The Art of Transformation
Do you feel it, that itch in the Spring? That small but exquisite ache?
It niggles… It writhes… It twists and turns. It is the tiniest sensation that seems to awaken just as the Winter is dying. It begins as the sun arcs higher a little more each day, it starts when the light stretches further through the hours. The birth pains of season-change grow from an itch to a twinge. From a twinge to a pang. It builds and burgeons into a swelling crescendo that finally squeezes Winter to its completion. The birth of Spring is upon us. Spring, a season that is conceived deep, deep below the frozen earth in the very depths of Winter, is now crowning.
Now is the time of shedding.
The skin that we grew and wore last year was comfortable. However, toward the end we felt it pressing in, it fit us too tightly. But Winter is cold, it is dark and long. The skin is familiar and it feels safe, even as we feel it straining and bursting at the seams. Even as we feel it constricting our growth and expansion. We feel protected within its well-known confines and secure within its intimacy. So we have wrapped it close about us during the Winter months. We have lived blanketed within it.
Now the sunlight trickles softly down, kissing and caressing us. Now the first vestige of warmth penetrates us. And now we find our old skin starts to dry out and crack. It blisters and flakes. It rips and it rents. We realise that we have far outgrown it. If we have spent those dark months within our own darkness we may find that our old skin will slowly peel away. Almost effortlessly. If we have found time to be slow, to be still and to contemplate, if we have been able to spend some of our time in Winterruhe – ‘Winter-Calm’ – then maybe our old skins will crack off and slide more easily from us, like a seedling willingly breaking free of its hard shell. And for those who have no time for dormancy in the darkness? The threadbare skin is rough and ragged, it is frayed and worn. It catches, it snags and it irritates. It is an encumbrance.
I have always thought of this time of year as an opportunity to shed the old. Recognising what you will bring with you and what you must break free from. What you will keep and what you must surrender. An opportunity for a personal ‘Spring- clean’.
During this time we can vigorously slough off the old in order to start anew. We can rip off what no longer serves us in our authenticity. We can reject and remove what we have outgrown, whilst still recognising that it was once a part of us and therefore we can do so free from guilt and regret. We can surrender it as an integral part of our growth as we leave it behind.
The whole process can be exciting and invigorating. Like a furled up bud we can burst out and discover what beauty is beneath. It can also be something we put off. It can be frightening, messy and painful. Transitions often are. So we may procrastinate, stalling the inevitable, delaying the imminent and the necessary. After all, we know that underneath all the old skin we have worn like armour, we will find ourselves soft, raw and vulnerable.
Either way, the old skin must be discarded. That is the itch that simply must be scratched. We either prolong the agony over months or years (or a lifetime?) as we refuse to let go of an old skin that serves no purpose or we allow the process to happen.
Do you feel it, that itch in the Spring? That small but exquisite ache? It is a call for us to cast off the old and discover what emerges. It is the lure of transformation. It is the siren-song of change.