On Being a Butterfly

At the end of last month, Craig and I attended a self-help seminar put on by Kyle Cease.  I’d never attended one of these before, and found it to be a nice blend of humor and self-transformation.  One of the things he talked about that really resonated with me was about the different stages of awareness that people go through (a video of that bit is here). But it wasn’t until a couple of weeks later, while I was at work, that the part about being a butterfly among caterpillars (it starts at about 1:03 in the video), really resonated with me.

I was doing some task that didn’t require a lot of focus, and overheard people’s conversation.  I don’t remember what the subject was, but it was the kind of small-talk chatter that co-workers in Corporate America share with one another.  Right then, I found myself thinking how inane it was and I wondered how they could possibly find the discussion interesting at all.  That’s when it hit me . . . I’m a butterfly among a bunch of caterpillars.

Now, as Kyle says, it’s not that being a butterfly is “better” than being a caterpillar, but I’ve been feeling like I’ve clipped my wings for quite some time, in order to “fit in” with the caterpillars.  Why I’ve been denying myself the chance to fly, I’m not quite sure.  Fear is probably a big factor.

But with that realization came a strong determination to change that.  I feel like I’m finally ready to say farewell to the caterpillars that I’ve been staying around, and to fly off in my own brilliance.  To see where the wind takes me, and what nectar I can find in neighboring flora.

This is all metaphoric, you understand.  I’m still very much in love with my husband, and I’ve got roots here in Alameda now, but it’s more like with my careers.  Craig and I have had some success with our art business, and I’ve been invited back to the Frank Bette Center for the Arts’ annual exhibit, Alameda on Camera (this will be my 6th year in a row, YAY!).  And I’ve finished one audio book, and am currently working on a second one.  I’m also sending out lots of auditions for other voice over work.

THESE are what I’m meant to do, not working in a cubicle, staring at a screen all day, working on stuff that means nothing to me.  I feel so alive whenever I’m working on my voice over stuff, or taking and editing photos.  THAT’S where this butterfly needs to be!  And the taste of these small successes has me hungering for more of them.

The hard part now is that I think I’m still in Stage 3 (in the video by Kyle).  There are things that I’m still holding on to (my “story,” as Kyle calls it).  I’m worried about paying rent, and how to market myself and make these careers successful.  So, I’m allowing the “reality” of these things in life to hold me back.  Again, probably because of fear.

But fear of what?  Many times we think the fear is a fear of failing (and I’m sure there’s some of that in the mix), but I also think it’s the fear of flying/succeeding.  When you’ve lived such a long time among the caterpillars, there can often be expectations that keep you with them.  Whether it’s friends and family thinking that you’re “too big for your britches,” because you want more out of life than you had growing up (which somehow, to them, means you think their lifestyle isn’t “good enough”), or outsiders who act jealous of your successes because they’re too afraid to go after their own dreams (so they don’t want anyone else to).  And, maybe nobody close to you actually feels that way, but there’s some pervasive belief/fear that they do.

Anyway, all of that junk is just my past story, and I don’t have to believe it anymore.  It’s time for me to step all the way out of that shell, spread my butterfly wings and take off!

Look out world . . . here I come.

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