“There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over–and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.” – Ellen Goodman
No matter where you find yourself in the divorce process, you’re going to have to face the end of the year. The holidays are challenging, but an often overlooked opportunity for closure is being presented as well. Setting intentions for the new year is a great practice, but it’s essential to put closure on the previous year first.
Closure does not mean that things are officially over or that you won’t feel anything once you do it. It’s not a magic trick that automatically gets you where you want to go. Closure is an ongoing practice that can be done more than once, with each ritual bringing more relief, new perspective, clarity, and consciousness.
By creating a closure practice for yourself this month you are honoring your journey and allowing yourself the gift of moving into the new year with grace and integrity. You deserve a clean slate in 2019, and a solid start to this next chapter.
Here’s How to Get Closure in 2019
Write Three Letters
This is an exercise I did when I was in the darkest place during my divorce. It not only opens up perspective, but you tap into the wisest part of yourself. It’s true that we know ourselves best, and the answers can come if we get out of our own way.
First, write a letter to your Ex. This can just be a simple expression of what you would like to be different, how you hope things resolve, and any feelings you have.
Then write a letter to a higher power, which can be anything greater than yourself including the universe, the moon, or whatever speaks to you.
Lastly, write a letter back to yourself from that higher power. This last letter will be the most informative and powerful.
Write a Eulogy
Eulogies can be a beautiful way to honor the goodness of someone or something that has passed. Uncovering the goodness of your marriage, and maybe even your Ex can be as healing as ranting about what you hate. Create some space in your life to draft a eulogy for your dead marriage. This is more about the marital ending then it is about your Ex.
Honor and acknowledge your marriage by writing down all that it brought you and express the gratitude you feel for having had the opportunity to be married at all. Are you grateful for children? Did you get the chance to travel somewhere special? Make this a positive experience.
Hold a Burial
The time-honored practice of burying things in the ground to create closure has been used for centuries. There’s something about putting things under the earth that generates an experience of closure. Start by collecting anything that holds significance for you from your marriage, but make sure they’re compostable, and things you’re willing to part with.
It can be a photo, a piece of jewelry, an old letter or even a memento of shared time. It’s helpful to bring a piece of writing, a poem, or song to read as well.
Find a piece of ground away from your home where you can dig a hole. I like the beach or the forest, but find the right spot for you. Once you have your items buried, close your eyes and get centered as you say goodbye to these attachments. Open your eyes and read your piece of writing or your eulogy.
Renew Your Vows
This exercise falls somewhere between ending and new beginnings. Broken promises and retracted commitments are a painful part of divorce. When you are betrayed or disillusioned by the end of your marriage, vows can feel like lies you naively believed. Renewing your vows to yourself can heal this pain and regret. Recommitting to yourself is both empowering and enlightening.
You learn not only how you may be letting yourself down, but also what you want going forward. Sit in a quiet meditation and invoke feelings of self-compassion and love. Make a list of all the ways you intend to care for and protect yourself in the coming year.
Creating rituasl around life transitions and endings offers a healthy way of coping with divorce. There is no way around the pain of the holidays so making it work in your favor, and using it as an opportunity for healing will put you that much further ahead when you ring in the new year.