Change is on the horizon, as always, but at times, it seems palpable even audible. Change is on the horizon rumbles from my gut and I know its knell will summon until I shed my skin. Even my morning meditation  from Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening is entitled “Shedding”:

“…when we cease to shed what’s dead in us in order to soothe the fear of others, we remain partial. When we cease to surface our most sensitive skin simply to avoid conflict with others, we remove ourselves from all that is true” (Nepo).

Cooper on a bye-bye

I smile as I read “…such renewal will, sooner or later, [force us] to undergo transformation anyway” (Nepo).

I am so grateful for metaphor, for synchronicity yet still I squirm as my mind nudges close to the word surrender, never an easy concept for me. However, I am able to admit that less and less, control seems necessary so I settle in with regenerate and rebirth. I breathe.

In this way, we begin our day, and Cooper is ready for “bye-bye in the car.”

My meditation stays with me as I drive us to a new park, one we had “scouted” last winter. Quiet pond with a bridge, Ponderosa pines, live oaks, dogwood– each so grand in its own being– together they are a choir  for all seasons.

We are excited to explore, for the park and day are fresh with promise, with scents for both of us. Cooper sets his snout to tracking scent after scent as I make sure scent is all he finds. Cooper keeps me present, as do most beagles, I suspect.

Together, we stare at a lumbering turtle making its way from the pond, lifting one foot and then another, its shell shifting with each step, adjusting as necessary, purpose in motion, a rhythm steady and sure.

Cooper takes us here and there until he tires, which he does rather quickly these days so he takes us to a bench, not uncommon for him. Early on in our relationship, he indicated a fondness for benches, and while he no longer jumps up to sit beside me or in my lap, he is content to rest against my foot, making sure I stay.

I sit back and my morning meditation of shedding and renewal returns amidst this spring splendor. Everywhere, everything is coming to life as Cooper snores.

Just beyond us, there is a large black and yellow garter snake making its way away–sleek and sure—a symbol of eternity, of transformation and healing that so freely sheds its skin for life’s renewal, inviting the risk that comes with wearing a new skin.

There is a lifetime in this moment, as always.

ROW80 Wednesday Summary 

Sometimes, all I have to do is  consider the word goal and my entire being rises up in rebellion. My ego tells me—pretty much nonstop– goals are contradictory to the Tao and being, all nonsense but then what else is the ego?

April 4, 2012 is the start date for my second round of ROW80 goals, and they are located on a separate page that you may view here. In many ways, these goals are a new skin for me.

21 thoughts on “Shedding

  1. Thank you for this lovely reminder not to delude myself into thinking I am in CONTROL. I didn’t realize what’s been bothering me these last few days until I read your words. Love the image of the snake. Bye-bye worn out thoughts, feelings, attitudes–I do not need you!


    1. Hi, Deb!

      The ego seems the last to go, doesn’t it? Forever, it will hold onto the past in every way it can to hide us from ourselves. Fascinating but oh so incredibly wearying. So glad you stopped by!



  2. I love reading about your self discovery and your journeys with Cooper. I too have been a rebel all my life and have chafed at the word Goal/s. I do like the idea that Shan says above about re-framing/rephrasing the word. Our goals are something that we actually want after all but somehow saying they are goals it is turned into something we ‘have’ to do instead of what we want to do. I really get it.

    In regards to the snake, it is also Kundalini medicine. As we get older it awakens our Kundalini. I am reading about it in Liquid Light of Sex-Kundalini Rising at Mid-Life Crisis. Just started reading yesterday.

    I really can see this journey of discovery and your time with Cooper turning into a Memoir. I love reading your stories and it is obvious others do as well. Just something to think about. Two books I would recommend checking out if you are interested in writing memoir, Old Friend From Far Away by Natalie Goldberg and The Memoir Project by Marion Roach Smith.

    Thank you so much for sharing your stories, they are such a pleasure to read as well as help me see more of myself through them.



    1. Hey, Morgan!

      Thank you for such wonderful words about my blog and my writing. Wow! I apologize for taking so long to respond but “we” did not start feeling better until late this afternoon. Again, thanks for your kind words on Twitter, too. I think both you and Shan are spot-on about goals; the minute I read your responses, I said, “Yes!” Goals are about want–I need to remember to remain flexible in my work and in my wants. Thank you for that!

      If I’m not mistaken, during the first hour of The Power of Myth broadcasts with Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell, Campbell mentions the Kundalini so I doubly appreciate the reference and the book title. In the past year, I have learned about totems and as a matter of fact, the snake is one of mine as is the hawk; on that morning of this post, I saw them both, a first for me. It was quite a morning I promise you.

      And yes, I am quite interested in memoir but didn’t have really good resources other than a few books from many years ago. Don’t believe I know that Natalie Goldberg title or am I familiar with Marion Roach Smith. Again, much appreciated.

