Tag Archives: Transformation

The Scrawny Caterpillar

Once upon a time there was a little caterpillar who did not want to do what other caterpillars did: eat all day. Instead she wanted to see and experience the beauty of the world around her. Often you could see her sitting on the highest leaves of the tree looking at the ever-changing landscape. She loved watching all the creatures in the forest and took delight in whenever one took time to talk to her. But she didn’t get much eating done and consequently was much smaller than her peers.

The other caterpillars were too busy eating to notice. One day Grandmother Bear walked by and right away saw the scrawny caterpillar sitting on a leaf looking out at the world. She asked the caterpillar why she wasn’t eating like all the other caterpillars. “Are you sick? ” she asked. “Is this why you don’t eat as much as the others? The little caterpillar shook her head. “No!” she replied and explained that she just didn’t think all the hard work of finding food and eating constantly was what life was all about. She wanted to just experience the beauty of the forest and the world around her. The wise old bear shook her big head when she heard this and said: “You know that you are a caterpillar and eating is what all caterpillars must do, so that they can evolve to the next stage of becoming a butterfly.” After she spoke the big old bear continued on her journey and disappeared behind the trees.

The scrawny caterpillar had listened carefully to what Grandmother Bear had told her, but didn’t really understand what it meant to be a butterfly or how to even get there. After the old bear had left she sat in silence for a long while and watched all the other caterpillars in their busyness and noticed how much bigger they were. She asked one closest to her if he was happy doing what he was doing. He looked at her with a puzzled look thinking about what she had asked. He then answered slowly speaking with his mouth still full: “I am doing what my inner nature is prompting me to do. I don’t really think about if it makes me happy. I just eat, enjoy being in the moment and trust that it is what I am meant to be doing right now”. Then he took another big bite and turned to crawl to a new leaf that was beckoning him.

The little caterpillar thought about his answer and wondered if she should try this. She could always go back to doing what she loved to do: sit in nature and just be. As she took a bite off the leaf she was sitting on, she allowed herself to tune into her own inner knowing. This started taking her to the best food to eat and soon she felt very full and ready for something….

As she listened closely to her own inner guidance she found a special place where she carefully began to spin a silk chrysalis around herself. From the outside it looked like she was resting, but on the inside many transformations started taking place. Then one day when she was done all the forming and changing on the inside another prompting came. It was time to come out of her chrysalis. Slowly but surely she emerged from her cocoon as a beautiful blue butterfly. Her wings were still soft from having been in the tight enclosure. But after a rest she felt the urge to move her wings for the very first time. Blood pumped into them and soon she was flapping them vigorously. She knew when she was ready to take flight. Something inside her just knew!

In that very moment Grandmother Bear magically appeared again walking down the trail towards her. She immediately saw the beautiful blue butterfly and showed no surprise when it spoke to her: “I want to thank you Grandmother Bear for taking the time to speak to me and telling me of my destiny. I didn’t know what you meant by what you said, but I did listen and now I understand.” She then gracefully spread her beautiful blue wings and lifted effortlessly off the branch she had been sitting on. Dancing joyfully around the bear’s head before flying off to the nearest flower she drank for the first time the sweet nectar of life and never questioned again her own inner knowing and allowed herself to be guided from one beautiful flower to the next, delighting in each of them and in just being herself.

The End

Wild Geese

by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

The Long Walk Home

P1260104Change with heart!” These three words were the only thing I remembered as a noise pulled me out of my dream. Yet the clarity and meaning of them stood in astonishing contrast to the grogginess I felt from being pulled out of my sleep. Strangely even though I couldn’t remember a thing other than these words, the meaning was as clear as the raindrops gently falling from the sky: inner and outer change needs to come from the heart!

It also reminded me of the experience of finding a beautiful black and white feather beside my plate one morning a couple of summers ago when my mother was visiting. I still remember the feeling of sweet surprise as I sat down at the table set for breakfast holding the woodpecker feather gently in my hand.

P1100501My love for rocks and feathers was never quite understood by my parents. It was usually made fun of, so it was extra special when I found this treasure by my plate. So strange how a feather can feel like one of the greatest gifts I have ever received from my mother and she has given me so much including my life.

Now looking back at that moment I clearly see that this gesture was her way to acknowledge and honour my love for these offerings from nature despite her seeing them so differently. In that instance the lifelong belief of not feeling understood or seen by her vanished. Instead another memory brought a smile and tears to my eyes: The Spring after my oldest son Magnus was born, my mother and I were taking turns pushing the baby buggy over impossible rough, recently logged, terrain and carrying a magnificent big white rock I had found that I just had to bring home. We still often laugh and remember that long walk home and how much strength it took to bring both the rock and the baby safely home.

 

P1260281That special stone has moved with me from my cabin in the mountains to the ocean and many other homes in between. It holds a very special place in my heart. It reminds me of that powerful time in my life raising my boys in the wilderness and my parents coming every year to help out with so many projects like building a woodshed, or helping me cut the six chords of firewood needed to get us through the winter and the many other amazing things they did for us. My mother who loves the city put aside her own beliefs, fears and comfort, venturing up that “crazy” mountain road where you prayed that you wouldn’t meet a logging truck coming down around each corner especially in the winter.

A woodpecker flies by with its bright red cap announcing its presence and bringing me back into the present moment. I think he agrees it is time lay to rest the old false beliefs and hurt feelings carried from childhood and I thank my dream and my heart for letting me see so clearly how loved I am.

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Exploration

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Being still and sitting with what is, is not always easy, especially when life feels like it is unravelling. It has been for a while, but admitting it to myself has not been easy. Sitting now in the uncertainty of possible changes in so many areas of my life: relationship, home, work, etc., I find moments of clarity here and there, as if clouds are parting and suddenly I can see the brilliant blue sky beyond.

Change is in the air. The Fall Equinox is happening as I am writing this at 1:02 pm here on the West Coast. Summer has ended. You can feel it in the cool crisp air and see the leaves turning bright yellow and brown, some letting go, gently drifting to the ground below. The theme of the Equinox of finding Inner Balance, as the sun enters the sign of Libra, certainly speaks to me in a big way and my sense is for many others as well.

Looking at the passing clouds and watching the interplay of different layers, shades of grey and their transformation before my eyes, gives me the opportunity to view change not through the lens of fear, but with openness and wonder.

 

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What I love both about photography and writing is that it exposes unseen layers, discovered through both the stillness of the image or the words and having the opportunity to dive deeper into what is being shown. Often I may see something that I couldn’t see before, revealing a deeper magic and a much wider perspective on things.

It is in these layers and different textures of life as well as the spaces in between, that I slowly find the clarity I need to move forward on my path. Exploring all that is happing and taking time to look from different angles, close up and from a distance, creates a field of vision that is needed to see a more complete picture and also allows me to open up to what is being uncovered. Some of it is easy to see and some of it is painful to receive and be with.

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As I witness my inner restlessness pushing and pulling, I am reminded of one of my favourite poems by Mary Oliver “The Journey“, whose words describe so well that deep inner calling to step out of the familiar and into the unknown. For now I soften into the restlessness, the not knowing, the fears and the dreams, trusting that love will guide me on this journey, wherever it takes me.

 

The Journey 

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

 

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In response to the Daily Prompt: Leaf  and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Layered