🐛 For a caterpillar to transform into a butterfly, it must give up being a caterpillar. It must trust itself and the process. To anyone who doesn’t understand this, it might be like a gooey mess.🦋
November 2009 I made a decision to give up everything I thought I knew about myself and my purpose in life– which I had been living for 40 years already– and take a flying leap into the unknown…
Everything I had ever known or believed about myself; everything that I had grown to love in my entire lifetime; everything I had worked to build, sacrificed for, believed in; every version of myself or my future I had ever envisioned… it was all on the line, all of it. No part of my life would ever be the same again, and some of it would never BE again.
It all changed forever in one moment of absolute clarity. I will always remember the moment. People talk about “the last straw” or “the straw that broke the camel’s back“. I’ve used the phrase a thousand times myself. But this time was different. I didn’t speak it..
I FELT it.
I felt the weight of that one, singular strand of straw.
I watched, completely unsuspecting, as that strand of straw was tossed carelessly in my direction, as so many had been before. In slow motion it twittered it’s way down, down..
And I FELT it.
I felt the weight of that one, singular strand of straw as it landed atop of the ever-growing pile of straw I was already programmed to numbly carry around for all of my days.
And although it landed atop the pile in complete silence, I felt an earth-shattering “CRACK!!” that started in my head, pierced through my heart and stopped dead in my stomach.
I knew instantly, with clarity and calmness that startled me, that my marriage was finally finished.
Instantly, hope and anguish mingled and dripped from my broken heart. Anxiety spewed from my stomach with interruptions of intense relief. Veracity and strategy began to pour out of my head as if I had already practiced this procedure in case of an emergency (I hadn’t):
“This is an emergency. Stop what you are doing. Remain calm. Follow signs to the nearest exit. Do not re-enter the building.”
This moment was the raw, ugly, terrifying beginning of my “Best Life So Far”. This was the old caterpillar finally spinning herself into a cocoon, and spending the next chapter of her story as a shapeless, unrecognizable -but somehow always optimistic- gooey mess.
I learned so much about myself in those years. Everything about me was changing, emerging, becoming. And the only way to get through it and make any sense of the gooey mess was to trust myself, and to embrace the idea and process of CHANGE.
It ALL changed, too. Some small changes and some big but honestly even the tiniest of changes felt HUGE at first. Then, I started noticing I was getting pretty good at it, even enjoyed it, and yes, I even started seeking it out!
Over the next 3 years, I changed addresses 4 times, changed jobs 5 times, and although it took me a year to start dating, once I started I had many, many first dates (and a couple slightly more serious relationships) in those next 2 years.
Every important relationship changed. I started to really appreciate the new relationships with people I was meeting at this stage because I didn’t have to try to fit into old boxes or justify new versions of myself. I also attracted other caterpillars in gooey-mess stage. We bonded for a time when we all needed to not feel so alone. I realized that it’s ok to have new people cycle in and out of my life as we cross paths along our different journeys. Nothing in my life had to remain in it for the sole reason that it once was. And all of this learning was part of the sense being made of the gooey mess inside the cocoon.
Often, alarming moments of clarity are a perfect gateway to embracing or even seeking change in our lives. Without these wide-awake moments, many of us just keep coasting through life, accepting the programming and conditioning bestowed on us by our own history and beliefs, our childhood and society. If you ever have one of these eye-opening moments in your life, I hope you have the faith in yourself to embrace it as an opportunity to make a change that might bring you closer to your very best life.
I think we are born with complete faith in ourselves, but life, experience, and people constantly teach us and remind us that we are not worthy of that faith. But they’re wrong, and you have proof! For starters, the very fact that you are still here is evidence that you can make it through storms, chaos, bad choices and bad days. Just look at you go! For all that you’ve been through and all that you have tolerated in your life, you are:
- still smiling
- still have an attitude
- still have a sense humour
- still here
These are the most important tools for making the best of every situation you find yourself in, and you already have them in your tool belt! When you know you have what it takes to make the very best for yourself of any situation, that in turn helps you to cultivate a little more faith in yourself, and you are well on your way to embracing more change in your life. You are more confident to take the risk, to do the work.. to go into the unknown, the gooey mess of the cocoon..
..so that you can eventually emerge as the beautiful butterfly you are meant to become!!
I am grateful every day for all the splendour of being a butterfly. However I’m no where near finished growing, changing, becoming. It just means, I now have wings that will take me so much further than I ever could have gone as a caterpillar. They’ll take me way up high where I can see more of the crazy beauty in this bizarre world. I see beauty and potential and opportunities for growth, far beyond any caterpillar’s wildest dreams! And best of all, these wings are my reminder to myself that I am freaking amazing! Because I’ll always know the truth they represent…
I took the chance.
I did the work.
I embraced the changes.
I lived that gooey mess and
built these damn wings
all by myself