“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”—Pema Chödrön
As a butterfly emerges from the chrysalis, necessary no longer, the pupa falls away, liberating the butterfly to fly freely.
However, by letting go of the safe space that provided the opportunity to evolve from a caterpillar into a butterfly, the butterfly is in direct engagement with forces beyond their control. However still, the butterfly, as it flies freely, collecting pollen from one flower and taking it to another, embracing its innate unique ability, shares its beauty whilst going about its daily dance amongst the flowers.
The butterfly pays no mind to whether a passerby, a human being, sees or appreciates its beauty or its contribution to the environment. It simply does what it knows how to innately do – spread pollen.
The third stage of a butterfly that leads into the final and fourth stage is a stage where the realization of letting go becomes part of their future modus operandi, for when they spread their wings, fear must be set aside. For if a butterfly were to be consumed with anything other than pollinating, it wouldn’t survive for long as it would not be engaging with the natural world.
In many ways, metaphorically, the chrysalis is the ‘teacher’, the space in which the caterpillar physically becomes the caterpillar, but along the way somehow it magically learns how to fly, to pollinate, etc.. But, when the butterfly is ready, the chrysalis falls away and the butterfly flies into their new and intended purpose for the rest of their lives.
“Leaving a teacher can be just as important as finding a teacher at the appropriate time. We might say that when the student is ready, the teacher disappears.” —psychologist Frances E. Vaughan
Our teachers come in many different forms throughout our evolution to discover our purpose and path to embracing our true selves; some are known at the time of the teaching to be just that – a teacher, while others are only realized in hindsight to have taught us a valuable lesson, but it is only when we realize and actively let go so that we can fly that we have truly evolved into our true selves. And while letting go of teachers who have been integral, supportive, kind, and even loving while we figured out how to find our path can be difficult and hard to understand, we must let go and fly. Teachers come in all different forms and shapes and they aren’t always people as our pets, and Mother Nature herself, can be powerfully positive teachers.
Striking out on our own, to do what we know in our being is the right path for ourselves actually is easier in the moment because in that moment, yes, we may feel fear, but because we know we are headed in the best direction for our life journey, the curiosity to explore forward, much like a butterfly breaking free of the safe temporary sanctuary, overcomes any hesitancy.
“Mastery of life is the opposite of control.” —Eckhart Tolle
So what is the bad habit we must let go? We must relinquish the need to control.
- Let go of trying to control what tomorrow will bring, and savor the gifts of today.
- Let go of trying to control what must happen in order for you to be happy, and instead find your contentment in today.
- Let go of assuming others must act a certain way for you to be happy, and instead discover what makes you happy.
- Let go of demanding others share your opinion, and instead strengthen your skills as a critical thinker.
What you will discover, so long as you are living in alignment with your discovered true self, which admittedly, does take time to return to as while unconsciously we may have lived in such a place during our life journey — we are often pulled off track and must choose to consciously return as the knowledge has always resided within us — will be peace of mind and a lifting of a burden that was never yours to carry. That burden being removed includes things that you cannot control, yet you did all that you could, worried endlessly, grappled futilely, to do so. And living becomes easier, life becomes more enjoyable – every day, and returning to the bad habit of control is unattractive as you now know how wondrous living without doing so can be.
Why is this so? Why does letting go give us more peace? And how is letting go of control a mastery of life?
When we are in alignment with our true selves, we gain clarity, and that clarity along with self-awareness brings with it the practice of setting intentions, rather than demanding certain outcomes be attained. With the setting of intentions, we put out into the universe – i.e. share with people we may know, people we may never know, people we only barely know but that hold us in high regard and visa versa – and it is known. Intentions need not be verbal, but can be shown through our actions in what we prioritize, what prompts us to take risks, the hobbies and activities we partake in, what we engage with and with whom, how we live our everyday lives. Only when our intentions are sincere will magic seem to occur which is why we must return to our true selves and then savor living our life. As we each begin to live more consciously, make decisions that better align with what deepens our contentment, the everydays, each one, are days to savor. Because as was shared in episode #339, “Fundamentally, living a life of contentment doesn’t just happen; it is a choice, and a choice we choose over and over again, but because we are consistent in our choice, we gradually begin to see the benefits of doing so and the choice becomes easier and easier and then becomes a healthy, constructive habit that is foundational to living our lives well.”
As we near the end of one year and begin anew, consider letting go of a burden that was, and never will be, yours to carry, so that you can fly freely, grateful for the teachers that helped you to learn the lessons you needed to know how to fly, but now bravely soaring into the unknown.
~Explore TSLL’s books, each sharing tools and insights as well as glimpses into my own life journey to realizing contentment in the everyday.
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