The Butterfly and the Caterpillar

When you go on a journey of self discovery its rather like the journey of the caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. You can be perfectly happy as a caterpillar for a long time, living in a caterpillar world doing caterpillar things. Lets face it caterpillars are cute and in many respects fine just as they are…

It is not as if the caterpillar thinks ‘Hey! One day I want to grow into a butterfly’ and similarly we can think we are perfectly OK as we are, no need to be anything different. How can the caterpillar possibly know the freedom of the butterfly when it has never experienced that freedom and has no awareness what it even means to feel that freedom. In many ways the caterpillar has no desire to be anything other than the caterpillar. And we too can feel like that.

That is all fine until something happens in our life that makes us start to question things. This tends to be a significant life event, something that alters the status quo, something that happens that turns our life into disarray. It could be the loss of a job, the loss of someone close to us through a relationship ending or bereavement, it could be a serious illness in ourselves or someone close to us or it could be the loss of our home for some reason. Some life event whereby things that felt certain are no longer certain, things that felt safe are no longer safe. Somehow the very fabric of our life, and what we believe to be real get thrown into question

It tends to be only when we have a big upset in the status quo that we start to look deeper. Under normal circumstances, like the caterpillar, you would really have little reason to question and go deeper. We tend to avoid questioning and delving deeper as it can be painful. In fact the pain of a life altering event can be the trigger we need to start looking at deeper pains we perhaps haven’t wanted to address. After all like the caterpillar happily goes about his day to day business when things are ‘fine’ as do we.

Now, in the throws of a life altering event you have a great opportunity, should you choose to, to really question everything!

Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose? Who am I? What do I want out of life? Are the people in my life making me happy? Does my job make me happy? What are my priorities? What am I here to learn on a Soul level?

Let’s be clear, not everyone waits for a life altering event to start asking these questions. Some people have enough emotional sensitivity to prioritise delving into these questions rather than simply accepting things as they seem to be. But many of us, while asking the occasional question, find it easier to accept things as they seem to be because in all honesty its easier than delving.

Once the apple cart has been tipped so to speak someone finds themselves questioning. One way or another either because life has thrown them an upset or because the individual’s sensitivities have pushed them to question, it’s time to delve.

This means going deep, this means looking within at things that are perhaps painful, difficult and uncomfortable. Rather like the caterpillar entering the chrysalis, the individual enters into the dark corners of themselves. By fully taking on the challenge to grow and evolve we agree to take the more difficult path. Difficult because its painful and along the way we might encounter parts of ourselves that we don’t like and we may realise that certain things and people in our life aren’t really what we want. We may have to make some difficult decisions about where we want to go next in our life. This deep time of reflection may involve us taking some time to ourselves, may involve meditating, it may involve talking to a professional who can help us understand. However we decide to do it we are entering a time of deeper introspection. We are bringing our awareness to a deeper level of understanding of ourselves and what it means to be in this life. Like the caterpillar we are entering our own chrysalis. Its time for personal transformation. 

It is during this time in the proverbial chrysalis that we evolve and transform. It is also when we realise deeply that this is our own journey and no one can go through the chrysalis with us. Caterpillars don’t go into their chrysalis’ in pairs! Neither do we, transformation is a deeply personal journey, which we can do alongside others, but our individual journey is our own.

When we come out the other side, however long that takes, we can begin to find our wings and we can fly to places we never dreamed possible because we are at last free from all the things that were holding us back. More precisely we are free of the person we thought we were and we are emerging into the person we actually are unencumbered by the baggage we were wittingly or unwittingly carrying. Free from the way of seeing from a caterpillar’s perspective and free to fly high and get a totally new perspective on our life, our jobs, our relationships, every aspect of what we experience.

As we have explored, this is a very personal journey and bare in mind that just because you have gone through this personal journey of transformation, those around you may not have done so. They may have decided to stay as the caterpillar. They may not want to enter the darkness of the chrysalis to find out whats on the other side. You may find as a butterfly that you can flit here and there and you can fly down to journey alongside the caterpillars, you may whisper to them the joys of being a butterfly, but unless they are prepared to do the work in the chrysalis they will be unable to fly with you. In time they may aspire to join you and decide to go on their own personal journey of self discovery. However they may not, they may decide that they are happy to stay as the proverbial caterpillar and that is something we just have accept.

One thing is for sure, once you transform into a proverbial butterfly you can’t turn back into a caterpillar and things that were interesting to you as a caterpillar will be less interesting to you as a butterfly. Ultimately you will have more in common with other butterflies and inevitably you will journey on with other butterflies. All you can hope is that your radiance as a butterfly encourages your fellow caterpillars to transform themselves and join you. 

They have their journey and you have yours.

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