“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”
– Chuang Tzu
The butterfly metaphor has been a reoccurring theme, pretty much my entire life. The butterfly always felt like it was promised state of being for me. Throughout my spiritual journey, the phases of the butterfly kept coming up. Which made me begin to wonder, does the caterpillar know what it will ultimately be? Does it recognize its current state as temporary? Or does the caterpillar believe it will always be what it is? If the caterpillar is anything like us, it may be too preoccupied with its current situation to realize that it is called to so much more. That there is potential for greatness and a new glorious life waiting to emerge when they follow that inner guidance.
Egg, larva, pupa, butterfly. In each of those stages, there is a driver, something that remains intact through every form. A small group of highly organized cells created in the egg before it’s birth called imaginal discs. These discs are ever-present through the phases of life. This is what has been guiding the butterfly silently to each checkpoint. It was there through each stage, each transformation, death, and rebirth. I believe the butterfly knows what it is, it knows that every step is necessary to reach its adult potential. They know that everything is happening for them. How different would your life be if you realized that every phase and situation and circumstances were not happening to you but FOR YOU? It is part of the process to reach your highest potential.
You have everything you need to reach your highest potential. We will always be shedding more and more of ourselves, but what will remain is the essence of who we are, which is eternal. Some people call it the soul, the inner being, the eternal self, Source, or God. Whatever you call it, our eternal self is always with us. Our eternal self is always there, guiding us through the stages. It is what transforms us from the remains of our former self when we allow it.
I have had several cocoon phases before. The first one was after I had my oldest son. I was 24, a new and single mom, humbled by the experience of having to move back in with my parents. I remember feeling broken, unworthy, and so far away from where I imagined my life to be. I loved being a mom, and I loved my son deeply, but I felt a lot of shame. I also felt guilty that I had somehow cheated my son of the life he deserved. It took 2 long years to transform and emerge into a different, more powerful version of myself, unaware the time would come again. 36 brought new challenges and new transformation that was necessary for my growth and expansion.
This time, it took a little longer, there was a lot more that I needed to release, parts of me that somehow survived the previous transformation. Attachment, attachment to outcomes, attachment to relationships. Attachment to what others expect of me, attachment to what I expect from others. My life began to send me lessons that were designed to release me of these attachments. My attachment to all of these things was exhausting me. I began to experience uncontrollable anxiety, fits of rage, frustration. I blamed my behavior on the behavior of others. “If they didn’t…”, “They deserve…”, “I’m the victim.” It was all so overwhelming and consuming. It was the breaking down of all I had previously perceived of myself. It had to be released. It did not serve my highest good, so it had to go.
When I look back through all I went through, I am so grateful. I realize every bit of it had a purpose, it was intentionally crafted by my eternal self to bring me to the purest version of who I am, which is who I have always been. Yet I know death to myself must come again. I will be releasing, shedding, and continually expanding as I continue on my life’s journey. Who I am is forever unfolding.
So how do you know that you are in a transformational stage, a metamorphosis? They are usually dark moments. Often times, our emotions give us a clue. Examine your thoughts and behaviors. Are they working? Are you happy? Are your feelings or thoughts predicated on what happens in your life experience? What is happening in your life, and how does it make you feel. Do you have a feeling on the inside that change is necessary?
Every second millions of our cells are dying or being born. By the time you read this sentence, 50 million of your cells will have died and been replaced by new ones. We are continually releasing that which no longer serves us on a cellular level. Shouldn’t we consciously make an effort to release thought forms, emotions, and behaviors that are not serving us and our experience well? That is our sign. This is how we know that it is time to build our cocoon.. #ItsMorphinTime! (sorry I had to do it)
So how do we begin the transformation? We need to get alone with ourselves. Build our cocoon. Look at the feelings. Look at those thoughts and those behaviors that are giving you trouble. Where are they coming from? This process takes a lot of time that people often don’t feel like they have the time to make. However, it is necessary for your transformation. At the end of the day, we all have a choice. Do we want to do better and be better versions of ourselves, or are we “content” with life as it is. You can choose to release all that does not serve you or bottle it up, but I don’t suggest it. If you decide to bottle it up, it doesn’t go away. It will resurface again with greater force and impact on your life, of this, you can be sure.
Once we realize that all is happening for our benefit and expansion, we see things fresh and new. We learn to heal. We let go of blame and shame and let go of our previously held beliefs about ourselves and others. We allow our higher selves, the truth of who we are, break our perceptions, habits, and behaviors down so that we can be made a new. This time can feel very dark and isolating because it is necessary to block out all other voices, thoughts, feelings to hear yourself clearly. The darkness will not always be, freedom is coming. Be confident in the change that has taken place. Practice your new way of being and know there will come a time when more release will be required of you. Don’t be afraid of it. Be thankful and anticipate the greater you that desires to break-through. Nothing is happening to you. It is all happening for you and by you.
I imagine my wings get more vibrant and stronger and more beautiful as I go through this process. Day by day, I am transforming back to what I have always been. What I was always meant to be.