Last month our family were blessed to have the opportunity to take home a caterpillar habitat from our son’s school during the holidays and watch their metamorphosis.
We observed the caterpillars transform from their furry, squiggly little bodies into the most colourful, delicate, beautiful butterflies.
This process was intriguing, and I felt as if they were our little pets! I learned so much from watching them, I thought to share it in this post. I am not an expert, but this was my humble observation and knowledge acquired.
When a caterpillar is about to begin the process of transforming into a chrysalis, (widely referred to as a cocoon) it creates a web, which helps form a protection from predators, and later uses this to spin into a chrysalis and hang from a plant or branch (in our case it was the ventilated lid of the artificial habitat).
As I watched this activity, it was notable that the same web formed to establish protection in the habitat could also be used to harm the metamorphosis. Once the caterpillar hardened and formed the chrysalis, it was important to detangle it from the web, otherwise this could have the potential to obstruct its wings from flying, even causing physical damage after its emergence.
In our lives, we may have developed protective barriers as a form of self-preservation, but these same walls can also prevent us blossoming into beautiful people we have been created to be. It can obstruct our transformation and prevent us from moving into higher heights, even damaging the same ‘wings’ we seek to use to ‘fly’ and progress.
When the butterfly is inside the chrysalis it requires a quiet environment to grow and develop. When it feels threatened, it begins to aggressively shake itself from inside its shell. Likewise, there are seasons in our lives when we are transforming and experiencing a period of growth almost likened to a mental or spiritual transfiguration.
During these times, we can find ourselves wanting to be more silent and reflective than usual. If people come into our space, it can at times feel as if our process is being threatened. But this is fine, it’s all part of the transformation. This may be hard for people to accept as all they see is a hardened version of yourself, like the caterpillar’s chrysalis.
But they are unable to see the beautiful changes happening to your character, the colours emerging on your delicate wings. It’s like a pregnant woman, who can often feel a strong sense to protect her unborn child during the different trimesters. We too can feel the need to incubate our personal growth.
When it's time for the butterfly to emerge, it sheds off the chrysalis and out comes an amazing bright-coloured, unrecognisable, butterfly. One of the first things it requires is some food – nectar or fruit. Like the butterfly, when we re-emerge, we too need new food to feed our minds.
We may find ourselves listening to different influential writers or speakers, needing a new mentor etc. We have entered a new environment, no longer crawling on the ground but able to fly, so we need to surround ourselves with like-minded people.
It may seem a little strange at first. Like the butterfly, when we were releasing them from their habitat, they were somewhat hesitant at first to spread their wings and fly. But all they needed was the right climate and a little encouragement and off they went! You might need a mentor or coach to encourage you in your new life but once you realise who you now are, you will fly away into the new you – as free as a bird.
If you can resonate with this, and this is the season you are in - here’s to an elegant you, beautiful colours, and higher heights!