effort to grow

Last night I was reminded of the lesson of the butterfly. I had read the story many years ago, but somehow it had got lost in the back of my mind somewhere. It was a story written by Paulo Coelho :

A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still.
The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.
The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shrivelled wings, incapable of flight.
What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings.
Sometimes, a little extra effort is precisely what prepares us for the next obstacle to be faced. Anyone who refuses to make that effort, or gets the wrong sort of help, is left unprepared to fight the next battle and never manages to fly off to their destiny.
(Adapted from a story sent in by Sonaira D’Avila)

In life, we are so often presented with situations and circumstances that restrict us. The things that we face sometimes require great physical and mental effort on our parts to break free from those restrictions, and it’s exhausting!

I know that for me, sometimes those things come as a result of my own choices, based on a particular set of circumstances. Those times I have bruised shins from kicking myself 😛

Other times, they seem to come out of nowhere!

There was a time that I looked at the struggle, conceded defeat and wallowed in my misery, asking myself over and over, “Why me?”. I never learnt anything, and it affected who I was as a person in a negative way. Admittedly, it was easier to be miserable about it because then I didn’t have to own anything. Ownership requires great responsibility, and I had enough responsibilities as far as I was concerned!

An attitude adjustment was needed, but denial was so much more comfortable. And soon the heart of the problem, became a problem with my heart.

I can’t pin point an exact moment when my attitude shifted. But I can tell you that I am very glad it did, in fact, shift. Heads rolled….well, mine did 😛

It wasn’t just a case of making better choices despite the circumstances, it was having a whole new attitude with regards to the things that seemed to hit me out of nowhere!
The activation of positive changes in my life happened when I started to view each struggle as a ‘learning curve’. When things happened (as they so often do) I was more inclined to pause and reflect – behaving like a raging bull (or cow, since I am female 😛 ) always had such negative results!

Viewing the obstacles in a different light inspired growth within me (I’ve also grown on the outside, but that’s just because I’m getting older, and I like food 😛 )

I won’t lie. Growth and change hurts a lot of the time. (Ask my jeans 😛 ) The lessons can sometimes be painful. It’s NOT the easy way out and doesn’t happen overnight. But as with the butterfly, with the extra time and effort, we can not only get over the hurdle, but gain wisdom for the next hurdle that’s going to come our way – and it will!

In the growing, I have learnt that the important things of life WILL come to me
…and that they’re not things at all!

I’ve become more compassionate – more understanding towards those around me. I’ve become a little wiser (and not just because I am getting older 😉 ) and I am more inclined to think things through in an effort to eliminate hurting others.
My thought patterns have changed and I no longer want to know ‘why me’ – these days it’s more like ‘why NOT me?’- because I realise that ‘this thing’ has happened to inspire growth within me. Somewhere there is a lesson I need to learn. Somewhere there is a piece of my heart that needs changing.

For me, at the stage of life that I find myself in, the most important thing of all is that all the pain, and misery, and growing, makes me empathetic to so many situations that other people find themselves in. And people matter. Parts of my story help others.

And that is the key to the essence of me. 😉

But here’s a shocking little piece of info for you : I don’t always get it right! There are moments where I fail miserably to do some or all of the above. But that is the only failure. Because I try again.

There are times where the negative emotions resurface, and I need to forgive myself for that, and remind myself of how far I have come. I need to remember that there is a bigger picture – pick up my backpack and push through the thorny brush on my journey. I need to stop being so hard on myself and give myself a break – growing pains aren’t easy. Not sure who said it, but I think about it often 😉 : If life was meant to be easy it wouldn’t have started with something called labor!


16 thoughts on “effort to grow

  1. I love Paulo Coelho! His stories are truly inspiring. Yes growth is painful but it is a beautiful process even though it may not seem like it. You are doing great 👍🏻. Keep growing. Remember to give yourself some pep talks and take some time to reflect on how far you’ve come when you feel like no progress has been made. Reward yourself for your growth. Awesome story from an awesome person! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I pep talk so much, even the dogs roll their eyes at me 😛 😛 😛
      Thank you for this encouraging and heart felt comment. I never want to stop growing (although if it could be just a little less painful, that would be great), and as for rewarding myself? You mean besides the reward of being better prepared for this thing called life? 😛 😉 Does chocolate count? 😉
      Much love to you, equally as awesome person 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I have just read your post and it is very powerful and inspirational with the added mix of humour which I ad very much. 🤗
    I agree that we all have lessons to learn and that mistakes can be a way to obtain feedback, Thomas Edison mad over a thousand light bulbs before he got 1 to work, his view was very much not on failure but on obtaining feedback and making adjustments to achieve the desired results 💯💯👍
    I think that all too often people spend time looking back at the past, analysing it and generally get stuck in time. 🕙 However it doesn’t help anyone very much.
    It is far better to look at the future with hope and optimism and do things differently the second time around.

