I find I am falling under the yearly spell of falling leaves. Do you know what I mean?
Do you feel a shift as summer turns to fall? We are, indeed, part of creation and, if we wish, can tune into the seasons and let them teach us. Year after year, autumn arrives and reminds us of “letting go” as the leaves change color and tumble down.
Unfortunately, its far easier to say “letting go”, than actually do it. In fact, I find the leaf imagery a little misleading. I mean, they’ve been around for only a year! And the leaf is holding onto the tree by such a little stem! What about feelings we’ve held onto for a decade? Or longer? What about the fears that have become part of our identity or the way we look at the world? How do we move beyond such fundamental places inside of ourselves, even if they’ve become self-rejecting beliefs or outright lies?
Lately, I’ve been paying attention to pieces of bark I’ve found on the ground. A tree sheds its bark because its literally growing out of its skin. For me, this is a more apt image of the difficult transitions in life...as we evolve, our old layers of protection are no longer needed. We “shed” attitudes, behaviors or beliefs and sometimes are left with an open place, almost a wound, as new bark or new wisdom grows back in its place.
My pondering has reminded me of a story from long ago. Do you remember “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams? It tells the tale of a little boy’s toy and it’s desire to be loved. When the soft velveteen rabbit feels displaced by the newer, more exciting toys, he turn to the wisest toy in the nursery, the Skin Horse, who explains that love from the boy is indeed a great gift. Love, he tells the rabbit, is how you become Real. The idea of becoming Real captures the rabbit’s imagination and he asks more questions:
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked,
"or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse.
"You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't
happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp
edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the
time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off,
and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints
and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all,
because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except
to people who don't understand.”
Love is how you become Real. Love softens hard edges, eases fears, and transforms hurting hearts. A friend of mine says, “It’s an inside job,” because when we welcome Love into ourselves the transformation can occur. As created beings, we too are invited to grow from within and shed the layers that no longer fit.
Our journey toward Realness isn’t easy and may never be complete, but it is always sacred. It cannot be simplified by a phrase, instead it is lived into, trusted. Love is both the path and the sustenance for such a journey. I send each of you blessings on your time of shedding.
With love, Lisa