Out of the Chrysalis

Celebrating and embracing the transformation within


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Memories Triggered


chrysalisSpring is upon us and that means caterpillars everywhere are on the verge of becoming a newer version of themselves. With much time spent in the chrysalis, letting go of the past and preparing for a great adventure.  Over the past 7 years, I have been doing the same thing and life has led me to many wonderful adventures of late.  Recently however, I had a “moment” that I would like to share with you! It came suddenly and completely took me by surprise!

In January of 2013, I wrote a post on PTSD and Divorce. Over the past few years, I have not suffered any of those mentioned PTSD experiences, and have felt pretty well renewed.  I have some wounds that will always be present in my mind, but for the most part, I am a new and improved person who just happened to have survived a divorce.  Towards the end of that post, I mentioned that as part of my healing journey, I was at war with my memories.  Through the restorative process, I have surrendered my memories and processed much of what I needed too, or so I thought. Apparently, my mind had other plans and decided to wage war once again.

The trigger was a song that happened to come on while I was watching television. The song immediately infuriated me.  I began yelling out and having an argument with the person singing.  I wanted to know what gave the artist the right to create such a song and sing it as if it were the best thing ever written.  I found myself having a very one-sided conversation and becoming angrier at every word.

The next day I was speaking to a friend about my “moment”. All of a sudden, I heard words coming out of my mouth that were not there the night before.  I was actually explaining why that song was such a trigger.  I quickly realized that what was happening in the lyrics was something that I wished I had done during my period of doubts.  That piece was a rendition of my life but with scenes that never played out due to my fears and uncertainty.  Situations that I did not allow myself to be a part of because I did not want to believe they were true.  These impetuous feelings were hurtful to me, but this time I was the one causing the pain.

I know we cannot go back and say “what if”, but I really wanted to ask myself that question. The more I thought about it; my answer was that the outcome would probably not have been any different.  In fact, it may have been worse.  I trusted in my perception during those times, and I chose a way to react that was secure for me.

This unexpected moment was a very valuable lesson. It has showed me that deep down this was an unresolved issue, having nothing to do with my ex, it was all me!  Will there be more? I have no clue, but at least now, I know how to identify it and process it.  I do know that when it happens again, I will let the music play, soak in the lyrics and glide with the rhythm.

butterfly musicWhat I think is important to pass along here, is do not shut yourself out! These “moments” will appear without warning and can be frightening to face head on.  I faced mine by accident the following day and I am grateful for the experience and now the knowledge.  When you get to this point in your journey, remember this as an important step in the healing process.  Trust in God, and listen to what you have to say.  Do not be afraid to be angry with yourself but also remember to be just as forgiving!

Do you have an experience of a “moment” you would like to share? Please comment.

Blessings, Kimberly / Courageous Butterfly

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Hello World…let’s fly


“Hello world!  I know I have been away for quite some time; life has taken me to places both familiar and unknown”, said the butterfly.   ©KA    

flyLast week during a conversation, it came up that the caterpillar does not know that a struggle is coming, or that it will be transformed into something more beautiful than it once was.  Many of us do not know the storms that lie ahead or how we will be changed because of them.  The difference between our struggle and that of the caterpillar, is the fact that we remember most of what we’ve gone through.  Some say, the butterfly, once it emerges only has memory of its time just before entering the chrysalis.  I can’t decide which is better, remembering every moment of the struggle, or just the very end.

Studies completed on the brain of a caterpillar and that of a butterfly have shown that some memory can be retained after metamorphosis if it was created in the later stages of caterpillar life.  Those studies involve smells with a shock to the caterpillar and when the same scent is offered to the butterfly, it avoided those scents proposing that it remembered the shock.

What if we applied this to a traumatic life event?  It takes me back to times through my healing process where situations or events would bring out feelings of fear and remind me of moments that were hurtful for me.  Even though it is hard to remember what we have gone through, I think we also can learn a lot of lessons through that pain.  I wonder if the butterfly is missing out on some of that since it doesn’t remember most of it’s life as the caterpillar.  Or…is that a blessing in disguise?  I suppose it depends on the situation and how each of us responds to our own healing environment.

The caterpillar could not prepare for what was about to happen, and many times we do not see or anticipate the circumstance that will be forever life changing for us.  When the storm hits were are just thrown in with no clue of how or when we will come out of it.  The caterpillar has to shed its skin in order to enter the cocoon and then it completely turns to mush before being restored to its new version.  We’ve all been reduced to mush at some point during our trial, and then our own metamorphosis occurs.  Taking us from broken to beautiful.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years focusing on the transformation and never really considered what it would feel like to be the butterfly…until now.

