When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she always had been. But she had wings.—Dean Jackson
Welcome to August at Tranquil Space. There’s a quiet in the city as many escape to beaches and family vacations. A slower pace beckons.
Recently I visited a longtime friend in New York City and she snapped the above photo of me enjoying the illusion of having bright, floral butterfly wings.
We grew up together in Oklahoma and last saw one another a decade ago. When she invited me up for a weekend visit, I had no idea how easily we’d reconnect. We talked relationships, loss, growth, and transformation in between riding a carousel in Bryant Park, seeing “A Doll’s House, Part 2” (highly recommend), and wandering through the Cloisters and New York Public Library.
During one of our long conversations, we discussed our Great Plains upbringing and how it’s shaped who we are. We both love being from Oklahoma and, yet, also knew we needed to move on after college. We needed to spread our wings.
Over the years I’ve noticed that in order to grow, it’s necessary to explore and question what we may consider to be true.
There’s a mindfulness teaching I like to ask myself, “Is it true? Is it real?” What we feel and think is real. It’s real to us. However, is it true? For example, is it really too late to go back to school? Are there really no other options for handling a tough situation? Do you really have to work 24/7 to get ahead?
Sometimes we can become so stuck that we’re unable to see alternatives and may feel trapped. Transformation happens when we step beyond those long-held beliefs to consider a different way. A metaphorical spreading of wings to take flight.
And when we take a step back from doing things how we’ve always done them, we may find ourselves expanding—buoyant and free. By no longer following an old path or outdated way of being and thinking, we have space for something that’s stirring within to flourish.
Although the caterpillars may not recognize you, you may just find delight. As Keats wrote, “I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”
If you were to spread your wings and fly, what would it look like? Namaste.