If you’ve been following me for the last few months you’ll know that I have been travelling extensively on the East Coast of Australia. Being on the road has allowed me to connect and reconnect with many lovely humans in person. I have come to love new ‘hellos’, as well as ‘hellos’ that are shared after a long time apart.
In Melbourne I got to say hello to my coach, her assistant and my fellow coaching group participants. I’d met them all online, but never before had we stood eye to eye, or hugged heart to heart. It was beautiful to spend time with these people.
In Townsville I got to say a hello to a woman I’d only met in person once before. Like many of my clients, Alex looks like she’s about my size on the other side of a video call, and yet in person she’s so tiny I can pick her up mid hug and swing her around.
In Brisbane I finally got to wrap my arms around one of my dearest friends and FasterEFT practitioner Ilka when she picked me up at the airport. After more than a year of conversations via phone and Skype, we knew each other super well, and yet it was divine to finally stand in front of her in person, belly to belly.
As my travels continued I visited long time friends I had seen in person before, but not in a long time… like Lisa the artist and art therapist in Byron, Craig the executive coach in Noosa, and Jess the business coach for conscious women on the Gold Coast. The list was long and it goes on and on.
There were so many hellos.
There were so many hugs.
There were so many beautiful moments with humans who I already knew and loved, or met and fell in love with on the spot.
But what I hadn’t realised until I was back in Melbourne these last two weeks, hunkered down with ‘the flu to end all flus’, is that I hadn’t been as present with my ‘goodbyes’ as I had been with my ‘hellos’. The realisation came as I spoke on the phone with another dear friend Dr. Nathalie who I also rarely see in person. This time we were talking about ‘goodbyes’.
I shared that there were people on this trip to Melbourne whom I felt it was time to say goodbye to, and yet, I wasn’t ready to tell them it was a goodbye in that moment. They had their own big emotional stuff going on, and to drop another thing into that moment for them to deal with didn’t seem that kind (and, I didn’t know if I had the energy in my flu ridden state to calmly handle their reaction). So I eyeballed them, and hugged them in that awkward way you do when you are sick and want to hug someone but don’t want to make them sick, and I said ‘bye’.
I retold this story to Dr. Nats over the phone and considered this idea of saying goodbye. Of course, we’re always saying goodbye to people, all the time. Every day in fact. But as I prepared to leave Melbourne yet again, with no imminent plan to return I realised I hadn’t been as present with my goodbyes around the country as I could have been.
With my inner circle of friends, who live in other parts of the country or world, I’ve become quite good at meaningful goodbyes. I eyeball them, I hug them like I mean it (actually, anyone who has hugged me knows I always hug like I mean it) and I say goodbye with the full knowing that I do not actually know when I’ll see them again.
But I realised there were several times, with several friends, both new and old with whom I still said a half-arsed goodbye. And as I was on the phone with Dr. Nats I realised I’m not the only one who does this.
In Australia as well as many other places around the world (in their own respective languages) we don’t say “goodbye”, we say “see ya later”, like we expect we’re going to see them again.
It’s like we can’t bear the thought that this might be the end. But of course, it IS the end. As we walk away from said person we really do not know when or even IF we’ll EVER see that person again. It’s like we’re trying to avoid the grief that comes with endings, so we pretend there is no end, so we can delay our grief.
I’ve been sitting with this concept the last 48 hours since I hung up from that phone call. I sat with the grief that has been filling my lungs with phlegm (Chinese Medicine experts reading this will know these connections between organs and emotions well). And I’ve been thinking about all the ‘see ya later’s I’ve said over the years. I’ve thought about all those open loops I’ve created through not honouring the ‘goodbye’ as much as I did the hello. And through doing so I’ve become aware of just how many people I’m still carrying.
I realised that it’s time to say some goodbyes.
And since there’s no time like the present, I started doing so this morning.
I started with a piece of paper, a pen and my imagination. And, because this is what felt right for me, I started with the boys and men I held onto as potential partners all these years. I wrote one goodbye letter after another, starting with the very first boy I could remember having a crush on. I said ‘goodbye’ and thanked him, and in my mind’s eye I saw him standing in front of me and I gently unhooked all the energetic threads that connected him and I together. I did this with one boy, after another, making my way slowly through my childhood and teenage years.
And when I felt tired, I stopped. I called it a day, knowing I can say goodbye to more tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, until I have said a meaningful, heartfelt, grateful goodbye to all of them. I will include in this list every man I have ever crushed on, kissed, slept with and each of the men who took without asking. And I will say goodbye to them all.
When that is done, I well repeat this with the friends who are no longer in my life, as well as the family I have drifted from and no longer wish to stay connected with. Finally, I will do this with past clients who I have also been carrying all these years.
What about you? Is it time for you to say some meaningful goodbyes?
Maybe it’s time to be as present with our ‘goodbyes’ as we do with our hellos.
I wonder how much space that might create and what wonderful new beginnings might come to life because we made space…
With love and pondering,