      Peace, my friend,


  3. Karen –

    So glad to have found this. I am behind on Awakening – left the book in the car after our New Jersey trip, and haven’t retrieved it yet.

    I like garter snakes. We have one by our front door most years. They like the flowerbed, and the woodpile where mice hang out…

    I am reading Dance of the Dissident Daughter. Snakes are a symbol of the Feminine Divine, and that is what popped into my head at your story. You were twice blessed by such a vivid and strong symbol…

    Have you ever thought to rephrase “goals” as “delights”? Or, in a Tao sense, “gifts”….

    For certain, your words are a gift in my life, a peek at my twenty years or so from now self, maybe…..or pieces of who she may be.

    Can you reframe them as what you WANT to do? Not “have to” goals, but instead more mindfulness, in another direction?

    Writing is a meditation, for me, like t’ai chi, or staring into a flame, or swimming, or Paul Simon music.

    It’s the reward for the rougher places in life, a treat I enjoy every day, like my frozen grapes. =)

    Maybe the word and its connotations are the trouble?

    So happy you are here, and that I “know” you, and that I got to see Cooper’s happy boy grin! =)


    1. Oh, Shan, it is so good to have you back! You are such a light, and I, too, am enjoying getting to “know” you. Your words about goals are spot-on as I mentioned to Morgan. They are what I want and like you, writing is an integral part of my life as are words; there is always joy in writing, and I can honestly say, I always learn something when I write, every single time. It is so amazing. Isn’t it ironic I write and write about the Tao and completely miss goals and all their possibilities. Well, that is why we write to others–all of us who blog–we write to learn, an actual title of a book by Donald Murray.
      Look forward to future writing and chatting.



  4. Cooper has such a great Bye-bye smile! I can see in his face he loves every minute with you. Such a lucky dog, such a blessed owner. Once again your beautiful writing has me walking along the path with you and Cooper. You are very talented. I loved seeing the turtle with you in your writing. I just hope I didn’t scare the heck out of you when we saw the snake and I screamed. Keep you the great work my dear friend.


    1. Doesn’t Cooper have a great smile? He is so my boy and so his own little man at the same time. We do love each other. Thanks so much for your kind words about my writing. They always mean so much to me. I knew you would scream at the snake but I have the highest respect for them, although they might be the most maligned creatures on the planet. Interesting how we treat our symbols, isn’t it?



  5. Thank you for taking me with you and Cooper on your morning exploration. I really felt like I was there–I could see what you described and feel the peace and quiet. Lovely!

    Good luck on your ROW80. See you at the check-ins!


  6. At this moment I am empty of anything but a yearning to see the snake and the turtles myself. I write and will write but I need the grist of the world to write something not muffled. Being immobile is so draining!


    1. I know you are yearning, Adrian. This morning at Waverly Park, I thought of you in your wheelchair not being out in spring and remembering how that is. Isn’t it amazing how tiring being immobile is, not something one would consider in all it means to be confined. Again, my friend, sending energy for your highest good.



    2. It seems wrong to say your spirit soars farther than even your healthiest and fittest body could have every hoped, Adrian, especially when you cannot even enjoy the more limited pleasures you once enjoyed. I’m sorry I cannot offer you comfort, since your yearning and need are so very strong and clear, even here at my keyboard. through your words. May you dance again soon.


    1. Hi, Ann!

      Cooper and I go out every day. It is amazing what that time with him gives me. Even as I write this comment, the images flood. Clearly, setting goals is not my strength but ROW80 really does help me develop them in the round. I am curious to see how the second page will work for me. And, I have not forgotten about your short story….



  7. Sometimes the concept of a self-induced limitation is more challenging to overcome than those constraints we accept from others. For some reason, we put the words, the dictates and proscriptions of others as more lofty and worthy of our attention than we put our own desires. Perhaps that is where your change is leading you… to valuing your own input and where it leads you.


    1. Exactly, Eden! It is so amazing getting to know myself at 60, and there is so much to explore. Of course, I am disappointing to some but for those, I have always disappointed it seems. Your words express what my heart knows, and thank you from my heart.



  8. “all I have to do is consider the word goal and my entire being rises up in rebellion.”

    What is it lately Karen. I don’t want to do anything but read. I’m such a little rebel. LOL!

    But you must love your walks with Cooper. He’s a cutie! I imagine they must clear your mind. Refreshing! Ah, that’s what I need. A walk. And to slap myself into submission. LOL!


    1. Hey, Karen!

      Maybe it’s something about the name Karen but I assure, I have been a rebel all my life so if you find a way to slap yourself into submission, please share, as at 60, I am still looking for a way not to have to battle almost every choice I make. As for Cooper, he’s my guy, and he really does keep me in the moment. So glad to meet a fellow rebel; we’re what keeps the world going round.



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