Shedding Our Cocoons

“And then I said to the world: You will see me. You will hear me. I am not afraid. — The day I left my damn cocoon so I could fly.”

— Cleo Wade

 

The weeks immediately before and after New Year’s Eve are my favorite time of the year. I love knowing that people all over the world use these days to make way for a new future.

Even though we can set goals whenever we want, there’s something magical about knowing that transformation is twinkling in the air – that behind lit-up windows and quiet snowy nights, the strangers around us are asking “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?” and earnestly trying to find the answer.

We can try to pile resolutions on top of our existing life, but unless we are willing to change something about our mindset or our behavior – the resolutions slide right off. We need to make room for the new intentions in our lives and give them space to grow.

Which means we need to let some things go. We need to break the walls of our existing cocoons.

We will continue to break out of cocoons for the rest of our lives — sometimes the cocoon is the home that feels stale, the career path that is too small for you, the lover that you need to let go of, the friendships that you tried to save. In every year and every moment, if we are willing to look directly at our lives, we can find more cocoon debris to shed. We will always unearth a deeper level of ourselves.

What once felt new and thrilling and everlasting starts to feel like constriction. Squeezing. Like shoving our feet into shoes that are too small for us and pretending that we’re fine – that it doesn’t hurt, that we can keep on dancing. Trying to hide the blood on the floor.

Let the shedding happen. Let your cocoons fall away — not with drama and self-righteousness, not with blaming and gossiping, but with a genuine appreciation for all of the lessons embedded within them. The threads that forged you into who you are.

***

2017 was a hibernation year for me. A yin year.

2016 was full of intense action that I didn’t have time to process – that was the year I published my first book, moved across the country, tried to situate myself in a new city and new job, adopted my cat…

So my 2017 felt like the moment you emerge from a roller coaster: when your legs are gooey underneath you, and you’re trying to remember how to walk, and you grab onto the grimy metal railing for a moment to re-center into the solid ground beneath you. 2017 felt like rooting, turning inwards, and forgiving myself.

At the beginning of the year I had my heart broken. I re-learned how to keep going and messily piece myself back together during grief. I put my writing and coaching plans on the back burner so I could fully face the sadness and lessons that curled their tentacles around me.

Later in the year I had the immense honor of officiating my best friend’s wedding. Then I went to Costa Rica with the goal of seeing an elusive sloth, and by the end of the trip I had seen three sloths – one of them sat on the ground directly in front of me in the middle of the jungle, combing his hair with his nails as slowly as you would imagine.

So many friends and family members visited me in Austin to explore my new home. I watched a shooting star with my sister in the Hill Country of Texas, and I traipsed down Rainey Street with more visitors than I can count.

It was a quiet year, and it was a beautiful year. And I’m ready to let it slip into the past to make room for 2018.

***

What pieces and lessons from 2017 are you ready to let go of?

Stand on the shore and wave them into the distance. Watch your old chrysalis float away until it slinks behind the fog on the horizon. Your chrysalis is shaped like you, but it isn’t really you – you are bigger than its walls could ever contain.

It is safe to feel your heart racing again, to feel your spirit flowing and beating with life. It is safe to want more.

It is safe to emerge. It is safe to be fully yourself in every area of your life – even if that means coming out of hiding. Even if that means shedding some last clinging pieces of your cocoons.

When we take a deep breath and step forward into the unknown, 2018 will be there to catch us. May we trust in its magic. May we shine.

Peace + Twinkling New Years Sparkles,

Kelsey

Wishing you a 2018 filled with action, magic, self-compassion, and creative flow.

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