Lately, I’ve been experiencing little glimmerings of hope and joy, and a feeling like I am about to enter a new phase of my life. The funny thing is, this is not at all reflected in my outer circumstances. The winter days are short and it’s pitch black when I come home from work. The second generator in a row has just broken down and I have no lights or computer in the caravan till it’s fixed. Nevertheless, the glimmerings persist.
It started a couple of weeks ago. I was sitting on my bed, on a Saturday. Everything I’d been holding onto for so long – house, relationship, job – had just collapsed in a heap. I just couldn’t see the point any more. I mean, what was I holding on so tight to anyway? A house that meant I was going to end up in more debt. A job I don’t even like. A relationship with someone who lies to me. Are these things really worth the sacrifices, the unhappiness, that I’d been putting up with?
Duh, of course not. But sometimes when we are ‘locked in’ to a course in life we can become blinkered to the signs that our course may not actually be the right one for us. We focus so hard on the destination that we forget about the journey. Life becomes a series of goals to be ticked off, instead of a path of discovery and adventure and wonder. My boss has this quote on her office door:
“Many people die at twenty five and aren’t buried until they’re seventy five” Benjamin Franklin
When I read it I felt a sick feeling in my stomach because it was talking about me. The last time I really lived my life with passion and excitement was about age 25. So what the hell have I been doing for the 12 years since? Trying to conform to the expectations of ‘other people’. Trying to ‘fit in’. Trying find a ‘job’ that doesn’t make me want to slit my wrists. Needless to say, despite all my trying, I have not been very successful in any of these endeavours.
I love the word metamorphosis, which derives from the old Greek for ‘transformation’ or ‘change form’. It’s often used to describe a butterfly’s transformation from pupa, also known as the chrysalis, to the imago, or adult butterfly. During the chrysalis stage there is little outward movement, but inside all the growth for the beautiful creature that is to come is taking place.
I’ve been dormant a long time. It’s time to shed the self-imposed wrappings that have been keeping me in darkness, unmoving. There’s a tiny fluttering between my shoulder blades and I want to stretch out my glorious wings. Butterflies know life is precious. Their lives are measured in days and weeks, never years. For a brief time they brighten the world with their beauty, and then the cycle is over. Like the butterfly, our time on this earth is fleeting. Our lives are tiny flashes in the cosmic vastness, and they count only in the moments that we emerge into the world, stretch our gorgeous wings, and show the beauty of who we really are.