I love this quote: “You can fly, but that cocoon has to go.” Obviously, the quote is referring to caterpillars and butterflies, but more specifically, it’s referring to our lives that can sometimes make us feel like we are stuck in a cocoon.
I have found myself in many stages of a butterfly’s life, sometimes feeling like a sluggish caterpillar struggling my way through life. At other times, I have worked hard to escape from life by building a virtual cocoon around myself, isolated from whatever trouble was going on in my life. And, once in a while, I have felt the exhilaration of breaking through the cocoon and forming beautiful wings that took me to higher places and better times.
There are some lessons to be learned from the butterfly’s life cycle. First of all, it can feel like a risk to leave the swaddling warmth of a cocoon. Our cocoon becomes our status quo, the place of our deadening security. It may feel a bit cramped in the cocoon, but it is the place we know. As confining as it may be, breaking free from it is like breaking into an unknown world. And that feels like such a risk sometimes.
A second lesson is that’ although the cocoon has its restrictions, it can be frightening to consider the implications of flying. While it is true that we can see much clearer from the heights of flight, there’s no cocoon to come back to if we get tired or if it’s just too scary.
The third lesson is that it is the risk that makes us hesitate, knowing that if we take flight, we can’t return to the more comfortable security of the cocoon. Once your dream has taken flight, the status quo can no longer hold you.
Like the butterfly, we have only two choices: to take the risk of flying or to eventually die inside the cocoon.
Life dreams do not happen inside cocoons. Each of us has dreams, large ones and small ones. If we do not pursue those dreams once in a while, life feels empty and purposeless. Dreaming the dreams is what gives us hope.
The risk of flight is a necessary thing for any of us who want to realize a dream. Dream your life dreams and take flight to see them come to pass. Sure, it may be easier and less risky to refuse to dream at all, but life might not be worth living.
Perhaps Erin Hansen says it best:
“What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling, what if you fly?