Stained and tattered kitchen tables filled with remnants from last night’s dinner have replaced once sterile conference room tables.

Office gossip in the breakroom has been flooded out by the laughter of children running through the kitchen asking for a snack during their school break or shushing each other when they are beamed down with the “I’m on a call” glare launched from behind a laptop.  

Fur baby voices have become some of the most important influences of zoom call conversations.

This is the glory we’ve come to know over the past year from working from home.

Backyard offices were built to offer a bridge between the chaotic warmth of the Work-from-Home situation and the formality of the conference room.

She-sheds were designed.
He-Sheds were constructed.
For the brave, We-Sheds were agreed upon.

But these structures did not come at a small cost for anyone and in fact, whether or not you have a new structure in your backyard, you have a shed from this year.

The word “shed” employed here as a noun was implemented in a far greater way as a verb this year.

We all shed something throughout the last 365 days.

The pandemic required us to shed the layer within us that no longer served us. This layer no longer held purpose in our lives and was actually holding us back from who we needed to be — who the world needs us to be.

Similar to the variety of ways creatures shed, our pandemic shedding also took place in many forms.

We shed our protective layer that kept our professional and personal lives separate.

In doing so, our work lives shifted.

Our work relationships became more real, more relatable.
We were all forced to endure the same limitations that somehow connected us in an unplanned corporate trauma bond.  Late-night networking drinks were no longer a necessity to bond with potential clients because zoom calls afforded us the opportunity to grow our connected currency by applauding for our client’s children as they walked us through their gallery of school art from the day or by being on a first-name basis with our clients’ pets.

This is networking gold.

COVID caused us to shed our façade.

We shed our perfection. We could no longer hide behind the story of the perfect home, life, or family when children would begin to argue in the background or our animals would start to chew on furniture.
The truth was present for all to see in every Zoom call.
We were real life people, true and authentic. There was no hiding despite quarantining in our homes.

This transparency drew connection and bonded associates in ways they never knew possible.

We shed the excuses we had made for people.  

We saw sides of people we wish we hadn’t, but it was behavior we could no longer ignore. We refused to make excuses for them anymore. We accepted them for who they were and then discerned whether or not we would continue to invest in the relationship. Rather than wasting time spiraling on their behavior, this illumination simply helped us more clearly define who we want to be for ourselves moving forward.

It motivated us to shed what did not resonate with who we want to be.

We shed our ignorance.

We have witnessed and experienced hatred that ignited a desire for a deeper and more abundant love within ourselves and our world. A love we want to experience. A love we want to share. A love we want to be surrounded by in every moment that overflows throughout our world. We want love to win and have been awakened to our role in how we can love with more intent in this world.

We shed our separateness.

Our faith was tested in the most primal way.  We learned to help each other in need and trust that the Universe would provide and that we would survive with enough food and precious toilet paper and here we are.

We have survived but we are not who we were.

We shed the stories we kept telling ourselves about friends, about family members, about co-workers…about ourselves. We began to tell ourselves the truth about these relationships and life began to change.

We began to change.

We became real. We shed what no longer served us. The formality, the façade, the barriers we built in business. The barriers we held between us and our loved ones. The barrier we hid behind between us and ourselves.
The world even shed its own ring of pollution encircling it as we all rested and hibernated within our homes.

Every single one of us has changed through this pandemic.

These events have called us to live and love and believe in a greater bigger way than we had one year ago.

We have been gifted this time of reflection to determine what or who supports and lights us up and what or who is adding weight, exhaustion and drama to our lives. We have the opportunity to shed and begin again.

The natural process of shedding happens when skin, feathers or leaves are no longer needed for the next phase of its bearer.

And we no longer fit into the person we were a year ago either.

As we shed our metaphoric feathers, we are invited to begin anew.

It is time to create new footprints in the sand and to offer ourselves in relationships in a more authentic and real way to those people we truly appreciate- in work and at home.  It is time for us to bask in our passions that are calling our names. In doing so, we will attract the same level of appreciation and passion, friendship and cooperation into our lives.

It is time for us to love in the way we want to be loved.

Be the friend, parent, child, employee, person you want in your life and you will attract more people and experiences that mirror that behavior. 

Like attracts like.

We have changed and we are being called to uplevel our life, our actions, our work, our relationships, ourselves.

We are being called to be authentic, real, passionate and full of love.
The butterfly cannot become the caterpillar again. The flower can no longer become the seed. The snake can no longer squeeze back into its shed skin, nor would it want to.

It is time to live, love and laugh in the same way that you want others to exist in your presence.  It is time to live the life that has been calling to you in the quiet of this year- the life that is awaiting you beyond the shed.

Not sure what to shed? Need help in giving your self permission to shed what no longer serves you? Join me for this week’s meditation, Giving yourself permission to let go of what does not serve you.