Butterflies Don't Crawl

– Posted in: The Shift Ezine

I don’t agree with Leo Tolstoy when he said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Why? Because I don’t think that everyone thinks of changing the world, and many people think of changing themselves.

I do agree, as he is implying, that in order for change in the world to come about, it is the man-in-the-mirror that must change first.

But how?

I was updating a page on my website, but no matter what I did, the changes would not show up on the page. It remained stuck in the past. Finally, I realized that it was somehow connected to a page that I had put into the trash.

You’d think that would be enough to disconnect it, but it wasn’t. I had to actually empty the trash to break the connection. At that point, all the changes I had made became visible.

Isn’t that so like what we do in our lives? We think we have thrown away old habits, ideas, thoughts, and emotions, but really, they are just sitting there in a trashcan somewhere holding up progress.

In order for change to be visible, we have to be willing to empty the trash.

It’s all about habits. I love habits. Habits are the basis of everything we do, otherwise imagine how chaotic life would be.

It’s not having a habit that is the problem; it is the holding on to unwanted and outgrown habits, which can range from simply not useful, to dangerous.

To make habits our servant, rather than being servants of habit, we have to be willing to discard an outgrown habit for a new one.

Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet. Be easy with me and I will destroy you. Who am I? I am Habit! – Author Unknown

In order to change to an improved version of ourselves, new habits must support that change. Click To Tweet

The caterpillar changing into the butterfly is a symbol that we all understand.

However, what if that was us? What if the change required was so absolute that nothing about our lives and ourselves looked the same, could we do it?

What if the butterfly didn’t want to acquire the new habit of flying, and continued to crawl along the ground as if it were still a caterpillar.

John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

Change and habits can go together in perfect harmony. Good habits are the backbone and strength of change. We can get into the habit of letting good habits yield to even better habits.

Here’s the trouble. Bad habits are very persistent, and sneaky.

While we waited for a Zumba class to begin, one of the women talked about how, over the summer, she had let the habit of coming to class yield to the habit of not coming to class, without noticing it had happened.

We have all experienced the return of old habits we thought we had trashed, but really were just lurking in the trashcan to return as soon as we stopped paying attention.

I think the butterfly has it easier than we do when it comes to changing habits. It already knows its true nature. We forget ours.

The butterfly knows that being a caterpillar is a temporary preparation for expression of its butterfly state. (Okay I haven’t actually talked to one, but someday when we all get to I am sure it will tell us something like this.)

We get locked into a way of seeing ourselves – this is how I am – and then we become frozen in old habits.

What if we could remember, even for a few times a day, that we are the expression of an infinite One that is ever expanding. We would know, and accept, that we are constantly moving from a caterpillar state to a butterfly one.

We just don’t notice this constant change because we remain attached to old beliefs hanging out in the trashcan, but not discarded.

As we let go of the habit of claiming to be human (as in a caterpillar), change, and habits that support that change, would come more easily.

We wouldn’t say things like – “I don’t know how, I am too old – I am not interested in learning – I am stuck in past history – things didn’t work out before so I am afraid to move on – I can’t keep up with the all the changes – I am too short, too tall, too skinny, too fat, too weak,” and on and on.

Nope, we wouldn’t say any of those things anymore.

Instead, we would move to spiritually healthy habits that support flying, leaping, dancing, singing, and joyously celebrating the expression of our true spiritual nature.

Just like the butterfly, we would not crawl; we would fly.

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The beautiful photo of the butterfly was taken by my daughter. See more of what she does at: Hedgerowrose.com

Hedgerow Rose December 15, 2012, 1:31 pm

So true! I love how you relate these ideas to everyday life.

Jamie Lewis January 16, 2013, 1:52 pm

You KNOW I love this one! So nice to hear what the caterpillar knows now and isn’t afraid to follow, and you wrote this in such a nice hopeful and encouraging way; there IS a way to change and improve ourselves and we don’t have to hang on to bad or outdated habits! Really a nice read.

Beca Lewis January 16, 2013, 5:05 pm

Not hanging on … so freeing right? Thanks Jamie!