When a caterpillar first hatches, I imagine it looks around and says “Yum” and heads for an unimaginable array of food choices. It can eat round leaves, oblong leaves, pointy leaves, many lobed leaves . . . you get it. And it eats and eats and eats and eats and gets big and fat and satisfied and then one day I imagine it looks around after eating its one-billionth leaf and says “Is this all there is?” Next thing our lovely caterpillar knows it’s spinning a cocoon. Pretty soon it dissolves into nothingness.
I remember getting to that fat caterpillar stage (figuratively) and appreciating every little leaf I had eaten, and only allowing myself to appreciate every little leaf and every plant that each leaf came from and pushing from my little caterpillar mind all thoughts of something more, but even so, one day I found myself wondering “Is this all there is?” Right after that, things started to happen. My cocoon began to spin itself and I dissolved.
I read somewhere that it takes seven years for every cell in the body to renew itself. After seven years, nothing remains of your physical body from seven years prior. Our physical bodies are constantly being renewed whether we like it or not. And while don’t have control over the physical, we do have control over the mental and so we can dig in our hundred little caterpillar heels, but our mind needs to renew itself and reinvent itself just as the body does. We can force ourselves to ignore the call of the cocoon. For a while. But eventually we must succumb or part of us dies. I think we come equipped with an early warning system (in case we are the resistant type) with a trigger that tells us it’s time to let go because we’re just about to go into the cocoon. My trigger is “Is this all there is?” Instant cocoon. Works every time.
Once in the cocoon, a caterpillar reforms itself/transforms into something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT! Not just a little different, and I bet if you lined up a bunch of caterpillar pictures and then tried to match them to the butterflies they would turn into, you would score abysmally low, unless you were a butterflyologist. Now, caterpillars are kinda cute, but butterflies are beautiful. And instead of eating leaves, they get to sip nectar! And instead of crawling around they fly . . . So why wouldn’t a caterpillar want to turn into a butterfly? I will hold onto that thought next time I feel like I’m going into the cocoon.