There’s a story I heard many years ago that stuck with me forever — a sad tale with layers of priceless insights…
Once upon a time there were three very sensitive little kids, around 8-10 years old. They stared in wide-eyed-wonder as they observed the mesmerizing metamorphosis of cocooned caterpillars emerging into beautiful, richly colored, winged butterflies. They loved these caterpillars-come-butterflies but they were also deeply disturbed by what they perceived to be unnecessarily hard work the butterflies had to endure in order to emerge from the cocoons.
One day, they had an idea: if only they could cut away the cocoon just before the transition, the butterflies would not have to struggle! So, the kids found a tiny little pair of nail scissors and, at what they deemed to be just the right moment, they carefully cut away the cocoons of the butterflies, confident that their butterfly friends would thank them for it.
As you may have guessed, it did not turn out at all the way the children had anticipated. While the butterflies were indeed fully-formed, they could not fly. The children fell into piles of tears, realizing that their attempt to assist the butterfly babies actually resulted in forever handicapping them.
The Essence of Metamorphosis
Metamorphosis literally means, “to change form” –with a connotation to a higher, transcendent form. Like a baby ready to birth or a butterfly ready to emerge from its cocoon, there is no escaping the reality of the authentic journey, and there is not usually even a conscious awareness that a transcendent change of form is at hand. In many ways, if we knew wings were waiting on the other side of a painful journey, the passage would be far easier. No such luck. It’s as if the very absence of knowing is what earns us our “wings.” It is the commitment to doing what is right despite how hard it might be, to following our deepest knowing even in the face of absolute fear, that these miraculous transformations are won.
The baby and the butterfly do, however, offer us a set of fail-proof tips for dark, difficult, intimidating metamorphosis moments: they demonstrate perfect presence, intuition and instinct. Achieving that perfect posture requires putting all projection and apprehension aside so that natural, real intuition and instinct can guide the passage.
There is a confidence we gain when we have to persevere through the dark tunnels that link our transformations. Our beautiful lives are filled with these opportunities. However, typically, we tend to just take one look at these challenges/opportunities and see nothing but pain, making a bee-line for the path of least resistance (if we can find one). When we choose instead to undertake our challenges armed with our fullest truth, something else happens, we evolve!
Evolution and syntropy are very similar concepts. Syntropy (more popularly known as “neg-entropy,” the opposite of entropy) means to rise to higher, more rarified orders from lesser, more chaotic arrangements. Syntropy promises unlimited rising to higher forms of life – a kind of gateway to immortality in effect. We can live the syntropic life if we can be really present in the most challenging of times and have the presence of mind to hear and follow our intuition and instinct over our knee-jerk fears.
I don’t know what your unique challenges are, but I do know that in them you’ll find your greatest opportunities for metamorphosis. Difficult? Indeed, sometimes more than you think you can bear. But, there is a way through if you maintain the presence of mind and intimacy with your essence such that intuition and instinct can be your steady compass. It is through seizing these moments that we can swing up the syntropic spiral, coming into closer sync with our immortality. For those of you who find immortality too far-fetched, imagine, at least that you will rise out of your perceived land-bound limitations, taking wing with new life.
In loving service,