When I was about 12, I remember standing in a baseball field for gym class, when a ball came flying my way and smashed into my baby boobs. How could something -so little- make something -so little- hurt so bad?! Needless to say, the hit awarded me the opportunity to sit the next round out. I remember my male gym teacher couldn't understand why I was in so much pain... my growing pains weren't super obvious and I wasn't going to point them out. My body was changing and I wasn't going to try and explain to my teacher that my body had decided it was time for me to become a woman. I still hadn't figured out to tell my mom that I needed more than just a training-cup bra. My itty bitty baby b-cup breasts felt like two water balloons filled to capacity and ready to burst. That's probably the last time I've played baseball. Growing hurts and it's awkward - so I told the world to take its baseball and shove it.
We go through so many transformations in our life it's hard to keep count. Whether it's physically, emotionally or spiritually, When are we NOT growing?! Sometimes they're big and sometimes they're small. sometimes they're easily noticed by others and sometimes they're not. Sometimes they need to be explained and sometimes it's better to just let them go unnoticed. But regardless of size, they are always felt by us and can cause pain.
A while back I was speaking with one of my spiritual mentors. I go to her when I'm in a meltdown -aka- transformation. She said, "My dear, you are a butterfly." and I was like "I don't want to be a butterfly, I want to be something stronger. I want to be a tiger, a dragon or... like.. I dunno a scorpion." She laughed and said "You think butterflies aren't strong. Have you not ever witnessed butterfly the moment they've come out of the cocoon?" Me: "Umm.. no."
She went into this beautiful story of how she approached just after they had shed their cocoon and explained that the wings of this delicate creature were still dripping wet, and wrinkled. They use their body as a pump and force fluid through a series of tube-like veins. It's imperative to their survival. I didn't know this. I was under the impression that the hard part happened in the cocoon and then their work was done "T a-da, I'm born a magnificent butterfly. *whew* Glad the hard part is over!" I mentioned this and explained I had no idea that they had so much work to do once they became a butterfly. She laughed again in the most annoying way spiritual mentors do when they're about to drop another info bomb to make you feel stupid in the most loving way. "Rachel my dear, this little butterfly still has to migrate 3000 miles." *mic drop* ok, I'm a dick... seriously, how could I think a dragon to be far more strong than a butterfly? A dragon sits on gold and breaths fire and burns down the occasional bridge which is pretty awesome but who's stronger? In order to become a butterfly, the caterpillar has to fall apart completely, decompose down to their very essence, devoid of any shape or consciousness. They literally die. There is nothing left of them. And from this liquid essence, a butterfly starts to put itself together, from scratch. But they're not even done at that point, then they pump the liquid from their wings so they can spread them open and fly 3000 freaking miles with no freaking map. Butterflies are badass. I shall never think otherwise. So now when I see them, I'm like "Hello you graceful, delicate, badass. Dragons ain't got nuthin' on you! Oh and my spiritual mentor thinks I look like you. I agree. My wings are blue. Duuuude this shit is hard. RIght?!"
The conversation with my spiritual know-it-all ended like this, "Rachel, when you come out of your cocoon and your wings are dripping fluid you have two choices:
1) You can sit there and do nothing and you will die or
2) You can keep working, moving and pushing forward and it will be hard but your other option is death. Oh, and drama is optional."
"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." Anais Nin
Well shit. I guess this means I need to pump...or die. Wait, what? That was metaphorical right?? I love drama- I'm a theater major! You mean I'm not just born pretty with little else to do? Damn you. I already grew my boobs now I have to work on my emotions?? This is BS.
Little growth spurts are still a big deal even if they can't be seen so when the big ones come, how do you deal? I created a simple map because I thrive with maps which is not butterfly-ish but hey, I'm human only pretending to be a butterfly... I need a map.
1) Caterpillar phase: Gain knowledge and eat your way through it. Seek all that you need. Eat. Eating is fun... eat lots.
2) Cocoon phase: Time to absorb everything you've learned and feel it deep within your cells. Go within, sleep and absorb. Something is happening and you don't need to understand the how.. it's happening whether you like it or not.
3) Shedding the cocoon phase: You have transformed, pump everything you now have into your body and life. Utilize. Put that knowledge you ate up in "caterpillar phase" into action. PUMP! PUMP IT UP ... listen to Salt-N-Pepper as much as needed to get your wings in action.
4) Migrating 3000 miles phase: Fly. Be. Cry. Celebrate. Soar.