Crying in the coat closet. A story about endings and tenderness and change.

I’m amidst a lot of endings these days. And with the endings, a schooling on avoidance, grief and how to make peace with leaving.

It reminds me of a moment I experienced as a child finishing 5th grade. I lived in an area where the elementary school didn’t all travel to the same middle school–but rather, the students were split among many middle schools, which meant I was going to a brand new school with only a handful of people I knew. And I was scared! Scared of the unfamiliarity, the unknown. But also sad. Sad to be leaving the place I knew and loved so well.

Life kept going though, and I had no choice but to go with it.

Unfortunately, there was no ritual of completion–no graduation, or anything–so left to my own devices, I found a way to privately process and move the immense emotion I was feeling.

I hid in the coat closet and cried.

A few minutes in, my teacher found me, and with palpable embarrassment in the air, I rushed out of the closet, said goodbye, and began my walk home.

Perhaps, if you reflect on your own life, you can remember a time when you were more tender about an ending or transition than there was space or container for your tenderness.

Perhaps, if you’re anything like me, during this time, you too built a wall of protection around your tender heart–a way to shield the sadness and embarrassment of having nowhere good to put your grief and your love.

Amidst all these endings today, I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a hiding 5th grader inside each of us. Tender. Afraid. Shy. Wishing there was a better way to say our difficult goodbyes, to welcome a whole new world of new. Thinking that maybe, if she just camps out in the dark all alone, the change will happen on its own, and she’ll get to pass over the time of transition that has no good container or framework.

And I’m starting to wonder if this tender little girl is keeping us in places we’ve genuinely outgrown, because she doesn’t see the pathway from the old to the new. Or maybe, on the other hand, she’s rushing us along before we’re really ready to go, out of embarrassment over the messiness of so much emotion around leaving.

What do you think?

When you’re amidst a time of great change–honest endings, powerful beginnings–how do you cope with the transition, when there are no funerals for personal change?

I’m learning now to turn back to my ancestors and indigenous teachers and re-craft the ceremonies and traditions that allowed girls to become women, men to become elders. I’m learning to let others into my closet, sit with me while I cry. I’m learning to take it slowly, this grieving process, but also to plunge in thoroughly–to really experience it, so when the it’s done, it’s done, and I can move on, open-hearted, honest, and ready for the new.

Today, I’m writing to you to let you know that if you’re in the tender space between worlds, and perhaps hiding in your own dark coat closet, unsure of how to usher in a smooth change, if you’re open and willing, I’d be happy to crawl in and sit with you. Honor you and what you’ve gone through to land you here, at the crossroads of death and rebirth.

Feel free to leave a comment and tell me everything.

All love,

PS–I’ve been starting my weeks off with Question Walks, and having the most amazing experiences of life mirroring for me exactly what’s needed. If you’d like one-on-one counsel or coaching around a big question you’re sitting with–or a death and rebirth that’s afoot for you–I’d love to be right there with you, to help. Feel free to reach out about a Breakthrough Session or Ongoing Holistic Coaching. xo

PPS–On the grief thread, I really love this song.

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