On saying goodbye when someone got under my skin
I have been saying goodbye to a lot of people and places these past weeks. I still stand by the statement, that I’m taking my community with me, that I made last week… But yes, there is also a farewell, because the physical circumstances are changing.
I met my own sadness in this and my pain. And I of course also feel and meet the pain from those around me. My friends. My clients. People I connected with and with whom I will now find a new shape for our relationship.
So this is to anyone, who has to say goodbye. Or wants to say goodbye.
To anyone looking for closure and for ways to move through the transition, that allows for taking things along that are valuable and for healing the places that are open after that person left your life… I just wanted to share my approach to this. Maybe you can find inspiration for your own process. I know you’ll find your way. Here is mine:
In my experience there are different elements in saying goodbye to a precious person.
There are some things we might be able to do together. By being in touch. By hugging goodbye. By talking to each other or sharing moments. Cry together…
There are some things we can do with others… let ourselves be held. Talk to them about those we leave. Cry with them.
And there is there are some thing, that we can only do on our own, as it is the heart of the matter of leaving and… that just hurts. I don’t know why and have always wondered… it’s almost like… as if a part of me is taken away.
I have noticed, that I feel this strongly in my skin.
When I really allow myself to feel the hurt, I find it in my skin. And often, the closer that person was, the more physical I experience that pain to be.
The more tight my belly is, the more emotional the pain becomes.
Somehow sadness seems to sit in the skin. For me. I don’t know if that is true for all of us, but I have also met a similar experience with some of my clients.
When I’m feeling it more in detail, it feels like it is almost all the little skins inside my body as well. The ones around my bones, around my organs, around my muscles. Like there is a layer of pain there, when I have to say goodbye to a loved person.
There is an element of departure, of leaving, of losing someone, that I find painful and I don’t think that can (or needs to) be taken away, when I do want to be connected to people. I need to connect to them. I need to love them and be loved. So… I need to let them under my skin.
And when we part or the nature of our relationship changes, I need to also let that part in my skin let go of the connection again.
When the hurt is strong, I take time for lying on my back or walking, practicing to relax my belly and breathe and intentionally feeling my skin. Like this I notice the loss I experience, without losing a sense of where I am. I allow space and time to feel the cold shivers, the pain, the confusion in different intensities and volume. Sometimes the shivers of the feeling get strong and lead to bigger movement of my limbs or my torso, so that I can support them flowing through my body instead of being stuck with them in one part.
Sometimes, I might just take a tiny moment of this, standing with eyes closed and connecting to my skin.
This isn’t always comfortable, but it feels… organic? Is that the right word? I don’t know… like growth? Like digesting connection and feelings?
As this process continues and I give it the time it needs (sometimes daily for a few minutes, sometimes short moments of attention are enough), I notice that my skin becomes very alive and light. Slowly the density of the sadness dissolves and I can feel a soft flow going through my body. It feels like the gentle touch of someone caringly stroking my skin.
And then there is this other side of departure that I find so beautiful and enriching: noticing why I will miss someone.
Noticing the qualities that they bring (or brought) into my life. Both by being who they are, but also by inspiring who I am with them. This is something I like to integrate. Especially, when it is painful and scary to lose someone…
I look closely at what are the qualities that I experienced by being with them, that I would like to continue having in my life?
I find ways to move and reflect at the same time for this. That movement can be actual physical movement and dancing, while having that person in my attention. That movement can be writing down everything that comes to mind… the little traditions we had together, the way I could talk to that person, the way that I felt with that person, what I found inspiring about them, what I dared with them.
Also here, I try if I can let go of my belly. I breathe, and I try not to ‘search’ for memories but to let them come to me. I just keep my intention and attention on that person.
The next step is a bit vague… but this is the best way I can describe it right now:
I aim to keep those qualities in my life.
What if I dared to be frank and honest with this person like with no one else before…? Yes, there is a part of this that comes from the unique encounter with this other person. But there is also a part, that comes from me. I had the courage! And I am like that.
So how and where can I integrate that in my life now?
How can I create the conditions allowing me to move similiarly free?
What am I looking for in others, to find those I want to connect with?
I find it empowering to notice that I can be that daring, that vulnerable, that creative, that funny, that inventive… I believe, if I can be this with one person, that means the potential is in me and I can find this in my life again, if I want.
And I keep the person in my life. When I meet this quality associated with the person I’m leaving, in someone else or in a new situation – I feel reminded of them. It might bring part of the pain as well, but it brings back why I cared for them, too. What they were, what I valued in them… and gratitude for having had the time with them, that I did.
When it becomes AND… Losing and learning. Hurting and loving. Leaving and growing… Of course it is still not all comfortable.
But I’m less lost. Less lonely, even in the sadness. And I can feel that I grow and I can take a part of this person, this connection, with me to the next steps in life.
In the next two weeks I’ll be focusing a lot on my own departure and arrival, so I might not be responding to emails or inquiries quickly. But if you find inspired by this approach and would like to send me your experiences or would like to do part of your journey with me at your side, please do reach out! I’m looking forward to hear from you and be in touch.
And because it’s on repeat in the back of my mind, my body these days, here is a song for you
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