“Butterflies are all around Me”
I have always been fascinated by the butterfly. Ever since I was a child, I eagerly anticipated summer to see these beautiful vibrant creatures. Confidently flapping their delicate wings all around the park, showcasing their beauty.
I always remembered the “butterfly” but seldom remembered the stages that occurred prior to that vivacious creature emerging. Almost two years ago as I was nearly at the end of the divorce process. I was invited to a private auction exhibit displaying gorgeous artwork at a gallery in NYC.
The Butterfly Exhibit
I remember it was in the middle of winter and I just felt emotionally exhausted from my divorce. My dear friend invited me to the exhibit to get me out of the apartment and do something different. As I wandered around the exhibit that night. I started to feel connected to several pieces in the gallery but one piece in particular caught my eye. The artwork by Damien Hirst featured a circular arrangement of vibrant butterflies or “papillon” as my mother likes to say.
I felt myself drawn to this piece and couldn’t draw my eyes away. I kept coming back to the same piece as I walked through the gallery. “Why was it affecting me so much?” I was mesmerized by the strength and effervescent nature of this beautiful creature and all I could see in the artwork was “serenity and the power of transformation.” I left the gallery that night feeling so grateful that something so beautiful touched me so deeply, as great art often does.
A Few Months Later
One day a few months after my gallery outing, I dropped my daughter off at school and she was excited to show me a project the class was working on. I stepped into the classroom and on the table there was a jar with four to five silky cocoons.
Now that I was in the classroom looking at these creatures, I had to think back to elementary biology and specifically about the life cycle of a butterfly. I didn’t have to reach back into the depths of memory too long when the kids in the classroom excitedly yelled out the stages of the butterfly: egg, larva, pupa and adult butterfly stages.
The Catepillar Stage
I was particularly focused on the caterpillar stage when the larva needs to eat a lot, sheds its skin, and goes through “molting.” Thinking back to any difficult time in one’s life, I started to really see the analogy or connection. A person might just be ingesting a lot of turmoil and hardship during a difficult period which is necessary before the next phase of transition.
One day the caterpillar stops eating and spins itself into a chrysalis or cocoon. I remember feeling like this during periods while I was going through my divorce. There was a period where I just wanted to protect myself from the feelings of hurt, disappointment, insecurity, and failure.
I realize now that I had to go through this “shedding phase” and experience these feelings and let go of any negative energy that was consuming my spirit before I could transform, emerge as a stronger individual, and move on with my life. I left the classroom that morning for the first time in a while knowing that things in my life where about to change for the better, but it would be a process.
Women’s Half Marathon in NYC.
Fast forward to a few weeks later, I was running the Women’s Half Marathon in NYC. I had run the race before but for some reason, I was particularly nervous the year my divorce was being finalized. There was a part of me that doubted my ability to finish the race again after what I had been through.
I felt insecure that I could rise up to the challenge again. I don’t remember much about the particular details of that 13.1 mile race but I do remember the last mile as I felt my legs and will about to give up on me because of my physical and emotional exhaustion.
The song “ROAR” by Katy Perry miraculously came on my IPod shuffle during my last mile and I couldn’t help but push my body forward as I listened to this pop tune. I had flashbacks to the very difficult period that I had endured but then my mind flashed through the wonderful images most important in my life, my family and friends.
Even the image of the butterfly dangled in front of me as I made my way to the finish line. At that moment, I felt like my cocoon had broken. I had “shed my skin” and was ready to embark on the next chapter in my life. Ready to show my daughter and the world that my metamorphosis was starting to take place. I was growing into my best self and I was on the road to Reinvention.