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Posted January 13, 2000


The Symbol of the Butterfly

by
Linda-Ann Stewart


When we talk about transformation, the image that comes to mind for most of us is the butterfly. A beautiful, filmy creature that glides about the sky, bringing joy to our hearts. But we tend to forget what the butterfly has gone through, how it has struggled to reach its place on the breeze.

Our path of transformation can be likened to that of the butterfly's. Generally, when we embrace transformation, we only want to think of the end result. We don't want to think about the work that goes into it, or the sacrifices we'll have to make to be able to soar. I know that when I went through a transformation some years ago, I thought "Wonderful. Things will be better." They were, but in the process there were attitudes and behaviors I had to surrender that were central to my life.

Transformation begins with the Universe pressing us forward into desiring something better for ourselves. We may not know what it is that we want, just that we have this impulsion for something more. Originally, the butterfly was once a caterpillar, inching across the grass to climb up the marigold to reach its daily meal. Its main drive was to eat, to fill its stomach.

The same could be said of us. Before we begin to transform, we have a compulsion to meander around; reading books, listening to tapes, attending lectures, digesting information. We're still in the old form, fattening our minds up to get ready to build a cocoon, where we'll use all that we've digested to transform our lives into a greater reflection of the Universal good.

Once our appetite has been appeased, we'll feel compelled to allow what we've learned to gestate. Letting it process is like the caterpillar inside its cocoon. This is the time to incubate. It may last for a few days or a few months. While it is happening, we're changing. We may not see the change, but there are parts of us that are being released, transformed and altered. At this point, our lives will sometimes become very uncomfortable for us. During my transformation, I had an intimate relationship that got progressively difficult.

When its transformation is complete, the butterfly begins its emergence from its cocoon. It must fight its way out of the old form, through the silky shell it created, letting it go, into a new world. Just as we must struggle to move through our barriers and outmoded attitudes. Behaviors that served us when we were caterpillars are no longer helpful. We can't live the way we used to. We're transcending the old patterns. But since they were familiar, and successful in our old form, we resist discarding them.

I eventually had to release beliefs that were no longer in my best interest. No longer could I play a role that I had outgrown. The relationship came to an end. It was very painful to let go, and very scary to change the role. My whole life had changed.

As we emerge from our cocoon, we take time to adjust to our new circumstances. Things are different, and we have to learn how to handle our new selves. We act in new ways. The things we say are surprising to others, because it's not what they're familiar with. People respond to us in a manner in which we're not used to. Because of my new attitudes, I lost some friends who couldn't adjust to the shift. And I made new friends who were walking the same path I was.

Eventually, the butterfly climbs free and rests, spreading its wings. For the first time, energy flows through them and they expand, finally ready to carry the butterfly on the breeze. Just as we soon feel confident with our new self, and we fly free, a beautiful butterfly gracefully fluttering from flower to flower. A living jewel fluttering about in the sky.

  

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