“You will never know abundance by holding back your heart. You will never realize your wingspan by decorating your cage. You did not come here to make do. You came here to make a difference. It’s time to fly. It’s time to try” ~Tama J. Kieves
I’ve talked many times about the way that a chrysalis provides a safe space for the caterpillar to be melted down to be recreated as a butterfly. The past couple of years have been an intense time of learning to surrender to the process of being melted down. During this time, I’ve lost just about everything that I would have pointed to on the outside to define who I was. Just like the caterpillar, I have become no longer recognizable as the creature I once was.
However, as I encountered this quote from Tama a few days ago, I realized that I have become attached to my chrysalis as my safe place in this space between who I was and who I will be. It has become my new definition of who I am. It has become the cage that I now decorate.
But the point of the chrysalis has never been a stopping point. Yes, it is a safe space during transformation, but it is a temporary one. The point has always been to prepare for the coming emergence of butterfly to soar free, leaving the chrysalis far behind.
I have become so focused on surrendering to the melting down of my former identity (as the caterpillar) that I have lost track of the point of the exercise. The melting down process continues—and will likely do so for some time as I’m sure there is more that I need to let go—but the time has come for me to shift my focus toward the more active role of becoming the person I shall be, of taking the raw material left after all else has been burned away and forming it into my new life.
As my focus shifts, I am discovering that I have already begun moving in that direction without even being aware of it. I am already building new things—a new business, new friendships, new patterns, new dreams. So many things that have been shifting inside of me are beginning to come into focus, as if emerging from a dense fog. This new stage of the journey requires a completely different approach and a different kind of confidence that all that has come before.
In fact, it’s the very struggle that a butterfly undergoes to emerge from the chrysalis that provide it with the nutrients that its wings need to be capable of flight. If someone releases the butterfly without the struggle by helping it emerge, its wings will forever be deformed and incapable of flight. So I know my challenges are far from over on this journey, but I do sense that the focus of my efforts has changed and the kind of challenges ahead are of a different sort than those I have faced so far.
I am ready. To paraphrase Tama, I will never discover my wings by decorating my chrysalis. I did not come here to make do. I came here to make a difference. It’s time for me to develop my wings so I can fly.
A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.