So I mentioned in the last post that I have been feeling unmotivated. I finished the Artist's Way, which I was completely enthusiastic about the first 8 weeks. The last 4 weeks I lost interest, and it felt like something I "should" do instead of something I wanted to do. I'll explain later why I keep putting "should" in quotes. I am still writing 3 pages of conscience streaming most mornings, which is part of the reason I haven't had time to blog. It will be interesting to see which one has to give if I can't do both.
Since finishing the Artist's Way, I've been looking for some new direction, a new purpose. I feel like I'm treading water, and I don't know where to go next. I need to do something big with my life, something meaningful, but I can't for the life of me figure out what that is. Feeling like a boat without a rudder (or even a destination), I scheduled a private session with my reiki instructor to try to gain some insight.
While I was trying to describe my predicament, I mentioned that I felt like a caterpillar in a cocoon. Deep down I knew that I was supposed to be waiting, gaining strength, resting for whatever big thing was coming next. I knew I shouldn't let the waiting/lack of motivation frustrate me, but the fact that I knew that and couldn't help it just made me more frustrated.
My teacher pointed out to me that even though the caterpillar emerges from the cocoon as a beautiful butterfly, there is a lot of work going on in the cocoon. If you open the cocoon too early, it's just a bunch of mush. I have to give myself time to transform, to shed the old me and invent the new. The subject of rebirth rears it's head again.
She recommended a book to me, "When the Heart Waits", by Sue Monk Kidd. Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions. I have only read the first 50 pages so far, but by page 12 I was in tears. (Good tears). An excerpt from the section of the book titled "The Spiritual Art of Cocooning" -
"The Greek word for soul is psyche, and is often symbolized as a butterfly". Both the soul and the butterfly are metamorphosed." Could explain why I have a strange fascination with butterflies the last few weeks.
Kidd also quotes Swiss psychiatrist CG Jung quite often, which is interesting because I have been feeling called to read his works, I just haven't made the time. Another quote from the book - "Jung believed that "every midlife crisis is a spiritual crisis, that we are called to die to the old self (ego), the fruit of the first half of life and liberate the new man or woman within us." Here is a hidden and misunderstood turning point of the soul, I thought. Sadly, not every person will maneuver its convoluted mazes. Would I?"
Midlife crisis. Could that really describe what I'm going through? I thought that only applied to men who wanted sports cars and 20 year old girlfriends. As I approach 40 I realize that that is what I'm going through. It's just not material or sexual, it's a spiritual midlife crisis. I realize I'm ready to let go of the ego (I think) and develop my full and true self.
This book has been a revelation to me, and has brought me unexplainable peace. I'm now ok with the waiting, with the seeming directionless turn in my life, because I know the direction will appear when I am ready. I am now content to wait, not feeling lazy or useless, but waiting to shed the old layers of my self and develop the new.
I have had strange encounters with butterflies this week. While on the river, three different times a butterfly flew right by the boat. I've never seen a butterfly in the middle of the river before. I went for a walk in the state park with my husband and son yesterday. There were butterflies everywhere. And I don't mean the little moth-like brown and orange butterflies, although they were there too. There were lots of yellow and black tiger swallowtails, and two different kinds of blue and black butterflies.
We were by a waterfall and I saw one of the most amazing things I have ever seen and hope I never forget. There were six butterflies together in one spot on the ground. Three yellow and black swallowtails on the left, and three black and blue beauties on the right.
I don't believe in coincidences anymore, I like to call it synchronicity. Or in this case maybe a sign. Whatever it was, it let me know that I was on the right path. That I'm exactly where I need to be, even though I can't see the end goal or even the next step. Someday, I will unfurl my wings and become that butterfly. And hopefully I can inspire someone with awe and wonder the way those six butterflies inspired me. Someday.