Why I’ve Stopped Comparing Myself To A Butterfly (Thoughts on Gentle Change and Becoming)

She is me and not me. I know her story and I don’t. She’s a stranger and a friend. Both a future version taking shape and a reality unfolding.

I want to embody her right now and grow listless in the waiting.

But I’m learning to settle for the slight spins I make toward her centered way of living.

Slight might even be an overstatement. The turns are minuscule, imperceptible even to my eyes. But I give a nod to this invisible path I’m on, trusting in the slivers of change weaving themselves into my spirit.

I am mesmerized by her commitment to breathing and being, her simple spirituality grounded in the earth. I take note of her gradual movements. Every step another colorful brushstroke laid atop the layered canvas of the world.

What I find most intriguing about her though, this creature of a woman I’m desperate to embody, who feels both arm’s length and a lifetime away, is her patience. Her peace.

She doesn’t rush change, upon herself or anyone else. She lets it all be and, in her presence, we are free to become.

I am not a butterfly. The metaphor falls apart as I enter the fortieth decade of life. The incessant need to better myself, always on the ascent to greater heights. What if I’ve given up on ever getting my wings, what then? I grow more uncomfortable with this vision of taking flight and its assumption of radical, final transformation.

Yes, it makes for a gripping fictional drama, a beautiful monarch, and a shiny new beginning, but it does not fit the suffering, circular, and somber nature of my actual human life.

I’ve worshipped the god of sudden transformation off and on for too long now. I believed major change was superior to slight spins. That my evolution was only real if it looked like the movies and felt like a plunge off a cliff or a breathless leap from an airplane.

But the proof of my exuberant existence and commitment to keep moving forward in this life is not outstretched arms and heart-stopping actions, but a steady devotion to staying grounded on my little leaf-munching and exploring my way across every inch of this green surface.

The real rush doesn’t come through the whoosh of gale-force winds against my face but in the light and calming breeze sweeping over me, through me. It nudges me every so slightly to stop trying so damn hard to be different from who I was yesterday and be content with gentle change.

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Every day does not need to be a huge win for it to be a step forward. Healing is not a race and it certainly does not have time limits, in fact, it is so full of ups and downs that the attachment to big results and linear growth will cause your mind to fill with tension. Adopt the mindset of an explorer; healing is the discovery of new spaces within you, realms that were once ignored, areas that are newly flourishing – to be able to traverse all that is you will require patience. Let your healing move organically.

Jung Pueblo

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