Path of the Butterflies

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“So like do caterpillars know they’re gonna be butterflies or do they just build the cocoon and be like wtf am I doing?’ – unknown, instagram

I read somewhere recently that if you inspect the cellular structure of a caterpillar, it contains absolutely no evidence that it will become a butterfly. But we now know that caterpillars contain dormant DNA, just waiting to awaken and transform an earthbound creature into one with wings.

Sometimes I wonder if butterflies were put on this earth simply to remind us of what we are capable of; To point out how so much of our life is laying dormant, waiting to awaken. One could say the caterpillar even has a destiny to dissolve into much, cocooned in constricted darkness, only to be reconstructed and emerge into the light, wild and free.

I have spent my whole life with an intention to live as the most free version of myself, and yet there are still times I doubt that it’s possible to awaken to my full potential. The evidence that we are only a ‘small self’ (or ego, or conditioning…for lack of better terms), constricted and stuck in unconscious expression, can often feel insurmountable and overwhelming. For many people, being the small self is comfortable and enough, but there are a growing number of people who long to experience something more, to become the fullest version of ourselves. The road to transforming into this expensive self doesn’t take away from the experience of our ‘small selves.’ In fact, it often throws us into a total emersion and acceptance of the ‘small self,’ eventually merging it into the all of life, or our full potential.

Since October of last year, I have experienced an unprecedented time of living in almost constant expansion, peace, and bliss, and so it was unexpected when the last month of my life became extremely challenging. I watched myself cocoon into my own world, shutting out friends and forgoing many of my typical ‘feel better’ tactics. It felt right to be alone, but I also felt isolated, and for an extrovert like myself, that is one of my greatest challenges.

I learned a long time ago that to fight what is always results in more pain, and so as hard as it was, I showed up to myself as best I could. Somedays were easier than others. My deepest and oldest patterns exposed themselves to me. Human sadness and feelings of personal regret poured through. I watched as the grief that I had been carrying around for my entire life exploded in my heart. Time seemed to stop, the experience becoming endless and singular all at once.

I was incredibly dishearted at the seemingly out of nowhere downfall into smallness and pain. My person cried out for connection, community, and activities. I missed the groups and friends I have cultivated all over the world. I missed feeling that I had something to offer to others. I barely even felt to connect with myself. My creative drive and writing stopped flowing as it had been for months previous. It was as if I just… dried up.

When your first commitment in life is total freedom, it’s not just the people around you that will think your choices are a bit crazy. You will make plenty of choices that even YOU question.  I couldn’t help but wonder: Why did I choose to stop traveling? Why was I sitting in an apartment in New York City with seemingly ‘nothing’ to do? Why wasn’t I offering ceremony anymore? Why wasn’t I going out trying to build a new network of friends and family?

My mind desired for me to find any way to feel better, but my spirit told me to keep showing up to the process, no matter how unnatural it felt, or how uncomfortable my mind was. Some bigger part of me was present like I had never known it to be before, moving me through the resistance, whispering into the depths of my essence, ‘this is all a part of the plan…keep going.’

Thankfully, as always, the tides eventually began to turn, and while I was still tucked away in my empty cocoon, it all stopped feeling so painful. I couldn’t deny the deep loneliness that was lingering, the feeling that something within me had never been connected the way I knew it could be.

In order to truly face that painful realization, I had unconsciously removed all my external connections. I removed the beautiful community that filled my need to be seen and embraced. I removed the lush nature that had poured grounding and expansion into my heart. I removed the daily distractions that kept my mind busy from panicking and being afraid.  On the positive side, I removed the patterns that unconsciously pushed me through my daily existence. I removed the fear that was surely influencing so many of my decisions. I removed the self-judgement of what an ‘awakening’ process should look like or be experienced as. Without intentional effort, I was dismantling the prison I had built around myself, unconsciously and consciously, so many years ago.

It’s ironic that sometimes, before we get really big, we have to become really small. It goes against all logic, and yet, it’s the natural ebb and flow process of creation. There had never been an obvious blueprint for how to live as my biggest truth, my butterfly self. It takes wild trust into the great unknown to allow a seeming annihilation and total disconnection, knowing that something bigger than my mind and logic holds the master plan, and I will survive the process. We are all the caterpillars, who don’t have one obvious shred of evidence that who we truly are is a butterfly.

Yet, no matter how much we don’t like it, the transformation occurs regardless, almost like it’s destiny.  And it occurred to me, that while the human eye doesn’t see one shred of evidence to prove the impending rebirth, deep in their hearts, when they go into that small dark cocoon, caterpillars know what they are going to become all along.

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