Wild and Sometimes Woolly
You are likely familiar with the whole caterpillar metaphor for personal growth and transformation:
- Caterpillar crawls along in life, learning to be the best caterpillar it can be.
- Caterpillar spins a chrysalis, or cocoon, and hangs out for a while — presumably in contemplation of Self.
- Caterpillar emerges transformed into a butterfly, now flying to greater heights and new experiences.
Two things have always stood out for me with this. But very recently, I received a third Aha.
1. Every caterpillar’s full life cycle includes turning into a butterfly or a moth. It’s the definition of caterpillar.
- Everyone has the capacity for growth and transformation.
2. Inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar’s body completely breaks down into mush in order to change into a butterfly. This can not be comfortable for the caterpillar.
- Although everyone has the capacity to change, not everyone chooses to. It’s neither simple nor painless.
And here’s my recent Aha:
3. Caterpillars don’t turn into a butterfly in one season — they go dormant for the winter!
- Everyone has their own process with their own process.
Sometimes a caterpillar is just a caterpillar.
Focusing on the butterfly while looking at the caterpillar misses the point. Accept and embrace people for who they are now, while still allowing for how much more they may become.
A caterpillar does not need forgiveness for not being a butterfly.
Hold space for the butterfly, but hold the caterpillar in your hand.
Who in your life have you been looking at as a potential butterfly? Your spouse? Your sibling? Your teenager? Sometimes a caterpillar is just a caterpillar. And caterpillars are pretty amazing in their own right.