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Graduation: Letting Go, Moving On

Graduation: Letting Go, Moving On

There is a good reason they call these ceremonies ‘commencement exercises’. Graduation is not the end, it’s the beginning. -Orrin Hatch

I attended my son’s high school graduation tonight and listened as one of his classmates shared a quote from Winston Churchill: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” The young man recounted his own experience of multiple college rejections and concluded that trying and failing is always better than not trying at all. His wisdom about the effort and courage to continue despite the odds gave the ceremony the meaning I was searching for.

Graduations have been an ambivalent experience for me since my own. Clouded by an old narrative of my dysfunctional original family, I had never really felt like the graduation was a commencement for me. I was not able to begin from this point, as I think many people, both kids and families, struggle with the letting go and moving forward that these moments bring up.

Letting go is a process that starts on the inside if it has any chance of success on the outside. What is unresolved in us stays with us. New beginnings happen in us naturally when the past is acknowledged and assimilated into our present. Pearl Buck wrote: “Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.” The urge to grow and move forward is as natural to the human species as our need to sleep, eat and love. We are born for the continuous change and development that our life time permits.

This process of moving forward is more easily accomplished as we master the letting go. Sometimes all it takes is having the courage to shine the light of our attention on the places inside of us that need to be heard. It is actually remarkable how quickly wounds that have stayed with us for decades, emotional imprints that seemed intractable will lift and shift with this simple decision to pay attention to our selves.

I am grateful to have witnessed this process of letting go and moving forward for so many young people who I still fondly remember as small children. Watching all the caps fly, I too got the lift. We can graduate in ourselves anytime we are ready. The commencement exercise is always there for all of us.

Read more: Children, Healthy Schools, Other Holidays, Spirit, Wendy's Positivity Quest,

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.


+ add your own
3:54AM PDT on Jun 9, 2013

Enjoyed this! Thanks for sharing.

7:00AM PST on Jan 9, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

4:46AM PDT on Sep 7, 2010


4:37AM PDT on Sep 6, 2010


8:30AM PDT on Aug 21, 2010

This is a lovely article. Its principles apply to many things and to many stages in life, not just to graduation. Thanks for the reminder of how to move on, especially after a loss.

1:15AM PDT on Aug 21, 2010

a great day for all concerned

10:50AM PDT on Aug 19, 2010


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2:24PM PDT on Aug 7, 2010

Commencement -- an ending and a beginning. Maybe we should live life as if every day were commencement. Remember, today is the first day of the rest of your life.

2:23PM PDT on Aug 7, 2010

Commencement -- an ending and a beginning. Maybe we should live life as if every day were commencement. Remember, today is the first day of the rest of your life.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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