March 3, 2016
No matter what it is, ending well matters.
Whether a much needed vacation, retirement from a meaningful career, ending a relationship, navigating a courageous conversation, saying goodbye to a parent, or the last line in your manuscript, ending well there starts right here. By now we have hopefully learned that absolute control over anything is…well..a joke. However, mindful consideration of a desired outcome can help us better order our steps from here to there. But while we can work mightily to achieve a goal, make things go our way, craft a specific outcome, influence another person, or take all the right steps, there will always be an element of “it’s a crap shoot”. If we focus solely on exactly how we would like things to turn out, we’ve missed the deeper issue. What matters even more than how it turns out, is who we are in that moment. The essence of beginning with the end in mind can be summed up in one question: When the end of whatever “it” is comes, who do we want to be?
Examples of endings are everywhere. Some that end well, and others not so much. Whether you are an NFL fan or not, this years Super Bowl is a prime example. The Carolina Panthers, led by their talented, brash young quarterback Cam Newton, were the hands-down favorite. Expected by everyone, including themselves, to win. They didn’t. By a long shot. An hour after the game, Cam Newton stepped in front of the microphone as the leader of his team, to fulfill his media obligation. Hoodie pulled low over his face, he sat in a chair, eyes down, gave short sullen answers until getting up and walking out mid-interview. Did he want to win? Of course! Why else would he play the game? Had he given thought to who he wanted to be, win or lose? Apparently not. Compare that to last years Super Bowl when the Seattle Seahawks, led by their talented, humble young quarterback Russell Wilson, experienced an even more devastating loss. Expected by many, including themselves to win, they didn’t. Within seconds of winning the game, with that ill-fated, still debated call…. they lost. An hour later Russell Wilson stepped in front of the microphone as the leader of his team, to fulfill his media obligation. Suit and tie, he stood, faced the camera, expressed appreciation for his teammates, took responsibility for the loss, and praised the winning team. Did he want to win? Yes! Why else would he play the game? Had he given thought to who he wanted to be win or lose? Apparently so.
One of the greatest lessons in ending well came for me personally when my mom passed away. Her name was Ashby, and the word that best describes who she was and how she walked through the world is ‘grace’. There was nothing Asbhy loved more than what she liked to call a “good visit”. Whenever you showed up on her doorstep, announced or not, whatever the task at hand was set aside and replaced with a cup of tea, served in her best china. She was short on advice and long on understanding. She loved by listening. The last week of her life we brought her back from the hospital to the home she loved and tucked her into the bed she still shared with my dad. Every day was filled with her grace, along with a constant stream of friends and family who came by for one more good visit. They would sit on her bed and talk to her, sing to her, laugh and cry with her. No longer able to speak, she did what she did best. She loved by listening. After she was gone, I realized that I had been given the opportunity to stand at the end of her life, and look back on my own. From that vantage point I understood that ending her life with grace wasn’t the result of some grand decision, but rather is an accumulation of choices.
As I reflect on this topic I am reminded of something Mr. Carson, the butler of Downton Abbey said. “The business of life is the accumulation of memories. In the end, that’s all we have.” The way in which we end things is either the accumulation of a memory or a regret. To gather more memories, begin with the end in mind.
What endings are on your radar screen? When the end of whatever “it” is comes, who do you want to be? What would ending well in those situations mean? Now is when ending well starts. Here is where it begins. This present moment is what you have to work with.
This blog post also appears on Trailhead Coaching & Consulting
October 30, 2014
We are beginning to engage more in our Matters That Matter work including a couple of writing projects that have us inspired and energized, speaking and scheduling workshops… and we also are beginning to post regularly on our blog (about once a week). Our intent is simply to offer encouragement and support for readers to connect more closely with what and who they care about, and live more closely in synch with their most genuine selves.
If you are like us, there is so much “incoming” – information, blogs, emails, videos, social networking etc etc… so we are working to provide content that will support and encourage, not burden. We would love for you to subscribe to our blog and add to the conversation as you feel led. Together we are better. Share it with others if you find that it will benefit them as well. And if this sounds like one more thing to add to your to-do list… then hit delete asap with our blessings!
Thank you for letting us even ask.
