Like outfits that we no longer fit into or feel our best wearing, sometimes the expressions that we once called our identity, and in which we may have once felt best suited, can evolve to points where they no longer serve us and who we are in the present, and, in the process of outgrowing what we once thought we were (due to habits of overidentification, conditioning, etc), we make room to see the true beauty of what is there beyond the seemingly changeable. This process of transformation is ongoing throughout life until we are fully purified of all false identities and fully expressing the pure essence of our undistorted/unchanging True Self beyond all distortions of changing and temporary form. This process is also the essence of what we are exploring here in this post and on this site as we explore the journey on the Eightfold Path and beyond.

While it can often feel like a huge undertaking to repurpose your old garments and to embody your True Self once your old ego costumes have expired, and, this may even involve having to let go of things that were incredibly expensive and maybe even once cherished, releasing the old/done and making room for that which is True is vital in order for you to fully grow into who you are in your truest and purest expression. This is a natural part of life and your development within it. And no one, especially anyone who is continually working to grow, learn, and improve her/himself can avoid the inevitable joy and misery that comes with metamorphosis until he or she gets the hang of managing the emotional intensity of change without too much identification with what needs to be released or without being able to handle any discomfort that may come up from not knowing what will come next.

We all know that letting go is often accompanied by grief and its associated pains of sadness, anger, discomfort, and so forth, but like everything else, becoming good or better at letting go is a skill that we have to develop and master over time. Why most people fail at, or have a hard time, shedding the old (which is the first and most important stage of any transition), however, is that while we are all somewhat familiar with the process of letting go, and some of us may even understand the concept very well, familiarity does not automatically make a person good at the things that they know. The skill of actually putting any understanding into practice (actually enacting and embodying what we know) is not coincidentally, intellectually, or passively acquired or expressed. The skill comes through practice.

You cannot simply wish change-mastery or any other skill into existence. Change mastery (or at least competence), like all other skills, is only truly developed and strengthened through experience, reflection, and “meditation” on one’s experiences. Just like with all internal growth, learning to let go does not come without the necessary work.

There is no shortcut, highway, zipline, or underground market that will get you the internal muscles that you need in order to become masterful at managing change well enough to create it consciously and/or to move through it smoothly/gracefully. Just like developing physical strength, dexterity, agility, and flexibility, developing internal strengths and muscles like resilience and/or psychological empowerment, requires concentration, effort, and practice, and often also requires pushing through pain and discomfort that may be unpleasant to experience in the moment even while it is simply indicating that a desired shift or transformation is taking place.

The good news (or bad depending on your level of resistance to this understanding), however, is that life will provide you with plenty of opportunities to practice and get better. And, the better news is that your practice does not have to be unbearable torture.

Because change is almost always molding you into a new, more suitable, form for your well-being and survival, most of your work involves simply paying attention to what is needed and taking the necessary steps in the desired direction. Once you are able to pursue a desired path with passion and enthusiasm, but without attachment so that you can more easily let go of all that does not align, or assist, with this path at any given time, you will begin to have a more enjoyable journey toward your “ultimate destination,” no matter what changes occur (or need to occur) along the way.

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