1. A transformation, as by magic or sorcery.
2. A marked change in appearance, character, condition, or function.
We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.
Since my arrival back in Canada, now over a month ago, I’ve sensed the need to cocoon myself to process, integrate, and as a dear friend says, “recalibrate,” from my journeying. My first morning I awoke to a fog so thick, I could see nothing outside our Toronto hotel windows. I was thankful for the cushioning it offered as I moved into my life here. Even as we drove south towards Niagara, the cloud cover kept the intensity, speed and sound of the cityscape at bay. At our rest stop in Niagara-on-the-Lake, whisps of cloud and fog hung over the lake and softened the vibrancy of a delayed spring, with tulips and violets melting into the moistness.
Intuitively, I’d had dreams, and moments of anxiety, during my months away…portents of the upheavals awaiting me on my return. Life would be requiring me to “be here now.” And still that motif of cocooning coming through, as I composed my “afterthought” email to the women who participated in our “Living and Leading with Heart” retreat: Yet my time with you, “cocooned” amidst the soft cloud cover, green trees, and even that skiff of snow, was a most joyful interlude.
Last week, when I attended the monthly gathering of my community of facilitators, conversation hosts and coaches, the motif continued as the evening’s hosts used “metamorphosis” as the circle’s theme for reflection and conversation. We were invited to go the area of the room that best spoke to our stage of metamorphosis, marked by beautiful paper mache eggs, caterpillars, cocoons, and butterflies, hand-crafted by one of our hosts. Without hesitation I moved to the cocoon constructed among the branches of a tree limb and reflected on its significance.
A few days later I wrote the post “Visionary Dreams: A Wise-Dame Myth,” my friend commented that it reminded her of metamorphosis and suggested Leah Piken Kolidas’ site, Creative Every Day, might be of interest to me. And then I really noticed in that post, within the photo of my collage called Visionary Dreams, between the masked face and the monarch butterfly, hung a chrysalis.
I am in awe how this motif has come to me over and over again, serendipitously, since my return home. Our weather, which for the most part has been overcast with huge grey clouds, and exceptionally large popular seed pods that have burst forth with their white cotton fluff evoke a feeling of being softly held within.
I take a step out to deal with what needs my attention, and then retreat into the cocoon that waits for me when I return.
This rhythm has given me discernment and wise action. Professionally, my work situation is now different, totally new and holding promise for enlivening creativity and collaboration. Yesterday I packed up and vacated the cubicle I’d called “home” for several years, and moved into a brighter, open space to be shared by members of this new team. Personally, with the solstice’s gift of illumination, I grew in clarity about the need to cease effort and expectation in relation to others, and to let be what is.
But in the deepest and most subtle place inside, I sense there is much more waiting, much more going on. That after having been like a butterfly, flying wide, sipping deep, and loving it all up for three months, and in this past month of focused and strategic engagement, and stepping back into some of my life’s streams and friendships, I need again to surrender to this yearning to retreat to give those imaginal cells time, space and quiet.
I’ve always loved Richard Bach’s quote,”What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” What a comfort to think a butterfly is in the works. But I know that as a pattern-seeker and meaning-maker, I’ve grasped at the slender threads of emergence, and labelled it prematurely, in attempts to resolve the tension of waiting and not knowing. And in so doing, what have I missed? What process have I aborted, like the boy who in picking away at the cocoon to help the struggling butterfly emerge, inadvertently kills it, because the struggle through is what brings life to its wings?
Truth is, I have no idea if, when or what is to emerge. So I wait. And dwell in the wise words of John O’Donohue from his To Bless The Space Between Us (2008), gifted to me from one of the hosts at last week’s gathering.