We are not what we have lost. We are not what has been torn from us. We are not broken beyond repair. Ever. When it all blows up we still are everything we were before. We might not still have what we had, the positions, the money, the athletic body, the children, loved ones, but we still are the culmination of experiences, talents, current and former abilities that make us uniquely us.
Life is flow – and ebb. It comes and goes and comes again. In loss there is always opportunity for new gain. Sometimes when we stop clinging so hard to the old and familiar we are gifted with new and incredible we couldn’t have imagined.
The lifecycle of the butterfly offers gorgeous guidance. The little caterpillar gets hit with an urge to change. Once it has wrapped itself inside a cocoon its body literally begins to disintegrate. At some point, new cells activate. They’re called imaginal cells. At first, the old caterpillar creature attacks them as foreign bodies but those attacks actually hasten the disintegration. Finally, at a point of maximum disintegration, the imaginal cells reach a critical mass and sort of wake up, recognize one another and realize they are no longer a worm, but instead a winged butterfly.
Our lives are like that too. We can stay folded in, wrapped in the cocoon of loss, fight against the changes, or we can unfurl with new depth and perspective and fly. The choice is always ours.