How to Compost 2021


For 35 years, I had always moved westward.

I left the coast of California last January with two confused cats and a couple suitcases of clothes. Even traveling this light, I literally underestimated what I’d have to let go of to head east again.

When I began the journey a year ago. I had no idea that my move from the west coast would be a (semi?) permanent or temporary move. The isolation from the lockdown, and the confounding nature of all the natural and man-made catastrophes in northern CA (fires, smoke, drought, power outages) sent me back to Texas where I could get hugs everyday from an elderly father.

Oxytocin seemed the drug of choice.

Yet, to move back to Texas?

Into the “heart of darkness” it seemed, as one of my friends questioned, “Why the F*!K are you moving back to Texas?”

Where the now regressive policies allow ownership of guns but not of a woman’s own body or our public health.

What was I thinking?

I didn’t know it at the time, but my life was just a holographic facsimile of the patterns depicted in the world.

I had to learn to let go in a way I’d not done yet.

And how better to create a relentless scenario for ego-cide than to move back home, into the culture that formed the ego structures that bound me?

Well, I thought I was going for hugs.

Turns out, it was to be a Year of Detachment.

So it went for all of us.

Shedding Our Skins


If you’re lucky, growing up you learn to let go of things that no longer serve you.

Childish ways. Outgrown peer groups. Constraining cultural values. Heartbreaks. Parental expectations. Limiting identity structures.

Yet, given the culture of our developed world prides itself on “ownership,” most of us don’t learn to let go easily.

We hang on to some variant of those early cultural values and belief systems that reflect our early tribes but no longer work for a more mature or evolved stage.

We lament that things aren’t the way they used to be, or that life isn’t what we thought, without addressing the dissonance between how we think it should be and how it’s already becoming something else.

If you’re lucky, you let go and then grieve.

And move on.

A snake doesn’t wallow in the grass in which he left his skin. He wriggles out of it, releasing it to be composted so he can slither forth.

Composting the Past


So I guess I came back to Texas to compost the still attached parts. The skin I hadn’t slithered out of yet.

Like the rest of humanity, I’ve had to let go of a sh*tload of stuff this past year (or two).

What I’ve learned about how to compost thoroughly could fill another book.

Suffice it to say, there are some steps.

In a nutshell, here they are, so you may slither gladly.

  • Get curious. How do you currently see yourself? What are your beliefs about who you are and what you’re made of? What beliefs do you hold? All beliefs are limiting. What do yours signify about who you imagine you are? How does that limit your identity? Your perception of the world?
  • Stand outside. Serve as a witness to your life, your beliefs, and all the “stuff” of your life. Who would you be without all that? How might a wider perspective, or less stuff, create freedom and openness?
  • Detach. Let go. Relinquish the beliefs. The stuff. The people or relationships. The roles. Anything you believe to be absolutely necessary for who you are…. It likely creates rigidity that will keep you from becoming what’s next.
  • Grieve. Letting go is hard. The most painful grieving you’ll ever do is when you commit suicide on the inside. All those beliefs, and all that stuff that you acquired to create a veneer for that identity, do not comprise who you are, just who you thought you were.
  • Allow the space. Before you go filling it again, let your space be empty for a bit. Don’t decide who you’re going to become before you have a chance to feel the relief of not knowing. The sheer delight of anticipating what is to come.
  • Notice what’s emerging. Be on the lookout for clues of what’s wanting to emerge (here’s a list of purpose KPIs to help you identify them.) You’ll see the signs and indicators of what wants to come in as you welcome possibilities.
  • Celebrate. You can’t really celebrate the new until you’ve released the old. A vow to a new partner means you let go of old flings. The same goes for every area of your life- career, roles, place, friends, identity…. Learn to observe and honor the ways you’re relinquishing the old to become the new.

Celebrating with Vigor

If there was ever a reason to revel, it’s because we’ve rebelled against the paradigms and values of our ancestors and cultural lineage(s) and are composting what no longer serves.

Sure, we were forced to do so. And it’s been a frickin tough couple years.

But necessary.

And we’re onto the other side.

From a poem I wrote recently, called The Celebration (2021):

I celebrate the indomitable


Of our kind to look past the

Hurdles and barriers

And seek the portals and thresholds

Through which to make the next leap


No matter the challenges that hold us back,

We are worth celebrating.

The road eastward is a daunting one, but it’s worth coming home to yourself.

Beat the drum of who you’re becoming. Beat that drum vigorously.

No, louder than that. And boldly.

Claim victory for the transition into what is emerging as you.

As us.

We are worth celebrating, no matter the outcome.

And here’s a Composting Gift for you. I’ve recorded a Shamanic Journey to assist you in letting go and making space for what’s next. I hope that it may be helpful to you.

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About The Author

Dr. Holly Woods is the Author of the #1 Bestseller, The Golden Thread: Where to Find Purpose in the Stages of Your Life. Read it, you’ll never again think your life doesn’t matter. Holly is a purpose activator. She believes that touching the spark of your soul lights you up so much that you alter the world just by being in it. Holly earned a PhD in Human & Organizational Development, is certified as an Integral Master Coach®, Purpose Guide®, Professional Mediator and Facilitator, Master Energy Practitioner, and is a Stages of Consciousness developmental practitioner. Learn about Holly’s work at Emergence Institute. You can schedule a 30 minute Strategy session with Holly.

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Holly Woods, PhD

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