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personality and story transition wholehearted stories work life

Our heart always knows the way – a wholehearted story

July 30, 2017

heart

Frustrated in the quest to find work and a life you love? Don’t despair, the greatest truth is that our heart always knows the way. 

This is the first guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here.  

In essence, Quiet Writing celebrates wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity and I am keen for a community of voices to be telling their story of what wholehearted living means here in this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am thrilled to have my dear friend, Katherine Bell, as the first ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Katherine and I met through an online course, The Introvert Effect, created by Katherine Mackenzie-Smith. When I talked on a group phone call about my planned transition to a more wholehearted way of life, Katherine reached out to me afterwards, sensing a connection in our stories. We have been firm and amazingly synchronistically connected friends ever since, supporting each other and sharing a love of books and especially of David Whyte, who features in this story.

I hope you enjoy Katherine’s story, poem and exquisite photography. My sincere thanks to Katherine for her beautiful contribution to Quiet Writing.

Starting out on my journey towards wholehearted life and work  

This is not a romantic story. Certainly others found it inspiring to start with—a quest towards a better life is something we can all relate to … for a time. But when the initial 12 months I had planned (what was I thinking?) grew into 18, then 24 … then five years and there were no tangibles like an impressive job title, a book, or the usual manifestations we take as evidence that someone has a successful life … well, cue crickets chirping and tumbleweed rolling down the deserted street.  

Not long after my 39th birthday, with my life in a dire mess, I checked myself into a psychologist. I naively approached this as I would manage a work project, and estimated that I would be fixed before I turned 40. I was about to learn that inner work—deep inner work—is nowhere near linear. My biggest challenge was that I didn’t know what I wanted, despite recognising that I was desperately unhappy. I also felt that something was wrong with me, as the kind of prescribed life my partner of nearly 20 years had envisaged for us—and that everybody else seemed to want as well—was just not me. I felt like the Ugly Duckling, I simply didn’t belong.  

A beacon of hope 

It wasn’t until a friend passed a copy of David Whyte’s ‘Crossing the Unknown Sea—Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity to me around the same time that I recognised a voice like my own for the first time, and dared to hope that there was another way for work, relationship, life— a way that fit with me, instead of my feeble attempts to contort in ever-increasingly painful ways to fit with it. I can vividly recall the night I started to read it. I was in the bathtub (my Fortress of Solitude in those days) again feeling like the Ugly Duckling. But this time, the experience was akin to the duckling’s heart both leaping and aching when he looked up to see beautiful swans—his own kind—flying overhead. I recognised in David Whyte a kindred other who lived at depth, even though I did not quite know what living at depth was at that time.  

heart

This simple, profound recognition was enough to start me on the journey of my own unknown sea. Here, finally, was someone else who had crossed that sea, I recognised his voice, and I knew I belonged in some way to that pilgrimage. Fast forward to the present day, and with a small, knowing smile I say that the recognition was of my own voice. The best gift of David Whyte’s words have not been their beauty, nor their inspiration (as profound as both are) but the validity, the permission, they gave to my own words, my own voice. There was nothing wrong with me after all, I was not a duckling, I was a swan. I had simply been surrounded with voices that did not recognise mine.  

With that first heart-leap of recognition, and the simple permission given by the Wonderful Mr Whyte, I took the plunge into the unknown sea towards work, life and relationship that was wholehearted. I tackled the problem in the only way I knew how to at the time, which was to leave my job, home, partner and city in the same week (not recommended) and take flight to the other side of the world for six weeks. My entire known life was in storage, ready to be dealt with when I got back.  

In this way I jumped into my own metaphorical boat with not a clue (thankfully) of the squally territory that lay ahead, or that I would feel at sea for several years. I say “feel at sea” as in reality we are never truly lost, or alone, it just feels that way, and part of our quest is to be able to endure the inevitable crises of discomfort, discouragement, or despair. It’s a riding out of the storm, knowing that it will eventually pass.  

