“From the beginning, the key to renewal has been the casting off of old skin.”

-Mark Nepo

 

In January, instead of making a list of resolutions, which I’ve been known to do in past years, I chose a word to guide me through the year.

Resolution making has never been all that successful for me, so I thought one simple word of intention would be much better. If I got off course, which seems inevitable for me, remembering a single word sounded like an excellent way to get back on track.

One word was easy to remember. I could repeat it like a mantra, when I was in need of encouragement or focus.

The word I chose was release.

I wanted to be intentional about letting go of what was no longer working for me.

For too long I’ve held fast to thoughts, ideas, commitments that no longer must be kept, and things.

I’ve held on to a boatload of things “just in case” I might need them one day.

What I’m coming to know in my heart is that what I really need is to lighten my load, both mentally and physically.

Cast off the old dead skin so that what is growing fresh beneath it can see the light.

It’s spring in the pasture and at this time of year, the horses are masters of release. Their bodies automatically know to shed the old and make way for the new. Each time I go out to feed, I pull out the assorted brushes and combs and let fly the old, dead hair that is no longer needed.

It looks like a snowstorm around Bud as I brush off hair by the handfuls.

“Out with the old, in with the new,” I whisper as I move the brushes along my old sweeties in a mesmerizing rhythm.

I’m the one who needs to hear it – not them. Shedding is hardwired into horses and they do it without thinking.

Not so for their human friends, though it’s an intriguing idea.

Every spring our bodies would automatically let go of what is no longer working in our lives, leaving us tender and new to begin again. Like snakes, we would shed our old, tight-fitting skins, and grow into our new, more expansive selves.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’d like an automatic boost from Mother Nature.

This business of being intentional and conscious about life isn’t all that easy.

Much of the time I have absolutely no idea the direction in which to proceed.

What about you?