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Cocoons — © Studio Catalina Art

Creation Takes Time

Are your resolutions born to fly? If so, remember – creation takes time, commitment and lots of patience.

There’s promise in the air – we’ve just about completed the first quarter of the year 2013 and all the energy and effort we’ve invested will soon be showing – at least that’s what we’re all hoping for ourselves. But if you’re like me, you’re getting a bit frustrated with the progress you’ve made.  You’re impatient to see some very tangible results! And you’re tired of struggling to keep your momentum going.

If so, you may want to learn a little about the Monarch Butterflies my friend Lynne welcomed to her backyard last summer. Migrating Monarch Butterflies loved the milkweed plants Lynne supplied; and laid hundreds of eggs which turned into industrious caterpillars that devoured the milkweed right down to the branches! Then, having invested huge amounts of caterpillar energy and effort into becoming quite pudgy, they wandered off to form their cocoons.

If you’ve ever watched a Monarch Butterfly cocoon mature, you know the meaning of patience.  What you see in the photo above are two such Monarch cocoons.  The green one is “brand new”.  But the black one on the left has been transforming from caterpillar to butterfly for many days. And it’s about to spawn a magnificent Monarch. See the wings inside the cocoon?

The time between cocooning and flying can be several days.  Or, if the weather turns cool, it can be several weeks.  Let me assure you though, the birth is wondrous to see! Youtube.com, of course, has a clip that lets you witness a butterfly’s emergence from its cocoon – indulge yourself and enjoy the show.

But whatever you do, dont try to assist a butterfly as it struggles to emerge from its cocoon; youll be doing it a disservice. An instructor at Mid-State Technical College in Illinois shared this story with struggling students:

Some Things Can’t Be Rushed

Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.

The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!

The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.

But neither happened!

The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly…

As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.

Having shared this story, the Mid-State Technical College instructor counseled his students that “our gift to you is stronger wings… As you go through school, and life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly…”  Words of wisdom we can all use.

Patience – Your Time Is Coming

The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments.

— Gustave Flaubert

If you actually linked out to YouTube, you’ve seen the “instant” version of a Monarch’s release from its cocoon – but each of us needs to recognize that the Monarch’s time from “green to grown” doesn’t pass quite so quickly.  So too for many of us humans who struggle to transform our resolutions into achievement.  The journey from “where we started to where we want to be” can be long and arduous and makes us stronger as we hone our skills and learn new ways.

Once I knew only darkness and stillness… my life was without past or future… but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.

— Helen Keller

Much like the dynamic duo of Alexander Graham Bell and Michael Anagnos who imagined that Anne Sullivan, a partially blind girl, might invent ways to communicate with a little deaf and blind child named Helen Keller – so too, your imagination can transform floundering resolutions into immense missions and outrageously prodigious outcomes.

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.

— William S. Burroughs

Give yourself the luxury of time – wait for it… you’re almost there!

Are your resolutions born to fly? Then wait it out, results are about to happen… go for it!

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Cup o’ Inspiration

cup with steam swirl

Take a short break and consider the following:

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”

Earl Nightingale

Recommended Reading

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Image of Hunches in Bunches (Classic Seuss)