“I really think 2020 is going to be a pretty freaking awesome year. 2019 was a lot of learning for so many people. I can just feel so many good things coming.” Nicole balanced her youngest daughter Amelia on her hip, the sunlight was beaming in through a window next to her. She looked like a lioness with her mass of dark curls framing her flawless face. But this is Nicole, strikingly beautiful and when she speaks, she drops these musings on you and you can’t help but smile and feel emboldened at the optimism in her attitude.
Does anyone else feel like 2019 resembles a well-studied book, the pages are falling apart and nothing looks very fresh and crisp anymore? 2018 kind of beat the snot out of me, 2019 year was a rebuilding year and I have a feeling that 2020 is going to be a year of establishing a new sense of purpose. That’s what I’m after, anyway. And I know more people who would agree with those sentiments based on discussions I’ve had. I don’t know what it is about 2020…Maybe it’s the idea that “20/20” is another term for perfect eyesight and I love the idea of a year numerically symbolizing Divine Perspective. It feels just a tad prophetic, no?
Another friend reached out to me recently saying how lonely she feels lately. She’s lost a lot of friends in the past year and she feels very lost and displaced. Immediately, the saying “The higher your vibe, the smaller your tribe,” popped into my head. So I told her that; there is tremendous truth to that!
When we’re going through the biggest transformations in our lives, we often feel alone because we’re waking up to a new life purpose. It’s not to say we should never lean on friends when we’re going through something, but I believe sometimes God gives us that space in our social lives to allow us to cultivate our new and higher selves, especially when it’s soul work we need to evolve. It’s normal to feel alone during that. Of course that good old ego kicks in and we feel all despondent because we feel removed from “our people”—we’re social creatures, after all— but maybe it happens like that because it’s hard to process really difficult truth about yourself when you’re constantly distracted by friendships and obligations to them! Consider the solitude a gift. Maybe God/the Universe wants you to use that time to focus on yourself.
Think of the humble little butterfly. Many of us falsely assume that the caterpillar goes into its chrysalis after gorging itself on leaves and takes a little snooze, then emerges as a beautiful butterfly. Isn’t that what Eric Carle taught us with his whimsical watercolor book?
The truth is, the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly is excruciating! What you don’t see happening inside that pretty shell is the caterpillar basically digesting itself and restructuring its entire being! This is so worth the read if you’re into scientific metaphors. If not, you can skip head to my abbreviated version below:
“Our story begins with a hungry caterpillar who had just hatched from an egg. Soon enough, the little caterpillar…stuffs itself with leaves, growing little by little. When they’ve outgrown their current skin, a hormone called ecdysone is released, instructing the larva to molt. After it molts…the larva stops feeding, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf, and then either spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. This process is driven by the same hormone, ecdysone, but this time it works in conjunction with another hormone called the juvenile hormone. It’s actually the lack of the juvenile hormone that triggers the metamorphosis mechanism.
“The juvenile hormone acts to delay metamorphosis throughout the whole larva stage. It works by blocking the genes in the imaginal discs — tiny disc-shaped bags of cells that kick into action when the caterpillar wraps itself in the chrysalis, eventually turning into an antenna, eye, wing or other butterfly bit. As such, the juvenile hormone is essential to the caterpillar’s survival prior to metamorphosis. You see, once the larva reaches its final molt and begins its metamorphosis, strange things happen to its body. Cells in the larva’s muscles, gut and salivary glands are digested and act as spare parts for the soon-to-be butterfly. Each cell is programmed to self-destruct through the activation of enzymes called caspases.
“The caspases tear through the cell’s proteins, releasing prime butterfly-making material. Were it not for the juvenile hormone, this could have happened at any time, killing the caterpillar. Instead, nature programmed the hormone to lower its levels at the ideal moment for metamorphosis. With less juvenile hormone around, instead of inducing a regular molt, the ecdysone now drives the caterpillar to pupate. Once a caterpillar has disintegrated all of its tissues except for the imaginal discs, those discs use the protein-rich soup surrounding them to fuel the rapid cell division required to form the wings, antennae, legs, eyes, genitals and all the other features of an adult butterfly or moth…
“Metamorphosis isn’t just some beautiful physical transformation, however. It’s a stunning display of evolutionary mechanism at work. Butterflies and caterpillars don’t just look different — they behave differently, too. One lives in trees, and the other flies. Most importantly, one eats leaves, and the other solely feeds on nectar. There’s plenty of room for both kinds to coexist in the ecosystem since they don’t interfere with each other’s food stocks. It’s brilliant!”
Abbreviated version: Metamorphosis is gruesome work for that little caterpillar, but necessary for its evolution to occur. It is nothing short of a miracle to behold a fully matured butterfly.
People are no different! We shed versions of ourselves that we outgrow all the time. We are not only allowed to change our minds about our direction or our life purpose but we must evolve and adapt or we stunt our potential and suffer a life half-lived.
We are given a new opportunity to become a better, truer version of ourselves with every second, not just when the ball drops and we’ve slept off our hangovers and overeating from the year prior.
So I ask you, will 2020 be your year for your metamorphosis? Will you do your work to find your unique purpose? Will you face yourself and ask the question: How am I meant to grow into my truest self? It might mean some solitude, wrapped in a chrysalis of the lessons of your past. Conversely, it might mean admitting some very difficult things to yourself, owning them and asking for help in overcoming them. Whatever your truth is, grab hold of it and do your work! Wherever your purpose is pulling you, allow yourself the grace to let it lead you.
Don’t let yourself be distracted from your potential for another year. Don’t worry about the opinions of others telling you you’re incapable of the kind of change you seek. Don’t talk yourself out of it because of the effort required. The time is going to pass anyway, so make it count for something real. Stop being a caterpillar and become a butterfly.
Happy new beginnings to you.
**If your New Beginnings are leading you to the path of beginning a new business or rebranding an existing one, I highly recommend the expertise of photographer Nicole Rall Photography. You will benefit from some fabulous outside-the-box headshots and innovative photography that will effectively reflect the details of your trade. She helped me with the banner and other images for this blog, my creative content on other social media platforms, and my images for personal training. She is making a name for herself as a talented artist who captures the essence of your professional aspirations. She’s booking clients into the new year and will help you brand your offerings to the world.**