Completion When Times are Hard
Outside of my Seven Stones world, 2018 has been a very, very challenging year.
I had difficult moments in March, this summer and now as the year draws to a close.
At Seven Stones, we talk about completion as an emptying, a letting go, a place to stand, an act of freedom and a potential gateway to forgiveness.
I noticed in a year where it feels difficult to empty and to let go, I wonder if I can rely on this practice? Is completion only for the good times?
Circumstances that I did not expect – and could not control – rose up, and it feels like I was bitten on the butt. Multiple times. Institutions that I relied on failed; people I respected disappointed; life I had constructed fell away. I swung back and forth between high praise, gain and joy and tremendous loss and heartbreaking pain. Maybe they are part of every year, but for some reason this year it all felt more acute, and I know I am not alone.
Many clients, family members, friends and people I have not met have suffered deeply in 2018. How can I or anyone “complete” in the context of all this suffering and outright chaos? When my own hurts are still at the surface, when news is mostly bad, when entire towns are destroyed by fires and children are caged and separated from their families, when the stock market is way down and social media is mostly a lie? How can any one of us say that we are “complete?”
How can I move forward?
A few things come to mind when I ask myself this question.
First, is Law #4 from The 7 Laws of Enough, No One Is Exempt.
No one is exempt, not even me I like to say. I clearly forgot this law as 2018 unfolded. Instead, I received a strong wakeup call and a stern reminder that plans are not fixed, life cannot be controlled and there is a way through.
Yes, there is a way through.
Second, is to take great care, to sleep, eat well, stay dry and find places to have fun and laugh. During difficult times it might take all of my energy just to do the basics of care and know it will be enough.
Another way is to remember I can be “provisionally complete.” This is a concept taught to me by my dear friend and colleague Rosemary Tater the author of More Time For You. I love this concept. Provisionally complete means I have done all I can do. The rest is up to either another person or persons or some other larger force. Or I am just not ready, still smarting or suffering, simply unable to let go completely. I have gone as far as I can go in this moment. This way even if I am not ready or something is not done, I get to declare, “I am complete.” I can then let go or at least start the process.
If you are one of the folks where 2018, well… let’s just say…, SUCKED, maybe you can join me and find a way to be provisionally complete until you are ready to fully let go.
An exercise to try when times are hard:
Write a list of all the people, situations, circumstances where you know you are not complete. The pain is too fresh, it’s just too hard. Seal it in an envelope and put it away for four months. Review your list in April and see what has changed. Are there things on the list that you can let go of now? Take what remains and put it away until August. Repeat the exercise. Then review what is left in December. I will do the same, and one year from now we will check in with each other.