So it was quite thrilling this past couple of months to finally get to witness the magic of this transformational process personally. I was able to photograph those various stages and finally put together the song video that I saw in my mind 33 years ago. A neighbor and new friend, Susan rescued three monarch butterfly cocoons and kept them safe from wasps in a terrarium. She called me when the cocoons started to show the colors of the butterfly within and again after one of them had emerged from its chrysalis.
Over the years I have had several encounters with monarch butterflies. One was particularly extraordinary and changed my life forever.
In 1979, my mother loaned me a tape about energy by Shirley Luthman, and listening to it powerfully ignited my own transformational process. My mom also introduced me to Carolyn Conger and I began attending some of the intense, transformational spiritual retreats that she offered. She taught us to open to inspiration, information and guidance coming in all sorts of ways.
One day, I arrived at the cul-de-sac where my parents had recently bought a lot (Mystic Lane in Paradise, California). My husband and two daughters hopped out of the car. It was a hot day and the windows were rolled down. Before I could open the door, a butterfly landed next to me on the windowsill and I had a sudden, very strong, clear knowing that it would let me touch it. Because of my work with Carolyn Conger, I paid attention to that silent knowing.
My rational mind had some doubts about what was actually possible, so I slowly placed my index finger right in front of the butterfly. It explored my fingertip with its proboscis and then lifted one foot onto my finger and then another. I lifted the butterfly up so I could get a better look at it.
My older daughter, seven-years-old at the time, saw me and asked if she could hold the butterfly too. As if it were a cat or dog one could hold and pet. Reluctant to end this incredibly precious moment, I hesitated, but finally gave in and allow the transfer. With amazement I watched the butterfly cling to her little finger.
My four-year-old daughter ran up demanding, “Me too, me too! I want a turn!” and she, too, got to hold the butterfly. It flew off and then returned, this time landing on the windshield of the station wagon where my husband was now perched, sitting on the hood. He scooped it up and playfully placed it on his nose: man and butterfly, proboscis to proboscis.
The butterfly flew off and the next time I noticed it, we were all standing in a circle in the middle of the cul-de-sac. I happened to notice that the butterfly was circling us rather than randomly flitting here and there. Standing in the circle of my family, I felt strongly compelled to hold out my hand, palm up in invitation. The butterfly came and landed on my hand!
By this time I managed to adjust my expectations about what was possible and offered the butterfly to my mother, “You want a turn, Mom? The butterfly flew off and again circled us. Three different times I held out my hand and the butterfly landed in it. When it flew off the last time I knew. I knew with my whole heart and soul that there was a God, a Force, a Source - something huge, way beyond anything I had ever experienced before. That something was connecting everything to everything else.
It wasn’t just that the butterfly landed in my hand that was such a profound experience. It was the knowing that it would let me hold it, and that when I opened to the experience and allowed it, it then did in fact happen.
The first little concert I ever organized, presenting original music I had written was entitled, “In and Out of the Chrysalis.” My idea was that as human beings we go through the transformational process repeatedly. I’ve even experienced being in one stage (say caterpillar) in one area of my life while simultaneously being in the cocoon in another aspect of my life.
The Song of the Caterpillar seems to be a repetitive theme for me. Intending to be a fully realized, multi-dimensional butterfly, but wailing, “Oh why did this happen to me?” as it becomes obvious it’s time to emerge from the current cocoon of beingness and discover how to interact with life in a more highly evolved, expanded manner that has newly become available.