Butterflies are beautiful, swift and graceful; the more exotic ones have large colourful wings and are quite rare opposed to the garden variety we are more familiar with. However, they all have one major thing in common; being the transformation from caterpillar to cocoon, then on to butterfly. The change they experience is essential for their evolution. Without going from one stage to the next, without change, they will remain the same and never realise their full potential. Our lives are similar; without taking a step forwards, without change, we will never grow to be all we were destined to be.

We all share similar thoughts on the transformative power of change; some of us think it unavoidable but necessary, others, uncomfortable and difficult. There is truth in both attitudes towards change. It encompasses all these aspects and more. It is challenging and exhausting but liberating and exhilarating at the same time.

We all start out as vulnerable as the caterpillar, land bound and unaware of the power within us. We go about the day as we would normally, with no regard for the future or beyond. Then something happens that makes us take stock and seek change. Suddenly, we find ourselves thinking differently; we see change as imperative to growth. We find ourselves wanting change more than ever before.

The cocoon stage of a caterpillar’s transformation is similar to a necessary incubation period. A caterpillar wraps itself tightly within its own silk and patiently awaits change. We too, when in the face of oncoming change, tend to spend our time lost in our own private thoughts, in a veritable mind cocoon, weighing up the pros and cons of a situation, justifying our actions, imagining the best scenarios and anticipating what change will bring us in the end.

The thing about making a major change to your life is it becomes almost impossible to change back to your former state. Once you’ve made the decision and committed to following through, once the process has begun and the metamorphosis is underway, there is not a lot you can do to stop it. The kind of change taking place at the level of consciousness is solid and irreversible; once you know one way and you’ve glimpsed your true potential, it’s hard to revert back, much like a butterfly that will never again know the feel of the earth beneath its belly, as it did when it was a caterpillar. It cannot return to its former state, nor would it want to when it now has the freedom of flight.

Once the wait is over, the birthing process begins. At first, the caterpillar needs time to adjust, inhabit its new form, and stretch its wings. Initially, it may stand on wobbly legs but soon it finds balance and flies away like it always knew how. When change comes into our lives, we react similarly; we cautiously try our new wings, test them for strength and find it’s safe to trust them. We begin to see our potential for the very first time.

This new found freedom is frightening as well as exciting. For what may be the first time in our lives, we are able to be all we were destined to be. We are free to fly to wherever we choose and at whatever height. All of a sudden, everything becomes within our reach and nothing is impossible. We are not scared to set higher goals for ourselves because we have proof we can do it.

No matter how long we’ve waited or how long it takes, whether we’ve consciously chosen it or tried desperately to resist it, change will take place whether we want it to or not. Change truly is the only constant in the world. It is the one thing that always eventuates, the one thing we can always rely upon and it never fails to deliver. The effects of change, whether viewed as good or bad, in the end always transform us for the greater good.