When you stay on the path of your heart your soul will continually urge you forward into new territory. Fulfillment is not some place you arrive but a way you create your life and it is ongoing.
So at some point in the process of going for a dream, you will hit a place I think of as the GOO.
The metaphor comes from the experience a caterpillar has when becoming a butterfly. It is a necessary stage, but man can it be uncomfortable and messy.
Here is a description I found of the Cocoon to Butterfly Metamorphosis process:
‘One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf, and spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly or moth.
In short, for a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly it digests itself … it is an extremely delicate process. The transformation itself is amazing. You can 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.’
So how does that apply to you and me and our quest for a fulfilling life?
Here is an example: I had a client who wanted to increase his income by attracting more clients. He also wanted to feel confident in the value he offered his clients. I helped him make a plan that included some marketing strategy as well as working on his belief system.
We had several sessions where he told me he was doing the work. Creating some new marketing habits and continuing to work on his beliefs about himself and what is possible. But NOTHING seemed to be happening!
A few consultations that didn’t pan out. But he was still not where he wanted to be, and he was frustrated.
He was in the GOO. No longer hanging out with his limiting beliefs but not yet fully confident. Trying new things with his marketing but not yet to the tipping point.
Metaphorically speaking, he needed to let go of being the caterpillar and trust he would become a butterfly. Often this is the hardest part of the journey.
To let go, trust in ourselves, keep going even when it feels like we are standing still, and nothing is happening.
This is usually where the inner growth IS happening, and the outer results are also in progress just not fully formed yet.
One thing I found with this client and many of the people I work with is there is not only frustration but also resistance to the change that is coming. The letting go does include a loss of the comfort zone. Familiar territory and sometimes letting go of things you used to like but are no longer a fit for who you are now.
This is natural and a part of the creation process. What is helpful in order to ride out this experience is to be conscious when you hit the GOO and like the caterpillar be willing to hang out for a while upside down until it’s time for you to fly.
Leaning into this process while trusting when you are in unknown territory takes courage. I believe you can learn from the journey of the butterfly and relate this to your own path.
Dr. Fred Urquhart (d. 2002, world-renowned monarch expert from Toronto), in his studies of caterpillars, not only discovered the very cells which would become the wing scales of the butterfly (as well as all its other parts) but that they existed from the very beginning. It's not just their potential, it's their future — if they continue on the journey.
The Butterfly is already there at the beginning! Isn’t that amazing? I believe it is the same for you and me when we have something our soul is urging us to experience. It is already in us we just have to go through a little GOO to grow into it.
Then the reward that comes after the GOO is always worthwhile.
The manifestation of the dream, the results you were aiming for. Maybe they won’t look like you imagined but you will feel the essence and that indescribable feeling of fulfillment.
With this client, it was a much simpler kind of success that he created. One session he was reporting on the new clients who had just bought his new coaching package. When he checked in with himself on this accomplishment he found his confidence had grown to the degree he hadn’t even had a shred of doubt as to his pricing or the value he was offering these lucky new clients.
He was out of the GOO and enjoying the rewards of having done his caterpillar work!
When you are pursuing a dream of any kind you will hit the GOO. When you do I encourage you to remember to be the caterpillar even when it seems nothing is happening.
It will all be worthwhile when you become that beautiful butterfly and you are flying free in that new territory.
I will continue the exploration of this metaphor in my next blog post. What happens once you get where you aimed? When you are that butterfly flying around in new territory.
What is something you still want to accomplish this year?
Maybe you have been working on it or maybe you are just getting to it now in the fall.
Put your attention on this one accomplishment. Look at what you need to DO and how you need to grow. Perhaps in your beliefs or it could be a new way of looking at things.
As you get into action toward this goal watch out for the GOO.
When you feel stuck or like things aren’t happening remember to relax and just keep taking those small steps. Even the steps that seem like DOing nothing!
Allow yourself to be uncomfortable.
Notice when you start becoming that butterfly! Even if your butterfly looks very different than you imagined.
The simplest activities help me when I am in the GOO.
Here are my top three favorites:
- Take a walk in nature
- Clear your calendar and take a day off
- DO something else in another area of your life