The journey from caterpillar to butterfly is characterized by a radical transformation. In the in-between stage, the pupal stage, the caterpillar doesn’t gradually change into a butterfly. What happens is far more interesting, the caterpillar turns into a liquid, a quantum soup, if you will, and from that state of liquid potential a butterfly is formed. Our journey from being limited by our stories to being all that we can be is very similar to this awesome process.
In the caterpillar stage, we are blind to all the layers of socialization that make up our identity. A caterpillar doesn’t know what makes it a caterpillar, it has no insight into its own nature. It is unaware of what is happening, it is just eating its way through leaves and leaves and leaves, until it has had enough.
This initiates the pupal stage. The caterpillar goes into a restful state. It digests itself. Imagine that, it releases enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues and turns into a protein rich soup. When our transformation starts, we need to go into a state of restful awareness, and watch what is happening on the inside. Our old identity is being undone, we are stripped of all the socialization we received. This is an internal process. It is time to let go of all the emotion and thought patterns that aren’t working anymore, all the things that don’t resonate with our emerging self. By letting them come up, witnessing and feeling them, without reacting to them or acting upon them, we allow them to dissolve and become the quantum soup from which our butterfly self will be reconstructed.
Although this caterpillar soup seems formless, it is not, there are things the caterpillar cannot digest, so-called imaginal discs. These discs are highly organized groups of cells that already developed in the egg and were latent in the caterpillar. Tiny bubbles of potential that contain wings, antenna, sets of legs, everything that is essential to the butterfly. For us, it is no different, we have tiny bubbles of potential that remain untouched in the digestion process. These desires and talents that have been partly or completely obscured by our socialization will form the building blocks for our emerging self.
When the caterpillar has finally become a butterfly, it has to break out of its pupa, squeezing itself through a tiny opening. This birthing is critical, because it builds strength in the wings. Without this painstaking process a butterfly can’t fly. Although we feel transformed, we need to emerge this new self into the world. At this stage, we struggle to reveal ourselves, as we have to leave behind our caterpillar identity. Our struggle serves a purpose, we are developing the strength to spread our wings and fly.
In the past years, I have witnessed an amazing metamorphosis within myself. I have gone from caterpillar to butterfly. My transformation process has been a long, long process, mainly because I have tried to ‘help’ the unfolding on most occasions. My ‘helping the process’ always turned out to be counterproductive. I now can see how the impatience and frustration, born out of a need to control, so deeply imbedded in my psyche that I was blind to them, both aided and frustrated my transformation process. Transforming these aspects of myself was part of my metamorphosis. Even in the last phase in the cocoon, where I had already developed a butterfly body, but was wrapped up, confined to a cocoon, I was a butterfly with a caterpillar mind-set, still doggedly trying to make things happen.
In this past year, I have broken out of my cocoon. I am not flying yet, but sitting on the empty shell, expanding my wings, waiting for them to harden. Things have changed. I feel free. For the first time since the beginning of this long process, I am completely at ease with the stage that I am in. I don’t care I can’t fly yet, I know I will and I am looking forward to it. I am getting ready and enjoying the process. No need to go faster than this stage allows me to go.
What I know to be true now is that when your life is in shambles, just let it be, accept it as a transformational stage and allow the magic to happen. This stage of evolutional chaos is a state of grace in disguise. For a long time you will be a hybrid being, first a caterpillar with butterfly aspirations and then a butterfly with a caterpillar identity. This will feel uncomfortable as they are incompatible. Let you butterfly self soothe your caterpillar self, tell it that everything is going according to plan, even when it feels like your life is falling apart or the process is taking ages, you are doing just fine. Recognize the caterpillar urge to make this transformation happen, recognize it and let it be. Don’t go around changing things in your outer world. This is an internal process. When your inner reality has shifted, your outer reality will follow. From the quantum soup will emerge a new life, so different that you simply cannot fathom it yet. Practice faith, patience and compassion. Those ingredients will help you lose sight of one shore in order to reach the other. When you reach the other shore, when you emerge into your butterfly reality, you will know. Wishing you an amazing journey.