This morning the dream before I awakened continued to linger in my consciousness as I sat and gazed out the window drinking a cup of coffee. I was appreciating a symphony of birdsong, the amazing blue skies—a rarity here in the Pacific Northwest, the fluff of cottonwood seeds wafting on the gentle breeze and enjoying the stillness and quiet only morning can bring.
My plan was to begin work on a homework assignment. However, the dream remained with me, gently nudging me to sit with it. After distilling its essence, the image that came to mind was a butterfly newly emerged from its cocoon allowing its wings to dry prior to taking flight. The butterfly’s instincts, the innate knowing encoded in its DNA indicates how long it will need to rest after emergence from the chrysalis, how many beats of its wings would enable it to take flight, and finally when the metamorphosis and re-birth was complete, to leave the branch that was its temporary home and explore its new surroundings.
I am reminded that I am this butterfly. My chrysalis for the past eight years has been the world of academia. Like the butterfly in my mind’s eye, I have emerged from the chrysalis—am nearing the completion of a master’s degree and will be leaving the university that has facilitated a large part of my transformation. Soon like the butterfly, I too will pump my wings—I will begin to put in practice what I have learned. As I was musing on this image and how my life once again will be facing new beginnings, I pulled a book by one of my favorite author’s off the shelf, opened it, and read:
“Tus maith leath na hoibre.”
Translation: “A good beginning is half the work.”
Perhaps the art of harvesting the secret riches of our lives
is best achieved when we place
in the act of beginning.
Risk might be our greatest ally.
To live a truly creative life,
we always need to cast a critical look
at where we presently are,
attempting always to discern
where we have become stagnant
where new beginning might be ripening.
There can be no new growth
if we do not remain open
to what is new and different.
This year I see many profound changes on the horizon. I eagerly anticipate crossing the threshold of endings and entering another doorway of new possibilities and beginnings. John O’Donohue’s poetic words remind me that as I have journeyed I have experienced many storms, the road has twisted and turned, has lead me around blind corners, has been enshrouded in dense fog and blinding sun. Yet I continued to trust and persevere.
Now, towards the end of the journey I am reminded to watch for the ripening of additional new beginnings, and to remain open to them.
Like the butterfly in my mind’s eye, I too will know when the metamorphosis is complete. I will know when it is time to take flight and explore a world which for the most part has remained the same; it is I who have changed.
© L. Gavlick 5/2012