New Leaf Mentoring … new thought. new health. new life.

Posts tagged ‘personal growth’

Becoming Butterflies of a Different Kind


I know that you’re probably already familiar with butterfly analogies. I realize that butterfly references flit and flutter rampantly throughout the new age movement of thought. And I get that you get that butterfly is symbolic of transformation and metamorphosis. But I’m going to go through it again all the same; in detail, slowly, because although people talk the talk there is hardly a more potent set of images available to us mere humans than through the magical  synergy of the butterfly story. The real magic however lies in what is not often talked about. We usually talk about the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly; from humble beginnings to exquisite soaring potential. As humans we tend to like happy endings and butterfly wings are just plain happy making! But the real message of hope lies in the frenetic, arduous, and determined journey of the lowly Caterpillar.

4 Stages of Development:

1. The Egg (Conception): You are conceived, from fertilized egg you come into being. You enter into this life’s experience with a bevy of information that will all contribute to the path you must walk in this lifetime. From the moment of your conception you are immersed in this matrix of information that will metabolize into your own being, forming your own unique life’s expression. You grow, develop, and become the miniature form that will execute your life’s journey this time around. The concept of you is created out of karmic lessons, genetic opportunity, parental influence, environmental conditioning, and knowledge. When you are ready you will emerge through a  challenging experience of birth. Your first real experience of fighting for your life,  you break through the barrier that has kept you safely protected, to move toward an independent expression of your self. And this is where the real fun starts!

2. The Caterpillar: From the moment he breaks away from his egg, the caterpillar begins to hunt for and devour huge amounts of food. His physical rate of growth is fantastic. Four separate times he literally grows out of his skin. 4 times he must shed his old skin and live into his new potential.  4 times his skin splits, dries up and 4 times he must wriggle free of it, leaving it behind if he intends to survive; which is of course, all that motivates him.

Likewise there are four times in a human life that we change our skin, dramatically yet without realizing it from a daily perspective; infancy, adolescence, adulthood, seniority. But at each stage, before we can rightfully embody the next stage of life we must learn the value of letting go of the ideas, dependencies, perspectives and belief systems that have been relevant to life to date. Some of these experiences are emotionally devastating, earth shattering, heartbreaking. Although we think that we would be happy to leave these behind us, often these times of life are the ones we allow to define us and to influence how we move forward in life. Our ultimate success will be determined by how well we let go of our most challenging attachments, forgive and move forward toward the next stage. The caterpillar grows larger and expands with each stage right up until his ‘death’ time as the pupa. Human tendency, however is to slow down our growth once we move into middle age. Half way through our life span we tend to stop taking in new ideas, we indulge in routine, cultivate patterns of sameness, and reject thoughts of new possibility. We approach our death time with low energy, little creativity, and resignation to the inevitable.

As human beings we also have 4 aspects that must be simultaneously developed as we grow; physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It seems an immutable fact that we are destined to grow, our choices in reference to each of these aspects will determine how well and gracefully we progress. Each aspect supports the others and encourages the others to stretch and reach for a higher opportunity at all times.

3. The Pupa (Transformation): When the caterpillar enters the pupa stage a profound cellular transformation occurs that will eventually allow the caterpillar to experience life from an entirely different, more lofty perspective than he had previously known. It is during this stage of human development that many of us choose to rest, believing that life has reached its climax and now there is nothing but a steady decline in vitality ahead. Transitioning from mature adult into senior is an enormously difficult shift in physicality, mentality, emotionality and spirituality for most people. Many people choose to spend this part of their development being ill, tired, listless, lifeless, uninspired and mournful. As fully mature adults we too begin to change chemically. The pharmaceutical companies must love this stage of development as they seem to provide more and more prescription drugs that cater to aging bodies and metabolisms to say nothing of hormonal deficiencies  and other chemical imbalances that happen with aging. It’s an all out effort to keep the population from believing what they see happening in the mirror. There is a time of retreat, isolation, and reconstitution that has to happen to allow the shift forward into a beautiful seniority. Mankind must learn to surrender to his maturity and allow the alchemical transformation to happen so that he too may emerge in a splendid possibility and symbol for hope.

