The inner desire for change and evolve to ascend into a higher version of ourselves, to become that magical butterfly that emerges from the cocoon flapping its iridescent wings to the backdrop of a thundering waterfall landing delicately upon sunkissed floral petals – what a beautiful celebration of transitions it would be.
It’s a picturesque image. One minute you're a fuzzy little creepy-crawly, one maybe a touch pudgy from packing on one too many maple leaves. (It’s like the waffle house of the critter world. How can you resist?) In the next moment, you’ve become some sort of angel bug with a serious psychedelic fashion sense. You’re one hippy headband and a few sips of nectar away from floating away on a rainbow.
But, what about the little section between caterpillar and butterfly? You know, the chrysalis phase where the actual transformation happens. Have you given much thought to that? Do you know what happens?
Do you remember puberty?
It’s bug puberty, dude, only twenty times more epic. The caterpillar begins to digest itself. Basically, the body of the caterpillar dies and tissues from certain organs remain and begin to sprout the pieces that eventually create the body of the butterfly. It’s a sack of goop and guts after a major maple leaf binge.
Butterflies are angelic, little zombie-caterpillars.
From the snot of life, we are bequeathed with the widely viewed symbol of transformation and beauty. Butterflies don’t play no games, playa. Consider for a second what it took to get there. They engage in a process that is ugly and demands the release of their own body to step into the next phase of life.
Think about it. If you could choose to continue to wriggle around and enjoy a few sugary leaf treats, would you bother going through such a process? Or, does the idea of spreading wings and flying sound more appealing? When you get there, is it really what it was all cracked up to be? And, when you get down to it, did that little hairball, multi-legged tube o’ buggliness actually want to change or does it simply follow the path that life presents to it?
We marvel at them and seldom think of what they actually had to let go of and what they had to go through. How many times have you heard some cliche phrase about becoming a butterfly but never take the time to see the beauty in the ugliness that went through that transition – the little jelly-ball that could, our caterpillar hero?
Yeah, change is more like that.
It involves a will to go through it and engage with the process of being generally effed up while you’re figuring it out. Wouldn’t it be nice to settle into the process knowingly and understand that you are in the middle of SOMETHING and seeking life purpose is part of life purpose? You hear it a lot in the new age hullabaloo that you’re doing exactly what you need to be doing by being right where you are.
It’s an unsatisfying phrase, “You are exactly where you need to be.” It’s both comforting and leaves you with a freakin’ migraine at the same time. Here!? In this goo of transition fighting to pay the bills and raise a family and feel like I’m sane at the same time. This the metaphorical chrysalis!? When do I get to be complete and soar off on my epic migrational butterfly love fest?
You don’t. This is the love fest. Start enjoying.
Expending the effort to change and grow is what is meant by being exactly where you need to be all the time. It’s not about the wild end result. You’ve heard the term being mindful, right? Living in the moment means you have to engage with what you perceive as the negative as well as the positive. You have to embrace the moment which is always adapting and changing.
Try not to linger on it, but consider that when it comes to change we all often become awkward teenagers all over again – cracked voices and blemishes, weird fashion trends and all. We find another iteration of that youthful evolution over and over again throughout life. It leads to filling a perceived hole in what we do and how we live. But, this IS part of living. The change is part of the experience. And, what an experience.
Juice cleanses and kundalini yoga take the place of acne cream and feathered bangs – these, our one-up factors in seeking meaning. We try to hollow ourselves out and open ourselves up. We try new things and hope they make us feel more whole. There are times we retreat in sadness and disappear. This is the crap they write novels and movies about. Those “awful” transitions are the parts of life we look back on and say they mattered. Aren’t you suppose to enjoy that madness?
So, where does the struggle come from?
You might be reading and think, “Ok, smartypants. If the journey all it’s about why do I feel so much resistance to moving forward or lack the fulfillment that I desire? Are you just telling me to settle and deal with what I have, you depressing pain the wazoo?”
Well, first, you’ve got some mouth on you there, sassy. And, second, in my experience as an intuitive, I’ve seen time and time again the reason that people struggle is a refusal to recognize themselves as the creator of their purpose in life, and instead, they attempt to fulfill that satisfaction by pursuing a thing – a job, an identity, and so on – without being mindful of why they are doing so.
Recently, I wrote about life purpose and moments of clarity and reflection. I ventured a bold statement that life purpose – as in what we do in life not the meaning of life – was about understanding who you are an expressing it. Without an understanding of who we are, all the things we pursue fall short of aligning with our own sense purpose. We’re marching but haven’t been listening to our inner compass.
Why do I want what I want? What makes me interested in the things I pursue? What parts of myself am I willing to dissolve by engaging in the work of my own chrysalis transformation? These are the questions we tend to forget to ask ourselves in the process of understanding who we are and our purpose in life. Worse yet, we ask them, but fail to find the perspective necessary to find that level of clarity.
So, what do you do?
