21+ Ways to allow Grace and Closure in the End of a Romantic Relationship

If something that feels very close to your heart is ending romantically, how can you bring grace and closure to it?
What does it take to allow it to properly compost into fertile soil for what is to come?

“A heart, broken open, is big enough to hold the whole world”  Joanna Macy

What would it take to allow my heart to break open, without losing hope, losing honor of myself, losing my dignity, losing my connection with grace, with the essential?


This is a passionate, inspired, poignant article dedicated to supporting myself, you, and the world in cultivating grace, harmony, awareness, insight, compassion, radical openness of mind, and a sense of completion in the midst of one of the most challenging moments that many of us will face, the falling apart of a deep, loving connection, the ending of a lovership, partnership, relationship or marriage…


This writing, practice, invitation and offering draws from inquiry (sitting with questions), inspiring quotes, and over 15 very influential self actualization processes to support you in getting at this possibility…  When you see a question in bold, consider it an invitation, to the extent that the question resonates, to pause for just the right amount of time, and allow yourself to be in curiosity, with the question, and to notice what arises.  This is Inquiry, and is designed to foster insight moreso then rationality.

Intent and Dedication

My intent is that there be space for you, your insights, your tools, your inspiration, your thoughts, your contribution, your methods, your editing of this, your sharing of the  quotes and considerations that have lifted your spirits and helped you move forward with grace, in and through this offering.  So please, join the discussion by sharing what you notice in the comments section, and please, if this is valuable, share it with the world.

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

What would it take to allow honesty and gentleness to inform my view of myself in this moment?  

How might I look at myself with an ever widening view?

Allow yourself to notice to what extent you feel here, in this moment, inhabiting this moment… have, to some extent, you ‘left the building’?

Is there something from which I am hiding?

What would it take to gently, honestly, allow myself to rest just a bit more in this moment into the raw texture of being alive?  

Into the warmth of my heart?

What is it that I am most longing for?  

  1. If this is not clear, notice what you are feeling… if this is not clear, allow yourself to list what you don’t love about this moment, about this being, about this circumstance… what you resist, what you detest, and take a gentle, honest look at that list.
  2. Next, let yourself complete this sentence for each item: “if I don’t want this, what do I want instead”… make a separate column, and fill this out as best you can… allow yourself gentleness in this approach… softness, to the extent that you can.
  3. Now, for each of these items, make a third column… and ask yourself, “what am I caring about most deeply in this matter, desire, or longing…” and fill this out as best you can…
  4. Take a moment to reflect on this third column, and allow yourself to ask these questions… and sit with them for a moment, and feel into what comes up…
  5. Is this quality available right now, in this moment?  Could it be?  How would I know?  (Inspired by the Enneagram, Don and Riso Hudson)
  6. Would I be willing to commit to becoming, embodying, inhabiting these qualities, such that I can invite others into sharing this by emanating it outwards, rather then expecting this from others, demanding it, or wanting them to embody these qualities whist I am not?
  7. What would it take for me to commit, wholeheartedly, to coming home to this possibility?  – (Inspired by Tony Robbins)

Compassion, Holearchies of Care….

  1. Allow yourself now to wish that others experience these qualities… starting with your loved ones, then those in the city around you, the state around you, the country, the world… allow yourself to wish this for those to come, the future generations.  (Inspired by Joanna Macy)
  2. And, for a moment, simply feel what comes up with each of these questions… feel any sensations, emotions, impulses, notice any thoughts… as best you can… go slowly, gently, and if you don’t feel anything, simply allow yourself to soften, just a bit, and turn your attention inward again, sitting with each question… and noticing what arises…

What would it take to clarify where my vitality, my aliveness, my connection with raw creative force of being alive rests, resides and is available? 

Try this:

  1. Consider welcoming the full range of your experience just a bit more… notice what happens… now simply let yourself shut down, go numb, just a little bit, notice what happens… repeat this, until the difference comes clearly into your experience, clearly into view…

“The process of transforming the heart can be difficult because as we open it, we inevitably encounter our own pain and become more aware of the pain of others. In fact, much of our personality is designed to keep us from experiencing this suffering. We close down the sensitivity of our hearts so that we can block our pain and get on with things, but we are never entirely successful in avoiding it. Often, we are aware of our suffering just enough to make ourselves and everyone around us miserable. Carl Jung’s famous dictum that “neurosis is a substitute for legitimate suffering” points to this truth. But if we are not willing to experience our own hurt and grief, it can never be healed. Shutting out our real pain also renders us unable to feel joy, compassion, love, or any of the other capacities of the heart.”
― Don Richard Riso, The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and
Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types

“The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times

What would it take to see clearly, gently, with compassion for myself… to what extent I might be giving myself a hard time in this moment?   

