And our lives have seasons and cycles as well. Each one of us experiences an endless flow of beginnings and endings. Every season of our life has a beginning and an ending that leads to a new beginning. Childhood ends and adolescence begins, adolescence ends and adulthood begins; young adulthood ends and middle age begins; middle age ends and old age begins.
We generally like beginnings — we celebrate the new. But we resist endings and attempt to delay them. Very often we don’t feel the joy of a beginning, knowing that in each beginning are the seeds of the end. Although endings can be painful, they are less so if, instead of resisting them, we look at time as a natural process of nature: as leaves budding in the spring, coming to full leaf in the summer, turning to red and gold in autumn and dropping from the trees in winter. It is a comfort to comprehend that we are an integral part of the great scheme of nature.
Much of our resistance to endings stems from our unawareness of each new beginning, from our inability to realize that we are one with nature. Indeed, we may even doubt that there will be a new beginning! The more we can allow ourselves to trust that every ending is a new beginning, the less likely we are to resist letting go of the old. The less resistance we have, the less pain we will experience in making the journey through the many cycles of our lives.
Imagine you are a caterpillar. You have this strange urge to spin a Cocoon around your body – certain death! How difficult it would be to let go of the only life you have ever known, a life of crawling on the earth in search of food. Yet if you are willing to trust, as caterpillars seem able to do, the end of your life as an earthbound worm will be the beginning of your life as a beautiful winged creature of the sky.
The powerful potential behind change lies in the possibility that each new beginning will bring us greater joy and freedom than we have ever known. Whether or not that actually happens — whether or not we continue to grow throughout the cycles of our lives — is largely up to us. We play a part in what happens by choosing how we see our changes, our beginnings, our endings. We can see each ending as tragedy lament it and resist it — or we can see each ending as a new beginning, a new birth into greater opportunities. What the caterpillar sees as the tragedy of death, the butterfly sees as the miracle of birth.