Allowing our heart direction to emerge 

I think the trip was the only part of the plan that made sense, in hindsight. It gave me the relief and spaciousness I needed—both literally, staying in remote parts of the English countryside and roaming open fields, mountains, and wild clifftops in the rain, and metaphorically, in starting to thaw out from what had been a fraught existence, both at work and home, for long years at a stretch. I felt like I was emerging from a coma and needing to learn what was real again. This was in the smallest of ways to begin with, an almost imperceptible turning of my head and simple noticing of what elicited a positive reaction in me, like surprise at hearing the unfamiliar sound of my own laugh.    

heart

It was a significant shock when I returned to Australia without a home, job, partner or any structure to my life and needed to take the first breath of my new life. I moved to a regional town near my family, embarking on a series of experiments to find work that worked for me. Work, for me, is of central importance, and my experiences with it not working have been as painful as any of my life’s challenges. David Whyte elevates work to the status of a marriage in his book “The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship” and I agree with it being given this priority. This is especially so for those who are creative types—there is no divorcing ourselves from our work, they are one and the same entity.  

In Crossing the Unknown Sea, David Whyte talks of “having a firm persuasion in our work” (p.5) and that has certainly been the crux of my quest, taking precedence over relationship for a time. I have grappled with finding work that is heartfelt and resonant, and what has looked like foolishness to others from a financial perspective has been a dogged determination to settle for nothing less. I certainly miss elements of my former lifestyle, but in resolutely setting my sail to my own course I can say I am at peace and happy.  

My golden rule is that as mine is the only head to hit my pillow each night, I’m best qualified to set that sail, as long as I am staying aligned to what is true for me. It has, however, been stressful in needing to hold out far longer than I envisaged, yet the alternative—the life I used to live and the work I used to do—is no more an option for me as running a race if I no longer had legs. As Whyte’s friend Brother David said to him “You are only half here, and half here will kill you after a while. You need something to which you can give your full powers” (p.132).  

Discovering my work  

The only idea I had about what my right kind of work looked like was that I wanted to write. Knowing that I wasn’t interested in writing fiction was at least a start. I stumbled through exploring writerly activities such as creating a blog, writing poetry, entering writing competitions, and applying for a writing scholarship. However, apart from the cathartic blog and poetry, it felt as though I was contorting myself again into a shape that wasn’t quite right. Thankfully, as Rumi says, “what you seek is seeking you”, and I soon had an opportunity presented to write for a research organisation, work which I found I truly loved. All my clumsy attempts and experiments had in fact been my apprenticeship to the kind of writing I love. In revisiting an earlier journal I discovered the prophetic words:  

“My work will be a melange of my heart – not just one thing, it will be a blend of all the things that make my heart glad: writing, thinking, researching; the alchemy of ideas”. 

Here was evidence that my heart had known all along, I had just not been in a place to hear it, let alone respond to it. 

heart

The benefit of hindsight 

Hindsight shows us that all experiences—even the most painful—prepare us for our own particular work. Some experiences are definitive (like David Whyte’s influence on me, foundational stones to the structure of the work which only we can do) and some are transitional, forming the scaffolding we need to emerge ever so slowly until ready to stand and reveal our work to the world.    

If I could rewind the clock and give myself some advice to make the journey easier, it would centre on the following. 

  • There is no timeframe in matters of the heart, especially when needing to find a way back to life after being metaphorically dead as I was. It will take as long as it will take, even if you are just a little lost. Don’t try to plan and control it; it will only cause additional pain. I think one of the most important things is that any emotional or psychic recovery needs to be given the same credence as a physical injury. I have had to constantly adjust my expectations of the timeframe of recovery, likening it to having every bone, muscle, ligament broken and undergoing extensive rehabilitation, and learning to live again being more than a little changed.    
  • Be kind and patient … with yourself. I wish I had cut myself some slack along the way; I was really doing the best I knew how to at any given point, as feeble as that was. 
  • The truth is not that everything will be OK, it’s that it already is. Time and time again I have had to remind myself “all is well”. Even in the darkest moments, the truth is that everything is working for us when we are aligned to our hearts, not against us.   
  • It’s not a journey with a destination. I’m still not there, and I don’t think I ever will be. As David Whyte says, it’s a ‘continuing conversation’. The important thing is that we keep showing up, open-hearted, looking for the Hansel and Gretel trail that leads us ever homewards, crumbs as clues left behind by an engaged and benevolent Hand (whether we understand that to be our God, our Higher Self, or whatever language we use to give meaning and shape to our spirituality). 

