The Caterpillar and The Butterfly
“When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she always had been. But she had wings” – Dean Jackson.
Eric Carle published a children’s book in 1969 called The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I’m sure most of us remember reading the caterpillar book as children. I remember the caterpillar ate and ate and ate, fattening itself until there came the day that it spun its cocoon out of silk and eventually emerged as a beautiful butterfly.
Out of the innumerable creations God has put into motion, it still blows my mind regarding the transformation that takes place between caterpillars and butterflies. It is truly amazing because the caterpillar literally transforms into something completely different than what it perhaps THOUGHT was its purpose and destiny. It eats leaves as a caterpillar but drinks nectar as a butterfly. It crawls as a caterpillar but sprouts wings and flies as a butterfly. It lumbers along on feet as a clumsy caterpillar but hovers, jaunts and floats elegantly on the winds as a butterfly. Are there not similarities of alignment to the enlightenment of your soul???
The caterpillar is not concerned about its ultimate outcome but more about the current moment. The caterpillar operates in its authentic nature thus allowing it to be transformed when the time is right. We too are one of God’s illustrious creations. We too have a purpose that should be fulfilled. But we tend to be content to remain the caterpillar which stifles our growth and retards our transformation. We tend to be afraid to transform. Afraid of change. Afraid to fly. “What will others think?” Or, “I’m set in my ways.” Or perhaps, “I don’t need to change anything! This is just who I AM!” And we remain the caterpillar, crawling along through life never soaring to our higher calling. Our higher sense of self. Our higher purpose.
When we stifle our desires to grow, we decide to remain the caterpillar for life. The caterpillar does not have a choice as to what happens next in its life because God has given him the innate ability to transform and the caterpillar simply succumbs to that will that is authentic to itself. As humans we resist against the will of our authenticity which in turn stifles our transformation. We ALL come to this Earth with purpose. However, reason and faulty logic imprison our fundamental desires which derail our purpose. If the caterpillar had logic and could speak, it would probably have a similar reaction as a human…meaning, if one caterpillar said to the other “man, I want to stop crawling around on these tree branches eating leaves. I want to start flying around here drinking nectar from the flowers instead.” The caterpillar’s friend would probably respond like we do…”man you can’t fly! I been in this tree, eating leaves all my life! You must be CRAZY thinking that we can fly!”
Is this dissimilar to how we react and respond to the desires we have within us? The caterpillar, whether he realizes it or not, has a much larger purpose than simply being a caterpillar for the rest of its life. As do we. But some, who know what their purpose is, tend to lose site of what their purposes are. Or we choose not to explore what our purpose might be and fall into the everyday rat race and call it “normal.” Or we simply are afraid to explore anything outside of our everyday lives, succumbing to the fear of change. Or sometimes its the simple fear of disappointment. “What if I go for it, but I fail? Just forget it, I’ll just stay right here. Where it’s ‘safer’ for me.” Finding your purpose will not bring detriment to your life. Finding and living within your purpose will bring fulfillment and joy and happiness and contentment and abundance and peace and every other satisfied emotion God has blessed us with. In fact, the emotions just listed act as a barometer to your alignment with your purpose! Therefore, its worth taking stock of your emotional inventory to assess your alignment or misalignment with your current purpose in life.
But how do we find our purposes in life? Start with your fundamental desire. Our innate, authentic purpose begins with our desires. We are made up of our desires which direct us to our purpose. (And please go deeper than the desires for those new shoes you want or that exotic sports car you covet) Many times, we think that achieving our desires are just short of the miraculous. But if we stop to look around at God’s creation, miracles happen daily. Why? Because everything within nature except for human beings operate on natural instinct. This is why a caterpillar can never stifle its purpose to become a butterfly.
Your thoughts and dreams already have a built-in safe and guarded refuge which is your mind. Yet we often times scold, chastise, denounce and embarrass our thoughts for simply being thought of as if the entire world is watching. We think about “What if (Week 42) and quickly douse the spark of possibility with doubt and anxiety. Why? Open your mind to the complete catalogue of possibility! What can be conceived can be created! Your mind is as fertile as God’s Earth. Your thoughts are seeds. The seeds you plant, will sprout, grow and yield the crop you have cultivated. It’s as simple as that. When we fail to nurture our seeds with thoughts of positivity and unbounded possibility, our crop becomes stunted and sometimes diseased and ultimately dies on the vine or even before it grows.
Choosing first to focus on your fundamental desires – what are you passionate about? What makes you feel content? What makes you happy? Then aligning those thoughts with unbounded possibilities and a belief that you too have the ability to enjoy life in that abundance – my fundamental desires are this and that and they make me feel happy and content and I open myself to the possibilities of living within that life. And finally focusing your energy, thoughts, expectations and faith towards those things – I envision myself living my life within those things and being prosperous in those things. Close your eyes and take note of how you feel from doing this exercise. Embrace it. See it. Believe it. And rejoice in it…because you’ve found your purpose at this point. Now all you need to do is break your cocoon, which is the monotony of everyday life, and spread your wings to fly in the authentic purpose of your being. Fly.