Sunday, December 19, 2010

What the Butterfly Would Say:

What the Butterfly Would Say:
On the Wings of Transformation, Hope, and Life
By: Jakob Cutter

We have a particular fascination with butterflies.  Not only are they amazing pollinators, fun to watch and beautiful, but they instill in us a wonderful sense of transformation, hope, and life. 
The life of a butterfly is a journey of stages and rebirth and it reflects changes in our own lives.  It is easy to understand why we would find inspiration from them.
As I write this, I have a specific condition in mind: cancer.  However, the metaphor extends to other physical conditions, as well as conditions of the mind, heart, and spirit.  It extends to the difficulties of life, in general.  We are always enduring and thriving.
As we know, the butterfly begins its life story as an egg and from there it becomes a caterpillar.  The most notable change is from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly.  Now, I don’t know much about butterfly psychology—whether they anticipate their metamorphoses from caterpillar to butterfly, but they certainly do make it look easy.
It is not an easy feat though. When the butterfly emerges, its wings are soft and folded. The process is usually bloody, or what appears to be a blood-like substance.  Once out, their soft wings unfold and harden, at which time the butterfly takes to the sky to do their graceful aerial dance.  Even then, the life of a butterfly is not easy; there are predators, parasites, and pesticides that threaten them. 
I don’t know if the butterfly knows its destiny, I don’t know if it looks forward to becoming a butterfly, but I believe that it is the journey that matters.  A person close to me who is undergoing chemotherapy told me that when he sees a butterfly, he sees that it chose life.  The butterfly’s journey is life affirming despite all obstacles.
I cannot fathom the difficulties of undergoing treatment, living with, and surviving cancer.  I cannot fathom the courage it takes to face something so scary.  I won’t pretend to understand.  The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual toll it takes on the person living with cancer is enormous.  It is transforming.  The toll it takes on family is massive.  In a time of so many scary changes and uncertainty we must look to hope, for which the butterfly is a classic symbol.  I'm reminded of a quote, paraphrased:  “But we rejoice in our sufferings because we know that trials build perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us.”  We can look to the butterfly for this.
Imagine what the butterfly may tell us about these things, about transformation, hope, life... uncertainty.  If that graceful aerial dance was an interpretive dance, I believe the butterfly would say:  “Even with a broken wing, I still hope!  I still live!  I still fly!”

Jakob Cutter is a graduate of Indiana University with degrees in History and Psychology with a minor in Sociology. He is currently working as a butterfly farmer at Butterfly Dan’s in Kissimmee, Florida.

18 comments:

stonepost said...

don't forget the total dance, Chez, "Dance like a butterfly, sting like a bee." Muhamed Ali

diane b said...

I hope your wing mends and you can fly away.

Kaz said...

Chez agree with Diane on this.xo

nancyspoint said...

Chez, Beautiful analogy with the butterfly. They do represent life, transformation, hope and difficulty too. I never thought about them like that before. There are so many great lessons in nature. This is another example. Thanks for sharing this.

Ness said...

I see a butterfly and it always brings me a feeling of comfort,a presence as it dances along it's way discovering a new path of freedom, beauty and belonging .. i once was a caterpillar until Jezza revealed the butterfly within me..butterfly is also the true meaning of my name.. xox :)

Ness said...

I see a butterfly and it always brings me a feeling of comfort,a presence as it dances along it's way discovering a new path of freedom, beauty and belonging .. i once was a caterpillar until Jezza revealed the butterfly within me..butterfly is also the true meaning of my name.. xox :)

Chez said...

Lovely quote by Muhamed Ali StonePost. I like the analogy of this article by Jakob.The group that we belong to has many challenges. Doesn't it?

Chez said...

Diane b that is a nice thought. Thank you.

You too Kaz xo

Chez said...

Nancy, I found this as I was having a clean out of my Inbox last night. It had come from a friend and I felt it was something to be shared with my readers. I love the way we take different things away each time we 'investigate' the same piece of writing. Definitely a good one for us..

Chez said...

Ness, did you also notice the fb call for butterfly quotes? I had actually written that the quote was one on a card sent by you after Jeremy's accident and when it did not all show on the screne I simplified it.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful thought. I can always rely on you to reinforce how special 'our' boy is.
2011 is your year sweetie. Love Chez xo

Angel-Star said...

oh hi chez, i had missed your visit and just now saw your comment

keep rising toward the light
as butterflies will

Maundering mutterer said...

Its a very pretty piece. Thanks for sharing it. Isn't it odd how many people despise caterpillars? Ah, but you've metamorphosing. Wishing you free flight.

Paul C said...

What a beautiful analogy of transformation into something greater. Butterflies are an inspiration.

Kathryn said...

Thank you Chez, for posting this. I love it. I wear a ring on my left hand that reminds me of Pete and I. It is a yellow butterfly. I actually found it at the same jewelry store that we bought our wedding rings.
I went in looking to mesh our bands together so that I could wear them both. But I decided against it. Instead I saw this butterfly ring that Had yellow sapphires for wings and two very small diamonds for the body. It seemed perfect for where Pete and I were in life. On my way home from buying it. A yellow butterfly flew in front of my car. It felt like Pete had pointed me to find it.
I believe in the butterfly and I believe in you, Friend. Live and Fly with grace. The way you always do.

Chez said...

Moving towards the light is something we too should work towards Angel Star. I love the freedom of the beautifully coloured butterflies in our garden.
Sending you love and light..

Chez said...

Mm that is a nice thought. I often look at the damage done by caterpillars in the garden only to be reminded of the beauty of the butterfly and the reminder that I too will, one day, fly free.

Chez said...

Paul, I suspect I have had this piece on my computer for some time. I am so glad I 'discovered' it. The comments have been good for me...

Chez said...

Kathryn are you able to post a picture of your ring. It is a beautiful tale and one that has me thinking about your beloved Pete. Wearing your ring will give you so much pleasure and will be a reminder of treasured memories. I have tears in my eyes at the thought sweetie.
Why am I not surprised at the thought of the butterfly crossing your path on the way home? Pete is with you always and I am delighted that you are 'seeing' the signs.
Give those babies of yours a hug from me and tell them they are truly blessed to have such a special Mom. Love and light my friend xo