From the time I first recognised David Whyte’s voice (and ultimately my own) in the bath all those years ago to now, I trust my little boat, metaphor for my heart, to carry me ever onwards. I have nothing to fear while I’m aligned to it. My only request is that after several years at stormy sea, I’m soon taken to safe harbour for a little respite, perhaps where I can feel the warmth of the sun of friendship and community on my face. Then, as it is now, all will be well.  

Postscript 

This reflective journey has led me back to a poem that I first started to write as I walked the clifftops in England all those years ago, with my own unknown sea stretched before me. Whilst not originally written with the intention of sharing it, it seems to fit so beautifully into my story that I offer it here.  

 

After

It turns out (in the end) that I am far
stronger than we all thought.

Surprisingly,
I chose to be brave at morning’s first light,
however grey and dim it appeared then.

Turning towards the east
to walk ever closer to the Ocean of Who Knows What,
throwing my face and caution
to the biting wind of my vulnerability,
stripped of all pretence and belief
for better, or for worse:
Strengthened
or at last, Ruined.

In angry defiance
—or quiet acceptance?—
I signed up, took the gamble,
declaring “See here?
This, this is my Mark,
my Consent,
my Line In The Sand
of how I will live and be in this world.
And if I die at this brutal hand
well …
at least I felt the sharp slap and bite of the wind,
the driving rain that hurt my eyes and became my tears,
and the aching weight of loss
after loss
—how will I bear it?—
but knowing at last,
This was Me
I had reached Land’s End,
And I refused to go into hiding again.

Standing on the cliff buffeted, yet
Resolute, watching
the cruel sea
Relentless against captive rocks,
I thought “Poor things, they’re just like me…
—pounded and near-drowned”.

Then pounded and near-drowned some more.

In years to come I will know that in
choosing to live
at risk of the Open Sea
I breathed
walked
and dreamed
Awake
Alive
in this beautiful and vicious world
that sometimes despised,
sometimes loved me
(I never knew which it was).

crossing the unknown sea

 

About Katherine Bell 
Katherine Bell
Before turning to the quieter world of writing, editing and research, Katherine worked for 25 years in the corporate sector across multiple industries in senior administrative and strategic project roles. Making a tree-change from Sydney to regional NSW several years ago, Katherine is passionate about promoting research that translates into real-life outcomes. She is currently working on forming an alliance with other corporate escapees who share her passion for making the workplace more humane and sustainable, particularly for those who are introverted or highly sensitive. Co-founder of  The Edit Bureau she also assists academics in Australia and overseas with getting their work published.

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free ebook on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel. The links are below.

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Transforming into the new – Capricorn Full Moon tarot reading

July 10, 2017

“We surrender our old snakeskin, old forms and institutions and await our transformation and expansion into the ‘new’.”

Pat Liles, from The Power Path

  transforming

The Capricorn Full Moon invites a practical transforming of our lives. This tarot reading reflects on how we can enact and be comfortable with this change.

Here are some thoughts on this Full Moon in Capricorn from Mystic Mamma to set the scene for the energies available to us:

FULL MOON* coming into bloom in Capricorn brings core issues to the forefront of our consciousness. This is a time to strengthen personal boundaries and time to honor our feelings as we carefully navigate the delicate shores of our relationships.

This Full Moon has powerful energies for valuable insights about transforming ourselves. It’s time to tap into our personal story to find the way forward.

Chad Woodward says:

Distance and solitude may be your best tactic in dealing with these energies. In fact, this is a good time to step away from any developing, external drama to assess your own life position to gain insight into the changes that need to be made at this time..

It’s a big picture shift. There’s an emphasis on understanding our story and the threads that connect it at a deep level. This Capricorn New Moon provides an opportunity to set intentions around creative and life practices that will help us break through, especially self-discipline.

It’s a time to ground ourselves through supports such as community.  This practical restructuring is an opportunity to move into new ways of being and feeling less hamstrung. In this way, we can be more comfortable and authentic in new levels of work, service and creativity. It signals the opportunity to shed what no longer serves us in a dramatic way.

Full Moon in Capricorn tarot reading tools:

For my reading for the Capricorn Full Moon, I worked with:

This FULL Moon tarot spread by Sam Roberts aka @escapingstars on Instagram:

And I worked with the Sakki Sakki Tarot deck by Monicka Clio Sakki which is my favourite tarot deck especially for questions around creativity.

Tarot reading: 

So here’s the reading:

Capricorn Full Moon

There was definitely a big smile of recognition as the Three of Coins (Pentacles) arrived first up in the “Where are you in life right now?” position. I had already pulled this card earlier the same day as part of my daily Tarot Narrative reading and linked it with creative solitude. And it’s the card that featured in my launch of Quiet Writing Coaching as the beautiful Three of Air. Remember the butterfly glasses? It was linked to building a solid foundation and co-creation. ‘The architecture of my dreams is becoming tangible, taking shape before me’ as The Good Tarot puts it.

STRENGTH has also popped up a lot lately, three times in a row the week before. So strength, and how we recognise it in our lives, jumps out as a key theme.

Then there are the big cards of DEATH and THE WORLD – some huge transformational energies and directions there! The NINE of COINS and KNIGHT of CUPS also provide clues around realising dreams and recognising gains already made. They provide guidance about being comfortable and pragmatic with these next steps of change.

Tarot reading – card by card:

So here are some deeper thoughts, card by card, in relation to the questions. I worked intuitively with some key supporting words from the Mystic Mamma post, the Sakki Sakki tarot guidebook Playing with Symbols, Jessa Crispin’s fabulous book The Creative Tarot and Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom.

1 Where are you in life right now? THREE OF COINS (PENTACLES)

This signals a level of reaching a special place whilst still building the foundations and working out the creative architecture. I have written about this card in my Tarot Narrative series as like building a cathedral, an image drawn from both Jessa Crispin’s commentary in Creative Tarot and Sage Cohen’s book, Fierce on the Page.

There’s a sense of laying the foundations, connecting the critical pieces and combining the essential ingredients to do our big work in the world. It’s about restructuring our practices and priorities to achieve what we want. We’re investing time and solitude to work out the collaborators, the values and the skills. As Rachel Pollack reinforces in Tarot Wisdom:

Thus, practical knowledge and spiritual awareness help to produce work of the highest level.

So, this card reminds me that I’m in a good place and working on my deep work in the world.

2 How do you project yourself to the world? What is the truth of your relationships in your life? STRENGTH

My sense of this card is around realising our own brand of strength. Strength flows from so many places: our inner resources, our family, our friends, our community, our online connections, the kindred souls we connect with each day, our ancestors, our guides, our mentors, our teachers. All of these resources combine to help us forge our way. We can focus on the lack of strength we occasionally feel, but we can also draw on these immense resources and feel strong for the transformation journey.

Part of this is realising and embracing our vulnerabilities as well. They make us authentic and strong in our own way – our learnings, our challenges and our resilience.

As Monicka Clio Sakki reminds us for the Strength card:

Inside our soft spots, where we hold our greatest weaknesses, confusions and fears, we can find hints of how to transform ourselves and manifest our ideals.

So being strong involves being grateful for and marshalling significant support and resources. It also involves embracing vulnerabilities as a source of growth, communication and authenticity.

3 What is blocking your desires and goals? KNIGHT of CUPS

The Knight of Cups arrives with his gorgeous romantic nature to remind me to be grounded and to balance self and service. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own work. It’s important to remember the gift of practical service and translating things into the real world. I need to make sure I am connected.

An excellent article, Bridging the online business and humanitarian worlds from life coach and human rights activist, Naomi Arnold, popped into my Twitter feed today to say exactly this:

I hope we can stand firm in our integrity and always be mindful of how we are balancing serving ourselves and others.

And Jessa Crispin reminds us:

Whatever the inspiration or connection the Knight of Cups carries, if he or she cannot translate that into something that can exist in the real world, it loses its power.

