He was small, tubular, green and seemed to eat an entire bush worth of leaves in one day. Every child in the second grade class was fascinated with how quickly this worm doubled in size. The daily buzz around the caterpillar cage grew louder every 24 hours. Is it possible we ended up with the Goliath among caterpillars? In less than 10 days, our green Goliath hung from a branch completely engulfed by a nondescript cocoon. The old body parts of the caterpillar out of sight were no longer fascinating to the 8 years olds, and yet they were rapidly transforming to become the parts of a colorful flying creature.
With the famished green worm long forgotten, the old colorless dry cocoon attracted no one. Ten days in, the cocoon cracked. The emerging had begun. Well, less emerging and more struggling, less revealing and more attempting to give way. Emerging is excruciating, intense. It even appears tortuous.
By the time most people have stopped paying attention and even though the transformation has already taken place, emerging in a way that reveals metamorphosis is fierce. Emerging requires much of us. As we work on emerging, there are habits we intentionally stop while purposefully taking new actions. One thing is for sure, emerging takes grit.
No Caterpillar Blames the Cocoon
We stop allowing ourselves to blame people, circumstances, and institutions. When the blaming stops, confronting ourselves starts. If we no longer blame our employer for our unhappiness, we have to face our own fears and shift our job or our role at the job. Blaming assumes we have no choice when we do have a choice. We ate the junk food, took the job, bought the out-of-budget item. When we stop blaming and start taking responsibility, emerging begins.
No Worm Decides they Deserve to Stay Swaddled
We stop entertaining self-justification. Self-justification is more dangerous than lying because we convince ourselves it’s the best thing we could have done. Despite my goal or desire or intention, I’m doing it! So we drank the soda and ate the candy bar even though we’re diabetic. Now we are not interested in the truth about our health but instead we must preserve our self-esteem. Self-justification keeps our self-concept in tact by reducing our responsibility. If we don’t have to take credit for the misstep, then we feel better about ourselves. Self-justifying leaves us powerless. To fully emerge we have to take the position that we have the power to make it different — produce the desired results. When we stop justifying and start accepting we did it, we can make a different choice and emerge.
No Complainer ever Emerges into a Butterfly
Complaining is our favorite pastime, according to our social media accounts. The circumstances we complain about are all situations we can change but we’ve chosen not to change. We don’t make the change because there is some kind of risk involved. Making a change is uncomfortable, difficult, even confusing so we avoid the risk and simply complain. When we stop complaining and start making changes, emerging commences.
To be fully transformed, to completely emerge, we must stop putting limits on ourselves in the form of blaming, self-justifying and complaining. This Spring is the perfect time for us to emerge. In the words of Marianne Williamson, “You are emerging from the cocoon of your former self. There are no limits to the extent of the transformation that’s possible for you.”