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Caterpillars to Butterflies

Thursday, August 5, 2010


It is butterfly season in Ontario.  Growing up I didn't paid a lot of attention to them.  I didn't really start to  notice and appreciate them so much until I started hanging out with my friends who are avid butterfly, dragonfly, bird, snake and turtle watchers.  These friends of mine go on counts across Ontario gathering statistics on populations of these different species.  They spend hours outside exploring and learning about our natural world.  It is very interesting.

Every year my husband and daughter build a little terrarium, and collect monarch caterpillars.  They take really good care of them and on occasion we have watched a caterpillar spin it's  cocoon,   or we've watched the butterfly emerge.  It is a miracle. I've been thinking about how doing exercise (yoga, dance, walking, pilates, running, cycling, swimming, skiing etc.)   mirrors  this process of the caterpillar.  When we arrive at the class we are like the caterpillars. While we are exercising it is like we are in the cocoon.  The outside world is cut off and we are totally focused on ourselves - creating strength, flexibility, energy, peace of mind, joy etc.  We all exercise for different reasons.  In a structured class, the instructor leads the class and holds the space for the students to focus on themselves.  At the end of the class we are like the butterfly that emerges from the cocoon.  We are different - perhaps we have more energy, feel happier, stronger or maybe more alive.  I know I often feel transformed after giving myself some quiet time and attention. When I look at the monarch in its  cocoon  I wonder what is going on in there as the caterpillar turns into that butterfly.  It is a miracle and I don't really need to understand.  I just see the beauty.  It's the same with exercising, we can't always put it into words about we are experiencing but we all know that we feel better afterwards.

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