The Orange Butterfly

Following the sandy path led me through tall tropical trees hung with moss, flowering bushes, graceful ferns, blooming wild flowers, and vines that climbed whatever was in their path. Even though I wasn’t far from civilization, I enjoyed the feeling of being in a jungle. In the middle of this setting an orange butterfly caught my attention. Standing still I watched it navigate the surrounding greenery while selecting the perfect place to land. It chose a tall, narrow leaf to settle on and a beautiful lesson unfolded.

Arranging itself with wings wide open, the butterfly tried to maintain its balance while the wind gave it a challenge. Its first position kept it unbalanced so, with wings still open, it rearranged itself. The wind now upset the orange wings even more. In the third position the butterfly folded up its wings and faced them against the wind, and was almost blown off the leaf. The fourth position involved keeping its wings folded and facing into the wind. This produced no wind resistance and the desired balance was achieved. The butterfly settled into a time of rest.

As I watched this process I was struck by the effort the butterfly had put into its endeavor for balance, and how facing into the wind was the only way to find it. It reminded me of myself and how I was handling the winds of change in my life. Like the orange butterfly, I had been experimenting with different approaches, but was not achieving the desired outcome. My wind has been a multitude of changes that revealed the need to do life differently. What worked in the past was no longer appropriate. I needed to stop fighting against the wind, which always makes life more difficult than it needs to be. Only recently have I finally faced into the wind and felt the relief of letting go of struggle.

Watching the orange butterfly also reminded me of how shore birds stand facing into the wind when a storm is coming. Other birds line up facing the same direction on a power line. If the wind shifts the birds will change their position so they are always facing into the wind – facing into the challenge. Margret A. O’Neall writes, “We can face into the wind, face into the future, and so we are prepared to move forward, to move into the winds of change, embracing the future in whatever way we will.”

Whether we are moving into a new relationship, addressing a serious health issue, asking for a second medical opinion, creating a new home, or committing to a new activity, change will ask us to look at life differently. When we stand in our strength facing into the wind, we can accept what is happening with the wisdom of previous experience and the gift of balance. Like the birds, with Friends After Diagnosis we have companions for facing our challenges and weathering the storm. Like the orange butterfly we can rest easy in the winds of change. What a relief to let go of struggle and embrace balance while making needed changes.

Until Next Time – Sylvia

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