Throughout our lives we experience change ranging from the gentler, subtler kind to the more ‘rattling of your bones’, transformational kind. It’s the transformational change I am deeply curious about because it can be so raw, yet extremely liberating.
I recently dove into a fresh wave of transformational change in the company of seventy-five other women in the Joshua Tree desert; all of us with a deep desire to throw into the fire that which no longer served, a death and rebirth, a stepping into our full power and truth of what we are here to do in this lifetime. The journey afterward has been profound and I found myself drawn to the crab to see what insights from nature it had to offer about this transformational “shedding of skin”.
Crabs go through multiple molting stages in their lifespan. They must shed their exoskeleton (“shell”) to grow. After crabs molt they are highly vulnerable with their new soft exoskeleton. As a result, crabs will often hide until their new “shell” has hardened. In addition, they must grow into their new larger “shell”.
All of this resonates deeply with my own experience of transformational change. In order to grow, there must be the letting go of the layers – thoughts, patterns, behaviours – that no longer serve; it’s the “shedding of one’s skin”.
It often is a vulnerable time afterward as everything feels raw, new, soft, and unfamiliar. Honoring and nurturing one’s vulnerable state is key to embodying this ‘new skin’.
There is this sense of our ‘new skin’ being larger than what we are accustomed to. To me that’s the liberation. There’s room to move in and around it as we familiarize ourselves with our new re-combobulated, re-vitalized self. With time and patience we grow into and embody it.
If we want to grow, change is unavoidable. If we offer ourselves patience and tenderness during the process it can be quite remarkable and liberating, often setting us in a new healthy and meaningful direction in our lives.
“To exist is to change, to change is to mature,
to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly”
~ Henri Bergson