Back in March, my gorgeous bestie bought me the most amazing Birthday present, a Butterfly Garden. Knowing my love for butterflies and the connection to my new adVenture, it was a perfect gift. I found myself giddy with excitement at being able to nurture and more importantly set free my own butterflies, offering a really sumptuous, symbolic loveliness to my personal transformational journey. With child-like energy, I opened the box and read the instructions - I felt like the Butterfly Lady was about to be conceived. How exciting and yet little did I know the magic and anguish that was in store.
Following the instructions, I eagerly purchased my five tiny caterpillars, which came in their own little aerated tub, complete with food and nutrients necessary for this phase of their development. With fascination, I watched for any little movement to prove their alive-ness. And to my joy within a couple of days after the trauma of their journey through our postal system, wriggles gave me the sign that I needed. All five of my babies were alive!
And then all of a sudden, as if out of no where, the caterpillars burst - first a small spurt, then a doubling and then these chubby little creatures, nourished by their nibblings, almost overnight became 'proper' caterpillars. I was so happy that these five little kids were not feeding on our cabbages! From that moment on, they grew, created webs of silk-like nets that the greatest of spiders would have been proud of and began the next stage of their incredible metamorphosis.
Have you ever noticed how, the more you watch something, the slower it seems? Well that was certainly true for me. I found myself making excuses to go into the kitchen to see their progress and then suddenly, when my back was turned, boom - they'd done it! Almost over night, the caterpillar's hanging from the lid became a practice run no more - and the chrysalide phase began. One by one, they cocooned themselves in what seemed like the wave of a wand and I was so determined to see the last one make its journey to its transformation shell. My patience paid off. I was transfixed by its meticulous knitting of its metamorphic jumper and the dance that most surely entertained me, as it said its last goodbye to the caterpillar world. 30 minutes was all it took from the hanging to the bagging. I felt so privileged to have watched this journey unfold before my very eyes and seeing something so small go through something so epic was inspirational.
After I set them free onto a near by bush, I watched them as they grew accustomed to their new habitat and they looked like nervous children going into their first day at school. Although as I imagine any parent doing, I felt the need to move away, not look back and let go, enabling them to live out their lives as nature intends. To this day I'm not sure whatever happened to wonky, although I have to trust that the magnificent cycle of life, had the right path for him. I bow to the splendour and magnificence of a world that unfolds invisibly with an intelligence that is far superior to our existence.
And so what lessons did the butterflies teach me, you may well ask? The key insight was the privilege of watching nature's private, evolutionary movie play out right before my eyes. The symbolic transformation from one creature to another was intricate, instinctive and enchanting. There were no 'rule books' for how to do it, they did what came naturally to them and the journey they went on to emerge, took time, patience, surrender and trust. I became so attuned to the true elegance of Mother Nature's tapestry and it gave me a new-found respect for the intricacy of life beyond our human existence. It put so many of my fears and anxieties into a different perspective. It also taught me about my need for patience, detachment and the role of interference and how when left to their own devices, people, events and nature will find their own rhythm and dance to their own tune of life. I also came to appreciate a minuscule amount of the pressure being a parent must bring to your life. So to any parent this, I celebrate you.
It was an honour to be part of the process and would I do it again? Yes of course - it was a magical experience and to contribute positively to our natural world, rather than destroy it, felt a good thing to do. Although I would do it differently next time and surrender to nature's alchemy.
With butterfly blessings