I recently learned something completely fascinating about caterpillars' metamorphoses into butterflies. Did you know that their whole chubby little multi-legged physical makeup rearranges itself into a sort of magical goop and then puts itself back together in the form of a beautiful winged insect?
The site How Stuff Works explains it like this:
"Think of it as recycling—if you drop a plastic bottle off in the recycling bin, it can be melted down into an entirely different shape. This is what happens inside the chrysalis. Much of the body breaks itself down into imaginal cells, which are undifferentiated—like stem cells, they can become any type of cell. The imaginal cells put themselves back together into a new shape."
I wish I had known this before every break up. Before I got laid off from my first job. Before I moved somewhere new.
Knowing that, even though my very DNA felt inside-out and upside-down, I was going to emerge a fully intact new and more capable being would have been immensely comforting.
I have quite a few friends who are in transitional cocoons right now. I'm sure they are feeling like the lives they knew have liquified. I'm sure it's hard to figure out what to do with the unfamiliar sludge they've been left with.
But the butterfly may offer an explanation for them.
Even though it may feel like they're stuck in a shell or slowly melting, I would bet that their "imaginal cells" are just in the process of reconfiguring. And eventually everything will come back together as it should—in a new and breathtaking way. In a way that will let them fly like they never have before.