I’ve been aware of butterflies since I was a child because she loved them and I loved her. Her interest made me more aware of butterflies and made me think of her when I saw them. Now that she has passed, every time I see a butterfly I immediately think of her and imagine that Grandma is visiting me.
Strangely, or maybe not, I have often glimpsed a butterfly in a moment when I really needed to be reminded of my grandma, her love, her grace, and generosity.
I shared this story back to Anne-Laure after reading her post, because I wondered if she had things that helped her remember her grandma. The same is for those of you reading this - for those loved ones that you have lost - what are the serendipitous things that remind you of them? The things that gently surprise you in moments when you need a reminder of that person you loved?
What I didn’t know was that butterflies may be a very useful symbol and metaphor for the dramatic changes we are undergoing in this time. Not only are they symbols of positive transformation transformation and interconnectedness as Anne-Laure wrote to me over email:
Butterflies are considered a symbol of hope, positive transformation, interconnectedness (because of the Butterfly Effect), and love (because of the butterflies in your stomach).
But even more, as you can read in this tweet below, they demonstrate physiologically something very similar
to what we are going through right now. The more the caterpillar resists the initial change (fighting it off with its immune system) the stronger the emergent butterfly becomes.
The caterpillar tries to destroy the butterfly, until the imaginal disks multiply to such an extent, then grow and overwhelm the caterpillar. They become imaginal cells, that eventually build the butterfly, that then feeds on the soupy meltdown of the caterpillar’s body.
It’s mysterious and amazing isn’t it?
It is the job of the system in place to resist the emergence of a new system – this resistance supports the strength and validity of the new system for the time when the shift happens. During this transformation, one is constantly challenged by the old system – acknowledging that this is at service of the new invites to a place of understanding rather than a place of opposition or duality.
The system emerging will, at its own turn, be build to last and to resist following emergences. We are stepping into this flow that will continue beyond us in the future. We are at the same time aware of our vital importance at this time and our transient influence at the no-time.
I think this process and metaphor from the more-than-human world of the butterfly reminds us to see things in process and transition, to look for the places where the emergent system is now at work, and to help bring people along and work in service to these new systems? The resistance of the old system is only going to make the new system stronger and better.
Therefore, how might we “Co-create the language of this new system requires a space of exploration both of the self and while relating in community” (Augusto Cuginotti)? How are we working in service to the new world being birthed (rather than our own self-interests)?
May we see more and more butterflies in the coming days.