On this week’s podcast, Dan begins a new series about endings—how we handle them, avoid them, sabotage them, grieve them, and celebrate them. This is a timely topic for Dan, who is on the verge of completing the year-long process of writing a new book—a 25-year retrospective of The Wounded Heart, one of Dan’s seminal texts.
“If we’re honest, many of us do not end well.”
“I don’t know if I’m ready to finish. I want to finish, there’s nothing I want more, yet on the other hand I find that that last one or two percent is so difficult to complete.”
Think about the unfinished books by your bed, or the fact that 70 percent of doctoral candidates stall out after completing all of the work except the final strokes of the dissertation.
“We were never meant to end, so every ending bears some level of heartache, disappointment, confusion, and fear.”
Every ending bears some level of heartache, disappointment, confusion, and fear.
As we end a major project, says Dan, we face regret—“What was it all for?”—and the fear of disappointment as we look ahead.
“Endings come at this juncture between past and future. […] That liminal ground between ending and beginning is a rare ground that, for the most part, we are not good at engaging.”
In the coming weeks, Dan will talk more about how we prolong endings through procrastination, how we sabotage ourselves on the other side of endings, and how we can learn to celebrate endings well. Dan frames these future reflections by talking about every ending as a mini-death, something worth both celebrating and relinquishing.
“Endings are meant to be full—full of grief, and full of deep satisfaction. Full of laughter, and full of tears. […] Relinquishment and relish are the essence of what it means to end well.”
Relinquishment and relish are the essence of what it means to end well.