Try sitting with this question for a moment:

How might I be giving myself a hard time right now?

  1. Notice what arises, and again, gently welcome it, and notice the effect, again, upon this.

If this is challenging and yet has you curious, please know that I am building a tool to help this sort of relating with what is become more automatic, and to shorten the distance between when I fall from my center, fall unconscious, shut down, shut out, close down, close off, become aggressive towards myself or other, and the moment when I allow this to soften, allow myself to center, allow myself to re-claim my capacity for conscious awareness, my capacity for intimacy with the moment, my compassion, kindness and gentleness towards myself and others, my capacity to let my actual reality in the moment be seen, felt, experienced by myself, and to the extent I yearn for connection, be seen, felt and experienced by others.   You are more then full heartedly welcome to share the journey I am on of creating this tool for myself, you and the world, if you choose.  Learn more here. 

“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

  1. Let yourself feel into this moment… do you feel low self esteem?  Weak?  Pathetic?  Do you feel, just a little bit or a lot, like a piece of shit? What would it look like to welcome even this into the field of my awareness?  What would this feel like?
  2. Allow yourself a moment to feel into this, notice if you have any resistance to this…
  3. Welcome even the resistance, and the let the resistance go.
  4. Could you?
  5. Would you?  (Inspired by the Sedona Method)

“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. (10)” ― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heartfelt Advice for Hard Times

How could I allow room for grief, for relief, for misery and for joy, into this moment?  Into my life?

“Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain.”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heartfelt Advice for Hard Times

What am I running from, in this moment?

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

What would it take for me to see how I am resisting being thrown out of the nest, resisting the new-ness, the freshness of this moment exactly as it is?  

“As human beings, not only do we seek resolution, but we also feel that we deserve resolution. However, not only do we not deserve resolution, we suffer from resolution. We don’t deserve resolution; we deserve something better than that. We deserve our birthright, which is the middle way, an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity.”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”
― Khalil Gibran

What would it take for this moment to reveal itself in the full range of the depth of the love that I share and shared with this being?

“The Heart was made to be broken” – Oscar Wilde

How might I allow my heart to break without losing my sense of self in the process?  

“Who are you?”  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

What would it take for this moment to be an opportunity for me to soften and expand, stretch out and let be more flexible, my sense of who I am?

“Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”
― Mark Twain

What could be lost by letting myself hold another as my priority while I am their option?

“Well, now
If little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you
Little by little
If suddenly you forget me
Do not look for me
For I shall already have forgotten you
If you think it long and mad the wind of banners that passes through my life
And you decide to leave me at the shore of the heart where I have roots
That on that day, at that hour, I shall lift my arms
And my roots will set off to seek another land”
― Pablo Neruda, Selected Poems

“Continue to share your heart with people even if it has been broken. Don’t treat your heart like an action figure wrapped in plastic and never used.”— Amy Poehler Speech at Harvard

What resonates with me more… to withdraw my love for this being as they do for me, or to allow my love, care, compassion and kindness to pervade our shared space, even in their absence? 

Is there a balance point between these two poles that most compels me?

What would it take for me to protect the softness, the sensitivity, the tenderness of my heart while I long for depth, connection, to be met, to be seen, to be felt?

What would it take for me to allow life to ravage me open, without losing my sanity, my togetherness, my coherence, my sense of ground?  

What do I prefer more, my sanity, my togetherness, my coherence, my sense of ground, or the knowing of that which is indestructible within?  

Is there a balance point between these poles?  May I aim for all of them?

“I used to have a sign pinned up on my wall that read: Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us…It was all about letting go of everything. p.7”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

“Was it hard?” I ask.
Letting go?”
Not as hard as holding on to something that wasn’t real.”
― Lisa Schroeder

What is undeniably real about being alive for me right now?  
Are these sensations real?  
These emotions?  
These impulses?  
Are these thoughts real?  
Are my assumptions real?  
My conclusions?  
What feels the most real?

