I first came across this story while researching and advocating for a postive outlook on the tranisiton into menopause. I had been growing increasingly tired of the way this very normal phase was being medicalized as I feel menopause is one of the most powerful transitions for a woman. As I stumbled on it again earlier this week, I started to think about all transitions, especially those that feel rather difficult. Struggles don’t have to cripple us, in fact, if we look at them as part of our birthright to growth, they can actually help us fly.
One day, a small opening appeared on a cocoon; a man sat and watched for the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.
Then, it seems to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could not go any further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly: he took a pair of scissors and opened the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a withered body; it was tiny and shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would open, enlarge and expand, to be able to support the butterfly’s body, and become firm.
Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a withered body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and his goodwill did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening, were ways of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes, struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were allowed to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been and never been able to fly.