December is a natural time to talk about closure and completion. Instead of just looking ahead to 2022, this is about staying present and celebrating the end of 2021.
Much as we’d like to, sometimes it’s not possible to tie everything up in a neat bow just because the calendar is turning to a new page. Instead, we’re left hanging, and that can feel very uncomfortable.
One thing that helps is to conduct some kind of ritual or ceremony to close out a situation – even one that is unresolved. This can help us move into the next phase of our lives. In yoga we describe this as embracing the transition, which is definitely not always easy. Embracing the transition is about noticing what internal awareness or inner work comes to us when we move from one pose to another. It’s profound at times!
When we don’t get the external closure or resolution we want, we can create it for ourselves. That helps us release any expectation or dependence on someone else, a dynamic that can be problematic.
Here are a few examples of closure ceremonies that help you start anew:
- Placing a stone, flower or other object at a grave.
- Writing a letter to someone who passed or is no longer in your life for other reasons, and reading the letter out loud to someone you trust – someone who will listen as you need them to.
- Writing a letter to your problem or to your difficult emotions.
- Writing short messages about mistakes you feel you made, or things about yourself you don’t feel good about, and then tearing up the papers or burning them in a fireplace.
- Write a letter to your regrets. This concept was explored in the fascinating novel The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig.
- Planting something new that will grow.
Choose something that is aligned with your values, or the person you’re in a relationship with. Get into the habit of giving yourself this release whenever you’ve had a trying time. Consider simple self-caring actions like a walk in nature, a soothing bath, or even a kickboxing class!
In 12-step recovery, people accept medallions that mark how long they’ve abstained from a substance or behavior. It’s an acknowledgement of completing one part of the recovery journey and entering the next. Medallions act as an anchor – almost like a child’s transitional object, like a blanket. Like a blanket, these coins give the recovering person something tangible to hold and touch.
What things do you need to do right now to close out the year or another significant period of your life? How can you let go of what’s happened, even things that feel incomplete? How can you move forward, gently opening up to whatever comes?
Therapy is one tool that can help. Please request your appointment here.