“How do you become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.” ~ Trina Paulus
Author and cancer survivor Mark Nepo says the things we hold dear in our hearts like a relationship, an identity, a dream or an ambition acts like a cocoon. When the butterfly emerges, the cocoon has served its purpose. It doesn’t mean it’s false, it means it served its purpose just as everything in life serves as a purpose. Therefore our relationships, identities, dreams and ambitions are often cocoons that lead us to the next. The problem is when we are so attached to these relationships, identities, dreams and ambitions, we come in conflict when it breaks or falls away that we don’t see what it’s opened us up to.
Have you ever been in a relationship or a situation that has served its purpose and you know in your heart it’s time to surrender and let go? It hurts to even think about it breaking away or never returning. We’ve all been there. Just the angst of making that decision to leave can be the biggest struggle of our lives just as the caterpillar struggles in becoming a butterfly inside the cocoon. This inner process takes time and all the work that is being done is from within, it just needs the time and space to do this on its own. Similarly, we need to work from within to find our inner strength and make changes in our own lives. After having gone through this struggle, not only does it make you stronger, it transforms you. Like the butterfly, when you finally emerge from the cocoon and come out on the other side after having made that decision, you are so powerful and beautiful. The cocoon which represents a relationship or situation has now served its purpose. It is time to surrender and let go. This process cannot be rushed, nor can anyone do this inner work for you. For an observer, as difficult as it may be to stand back watching and waiting for this final moment to happen, you must be patient and let nature take its course. Even the sun and rain support the process which can represent our own support systems like friends and family, we are all connected.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives to emerge us into the next great opportunity. They strengthen us, connect us and can even make us fly. I have learned freedom from struggling and I am very grateful for this teacher. ~ J.J.
“Butterflies can’t see their wings. They can’t see how truly beautiful they are, but everyone else can.” -Author Unknown
People are like this too. When we are unable to see ourselves from the inside out, we actually close ourselves off from the many possibilities that exist. We have so many beautiful strengths and gifts already inside of us that can lead to anything we are truly passionate about. Imagine the word “courage” being a beautiful butterfly inside of you with all its colours, strength and perseverance. If you could only take a step back and start seeing what everyone else is seeing inside of you and realize you already have the beauty, power and determination to spread your wings and fly. Courage and fear always go hand in hand. Don’t let fear stop you here though. The true meaning of courage is to be afraid, but with your body shaking and your heart pounding, to get up and move forward anyway. Even if you are the only one who understands this, it is the most inspiring way of being able to advance yourself to your highest potential in your life. When you make a decision or take on an action where a risk is involved whether that may be actual or imagined fear, it becomes the driving force beneath growth. Another element that co-exists with courage and fear is vulnerability. In order to be courageous, we must be vulnerable and put ourselves out there along with the fears of being judged and ridiculed by others, even by our friends and family. This is often easier said than done. However, vulnerability if seen in a positive light is actually the birthplace for innovation, creativity and change. Imagine Steve Jobs not being vulnerable and deciding not to express his idea for Apple? What would have happened? Since he was vulnerable and had the courage to speak up and follow through on his ideas, despite the critics, look at what happened! We need to realize that we are all human and we are all afraid of the exact same things and it doesn’t matter if you are an average citizen or a famous person. The trick is to believe in yourself and remain positive about your beauty, power and determination like the butterfly. We can achieve this by stopping the external comparisons of others in order to have high self-esteem and start by being more self-compassionate by speaking kindly to ourselves while accepting all of our strengths and weaknesses as they are. Consider this famous quote by T.S. Elliot; “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” The beautiful Monarch butterfly is able to fly from Canada to Mexico every fall for the winter. Now that is something. What gifts do you have that everyone else can see but you can’t? -JJ