Shedding from the inside out

Posted by Kenetha Stanton on

a long haired cat with some clumps of shedding fur in an outdoor setting

I once had a longer-haired cat who absolutely hated to be brushed. Most of the year, that was fine. I just dealt with the abundant hair he left on every available surface.

As the weather warmed each year from winter into summer, though, Max's refusal to let me brush him led to large mats of snarled fur throughout his coat as he attempted to shed that inner layer of thick hair that had kept him warm throughout the winter.

The challenge was that it was the thick, downy inner layer of fur that needed to be shed, but it got tangled up in his normal outer coat as it tried to work its way out. The resulting tangled clumps were impossible to deal with without painfully pulling his hair.

I would spend several weeks every year following him around with a pair of scissors to snip off the worst of these matted clumps whenever I could get close enough.

The whole process thoroughly annoyed him and frustrated me, but it was the only way to get enough hair off of him for him to be comfortable as the weather warmed (and to move through the worst of the mangy look and increased hairballs as quickly as possible).

I've been thinking of him recently as I've been going through my own process of shedding as I prepare to (hopefully) downsize to a place about half the size of where I am now.

Like Max's shedding process every spring, the amount of shedding I need to do in preparation for this move is not just surface stuff. In order to make the necessary decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of, I'm having to dig deep and assess what really matters most.

This means going beyond just shedding stuff and being willing to shed the outdated beliefs and identities that lay underneath the stuff.

I've written before about the challenge of letting go of stuff tied to old identities, and I continue to deepen and extend that practice in this process. The more I do it, the easier it is to do with each new round of shedding.

This time I'm also tackling beliefs that keep me trapped and tangled in this shedding process. The two big ones that keep coming up over and over in this process are a belief in scarcity (and a fear that if I release something now I might not be able to afford it if I need it later) and a belief that sentimental items (like gifts from someone) should never be let go of.

I'm having to face these beliefs (and their attendant) fears over and over and over again as I move through this process, and they are gradually shifting with each confrontation.

Like Max with his refusal to be brushed, I can see how my resistance to dealing with these beliefs and my outworn identities in a proactive manner along the way has led to the intensity of this period of cutting away and shedding of matted clumps of ragged edges.

With each clump of inner "fur" that is shed and released, though, I am creating a future that I believe will serve me better and offer greater freedom. Letting go of so much extra stuff will go a long way toward meeting my goals.

Releasing the beliefs and inner worldviews that led to having too much stuff to begin with will do even more!

Questions to ponder

Think of an area in your life where you would like to make a big change. (It might be letting go of stuff, but it could also be a change in your habits or any other form of change.) What inner beliefs or worldviews are holding you back from making the change you wish to make?

It may take some digging to figure out what those beliefs are, but they often show up in the resistance you experience to the change or the excuses you make for not making the change.

Once you have identified those beliefs, consider how those beliefs are holding you back and keeping you tangled up. What would help you cut away the "matted clumps" that are keeping you stuck and make space for change to emerge?

What is one small step you could take right now to start that process? Will you do it?

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