July 26, 2008 § Leave a comment
This day, this week, this month, hell even this year has been one in which I have been struggling to outgrow my old layer of skin. I feel more sure of myself, I see the beauty within myself more than I ever have, I bounce back from disappointment much quicker now, and I lean a bit harder into my fears and discomforts than I ever have in the past. I am growing and it is beautiful but it is not always very easy or fun.
You see, the funny thing about growing is that there are always the inevitable growing pains. You hear about them and know people who may be going through them, but those growing pains, once you have them, are kind of like the dull ache you feel when your wisdom teeth are pushing through your gums trying to get out on the other side. You can always tell when you are growing when things that once felt right, people you once felt comfortable with, and/or places or activities you once thoroughly enjoyed start to feel a little bit different. That is the dull ache I was speaking about — you see, the change occurring within you always starts as a dull pressure on your heart, your mind, and your spirit…always. When you sense this dull pressure, you will be tempted to let it roll off your back or even ignore it.
Don’t ignore it. That dull pressure is your soul’s way of speaking to you to let you know that gradual and/or sudden change is on its way. Trust me when I say that the more you try to ignore it, the more the pressure persists. It persists in that you begin to not just see things differently, but it actually becomes easier for you to see things differently and notice things that you never noticed before…which will most definitely shock you. And as the pressure persists and you begin to notice aspects of your current situation, friends, job, life that have always been there but you just never noticed — you will be a bit shocked. Just as you are a bit shocked at how quickly the dull ache in your gums turned into a sharper pain.
As this pain becomes much more acute in your mind’s eye, you are forced to at least acknowledge its presence. And once you acknowledge its presence, there is no turning back. There is no going back to living as if you do not sense the dull pressure that has now turned to a slight pounding. You will not be able to pretend, at least not for very long, that everything is just as it has always been or that you feel oh so peachy keen with how things currently exist. They always say the first step is getting past the denial — and trust, once you do that, you will always end up having to take action, make a choice.
However, how long you take to intiate action, make a choice, do something is entirely up to you and entirely up to how long you old on to your past self. We are constantly shedding old layers of ourselves, just as snakes are constantly shedding their old skins. But just as a snake cannot really move forward all that well, if at all, as it sheds its old skin — you cannot move forward until you shed your old layer. The similarity between us and snakes is that this shedding is inevitable, either we consciously make a choice for a change or we subconsciously place ourselves in situations where the choice is seemingly made for us. The difference between us and snakes is that we can truly prolong our shedding process by trying not to let go.
It is extremely hard to let go. To let go of one’s past self, the people, activities, situations, locations that “make” you who you are is extremely difficult to do. Or so it seems. What you think these people, activities, situations, locations, etc. make you is only who you are for this stage in your life. You are only these identifiers for this time being until it is time to shed again…until it is time for a new layer of who you really are to emerge.
I don’t write this to sound callous or preachy…in fact, I write this with tears in my eyes because I am going through it right now…I am struggling to let go of a layer of myself that I know now can no longer be a part of who I am growing into. And although I know it makes more sense to let go of this layer so that the now pronounced sharp pain can finally end, it is so much more comforting to stay with what is familiar and old, even if I have to contend with the pain. I am scared to find out what is next for me…what this means for my future with other individuals in my life…or even if it is all just in my head and I am imagining this “shift”. It is really scary to face…however, when I am sitting quietly with myself and I am truly honest with myself, I know that I will have to let go of my old self and those people, activities, places, etc. along with it.
I don’t know how long I am going to keep holding on to my old layer nor how long I am going to contend with the pain on my heart, mind, and spirit — however, I know that I will eventually shed my old layer and finally stop the pain. I know that I will honor my old self for carrying me up until this point and do my best to allow those people, places, and things that I am leaving behind to understand that it is not solely about them, but it is about our no longer having a space of convergence. I can only pray that when I do let go, that I have no regrets and that I let go with a peace of mind and a song in my heart…I can only pray.