Growing Into Our True Selves

April 3rd, 2009

Shedding Our Skins of Security

As living beings we are in a constant state of growth. As humans this process is multifaceted, occurring on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. Of course, there are many times throughout our lives when we are in periods of stagnation but ultimately (and fortunately) growth is inevitable, resistance is futile. We could no more stop our emotional and spiritual evolution than we could keep our fingernails or hair from getting longer. The extent to which we are active participants in the process rather than just moving with the current determines the speed and distance that we travel.

Being human also means that we are sometimes afraid of that portal of infinite possibility we call the unknown. In an attempt to calm the fear we surround ourselves with the familiar: memories, representations of the self that we know, stuff. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with nostalgia or things that reflect who we are but they can become traps, anchors. The snake does not mourn the loss of its shed skin, it simply moves into skin that is a better fit. As ridiculous as it may seem, a snake trying to stay in its old skin would be like us walking around in shoes three sizes too small for our feet. Yet we do this all the time.

Possessions that once had a use but have long since served their purpose get put in boxes, kept for a time when they might be useful again. Figurative (and sometimes literal) security blankets pile up until we are buried by our past. We make all sorts of excuses as to why we can’t let something go, convincing ourselves that we still need it or may still need it in the future. As our boxes fill they become smaller and smaller. I worked with a woman who lived in a 2000 square foot home and literally had only narrow pathways in which to move around piles and piles of things that she was afraid to let go. Somewhere along the way our stuff begins to own us rather than the other way around.

All of this begs the question, what can we do about it? The answer can be summed up in two words: let go. I can think of a number of times in my own life that I have let go of things I once loved: books, music, movies, décor, because they were no longer a fit for who I had become.  It is an answer that is not limited to the physical realm. I have also let go of a smoking habit, patterns of behavior, the need to attempt to control outcomes, old friends, and many other things throughout the course of my life. Of course I am not saying that we need to give up everything and live an ascetic, possessionless life in order to grow. I am simply suggesting that we need to look critically and objectively at all of our possessions and habits and the reasons why we keep them.

When we truly begin to let go an amazing thing happens. We begin to let flow. When we allow things to flow through our lives we not only open ourselves up to new things and experiences but we find that the speed at which we are moving forward quickens. We begin to realize that those growth pains that we felt were not growth pains at all but simply the pull of holding tightly to the skin that we were moving out of. In its place we find peace and a sense of security that is not dependant on the known. Growth is as inevitable as a moving train. Our choice is simple, do we allow it to run us over or do we hop on board? I know which one I prefer.

Visit or call Mark at 480-241-8119 for more information or to schedule your free consultation.

As printed in the Natural Awakenings April 2009

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