The Caterpillar’s Lesson

Last night I found two brown caterpillars in my bedroom and started wondering if there wasn’t a deeper message being delivered to me. The caterpillar symbolizes a spiritual journey, a transformation on the horizon, the beginning of a new cycle, and reminds us to have patience as we allow our inner wisdom to shape us into our most peaceful, loving, and mature state – the butterfly.

The transformation from the humble caterpillar to the beautiful winged butterfly is perhaps one of nature’s most magical journeys. At this point in my life, I very much identify with the caterpillar. As I munch slowly on the patterns, the dreams, the lessons, and the wisdom learned, which are helping me grow stronger and understand myself more fully, I must trust this invisible process of transformation. I must hold the faith that great changes are underway within me and in my surrounding world. I trust that by seeking and feeding myself soul sustenance (friendship, love, purpose, challenges, exploration), I will learn to fly in my own time.

I wonder, does the caterpillar know that its labored inching across the floor will soon become soaring through the trees and sky by the lift of two gorgeous wings? How could it ever imagine an existence so different from what it has known?

The caterpillar reminds us that we cannot define our future by our past. We are fooling ourselves if we think we will be caterpillars forever. This is not the way of the universe. In fact, at every turn, it is urging us to transform and providing us with opportunities to gain the tools and skills we need to fly. But we must endure the stages of transformation in order to unfold our wings. This takes trust and courage to face the discomfort of getting to know ourselves, both the shadow and light parts of our personality. It takes patience and practice, as we learn to make choices that empower us and serve our higher purpose. And perhaps, most importantly, it takes love — radical self love. Be proud of whatever stage you are at, for you are doing the best you can with the tools you have. Remember that in every grubby caterpillar, lies a majestic, graceful butterfly. Every hardship, every act of courage, every risk, every lesson is part of our transformation.

The caterpillars in my bedroom have reminded me to believe in myself and to trust the unseen process of growth that is already underway. I now work on letting go of the past as my map to the future, because the future cannot and will not look the same as what I have already experienced. I am on a journey of transformation and I know you are too.

Although it is hard to imagine the sky when we have known the ground for so long, like the caterpillar, we can begin the process of change by learning as much as we can about ourselves and gaining strength in our soul-self, our authentic being. We can reflect, learn and nourish ourselves with wisdom and goodness. This humble and sometimes painful work of growing more mature is what shapes us into something else, something that carries us higher than we could have imagined.


“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” 
Richard Bach

“When, within our souls and psyches we are made aware of a safe but insistent drum beat, repeated like butterfly wings in motion, we sense the message…that our inner self has begun its search for freedom.”
– Mary Meeker

“Just like the butterfly, I too will awaken in my own time.” 
– Deborah Chaskin


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