Shedding Skin

He lifted the tome out of my bag and asked what he was holding. I explained that it was my notebook, but that over the years it became a catchall for anything precious I wanted to keep- recipes, photographs, journal entries, lists of pros and cons, boarding passes and train tickets, poetry, letters I never sent and some I did. It was a beautiful handmade Christmas gift from a dear former love and has been a silent witness to the steady cycle of  destruction and recreation in my life over the last five years.

Only five years? Is that really possible? Can it really only have been five years when so much has happened since? This time five years ago I was in love, living in San Francisco in the Tenderloin, working for the culinary school and attending my first Kundalini yoga classes. I had had my first Reiki atunement the previous fall and this introduction to alternative healing, plus taking sliding scale classes at Yoga to the People in Berkeley, planted the seed in my mind for a community alternative healing center. Spurred on by this vision and the need I felt to immerse myself in alternative healing, I jumped in to massage school, thus beginning the wild, meandering chapter of my life that somehow delivered me to Los Angeles.

Laughing at my explanation, he told me it was time to let go. I could hardy believe how precisely correct he was in his assessment. While I long ago let go of romantic ties to the love who gifted me the notebook, there is so much more to it than that. This book represents the passage through not just a chapter of my life but an entire volume. I am literally and figuratively in a drastically different place now than I was five years ago, or than I ever have been. Yet here I am carrying all that history around through my daily life. I have reinvented myself many times but keep all the previous incarnations tucked between the pages, occasionally slipping back in to these old skins for the sake of comfort or habit.

What is past will no longer do, though. Thriving in the world today requires the most intelligent, advanced versions of ourselves. Skins that were shed aren't meant to be kept. They no longer fit and serve no purpose beyond showing us how much we've grown. We belong to the present moment, as fully unfolded, expressed and expansive as we've come to be. We have worked too hard to become so bright and hide in the shadows of what was.

Although the old served me faithfully and beautifully while it served me, it's time for a new notebook. The future needs fresh pages to fill. Let go let go go on.

You have grown, changed and learned so much, and yet...What outgrown versions of yourself or your habits do you carry with you?


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