The struggle in the chrysalis is a real one and we all go through it differently.  Some caterpillars are inside for months, some weeks, some even a year over winter.  Life changing events do not happen overnight and it is important to know that the changes cannot be rushed.  However, it is critical that the focus be on allowing life to take you through the experiences that will ultimately form your wings and allow you to fly.

For the first time, in a long time I can actually say that I am the fully transformed butterfly.  I’ve closed my eyes and I can see myself emerging.  Taking my first breath of fresh clean air was the most magnificent feeling!  It was cool and crisp, it was filled with joy, and a feeling of love in my heart.  The scents that triggered my shock are now insignificant to my future.   I can honestly say “my wings are ready.”

I stumbled upon a song recently and these words really spoke to me, I hope they are encouraging for you on your healing journey.  “ You won’t forget the heavy steps you took to let it go, but close your eyes count to 10 and hold your breath and fly.”

Can you see your future as a butterfly?  Please share in the comments.

Many Blessings,  Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

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Reaching new heights


butterfly dream catcherI feel like I’ve been at the top of my game!  Other than the fact that I am literally shrinking, life is good; kids are awesome; new job is going great; I start school in the fall; making progress on my running and actually achieving goals that I’ve set.  I’ve had nothing to complain about, until my subconscious started playing games with me!

My dream world has become a place that is not user-friendly.  I know that when dealing with loss, everyone heals at their own pace and that is the healthy way to do it. Measuring your progress using someone else’s ruler is never good.  Trying to figure out why I’m experiencing this now, after all this time is driving me a little nuts.  I’ve learned how my mind and emotions react to certain situations or circumstances, and I’ve had a pretty good handle on that…until I sleep.

How cool would it be if we could control what we dream about?  First off it would be really hard to get up in the morning if we could manifest our dreams, but secondly it may hamper what our brains are trying to do for us in a recovery phase.  There is no way I want to actually think about the scenario’s that my mind is creating while I sleep; so why are they being produced?

The dreams center around a big fear from my past,  but intermingled with life as if they fit. Pictures are clear; faces are well known, and I awake with a familiar knot in my gut.   I don’t know what the trigger is, they all have a consistent theme, which leads me to believe that I need to work out what that issue is.  It might be time to dig deeper than I have ever gone before and pull out whatever splinter is still left in my wound.

Removing a splinter at times can be difficult, especially those that you feel but cannot see.  I know it’s there because my dreams tell me so, but in my conscious state I don’t see it.  Removing it will take a steady hand, focus, patience and being OK with a little sting.  I’m not going to say that I’ve lost a step in my healing progress, because I haven’t.  This is just another facet of it that I didn’t know existed.

The good news is that it is happening when I feel like I can accomplish anything!  All except for the shrinking thing but that, unfortunately, is out of my control.  So for now I’m small and mighty, ready to tackle anything that comes my way.

Are your dreams messing with your reality?  Please comment.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

6/22/17

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Accepting Transformation….Conclusion


IMG_1511 (2)I thought I knew everything about butterflies, that is, until I spent a few days with my painted ladies.  The day before their release I was able to observe and learn a lot from their behavior.

Did you know:  once in the chrysalis the caterpillar will shake to ward off predators.  (Similar to a human in a time of crisis or despair)

Did you know:  a butterfly can carry 40 times its weight.  (The weight of a difficult situation can equally be as heavy)

Did you know:  a butterfly sleeps with its eyes open.  (Someone going through a difficult time may have difficulty sleeping)

Did you know:  a butterfly will not be active when its body temperature is too cold.  (In times of emotional distress, a person may become less active or withdrawn)

Did you know:  a butterfly will tremble in order to warm itself for becoming active.  (Trying to get yourself motivated when you are feeling down may require a gentle push)

Releasing my new friends depended on the outside temperature, and because of a few colder days I was able to spend more time with them than I had originally planned.  Having that time to watch them closely and study what was happening was a treat for me!  I will admit though, panic did set in a couple of times when activity level had decreased.  I had no idea they literally could not move if their body temperature went below a certain point.

When in a grumpy mood or feeling down, our happy endorphin’s are reduced, thus altering our activity.  I remember many days and nights being confined to my bed feeling like I could not move. 

Before I knew it the day had come and it was time to release and let them go.  I placed them in a sunny spot in the house for a few hours so they would have ample time to warm up and get enough food to make the journey.

