Transformation is hard work.

Many are happy or at least content with themselves and their lives, and aren’t seeking change.  Others are experiencing challenges or conflict, internal pressure to change builds and becomes uncomfortable, and change is necessary and inevitable.  Still others seek out this transformative process either for its own sake, as dramatic metamorphosis is exciting and stimulating, or as a lifelong quest for increasing degrees of personal development and expanding consciousness.

Any way you look at it, making change on a grand scale is still hard work.

To use the most common metaphor for change, that from caterpillar to butterfly, we need only think of what actually goes on in the chrysalis in order to extend this metaphor beyond its beauty and wonder to include the pain involved in true transformation.  It’s significant that the caterpillar places itself in the circumstances of the chrysalis — because of the compulsion of instinct and the undeniable need to transform — rather than being placed there by other creatures or external factors.  Denying the process of change when it arrives would seem not to be an option.

Once in the chrysalis and metamorphic process, the caterpillar must go without sustenance for a period of time and experience the total dissolution of its body before the new self can emerge.   Though it’s wrapped in the protective force of the cocoon, it remains vulnerable to outside dangers.  When it emerges, its vulnerability has reached a pinnacle: the butterfly is wet and cannot fly, is weak from not eating and the tremendous energy outlay required for the transformation, and sheds what appears to be a droplet or two of blood, remnants of its recent and profound change process.

It emerges as a beautiful creature with wings to fly.  But this ultimate transfiguration is not without a price.

Whether we have chosen our transmutations or life has imposed them upon us, we too must go through a similar process.  We must put ourselves into a setting that’s as protected and supported as possible, be willing to go without our usual daily sustenance and activity for the duration of change, and accept that when we emerge into our glorious new state, we will be weak and vulnerable at first.  We leave the protected state just before our change is complete, as the final stage must occur after emergence in order for us to face and surmount our vulnerability.

Any way you look at it, transformation is extraordinary — both in the end result, and in what’s required of us to achieve it.

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