Energy flows freely within and between us – we need only stop for a moment and focus inwards to feel that life and it’s ability to transform
I attended a yoga workshop led by ‘environmentalist’ Julia Butterfly Hill and yoga teacher Ryan at Yoga for the People in Gastown – a beautiful space with classes accessible to anyone, donations preferred. I listened rapt to Julia, a woman who has experienced much and stands as a role model to anyone who works for positive change in themselves and in the world. For 738 days, Julia lived in the canopy of a giant redwood tree, raising awareness about the damage we were causing to our ancient forest, and creating forward movement on numerous environmental and social justice issues.
Today, she sat among us, sharing her ideas on transformation and growth. One idea in particular stood out for me – that transformation is continual, we are never finished, and it is never easy. As she joked, “People tell me they are jealous of my life. I tell them no, they are jealous of the results.” Life is not just a summary of outcomes. It is the process in all it’s heart-wrenching glory.
Think about a butterfly. To transform, a caterpillar must create it’s own cocoon, woven from within, and then liquefy completely in this shell. Yes, liquefy, disintegrate to the point where there is not one recognizable element of its former physical self, not even the head. And from this emerges an entirely different creature, which stops for a moment to dry off the last drops of the liquid it grew from, before flying off to begin life in a new form.
For us to transform, truly transform ourselves and our world, we need to be willing to do the work. We need to be able to give up and dissolve ourselves, and everything we thought we knew, everything we understood, those thoughts that we’ve been thinking and rethinking, the judgments on ourselves and others. Give up our old fears, the memories we cling to, the identity we see ourselves as ‘being’. Let go of the belief that we cannot make a difference. Most importantly, we need to give up the mind, as the butterfly needs to liquefy it’s own head – difficult, as we so often cling to our minds, our thoughts, the chatter that we allow ourselves to go through day in and day out. Give up that mind so it can transform. In other words…get out of your own way and let transformation occur. It won’t always be pretty, but it will be worth it, as you emerge with new wings that you can use to create ripples of change in your community and the lives of others.
A butterfly only makes this transformation once in it’s life – as humans, we are blessed with the ability to grow and learn continually, evolving with greater wisdom and understanding.