4 What do you need to do to overcome these obstacles?   NINE of COINS

The Nine of Coins suggests the need to realise gains, celebrate and recognise the riches. It’s important to operate from an environment of abundance not lack and to know our worth.

Ironically perhaps, one of the best ways to overcome the obstacles of being focused on the self is to realise the successes and what comes with that. Having reached a certain point of comfort with strengths realised and foundations built, there’s pride and also a responsibility. And with this comes a sense of moving on with the work and not concentrating on the paths to get there so much.

We can stop the machinations and get on with practical and genuine service, stepping into our power and sharing it. It’s about knowing our true worth in every sense and tapping into that to be of service through our creativity and insights. It’s a higher level view we can now shift to.

sunset

5 What can you do within yourself in order to help achieve these desires? DEATH

Finally committing to transforming means looking at what no longer serves to supports this higher purpose. Whether it be old habits, contexts, institutions, self-images or patterns, this is the opportunity to shift up a gear and beyond what might hold us back. If we are moving on, we are moving on. It’s time to get real with that and throw overboard any heavy weights keeping us slowed down.

As Jessa Crispin puts it so beautifully:

Death allows us to bid farewell to the way we were working or living before, and that change can have great inspirational impact on us.

6 What can you learn from the outside world/others to help you manifest your goals/desires? KING of SWORDS

In line with that grounding of being in service and community, it’s important to be disciplined and focused in meeting the needs of others. I need my ideas to coalesce with others, forming a connection in creativity.

There’s so much strength in community and support of all kinds as the STRENGTH card showed. It’s seeing how we can work together to achieve mutual goals. This also might mean opening up our work and platform to others.

This is exactly what I started doing last week with offering an opportunity for guest blogging on Quiet Writing via my Creative and Connected post. It’s the first time I have opened up my blog and platform in this way. I have been so excited to make the offer and for the heartfelt responses that have come forward. This shows me that our work is about collaboration in so many ways and our collective voices can strengthen each other.

The whole philosophy of being creative and connected has become a driving force for Quiet Writing. I am so looking forward to this being an ongoing, bigger and transforming part of its focus and service. I hope you’ll be a part of it!

7 The projected outcome? The WORLD

A lot of the messages I’ve received lately via tarot and oracle intuitive tools have been about the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. This card shows a culmination step, a pause in gathering and reflecting, but also one of mastery and self-actualisation. It’s really happening! It’s time to shine!

As Monicka Clio Sakki tells us:

The World represents the last step of the journey – the completion of a full cycle. We have traveled along our worldly path with discipline and devotion, joyously gathering the lessons and gifts given to us. We are now ready to dance our own Dance of Life, understanding that true freedom is commitment to a cause or goal. It is time to be whoever we wish to become.

That balance between self and service arises here again to remind us that we go through cycles of personal growth. We withdraw and skill up, working on our intuition, creativity or other talents. Then comes a time to see how this links with practical service and being of value to others. The learnings from our journey with all its vulnerabilities can be shared to help others likewise shine, share and transform. It becomes a kind of collective transformation that gathers strength from its community and moves in new directions, taking an organic life of its own.

Ways to step into the new

So are your thoughts also around transforming and stepping into the new: comfortably, practically and with a balance between self and service?

Here are some practical questions prompted by the Capricorn Full Moon and reflections on my reading.They are around realising our own brand of strength, our progress and steps into the new. They also focus on being comfortable with this so we can move on and foster increased community and value.

Journal, reflect or brainstorm around these questions to help maximise your personal change management at this time:

  • Where have you been working to build strong foundations in your work and growth?
  • What have you achieved?: What skills or products have you developed? Which courses have you finished? Which goals have you reached?
  • How have you celebrated or marked your achievements?
  • Where are you potentially focusing on self too much or at the expense of service?
  • When are you being a little too self-indulgent and it’s maybe not helping?
  • Where can you extend any significant change and learning processes to others?
  • What vulnerabilities might you share to help others on their journey and how might you do that?
  • What are the sources of your strength – people, skills, guides, spiritual support – and how can you strengthen these strengths?
  • Where can you connect up with others in service? How can you share your platform or skills to support and foster the growth of others?
  • Where can you choose to feel more comfortable with what you have achieved?
  • What creative practices can you put in place to lead a more self-disciplined life?
  • Which negative self-images or associations can you now let go of as you move on?
  • What can you build? What’s the blueprint for your big plan?
  • What does this new world look like for you and others?

