Over the last couple of months, I have been in the process of letting go of projects and responsibilities that tend to drain me, rather than feed me. I have noticed that I have to do this at least once a year – like a snake or iguana who must shed old skin in order allow new, more vibrant skin to come to the surface. For the reptile, this process is natural – but for us, the process usually requires intention and focus.
As I approached the summer, knowing that my daughter would not be in school and that my many projects would no longer receive the energy they needed, I began to look at what I could give up. I created lists of all my endeavors and posted them on my office wall so I could visit them easily. I am very visual, so this allowed me to change their place on the wall as I determined their importance to me. I measured each project by value to my personal growth, financial health, pleasure and sustainability (due to my time limited work time for the summer).
During this process, I began to experience a feeling of resistance to letting some of these things so. So I spent some time in self-inquiry and meditation about that. Why did I need to hold on this project? Why did I need to maintain control of that endeavor? Why did it feel like a unwelcome loss? What came up was I was that I had been allowing my identity to be attached to these endeavors.
It happens at an unconscious level. Initially, each project that I accept allows me to use my skills in some way, and that feels good. Then as I move through the project, I gain a sense of contribution, and that feels like community and connection. Creating something of value feels empowering. All feeling we hope for when we work our trade, yes?
So why do I find myself in this position once again each year? Once again over extended and too many pots on the fire. Scrambling for time to give each the energy it deserves. What is at the bottom of this habit? I have been practicing saying NO, so perhaps something deeper? Am I padding myself with multiple skins to feel strong? To feel protected?
Then I think how a tree sprouts hundreds of leaves each spring, and by summer it is lush and full. And then its energy is spent and it is time to let go. It allows all its leaves to fall into autumn. And the tree does this naturally, year after year without fail. Perhaps our shedding skin is just like the natural cycle of the seasons. And with each season, there is new opportunity for shedding old skin, letting go of dried up leaves and perhaps even allowing dormancy to ponder what the heart desires to come into fruition.
In the meantime, I hold the awareness and know that as I the shed old skin(s), I make room for new energy to feed the projects that will
give me expansion, abundance and pleasure.