Last updated on July 1st, 2022 at 01:47 pm
If I had not been sitting in silence, the afternoon long and full with senses of sight and smell heightened without the web of worry weaving through my mind, I might never have noticed the butterflies, wings fluttering ever so slightly on the surface of the water, these butterflies trapped by the weight of their own dampened wings, unable to fly.
They were so elegant, delicate, and helpless.
One by one, I plucked them out of the pool, gently holding each one on my fingertips, up to the sun so the wings could dry.
I sat with each one for minutes that stretched on like quiet hours, the second hand on the clock above the pool slowly circling, seconds ticking away while their delicate orange and black wings dried.
I watched them gently moving in my hand, the hind and fore wings stirring, the thorax and proboscis used to sip flower nectar bending with the wind of my hot breath. These creatures were small, complex, and miraculous.
After about 10 minutes, when the wings were dry and flapping open, I would shake each butterfly off my hand and scoop another one out of the pool. They were my symbol, a metaphor for my transformation. The massage therapist who had kneaded my shoulders and back earlier in the silent retreat, trying to free me of my anxiety, told me as she rubbed my shoulder blades, “I feel wings growing in.”
Which angels were these sprouting wings out of my back, I wondered?
And So It Began
And so began the essay to launch the marketing part for my big dream–my book and my plan to submit stories ahead of publication to top women’s magazines and websites.
Entitled “Metamorphosis,” my first essay tells the story of how I transformed my life from the inside out, and how I changed my symbol over time to the butterfly. Previously, I used to think of myself as the “phoenix rising” from Greek mythology, until the universe kept setting things on fire (my house, a house next door to me, the hillside near my yoga retreat center).
I decided that the universe was paying too much attention to my wishes–they kept coming true–so I decided to pick different wishes, and a different image to represent me. The butterfly is delicate, beautiful, and most importantly is a symbol for transformation. From the chrysalis emerges this magical creature.
Yet when she is in the cocoon, it is DNA soup, just a mish-mash of cells. Somehow the butterfly DNA is encoded to enable her to emerge from the soup of cells into something so simple yet ethereally beautiful.
We Are All The Butterfly
I have come to believe over time that just like the butterfly whose DNA bears a map of what she will become, even in the mystery of the cocooning time, we too have maps inside us to help guide us to become what we are meant to become.
Somewhere, deep down inside us, we know our deepest heart’s desires and dreams. We feel the longing stirring in us when something reminds us of those dreams. Ah, yes, our heart says. That person, painting, dance, song, book, job, home, far-away land moves something in me.
When something makes you ache, pay attention! It may be your heart telling you to follow your dream!
What Brings You Joy
Writing and dancing have always stirred my soul this way. When I stay away from dancing for too long, my body aches for it. I start moving in my chair, in the car, on the street, to every song with half a beat and even a glimmer of soul.
Writing is in my blood. It’s what I do and what I have done for fun since I was a little girl. It is how I learn, dream, remember, and make sense of the world. So when I stop writing for any reason for too long, I feel that ache again. Return home, my soul is telling me.
Giving my Dream My Best Shot
Right now, my biggest dream is my writing project for my book. Amazingly, after a year of working on it, my draft book manuscript it due to my writing coach in three weeks. I have written 267 pages in my manuscript. My goal to finish is to write five good pages a day. Then, I’ll spend two weeks editing the book before mailing it to my writing coach and editor, Ellen Sussman.
The very last week before my book is due, I will hide away in a cabin in the woods, unplugged from the Internet, no Facebook, no iPhone, no activism work and write my heart out. In the last week, I will polish the manuscript until it shines.
To the best of my ability, I will make it the best first draft manuscript Ellen has ever seen.
How I Became the Butterfly
My book, and my idea to write essays for marketing it to the public both describe my journey and how I transformed myself into the butterfly, into simply becoming me beautifully, free of fear finally.
In the meantime, I’m sending good vibes out into the universe to help me finish this manuscript and live my published book dream.
Lisa Powell Graham
Lisa P. Graham is an inspirational writer, life coach, TED motivational speaker, and globe-trotter whose passion is to help others to find happiness and meaning in their daily lives. A political activist at heart, Lisa would like to empower more women to run for political office as a way to create positive change in the world. You can find her on her website or watch her TEDx speech on YouTube.
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