This morning I find myself reflecting on a story that has been shared with me countless times. I first read this gem as it was shared by Gurmukh in her book, The 8 Human Talents, and most recently it showed up in my inbox from H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, whose Ashram (Parmarth Niketan) I spent time at on the banks of the Ganges, over a decade ago when I traveled in India and Nepal.
This story reminds me of that journey and the cocoon I traveled through to a deeper place of personal understanding and growth. It was definitely not a journey of complete ease and comfort – but incredibly important. It also reminds me of all the pivotal phases and cocoons of my life – including the one we are currently collectively moving through, in our present life experience.
It is an honour to pass this story on to you now for our wellness reflection this week, perhaps familiar to you, and like me, maybe arriving at a time when a retelling would be helpful.
Stories contain medicine, and it is the passing of stories from generation to generation, where so many gems that help us make sense of our own lives, are found. I hope you will always share your stories, and listen to those that come to you – those born from your own life and those shared with you through time.
“There was once a man who noticed an intricately woven cocoon on a tree outside his home. He carefully watched the cocoon every day in order to catch the first glimpse of the precious butterfly he knew would one day emerge. With excitement, the day had arrived, he saw a tiny hole in the cocoon which grew quickly as the hours passed. He sat watching the butterfly navigate its way out of the cocoon. Suddenly he noticed that it seemed the butterfly had stopped making progress. The hole did not get any larger and the butterfly seemed to be stuck. The cocoon was bouncing up and down on the branch as the butterfly tried to squeeze itself unsuccessfully, through the hole that it had created.
The man watched in dismay as it seemed the butterfly would not be able to emerge. Not knowing what to do, but feeling like he needed to step in, he took a small pair of scissors and carefully cut the cocoon, allowing the butterfly to emerge easily.
However, instead of soaring gracefully into the sky, the butterfly immediately dropped to the ground.
He noticed that the butterfly’s stomach was swollen and distended but its wings were small and shriveled, unable to fly. He assumed that after some time, the stomach would shrink and the wings would expand, and this precious being would fly in its fullest glory.
However, this was never to be.
The man didn’t know that it was the very act of forcing one’s body through the tiny hole in the cocoon which would push all the fluid from the stomach into the wings. Without that external pressure, the stomach would always be swollen and the wings would always be shriveled.”
In life we often avoid challenges, sometimes consciously – and sometimes unconsciously, looking for the easy way out. We look for people who will ‘cut our cocoons,’ so that we maybe don’t have to work quite as hard and push our way through.
However, little do we realize that it is going through those times of difficulty which prepare us for what lays ahead. As we overcome the obstacles that present themselves on our path and grow through their lessons, with our own internal resources, they enable us to fly and sometimes offer us opportunities to expand our wings to great unimaginable lengths.
I think perhaps this story also offers a gentle reminder that you need time for self-nurturance and to consider your own needs for care, this is how you build your resources, so you can squeeze through those small holes. It’s important to acknowledge your vulnerabilities and accept the strength and support of your community, your heart tribe; and from that supported place, we rise from the strength that lives deep inside of us.
I don’t think the man in this story realized how powerful and supportive his simple presence was, that was all that was needed. I think often that’s all any of us truly need, safe space to process whatever it is we’ve been handed on our life’s journey.
My soul support is here holding you, honouring your deep internal strength – trust in who you are at your core, I’m just offering you a gentle reminder.
If you’d like to practice together, I offer weekly live online zoom classes, and as an additional support for you to practice on your own schedule, but together, I’ve created a video library and a monthly video subscription
Wishing you wellness in body, mind and spirit on your own unique journey, emerging in your own time.