The park was beautiful and full of people enjoying the lovely day.  I walked to a quiet space and sat with them on a park bench for a few minutes.  I needed to get up the courage to unzip and let them free.  So many thoughts were going through my mind.  How would I know if they would survive the night?  Would they separate or find each other once out in the world?  Would they be able to find food? Were they strong enough to fly?

Ironically, 7 years ago those same questions were going through my mind on a different level.  Would I have the courage to unzip and change my environment?  There were times I wondered if I would survive the moments.  Would I have new relationships? Would I be able to sustain myself? Was I strong enough to fly?

I didn’t focus on these thoughts for too long, I took in a deep breath and opened the top of the habitat.  The larger butterfly was the first one out  and flew off before I could even get a photo.  The second one though had a little struggle.  It was the smaller of the two and the one which hatched at the bottom of the aviary.  I helped her out on my finger where she sat for several minutes.  I looked around to make sure we were alone, no one needed to see me have a heart to heart with a butterfly!  IMG_1541 (2)

I let her know that she was beautiful and strong, and her life was just beginning.  I thanked her for the time she spent with me, though brief, it meant the world to me.   After our chat I walked her over to a plant leaf and set her upon it.  Within seconds she had flown off.  I like to think our chat gave her the courage to open her wings and fly. Just as many in my life have given me the words I needed to muster up the courage for some of life’s struggles.

It seems little miss butterfly sure had a lot more to teach me.  It is even more clear to me now how much in common we have during times of transformation.  Change doesn’t have to be negative even if the situation it came from was difficult.  Try to embrace it and enjoy the flight of the butterfly.

Courageous Butterfly 4/19/17

Kimberly


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Accepting Transformation Part 1


orangebutterflyI have had an amazing butterfly experience!  As I mentioned previously, I was able to bring home two caterpillars in the hopes of being able to be part of their transformation. I am happy to report that I was able to observe every stage, and at times I felt myself going through every change right along with them.

Exciting times when a girl gets to bring home a couple of caterpillars, and the moment I carried them through the door was the beginning of a whole new set of experiences. Little did I know, it was also the beginning of a new set of emotions as well.

It took just two days before they headed to the top of the cup and attached themselves to the lid.  It is in this spot where they would hunker down and prepare for the inevitable. Because they were in such a confined space, they really didn’t have much of a choice as to where they could go and safely transform.  Being able to hatch and release butterflies in homes or schools is something that has been going on a for a while, but it still didn’t change the fact, their environment as they knew it, had forever been changed.

I had no idea how that one movement of the caterpillars would remind me of what I experienced at the beginning of my trial.  I too was forced to hunker down in a confined space . It was not my choice; my emotions and peace of mind were not safe;  and the environment as I knew it, was about to be forever changed.

Just two days after the chrysalis was completely formed I was able to remove the lid and chrysalis2hang it in the hatching habitat.  During this process one of the chrysalis’ came loose and fell to the bottom.  I immediately reached for my instructions to find out what to do.  The instructions were to gently scoop it up with a spoon and place it on a paper towel.  It said most likely the butterfly would still be able to hatch without any damage.  Needless to say, worry was setting in.

Once I really thought about what the caterpillar may be going through, I was brought back to a moment when I was curled up in a ball in the corner of my kitchen, hoping I would come out of my experience without any damage.  

chrysalis1Once in the chrysalis the caterpillars will hatch within 7-10 days, and I made sure to keep an accurate count.  I was even able to set up a butterfly web cam so I wouldn’t miss a trick!  Guess what? I missed two tricks!  The first butterfly emerged prior to the camera being set up, this was the one at the bottom of the habitat.  I was so happy to see it had survived, that it eased my disappointment in not witnessing it.  Knowing the second one was just a day behind I stayed close by the web cam.  Just as a little kid knows when you are watching, this butterfly took a 7 minute window in the 30 minutes I had been away from the camera to come into our world.  Luckily for me the web cam took photos of movement and I was able to view it after the fact.

Excitement mounted high for me, knowing I was going to sleep that night with butterflies in my room and in the same moment, sadness set in knowing they would soon be released.  I knew all along that would be the outcome, but a part of me wanted to hang onto them forever if I could.

For a very long time I wanted to hold on to the feelings I had for my ex.  I felt sadness knowing that someday those feelings would no longer exist and a part of me wanted to cling to them.  The sane part of me knew that releasing the energy surrounding these feelings was the best thing I could do in order to heal.  Instead of holding on, I was able to finally release and let it go just as I would have to with the butterflies.

When I wrote Out of The Chrysalis; Free to Fly I thought I had fully experienced the similarities of the caterpillar during transformation.  The witness of this metamorphosis, has shown me that my book was just the beginning of fully understanding, not only the caterpillars experience, but also my own.

