Did you know…?
When a caterpillar builds a cocoon, it turns to mush. It bravely surrenders ALL it knows itself to be and is reduced to a primal liquid substance, of which contains all the necessary building blocks for eventually emerging as a butterfly. 🦋
This was shocking information to me when I first learned about this process. You see, I had always thought a caterpillar simply went to sleep in its cozy home and woke up with wings. It never occurred to me to notice a caterpillar’s body is nothing like a butterfly’s body. A caterpillar doesn’t simply grow wings. No, it undergoes radical transformation until all it ever was is no longer recognizable. It literally liquifies before it experiences itself with wings.
Life often hands us challenges. We are always growing and transforming. But, sometimes, life calls us to radical “butterfly level” evolution. We find ourselves curled into a tight ball, feeling every bit of turning to mush. “How did we get here?” we wonder. THIS certainly wasn’t our idea of how things were going to unfold.
We’re giddy and gung-ho to accept a challenge that tests our strength and grows our “self” muscles. Climbing mountains? Sure. Conquering the wildest seas? No problem. We’re up for facing our fears. “Bring it on!” we exclaim. We might even write a book sharing the lessons learned from our adventures.
But Liquifying?? Well, now, that requires the opposite of what we usually relate to as strength. It requires vulnerability, the strongest expression of strength. It requires relinquishing every ounce of control. It requires surrendering all of our “self,” except for the most basic and raw building blocks of who we are. Those aspects of us are eternal. They aren’t a form of “matter” at all, as much as codes. So they can never be destroyed, but they can and do change states of being. Like water that turns from solid ice to liquid to gas, but is always water.
“How will we ever return from a liquified state? How is that even possible?” we wonder.
But something inside us knows…
“Nooooo!” we scream, in panicked protest. “Being a caterpillar is SO much more convenient for my life. My entire life is built around me being a caterpillar. It’s safe, familiar and secure. What more could I want?” we rationalize.
And then…resisting nature’s highest and best for us generates internal heat and pressure so intense, the melting begins. Ever so slowly, the more we resist, the more we turn to mush, in perfectly divine timing.
“But, but, but…” we beg for mercy. “My life can’t hold wings! If I grow wings, they’ll blast right through the walls right of this place! This place that is my LIFE! It will be shattered!”
“Yes. Exactly.” whispers the Butterfly’s voice which knows the codes inside our being. “You can and will shatter this cocoon. You don’t have to believe me. This is happening one way or the other. Your resistance is perfect and beautiful. It ensures there will be enough heat and pressure for the disintegration to complete.”
And then, one day, we find ourselves in the state beyond the liquid. We let go completely. We’re flat exhausted. No more arguing. No more resistance. We can only lay there. We find ourselves free-floating like gas. Like a table with no edges, there is literally nothing to grasp onto. No sense of self. Only silence. Only deep black in every direction. A deafening silence. Only the steady thrum of the heartbeat of the universe is perceived in this sacred silence.
In the silence we hear the answers. The only answers we ever need to know. We become subtly aware of a backbone of faith that somehow knows it’s all okay. We become aware of a supportive faith inside the empty space of our being that is stronger than we ever knew we possessed. We know we will be delivered. This faith seems to be the bedrock of our being. IT is what sources the spontaneous manifestation of our wings.
These are trying times for many of us. Many are reporting being able to relate to the “mush” stage of butterfly evolution. We’re all in this together. Not one of us is alone, and yet, this journey is a solitary journey. Individually we experience being stripped of all that ever provided a sense of security. No one can discover the extent or power of our faith for us. No one can hear the wisdom in the deafening silence for us. No, that is an intimate experience for us alone. It is the most precious experience.
Stay present to your process as much as possible, you don’t want to miss the sound of brand new, fluttering wings.
(P.S. The cocoon carries imaginal cells, which carry the instructions on how to become the butterfly. Imaginal cells…what a wonderful term! Who will you imagine yourself to be??)
Tara L. Robinson
The Ultimate Risk: Seven Mysteries to Unlock Your Passion and Purpose (Hay House Inc., 2017)