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Reflections on Endings as Beginnings

Easter, like Christmas, is a rather odd mish-mash of a holiday. It’s got secular parts that the kids love, it’s important to people who believe in Jesus, and it’s meaningful in earth-based traditions. And apart from the candy, it all seems to center around something I’ve been thinking a lot about.

How endings can also be beginnings.

I don’t think I paid much attention to this aspect growing up. I was more into the bunnies and chocolate, especially in the years when we had real rabbits.

But it’s also largely escaped my notice in recent years, I think because we’re often taught to shy away from endings. We may try to avoid them, and I know I’ve been in denial about times when something really should be ending.

That’s when it can help to remember that even when one thing ends, something else can start.

Make way for something new

Easter is a natural time to think about this. Even if you’re not religious, since Easter always comes not long after winter ends and spring begins, the connection goes hand-in-hand.

But that’s not why I’m thinking about it. For me, it’s because of the cat situation.

I didn’t plan to get a new cat the week after the Spring Equinox. It’s just what worked with my schedule. But it’s appropriate timing for musing about the way endings work.

It’s so tempting to cling to the past, to stay attached to what’s already ended. And grief does take time. But staying too mired in the old means you’re less likely to see the opportunities for something new.

After Salem died in February, I knew I’d want to get another cat. Yet even with that thought, I was still in my old way of being. Osiris and I kept to our old habits, which worked for us, but they certainly didn’t open the door for anything new.

Until Pangea joined us.

It’s been over a decade since I had a six-year-old cat, and even then, the cats didn’t play the way Pangea does. She does her share of napping – she’s a cat, after all – but she also loves to “hunt” her toy mice.

It also means that I have to develop a new way of interacting with her. She’s not a cat who likes to sit on my lap for long periods, and she doesn’t want much patting before she’s ready to play. But it’s been good because when she’s in that mode, she brings so much energy and amusement to the house. It’s also hysterical to hear her tiny squeak of a meow when she’s being all fierce with the mice.

The only down side is that she sometimes wants to go after Osiris, and he’s not too keen on that. But it’s not all the time, nor is it malicious, and I’m hopeful it will improve.

Even though this has made me change some habits, I’m grateful for this forced reminder of new life and energy, and having some playtime every day. It also helps me remember that other ends can also bring unexpected but positive change.

What happens if you end other things, like dieting?

Take diets.

A lot of people hesitate to end their dieting attempts, and I can understand why. When you’re fixated on that ending, you feel like you’re giving up on the life you’ve dreamed of. Saying you’re going to stop dieting seems more like failure than an opportunity for something else to come along.

And yet that’s exactly what it is – an opportunity to create the life you want now. Instead of waiting for some nebulous day when you’ll be “thin enough” (whatever that means) to “deserve” the life you’ve imagined, you can start creating it today.

And yes, you deserve it no matter what you’re eating or what your body is like.

Or what happens if you stop disliking your body?

Of course, to create that life, you also have to put an end to being dissatisfied with your body… to thinking it’s ugly or not good enough.

I know that’s hard to do. Too often you can get caught up in the belief that if you accept your body as it is, you’ll never be motivated to make a change. You won’t be active, and you won’t eat well. Why bother if you’re okay with things as they are?

But here’s the thing. When you stop feeling dislike or hatred for your body, you open the door to loving it. Or at least liking it, to valuing it as your home in this world.

And when you value and love something, you’re more inclined to take care of it than if you dislike it.

Think of any favorite item of clothes vs. something you don’t care about. Which do you treat better? My guess is that it’s the one you like better, because you’ll want to have it for longer.

Be on the lookout for the new

Opportunities like this are all around us, giving us ways to invite in something new in place of what’s ended. This might be with eating, the way we view our bodies, jobs, relationships, and more. The key is to look for these openings.

How about you? Have you experienced any endings that have led to new beginnings? Or have you had an ending lately that you can look at in a different way, to see it as a possibility for something new to emerge?

Whatever your current situation, I hope this spring brings something new and positive your way. And whether you celebrate Easter or not, enjoy the day!

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