Every night as we put our kids to bed, we read them a book. One of their favorite books involves the story of caterpillar going into a cocoon, and coming out as a butterfly. It’s a lovely concept - going into a cocoon as one creature and coming out more brilliant and with new capabilities. The logo for my aromatherapy company is a butterfly, and its something people have always commented on, “I love the symbolism of the butterfly. It’s so empowering.” I agree, but much like in my kids’ stories about the butterfly – when we just see the summary of the transformation, we undermine the most crucial parts of the story. Do you know what happens to a caterpillar when it goes into the cocoon? It doesn’t simply sprout wings, and emerge as its new glorious self. First, it has a breakdown – literally. The caterpillar completely breaks down, piece by piece down to a cellular level. Everything that it once was falls apart, to a point of being unrecognizable. For a period of time in the cocoon, the creature is neither caterpillar nor butterfly, just a sort of cellular soup. After some time, it eventually begins to build again, but into something new. Piece by piece, cell by cell it slowly recreates itself. Cells that always existed in the caterpillar are finally coming into use for the butterfly. For example, it can now grow its wings.
I don’t know about you, but my time during this ordeal has felt much like the caterpillar. I’ve experienced a breaking down of routines, plans, momentum, even identity in some ways. The breaking down is painful, scary, and isolating.
After all the shedding occurs, we find ourselves in a soupy state – no longer the old self or way of being, and not quite new either. It’s a time of deep reflection, praying, feeling, and resting.
As so much of myself fell away, I felt vulnerable, raw, and exhausted; but, I also felt more like me than I had in a long time.
I had shed the trying, the faking, the confusion, the forcing, and all I had left was what was real, and what was possible.
Parts of myself that had been dormant for years, finally had space to sprout.
As we continue to persevere through these interesting times, I want to offer you love and support as you experience your own shedding.
Remember, though it may be isolating and uncomfortable, the shedding is part of the invitation to become more deeply ourselves. With that comes moments of discomfort, pain, and feeling a bit soupy - but just past that, is where we grow wings.
With love and gratitude,