When it comes time to say goodbye to someone, I sometimes reflect on whether this will be the last time I see this person or they see me. Mind you, not in a morbid way, but when I think about it, it reminds me to wake up and appreciate the moment in a deeper way. Here is why . . .
The truth is that saying goodbye for the day to a coworker is not much different than saying goodbye to someone you know you won’t see for a long time. Why? Because if you are staying in the moment – the future and the past are equally just illusions. The future is only a probability. Sure the probability you will see your co-worker is more than saying goodbye to a friend moving overseas but one must realize that it is only varying probabilities, not a certainty.
Uncertainty, not knowing what is next, is one of the greatest gifts we have been given! It is what makes life full and is what keeps us alert and awake to life. People run through the majority of their lives in a walking sleep only to be punctuated by the extremes of life, the difficult pains of death and misfortune or the heights of joy found in having a child, getting married, or falling in love. If you can learn to embrace uncertainty, you can live your life now and be as awake to it right now as those extremes of life I just mentioned. The alternative is to live in the past or in an imagined but equally illusory future.
Live the moment of goodbye, see it as a celebration of a connection made. And what about the pain? It is unavoidable. The desire to unite and connect with another person is one of the greatest joys we have and so it holds that disconnection is among the most painful things. This pain that is natural. Prolonged sadness and self-pity, on the other hand, is a different story and detracts you from staying alert and moving forward.
You can choose to savor the present and help those around you do the same. Acknowledging the pain of separation is natural – dwelling on it until it becomes sadness and self-pity is unhealthy and unbalanced. Remember you do not know what the future holds and what the true meaning of this separation is! Not knowing the future is a wonderful thing! A great description of a hell is knowing exactly what is going to happen to you every moment of every day! Acknowledge the pain of goodbyes, savor a connection made, but get back on your path!