Solitude Provides Space & Time For Internalization
When the caterpillar is full-grown and stops eating, it becomes a chrysalis. Depending on the species, the caterpillar may suspend itself under a branch, hide in the leaves or bury itself underground. During times of transition, we too may need to go underground to hibernate and give our body and mind the space to go internal. What is significant about this stage and important for our own emotional and personal transition is that while visually it may look like nothing is going on, instead, big changes are happening inside. Special cells that were present in the caterpillar are now growing rapidly. They will become the legs, wings, eyes, and other parts of the adult butterfly. This stage can last from a few weeks, a month, or even longer.
Struggles Are Necessary
A famous story with some variation goes like this. One day a woman found the cocoon of a butterfly dangling from a branch in her garden. She started observing the cocoon daily and one day a small opening appeared in the cocoon. The woman watched the butterfly for quite a few hours as it struggled to force its body through that small hole. The butterfly then seemed to stop making any progress. It looked as if it was the most that the butterfly could manage on its own.
The woman then thought about helping the butterfly. So she took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining cocoon. Thanks to the woman, the butterfly emerged easily, but it had small, shriveled wings and a swollen body. The woman continued to watch the butterfly and expected that the wings would expand and enlarge to be able to support the body. But nothing happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with shriveled wings and a swollen body. The butterfly was never able to fly.
The woman in her haste and kindness didn’t understand was that the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening and the restricting cocoon , were nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that once it achieved it’s freedom from the cocoon, it would be ready for flight. Struggles are sometimes exactly what we need in our life. If nature allowed us to go through life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would never fly, and we would not be as strong as we could have been.