Are you ready to fly? Have you made a commitment to yourself to grow? You have made a decision but you feel more like a caterpillar than a butterfly at the moment? Maybe you have a desire that has been unfulfilled and you’ve decided to begin the steps to learn to do a new way of thinking or to consider taking new actions. I work with many well able thinkers and I am ever encouraged by the intentionality of their evolution and at times, recreation of themselves and their careers. Change is a formidable opponent, so individuals who desire to change their habits, their thinking, and their lives very often face hardship in enacting their desired outcome. Have you been there? I know I have. The part so many of us forget is that a butterfly begins life as an egg that releases as a caterpillar. You have to admit that it looks nothing like the creature it has the capability to become. Can you imagine what the caterpillar would say to you if you said “you are a butterfly, you’re going to go through amazing transformations and you will grow wings and fly amazing flights” as the caterpillar looks at its furry, fluffy, self with an absence of wings…. “what are they smoking” might be the thought that runs through the caterpillar’s mind.
Just as we cannot remain dormant in life, the caterpillar cannot remain in their caterpillar state except for a season. So it is with our own dna to be “on the grow”, our human condition is that we are happiest and most healthy when we are learning and transitioning, developing and engaging life at more experiences levels. Just as there is no space in nature for the caterpillar to remain less than what it can become, our spirits and success grows only when we are willing to let go of what we are no longer.
Our thoughts, our pauses to think, our perceptions of the possibilities have tremendous impact on our capabilities. We are conditioned from birth to enact responses that we learned worked for us. In some families that was to cry out for a next feeding to receive comfort and support. For others it meant learning that crying out brought dire consequences or abandonment. We carry those lessons early learned well past when the experience might apply to the current state of your union. Almost “auto programmed” repeating the stories and methods of our existence until an interrupt happens, or enough interrupts and experiences happen positively or negatively that calls for a rewriting of our systemic stories.
The butterfly larvae has many legs, many segments that are most unlike the adult butterfly, but the caterpillar emerges and learns to move, to climb, to access life. It isn’t long until life brings a new season for the caterpillar that must seem to it like it’s life is about to end. It uses up all its energy, and consumes itself in the end stages of not transforming. A cocoon is built, but it must then go through a change of intention to build a new thing…the chrysalis. A chrysalis is its refuge, going inward and surrounding itself with a protective wall as it begins its transformation. No one can do the work for the caterpillar, it must learn, gather, and complete the chrysalis for itself. No one can enter in and do the work for the creature, nor aid in the transformation. Change is an inside job. We and the butterfly are weakened when we do not do the work of our own transformation through learning.
There is no flight space in a chrysalis. There is no mirror or proving ground to try to fly for the butterfly. In fact the journey out is a formidable one. The cocoon is warm, dark, and scary, energy reserves are almost used up in the old ways of living, the outer world dangerous, difficult to get to, and not guaranteed safe. The caterpillar must be willing to give up over half of its energy stores to begin the process of building the chrysalis and transformation, for the additional weight is no longer necessary for survival and it would make flight impossible. However the caterpillar must face the tearing away from old comforts to build and develop in its chrysalis. It must first use its energy to transform, to pause as it transitions every part of its experience to prepare to emerge and become the butterfly it is growing into. The process consumes an amazing amount of energy, it requires intentional pauses, time to rest, to restore, to engage the new perspective long before flight. Isn’t that journey success also requires? We must leave our comfort zones and while we may temporarily create a cocoon and later a chrysalis for a season to learn, to grow, to transform…ultimately we must emerge and try out the unknown. A butterfly must claw its way out of the chrysalis, a prison of its own making…and so it is with our own struggle to emerge from the self imposed prisons we may find ourselves within.
Perfection is highly overrated. If an engineer was consulted to evaluate the butterfly’s design there might be discussion regarding its long legs, its fragile wings and perhaps even its limited protection system. It’s interdependence on seasonally limited food sources might also be frowned upon. However butterflies consistently serve an important purpose, they fly long distances to do meaningful work, they align with other creatures to provide food for them and protection for themselves and manage to beautify the world while they do the work of being a butterfly. Have you ever noticed that the delicate nature of the butterfly is also its strength? I find that is true with each of our gifts. Our unique design allows us to be beautiful when we engage our gifts and develop our life goals and purpose into our daily practice. It’s true in every age, gender, culture, and religion.
Learning to fly may require becoming aware of your wings and your need to rest. The butterfly shows us by example that each of us is designed with beauty built within us, regardless of the stage of life we are currently experiencing and that we are intricately designed with many opportunities to evolve and grow our abilities and presence. As an entrepreneur, are you taking time to allow yourself to be where you are? To pause and cocoon your self care when needed so you can emerge rested, reformed, to let go of that which doesn’t serve you? Are you ready to transform into the you of your abilities? Not one person of excellence runs their race without going through many transformation as learning, experience, refinement and relearning does their work. There is time scheduled for training, for recovery, for planning, and for the building of strengths needed to engage the journey. A butterfly can travel thousands of miles when the work of the chrysalis is complete, but that flight begins letting go of what was no longer needed, with a giving up of old ways, with dedicated time to transition and transform and time to build prepare new paths and processes for the journey.
The architecture and beauty of a butterfly’s wings are magnificent. Their strength and agility is remarkable for something so very thinly sheathed. I love to see a butterfly emerge from its cocoon and unfold its wet wings in the sun. To see the work of the chrysalis transformation is breathtaking. It is no less so with witnessing a child or an adult who finds that moment of pause to simply begin thinking differently. To begin a new season and life from a different perspective.
Is it time for you to transform? Are you ready to learn to fly? Perhaps the delicate balance is worth considering. The balance of self care, release, restoration, and renewal as you begin to formulate new learnings, experiences is essential for transformation. The releasing of what no longer serves you to engage the desire to develop as a new creature eases your journey. Your success is attainable when outcomes are focused and the plan is developed to release and engage that which allows you to fly.
For learning’s sake:
Want to learn more about butterflies?
Wise Words to Consider:
“… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1b)