At its chrysalis stage, a future butterfly can’t go very far. It remains stationary as the butterfly inside matures.
Once the butterfly gains its wings, though, it has options, as long as it has a food source, favorable winds and protection from predators.
Eventually, the cycle starts all over as a butterfly deposits eggs to reproduce. A new caterpillar evolves into a chrysalis that affixes to a new branch or leaf. A transformed creature breaks free and follows nature’s beckoning.
Butterflies hold much significance for many people I know. My friend Mary Nell loved them. They hold significance for many Holocaust survivors.
When We Want to Fly Away From Problems
I heard Jennifer Granholm interview Maria Shriver in a Commonwealth Club of California broadcast recently. It was a broad interview covering territory that included her childhood, her family, her political aspirations (virtually zero), and her father’s battle with Alzheimer’s (among other things).
I was multitasking as I had the interview on, so I missed some of the fine detail, but I did catch and immediately jot down this sentiment:
When you run away from something, the universe just puts it right back in your lap.
The context of her comment was how she wanted to get away ….. from an aggressive life of politics, Democrats, and the public eye.
Then she moved across the country to California, eventually married Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican politician, and remained very much in the public eye.
We are Emotionally Healthier When We Consider Alternatives to Running Away
Maria Shriver was absolutely right. We can replace things about our environment — where we live, what we do, who we hang around with — but making a lasting change and connecting with inner serenity is immune to most of those attempts (in the long run).
I do think a change can be good sometimes, but to augment an effort to deal with something rather than eliminate whatever it is that needs to be dealt with.
Heidi Priebe wrote about trying to get rid of issues by change alone, “You’re trying to grab at something new with full hands and yet you cannot figure out why you keep dropping it” and “the further you run from your problems, the further you run from yourself.” Her entire piece, Here Is What Happens When You Run Away From All Of Your Problems, is thought-provoking.
Taking Time to Think Things Through
Have you ever been to a butterfly garden? I have been to the one at Callaway Gardens and, more recently, the Butterfly Rainforest at the University of Florida.
Before entering a butterfly garden, there’s a procedure where you have to go to an intermediary room that is protected from the outside (and the inside) so none of the butterflies escape. You have to repeat the same procedure when exiting.
Steps of exiting:
Enter “protective intermediary room.”
Stop and wait, to make sure you aren’t taking a butterfly with you accidentally.
What if life worked that way? If we had to stop and take a minute (or, for the big decisions, a day/week/month) whenever we wanted to escape our environment to think it over and make sure our hands were no longer full of the problems we had gathered along the way?
Note: This post is in response to a prompt from The Sway, “Write a post inspired by this word: butterfly.” Coincidentally (or not), a butterfly is one of the images in the coloring book for Alzheimer’s patients and their families created by Maria Shriver.
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.
As a second grade teacher we watched caterpillars become Monarch Butterflies every year. What a miraculous process! Like you, I think they can teach us a lot about life! I enjoyed your post and pictures! Cindy from#fmf FB page
Paula Kiger (@biggreenpen) says
They really can! A friend has been sharing on Facebook about the entire process as she has watched it. Beautiful! Thanks so much for visiting.