The Beauty of Decay

As I shed my 30-year-old self and step into another cycle around the sun, I’m realizing death and decay are necessary for creation. We cannot have something new when we are holding on to the old.

Today, I played in the woods. The dead leaves were a reminder of impermanence, death, decay, and non-attachment. The trees let go of their leaves without question. The decaying leaves dissolve and become required nutrients for the tree and life around it. If a tree held its dying leaves, while trying to grow new leaves to soak up sunlight with their living chlorophyll, the tree would die. Light would be blocked by unnecessary limitations-the dead leaves.

We are no different. Me, being thirty-one, I cannot fathom what it would be like to carry all the dead layers of skin I have shed during my life’s eternity. Thirty-one years of layers. No way. My esthetician would tell me that would not be healthy, or pretty.

Birth and death. Growth and decay. Creation and destruction. These are two sides of the same coin. One side cannot exist without the other. Can you imagine if the universe kept creating and nothing faded? There would be no room, there would be no particles or energy left to create something new. Something different.

If nature can give with the faith that something new, wonderful, beautiful and necessary is around the corner, why is it so hard for us? Why do we try to hold on for dear life what is no longer serving us? We think it’s safe. We believe it’s safer to hold on to negative patterns because it’s what we are used to. We hold on to limiting beliefs that block our sun, our inspiration. Why do we refuse to let things go? It’s heavy, and it’s killing you. It’s destroying what could be.

When we allow ourselves to let go of the stories that are no longer serving us, a part of us dies. But in this death, we have the ability to transform. Butterflies would not exist if the caterpillar refused to let itself dissolve in a chrysalis. I’m sure it is much easier to remain a caterpillar, but that would be the end of the species. What beauty we can delight in this transformation! The larvae surrenders to the change and is rewarded with wings to soar, a means to drink sweet nectar and the promise of love. The creature’s story is rewritten.

Can you imagine what the story would say if you rewrote it? Your stories become your life. You are not the same person you were ten years ago, five years, two years, last month, or even fifteen minutes ago. Shake the dead leaves off. Exfoliate the layers. Grab a pen and paper and start rewriting your stories. Allow yourself to be open to change. Find you and create yourself, you beautiful butterfly.

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