Shedding Bark.


Trees Shedding Their Bark

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

 

Like a tree our growth depends upon our ability to soften, loosen, and shed boundaries and defenses we no longer need.

Trees grow up through their branches and down through their roots into the earth. They also grow wider with each passing year. As they do, they shed the bark that served to protect them but now is no longer big enough to contain them. In the same way, we create boundaries and develop defenses to protect ourselves and then, at a certain point, we outgrow them. If we don’t allow ourselves to shed our protective layer, we can’t expand to our full potential.

Trees need their protective bark to enable the delicate process of growth and renewal to unfold without threat. Likewise, we need our boundaries and defenses so that the more vulnerable parts of ourselves can safely heal and unfold. But our growth also depends upon our ability to soften, loosen, and shed boundaries and defenses we no longer need. It is often the case in life that structures we put in place to help us grow eventually become constricting.

Unlike a tree, we must consciously decide when it’s time to shed our bark and expand our boundaries, so we can move into our next ring of growth. Many spiritual teachers have suggested that our egos don’t disappear so much as they become large enough to hold more than just our small sense of self–the boundary of self widens to contain people and beings other than just “me.” Each time we shed a layer of defensiveness or ease up on a boundary that we no longer need, we metaphorically become bigger people. With this in mind, it is important that we take time to question our boundaries and defenses. While it is essential to set and honor the protective barriers we have put in place, it is equally important that we soften and release them when the time comes. In doing so, we create the space for our next phase of growth.

Dance has been my life for almost 50 years. Performing, and teaching, ballet is what I do... what I did. I had no plans to retire anytime soon, but June of 2016, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. It’s a neurological, degenerative, movement disease. I won't be dancing for very much longer if at all. I am losing control of my arms & legs, my muscles are stiffening up, & my sense of balance has ceased to exist. I’ve tied my last pair of pointe shoe ribbons. I now "dance" & "choreograph" through video. Ballet dancer Sergei Polunin is my favorite subject. Videos like "Take Me To Church" and "Make Love Not Walls" helped rocket him into superstar status. Unfairly or not, he was deemed the "Bad Boy of Ballet" because of his off stage antics & multiple tattoos soon after becoming the youngest principal dancer ever at the Royal Ballet. Growing up under a microscope proved difficult, however, he's emerged on the other side a veritable supernova!

Thoughts, opinions, suggestions? I'd love to hear from you!

%d bloggers like this: