Friday, May 30, 2014
My daughter’s kindergarten class is studying the life cycle of the butterfly this month. She raced home to tell me the caterpillars had arrived in the mail, and the children of room 10 are anxiously watching as they eat their food and grow big and fat, a la Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. She knows, and tells me with great authority, that once the caterpillars are big, they will build their cocoon. Then they will “transform” into butterflies. “This takes time, Momma” she told me emphatically, when I was asking about the progress.
She’s right, transformation takes time. Why then, do we so often get discouraged and frustrated when our efforts to lose weight, get in shape, improve our marriage, learn a new skill, become better people or parents do not lead to magical results over night? Why do we curse and bemoan the fact that we are unable to reach our desired state immediately, or sooner! I work with therapy clients who make the monumental decision to create a significant change in their life, and together we make a plan and a course of action and off they go. Next session they return, often discouraged…“Nothing feels different yet”. In a matter of days they have lost the motivation, the transformation has not yet occurred so they assume their efforts are useless.
In nature we trust that transformation will take place, and we expect for it to take time. The seeds we plant do not yield the crop the next day, the blossoms of the tree do not produce fruit NOW! The butterfly doesn’t immediately emerge from the cocoon the caterpillar builds. Time to trust that if we wish to transform ourselves, that too will take time.