It’s coming into summer here and Sophie, my dog, is shedding. Constantly. And everywhere. As those of you with dogs will know, its amazing how many places that dog hair can get. My husband says each time we brush her we collect enough hair to make a whole new dog. He’s probably right. All I know is that I seem to spend a lot of my time getting rid of the stuff, and the next day there’s just as much of it again.
But that’s dogs for you. And, to be fair, we are the same. Hair in the bathroom sink, flakes of dead skin all over the place. Our bodies are constantly getting rid of stuff we no longer need – stuff that’s done its job. Out with the old, in with the new. Shedding and regenerating – it’s a constant cycle. Each breath we take reminds us that this cycle is what sustains life.
All of nature is relentlessly shedding and renewing itself. I noticed this tree as I walked Sophie this morning, and it got me reflecting. I once watched a carpet snake wriggle out of its old skin like me getting out of my swimsuit (takes quite a lot of writhing and wriggling!). Underneath was a shiny new, beautifully coloured snake skin. Even mountains, I guess, shed – but mostly in their own slow time-frame.
Often the only thing out of sync with this cycle is us!
We cling to things long after they have served their purpose in our lives. Marie Kondo, in her book ” the life-changing magic of tidying up” (you can also check her out on Social Media), suggests that we look at each of our possessions and ask “does it spark joy?”. If the answer is no, then she says it has served its purpose in our lives and should be discarded. Keeping it is like hanging on to an old skin – it leaves no room for the new.
And its not only possessions. We cling on to old ideas, attitudes, relationships, stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what’s possible for us.
What keeps us doing this? Habit, sometimes. Fear. Not allowing time and space in our lives for the process of choice to happen. Not being able to see new possibilities.
A simple and powerful way to allow the process of change into your life is simply to set an intention. Choose an object from nature that represents this cycle (if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, it might be a fallen leaf and a fresh bud. In the Southern Hemisphere it might be some discarded bark, or an abandoned shell a hermit crab has outgrown.) Take a moment to hold them in your hand each day, and let their message of change and growth seep into your soul. Over the week, watch and notice areas of your life that start to soften and change.
Enjoy being part of the cycles of life!