Shedding by Cylvia Hayes


​We’ve all heard some variation of the saying, “you don’t know how much something means to you until it’s gone,” but recently I’ve experienced the polar opposite — I hadn’t realized how badly I wanted to be rid of some things until they were taken away.

When, just over a year ago, my life took a sudden unexpected, unasked for and unwanted turn I grieved for what I was losing.  I ached over the abrupt loss of the important–feeling work I’d been engaged in.  I was deeply hurt by the disappearance of so many people I had thought of as friends.  I mourned the shattering of exciting plans and dreams.  My ego cringed and snapped at and strained against its lost identity and sense of strength.

For months I resisted my changed life, and anger, resentment and grief bubbled, roiled and seethed through me.

All of this began in autumn, the time of falling leaves.  I watched the colorful cascade from a place of deep pain, seeing no beauty, only death and loss, seeing myself in the stripped barrenness of the wind-battered branches.

This past year has been sad, intense and reflective.  Gradually, over time and to my surprise, I now see that much of what I grieved over I don’t even really want.  I don’t want the rapid pace and enormous busyness that had become my norm.  I want more stillness, more deep reflection and creativity.  I don’t want to be surrounded by shallow, self-important people.  I want genuine interactions and relationships.  Just as old skin cells fall off to make room for new and healthy, I have shed disingenuous flakes for new skin and new friends.  I have learned you cannot lose a true one and I now know who and how valuable you are.  And, perhaps, most importantly, I am letting go old beliefs and ways of thinking that limit the fullness of what life can be.

It is now autumn again and leaves are falling.  This time though, I’m seeing the beauty. I am celebrating the shedding of old appendages and appearances.  I have dropped dead weight.  Like flashy, but no longer vital leaves dropping from trees, my old pieces are falling into the soil of my life, enriching it for what is next.

Sometimes leaves fall to the ground.  Sometimes life appears to fall apart – but, perhaps, it is actually falling into place.  The mighty winds that rip leaves from branches also, over time, strengthen the trunks of the trees they buffet.

Four seasons have passed and a new one is on the horizon.  I can feel it in the air.  I can feel it in my spirit.

Just like our beautiful planet each one of us cycles through season upon season.  Our past losses fertilize the soil of our souls prepping the grounds for rich, vital new sprouts. 

By Cylvia Hayes

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