Visualizing Transformation

November 2nd, 2011

This week I’ve been writing about Occupy Wall Street. I see it as a transformational movement that gets beyond the usual divide and conquer politics. It’s a movement that is waiting on change, not passively, but actively reading the signs of the time to know when to move and when to shake. I also see the current explosion of spirituality outside of mainstream religion as a trend cut from the same cloth. Both the OWS movement and free style spirituality depend on the self awareness of individuals involved for their success. The more people navigate their own inner change in a healthy way, the more sustainable the change will be. The transformation that needs to happen both for individuals, for communities and for the whole system is akin to the metamorphosis of a butterfly.

The visual of butterflies and change inspired me to write a visualiztion, which is included below. My hope is that it might guide anyone managing change, whether its personal change, relationship change or social change, to do so with intention and optimism. If you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed by change, take a cue from the butterfly. (Read on for the visualization)

Sit comfortably, with your feet firmly grounded. Visualize the earth beneath your feet. Feel the soul of the earth entering your body through the soles of your feet. All the strength and wisdom of the earth is filling your body from the feet up. Relax your body and face and soften your gaze. Use your palms to gently massage your face and head to remove any tension.

Move up and down your body with mindfulness. Let loving kindness flutter through your mind and body like butterfly kisses. Love and thank your thoughts and sensations as they come into your awareness. Breathe purposefully, counting to 5 on the in breath and 7 on the out breath. Let breath heal and revive you, like a summer breeze, refreshing and invigorating. In and out, in and out. Love and relief. Peace and calm. Grateful and focused. In and out.

Visualize a caterpillar, crawling close to the earth, slow and steady. It’s in no hurry, but definitely seems to be heading somewhere. It’s crawling up the branch of a tree. It stops as if it comes to a traffic light and just sits, on one small twig that rests on one slightly larger branch that hangs on a massive tree that reaches for caterpillar miles in both directions; deep into the earth and high into the air, down for sustenance and up for possibility. The caterpillar sets up camp, sitting and waiting.

At just the right time, the caterpillar surrounds itself with a golden thread of silk, working, wriggling, wrapping itself in a natural cocoon like a mummy. It fastens itself to the twig like Velcro. Visualize the caterpillar inside the silk cocoon, resting in the warm darkness. The caterpillar doesn’t know exactly what is happening, but knows that it is all happening exactly is it should. It intuits an incredible creative intelligence at work, and knows that it is part of this intelligence.

Inside the cocoon, the caterpillar starts the transformation. It sheds another layer of skin, this one the last before the metamorphosis. Underneath this tough, protective shell, the new being is revealed, it’s beautiful essence.

Now that the caterpillar has prepared the cocoon, visualize yourself inside the cocoon. You are there, wrapped in all of your life experiences that led to this moment. Right now. You don’t know what will happen next, but you trust that it’s happening in the right time and way. You are prepared for new growth. You are in the middle of an amazing metamorphosis. Transformation involves shedding layers of your small self to reveal a larger and truer version of who you are.

Eventually, a thin slice of light cuts through the cocoon, splitting silk and warming your skin. A sudden surge of energy courses through your body, light filling your mind and body. The cocoon falls away from you at the same time as you break free. You can’t even tell which it is. It’s both. Change is happening around and within you AND you are participating in the change.

Even though you are letting go of the safety and protection of the warm cocoon, it’s ok. ITS OK. You are ready. The time is right. You are freer than you have ever felt before. Flapping life into all parts of your body, you take flight without even knowing how or why. It’s a natural expression of who you are. You are a butterfly, with rainbow radiance, taking flight. The world as it is, is your new home, the peace of the cocoon is now the way you feel inside. Your cocoon is your inner peace and there is nothing that overwhelms you. You are light and love. This is your true nature, the current incarnation in your constant becoming.

Gently bring your awareness to your here and now surroundings.

Just when you thought the world was ending, you became a butterfly and a whole new world of possibility began. Buckminster Fuller said, “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” And yet here it is. Here you are. As you contemplate changes, small and large, no matter how anxious you feel, remember that there is a butterfly inside of you just waiting to soar.

Participate in change like a butterfly. One small change in your life spreads and impacts all parts of your life, and the lives of those around you. One person’s awakening, though it always begins within, also impacts others, fluttering kindness way beyond your knowledge. It’s the butterfly effect, the chrysalis of social change.

