Normally, we donít consider an egg, caterpillar, or pupa, to be beautiful. Itís the dazzling butterfly that lures our attention. On a butterfly farm in Costa Rica I experienced the magic of metamorphosis close-up and personal, where I realized that each stage of life has its own beauty. I saw pupae that looked like golden earrings and miniature Faberge Eggs. In fact, so did the entire community where the butterfly farm was situated. Murals on walls and shops painted by noteworthy artists honored the theme of mystery and beauty that wishes to fly free, yet trapped in a human world which is removed from nature. The inspiration to be extracted the way a butterfly sips nectar from a flower: We must give up our need to control and surrender to our animal nature, letting ourselves be overtaken by transformation.
For Pre-Columbian culture butterflies symbolized color and light. They were responsible for the renovation of life. When we contemplate butterflies, we see that we have the ability to interact with nature, remember its myths and embrace our identity.
When we think of butterflies, the phrase, butterflies are free comes to mind. However, we also have butterflies in the stomach Ė stress. We are both victimizers and victims of our own negative thoughts. When we are upset, those around us become upset. We must release those butterflies because they should not be trapped within causing our gut reactions to become confused and disturbed. Similarly, we need to let go of negative behavior patterns which inflame our health and rob us of vitality. Letting go is hard because we are basically taught to possess. This is known as consumerism. No one teaches us how to let go. We must learn from nature.
At the butterfly farm I saw a caterpillar and butterfly on the same branch. It seemed like the past and future were looking at one another: What was and what will be. This magical moment inspired me to resolve to tap into the power of nature, take stock of my ancestry who shaped me, as I give birth to my self again and again. It takes great energy to shed the cocoon and emerge pulsating with new life. For a butterfly this is a one-minute window of opportunity; otherwise, the glue from the cocoon will stick to its wings and the butterfly will be stuck, unable to spread its wings and fly towards the light.
This New Year donít get stuck looking into a window of the past. However, do preserve the memories and the old stories to learn from them. Shed what no longer serves you to emerge into your truer, natural self which does not suppress its colors and engages in symbiotic relationships, not toxic ones. Let a butterfly inspire you to:
- Go inward and get to know yourself
- Accept change as a natural process
- Change in stages
- Shed stress
- Fly towards the light
- Realize that beauty comes in diverse forms
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul,
a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com