It’s not always a question that’s easily answered. Know thyself. You think it would be simple, right? You’re you. You should know what you want and why. But, “you” is a complex vehicle full of history and an intricate connection to the entirety of the universe. It seems like a lot to figure out and that type of thinking comes with the risk of overcomplicating.
Simple is better.
I work with clients on the spiritual level that want to know what to do when they grow up – how they fulfill their purpose and find joy in what they do. It’s absolutely necessary to seek a broader understanding of self by pursuing knowledge of the big and wide, but it’s my opinion that spiritual seeking is often a means of reflecting on the self by viewing the world outside and understanding how we relate to it. It’s often important to clear the clutter to return to your roots and reflect on the patterns that have led you to where you are.
It’s finding that center that starts to direct you to a clear mind and heart and a better understanding of our greater connection with the universe. That means letting go of the noise and to once again steal from the metaphor of the butterfly, dissolve into your baser pieces to allow a new form to emerge and trusting in the sometimes painful process of rebirth.
You have to trust your core and your center. You have to belive that you are here for a reason. You have to know the necessary parts of yourself that will need to be tapped into. In silence, you have to listen and hear your own voice. When you find that voice isn’t clear, seek those that can help recognize it.
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The sky seemed slightly larger tonight – wider, broader, more peaceful. It was much like looking into clear water and suddenly being greeted by a vast world that had once been obscured beneath. The openness of this evening seemed to reveal many potential worlds that were faded behind the distractions hidden in the atmosphere – the pollutants and light and materials that come between us and the cosmos
It stood to reason that, in the same fashion water – still and free of impurity – can be looked straight through into once mirky depths, the distant stars could be viewed the same way. It did seem that the crisp, night air knew nothing of the noise and mess that exists closer to the muddy ground. The separation from the usual chaos makes your mind feel similar to the night air – free to dive deeply into places forgotten, unseen, waiting to be revisited, or conjured up. The clarity leaves one suddenly connected to the vast.
Further up, one could only imagine how far you could see. With only space between you and the enormity of the universe, the shining stars and galaxies, light from eons past, would brush against your very being and impart stories of their existence if your mind was quiet enough to listen.
Lost in the clouds? Lost in space, perhaps. Danger Will Robinson.
Back to earth. One can dream of the stories and marvel at the possibilities of the far and beyond, but what about here and now. This tiny rock all the mysteries on it. It’s actually vast enough all on its own. What is the point? Where does the purpose lie? And where is the self the “I” in all of that?
Many late nights have served as echoless sounding boards for the same question in various forms. Why am I here? What should I do with my life? What do I want to be when I grow up? (Do we ever really feel grown-up?) And many have patiently waited for that empty space to reply back. (More on that another time.)
It’s not uncommon to look up and the sky and search for answers far and away from where, perhaps, we can feel clarity for something away from the mess. But, it’s the mess itself the motivates us and gives purpose. True clarity comes from bringing the pieces together in the middle of the chaos to find order and then recognizing that order can be set aside and allowing truth to be felt and lived – letting it burn warmly with intention in our every moment.
How does one keep that in motion?
The conundrum happens when we crash downward from the wonder of all the COULD and find ourselves feeling small and inadequate or adversely large and powerful but uncertain and uncoordinated. Stagnancy comes in the form of dreaming too big or not dreaming enough. We settle for enough or our thirst for success can never be quenched.
As a result, we make plans deciding what we want to be when we grow up well into our 60’s. In the search, we forget to be present. The action doesn’t flow because we forget that living in line with our purpose isn’t about what we do for a living or the things we can accomplish, but instead, about understanding ourselves.
We have jobs and families and bills, so it’s natural that we look to purpose as if it's defined by the job and career we take. It’s about what we get done. All of it needs to flow into this big version of who we are but isn’t the opposite true. What we do is about us and who we are. The actions around that – the jobs and accomplishments – are simply another level of expressing the self.
Life purpose – the action of life – is an expression of self.
It’s the ultimate way of speaking our truth if you think about it. Though it may not be the reason for life it is very much the way in which we seek to engage with the shared reality around us. The driving, motivating force behind our accomplishments all come from the foundation of what makes this body, this lifetime, light up and shine. It comes from what makes our spirit sing.
That joyous song can be heard and felt in the simple moments as well as the grand ones. We can change tides or change diapers, move mountains or move furniture, but we find purpose when we are true to ourselves and honest with our ideas. It also lives in the midst of that mess we keep avoiding. That mess is the material of life and we give purpose to it, not the other way around.
While we may be caught in the light of the distant reaches of spaces, we too often forget about the light that we create. Somewhere far off in those reaches, another soul may be staring towards just that – your shining light and wondering how they could ever accomplish anything so grand.
What makes your light shine?
More aptly, how do you know what makes your light shine? It seems like an odd question, one that should already know, but it often leaves us lost and questioning. We’ll explore further next time.
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