Yesterday I had the last group session for the first round of my group program, The Foundery. This was my very first time ever running anything like this, and it was incredibly special that these three wonderful entrepreneurs took a chance on me in a brand-new program that spanned six months.
Leading up to yesterday, I’d had a lot of resistance and sadness about the program drawing to an end. The women taking part had also all expressed interested in continuing our work together in some way, shape, or form, so I’d put together some “alumni” packages for them to choose from. I felt myself not wanting to let it go, hoping that they’d want to continue because the dynamic we’d built together had been so wonderful.
But a couple weeks ago I read Priya Parker’s wonderful book, The Art of Gathering, which changed my mind. In her chapter on ending a gathering, she references our very human tendency to avoid or prolong endings. We don’t want to face the end, so we “promise to sustain what is better to be surrendered”. But she argues that endings are important to any gathering, they’re what tie the experience together, close the loop, and leave people feeling as though they can integrate the gathering for themselves.
So I decided to really and truly end at the ending. I made personalized cards for each of them, I designed a little reflection activity with some help from my friend Or, and I baked cupcakes with sprinkles on top. At the end of our session, we went outside on the patio and enjoyed a toast and a moment to reflect together before parting ways.
I made it clear that it was an ending, but that that wasn’t a bad thing. I wasn’t afraid of the ending. Instead I tried to express in every way I could that beautiful quote from Winnie the Pooh: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”