Shedding is nature in action, the easy, effortless flow of life. Clinging upsets this natural flow, creating suffering, stress, and dis-ease.
The whole object of pruning is that it improves your growth, it regenerates your brain, and it opens up new opportunities. Experiences that are no longer being used in a positive manner should be cut from the creative tree inside of you and taken away. Gregge Tiffen (Give Nothing, Get Nothing – August, 2008)
Take a moment to imagine a male deer resisting shedding his antlers (my first thought was a beautiful buck dashing into the market looking for super glue) or a snake holding on to its outgrown skin (duct tape anyone?). Imagine an autumn walk in the woods if the leaves weren’t falling from the trees. Or what we humans would look like if we didn’t constantly shed cells of our skin.
While no deer, snake or tree was interviewed for this musing, I’m quite certain that they don’t resist this natural process. And, I’m hardly aware of the daily loss of my skin cells. Shedding is nature in action, the easy, effortless flow of life. Clinging upsets this natural flow, creating suffering, stress, and dis-ease.
Yet we humans cling. We hold on to ‘stuff’ – so much stuff that our garages have no room for our cars and ‘storage’ is a thriving business. We hold on to jobs, relationships, as well as to ideas, habits, and beliefs that, at best, we no longer need. Sometimes in our busy-ness we simply aren’t aware of what we are holding on to, much less its toll. For the most part we don’t look at events in our lives to discover their meaning, their gifts, and their clues to what we need to change.
One morning tending to my garden on the deck, I discovered several beautiful, almost ripe tomatoes had been partially eaten. Argh!!! I suppose the pesky pack-rats I later trapped (and relocated several miles away in an open field) concluded I didn’t need them since there was a box full in the house awaiting the dehydrator.
Harvest time brings allergy season – itchy eyes for me, shedding and itching all over for Cool Hand Luke. In my angst over his apparent discomfort (and my annoyance at the almost constant biting, licking, scratching) I lost sight of the fact that shedding is natural, normal, and that I know how to ease Luke’s discomfort.
I was ‘dealing with’ these events without much thought and no reflection. Then, I found ‘the antler’.
Shed sometime in the late fall or winter by one of the many bucks that hang out here in our woods, ‘the antler’ woke me up, cueing me to the theme of ‘shedding’ present all around me and inviting me to that thoughtful, reflective place. I accepted the call. As I walked home with the antler, I understood that I’m in a shedding period of my life. I’ve ‘shed’ the bed & breakfast creating the spaciousness for something new to emerge.
I became aware of Luke’s shedding as a normal part of canine life. I was aware of an eating habit that contributes to my itchy eyes and that now can be ‘shed’. And (ugh!) I was aware that the pack-rats, which come by that name quite honestly, were suggesting it was time to complete the culling of ‘stuff’ that I began several months ago (yep, what I culled in the house, is in the garage!).
I wondered, what else would it serve me to shed? Perhaps it’s time to shed my habit of using my ‘critical eye’ to judge the actions of others and aim it lovingly on my own actions.
What other thoughts, beliefs or ideas no longer need to reside in me? Perhaps it’s time to banish thoughts that undermine my conviction that the Universe is a friendly place, unfolding as it must despite so much evidence to the contrary.
What distractions are blocking the emergence of something new? Perhaps my protective reaction to signs of growth and change popping up in our community provide a clue.
As I go about life, these questions are alive in me. No push. No rush. No clinging. Open heart to discover what to shed and prune next. And, simple gratitude for the space to receive these gifts.