Insects and reptiles undergo a process called ecdysis where they shed their exoskeleton or old skin for new growth. For other animals, the process is referred to as moulting. It’s a necessary process and it looks different for each animal. Lizards for example lose their skin in small sections while snakes lose it in one piece. Regardless of how the process unfolds, all animals routinely cast off parts of themselves.
Humans go through a similar routine process, particularly in an internal way. We each follow a unique timeline for shedding and expanding aspects of ourselves, or phases of our lives, in order to grow something new in its place. If we resist the process, we directly prevent the completion of a cycle and delay the beginning of a new one. We interrupt the natural rhythm of life by forcing an end to our own forward momentum.
Transitioning from one moment of life to the next can be uncomfortable and stressful. Letting go entirely is difficult and we might find ourselves shedding some parts and holding onto others. It’s normal to want to remain partially connected to what has passed, but we don’t realize the negative impact it has on our own growth until finally we release an old layer and feel the lightness of renewal.
Shedding portions of ourselves is necessary for growth. Through the process we move forward with lessons from the past and gratitude for what was, but we let go of old skin that is no longer needed. Are you at the end of a chapter and being asked to move to the next? Are you being called to release parts of your identity that are irrelevant to what you’re growing into?
Like all animals, we transition, we transform, and life continues its purposeful and all-embracing cycle.