I’ve been working on a program about personal transformation; I call it Chrysalis to Bliss. The reason I chose that name is because several years ago, out of the blue, butterflies began showing up in the strangest places. The first time it happened I was walking down a street in Washington, D.C., when a bunch of butterflies suddenly surrounded me. From then on, for the rest of the time I lived in Washington, I’d see butterflies everywhere.
Then I moved to Kentucky. As the movers dropped the ramp from their truck, a Monarch butterfly landed on the ramp and refused to leave. I told the movers native people believe something that keeps showing up is a totem. You are supposed to think about the totem’s qualities and be guided by them in your own life. I said I thought the butterfly was my totem. The movers chuckled and tried to shoo the butterfly away but it didn’t budge. It stayed right there as the movers carried my furniture down the ramp, being careful where they stepped. After a while the movers were scratching their heads and saying that butterfly just might be a totem!
Months later a friend and I were sitting outside on a beautiful summer day. We were at her house in the country on a third-story balcony. Ironically I was telling my friend about the butterflies and saying that perhaps the message was for me to speak about transformation. I said I had always been fascinated by how a caterpillar can weave itself into a chrysalis and become a beautiful butterfly. Just as I was saying that a butterfly appeared out of nowhere, swooped down, dive bombed my leg and flew away! My friend, who swore she had never seen butterflies near that balcony before, said, “Well, I guess that’s your message!”
Which is how my personal transformation seminars were named Chrysalis to Bliss. Don’t you think George Bernard Shaw was talking about personal transformation when he said, “The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them?”
We all have the power, we just need the will.
November 4 – 7th I attended the Celebrate Your Life Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. A friend called me at 8:00 am on a Saturday morning to say we were going to this conference because it was going to, “Change our lives.” Well I’ll tell you, she wasn’t wrong. The conference was great.
What really spoke to me was how empowering and exhilarating it was to be with 2,000 people who were excited about their lives. People open to the possibilities and anxious to learn new ways of living. Think about that, 2,000 people who were open to the possibilities. Isn’t that fabulous?
One thing each of the speakers stressed was the power of meditation. Dr. Andrew Weil gave us a breathing exercise: deep breath in to the count of four, hold your breath for the count of eight, exhale to the count of seven. He said to repeat the exercise in series of four as many times a day as you want. I’ve found that exercise helpful in trying to get myself into a meditation, which my mind likes to resist with all its might!
One of the speakers was a Native American who took us on a vision quest to identify our totem animals. People were getting owls and wolves and frogs and all sorts of interesting things. I was one of two who didn’t get a totem but maybe that’s because I think I already have one, the butterfly. Several years ago when I lived downtown Washington, D.C., and was in another of life’s transitions, butterflies began appearing before and around me all the time. Really, all the time! I decided the butterfly must be my totem and quite frankly I think it is. That’s why I call my motivation and self-empowerment seminars Chrysalis to Bliss. Sometimes we need to rest and rejuvenate in the chrysalis before we soar.
The fascinating thing about the vision quest was that at the end our Native American leader told us not to be surprised if feathers showed up in strange places over the next few weeks because her totem was an owl. She also said we might experience trouble with electronics, such as static on the phone and so on.
I admit to having taken those admonitions fairly lightly but as I write this, both have happened. Last week in my exercise class the person next to me looked down at her shirt and remarked, “What’s that feather doing on my shirt?” Today I was on the phone with tech support for my printer and the tech guy said he was having trouble hearing me because there was a lot of interference on my phone.
Who knows? I’m open to the possibilities!