A little backstory: I wrote this back in 2014 as I was climbing my way out of what I affectionately call a "depression spiral" that lasted most of the winter. I wasn't in a great place at the time, wasn't taking very good care of myself but I was on the precipice of some big changes in my life.
The last year has been a wild ride for all of us, but I feel as though we are collectively emerging from the darkness of a cocoon and returning to life in a new way. So, I'm sharing this bit of writing with you that I've always held dear, waiting for the right time to let the world see. Hope you enjoy! - Kylie
The Caterpillar and Her Cocoon
It has been a long and absolutely frigid winter. Since the solstice, I feel like I’ve been walled up inside just trying to stay warm. I do think it is human nature to retreat from the outside world into your home and wait out the icy darkness. It is also common during that time for there to be a dive deep into our mind and emotions, which can be a harsh and austere place to be. While you’re here, you’ll need to rely on your own inner strength and light to guide you through. You become the Hermit at the top of the highest mountain, carrying only a lantern. If you lose that light you are likely to get lost in the shadows. However, as uncomfortable and cold as it may seem, I believe this is a sacred place where real change and transformation can occur, as long as you’re willing to see it that way.
It makes me think about a caterpillar and her cocoon. If she’s a sentient being (and I’d like to think she is), I wonder what she is thinking about? I wonder if she understands why she is building this shell and putting herself in this situation to begin with? Does she understand what is in store for her while she is building this cocoon? Does she already know that she will emerge completely changed and gifted in ways she’s never experienced before? Can she even begin to imagine what it will be like to fly? Has she ever noticed other winged creatures around her and felt a longing that she couldn’t explain or ignore? After spending her entire life marching straightforward and gripping herself down with sixteen tiny feet, can she really expect what the liberation of flight will actually feel like?
Even in her wildest dreams how could she ever know this? Skeptics might say that she’s ignorant to her potential and that the force driving her to build her new domicile is merely based on instinct. She is just a caterpillar after all. But I’d like to think that it is her intuition that guides her. A nagging feeling that the universe has a plan for her or at least a likely outcome: If she builds herself this cocoon, she will reach the soaring heights of her full potential.
I wonder what it feels like while she’s inside the cocoon? Is it comforting within those close fit walls or does it feel oppressive and restricting? Does the caterpillar ever worry that her time inside will never end? Maybe she worries about how she’ll know when it will be a safe time to leave? Does she really know how to get out when the time is right? Will she feel completely different, or will she still feel like herself? Will there ever be a time when she feels like she is significantly more percentage of a butterfly than a caterpillar?
What if she built the chrysalis wrong and ends up being trapped inside of a self-constructed prison? After all, this was the first time she ever built one, and didn’t have the luxury of a second chance. Does she think back and go over all the details in her mind? Checking off a list, making sure she accounted for every possible danger while choosing a location? Does she have nightmarish thoughts of something crushing or consuming her during her most vulnerable and defenseless state? Maybe she wonders if this whole thing has taken far too long and succumbs to self-doubt, considering that perhaps she may be a dud. Wallowing in self-pity, she might decide that she is defective and that she will never know the true ecstasy of what life may have had in store for her.
Maybe when she finalized the last touches of her temporary home, she fell fast asleep and began to hover between worlds during her transformation. Life altering changes do seem to happen in dark, secret, enclosed spaces. Like deep inside the loving womb of a mother. These are the places where genuine magic occurs! Even though we can dissect the process, break it down into chemical reactions and learn the scientific mechanics of it all, we still have to admit that there are some things that cannot be explained by the laws of the physical realm. There is a spark of life deep in those recesses that can only be described as magical. Does our beloved caterpillar witness that spark in her tightly constrained dreamscape? Does she see it first hand and know it intimately? Is that the inspiration that guides her in spreading her wings for the first time, taking her first majestic flight?
Once she emerges and her gift is fully realized, does she remember what her life was like before? Are there any pangs of nostalgia for the flavor of a tender green leaf or does she happily surrender to her new thirst for sweet and sensual nectars? Does she exclaim gratitude to the heavens for her ability to fly? As she floats anywhere her free will takes her, does she look down and pity us poor souls who still muddle around perpetually connected to mother earth? Does she have empathy for those of us who will never know the joy of her simple and true freedom? Does she remember what it was like to be bound by gravity? Does she remember how it felt to be bound within the walls of that cocoon? Could she possibly have any regrets about her journey now?
That would seem silly, wouldn’t it? She wouldn’t be a butterfly today if she hadn’t fully succumbed to her intuition. Without listening to that inner voice or yearning for change, she would still be stuck to the ground. If she had lived in the moment while inside the cocoon and trusted that the universe had her best interests in mind, she may have avoided a great deal of mental anguish. Yet, maybe overcoming her self-doubts in those places of darkness was the biggest lesson of this journey. Living in that space and moving forward through time with the hope for a better future. Maybe it was her own light that was that magical spark which facilitated this marvelous change? After all, it was her own actions that saved herself from her earthbound existence. She now understands one of the biggest secrets of the universe. It was her daringness to follow her inner strength that led her to the weightless and unrestricted freedom of flight!