4. The Butterfly(Seniority): The caterpillar instinctively follows his biological clock and surrenders himself willingly to the pupa stage of growth; man not so much. We fight it every step of the way. Every where we look we see seniors trying to recapture their youth. It is not however, the seniors that are trying to look and act young that capture our hearts, it’s the ones that joyfully and exuberantly embrace their age, their knowledge and their wisdom. The seniors that we adore and respect are the ones who have gracefully allowed themselves to embody the fullest culmination of their lives. When our elders joyously express their enthusiasm for life with flair and panache we see the human butterfly emerging. They have surrendered to their transition and have gratefully, with humility and profound wisdom accepted and embodied the journey of the butterfly. They have miraculously surrendered to the divine order of life to experience without fear or worry the fullest expression possible. The human butterfly has learned to leave the worries of growing, building and survival behind him and lives out the remainder of his life dancing with the breezes, enjoying the nectar of the beauty of life and living for the moments that remain. Butterfly nurtures the spirit of others around him, giving hope and inspiring the next generation to live their fullest life possible.

The Restoration of Gratitude – It’ll just take a moment!


I woke this morning with a feeling of being blessed. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the temperature with my bedroom window wide open was perfect. I had spent a great evening sitting outside until almost midnight chatting with a dear friend that I hadn’t connected with in quite some time. All felt right in my world. I ruminated on our various discussions from the night before.

At one point we talked about gratitude. My friend has experienced so much turmoil and pain in her life and yet that’s not what she wears on her face. Her face shows the world her hope, her acceptance, and her belief in herself and in others. She is remarkably grateful. She is grateful for every kindness, every opportunity, every experience that crosses her path. She takes nothing for granted. Every small thing is a meaningful blessing. Her life is not charmed, things don’t come easy to her. She has worked harder than almost anyone I know at everything she does, she never hides from a challenge and always tackles anything put before her. Every so often life overwhelms her and her edges crumble a little bit, but in the end she is like the stone in the river bed that millions of tons of water has washed over and made smooth. She is willing to be tumbled around a little bit if it enhances her perspective of life. She is willing to hit some other rocks in the river if it means that she will learn something new about herself. And just because she is willing to engage with life, life engages back. She had always stood apart in her innocence.

But something  had changed. She was worried and sad. Fearful of pending changes. Feeling the need to protect herself. I don’t know her this way. She has always lived in the moment, looking for the opportunity, and seeing the good in it. It usually works; but it wasn’t working now. She didn’t know why not. It took me a good long while in the morning light to understand and identify what was different.  Often epiphany comes when we are doing the mundane, when the mind can aimlessly drift about without clinging to intentional pieces. While washing dishes this morning I realized what it was.

In the same moment I realized what had changed, I also knew why it had changed and why I didn’t see it.  In short what had happened was my friend wasn’t being herself, she had become the way the world typically functions. Her language reflected the way the world talks, she was listening to things the way the world listens to things, she was behaving the way the world normally behaves. And because she wasn’t living intuitively as she normally does, she became lost. I didn’t catch it because she was being normal, as in the same as everyone else. She wasn’t standing alone in her light, she had mentally, emotionally joined the common way of a world immersed in fear.

She had begun to worry about the future. She was fearing the potential loss of her great love. She had become attached to potential failure. She began to anticipate the worst and was looking for the clues in the moment, in order to protect herself for the future. She stopped living in the moment and started living for the future. She was living suspiciously, second guessing, doubting her senses, listening to the onslaught of negativity that spews so abundantly from the minds and mouths of mass population, media and government. She was a like fish out of water.

I see so many people afraid of engaging with life fully because they are afraid of the pain that seems imminent. We are so preoccupied with living the promised fairy tale happy ever afters that we end up judging our lives negatively in comparison. We worry, we anger, we shrink and shirk and blame, we judge, anything to try to separate us from the world around us that we see causing so much pain and failure. Unfortunately by doing so we become part of that darkness that squelches out the possibility of a better way.  My friend had stepped out of her light filled innocence into the shadowy norm and it didn’t fit well. Trying to squeeze all that light and hope into a limited, typical, too small dark box was hurting her. Her compass became disoriented, she didn’t know where or who she was anymore. And worse still she couldn’t find the way out, her re-course became to isolate. That alone broke her heart.

In the end she re-committed herself to seeing the good, looking for the silver lining, and counting her blessings in every moment. In the end she went home grateful for the life she is blessed to have. She’s the bravest soul I know! Are you brave enough to stand in your light? Alone if need be?