Ever wonder what the butterfly is thinking while it’s hanging upside down in the cocoon going through its amazing transformation? During that transition does it curse the darkness and long for its days as a caterpillar again? Is it filled with despair of what will become of it, or doubt its ability to get through the process? Or does it just hang, and trust, and enjoy its time between times, when it is neither this nor that but just becoming?
We know transitions are a part of life. Some, like the seasons, we come to expect and even look forward to; others burst into our lives unexpected, unsought, unwanted – the loss of a loved one, a change in job status, a disquieting diagnosis of health gone wrong, etc.
Life’s surprises leave us reeling, lost in a maze. Grappling with the uncertainty of what comes next, we fear the black abyss. Such times trigger soul-searching reflection. Why? What does it mean? What next?
We may feel challenged at every level, questioning our faith, ourselves and our future. Emotions span the gamut from anger, grief and fear to excitement, joy and anticipation, and sometimes back again to frustration and despair. We are impatient; anxious to get on with it, or at least to reclaim the security of what we knew. Bring back the past, we plead. But chapters end, and new stories wait to be told.
Transformations occur in time, not on demand.
Perhaps we should take a cue from the butterfly and learn to accept our suspended state – the space before a place. Wrapping ourselves in a cocoon of self-nurturing love and acceptance, and most of all, trust, we embrace uncertainty rather than fear it, celebrating its offer of boundless possibilities.
We’re not sure where we’re going, but that’s all right. We don’t have to know where, only that we will arrive.
We can bring conscious awareness to the process, seizing the opportunity as a time to journey inward and reconnect with our essential self. Sorting through what things matter most, we find center again. We reestablish and reconfirm our connection to Universal Spirit, or God.
When we watch the butterfly’s magical transformation, we have an advantage the caterpillar does not. We know that at the end what will emerge is a beautiful, free spirit with wings to soar. And so we too should take comfort in knowing that which is greater than us has the same advantage looking on as we surrender to the process of change. With acceptance and trust we, too, will emerge anew, changed, energized, and ready to soar.
Author’s Note: This appeared in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Life Is Good Magazine.