Are You Soup Yet?
By Stephanie Miller
Inside of a chrysalis a caterpillar melts into a soup before it turns into a butterfly. As it goes through the process of transformation its body secretes enzymes that causes it to digest itself. Doesn’t that sound so darn painful?
It makes sense to me though. It’s exactly how I experience change. One day I’m plodding along munching on the edge of a leaf and I start to feel the seasons changing. I’m not sure exactly where I’m going, but I know that the time is coming for something different. I know I prefer the known to unknown. For the butterfly there is no going back, once it starts the transformation it can never be a caterpillar again. It's worth noting that butterflies can travel faster than caterpillars and they're a lot more beautiful to look at.
This happened to me 15 years ago when I knew it was time to leave the advertising industry, and then 10 years ago when I realized I could no longer bear to do any kind 9 to 5 grind. The trouble was that I didn’t know what was next. (And I’m pretty sure if I’d known I was going to turn into soup I wouldn’t have had the courage to go on.)
Transformation is a natural part of life, but most of us view it as an enemy. One day, I was sweeping the entry way when the cat meowed to be let in the house. As soon as I opened the door he came inside and hunkered down in terror. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong until I realized that I had taken the rug up to sweep. He was frightened by the change. He had never seen the bare floor in the entryway before. I laughed and said to him, “I’m just sweeping the floor, I promise I’ll put the rug back.” As he slunk into the hall I called after him, “How come you’re so afraid when anything changes?” I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what the Universe would say to me if I could understand it’s messages.
But, what if when I encounter change I believe that the outcome will be wings? I don’t honestly know if the caterpillar is thinking “Oh, sh*t this is looking really bad” or “This is going to be awesome I’m going to FLY!” Personally, I prefer the latter.
What if I could embrace the soup stage, though painful and scary, as necessary and natural? It might make the change easier and I might not get so scared every time the entry is swept out.
Next time you undergo a change try embracing it. Allow yourself to turn into a puddle and try encouraging yourself with the realization that new found strength may be on the other side. You might even get a fresh set of wings.
Watch the metamorphosis of a monarch butterfly here. It's kind of gross and scary but notice that each stage requires the shedding of the previous stage. When the butterfly emerges at the end it's wings are smashed from being squeezed into a space that's small. Sound familiar?