The Metaphor of the Butterfly – Begin Your Metamorphosis

What is a metamorphosis?



noun: metamorphosis; plural noun: metamorphoses
  1. (in an insect or amphibian) the process of transformation from an immature form to an adult form in two or more distinct stages.
    a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.
    "his metamorphosis from presidential candidate to talk-show host"
synonyms: transformation, mutationchange, alteration, conversion, modificationreconstruction

What does this mean to me?

Two caterpillars were sitting on a cabbage leaf having a chat. Suddenly, they heard a loud swishing sound, and looking up, saw a beautiful butterfly flying overhead. The first caterpillar looked at the other, shook his head and said, “You’ll never get me up in one of those things.”- Margaret Parkin

Butterflies have been chosen as an expression of change and transformation for countless numbers of years. The butterfly could also be a practical metaphor for change at either the personal or organizational level, and viewed from a number of different perspectives. In what phase of metamorphosis are you currently? Are you caterpillar or butterfly? Are you similar to the caterpillar in the story? Some are 100 % pleased with the status quo, and their current life stage. Perhaps you’re in a cocoon sheltered and stagnant in a dark position holding out for your chance to break free and fly away? Maybe you are the butterfly who spreads its wings and flies carelessly with natural beauty and grace.

Here's another little story about a caterpillar and metamorphosis:

When she heard the word butterfly, her whole insides leapt. “But what is a butterfly?”
The cocooned caterpillar explained: “It’s what you are meant to become.
"Yellow" was intrigued, but a bit defiant. “How can I believe there’s a butterfly inside you or me, when all I see is a fuzzy worm?”
On further reflection she pensively asked, “How does one become a butterfly?”
“You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”
“It’s what you’re meant to become.”
-Trina Paulus, “Hope for the Flowers

I feel that if we are happy at our life as a caterpillar, eating away at a vegetable garden and inching around life slowly... that is ok. I believe quite frankly,  we don't fully grasp that we can begin a metamorphosis, change into  a butterfly, and fly if we wanted.  At times, it takes a dark period of solitude and self-reflection to transform into something not only beautiful, but free. In a world of depression, stress and anxiety, I feel that we are in a cocoon state, awaiting our chance to become a butterfly.

Here's one last story:

A father and a young boy were trekking through the woods. The boy saw a butterfly fighting to break free of its cocoon. The boy pleaded with the father to free the butterfly from its prison and struggle. The father pulled out his pocketknife and carefully slit the cocoon. The butterfly rapidly fell to the grass, where it lay powerless, attempting to flap its wings but unable to fly.
What the father and son had neglected to comprehend was that the struggle inside the cocoon was unquestionably necessary for the butterfly’s survival. The exertion to free itself from the cocoon was forcing fluids out of the butterfly and at the same time strengthening its wings. Both were necessary if the butterfly was to successfully fly away.

So, how desperately do you want to fly? Have you decided that life as a caterpillar isn't sufficient? Are you in that cocoon, living in that dark-stagnant place knowing there is more, simply waiting? Are you struggling to break free of the cocoon, by people continually enable your behavior, making you weaker? What issues might you need to address? Are you ready for a Metamorphosis?

Whether you are a caterpillar, butterfly or cocoon… “It’s what you’re meant to become"