April 5, 2021

How to Change into a Butterfly

"I need a Springtime in my life." It was a remark made to a friend, in the dark of Winter.

"What do you mean?" I suppose it was a confusing thing to say, or at least, needlessly poetic. What I meant was that I needed to come out of hibernation, hiding, coldness. I needed to feel the regeneration of spirit that Springtime brings.

The first day of Spring is marked by the vernal equinox when the day and night are the same lengths. From there, the days get longer, and a little warmer. These days we also mark it with Ostara and Easter. We plant seeds, wear beautiful hats, and meditate on how the plants and animals around us show growth and renewal. Mother Nature has shaken off the grey cloak of Winter- now tiny animals and blooming flowers make the world look alive again. And one of my favorite symbols of rebirth, butterflies, fill the air.

Butterflies. Now those things are needlessly poetic. They're fluttery little flashes of color that make even wildflowers somehow more miraculous. And ah, the whole chrysalis thing! We all learned the stages of the metamorphosis, from grubby caterpillar to lithe butterfly, in grade school. It's a radical transformation.

But you don't know anything about it. And it's much crazier than you could imagine.

I always thought, okay, they create the chrysalis, hang out in there, and grow new wings, longer legs, et cetera. Nope. The caterpillar actually dissolves itself almost entirely into an enzyme soup and eats itself. Yep. If we could cut the cocoon open at just the right time, we would see only goop. It's pretty disgusting, honestly. The only old parts that remain intact are tiny cell clusters that were there since birth. These clusters hold the new codes for the butterfly parts. And those clusters use the protein-rich caterpillar sauce to rapidly multiply into the butterfly components.

Kinda makes you think about the change process in a different light, doesn't it?

How many of us would want to disassemble our whole lives, our essential selves, to become something completely different? The scope is staggering, frightening. Sure, we might want to change a few things, or just 'evolve', but destroy? Would you burn the only life you've ever known, everything you've ever built, to the ground? Maybe you would, if you hated your life as it was. Maybe you would, if you thought the end result would make you beautiful and worthy.

But like most things in nature, this doesn't happen because of emotion. And it doesn't have to be so for us, either. We don't have to hate ourselves to destroy ourselves. But we DO have to destroy ourselves, to be reborn. We have to let go of old hands to grasp new ones. We have to uproot fear and insecurity to make room for gratitude and abundance. And we have to put down the things that numb us to our emotions, so that we might feel the fullness of this life.

So this Spring, I want you to have the revival you are so longing for. Ask yourself, what part of me must I destroy to have it? Don't be afraid- change is gross and messy, but the parts you smash will fuel this new growth. You already have the seeds of a new life sleeping inside you. You just have to feed them.

Oh, and one more odd bug lesson before I go: There's proof that moths can keep memories. What lessons they learn as caterpillars, helpful to the species' survival, are encoded into their very nervous system, and make the leap into the new form.

Just so, your intuition- that deep gut-level of knowing- will still guide you as you fly with your new wings.