    I am reminded of two things from your account of the butterfly, the 1st is the Eagle which has a young fledgling who would leave the nest and the parents were ge ready to leave the nest and they start off by destroying the nest bit by bit until the fledgling has very little room left and the mother kicks the fledgling out of the nest and let’s it fall.
    The fledgling has to start flapping it’s wings and the mother stays below ready to catch it should she need to.
    Migrating birds are like that and fly in order and in sync but as the lead bird starts to tire he will drop down the order and another bird will take his position.
    This is I b because the birds at the back are not using as much energy as the lead bird because they are caught in the downdraft.
    Many human beings are held back because they are trapped in the past or their belief systems, they believe that they cannot change or are not worthy or they are continually chasing a dream of a better life. They listen to the thing that they have heard many times before ” the grass is alw greener on the other side”, how would we know if we cannot see over the hill, so often we act on impulse or stubbornness and end up losing everything.
    If we act in line with our values and accept that we do make mistakes but we can learn from them then our lives will be so much better in the future.
    I much prefer looking forward to where I am going than looking back at where I have come from 🤔😊🤗😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your wonderful comment 😊 Yes… we can get held back by so many different things. Much better to look forward and press on…. growing and learning from the past as opposed to getting stuck there! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “and I am more inclined to think things through in an effort to eliminate hurting others.”

    That is my favorite part of your lovely post. Taking time to think before speaking. I am learning that, daily. Sometimes I do well, other days, I need to go sit in a corner and not say a word…*At.*All. This was such an inspiring piece for growth…..and I like how you pointed out good help and help that was not so helpful. That gives me plenty to think about. 🤔

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As I said..sometimes I fail. And then I too put myself in the corner 😛😉 But so long as we keep trying, we’ll keep getting closer to success 😉 I don’t think I’ll ever perfect it…but that’s not my ‘job’. Part of the process is being able to admit we were wrong when we fail, and behave accordingly thereafter – no excuses, just an apology, and an effort to be different 😉
      Much love, dear friend. You just keep on keeping on because you’re doing great 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this reading, helping me realize obstacles will come to pass. Also one thing I wanted to mention while reading this, improvement and change do hurt a whole lot. The process alone is something that is extremely hard to grasp and be with. But, you will also hurt others when it’s time for them to no longer be involved in your new life. With improvement friendships and any relationship begin to change. You must realize that to lead a better life, EVERYTHING around you will change. It’s all with good and positive intent but you must be ready for any and all things that will come your way.

    Have a beautiful day:)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was reminded once more of a story that Kath shared with me about 2 neighbours who had invested a lot of time and effort into their gardens.
    1 of the 2 kept going out, nurturing his plants and flowers, weeding around them, making sure they were in the right amount of sunshine and that the temperature was right and watered them each and every day even when they had been watered through the rain.
    The other had taken a very minimalistic approach, tending too them as and when and watering them sparingly, after a time a terrible storm hit the town and in the morning the 2 neighbours woke up to 2 very different scenes, the one who had tended his garden frequently, watered it, made sure they were in the right shades etc, his plants and flowers were ruined, uprooted from the soil, with their stems damaged etc.
    The 2nd neighbour woke up and everything in his garden was intact, the plants and flowers did not look any different than before he went to bed the night before.
    The 1st neighbour asked incredulously how can this be, your garden is absolutely fine and yet I looked after mine a great deal more and my garden is ruined.
    The 2nd gardener replied that because he was tending to his garden infrequently and not really fussing about it, his plants were seeking out water through the roots digging down into the ground and the stems naturally looking and reaching out to obtain sunlight, this was strengthening both the root system and the stems naturally. Therefore nature was doing what nature was intended to do.
    We as human beings are given the same opportunities, yes we are tended to and nurtured especially in our early years but we also have to be allowed to grow by following our own path, we will make mistakes along the way, there is absolutely no doubt about that. We will experience both Joy and Pain in our lives, as Garth Brooks the singer / songwriter puts it in his song The Dance, he could have missed the pain but he would have too have missed the dance.
    We cannot open ourselves up to the positives in life, love, joy, happiness and laughter without risking being hurt after all not everyone will like or appreciate what we do or say. The alternative though is not living it is existing, we could cut ourselves off from everyone and live in our own bubble but look at the endless hopes, dreams and aspirations that would remain unfulfilled, because even living in your bubble you would still have those feelings.
    I hope that you are enjoying the weekend and just wanted to revisit this post and add a little more than before. I also hope that talking about dancing that your daughter is doing well with her dance exams.
    Please pass on my best wishes to her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a post in itself, not a comment 😉 I’ve noticed that often…you should turn your comments into blog posts. You have a lot of very worthy stuff hiding away here where not everyone gets to read it.
      The weekend has been good thanks. Last stretch now 😉 Hope you and Kath have had a lovely one too 💜


      1. We are on the way to a Christmas Market in Gloucester so should be really good especially as it is a Traditional Victorian themed one rather than the International Markets that are springing up everywhere.😊
        Thanks for the advice on my comments as you can probably tell I am very new to the world of blogging 😂😂
        I hope that you continue to enjoy your Sunday with the family 🤗😉

        Liked by 1 person

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