Saturday, December 19, 2015

Change – from Caterpillar to Chrysalis to Butterfly

by Janet M. Shlaes, Ph.D.

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”  ~ Maya Angelou

How do you move through the inevitable changes in your life? In the best of circumstances, change is challenging on a variety of levels. Even when change is most welcome, it often facilitates a sense of disorientation – of being in a place between the past and the future. The old no longer fits and you haven’t quite entered the new. To me, the change that occurs from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly provides the perfect illustration of the change process. Something shifts deep within the caterpillar that compels it to generate a cocoon, a protective resting place, and the change process is officially set into motion. The cocoon provides a respite from the life of being a caterpillar, as well as a between place for the true magic of transformation to take place. Deep within the chrysalis, the elements of the caterpillar are broken down into their basic elements and reconfigured into a new form. When the transformation process is complete, the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis and soon takes flight. The very same core elements that comprised the caterpillar are still present within the butterfly; the new configuration enables the butterfly to have a very different life from its former one.

As ever changing humans in a dynamic world, we are compelled to change via both internal and external factors. Once our change is set into motion, it’s critical to provide the space to be with our change during the between space of the old and the new. It’s takes a bit of time to move through  change and fully shift into a new form and way of being in our post-change world. The discomfort and disorientation inherent in the change process ultimately facilitates our capacity to fully embrace the new – until the next round of change begins.

Each of us has a unique approach to moving through the change process. What is yours?


For addition insights and observations, check out the following posts:  

Learn Something New

Embracing "Good Enough"

Breakdown to Breakthrough

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