Out of the Chrysalis

Celebrating and embracing the transformation within


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Waiting Patiently…Seriously?!


waitingThis has to be one of the most confusing phrases I’ve heard, and I’ve heard a lot!. During my life trial, I was told repeatedly what a patient woman I was.   Here is the question, how can you be waiting patiently, or even patiently waiting, if you are in fact engaged in the act of waiting?

Waiting:   The action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens.    Antonym:  Go, Act, Do

 Patiently:   In a way that shows tolerance of delays, problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.    Antonym: Hostile, impatient, agitated

When we wait, it is often because we need or want something to happen and sometimes not by choice. I would guess that if we are waiting for something that we have chosen, like an upcoming vacation or something of that nature, then yes, maybe we could be patient about it.  However, what about when we are waiting for the light at the end of a tunnel, or for a hardship to end?  How in those times, can we practice patience?  Think about the last time you were waiting at a red light that seemed to go on forever, were you feeling agitated, or did you hear the sounds of chirping birds?  Being in the act of waiting, I think, automatically makes for an impatient environment.

Looking back on the times when I was waiting and feeling agitated or annoyed, those are the times when people told me what a patient woman I was, when in fact I was the opposite. Either I did a good job of hiding my frustration, or that phrase is just one that will forever be misused.

There are so many situations in life that call for us to wait and perhaps we should be spending that time in a state of patience, but for most, it becomes an anxious state. In these intolerant circumstances, our pulse rises, our palms sweat, we become irritable and highly emotional, none of which are good for our soul or daily living.  These types of reactions can make us ugly, turning us into a not so friendly, unattractive version of ourselves and can be detrimental to our future.

Let us try to put this misused phrase into practice. Have you ever seen an ugly butterfly?  It may surprise you, but I have seen a few!  These particular butterflies have tattered wings and I often wondered if they were weakened in the chrysalis or just a little beat up from life.  I assume it is the latter, but what if they are “ugly” due to the way they waited in the chrysalis.  I do not know what the caterpillar goes through emotionally or mentally, if anything at all.  What I do know is that they are forced to wait, and not by choice.

Let us think about what it might feel like to wait in the chrysalis. If the caterpillar were “waiting patiently”, I would imagine the environment as being dark but warm; lonely but quiet; constricted but free.   perfect peaceIn the dark, it senses the warmth provided by its surrounding cover easing it gently into a calmness.  When it is lonely, the intimacy provides a beautiful quiet, and in the small space, it knows that hanging on just a bit longer, will lead to ultimate freedom.  What I think this all means is that the patient part of waiting is a choice.

I say, it is worth a try! Next time you are stuck in traffic or on the verge of a panic because something has not happened yet, practice being a caterpillar just for a moment and let the stillness take you to new heights!

Do you have tips on how to “wait patiently”? Please share in the comments.

Kimberly, Courageous Butterfly

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The Waiting, Jamie Grace

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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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Does PTSD after divorce exist? You better believe it!

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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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Do Caterpillars know the’ll become butterflies?

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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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Purple Brave!


Purple, the color between red and blue.  Light purple or lavender is soothing both for the sense of sight and smell, where dark purple can be less appealing.  Purple can signify power, and embody wealth.  Purple can come in the form of a heart given to a hero; a soft flower; and a mean black eye or bruise.  Being a part of the color red, which is a hot color, and then the calming blue makes purple very important.  It is the place that can capture every bad and every good feeling, emotion, memory, fear, strength, defeat, and accomplishment.  Today, I am harnessing my PURPLE!

IMG_1587 (1)My purple came through when I had a “moment” while on the treadmill. It took all I had to fight back tears, there was no way I could have a breakdown in a gym.  I was not on an episode of the biggest loser!

Let’s rewind just a moment, prior to that workout I had stopped to purchase appropriate footwear.  After trying on several pairs I ended up with purple shoes.  Its been a very long time since I was into purple and I was a little worried they looked like kids shoes, but they fit so off to the gym I went.

I was set to push myself and see what I had in me. Armed with all the accessories I needed, water, ear buds, music, couch to 5K app, and my new shoes.  I felt determined and as the warm up began, I even gave myself a little pep-talk.

The workout was going great!  I was following the prompts on the app and I remained focused.  I could feel myself getting to a point when I was going to have to dig my heels in and push through.  I began to feel a little uneasy, it was harder to breathe and all of a sudden I felt transported back in time.  I saw myself standing in front of a mirror and not liking the reflection.  I had flashbacks of opening presents that contained fitness videos and meal replacement shakes. I was being asked to say “moo” rather than “cheese” while having my photo taken.  My self-assurance was being depleted with each step.  I wanted to slump off the machine and just call it a day.  I was in the midst of a PTSD flashback.

During this time I was brought back to the last time I was working this hard and it was just before my divorce.  I had participated in an infomercial. My goal was to get skinny for my husband, feel better for my family and improve my overall health.  I accomplished more in a 12 week span that I ever thought I would.  I ran, I hiked, I swam, I exercised through injuries and I succeeded.  I was at the top of my game! I was fit, I felt powerful, and for the first time in my life I had confidence.  Fast forward two weeks…my life is forever changed, my self-esteem tossed out the window, my confidence buried under a very heavy rock.

Mind you I’m re-living all of these memories and emotions in just a ten minute span. Alternating walking with running, trying not to cry and wondering where do I go from here?  At this point is when I looked down and saw my purple shoes in motion, I knew I had to change my focus and I thought to myself, why in the world did I buy purple shoes?

I pumped up the music and decided to finish what I had started.  Watching my purple shoes I felt excitement in knowing what I will feel like when I reach my end goal. I was reminded how I felt after I hiked the mountain.  I needed to channel the feelings I had in that moment standing at the top looking down at where I had come from and realizing what that accomplishment meant to me.  It’s a place I had been before, except this time I have a different motive, ME!  I can only imagine how I will feel  when I celebrate this triumph knowing that I am its end result.

infomercial

Wearing Purple 7 years ago….not a coincidence.  

During this process I will bring my red and blue together and I will delight in creating the purple within me.  I will allow myself to be encouraged, spiritually nourished, motivated and fully engulfed by my new signature color!  I will be PURPLE BRAVE!

Do you have a similar story of pushing yourself and wading through the mud on your journey?  Please share.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

8/27/16

 

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