Connecting with Butterflies

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Interpreting animal symbolism is a powerful way to connect with nature, and learn lessons from her creatures. Cultural lore honors the butterfly as a symbol of transformation because of its impressive process of metamorphosis. Imagine your whole life changing to such an extreme you are unrecognizable at the end of the transformation. Herein lies the deepest symbolic lesson of the butterfly as well as the benefits of yoga.

Learning and living yoga means surrendering to both your body’s potential and limitations at the same time. The butterfly asks us to accept the changes in our lives as casually as she does, and in the right time. A butterfly represents a need for change and greater freedom, and at the same time it represents the courage to carry out the changes necessary in the process of growth. The butterfly is a symbol of new life, letting go of old cycles and finding your true inner expression, much like yoga.

The journey from chrysalis to butterfly is a meaningful passage. The ultimate goal of doing yoga is to have a relaxed mind. With a relaxed mind we can begin to enjoy a relaxed body and a heathy balanced life. Often yoga practitioners use inspiration from our friends in nature to share the benefits of yoga with children and their families, but the idea works just as well for adults feeling ready for transformation. We can adapt the symbolism of a butterfly, and other creatures of nature, to understand these changes within ourselves. There is much to be learned when we slow down and look to nature for inspiration. To begin this metamorphosis through yoga as a child is a gift, to begin the journey as an adult is a gift you give yourself.

Becoming a Butterfly

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“Does the caterpillar know it is turning into a butterfly or is it in panic, stuck to a tree feeling all fat and crispy” -Becky Walsh, Mind Body Spirit Magazine

Our world is filled with BIG and FAST, so we may be conditioned to get what we want right in the moment we want it.  But, transition takes time and patience.  Change for the better is best achieved thoughtfully and slowly.  Nature gives us plenty of examples to support this theory like the caterpillar becoming a butterfly. We don’t know for sure what goes on inside that cocoon.  I wonder how that caterpillar feels as it creates it’s new home.  Does he have time and space to prepare for this change?  Is he looking forward to becoming a butterfly or was he happy being a caterpillar?  Let’s assume he is simply following his instincts and having faith in the process.  Wouldn’t it be comforting if we were all capable of that kind of trust and belief in our lives as we experience our own changes and transitions?  Sometimes enjoying the journey takes endurance and poise and sometimes you just hang your head out the window like a happy dog feeling the wind.  It all depends on the day.

“You can be presented with some rather difficult situations that bring about the transformation needed for you to fly.”  -Becky Walsh, Mind Body Spirit Magazine

The good news for the butterfly is that when it emerges it will be able to fly.  The process to get there may be unpleasant or it may be cathartic, that we will never know.  The process is private and looks different for everyone, and every caterpillar.  The key is to be kind to yourself and remember that the things in life worth waiting for are usually the best things we encounter.  Often at the other end of a trying time is a realization that you have come to know yourself better from your experience.  When you figure out the thing or things that you want most in this life it’s hard to sit still and wait, but manifesting change with intention takes time.

“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” -Billy Crystal as Harry in When Harry Met Sally

Love may be the easiest way to demonstrate that feeling of eagerness and craving when it comes to transition, but there are several things in life that work that same way.  Anyone who finds themselves feeling stuck in a career and suddenly has a realization that there is something better out there will relate to this process as well.  The process of learning what you need to know to start a new career may be slow and tedious, but in the end, after all of your preparation, you feel strong and ready to charge out of the gate running.  Anyone who has a dream knows the anguish of waiting and working towards the hopeful day that it will come true.  The important component in all of this is to take your time and put intentional energy into getting to know yourself and learning to be at peace with your life’s path.

“The key to transformation is simply this: the better we know ourselves, the better equipped we will be to make our choices wisely.”  -Gregg Braden, Mind Body Spirit Magazine

Throw Yourself Down The Path

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What could you change in your life right now to allow for more happiness?

If only you had more….time?  money?  patience?  stamina?  drive?  talent?  what?

Is it something you can learn?  Something that is already in you?  Something you’ve always wanted to do do but never found the……?

If you could pick one thing to focus on starting today, what would it be?

If nothing ever changed there would be no butterflies.  People like to talk about the before and after pictures, but not many tell the tale of in between.  We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but shy away from discussing the process it takes to become one.  There is no shame in what happens in that cocoon, nature grants us amazing gifts like metamorphosis and renewal.  We see this process each spring.  Nature celebrates growth and evolution because from it we gain beauty, knowledge and transformation.  We tend to gardens and sow seeds from plants and trees that have gone through their own metamorphosis that will now give way to new plants that will grow and change and so on and so forth….

Is there something small you can change in your life that would make a big difference?  Is there something big you can change that you’re ready to shift?  We’re all on our own journey, we all have a path to follow.  “What you’re missing is that the path itself changes you.” -Julien Smith, The Flinch

Throw yourself down the path you choose and let your feet catch up when they can.

We lay the tracks now knowing the train will later come and have a smoother journey down this path.  It takes hard work to lay those tracks, but I lay them with care so my children can ride that train until my hard work runs out and they must get out and begin to lay their own tracks.  I can only carry them so far, and then they must learn and build for themselves, but I can be a positive guide and show them a good path to follow by choosing to make small changes for the better each chance I get.

“For the likes of you, the path to happiness is one mean son of a bitch of a path.” – Dean Koontz, Dead and Alive.  I’m more afraid of the alternative.

Love is Like a Butterfly

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