My kids are going through a time of transition and struggling with some big life decision-making. My husband and I are trying to sensibly stand by with support and guidance, offering our wisdom of experience, without interfering or saying too much or too little. It’s finding the proper balance as a parent, and it is interesting to explore the role we are playing (or not playing) in our adult children’s decision-making process. It’s been an interesting discovery process about ourselves as well as our parenting skills. It’s a challenging role I’m sure every parent has made and it reminded me of a story I once heard about a butterfly.
One day, a man found a cocoon of a butterfly and, as he watched it, a small opening appeared. The man sat and watched the cocoon for several hours as the butterfly struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making progress. It appeared as if the butterfly had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further. The man decided to help the butterfly in its struggle, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily but it had a swollen body and small shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting at any moment the wings would dry out, enlarge, and expand to be able to support the body, and allow the butterfly to fly. But, it didn’t happen. In fact, the butterfly remained with a swollen body and shriveled wings for the rest of its life. It was never able to fly. What the man, in his kindness but also his haste, did not understand was the restricting cocoon, and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening, was nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings enabling it to fly. This is a story that reminds us that sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If we were allowed to go through life without any challenges, it would cripple us. We would never be as strong as what we could have been. We would never be able to fly.
We all face obstacles in order to grow. Watching our children face them can be even more challenging than going through them ourselves. But, as always, our yoga practice gives us the opportunity to gain insight, clarity, composure, confidence, and that state of balance we are all seeking in our own lives and as parents. When things are difficult, when we face obstacles and challenges (both on and off the mat), we may want to give up or turn around and go home. Yet, the struggles are oftentimes exactly what we need in our lives and no one can help us through these transitions except ourselves. In our lives, we sometimes find ourselves (or our children) in this chrysalis stage. Sometimes, we think we are ready to emerge when we are not quite prepared and there is still work to be done. Just like the butterfly, we must have patience with ourselves, and others, and have faith in the process of transition. On our mat, we may get tired so we rest and try again. In life, we may have to rest as well, not quite ready to make that next step, pondering and exploring. However, like the butterfly, when we persist, when we’ve given ourselves the time to figure things out, we (as well as our children) can experience freedom and flight. It is important to cultivate not only strength but patience to overcome obstacles. Similarly, when we see our children struggling with these decisions and transitions, it’s easy to become impatient, and want to help their emergence, but our yoga practice (at least for me) gives me the tools such as composure, confidence, patience, insight and balance that allow me to give them the opportunity to make their own way.
Hope to see you on your mat this week in any of our in-studio or online classes where we may face a few challenges but we are always cultivating the tools and the strengths to face these challenges, stay the course, and learn and grow! That’s what life is all about!
As always, thanks for reading my musings. Namaste, Leslie