This is something that I used to struggle with. I struggled with an unfulfilled life and career. However, there was nothing wrong with the job or the relationships I was in. In fact, they were perfectly fine. The problem was me. I had simply outgrown aspects of my life that left me feeling unfulfilled. I was changing, I was growing – I wanted more than just feeling fine, safe, and comfortable. I wanted more than the same mundane life day in and day out. I wanted to be more for myself and others. I wanted to serve in a more profound way.
I wanted fulfillment and to make a difference. In order to do that, I need to heal the parts of me that weren’t whole – the wounds that created all my limiting beliefs. I needed to heal the fears, the shame and the guilt that was keeping me stuck, anxious and in my depressed state. I took a leap of faith and trusted the inner guidance that quietly wanted to make it’s way through. It was my Reiki journey that lifted the veil that was blinding me from my truth. And all the magic happened on the other side of that. Having Faith and doing the work set me free to live my life wholly, allowing the transformation and in turn helping others rise to the life that was meant for them.
The Butterfly Principle: Transformation and Growth reminds me of how my transformation unfolded
The Stages and Process of the Transformation
The Caterpillar Stage
In this stage of the butterfly’s life, the main task is consumption. The caterpillar’s purpose is simply to eat as much as possible in order to fuel the growth that will take place in the future. During this stage the caterpillar will outgrow and shed its skin as many as four or five times.
This represents the learning stage of growth for me, where I am consuming as much knowledge and training as I can about something new I want to understand and master. As part of this process, I usually read, attended workshops and classes, hired a mentor so that I would be prepared for what comes next. There is also some “shedding” of beliefs during this phase as I sort through what fits or doesn’t fit my current life. This is often a stage of great excitement and energy for me as I enjoy the flow of creativity and inspiration it brings.
The Chrysalis Stage
This is the most intriguing stage of the butterfly development, which appears catastrophic from the perspective of the caterpillar. Though the chrysalis appears unchanged from the outside during this stage, there is dramatic transformation taking place on inside: the body of the caterpillar is slowly dissolving while the previously dormant precursor cells of the emerging butterfly gradually develop, migrate together and create a brand new being.
In my own process of development, this stage is the one I most often misunderstand. I usually don’t recognize the need for rest, retreat, meditation and recovery when I am trying to grow or create something new and therefore, I miss out on the emergence of inspiration that comes during these times of relaxation and “cocooning.” Instead I take the caterpillar perspective and view this stage as a crisis or downturn, while I frantically try to push my growth forward at all costs.
The Butterfly Stage
At last in this final stage, the fully developed butterfly is ready to emerge from the chrysalis. After breaking free, the butterfly’s wings are still folded and wet and more rest time is necessary to allow blood to flow into the wings. Finally when the unfurled wings are fully dry, the butterfly is ready to take flight and share its beauty with the world.
During this stage there is an intentional “breaking free” that has to occur with proper timing before “flight” is undertaken. When I have gone through the other stages and am finally ready to display my new project or growth to the world, I have to leave behind the old way of doing things and move forward with courage, faith, and some risk-taking, while recognizing the fragility of my new “wings.”
***After investigating these stages of butterfly development what can we learn about our own growth processes? Here are some of my take-away lessons:
1. Don’t rush through the Caterpillar Stage.
I recognize that most of us would much rather see ourselves as a beautiful butterfly than a creepy caterpillar. We tend to reject this stage of our development because it is hard work and not glamorous, and we try to get through it as quickly as possible. But we know from stage development theory that steps cannot be skipped or hurried. When we rush through the essential learning process of the Caterpillar Stage we fail to strengthen and nourish the infrastructure that will be necessary to sustain us through future growth.
2. Don’t try to take flight too soon.
In our hurry to become butterflies we may try to leap forward before we have wings to carry us. These attempts will nearly always result in a fall, especially if we don’t have the right support through this stage. When we don’t have the right support we tend to feel frustrated and want to give up. The key to keep going and even if you feel like you are failing the key is to learn from the experience so you know what to improve next. We must learn to be patient with our ideas and go through all the necessary stages to bring them to life.
3. Don’t give up during the Chrysalis Stage.
This is one of the most important aspects of the Butterfly Principle: there must be time allowed for rest and retreat during the process of growth. If we don’t slow down and take the time needed for recovery we may be forced to retreat by some sort of crisis or difficulty that arises. In the past I have viewed the loss of excitement and the onset of weariness that occurs during the Chrysalis Stage as a sign that I am on the “wrong track”. Trust your inner guidance and intuition.
Now I recognize when I need to schedule in time for “cocooning” because we all know we can’t pour from an empty cup. This stage is crucial for shaping and “crystallizing” the mission of the project we are trying to birth while allowing everything superfluous to dissolve away—and I have interpreted this stage as a crisis because I didn’t understand the purpose of taking this time for rest.
4. Let go of expectations.
Whenever I bring a new project to the world I am hoping it will become a beautiful Monarch Butterfly, but many of my endeavors turn out to be tiny moths instead. I recognize that I need to let go of my attachment to creating something world-changing and be content with whatever emerges from the Chrysalis; for Nature has a need for moths, as well as butterflies. This is a great lesson for all the over-achievers out there who think everything should be perfect and understand that somethings are perfect exactly as they should.
5. Be content with where you are.
Most importantly we need to recognize that it’s okay to be a Caterpillar or to be resting in a Chrysalis state. We must stop judging our own progress and valuing only the fully-formed Butterfly. When we embrace and engage completely in our current stage of development, we will grow more efficiently, give up less often and find more satisfaction in the entire process.
With this new Butterfly Principle in mind I hope this encourages many of you to enjoy each stage of growth and development. Appreciate being exactly where you are rather than pushing so hard to get ahead. Understand the importance of Self-Care and Nurturing and allow time for rest and meditation and necessary healing.
In order for growth and healing, one must truly understand the importance of the Chrysalis Stage —dissolving away what is no longer needed, awaiting the new growth and life to birth the new beauty that’s waiting for you on the other side.
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