Wisdom from The World

And here is some final wisdom from The World via the Art of Life Tarot:

transformation

May you build your new world on strong foundations with the help of those who can support and strengthen you. And through that, may you be of service to others and have a fun and productive learning experience!

Butterfly feature image from pexels.com and used with permission and thanks.

Keep in touch

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on tarot, intuition, influence, passion, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. Free ebook on the books that have shaped my creativity coming soon for subscribers only!

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

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Finishing on a high note – closure, letting go and moving on

May 25, 2017

 Some of us think holding on make us strong;

but sometimes it is letting go.

Hermann Hesse

 

moving on

Finishing on a high note is important. As one thing ends and we cycle into new beginnings, it’s vital to pause and reflect on closure and tie up any loose ends. And depending on the situation, it’s also a moment to restore, forgive, show gratitude, bed down our learning and celebrate what we have achieved.

Here are some thoughts on unfinished symphonies and opportunities for ending on a high note and shifting into a positive journey in moving on.

Unfinished Symphonies

The beautiful ‘Unfinished Symphony’ card from Colette Baron-Reid’s Wisdom of the Oracle deck has popped up for me a few times in the past weeks. Each time, it’s reminded me of the power of appropriate closure and reflection on what has passed before moving on.

closure

The first time it appeared, it prompted me to focus on some administrative loose-ends – paperwork, small things I’d been putting off that were hanging over my head and stopping my forward movement.

The next time, it was about finishing off an e-course that was very valuable to me that I was close to completing and hadn’t quite finalised. It was a reminder to thank the creator personally for what they had given me through the process and to take the lessons forward and integrate them fully into my life.

Most recently, it was about honouring my skills, my body of work, as I reflect on my next steps in my career and vocational life. Skills are transferable and we develop many in our lifetime. It’s so easy to close the door on skills that are valuable as we shift into different roles or environments. It’s important to take stock of all the varied knowledge, experience and values we bring forward as we recreate ourselves again and again in career and vocational roles and through our own businesses.

Closure, completion and finishing off

As we shift to the end of something and into a cycle of completion and restarting, it’s so easy to rush forward and forget the reflection phase, the opportunity to pause and integrate what’s just happened.

As the Guidebook for the Wisdom of the Oracle says for the Unfinished Symphony card:

Take inventory so that emotional and psychological closure can occur and the answers you seek will be found. You can’t move forward if you are leaving things unfinished. Reflect on what has passed so that the symphony can finally end on a high note.
Page 37

We might be leaving something or somewhere because we choose to. It might be retirement or the end of a relationship or a move of location. Other times, it may not be through our choice. It might be a case of  redundancy, betrayal, just not fitting in any more or circumstances beyond our control.

Whatever the situation of finishing up or leaving something behind, it’s valuable to reflect on how we can leave gracefully with wisdom and a sense of completion. We can move forward with a spirit of reflection and learning, and with a practical attitude of taking what will serve us well on the onward journey. It’s important not leave loose ends, unfinished business or pieces of ourselves behind.

Ways to finish on a high note

Here are some practical ways to finish on a high note:

Tie up the loose ends

As Colette Baron-Reid says: “Tie up loose ends so you can move forward with surety, knowing you’re on a prosperous path.” It might be paperwork, it might be some difficult task still to be done you keep putting off, it might be picking up some special belongings from somewhere where they no longer belong. But this symbolic tying up and finishing can be a powerful way of stepping through into a new purpose.

See things through to completion and celebrate that

If you’ve created something valuable and special, see it through. Finish it, see how it can be developed further, update your CV to reflect your achievement and apply your learning in practice for positive outcomes. See where whatever you have created can shine brighter. Publish it, write about it, adapt it, finish off its potential and bed it down into the fabric of the world. Celebrate your part in it and let people know what you’ve achieved.

