Grief as Transformation
Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
The life cycle of the butterfly speaks volumes about the process of grief. The life of the butterfly begins inside a cocoon, hanging inconspicuously from the limb of a tree. Silently, but deliberately the transformation begins. Anyone looking from below would have no idea what is going on inside this tiny cocoon.
In essence, there is a dissolving of one form and the emergence of another form. The cocoon starts to break open when the growth of the butterfly can no longer be contained within the protective shell of the cocoon.
Grief often begins within a cocoon of self-protection. There is comfort in the darkness, which allows for rest and renewal and remembrance. But at some point the protective darkness becomes oppressive and uncomfortable.
The butterfly actively participates in the process of her emergence from the cocoon. Her beauty is breathtaking.
This too is the journey of grief. The trauma of grief can open the heart in magnificent ways. The process is not easy and it requires action, just as the butterfly works to emerge from the confines of the cocoon.
And in that moment of emergence, her life is totally transformed into a new world of spectacular brilliance.
The butterfly is following her natural life cycle. She can do nothing else. But her journey shows us the possibilities of new life beyond the darkness of the cocoon.
I am grateful for the lessons of the butterfly.