Thursday, February 18, 2010

be a butterfly

If you chose to refrain from indulging and deny yourself some pleasures in order to improve your essence, a simple metaphor for enduring the season of Lent could be the life cycle of a butterfly.  Imagine being in a cocoon.  Once the egg is attached to leaves to provide food for the caterpillar, it transforms into the larva, long, worm-like stage. It is the feeding and growth stage.  As it grows, it sheds its skin four times.  The pupa is the transformation stage within which the caterpillar tissues are broken down and the adult insect's structures are formed.  The adult or imago is the colorful butterfly or moth.  Now it can begin the journey of courtship, reproductive and mobile stages, migrating and colonizing hew habitats.
Initiation of our sacrifice can feel stressful, uncomfortable and painful.  Our new limitations prevent us the freedom to give ourselves what we want at the moment: to eat that donut, drink the beer, be lazy.  We want to be in our normal comfort zone, not bound by our decision to change, or transform our current sense of self.  This is the hardest phase of renewal.  We feel trapped, however, just like any other habit breaker, it takes time to change comfortably.  Tenacity is key at this moment.  One day at a time.
It is important to reassure ourselves that we will benefit from our chosen path.  Reward yourself in other ways and eventually the difficulty will subside.  Find support from people to offer encouragement.  This can be integral if you are not confident enough to make the adjustments on your own.  That's okay.  Someone else may need support as well.  The cocoon is like a long tunnel.  It is long and dark and unknowing, even scary.  Be mindful there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.  Light follows darkness; day follows night; spring follows winter.
After time, your journey will become easier and you will embrace the suffering as you see slight indications of improvement.  It is our incentive to keep at it.  Replace the glass of beer with a healthy tea.  Lift another set of weights.  Feel your body releasing more stress as you take your walk.  Notice the birds and sun shining on your skin as you refresh your soul.  Bask in the moment of transformation, just as the caterpillar is in her cocoon.  As the season comes near the end, you will push harder and try other ways to manage the weight of your goal.  You will feel stronger and the variety of ways you use are similar to how our little creature feels near the final transformation.
At last, our final moment has arrived - the butterfly has spread its wings.  Easter morning is here to help us rejoice.  We made it!  The days of suffering have ceased and we feel the new beginning of life within us.  Accomplishing this immense feat has its rewards and most importantly, we gained the confidence and perseverance to endure.  Having goals is how we get things done. We have learned that despite any suffering, we arrived at our destination, renewed and improved.  Apply this 40 day exercise to all of life. 
After all is said and done, we must celebrate with each other to share our joy.  Throughout Lent, and thereafter, we can offer random acts of kindness every day.  Share a smile with a stranger.  Pay it forward.  Be sweet to the grumpy person.  The universe will know you are making a difference.  Continue to be a better you.  Let go of any fear to change and give yourself a gift of love.  Pray every day and meditate on the answers. 

Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit.  Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way.  As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point.  A Course in Miracles

All you need is deep within you waiting to unfold and reveal itself. All you have to do is be still and take time to seek for what is within, and you will surely find it.  Eileen Caddy

Choose not to crawl in life, but to soar. Unknown

Prayer:  Dear God, please teach me how to focus on the gifts and talents in my life, rather than on my mistakes and disappointments.  Help me to focus on the positive and to genuinely rejoice in my blessings.  May this be my message today for everyone I meet:  God has given me light and I am going to let it shine.  Amen. xo