Thursday, March 5, 2009

Struggle a little, so you can fly!

The transition from your old self and habits to a new and improved YOU can be likened to that of a single egg morphing into a beautiful butterfly.

We've talked about this in the Meeting Room but I thought it was worth repeating just because change is inevitable in all our lives whether it has to do with health and fitness or something else. How we move through that transformation can be insightful.

A butterfly starts its life as a tiny egg, just drifting on a leaf, seemingly oblivious of what is happening to and around it. This is somewhat like us when we are in the denial stage. We don't see a problem with our weight, health or lack of activity. We have managed somehow to get this far with no issues. However, at some point we have an "aha" moment when we finally see the need for change. Maybe we couldn't buckle a seatbelt on an plane, fit into a seat in the movie theater or heaven forbid, experienced a health scare involving ourselves or a loved one.

At this point we have entered the caterpillar stage. We start thinking about what needs to be done, and how we will get there. Some caterpillars are known to eat until they get too big for their skin. Yikes! Maybe that is why some of us overeat in stressful situations, it could be our caterpillar survival instinct at work.

The action phase is similar to the cocoon phase. There is so much taking place inside that we don't see. In fact we may even find the chrysalis to be ugly. Often we have changes that are happening inside us during this phase. Our habits are getting better and we notice what works and what doesn't. However, we don't see this on the outside as the changes are covert. This is when it is important to look inside to acknowledge and take credit for the things you are doing right.

The maintenance stage is comparable to the butterfly emerging from his cocoon. He has to struggle to get through the opening. You take the final steps to find the wherewithal to continue with this lifestyle and spread your wings.

Here is the story I told in the meeting room: (Author unknown)

A man found a butterfly cocoon and brought it home with him. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as possible and could go no further.

Then the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

Struggle a little, so you can fly!