The transformational process is a sticky, gooey mess. It doesn’t happen overnight. First the old self must dissolve, and the new self must form. But in the end, a beautiful butterfly breaks free from the webbing of the cocoon.
There is a story where a boy seeing a moth struggling to break free of the cocoon took a pair of tweezers and ever so gently tore away the webbing but the moth died because it had not yet sufficiently formed the strength of the wings needed to fly. The process of breaking out of the cocoon is every bit as important as the rest of the process. One cannot emerge from the cocoon until s/he has built sufficient strength to fly.
I found comfort in stories like this and I shared them with others. It was comforting to know we weren’t dying. We were in a process of rebirth. None of us knew what our new form would look like. We would have to do the work, and wait to see.
Through the metamorphosis I worked diligently on allowing myself to be where I was. I developed patience and learned to endure the pain, the despair and the loneliness. After all! Metamorphosis is a deeply personal journey that can’t be shared.
The one thing I realized as I was coming out the other side of my dark night of the soul was that this time I was going through the process consciously and maybe this conscious rebirthing was important for my work in helping others through a deeply powerful transformational process.
When you are facing metamorphosis it can feel like facing your very demise. Because in a sense it is! Your former self; your caterpillar self must fall away in order for your butterfly self to emerge and the experiencing of one’s own dissolution can be terrifying.
Metamorphosis is a Greek word that means “transformation” or “change of shape.” When a caterpillar enters the chrysalis it dissolves into a formless goop. Its form disintegrates! Out of nowhere imaginal cells appear that resonate at a different frequency and since they are not recognized as being a part of the original cell structure of the caterpillar the immune systems begin to gobble up the imaginal cells. These imaginal cells continue to appear and the immune system can’t destroy them fast enough. Soon the growing number of surviving imaginal cells begin to clump together and they all resonate at the same frequency, passing information back and forth. The clumping of imaginal cells form the body of the butterfly.
Imagine what it would be like to be the caterpillar dissolving into goo and experiencing the struggle of the immune system fighting off this “new entity” that is resonating at a higher frequency. The “new entity” is seen as a threat. It is under attack! A major identity crisis is underway.
Although the new is a “higher frequency” we don’t recognize this and fight to keep the original cell structure in place.
The identity of the caterpillar is dissolving and the butterfly is slowly forming, but it isn’t a quick, easy process. It is messy and gooey. There is a battle taking place inside that cocoon. There is both death and rebirth! The butterfly is formed by “imaginal” cells which contain the blueprint of the new form.
Going through a dark night of the soul is like going through a human metamorphosis. Everything you have formerly identified with is now falling away, dissolving into goo. At this time you don’t know what is happening. You have no blueprint for where you are going. You have no idea what you are becoming. It feels like a death, because it is! The more you resist the process and try to hold to the old form, the more pain is generated. The only way to undergo this transformation with the least amount of pain is to surrender to the process. Trust the process.
(The above article is an excerpt from my book “Rebirth; Traversing the Dark Night of the Soul”.)