Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, love and loss. And life would not be worth experiencing if it weren’t just that. You can’t have the good without the bad, you need to somehow learn to accept the bad and adjust it in a way that you can endure and overcome.
One beautiful afternoon, a young man was taking a stroll around his garden when he noticed a cocoon of a butterfly on a leaf. Thrilled to see an amazing transformation of nature, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through a little hole of its cocoon.
After a while the butterfly seemed to stop making any progress. It was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.
The man was happy that he made the butterfly come out of its cocoon without much struggle. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body, which would contract in time.
Unfortunately, neither its wings expanded nor the swollen body reduced. The butterfly crawled around with shriveled wings and swollen body, never able to fly all through its life.
Although with the good intention the man hindered the growth of the butterfly. The continuous effort from the butterfly to come out of its cocoon would force out the fluid stored in the body to convert it into the wings. What the man, in haste to help the butterfly, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle were the key to the butterfly’s beautiful body and wings.
Sometimes struggles and challenges are exactly what we need to grow in our lives. Like, the struggle to get out of the cocoon gives butterfly its beautiful wings, struggles in our life makes us stronger and gives us wings to fly.
For the last several months, I have been writing about the metamorphosis type transitions we undergo when we are faced with a major life transition. Metamorphosis is not easy, not simple, and the process is filled with challenges. Metamorphosis is the process a caterpillar undergoes, as it becomes a butterfly. Metamorphosis is not about being a caterpillar or a butterfly, but the journey from caterpillar to butterfly.
Metamorphosis brings about a dramatic change in character or appearance of those who go through it. Metamorphosis is about evolution. It is about rebirth. It is about transformation. It is about conversion. It is about making corrections at any point in time in your life. It is about remolding, realigning, and readjusting to what the Divine is calling you to become next in your life. It is about the willingness to take quantum leaps in your life and make total changes, often times radical and sudden. Are you ready?
Often times this metamorphosis is not in our bodies, but in our minds. There is a scripture in the New Testament (Romans 12:2) which challenges us to not conform to being caterpillars in our life, but to be transformed into butterflies. In this scripture, Paul says, “Don’t be conformed to the pattern of this world, or age—this era; today’s worldview.” This writing challenges one not to reflect or embody the things of this world, but to reflect and be transformed by examining that which would be defined as counter cultural, new age, perhaps even metaphysical. We are called to experience metamorphosis.
Do not conform, but be transformed! Paul is telling us to experience metamorphosis! We are called to undergo a complete renovation and renewal under the supervision of the Spirit. Metamorphosis calls for us to grow up, to become new, to change into a new state of being, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually
Renewal is accomplished through the Infinite’s transforming work in the totality of our lives. Paul highlights the importance of the renewing of our mind because our minds govern our choices. Renewal of our mind brings a new perspective, a change of focus—a new way of seeing things. It also brings us to a place of being able to respond thoughtfully to the anxiety in our lives, rather than reacting emotionally which we all do from time to time, myself included. As we experience the renewal of our minds, we become better able to see things from the Creator’s perspective, rather than our own narrow one. Transformation occurs from the inside out. It takes place in the heart and in the mind.
Consider a butterfly: the butterfly begins its life going through stages of growth and transformation. It begins as a larva, then a pupa, and then it becomes the familiar caterpillar. I’m sure you’ve delighted, as I have, in the process of metamorphosis as a caterpillar emerges from its cocoon as a beautiful butterfly, ready to spread its glorious wings and fly. Now here is what’s key for our discussion and this Scripture: the caterpillar does not change its outward appearance alone—it does not disguise itself as a butterfly; it does not turn into something it was not—it experiences transformation/metamorphosis! Its Divine-designed DNA programmed it to move through the stages of its life development. In a similar fashion, the Infinite has encoded “spiritual DNA” so that this transforming work will occur! Transformation is the process of more fully becoming all that the Infinite has designed. A butterfly has more fully become what the Divine designed a caterpillar to be. In the same way, we are to more fully become what the Creator designed us to be individually and as a world.
The Divine sees great potential in the life of each of us. The Creator looks at the caterpillar and sees a butterfly! The Goddess sees the fullness of potential that s/he created in that creature. God looks at us and sees the potential that s/he has created in us.
It’s not that the caterpillar is unworthy, or not beautiful, or sub-standard. It’s just that the Creator did not design it to remain in its present condition. It is the same with us. The Divine loves each of us too much to leave us the way we are. The Infinite wants us to become butterflies.
Few people realize that inside the chrysalis the caterpillar has wound around itself a bundle of formless cells, a puddle of protoplasm, neither a caterpillar sprouting wings nor a husk soon to drop away revealing a butterfly. All that the caterpillar was and all that the butterfly will be are contained in the cocoon, but one form must relinquish itself that another might emerge. This kind of change is mysterious, hidden, and full of surprise…
I have heard a story of a gardener who was out tending his garden one day and observed a butterfly struggling to break free of its cocoon. The gardener watched in amazement as the delicate creature struggled violently to work its way out of its constraining space. The entire cocoon shook and trembled with the butterfly’s efforts to emerge. This struggle went on for what seemed like an eternity to the concerned gardener. Eventually, the gardener became so distraught over the butterfly’s wrestling to break free that he lost patience and decided to help the process along. He went into the house and obtained a pair of scissors, returned to the garden and cut a larger opening in the wall of the cocoon, allowing the butterfly to tumble out onto the ground. What the well-meaning gardener did not realize is that the struggle is part of the transformation process. In the cocoon, the young butterfly’s wings are engorged with fluid, and the struggle to emerge from the cocoon forces the fluid out of the wings and into the young creature’s body where it can be absorbed and processed. Deprived of part of its transformative process, this particular butterfly’s wings remained fluid-filled and it was never able to fly. The gardener watched in despair as the butterfly slowly died, lying on the ground in his garden. In our lives, individually and together, metamorphosis comes as part of a process that involves joy and sorrow, pain and liberation.
Metamorphosis is a process, which involves struggle, dissolving, reimagining, revising, and flying. It is not always easy, however, when you emerge, spread your wings and begin to fly, you will have a greater appreciation for who you are and what the Infinite has called you to become.
If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been. Never been able to ﬂy.
I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity and God gave me brawn and brains to work.
I asked for courage and God gave me dangers to overcome.
I asked for patience and God placed me in situations where I was forced to wait.
I asked for love and God gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favors and God gave me opportunities.
I asked for everything so I could enjoy life.
Instead, He gave me life so I could enjoy everything.
I received nothing I wanted, I received everything I needed.