. About letting go and being let go, of watching distance creep into spaces that were full of closeness and laughs just a short while back. Yet, let go I must. As we all must when the time comes to say bye to colleagues, familiar settings and friendly people who had your back, and move on to what calls us next.
It must take courage then to let connectedness take hold and include new people, knowing that nothing lasts forever, and if there is a beginning there must be an end, too. It's a brave choice to allow ourselves the risk of heartache and a few tears. To know we may soon be staring into the void that opens up as those we care about move away or we move away from them.
Imagine getting on with work, but without the person you were having coffee with just this morning, or moving on ourselves to find a stranger sitting next to us. It's a brave choice to knowingly walk into sadness and pay a price we knew was coming. Yet we connect, we revel in our familiarity and make memories for a lifetime.
Connectedness is not for the fainthearted then.
It is for those who have the courage of knowing what the fear of loss must feel like. Courage that stems from the certainty of knowing that life and relationships are transient. That we exist in that space between feeling close and drifting apart. In that temporariness is a life well lived.
Connectedness must take courage knowing that we have something to lose before we have something to gain, that there is a risk before there is a reward. So we must make the most of it while we have the opportunity to share moments of doubt, panic, chaos and triumph with that person. To grow and learn in ways that is quite impossible to do if we chose to be insular.
Which is why, every time we meet someone who tries hard not to reciprocate warmth or an attempt to make a genuine connection, know that it's not their arrogance or indifference that stops them, it's their fear. Connectedness is not for everyone. It's for those who have the strength to survive the darkness of separation and loss; they are the ones who have the best chance of experiencing true connection. Who will likely take the risk of being included, and including others in turn, knowing that they must let go someday.
I am getting better at letting go because I've done a lot of moving on, closing up, walking away, saying bye and letting go over the years, and the more I focus ahead, the sooner life brings back something I thought I had lost forever. Life has a fantastic way of rewarding genuine connection - we never truly lose, we just go on a break. Connectedness comes back in double measure to surprise and hearten us when we least expect it to. Life is a full circle, but for it to come back to us, we must be ready to step into the circle, and for that we must be ready to connect and include. Only the brave do that.