Say thank you

If you’ve finished a course, a book or time in a job role, say thank you to those who created the circumstances or the work. Finish the work, then round it off with appreciation and gratitude, sharing the joy of what you learned, what will take you forward and why it was important. The end of your cycle will help fuel your own and another’s journey.

If it’s a challenging thing like a relationship ending, the thank you might be in the form of an unsent letter or journalling, but still take the time to realise the benefits of what was given to you. Don’t lose the good in the shadow of the bad. Even if you feel bitter, it’s better to brainstorm the positives about what the disappointment or betrayal taught you than to drown in the juices of your anger. Find the pieces to take forward and let go of what’s not helpful.

Forgive

Danielle LaPorte’s White Hot Truth has wise advice on forgiveness. When you’re ready, it’s a powerful thing and it’s often as much about forgiving ourselves and our perceived complicit involvement as it is about others. That’s where a lot of energy is being drained away as we carry it unnecessarily:

As Lady Ninja of the Light put it to me: “I see forgiveness as releasing congested energy that’s not needed by the energy body. No stories, no players, simply time to release and move on to brighter ways.”
You stop letting past hurt affect you in the present. You rinse down the story, you take what you want, and let the rest go up to the Light so it can be put to better use. You give yourself forward.
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The ways we forgive can be many and varied and don’t always need to involve the other party; sometimes it’s just not possible anyway. But diluting the negative impact of that story and releasing the energy is so important in moving on.

Take what’s valuable with you

Don’t leave what’s valuable behind and take what you can with you into new circumstances. Reflect on the transferable and portable knowledge and experience you can carry forward.

You might have been in an organisation for a while and suddenly there are changes which mean that they no longer value your skills and experience. But you can. Identify the ingredients, skills and experiences that make up ‘you’, your brand, that you can market to a new employer or use to build up your own business.

As Pamela Slim says in Body of Work:

No one is looking out for your career any more. You must find meaning, locate opportunities, sell yourself, and plan for failure, calamity, and unexpected disasters. You must develop a set of skills that makes you able to earn an income in as many ways as possible.
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Cycles, abandoned success and the Eight of Cups

The Eight of Cups tarot card has reappeared many times in the past year as I negotiate a time of transition and reflect on endings and beginnings. It’s a deep card that speaks of abandoned success and choosing to walk away but it’s also a reminder not to leave pieces of ourselves behind.

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The Rider Waite image of the card shows a figure choosing to walk away from the cups. As Benebell Wen describes in it in Holistic Tarot:

There has been an abandonment of past fruits, the Eight of Cups is about a soul-searching journey; ascending to emotional higher ground. The Seeker is leaving behind something he or she spent much effort and care to nurture and develop. There was disappointment in a past undertaking and this the Seeker has abandoned his or her previous work.
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There’s a suggestion of leaving on our own terms, but there’s that future we imagined, our identity we shaped there that we feel we are leaving behind. So there’s sadness and a kind of grief. As Jessica Crispin explains it in The Creative Tarot:

And it’s not just our work but our actual selves that we pour into what we do. Leaving it, admitting that the end result is no longer worth it, is difficult.”
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So there is often a sense of loss even if we are choosing to do the leaving or the finishing. Everything is so inevitably bound up together.

The stunning and wise Art of Life Tarot Eight of Cups reminds us that in each ending there is a new beginning. So let’s start as fresh, unencumbered and as energetic as we can, taking the positive and valuable learnings and leaving any baggage or drag on our energy behind.

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Resilience is as much about letting go as it is about moving through. Whatever the circumstances, let’s finish our personal symphonies as positively as we can, on a high note, with gratitude and reflection, bringing it home with the brightness of a new song.

And your unfinished symphony?

Would love to hear about any unfinished symphonies you can work on or are working on as you move forward into new times. Share in the comments below or via the Quiet Writing Facebook page or on Instagram so we can support each other as a community to move ahead positively.

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Featured image by Roman Samborskyi via Shutterstock and used with permission and thanks.