Crisis in the Chrysalis

Let yourself be made new…

Did you know that a caterpillar completely dissolves when it is in the cocoon? Between crawling and flying they live in gooey soup. The butterfly is born out of chaos. The caterpillar doesn’t fight the change.  It simply lets itself be made new.

Humanity’s in crisis. We don’t know how things will be after this time. We know we won’t be the same. There will be some kind of new normal.

We can’t unknow what it’s like to be at home for months on end. We can’t unknow the intense yearning for, and fear of physical contact. We can’t predict the impact on economies, politics, faith communities, mental health and vulnerable populations.

We must not forget images of clear skies and waterways. We must not forget the slower pace of life and the creative ways we’ve entertained ourselves. We must not forget the heroes and helpers. We must not forget how interdependent and interconnected we all are.

We don’t know what advice a caterpillar would give us for living in the chrysalis. Here’s the process I’m trying to live into. Practice grace. Face the tough stuff. Strengthen your core.

Practice grace.
The world is going crazy. No one knows how to navigate all the different layers we’re dealing with. We’re all learning as we go along so practice grace. If you’re having a tougher than usual time, relax and just focus on just the basics. When others make awkward choices, be gentle. Feeling disoriented isn’t an excuse to be cruel. It’s a reason to be kind to yourself and others.

You don’t need to force yourself to change but you can make a transformational change by noticing what is important and by letting go of all the stuff that isn’t important. It’s impossible and demanding all at the same time. Give yourself grace for the process.

Let yourself be made new.

Face the tough stuff.
Our frenetic pace, our illusions of control, and our excuses won’t work in this chaotic moment. That’s a good thing! Let them go. Rediscover your solid inner core. Remember who you are. Notice what you need. Discover what you can do. It’s terrifying and hard but it there is no giving up. Your only choices are to move forward one step at a time or give in to bitterness.

There’s a lot to let go of in the chrysalis so get acquainted with the five stages of grief; denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance. You’ll go back and forth between them so it’s helpful to have an idea of where you are on any given day.

You’re living in a pressure cooker that’s forcing you to take a deep look at the world we live in and the life you’ve created. You don’t need to fix yourself just let go of some of the negativity you’re holding on to. Bitterness can justify cruelty or challenge you to make better choices for each of us and all of us. You can make choices to become stronger, wiser, and more compassionate.

Let yourself give up the old and welcome the new.

Strengthen your core.

You’ve probably gotten advice to put yourself out there and give everything you’ve got to make your dreams a reality. The chrysalis is not a time to use up your reserves. It’s a time to step back and build on what works. It’s a time to strengthen your inner core. Ask yourself, what do you need? What relationships need care? What generosity can you contribute?

Ground yourself. Be practical. Meet your needs as much as you can. Ask for help. Offer help when you can. Do your chores. Pay attention to your comfort zone.

Let yourself be grounded in daily routines.

Connect to others. Look for creative opportunities to make a human connection. Reach out to your circle of influence. If you need support, let others reach out to you. If you can, add another friend, neighbor, or colleague to reach out to.  Read books, listen to music, watch movies and find resources that inspire you. Connect to voices for healing, for helping, and for grieving in hard times.

Let yourself make meaningful connections.

Make a contribution to the community. You don’t need to do too much but you do need to do something. Keep it simple. It’s easy to give up if you try to do too much or expect too much from others. What abundance do you have to share? What words of calm, comfort, or encouragement can you give? What do you need to do to be prepared to step up in an emergency?

Let yourself make a creative contribution.

Practice grace. Face the tough stuff. Strengthen your core.

The butterfly doesn’t mend the old pieces of the caterpillar. It brings the pieces of its old life together in ways it doesn’t recognize. It’s a terrifying heartbreaking process. We can get through this time by giving each other grace and strengthening our core. If we encouraged everyone to make their inner cores just 1% stronger, we might be able to create a herd immunity against discouragement and sabotage. It’s hard to imagine a world of encouragement. You don’t need to. Just allow it to happen.

Let yourself notice, let yourself feel, let yourself change.

Together we can find new ways to thrive and help humanity thrive.
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