I like butterflies. There is something innocent, harmless and beautiful about them. A few hours from the Central Valley, near Pismo Beach, there is a Monarch Butterfly Grove where you can view thousands of butterflies migrating.
They fly in from all over the continent and clump up in clusters for safety. It is fascinating the way they protect and shield each other from harm and when it is time, simply fly away. They venture out alone with no fear or protection, completely vulnerable. That to me is sheer bravery; to fly with so many obstacles and challenges to navigate.
Of course, this is metaphorical. We all need loved ones to surround us from harm. We need security. Butterflies need it, kids definitely need it to feel safe and to know and develop trust and adults need it whether we want to admit it or not.
Truth is that life will beat us up. The forces of nature that we cannot control are hard to face, process and comprehend. It is during those difficult times that we need to cluster up with the people who love and support us.
Flying solo during those times is not recommended, but there are some people who are too stubborn to ask for help. The good thing is that those solo fliers are conditioned to go solo for a brief time until they are ready to open up to the difficult situations they inevitably must face.
Sometimes solitude for them is not a bad thing even though it makes others feel helpless and uncomfortable. Butterflies that fly solo will be OK. Over time they will cluster up and find safety in the ones whom they love — and the ones who love unconditionally will be there with open arms and a smile.
Someone recently told me, "You seem on the verge of emerging from a cocoon and becoming a butterfly. Your wings are ready!"
I have never seen myself this way. I just know that I am comfortable in my cocoon. I feel safe in this stage, especially when times are rough. When someone you love is dealing with a health challenge you want to hold them and never let go, you want to scream at the situation, you want to do something to fix the problem, you want to protect them from further harm, you want to just cry.
Most often, the only thing that heals the heart is prayer, comfort, security, presence and love.
The chrysalis is referred to as the resting stage. It is where the healing happens. When someone is in pain because of a death or illness, maybe it is natural to cocoon themselves briefly until it is time to be seen again.
The resting stage is far from restful. It's more like a hurricane in the mind and a pile of confusion. Nevertheless, during this time transformation occurs.
There is no fighting it. Change happens. Life shifts. Few things matter as much. Perspectives adjust. People care. Being in a cocoon is never easy. Dealing with pain is to feel. To feel means to experience emotion. Emotion is complicated. There is no formula.
Says Maya Angelou, "We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."
Let's face it, we all want to be the beautiful butterfly but we sometimes don't want to go through the tough stuff to get there. I know I don't like going through tough times. I haven't met anyone who does. It is natural to feel this way. We are human and pain is no fun. Unwavering faith is the foundation and the only thing I can depend on to survive.
Life's cycle continues to intrigue me. Circumstances can shift from pain to peace to joy and from solitude to clusters of love. One must remain faithful to the belief that over time situations will transform and a beautiful butterfly will emerge.