I was texting with my daughter yesterday and she shared with me that she was really pleased with her anticipated GPA for this semester even though she has been in "terrible shape mentally". As a vigilant practitioner of thought hygiene and growth mindset, I replied that if she continues to describe her inner world as being in "terrible shape", this makes it difficult to honor the growth process that is taking place for her. I then asked her "How do you think a monarch butterfly feels when it first emerges from its cocoon? Do you think it feels comfortable and familiar?" She agreed that yes, this was a good point.
It's beautiful to witness this process, but to actually be that butterfly? How would it feel to emerge with an engorged body and flaccid wings, and to pump brown goo from your body, in the process of stretching one's wings to double their original size? The times when I have watched butterflies hatch, I think of how it felt to give birth to two children... miraculous? Yes. Comfortable? No.
Miraculous, spiritual growth can be messy and unpredictable, often accompanied by blood, sweat, tears, and brown goo. We're afraid of all these substances. Images of "growth" and "possibility" are usually clean, transcendent, light-filled shots. In this video of the hatching monarch, it doesn't show you the brown puddle on the bottom of the aquarium. The juice of growth is the messy stuff, the uncomfortable feelings. If we want to grow, we need to learn to love the certain flavor of discomfort that is in our "strategic discomfort" zone... our learning edge. This feeling of being stretched into a place that is uncomfortable, but still bearable, is the portal for creation. I have learned to love this feeling in myself, because I am enamored with creation and creativity. Loving the feeling of "stretchiness" is an acquired taste, and it's a different flavor for each of us. Except our souls actually love it, we have just forgotten how to value our soul's opinion. The soul's voice is in there, though! It talks to us, every day. This is the work that we Epiphany Midwives love to do, learning to listen to this voice.