I’m in a major purge period in my life, and am glad to know I’m not alone. During coffee with my dear friend Monica we were talking about all the challenges of the changes we’ve been internally experiencing. Monica shared with me an amazing story that happened to her at Petco of all places! She was picking up cat food and happened to walk by a cage where a lizard was literally in the molting process. She stood there and watched the miracle of this reptile shedding his skin.
What I found most fascinating about Monica’s story, was that the process appeared to be hard work for the little guy. The lizard was biting at the skin on his front leg to try to loosen it. He was twisting backwards to bite at his back leg. It wasn’t an easy release where he magically stepped out of his old skin into a new form. There was definitely effort and discomfort.
Molting, or ecdysis as scientists call it, can take minutes, hours, or even months depending on the animal. The animal’s skin cells have worn out, and they must shed the old for the new skin to appear. It made me think about what is worn out in my life, literally dead, and how I keep hanging on when nature is showing me that the new cannot appear until the old is discarded.
Animals are particularly vulnerable before, during, and after this process. Snakes go blind a few days before they shed. After lobsters shed, they are delicate and soft and need a few days for the exoskeleton to harden up. It reminded me of the importance of creating space (and compassion) around those times we know we are shedding.
Spring is the time when many animals go through this process. I’m in the process. My friend is in the process. My guess is that you are also in a process of allowing something to die away, slough off, and be discarded. Perhaps it feels truly painful. But wow…the beauty, the vibrant colors, the fresh skin that appears is liberation.