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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Does PTSD after divorce exist? You better believe it!

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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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Sometimes You Just Need A Little Outside Help


friends

I’m in control; I’ve got this; This is my problem; I will handle this on my own; It’s no body’s business; No one will understand; I can’t ask for help…

In a perfect world we can handle our lives on our own.  We can be in control and ready to face what lies ahead, but in reality we can all use an extra hand.  Can we ask for it? Can we admit when we need it and can we take it when it is given to us?

Lately, I’ve witnessed others in my life who need the help, but don’t necessarily want to ask for it, even being frustrated that they need it.  My feeling is, take it when it is given to you.  It may be hard and you may at times feel helpless but that is when you should let those who love you swoop in and take over.

Those three stages I mentioned, I’ve been in and I’m sure it won’t be the last time.  I asked for it, I’ve admitted when I needed help and I’ve taken it when it was graciously given to me.  Sometimes it was easy, other times extremely hard but knowing that someone out there is waiting an willing to offer you the hand I find very comforting.

In my trial (divorce) that comfort wasn’t always in the form I needed. My friends and family were very helpful but biased, I searched for an outlet where no one knew me nor I them and I couldn’t find it.  I needed an escape a safe place to share my feelings.  That is when this blog was born.

I wanted to connect with others who were feeling exactly what I was.  To share my grief and listen to those going through similar circumstances, all in the hope that we could support each other.

Today I am not only proud but extremely thankful to have shared with, talked with, and cried with those of you who have followed my posts.  And I am elated that in less than two weeks I will finally be meeting my girl!

The day I saw her comment I felt so many emotions, I knew I needed to do something, I needed to find her, talk to her, and do what I could to let her know I felt exactly as she did.  No one is ever alone, there is someone out there going through what you are and feeling the same.  God never meant for any of us to walk this world alone he has gently placed each of us in others lives.

I’m so thankful and blessed for the life he has given me even with the bumps and valleys I had to walk through.  I know I am who he meant me to be and I wouldn’t be here without all the people in my life.  Without you…I would be nothing.  Thank You!

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

3/27/16

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Dumpster Diving


dumpster divingLeaving my marital home was difficult for me.  Having to say goodbye to the good memories that lived under the roof and moving forward to forget the bad.  In order to avoid awkwardness, I planned it so that I was the only one home when the movers arrived.  I like to think that I maintained  composure in front of the three strangers that stood before me.  But the way I was feeling inside was not composed at all.

It’s been 5 years so why am I looking back on that blip in time?  When I left that day I was sure that I was good with saying goodbye to the house, but recently I noticed a very large dumpster in the driveway, at that time it wasn’t really full but when I saw it something in my body changed.  I felt nervous, anxious, sad, and fearful.

As I drove away I decided just to let it go and I was good with that until the next week when I arrived again and the dumpster was overflowing with objects.  It was all I could do to sit in the car and not leap out to see if I had left anything behind that may be in that rusty, dirty box.  I found myself thinking…my  marriage is in that dumpster.

I know that may sound completely crazy because my marriage ended 5 years ago, and I was good about making sure I had all I wanted when I left.  So why then did this affect me so much?

Maybe it’s not about the items, I think it’s more than that.  I dove deep down into my thoughts, taking inventory of exactly how I was feeling.  I noted how my heart rate soared, my hands got clammy, and I needed to fight the urge to jump in.  Then it came to me, the trash I saw in the dumpster is just symbolism for the memories that were being held in that space, and to think that they have been removed is what is upsetting.

Are those moments gone forever?  Stains on carpets that tell a funny story or holes in the wall that will bring back a laugh.  I know the memories of those things will never leave me, even though the little story tellers are gone. I guess I assumed they would be housed there always.

I’m kind of glad that all of this affected me in the way that it has because it really makes one take stock of your surroundings.  Treasure what is important to you even if it is a strip of wallpaper that you save and frame because when you look at it you are reminded of happy times.

I’m creating newness in my current space and will remember to hang on to those little things that help hold those memories close to me.

Have you had a rough time leaving behind memories?  Please share.

Courageous Butterfly 1/31/16

Kimberly

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Delete, Delete, Delete!!!!


Cupid-datingIf you have been feverishly looking for the post that was titled Swimming in the wrong end of the dating pool, I’m sorry to tell you it has sank like the Titanic. A first has happened…I wrote a horrible blog post and actually deleted it from my site!  I was very scatterbrained, and all over the place.  There were so many thoughts getting jumbled in my head that night, nothing came out on the page the way I wanted it to.  So…. I hit DELETE!

How nice would it be if we could actually hit a delete button when life itself gets jumbled and nothing goes right?  We have all wished for a do-over…a what if moment…a magic button that would make it all ok.  The good news is, we can!  We are blessed to wake up every day with a fresh start, a new day to make many many more mistakes or seize the day and make it what we want it to be!

sparkly poolSo, back to the original post.  A friend of mine recently told me that I was swimming in the wrong end of the dating pool.  Let’s take a short pause here and interject some humor if you will.  Imagine a pool with crystal blue water and it goes as deep as the sea.  The sun should be shining, but the day is presenting with a soft light rain.  The air is slightly warm and there is a mild breeze.  The water is perfect, warm and soothing.  Life is great, happiness is overflowing and then it hits…….I can’t swim!!!

Legs are flailing around as fast as they can, arms are trying to paddle to stay afloat.  Panic is setting in, breathing becomes heavy, fear is taking over the body. That…my friends is what swimming in the dating pool feels like!

Now who is to say which end is the correct end to be swimming in? Or in my case treading gently.  I have always stayed in the shallow end of life.  The safe zone I guess you can call it.  Regularly avoiding conflict, constantly pleasing everyone.  Lately though, I am feeling confident and secure in who I am and what I want my future to hold for me.  I’m learning to swim through life without wearing a vest, and that is a very scary thing, though necessary.

It is necessary because swimming with a life preserver on is extremely difficult.  All you are really doing is floating and not getting anywhere.  I’m ready to swim and maybe even jump off that high dive.  It is time to surf! Grab a board and go for it! I think my balance is strong enough to carry me to where I want to be.

Dating is a scary thing, especially at a later age.  I really want to embrace it, enjoy it, and pursue it, rather than deleting it.

Have you dated post divorce? Would love to hear your story.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

10/24/15