Closing Cycles

One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we must go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters – whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished…

~Paulo Coelho

I have lost count of the number of cycles that I have closed, seasons, and chapters that have ended, only to begin again.

Every cycle is a part of the fabric in the tapestry that forms our outcomes and experiences. Each cycle gives us an opportunity to choose again, again, and again.

But before we can start a new cycle, we must purposefully and intentionally close the one we are in at the time. This is where the work becomes more mindful and sometimes much more difficult.

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power…

~Alan Cohen

In my experience, I can feel when the cycles are changing. I can sense it in my core and is most times validated when I begin to ask the hard questions and wait patiently for the answers to come. What are my attachments? Why do I feel off, awkward, or sideways? Do I feel alive, connected, and grounded? What is missing in my life right now?

This space calls for awareness, reflection, and deep introspection. It is a time for hyper-awareness of the signs that are always happening for our greater good.

Some cycles are expected – others can take you by surprise and to your knees with humility and grace.

Life happens… broken relationships, leaving jobs, and moving to a new city or abroad are just a few examples. We must know when it’s time to close the door and end the cycle. Sometimes we hold on longer than needed and cling to safety, security, what we know… even if it feels wrong.

You can feel it in your heart… mostly in your gut.
You know… but you can’t.
You see a different future…. but still hold on.
You know …but it’s not the right time.
You can feel the earth moving under your feet… but you can’t move.
You get angry and impatient with yourself… you know there is something on the other side.

And then one day you just know; the hesitation has slipped away. You can feel it in every breath… courage, confidence, and grace are growing from the inside.

Closing a cycle requires mindfulness and courage to:
Let go of what was… really let it go.
Think forward… move forward.
Create a bigger picture… imagine a better chapter.

What are you holding on to and why?
Where do you see yourself going and when?
When is the right time and how?

Breathe into the questions, let the truth be unveiled and clarity will fill find its way through the fog.

Closing the door, moving forward without looking back gives us the opportunity to begin again with a new canvas and a fresh outlook.

Closing the cycle allows us the space to embrace that new adventure and celebrate the adventure we call LIFE.

Is it time to close a cycle? Open a door? Begin again?


Carolyn Lebanowski
Carolyn Lebanowski
Carolyn began her professional career in retail and grew to become an experienced and respected senior-level executive with expertise in strategic development, organizational communication, and executive coaching. After nearly three decades of career growth in corporate organizational development, Carolyn was ready for a career change—and a life change. This led to a new role and the most challenging, enriching, and rewarding work of her life, as a Strategic Business Leader for nonprofit spiritual institutions. As Executive Director and Chief Opportunity Officer for 2 large organizations, it gave her the opportunity to fuse the professional and the personal, aligning her business acumen with her spiritual identity and passion for the development of human potential—in her colleagues, in her community, and in herself. Carolyn is a writer who seeks above all to share from the heart. Her impulse to write began 20 years ago with letters to her children and grew into journaling that was unedited and life-affirming. Today she writes with a focus on raw, authentic, and lived experience, to explore, express, and make sense of the pain and joy, and struggles and triumphs, of life. In all her endeavors, she champions connection, integrity, and radical positivity. Today, Carolyn is a published author and a Columnist/Featured Contributor at BIZCATALYST 360° and is living in Cascais, Portugal.

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  1. Love you Charlotte for dipping in on this topic! This piece was written inside the struggle it takes to move forward when you know something is just not right, but there are others who may also be changed by our choices. It can be messy… but necessary if we are going to live the life we have imagined.
    I did miss the ‘grieving’ in this essay… and you are on point right here:
    “If we don’t, we avoid asking ourselves why we made it part of our story in the first place. And then some form has a tendency to travel with us without an invitation.”
    Always love your insights! #gratefulforyou.

  2. Excellent advice, Carolyn. So often we cling to a past memory – whether painful or joyful – or we continue a partnership, a friendship, a relationship that has come to an impasse. It is best to acknowledge that, be grateful, come back to the present, and move forward. Thank you for the reminder!

    • Thank you so much Mark!
      You have captured it perfectly right here: “It is best to acknowledge that, be grateful, come back to the present, and move forward”.
      In some cases this is easy, most times harder… but necessary if we are going to live the life we have imagined.

  3. I can relate to this piece, Carolyn, having closed a chapter where I tried to be something that I was not and had to try it on for myself to know how wrong it was. But putting it down has been very difficult.
    I think we forget that we need to mourn when we put a chapter to rest. Grief or disappointment are not feelings we engage with willingly. Letting go is not just putting it behind us but honoring what it stood for and our relationship with it when it was part of our story. If we don’t, we avoid asking ourselves why we made it part of our story in the first place. And then some form has a tendency to travel with us without an invitation.