“Never lose yourself while trying to hold on to someone who doesn’t care about losing you.” – unknown

Am I losing something by holding on?  Am I holding on to something?  Am I losing myself in my gripping to an image, a fantasy, a possibility?  

What am I?  What happens through me?

“We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times

The Main List

  1. Feel free to invite collaborative closure, but do not expect it
    (You can do 90% of the generative inquiry work on your own)
  2. Write a letter from them to you, (don’t send it) and respond…
  3. Don’t believe your projections in the letter, but use it to allow your intuition to paint a fuller picture then what is there without this.
  4. Make a list of everything you appreciated about them… look specifically at qualities of being… resonance, care, connection, etc…
  5. Make a list of what elements of the connection brought you pain or was challenging
  6. Make a list of your intentions going forward
    OWN the lists… (edit from “you would go emotionally numb” to “when we would go numb emotionally”, etc)
  7. Explore the intersections of these lists… from your challenges, what were you valuing, cherishing, what could you appreciate about those qualities?  What are your intentions in relation to this?
  8. Get at the qualities underneath the story… Use each list to fill out the others..

How to feel into whether its time to move on

  1. If you are ready to move on, it’s going to help to not be carrying your former beloved with you into the new connection, at least the judgments, criticism, resentment, incompletions… in most cases, as this can be felt by potential lovers/beloveds.
  2. Consider sitting with the question: Am I ready to move on?
    1. Am I ready to prepare to move on?
    2. Do I need to give myself some time in between?
    3. Notice what happens, what has you feel alive to sit with… what emerges.

If you are ready to move on, here are some tools that can help tie up loose ends.

  1. From your challenges list, make sure you have mapped out what you would prefer from a partner for each item, and from that, commit to becoming all of those qualities as a living invitation to the partner you would seek to magnetize into your life (via Tony Robbins)
  2. From the challenges list, process all of the baggage you are carrying about your partner with Byron Katies inquiry (use her inquiry to address any beliefs you have that feel painful about the past connection.  (Via Byron Katie)
  3. Clear your resistance to being with the fullness of the moment and your desires with the Sedona Method.   (Via Hale Dwoskin)
  4. Identify sub personality elements that are very alive in being with the memory and heal rifts between your awareness and those sub personas (via Carl Jung)
  5. Explore your somatic  reality, see if your carrying tension, if so, welcome it, welcome resistance to being with it, let it go, repeat…  (via somatic therapy)
  6. Explore your metaphors (fill in the blank:  She is ___, That was ____, Love is ___, partnership is ___, etc, and see what emerges (use metaphor).  To the extent those metaphors seem unhelpful, rescript them.
  7. Heal the painful memories via Rescripting (NLP), or Looping (Avatar)
    Use the pain to develop insight and compassion via Tonglen Meditation (Pema Chodron)

“We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world.”
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Overarching guidelines

  1. Going numb to the pain of loss will leave you NUMB… (thats lacking in your vital aliveness)… don’t do that unless you want to feel numb… escapes, distractions, etc…
    Feel your feelings!
  2. Use the opportunity to choose how you want to relate to your interior world in the moment… cultivate your awakeness as a sentient being by allowing the challenge of loss and the loudness of your inner world (sensations, emotions, etc) to be an opportunity to shape and craft your intentional relating to the moment…
  3. Consider bringing intentionality to it, consider cultivating intimacy with the raw texture of it, consider practicing welcoming it, allowing it, embracing it, discovering treasures within it, discovering resistance to all of this, releasing that resistance, and practicing whatever you choose as your intentional relationship to the raw textures of the moment over and over to carve new patterns.
  4. Question your assumptions.  Start with the most painful ones.  Is this true?  Can I know with absolute certainty that this is true?  (Byron Katie).  Is this 100% true across all contexts? (applied integral theory via Ken Wilber)

Wrapping up

This is incomplete until you speak your mind… want examples of those practices?  I did build most of them into the Integral Coach App I am building  (and sharing while building)… and if you tell me which ones you want to know more about I will expand… Thank you!!


2 thoughts on “21+ Ways to allow Grace and Closure in the End of a Romantic Relationship

    1. Thank you! It was a quick brainstorm yesterday, trying to coach myself, but somehow its getting a lot of traffic… your processes should be in here… would you like to add them?

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