The universe is an open space, full of butterflies who add to the beauty and full of bumblebees who cross pollinate from one person to another and one group to another. It may seem random, but the order becomes clear in time. It seems slow, but the timing reveals itself as right. It may even seem destructive, like a loss or a death, but that’s only a necessary prelude to a beautiful new creation. You are becoming all you were intended to be. The world is becoming all it is destined to be.

Much love and encouragement to ALL. Viva la transformation.

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  1. [...] how long it takes. The second piece is about getting beyond labels that divide, and the third is a visualization for those participating in [...]

  2. Donna says:

    A beautiful essay regarding what seems to be happening all across the globe today…thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts.  I feel like that caterpillar…and am anticipating my metamorphosis with hope…blessings!

  3. ian says:

    Awesome Donna- keep inching forward. Transformation is afoot.

  4. Grace says:

    Such a beautiful article! Very inspiring words. I believe that this ‘metamorphosis’ is something we must hope to do all throughout our lives. Change and growth is the path to happiness. Blessings to all! : )

  5. The imagery and inspiration of your post reminds of a quote by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin : “The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” We need to love ourselves, value and trust ourselves- and others- to be able to transform ourselves.

  6. ian says:

    Awesome quote Ara

  7. ian says:

    thanks Grace

  8. jyothi says:

    Hi a beautiful and moving essay. I am going thruogh some sort of change now and I can only say it feels so rough and yet I cannot stop it. This essay comes at a critical time in my life. 

  9. Julie Clark says:

    Bless you Ian!  There is no doubt that I have always felt closely linked with a butterfly.  It started after I was robbed at gunpoint in high school.  I was the Caterpillar that went through a huge change and it was for the better.  God showed Himself to me in a way that I could never have imagined and am grateful for.  I continue to grow and spread my wings and love life and it is incredible.

  10. Anne says:

    An amazing article. I have recently had to resign from a very stress full job, where I was working many many hours! I am now that caterpillar, wrapped in my cocoon waiting to see where in life I am meant to be and when. Thank you for your inspiring words.

  11. ian says:

    thank you Anne- be well, all is being revealed in perfect time.

  12. Roy C says:

    The Tea Party is also this renewal.  It represents all the aspects of whole consciousness missing from OWS.
    Modern man is about as ego-bound as a human can get. Finding a new center of the psyche outside of the ego is a paradigm breaker as Jung points out in Aion: we become non-institutional carriers of the water of the psyche.
    Your take on OWS is Romantic. Unless Occupy overcomes all the self-indulgent aspects that similar movements have succumbed to since the French Revolution, Occupy will simply be another anima-possessed movement with a Negative Mother who devours her children.
    Finding that new center outside of the ego doesn’t mean dropping reason and discipline.  On the contrary, reason and discipline are more necessary than ever to guide a person to the integration of previously neglected aspects of the Self, a term Jung invented to describe, not the ego, but the supraordinate structure that the ego within the psyche that the ego must submit to.
    Much of the problem with personal spiritual evolution involves the withdrawal of projections of a negative kind, exactly from the Sermon on the Mount, as we establish just exactly what that “beam” in our eye is and concern ourselves with that, instead of the “mote” in the eye of the other.
    In the end, rebirth follows the integration of all these formerly dissociated contents of the psyche.  The feeling function becomes differentiated, not knee-jerk emotionality nor blind self-indulgent idealization of one’s self or one’s group.

  13. That’s a beautiful visualisation and one that I will remember. Thanks for sharing. x

  14. JB says:

    It’s so hard just sitting in that cocoon when you have no idea what is going on around you.. and just waiting. Waiting,… and waiting. You feel crazy. You know this is where you are supposed to be, but you feel crazy waiting… you try and calm yourself and remind yourself that there is some  bigger purpose for being wrapped up and trapped inside of all of your emotions and feelings, but it’s SO hard. Instant Gratification does not find you right now as it always has,. Nothing but patience will help and patience is not your friend right now…
    I need to see the light., I need to understand. I need a time machine,…

  15. Foxy says:

    Amazing piece!!!! Just spectacular. 

    Thank you. 

  16. Jasna Sever says:

    When we look from distance it represents whole world today