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Life Arts    H4'ed 7/17/22

Butterfly's teaching

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The lessons of butterfly are the lessons of metamorphosis, the different stages of transformation of the self:

Every decade of our lives offers a reset, but, if we keep delaying our transformation, the stakes keep going higher.

As a student of Jung (and his protege, Von Franz [author of Numbers and Time ] I have long understood that the natural numbers are archetypes. This is powerfully reflected in how we experience aging in terms of our individuation, in particular with regard to the double numbers (age 22,33,44,55, etc.) These ages reflect real changes in our psyches (as well as our physical and chemical and organic systems and even our DNA).

This is cognate to what butterfly teaches us but bear with me:

One thing I learned on a VQ years ago is, butterfly is not what it appears. It embodies perhaps the most powerful teaching of all the creatures.

Following butterfly's example, we all ideally individuate through the 4 stages of life: Egg, larva, chrysalis, butterfly, but we individuate through these 4 stages every time we need to transform, and that would be, at least, every decade!

If we are in a stage where we are fighting our own evolution (living with our brakes on), and the container has grown too small, that is when craziness sets in, because we are in the chrysalis but our wings are trying to sprout (! ) and there is a kind of feverish, compulsive anxiety that comes over us at times, a kind of panic because we are holding on to an old form of ourselves when the universe is saying "It's time." . . . Time to grow, time to enter the next stage of our metamorphosis . . . time to spread our wings.

If we cling to our old form, old patterns, we will find that magic begins to leak away, that the supports are gone, that what once was crazy-magic-maybe-a-little-self-destructive-a-little-devil-may-care-a-little-wild is just messed up and depressing. We start not recognizing ourselves, because more and more of our soul is moving on or wants to and the overriding feeling is that we are alone, stuck with diminishing options.

The universe brings in the trickster when someone is refusing to evolve, and the trickster (the Greeks would say Hermes (the thief), Native Americans, Coyote) begins to take away things, literally - bike, wallet, keys. But there are worse things to lose. How about sanity? Confidence. Health. Maybe even our home . . . The teaching gets tougher, the teacher takes the gloves off, because what is at stake is our life!

That is what I mean by wake up. This isn't Kansas any more. If we don't evolve we may eventually lose everything. Maybe not today, maybe not even this year, but eventually that could happen. If this is the wake up time, it is imperative to not keep pushing it back.

The spirit of stasis / entropy / addiction takes no prisoners.

For the sake of transformation, we must get good at recognizing when we are in these stages on a day by day or weekly basis. Know when we are unhatched, when we are larval, when it feels like we are wrapped in a stifling chrysalis, and when we are trying out your fully formed wings and feeling centered and free to be ourselves . . . and notice what's different and why it's different. Stop settling for the chrysalis stage. It really is a back and forth, almost random, progress until we finally "act your age" or "act your stage".

So, next time you see a butterfly . . .

(Article changed on Jul 17, 2022 at 9:56 AM EDT)

(Article changed on Jul 17, 2022 at 11:01 AM EDT)

(Article changed on Jul 17, 2022 at 4:23 PM EDT)

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Gary Lindorff is a poet, writer, blogger and author of several nonfiction books, a collection of poetry, "Children to the Mountain" and a memoir, "Finding Myself in Time: Facing the Music" Over the last few years he has begun calling (more...)

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