You all remember the science lesson from your school days, right? The furry caterpillar transforms into a beautiful butterfly! How does that happen? Remember the pictures you had to draw of the caterpillar on a branch and then the cocoon hanging from that branch and then the cracking open to release the amazing butterfly who shook for a few minutes to dry its wings and then flew off into the sky! A miracle of nature!
Well, we are not that different. In fact, we are part of this miracle of nature. And right now …in this scary and challenging time of CoVid-19…we are actually experiencing the same transformation as the caterpillar/butterfly. Let me explain in 3D colour…using a bit of imagination!
We are experiencing a right of passage with 3 district phases.
- Separation. The furry caterpillar separates from its familiar world by some internal instinct. We are separating now from our familiar world…everything has been turned upside down. We can’t hug each other, we can’t go to movies, or concerts or work in the same way we always have. We wonder if things will ever go back to normal. Truth is, we won’t go back to normal…and that can be a very positive thing. We are getting ready to transform. In order to get to the next phase, the caterpillar consumes more than its body weight in food in a 24 hour period. Look at our society. We have overfed ourselves with constant consumption and in doing so, have run roughshod over culture, kindness and often empathy for others. We have been in a glut.
- Cocooning. The caterpillar enters an enclosure…a chrysalis or cocoon filled with a kind of soup or goo. And here we all are entering our own version of a cocoon. We are staying home. We are staying still. We are preparing ourselves for change. This is what the Rainmaker did in the story. He stayed in the hut and took care of himself. Right now we may have a tendency to feel that we are being victimized by this virus. I know it can feel that way. But maybe we can take a lesson from the caterpillar and realize that this is a necessary period of transition. Perhaps the impetus is even coming from inside ourselves. Somehow, we know that a transformation is needed.Now, here’s the really cool part! The caterpillar’s imaginal cells start to make the transformation happen. You could say that those imaginal cells begin to imagine the life of the butterfly to come. By digesting itself, the caterpillar is allowing this change to occur. By the end of the metamorphosis, the number of imaginal cells has increased about a thousand times! This is the time for us to use our own imaginations to power a new world, a new kind of existence into being.
This is not to ignore the fact that there is a lot of tragic loss…many people around the globe are dying…there is insurmountable sadness and grief. Loss is part of this kind of huge transformation. We may be called upon to let go of parts of ourselves…parts that will not fit into the new world that is being created.
- Re-Incorporation. The chrysalis cracks open and a beautiful butterfly emerges. Here’s the second amazing part of this process. Whatever colour was part of the caterpillar will now appear on the wing of the butterfly! A red bit on the caterpillar’s back can now be seen as a large, glowing red spot on the butterfly’s wing. Do you see what this is saying? We are carrying all that is needed inside of ourselves to make this transition. ..from beginning through middle to end. And by going through the transformation, those gifts, talents, characteristics will become larger, more visible, more available for us. Wow, that is mind-blowing, don’t you think?
Can you see why going into the hut…going into stillness is so important for us? It’s there that our imaginal cells can do their important work. This is an incredibly potent time. I suggest that we all look to nature for guidance during this time. Remember the caterpillar’s story and the many other stories we see in nature all around us. We are surrounded by rituals of transformation.
Let’s use what we know works. Our ancestors knew that rituals were powerful ways to bring people together and mark periods of change. Today, we know that rituals work. Create your own rituals to help you through this. Join me for a hut mediation every morning at 7:31 am PST so your body, mind and soul can come together.
Light a candle and invite your imaginal cells to create a new more balanced world … for all of us.