The phenomenon of the caterpillar constructing a chrysalis and secretly transforming itself into a butterfly is a powerful and wonderful metaphor that inspires most of us.
- What a beautiful illustration of the idea that nothing is destroyed or created but simply changes form!
- What a beautiful symbol of transformation.
- What a stunningly elegant demonstration of the fact that some degree of struggle (the squeezing out of the cocoon) is necessary to develop strength (without being squeezed, the butterfly would be too moist and heavy to fly).
But have you ever wondered about that process inside the cocoon? What is actually going on in there? And what parallels can we draw from that process to our own lives?
I’ve been very slow about sending out a first newsletter or blog this year because I’ve been in my cocoon. I’m reinventing myself – looking for my core truth, and how best to express myself in the world.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m not feeling at my most powerful I tend to go into hiding. I daresay it’s natural for many of us; we withdraw from the world to reflect and tune more deeply into ourselves.
What I hadn’t known about the caterpillar’s time inside the cocoon is that it is literally digesting itself, another brilliant metaphor for that process we go through in revisiting the many aspects of ourselves and deciding what stays and what goes.
Prior to forming the chrysalis, the caterpillar is 'eating up big' – preparing for this period of radical transformation when it will literally deconstruct and reconstruct itself. All the nutrition from the eating stage provides the resources it needs for the reconstructing phase.
Likewise I was 'out there' throwing myself into a whole lot of experiences until I felt the need to withdraw and digest those experiences, and now, hidden away in my chrysalis, I’m deciding what stays and what goes.
I know what I most love and what resonates most truly and deeply for me, and I would greatly appreciate knowing what it is that you most love and resonate with about what I do.
Is it my picture books, The Boy Who Barked and The Boy Who Found His Pulse?
Is it my articles/blogs/book of articles, Living With Grace?
Is it my talks or workshops?
Is it something else?
Since writing The Mastery Club I’ve become convinced that we are here to do what we love, what makes our heart sing. And if you’ve ever held the thought that ‘life will flow when you follow your bliss’, you’ll get that principle. However, being human, we sometimes thrash around somewhat in the process as our own limiting beliefs rise to the surface to be transformed. Sometimes we ‘get in our own way’. I’ve been doing some of that, hence the cocooning process.
However, going back a step, I was interested to learn that caterpillars in the egg stage are already forming the groups of cells they will need as mature butterflies or moths. These are called ‘imaginal discs’ – what a great descriptor! – and they survive the digesting process when everything else is liquidised (turned into ‘caterpillar soup’). There is an imaginal desc for each body part that will be needed: eyes, legs, wings, etc.
In fact, some caterpillars crawl around with the beginnings of tiny wings tucked inside their bodies – did you know that? Their potential greatness is there right from the start when they appeared to be just a ‘lowly caterpillar’. (Another great principle: nothing is missing…)
With love and gratitude,
P.S. Speaking of development, you might like to come along on Wednesday night 17th February to Suburban Sandcastles’ next film screening. The film is 'Most Likely to Succeed’, and it's all about the need for creativity and innovation in education, and how the current system is failing our children. (That’s conventional ‘speak’! We know that there is no such thing as true dysfunction, right? It all serves in the end, in having us develop the responses and solutions that will support our evolution…)
'Most Likely to Succeed’ features interviews with education visionaries such as Ken Robinson and Sal Khan of Khan Academy. See more, including the trailer at the website http://mltsfilm.org/
To book into this event, go to: www.suburbansandcastles.com
(Usually about 60 people attend - great vibe - great exhibitor stands - interesting discussion after the film - yummy wholesome food available prior. I'll be there too!)