With gratitude and blessings.
Molly & Kristine
July 11, 2010
April 19, 2010
Long ago, we decided that when we saw beauty in anyone or anything we would notice it and appreciate it. Every time we see a woman with lovely eyes, beautiful skin, a kind heart or gentle spirit shared with the world, we speak our appreciation to that person.
Those few words of goodness can change the course of the day for the waitress serving us breakfast, the grocery clerk packing our bags or the exhausted receptionist checking us in for our doctor’s appointment. We have come to understand that everyone is blessed with their own unique kind of beauty, and once we make the choice to not only see it, but appreciate it, we find ourselves surrounded by the miraculous in the midst of the ordinary. And, the most astounding insight has been that when we choose to extend goodness in the midst of this imperfect world, we receive that goodness back in abundance.
Where might you see beauty in the midst of your day? To whom could you extend goodness, and in the extending, receive in abundance?
April 14, 2010
“When we are mindful, we notice that another person suffers. The other person may be a husband, a wife, or a child. If one person suffers, that person needs to talk to someone in order to get relief. We have to offer our presence, and we have to listen deeply to the other person who is suffering. That is the practice of love–deep listening. But if we are full of anger, irritation, and prejudices, we don’t have the capacity to listen deeply to the people we love. If people we love cannot communicate with us, then they will suffer more. Learning how to listen deeply is our responsibility. We are motivated by the desire to relieve suffering. That is why we listen. We need to listen with all our heart, without intention to judge, condemn, or criticize. And if we listen in that way for one hour, we are practicing true love. We don’t have to say anything; we just need to listen. “The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other. When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means literally “to suffer with.” –Thich Nhat Hanh
April 14, 2010
And waste my heart on fear no more.”
April 7, 2010
art by lisa kaser, www.lisakaser.com
March 25, 2010
We were watching some horror(ish) thing on t.v. , so my skin was crawling a bit anyway. Out of the corner of my eye, just beyond the window, I saw movement. Holy Creepers! First reaction to fear?…punch the husband. He hadn’t noticed, but agreed to take a look.
There were at least 100! The size of horses on steroids. They moved out from the shadows of the pine forest towards the house; like The Bloods moving in on The Crips. Step by step, without a sound, they surrounded the house. LITERALLY.
We turned off all the lights to get a better view…eventually daring to open a window so we could listen to the power of the masses destroying our yard, garden, hedges of ivy…the occasional slurp from the pond. Massive beasts daring to dine on the hours and hours of our gardening labor.
IT WAS MORE THAN WORTH IT…I can’t begin to tell you the power that these animals have. They stayed for several hours, munching their way through acres of new spring growth. This morning, it looks like a thousand tiny bombs went off in the yard. Not a green sprig in sight. The hub and I decided that it was like a free pruning service and that everything will probably come back bigger and stronger…thanks in addition to all that free fertilizer they left behind.
They came, they ate, they pooped!…Kind of like a family Thanksgiving.
The moral of the story? Sometimes the things we cultivate serve a completely different purpose than what we intended. Let go and look for the gift.
March 18, 2010
March 16, 2010
March 15, 2010
The MATTERS THAT MATTER W OMEN’S RETREAT. A room filled with courageous, bright, authentic women. We ate, we danced, we drank good wine & coffee (as promised), we laughed, we cried, we drummed, we napped, we created, we learned from one another, we loved with all of our hearts and souls. Women gloriously being women. Could it get any better? Well maybe if Amy Ferris (Marrying George Clooney) could have been there!
March 2, 2010
Marrying George Clooney is our newest MUST READ for any and all women who have ever experienced a hot flash, a longing for the old high school boyfriend, or the hopes that one day you will find your purpose (the clock is ticking). This memoir is funny, poignant and raw to the bone. A personal journey about menopause, midlife, marriage, mothers, friendship, and love. It’s about being wide awake in the middle of the night, growing up, growing older, and ultimately it’s about giving birth to and falling in love with ourselves.
Amy Ferris is the kind of inspiring friend we are all looking for. While reading MGC you will find yourself in good company, with plenty of empathy to go around.
Read this and share your thoughts here. We have been inspired to start our first on-line book club. Please join us.