By what kind of magic is a caterpillar transformed into a butterfly? Natural magic, of course; nature simply acting in alignment with its encoded caterpillar nature.
This very same magic is what transforms us by our divine human nature. But before we explore the process of personal transformation, let’s take a closer look at the caterpillar-to-butterfly metamorphosis:
Building the Cocoon
1. A caterpillar, when it is fully grown, secretes a long stream of liquid from its glands, called the spinneret, located below its mouth. The liquid stiffens, forming a silk-like thread which is used to attach its hind end to a twig or leaf. The caterpillar spins the silky thread around its body to form a covering. This outside layer hardens to form a shell called a chrysalis.
The Transformation Process
2. Inside the cocoon the caterpillar changes into a pupa. In a process called histolysis, the caterpillar digests itself from the inside out, causing its body to die. During this partial death, some of the caterpillar’s old tissues are salvaged to form new. This remnant of cells are called the histoblasts and are used to create a new body. Using its digestive juices, the caterpillar turns his old larval body into food which he uses to rebuild its new body.
Breaking Out of the Shell
3. Once the pupa has fully grown inside the cocoon, and the butterfly is ready to emerge, the insect releases a fluid which softens the shell. The butterfly pushes on the walls of the shell until it breaks open. The process of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly can take anywhere from 10 days to several months
What can we learn from this incredible transformation? How can we apply these lessons to our lives?
There are three prominent aspects to any transformation; those elements that make the process as easy as possible:
- A caterpillar, when it is fully grown… spins the silky thread around its body to form a covering.
We must be willing to respond when prompted, even–and especially when–we don’t feel ready. There is a subtle prompting in us, letting us know that we’re in for an upcoming leap of growth. It starts out rather quietly and becomes a roar if we don’t move ahead and take action steps. Change doesn’t have to catch us by surprise. We can respond when the prompting is a mere whisper. We can welcome change and embrace the coming opportunities that sure lie ahead. That is a choice. When you view change as a catalyst for growth, it is your ally.
- The caterpillar digests itself.
We must be willing to be an active part of the process of evolution. We must be willing to trust the process of life to guide us; to rely on our divine nature. We must be willing to do the things that might at first seem unmanageable, overwhelming or unthinkable. We must be willing to move beyond comfort, familiarity and safety to experience something completely foreign and new to us; something greater. We have to be willing to let go of everything we know, if necessary, to be transformed. In doing so, we find ourselves always on the precipice of enjoying the maximum growth opportunities life has to offer.
- The butterfly pushes on the walls of the shell until it breaks open.
Bursting through is always the result of persistence. The shell of resistance can be so strong that it’s easy enough to lose momentum or hope. But, unless you remain motivated and consistently push past what you were, you will never become! No matter how many times you have to “talk yourself down” and reignite the flame within, do it. All your efforts will pay off; the new you will burst forth, given time and patience.
If this sounds like work, it really isn’t. You see, we are born prepared for this life. We are fully-equipped. The beautiful process of transformation can be full of ease when we relax into the guidance that comes from within. When we trust that, we will know exactly what to do in every moment. We can count on it absolutely and then find ourselves responding with the next perfect action to propel the process.
We didn’t come here to stagnate. Instead, we came for the fun of it; for the joy of it; for the expansion of it; for the growth of it; for the contrast in it; for the desire-producing value in it.
Just like the caterpillar, who responds to life’s beckoning to evolve and become more–and does its part to bring about the natural and inevitable outcome–so, too, are you beckoned to become. How will you respond? (Therein lies the magic!)
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