So many of the people I meet and work with always seem to have a similar question; “how do I repair, recover and transform my life? How do I achieve this? How do I change and renew myself, my life, my whole being?”
The answer is very simple! You create a time and space in your day, each day and you learn to sit with yourself. You learn to breathe with yourself. You learn to listen to yourself, encourage, motivate and empower yourself. You learn to nurture and care for yourself and most importantly, you learn to love yourself, from the inside out.
Learning to love yourself is without doubt a very challenging task. So many of us cannot bring ourselves to give a compliment to ourselves or others and are even worse at accepting a compliment from someone else. It is an instinct for our egos to take over and intercept before we graciously let ourselves blush in confidence and pride. How many times has someone said to you “wow, you look great, have you lost weight?” How many of us have answered “oh well I could do with losing a lot more!”. This is the ego sabotaging our good work and rail roading our progress. Wouldn’t it be a completely different scenario to reply to the same question by saying “thank you so much, I feel really great at the moment?” A completely different concept really.
My ethos is based around ‘healing ourselves from the inside out’. This is how I transformed my own life. There was a point in my life where I could not stand or sit in my own presence for even a few minutes. I continuously distracted myself with housework that ‘needed’ to be done or calls that ‘needed’ to be made. Anything was easier than having to be present with just myself. So how could I possibly heal or transform myself? I needed to get to know ‘the real me’. I needed to give my mind, body and emotions time to disconnect from each other, repair individually and then reconnect with one another. They needed to reconnect with me, as a communicative and functioning being.
I found the analogy of a butterfly’s life cycle so empowering and healing during this stage of my life. When you think about it, does the caterpillar ever think it will transform after complete metamorphosis into a beautiful free flying, free spirited butterfly? We will never know. But I do know that during this difficult stage of my life, I could never see myself as anything past that caterpillar stage. I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin, so full up of past trauma’s, worries, anxieties and fears that I was about to burst. Just like a caterpillar shedding its skin five times before entering its Pupa stage, letting go of the excess plants it had eaten so that it could become more comfortable and lighter in its own skin, I needed to shed layers of my own demons before I could start my transformation.
To do this, I meditated daily, enjoyed yoga, filled numerous notebooks by gratitude journaling, spent a lot of time walking outside with Mother Earth and started to speak kinder to myself. I accepted with compassion the difficult thoughts, the fears, the days which did not seem to go as I wished. I grew to accept and gained comfort from knowing that I was never going to be perfect, I am only human after all. As humans, we will never be perfect, what is perfect anyway? We and life are continually changing and evolving and so we are always on a continuous learning path. We may never be perfect, but we can learn to enjoy the journey.
Upon shedding and letting go of excess baggage, the butterfly then enters its Cocooning stage, it’s protective stage. This is a period of self-growth, of transformation. I used this period of my life as a protective time of self-recovery, of retreat, of reflection and of personal connection. Once I had shed my baggage, I used this time to restructure my mind, to reinvent my thoughts in a positive, kind and compassionate manner. This was a very intimate phase in my healing journey. It was a stage where I wanted to be cocooned with only me, with only my new positive and nurturing mindset and with my new understanding and compassionate way of living.
Slowly over time, my protective cocoon started to break open. I was becoming free. Free of my previous thoughts, memories, anxieties and I was now ready to launch myself and to fly high in life. This is the last stage in a butterfly’s life cycle. Now ready to propel itself into nature as a newly mature butterfly. It breaks free of its cocoon and takes a leap of faith as it waits for its wings to start flapping and flying. This beautiful butterfly completely unrecognisable from the bulging caterpillar a short while before, now a life completely transformed, completely renewed, oozing with an abundance of clarity, of hope, of dreams, of influence, of happiness and of health.
Another interesting concept to think about; ‘can a butterfly fly with only one wing?’ I wouldn’t fancy its chances. We can apply this theory to ourselves in creating and or enhancing our own healing journey or life transformation. Think of one of the butterfly’s wings as comprising of Kindness and Compassion for ourselves and others. Think of the second of the butterfly’s wings as comprising of Mindfulness. Just like the butterfly needing both of its wings to fly, we need Kindness, Compassion and Mindfulness to aid, enhance and facilitate our own personal transformation, healing and life journey.
We can envisage ourselves needing both these wings of Kindness, Compassion and Mindfulness to work together, in sync with one another, in an agreeable and equally effective rhythm in order for us to fly high in our own lives. We are all equally capable of entering a cycle of transformation in our own personal journeys. I guess some of us will decide to do it sooner than others and others will do it later in their lives but maybe at a different pace. There are no rules. Just like every butterfly, we can decide when we are ready to enter our protective cocooning stage and ultimately when we are ready to emerge as a newly transformed being.
We all have this innate ability to develop this deeply intimate relationship with ourselves, to deeply connect with ourselves and to learn to love who we are and to love who we can transform into. The question is, ‘are you ready to spread your wings of Kindness, Compassion and Mindfulness and soar high above your expectations? Are you ready to heal and transform yourself from the inside out?’
(As published in the Westmeath Examiner Newspaper on 16-6-2020 and in
The Anglo Celt and The Meath Chronicle Newspaper on 17-6-2020)