Endings and Beginnings

As we come to the end of another calendar year, we say good-bye to the old year and hello to the new year.  I started thinking about endings and beginnings.

So often when something ends, we think of it as a negative.

  •  A friend or family member dies.  It is hard to see the death of a loved one as a positive.  But if that person was in excruciating pain and had no quality of life, you would not wish for them to continue to exist in such a state.  Any truly compassionate person would not.
  • A career ends.  If you have ever been fired or told that your job will no longer exist in a year, it feels like a major ending.  Retirement can feel just as scary as losing ones job.  All the time and effort you had put into this job, this career is done.  Yet here is the chance for you to do something new.  Would you have taken this leap without the old career/job ending?
  • A relationship ends.  Sometimes this is a friendship, sometimes this is a professional mentor ship, a dating relationship, and/or marriage.  Not everyone we know will be in our lives forever.  There was a study done that said regardless of the 10,000 friends one has on Facebook, a human being can only have a finite number of friendships that they can maintain and build.  The biggest reason for this was the limitation of time.  People move away, move on and/or no longer relate to each other.   The positive is that you have memories, knowledge, experience, life lessons and so much more from knowing that particular person.  We gain so much from the people around us.
  • A season ends.  After winter there is spring.  April Showers bring May flowers.  The rainbow after the storm.  There is a time and place for everything.  If you choose to, you can see the beauty surrounding you no matter what season you are in.
  • A specific time passes or ends.  There are very specific times in which we move on to the next level.  One graduates from high school, college, graduate school, etc.  Classes end.  Training ends and you finished the race.  The series of books you have been reading for years comes to an end.  These are mile stones of growth and experience.  Embrace and enjoy them.
  • New leadership takes over.  One may not agree with the person in charge (I am specifically thinking of a local museum), but if you don’t give them a chance to make positive changes…. you do not hurt them, you hurt yourself by not embracing change and seeing possibility.  And yes, they may prove that your feelings about them were right.  But when you carry anger, hurt, or ill will, once again it does not hurt the other person, it hurts you.

The reality is that there are endings.  And just as certain, for every ending there is a new beginning.  What will you do with your new opportunities?  What possibilities will open for you?  Imagine what can happen if you embrace the change of a beginning instead of clinging to the ending.  My wish for you is many new opportunities, possibilities, and beginnings.

West Yellowstone, Montana

At the beginning of the December I had a chance to get out-of-town for a couple of days to meet a friend in West Yellowstone, Montana.  I wasn’t sure what to expect weather wise or that it was a good time to go with so much to do and get ready for the holidays.  But I hadn’t seen this friend in a while and thought it would be fun to get away.


There was snow…..lots of it.  The closer I got to West Yellowstone the more there was of the white fluffy stuff.  In the evenings, my friend and I would sit, drinking adult hot cocoa, have great conversations, and watch the snow fall.  It was deeply relaxing.


The Book Peddler is a delightful shop.  Not only does it have books, but it has coffee and treats.  It also has a large assortment of interesting gift items that are a visual treat.  The staff was friendly and knowledgeable, giving me good information on trails for snowshoeing and hiking.


The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is worth visiting if you are ever in West Yellowstone.  We heard a presentation on Birds of Prey.  I learned that birds are a lot lighter than they look.  As an avid hiker in the back country of Montana, I also felt that this is the best way to see wolves, grizzlies or any kind of bear for that matter.


Quake Lake was formed from an earthquake on August 17, 1959.  I had been there once before as a child and was terrified that there was going to be another earthquake.  In the beautiful quiet of the evening in the wind and snow, it was a solemn reminder that 28 people had died here.  It reminded me that even through tragedy there is beauty if you are willing to see it.

The best thing about this trip for me was to just get away, see some different scenery and share some time with a friend.  I didn’t realize how much I needed a couple of days away until I came back.  Everyone needs and deserves a break.  My trip to West Yellowstone helped me gain perspective, come back refreshed and relaxed and ready to handle whatever each day brings my way.


*99.99% of the time I am really happy to have my blog on WordPress.  One feature that I have struggled with is the publish calendar.  This feature allows one to set a date and time for a blog to be posted to their site and sent to their readers.  Twice I have had issues with this feature.  Once a blog that I had set a date and time for did not post and I had to post it manually.  Another posted before it was supposed to.  The post “Gratitude” that you received by email before Thanksgiving was supposed to be delivered on Thanksgiving.  It was incomplete.  I apologize.  In the future, I will just manually post to the site any and all new blogs.   Thank you for following my blog and I hope you enjoy “Gratitude” in its entirety.*

It seemed very fitting to write a post about gratitude.  Not only because we in the States are about to celebrate Thanksgiving; but, because it is easy to forget the people, places and things we are grateful for when caught up in the whirlwind of the holiday season.

A couple of years ago in a magazine, I saw an article about a Blessing Tree.  The woman in the article would get a branch and put it in a vase on her entry hall table.  Next to the branch were cut out paper leaves with strings and a marker.  As guests arrived at her home for Thanksgiving dinner, they were encouraged to write down a blessing, something that they were thankful for from the past year, on a leaf and tie it to the branch.  The Blessing Tree would be moved to the dinner table after all the guests had arrived and right before the meal was to be served.  As the Thanksgiving meal was served each person could see the blessings and have them be part of the celebration.

In my level 2 Creativity Class, one of the first projects we do is a Gratitude Journal.  What is a Gratitude Journal, you ask?  Well, it is a notebook.  It can be lined or unlined.  It doesn’t have to be very big.  Each night before you go to bed, write down five things you are grateful for.  For example: My family, My friends, Angus-black cat extraordinaire, living near mountains, and pomegranate season.  Of course your list will change every day.  And you can list more than five things if you choose.  The idea behind the Gratitude Journal is that it puts you in a positive frame of mind before you go to bed.  You will sleep better and be more productive during your day because you are focused on your blessings instead of your woes.  Having done a Gratitude Journal for many years, I can tell you that it does work.

“Love has nothing to do with what you re expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.”  -Katherine Hepburn

I think that Katherine Hepburn was talking about those she loved in her life; but, I wanted to ponder on this quote in a little bit different way.  What about those that love order, their communities, and helping others?  I was thinking about the men and women that give up their holidays to staff hospitals, police officers patrolling our streets and keeping us safe, volunteers for non-profit organizations that serve meals and staff crisis help lines.  All the people who are working while we enjoy good food and companionship.

I was also thinking about a couple of my friends who are actively serving in the military.  One friend in particular has given much to serve his country.  Yes, he has chosen to put his career first.  However, he often works holidays in order that the men in his command who have families and young children can be with them on the holiday.  One time we were talking about terrorism and the war in the Middle East.  He said that if serving his country required his life, it was a sacrifice, but a sacrifice he was willing to make.  You see, he believes in this country and its democracy so much that he is willing to sacrifice his life for it.  The ultimate act of giving.

I want to take a moment to thank all of those that serve in the armed forces, law enforcement, fire fighters, nurses, doctors, emergency service workers, non-profit staff and volunteers, and anyone who is working on a holiday.  I am grateful for your willingness to give.  Thank you.