Like many Australians, I’ve always adored the Hunters and Collectors song, Throw Your Arms Around Me… there’s a particular line in that song that is resonating with me at the moment. “Shed your skin and let’s get started.”
That line could have a hundred different meanings for a thousand different people, but for me, right now, it’s taken on a whole new meaning. It’s not about love, or anyone else. It’s about me.
Having reached a certain special decade in my life (yeah OK I busted through 50 in 2014), I feel as though I’m going through some kind of metamorphosis, you know, there are all these layers coming off…a bit like an onion (insert Shrek voice here). Not necessarily in a physical sense, although one could be mistaken for thinking that I’m embarking on some sort of youthful facelift peel process. No way, not me… I’m happy with the genes I’ve been blessed with. Eternal youth is not on my agenda.
One thing I know for sure though, the layers that are coming off are revealing a very raw, uncomplicated version of my former self. I used to think I was living in the moment and understanding my purpose in life. Perhaps I thought I was, or perhaps I was just trying to keep up with the latest trends, I don’t really know but I’ve always been genuine in my attempts to live a positive, purposeful and peaceful life.
I’m going to go with the combination of age, wisdom and circumstances that’s revealing this new me. It’s my real life ‘combo’ and I’m devouring it like a teenager at Maccas at 3.00am.
So what is this shedding of the skin all about? I’ve read mountains of life changing blogs, books and articles written by people who have allegedly been through similar experiences. I’m sure many are genuine, perhaps a significant proportion are just out to make a buck, but whatever their motivation, I’ve read them and thought “yeah I’m in that place”, but you know what? I wasn’t. I was nowhere near it.
I’ve spent many years on the working like crazy, pleasing everyone but yourself, trying to keep up with the Jones’, portraying to the world you’re a superwoman treadmill. It’s what we humans tend to do. It’s in our DNA.. or is it? I ain’t answering that question right now, but what I am going to talk about is how it feels to be genuinely stepping off that treadmill and understanding what it’s like to feel disconnected from others that are still on it.
Most people have some kind of tragic, emotional, life changing event that precipitates this phase. I’ve had a few in my lifetime, but none of them specifically have led me to this particular point. I think all of them, collectively have definitely played a part, and my ability to block out and numb the emotional responses to them have more than likely delayed it, but I’m going with the ‘combo’ theory that’s enabled my stepping over the threshold.
Another musical interjection here.. from another favourite, Joni Mitchell. I’m looking at life from both sides now. I really, really am.
I’ve been relatively wealthy, been instrumental in a large successful family business, lived in many parts of Australia, wanted for nothing, had amazing travel experiences, jobs I’ve never wanted to leave (but had no choice), a long term marriage that ended, a first born child that died and all the way through a loving family by my side, including a most beautiful, thoughtful, perceptive, caring daughter who is now only days away from having her own child with the man of her dreams (yep, he’s definitely a keeper).
So what you ask, is all the shedding of this skin fuss about? It’s about accepting your lot in life and being real. Being authentic. Life can spin you around into situations you’re not prepared for and you can either resort to empty knee-jerk reaction solutions, drown in your ‘why me’ sorrows, panic about the future and become envious of others who don’t seem to have a care in the world. Technology can certainly play a part in that… but that’s another story.
It’s about gratitude for what you already have. It’s not about the money, although money plays a significant part in being able to live an independent life. It’s about staying true to yourself, your values and your gut, sometimes at the expense of a steady income or a potential partner. It’s about believing in yourself when you don’t think anyone else does.
We’re only into the second month of 2016 and I have never felt more authentic and alive. But I have also felt depressed, disconnected and lacking in purpose. I guess this is the montage of life and to experience the low points during the shedding of the skin process has allowed me to stop, be in the moment and really understand what makes me tick. What motivates me, what makes me respond to situations the way I do and to be forced to learn new behaviours to survive.
It’s a one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time life I am living now. the practice of mindfulness has become entrenched in almost every waking moment and I am absolutely loving it. I find myself constantly immersed in a wondrous state about the simple everyday things. Things that I took for granted once upon a time. Things I never even noticed. It’s a beautiful and challenging place to be in.
I’m finding joy in the ordinary…which makes life all the more extraordinary.