Shedding our past

“Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.” ~Buddha

We all have pasts with their mix of beauty and pain, and those pasts continue to shape us in the present whether we are aware of it or not.

This tends to be especially true of the big dramas of our lives—those wounds, losses, traumas, and heartaches that have impacted us in big ways—but its also true of the small, everyday things that wear their way into the fabric of our lives over time.

These histories shape the stories that form the identities we carry with us. They dictate what we can and can’t do, what we can and can’t believe, and who we can and can’t be like subtle cages that keep us smaller than we can be.

As snakes grow, their skins reach points where they can no longer grow enough to keep up with the growth of the snake itself. The snake must shed its old skin in order to make room for the new growth that is occurring.

We have to be willing to do the same thing. We have to be willing to shed the “skins” of our pasts and all of the stories, limitations, and scar tissue that is keeping us back in order to make room for our growth.

It’s only in shedding those parts of our pasts that hold us back and keep us small that we can continue growing and evolving into all that we are capable of becoming.

Just like a snake, this is not something we do once and are done with forever. It’s something that we do over and over again as we continue to grow throughout our lives.

It’s an active process that is not always comfortable or easy, but it always leads to new freedom and spaciousness.

The challenge to shedding our pasts is that the actual facts of our history don’t change. What happened in the past is done, so it’s easy to think that there’s nothing that can be changed.

What we shed, though, is not the facts of what happened, but how we carry it. What we actually shed is our stories about that past, the way we let that past define or limit us, and the barriers we’ve let that past create around our hearts and minds.

The fact that we find new “skin” to shed doesn’t mean that we didn’t do it right the last time. It doesn’t mean that we failed. It doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with us. It just means that we are still growing.

That’s something to celebrate always as we leave each newly shed piece of our past behind us.

What parts of your past do you need to shed and release to continue growing into all that you can be?

 

Image by sandid from Pixabay


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