Stay tuned for the conclusion of the butterflies journey in my next post Accepting Transformation part 2.

Have you been able to see similarities in life situations? Please share in the comments.

Courageous Butterfly 4/27/17

Kimberly

 

 

 

 


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The Fire Inside Me


runningTomorrow I run!  My first 5K of the season and third all time.  I’m no Forrest Gump but I will do my best.  The path is unknown I will have to look for the route markers and stay the course.  I will need to delve deep into my energy reserves, focus on my breathing, concentrate on my surroundings, and eventually cross the finish line.   If you close your  eyes and repeat the italicized text,  I promise you can apply that to any life experience.

Being emotional in public can be awkward but when I run no one really notices.  Could be the wind or the sun in my eyes.  So why do I cry when I run?  I asked myself that same question the first time my purple shoes hit the pavement.  I answered the question as I crossed the finish line.

   Accomplishment

Reaching a goal no matter how small can be food enough to fill your soul for a lifetime.  Nearly 8 years go I had a fire lit inside me and at the time I had no idea where it was going to take me.  I did not know that it was meant to prepare me for the struggle ahead.  I didn’t have a plotted route, or even a clue of what I was about to face.  Reflecting on it now, I am certain the opportunity that was placed in my hands and lit the fire, was the gift of strength.   Something I had not yet possessed.

I have two caterpillars in little cups beginning to shed into the chrysalis.  Every day I watch their activity and I don’t have to wonder what that struggle feels like, because the human struggle is the same.  The caterpillar does not know that The path is unknown and will have to look for the route markers and stay the course;  will need to delve deep into energy reserves, focus on breathing, concentrate on surroundings, and eventually cross the finish line into complete transformation.chrysalis-wide

After the struggle, accomplishment will become its focus.  The beauty it represents will be appreciated by many and its inner light will shine bright!

I won’t be completely transformed when I cross the finish line tomorrow.  I still have many more runs to complete, each one adding fuel to my fire.

Can you compare a struggle to that of a caterpillar?  Please share in comments.

Shine your light bright!

Courageous Butterfly

Kimberly

4/8/17

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Have a Good Everything


inner_beauty-465605b712594973d3f6403d22684f66We’ve had our Happy New Year, and have embarked on the journey of 2017.  I had an email conversation today with someone who was thankful they had not yet made any mistakes in the new year, and I responded with the cover up for my last mistake of 2016.

In January we all strive to be our best, make an attempt to meet our goals and focus on the resolutions we’ve made.  We make this a very important start to our year, but what if what we need is just a simple phrase?  We spend all our efforts planning what we want to happen in the upcoming year and hopeful we will reach our goals and be happy.  Is it possible that just a few words can accomplish this task?

I’ve been inspired by a phrase whispered to me and I think her words will forever be with me, as simple as it was.  While walking down a hall, I said good night to someone and her response was ” have a good everything” .  It literally stopped me in my tracks.

You can’t get any better than that phrase.  There is no room for negativity, it is weeping positive.  I decided to try it out today and the response was ” thank you for putting a smile on my face”.  It actually worked!

2017 is a really big year for me.  Last year of my spousal support which leads to the first year of taking care of myself financially.   I will be joyful in knowing that it has finally come to a close, at times it was a thorn in my side.

I began 2017 with a spiritual retreat  as I have the past couple of years and this time felt different.  I wasn’t as upset and I could focus on why I was there.  I felt strength, comfort, and pride.  Pride was a word I never thought I could even speak since it all unfolded.  But I have it.  I have pride in the fact that I was not bitter, I never bashed or spoke ill of my life events.  Instead I harnessed the power of prayer, love and spirituality to become who I am today.

Part of my 2017 is to glean.  Last night I went through a box  and inside I found a letter which I wrote to myself 1/23/2011 as part of a renewal.  It’s not the first time I’ve read it but it was different. The bulk of the letter was no longer significant, then I got to the last sentence and it really hit me “take the tools that God has given you, stay on this path and you will find peace”.

How did the ME in 2011 know that the ME in 2017 was going to need to read that? And how did the lady know that her words “have a good everything” would touch me as they did?

It really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I am almost done! It may sound silly but my alimony has put a strain on me, I want to be free of that relationship and I’m almost there.  I have just enough time to pay debt, save for a condo and take my mom on a once of a lifetime vacation.  I think I have planned the year out pretty well!

While I’m doing it I will be counting my blessings walking in God’s grace and focusing on having a good everything.

Did you feel harnessed by your divorce? please share.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

1/12/17