This post originally appeared on March 8, 2016.
Sunday night marked the end of a beautiful journey. I refer, in all seriousness, to the season finale of Downton Abbey. If you're not a fan of British period drama, then maybe you don't get the appeal of Downton - but surely you've experienced what I'm about to describe.
Through 6 seasons, I gave the creators of Downton an hour each week in which I entrusted them with entertaining me and transporting me to a time and place very different than the one in which I live. They rose to the occasion in ways that exceeded my highest expectations, and I am glad of each moment I spent caught up in the world that they created. I identified with various characters over the years, as I grew and changed and the characters did as well.
I allowed myself to become attached to some of the characters, and to feel a bit at home in the beautiful world they inhabited. And yet, as all good (and not-so-good) things do, the Downton saga has come to an end and I am free to give my Sunday night TV time to another interest.
Before I rush in and fill that time, though, I want to savor the experience of having taken that journey. I want to look back and securely fix highlights into my memory. I want to pause and feel happy for the characters (yes, I know they're not real) and energetically thank the entire Downton team for sharing their gifts and talents with the world.
I want to express gratitude for it all, and be a little sad that it's over before I move on to the next thing.
Just like when something in "real life" comes to an end, right?
Have you noticed that people get really excited about beginnings, whereas endings often tend to be rather sad?
We are quick to mourn a loss, ever ready to pull the trigger on a comforting cliche, primed to offer condolences when something comes to an end. Or we refuse to acknowledge it's over, and keep recreating an imitation of the thing that's ended, never mind that it's getting paler and paler with each retelling.
From the moment we are born to the moment we drop our bodies, we experience beginnings and endings, change after change after change. How often do we take the time to savor them? How often to we pause and just be present for them? We do it easily for the "big ones," births and deaths, weddings and breakups, graduations and new jobs. What about the little ones?
The end of a beloved TV series may seem like weak fodder for spiritual contemplation at first, but sit with the idea for a minute. Acknowledge what's ending for you. Without letting emotion cloud your vision (or, in psychic meditation lingo, from neutrality), see the change. Thank the universe for what it showed you. Decide what you want to carry forward with you from that experience, and then tuck that consciously-chosen morsel away in your memory. Know that it's there for you to draw upon when you need it.
And notice what happens.