The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.
Rainer Maria Rilke
I drew this sketchnote
while at Esalen
recently, and it wasn’t until after I got back that I saw it’s deeper message.
Both the caterpillar AND the butterfly were sad. Broken-hearted, even. In the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, both seemed to lose something. The transformation had to be an either-or situation: either it was a caterpillar, or it was a butterfly. We often think of transformation in this way: moving from one state to another.
What if what we’re talking about isn’t really transformation, but evolution?
What if the caterpillar and butterfly never really lost each other in the change?
What if change could be a “yes and” instead of an “either or”?
After all, the butterfly came from the caterpillar. It could not exist independently from the caterpillar. And as this blog post by Robert Krulwich explores (with awesome drawings, I might add), the caterpillar is believed to hold the DNA of the caterpillar AND the butterfly at the same time. . . it’s just that the butterfly DNA can’t activate until the old form (the caterpillar) dies. But the new form (the butterfly) was within the caterpillar all along.
Take that in for a moment. The new form’s DNA cannot activate until the old form dies. . . but the new form was ALWAYS within the old form.
It makes me think of how the egg that formed me originally existed in my grandmother. When she was pregnant with my mother, my mother’s eggs were all created. . . including the one that would ultimately become me.
It also makes me think about fate. As much as I’d like to rebel against it, perhaps there’s more fate in the world than my free will would like to admit.
Perhaps there’s never really an either-or when it comes to change. The new form is contained within us. The changes in our careers, our relationships, our lives. . . these seeds are contained within us to transform themselves in us long before the change actually happens.
For some reason, I find this strangely comforting. The things that will push me out of my comfort zone in the (very) near future are already coming to being within me. The change cannot arise independently of me – I have to be an integral part of the process of change – even when it’s sudden – for the change to actually affect me. When the change ultimately manifests, it will actually be nothing “new” but an inevitable extension of the process that started long ago.
Or, to riff off of Mahatma Gandhi:
You already ARE the change you wish to see in the world; you just may not have caught up to it yet.
I cannot wait to see what you draw forth,
Share this post: