One day, a small opening appeared in a cocoon; a man sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could not go any further. Then, it seems to stop making any progress.

So the man decided to help the butterfly: he took a pair of scissors and opened the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a withered body, it was tiny and had shrivelled wings.

The man continued to watch because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would open, enlarge and expand, to be able to support the butterfly’s body, and become firm.
Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a withered body and shrivelled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man, in his kindness and his goodwill did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening, were natures way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes, struggles are exactly what we need in our life.


The cocoon can represent our preceptions about ourselves and our lives. It is about the power of our thoughts to create a perception of whether we BELIEVE our world is a PRISON or a CLASSROOM. The beauty of this is that thoughts never leave their source and we ALL have the capacity to CHOOSE. We either evolve and become amazing human beings based on our personal definitions of what that is or metaphorically 'die' in a prison surrounded by bars we ourselves created subconsciously.

Sometimes, our experiences require us to go into a "cocoon" to rest before emerging once again. That rest may signify our going inside ourselves to ask the tide-turning question, "Have I had enough yet?" As human beings, we have learned that security is that which is familiar. That has nothing to do with pleasure. We prove this by staying in relationships, jobs, and lives that are toxic to us but because they are familiar, the fear of the unknown keeps us prisoner within our own life experiences.

When we recognize we've had enough, and realize we can't expect our efforts, so far, to produce a different result unless we CHANGE, that's when we can begin to emerge. This is the time we open to what and who we really are and feel our worth. It comes after the time we've sat quietly, feeling our feelings in order to bring them to the light. It is only through feeling that we can connect to that part of us that guides our beliefs and values. The language of this feeling, habitual mind, the Subconscious Mind, IS feelings, metaphor, symbols and imagery.

It may seem that when we emerge, we are alone having to endure pain. I do believe that our greatest lessons come from our greatest, deepest hurtful experiences. As beautifully said by the Poet, Anais Nin, "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk to blossum".

The opening to inner change does not mean that we cannot reach out. There is no requirement that our growth be solitary. Yes, the process is one that we walk alone but we can invite supporters to cheer us on at the sidelines. Our nature does not perclude us from receiving a helping hand nor is it damaging when we seek help from those who care for us or from those who are trained to help with self change.

If we were meant to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We learn by contrast. How would we know inner strength had we not felt weak? How would we recognize happiness had we never cried in sadness. It is the very experiences of our lives that define who we are and are capable of becoming. We would not be as strong as we could have been without the lessons we've endured. Without them, we would never have been able to fly.

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 doesn't seek help, is left unprepared to face the next battle and never manages to fly off to their destiny.

Author's Bio: 

Rosa Livingstone is a full time Hypnotherapist, educator, workshop leader and speaker in Vancouver, B.C. Her passion is helping people "change their minds" about out-dated inner programming.