Limiting Beliefs

„What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.” – Richard Bach

Despite its simplicity, this quote is my favorite quote of all time because in its simplicity it expresses the complex cycle of all existence. Everything that can be called life willingly, continually, destroys itself in order to renew itself.

Let’s have a look at the 3 stages a caterpillar or a butterfly goes through in its life and see what we can learn when we study the caterpillar or the butterfly:

The Caterpillar Stage
Consumption is the main task in this stage of the butterfly’s life (this stage starts right after hatching from an egg). In order to fuel the growth that will take place in the future, the caterpillar’s purpose is simply to eat as much as possible. During this stage the caterpillar will outgrow and shed its skin as many as 4 or 5 times.This represents the learning stage of growth for me, where I am consuming as much training and knowledge as I can about something new I want to master and understand. During this process, I usually attend workshops, read, consult with teachers, and listen to webinars to take in information so that I will be prepared for what comes next. As I sort through what fits or doesn’t fit my current life, there is also some shedding of ideas during this phase. This is often a stage of great excitement and energy for me as I enjoy the flow of creativity and inspiration it brings.

The Chrysalis Stage
Appearing catastrophic from the perspective of the caterpillar, this is the most intriguing stage of butterfly development. Once the caterpillar is fully grown, it hangs itself from a branch and starts spinning a protective cocoon around itself. This process takes place so that the caterpillar can safely digest all the food that it consumed earlier and rest. There is dramatic transformation taking place inside of the chrysalis. The body of the caterpillar starts dissolving while the previously dormant precursor cells of the emerging butterfly begin developing.This stage is the one I most often misunderstood. When I am trying to grow or create something new, I usually don’t recognize the need for recovery, rest, and retreat, and therefore I miss out on the emergence of inspiration that comes during these times of cocooning and relaxation. Instead I view this stage as a downturn or crisis by taking the caterpillar perspective, while I frantically, at all costs, try to push my growth forward.

The Butterfly Stage
At last in this final stage, the fully developed butterfly is ready to emerge from the chrysalis.After breaking free, the butterfly’s wings are still wet and folded and more rest time is necessary to allow blood to flow into the wings. It is only when the wings are finally fully dry that the butterfly is ready to share its beauty with the world and take flight.During this stage there is an intentional breaking free that has to occur with proper timing before flight is undertaken. When I have gone through the other stages and am finally ready to display my new project or growth to the world, I have to leave behind the old way of doing things and move forward with courage and some risk-taking, while recognizing the fragility of my new wings.

If we want to grow, old beliefs must die and be replaced with new ones – and if we don’t replace them we remain lifeless and stunted in our being. Belief determines the situations we attract into our lives and so it is normal, natural and healthy that circumstances also be destroyed and created fresh: we become ill, a marriage ends, we lose our job.
We miss the opportunity they provide for personal transformation when we resist these little deaths. If that is the case, we simply regenerate new circumstances that sadly mirror the old ones and nothing in our lives appears to change. However, when we understand that these end of the world moments are pivotal to our life purpose we can make the leap towards fulfilling and knowing that purpose.