I like to think that the Universe sends us signs all the time, we just have to be present in the day-to-day to notice them.
About a week ago I noticed that the walkway just outside my apartment had come alive in an energetic flurry of small butterflies. The first time I noticed, I was minding my own business, just walking back to my apartment from the parking lot and there they were filling the sky, bouncing around the branches of the crape myrtle trees that lined the walkway and clinging to the brick walls of the buildings. As the day wore on, their numbers seemed to multiply and I noticed neighbors stopping in awe to catch sight of what was unfolding before them.
Last week I also had some incredible energy researching a possible project that could help bring me financial stability and a sense of purpose deeply connected to taking care of others, something I've struggled to find a way to express and manifest into reality. Each time I hit a wall, I kept going, keenly aware of the butterflies outside my window. I took one step after the other, and in a very linear way, I woke up something inside me that has been dormant for a very long time--my passion. Now it was not, "This will never work." it was, "How can I make this possible?" And the butterflies never left me for a second. It seemed as if they were mirroring my own frenzy of electricity.
By the time the second week of this continued, the butterflies were getting bolder. They'd get so that I could feel them flutter close to my face. A few even managed to find their way into my apartment. I was seeing butterflies everywhere. One day when I came back from my morning walk, I noticed the visible shape of a butterfly formed by the sweat that had pooled on the back of my shirt. On another afternoon, my Mother came home with a gorgeous black and yellow-spotted butterfly she had captured from our family home out of town. She had placed it in a glass jar and covered it with plastic wrap with a hole but the butterfly lay limp and motionless. It pained me to see this beautiful creature dead in a jar because of my Mother's innocent curiosity. But then the butterfly moved ever so slightly so I took it outside and released it. At first it just sat there in the grass and I was worried I had done it more harm by releasing it somewhere it was unfamiliar with. I hoped some animal wouldn't swoop down and eat it. Miraculously, it found its way and flew away, and just like that, it was released into the world to continue its journey, perhaps from a new starting point, but alive and able to flourish.
My resilience didn't wane either. My research on my project intensified, too. With every guess and question, I was finding my way to answers and information. I was in a new place and exercising how it felt to come into a vision of boldness and creativity. It was invigorating to see my spirit soar from the inspiration of an idea. I can't tell you how long I've yearned for that to happen in my life again.
I was sharing this occurrence with a good friend and she recounted the personal experience she and her daughter had raising butterflies. She described in great detail the various stages they witnessed, from hungry caterpillars, to this blood-red secretion from which then the butterflies would transform, to the damp and shrivelled butterflies that would first emerge from the chrysalis. She and her daughter did this for three years, each time releasing the butterflies after they had completed their cycle. The last year, however, my friend witnessed something even more amazing. When it came time to release the butterflies, one in particular wasted no time and shot, cannon-ball style, right out of the container and headed straight up for the heavens. She said she watched that butterfly shoot up so high it seemed it had been born with a plan and was sparing no time hesitating. It just followed what it was after. "Be the butterfly." she encouraged me.
I read that the mushy, red, decomposed caterpillar "juice" is the foundation from which the butterfly will be created. "In order to be able to become a butterfly, the caterpillar has to fall apart completely, decompose down to its very essence, devoid of any shape or consciousness. It literally dies. There is nothing left of it. And from this liquid essence, the butterfly starts to put itself together, from scratch." How deeply human and beautiful is that? What a gift and honor it is to witness the metamorphosis of such creatures and to be able to recognize the parallels to our own lives. I have felt a similar transformation ever since I began my own journey over a year ago; many pieces of me have had to die in order for me to make space for something different and new to emerge in my life. I also read that butterflies have memory of what it's like to be the caterpillar's they once were. I can't confirm that, but it sure is nice to imagine that in some way, again, the butterfly's life mirrors our own. Parts of us will change and wither and disappear, but our true essence, that is for keeps, no matter how many transformations we go through in our lives.
Right now, I'm channeling that one lone butterfly and going after something that feels right. I'm taking to the sky on "a wing and a prayer" as they say, not knowing exactly how I'll make this idea come to light. But one thing's for certain, I'm staying true to my core, my very essence. For this is how we find our way home.