Elisa A. Escalante/ LCSW/ 2-6-2023

Stop holding on to what is not for you. Get out of the quicksand. Swim toward the surface. Shake off the poison. Push away the evil. Make a barrier between you and all else; create secret passwords for access. Move forward. Be brave. Accept the new.” -EaE

What do we do when we aren’t living in the moment? Either ruminating on the past with feelings of depression, regret or resentment? Or perhaps obsessing over the future with anxiety and fear? Either way, we are not living when we are in those vicious cycles. We’re either trapped in the past or consumed with a future that hasn’t happened yet. When we have the belief that “things will be better when we finally get to x,y,z”, we are not in the moment. We are anxious about rushing to the future. When we are consumed with the past; either regretting it or missing it, we cannot feel gratitude toward what is right in front of us. We may not be able to even entertain the present. Being in the moment requires us to shed a lot of that baggage, much like how a snake can shed it’s skin and move on.


Shedding requires acceptance. Acceptance of the past being behind us. Acceptance that we have lost intimate partners, lost some family, lost some friends, lost out on a promotion or other career opportunity. Acceptance that we are getting older, we cannot pause time. Acceptance that we did, in fact, make decisions and mistakes that we cannot erase. Acceptance that some people really ‘screwed’ us over, and the opportunity and timeframe to ‘get revenge’ is far past us. Acceptance of the future means accepting that we cannot see it, or always control it. We can make all the plans in the world and execute everything perfectly; some things still won’t work out the way we intended. Acceptance that we are not in tomorrow, or next week, next month, or next year; we are in the here and now. We may not love our present, but it is where we are. Acceptance of others has to do with our ability to remember that everyone has autonomy. Everyone outside of you has their own right to self determination, their own freedom of mind and self expression. Shedding requires us to let go of past, future, and every person that exists outside of our body.

Stuck Points:

Getting stuck, on an outer surface level, looks like a person that is not ‘progressing forward’. In career, in mindset, in relationship styles or taste, in setting and accomplishing any goals. They will look the same, believe all the same things, and act the same way for years and years on end. That’s, again, the surface level. The inner level has to do with their mindset; their belief systems, their psychological survival programming, and their thoughts. Notice, that I did not say emotions. As there is no such thing as ‘bad’ or ‘good’ emotions, but there are such things as ‘unhelpful thoughts’ that could contribute to maladaptive behavioral patterns. You cannot shed anything, or make any types of change, if your thoughts and behaviors are in the same ‘stuck points’; keeping you stagnant. Instead of a snake that sheds and finds a path, you will be more like a rock; heavy and never moving.

Identify It:

What is keeping you stuck? Do you believe you don’t deserve better? Do you feel guilty? Are you punishing yourself? AKA Self sabotage. Did you develop a belief that nothing will change no matter how hard you try? So then, you stopped trying? Do you believe now that you are unlovable? Unlikeable? Are you terrified of promoting? Because deep down, you know it requires more responsibility? Are you terrified of change? Because at least right now you at least know what to expect, even if it sucks? Are you fixated on the past because you cannot resolve it? Why? Do you miss it? Do you regret it? Are you angry from it and you know something has to change so you do not repeat it again? Are you future focused because the present moment is intolerable? Why? Can you sit still with your emotions and thoughts or are you afraid of them? Do you trust yourself? Can you confide in others? If your life is tremendously dissatisfying, can you scorch it to the ground and start over? Or does that terrify you to your core?

Growth: Sit well, Shed well, Move well:

Growth is best not described as something that is merely positive. Growth is challenging, uncomfortable, and even scary. Growth requires us to go into the unfamiliar. It requires us to challenge our own mindset. It requires that we do things that risk us making mistakes. And, we will make mistakes. It requires that we make the decision about whether or not we will learn from something or shy away. Sit in what is uncomfortable before compulsively running away. Ask yourself the hard questions before you wash away those distressing emotions with either work, lust, drugs, distraction etc. There are lesson’s you could be missing otherwise. People are terrified of this pause. This pause, often never happens. Instead people go from one marriage to another. Or one job to another. One bad friendship to another. One bad home to another. Humans hate pausing, they prefer distractions. Only after a meaningful pause/ reflection, can we healthily shed and move forward. Shedding requires us to process and then let go of many things. Past, memories, old identity, old sense or purpose, old survival programs that are not suited for us anymore. Shedding also requires the acceptance of what is out of our control. Shed the rumination, shed the future obsessions. The best thing about healthily moving forward is we are moving forward with a better idea of who we are, and what we want. Move to where we want to go next. More importantly, move at your own pace, and move toward what YOU want. Stillness has it’s purpose too (For processing), but if you stay still and stuck forever, then you’re a rock again.

My Challenges:

The past was the hardest thing for me to overcome. My signature issue: rumination. I did not worry too much about the future, I over compensated by working extremely hard, so my future was often planned 2-10 years in advance. But the past? There was much that I could not let go of. It took me ‘too long’ to complete my grieving. Perhaps a part of the problem was my inability to actually grieve and process. I ran away, and only let myself have rage and resentment. How could I truly shed anything if I could not even admit to myself how much I was actually hurting? Instead I ran away from one bad scenerio only to fall right back into another similiar one. Reminding me of what one of my favorite clients would tell me: “It’s like a bad poem that never stops repeating itself.” Thus, if we do not shed, we will only live in repetitive cycles.

Published by functionallymentall

Social Worker, Writer, USAF Veteran

One thought on “Shedding

  1. Love this blog. I’ve been shedding for about a year now. Took me about 3 to get there though. I believe I am still shedding and growing. I’m conquering fears and very much looking forward to what the future


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