3 Easy Ways To Shed Your Skin
The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come… We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
– Joseph Campbell
I’m noticing that it’s a big Shed-A-Thon lately. Seriously. Are you feeling it?
People are shedding their skins.
After a vacation to the beach, perhaps I mean that literally. And yet what I’m really referring to is the shedding of old habits, outgrown relationships, atrophied careers, dried-up routines.
And are we skipping into it with gusto and excitement? Not really. Not usually. Not by a long-shot.
Yet I’m also seeing that people are reaching out for the railing that will help them navigate this period of time that presents itself like an unexpected and unwanted visitor. And often it outstays it’s welcome.
So what I do really mean when I talk about “shedding your skin?”
I promised to share three easy ways to shed your skin, and yet I think I fibbed about that. None are “easy.” And yet you can certainly find a sense of ease after you work through the shedding process.
THE FIRST WAY TO SHED YOUR SKIN: The Really Painful Way
This shedding process is like experiencing a Third Degree Burn. It’s life-altering. It’s going to change something substantial about you and leave scarring. You have to know how to manage and take care of a Third Degree Burn or it can be life-threatening. This type of skin-shedding takes an extended length of time to heal.
Often people who experience major loss in life can grapple with this intense time of shedding. I see people who’ve lost a spouse, a child, or a close friend or family member do the dance with this first level of transformation.
People who come to terms with their addiction(s) can certainly come face-to-face with this level of “do-or-die.” These moments require the shedding of routines, ways of thinking, and your physical space in substantial ways. You can’t continue to hang around with the same old crowd if you are attempting to stop drinking, stop relying on drugs, or modulate overeating.
Certainly other life-altering conditions provide this same arena – from the events in Syria to the freeing of the three captive women in Ohio to survivors of automobile accidents.
The way to survive and revive?
1. Acknowledge that this isn’t just a little blip in the radar. You are in the middle of a defining moment in your life. Surround yourself with your posse of support, however you define that.
2. Understand in a deep and profound way that your life is changed forever and that it’s up to you to define what that looks and feels like to you.
3. Embrace the idea that you’re not meant to be frantically looking for a return to the status quo or to find a “replacement” for the person or thing you lost. This is your opportunity to reinvent your world.
THE SECOND WAY TO SHED YOUR SKIN: The Moderately Painful Way
I’ve been experiencing friends and clients who are in this Second Shedding Stage. I’ll say that the main characteristics of this are still deep, profound, and lodged primarily in deep soul-searching and emotional excavation.
This usually presents itself as relationship emergencies. Your wife is having an affair. Your husband has checked out emotionally. Your son is on drugs. Your daughter won’t speak to you. You get the drift.
This is the opportunity to shed your skin by delving into your core “stuff,” despite the fact that we all think we’re over it.
I read a book recently that offers this thesis: The meaning of life is all about repetition. Repetition is, in fact, not to be avoided or seen a failure. This author asserts that repetition is actually the meaning of our lives. That each time we repeat something, we’re learning more. And more. And then more about that particular issue. So the fact that we beat ourselves up for doing “the same thing” over and over is perhaps a pretty hard line to take.
Obviously, we don’t “get it” in one big swoop. Food for thought.
The way to survive and revive?
1. Ask around – you’ll find that you are not alone. As corny as this sounds, it’s really huge. When you can see that you’re not the only one experiencing this intensity, you can find some strength by reaching out to others.
2. Take care of yourself. This is not the time (despite the pull!) to eat lots of junky food, drink too much, and stop your exercise routine. If anything, this is the time to take extra time and energy toward your own self care.
3. Read a book. Watch an inspiring video. Shake up your routine. Take responsibility for your thoughts and actions.
THE THIRD WAY TO SHED YOUR SKIN: The Curious Way
This is the more subtle and less dramatic way that we can continue to shed our skin. I would liken this to proper care and maintenance – almost like a routine of getting microdermabrasion from your skin care provider!
And yet even when people are mindful about doing consistent inner and outer work on themselves, there are still those moments when the first or second stage of shedding pops in unexpectedly. So none of us can shimmy out of those serious intensity points no matter how hard we try.
That brings us back to Joseph Campbell and the idea that even the best laid plans are rife with changes, alterations, additions, and rerouting.
The way to survive and revive?
1. Commit to doing something new each month. Like visiting the museum. Going to a new restaurant. Trying a new recipe. It doesn’t have to be profound. Just get your neuro-pathways open to the idea that change is good.
2. Write it down. Sometimes, just writing down our feelings is a huge release.
3. Keep developing your “spine.” This is life-long. Can you say “no thank you” to things you don’t want to do? Can you say “yes” even when it scares you a bit?
Even though I usually talk numbers, sometimes there are things that apply to all of us across the board, no matter who we are and what our Life Path number might be! I’m wishing you the best as your shed your summer skin and start cultivating your “winter coat.” Just understand that it can be kinda’ itchy.