Fullsizeoutput 953

Monarch Morning

Today in the garden of my mind, exist a plethora of ideas for writing, yet I am having difficulty navigating the energy necessary to release them into the world. Some are still in the caterpillar stages, voraciously chomping little bits as they go from small black dots to fat, juicy bands of bright green and black, delighting me with possibility. A few are dangling jade and gold chrysalises transforming. Others flutter by, landing for nectar and then gone.

Its late summer in the Midwest. The metaphors above are taken from the daily activities around me. We have monarchs in all stages in the office (thank you, Jessica), the zinnias out the window are bustling with a variety of fluttering creatures, and several times a day checking the swallowtail caterpillars on the parsley is a sure burst of delight. In these small moments are so many metaphors, applicable for any number of situations, awe-filled mysteries of life.  Truly, thinking about the monarch brings me to tears – to witness up close the process of transformation at each stage, to be fully cognizant of what is happening, yet be completely unknowing at the same time.


Last week a young woman client, about whom there is a longer narrative (chrysalis stage), arrived in the morning for an emergency session following a night alone, literally choosing to live moment by moment with the help of a kitchen timer to mark the passage of bearable bits. She came in the waiting room door and immediately noticed the newly emerged monarch. We paused together in silent watching and then I asked if she would like to be the one to release her. Monarchs have been a symbol she has used with me at particularly poignant times of transformation in our work over the years. Within me, gratitude for that larger ineffable something that makes its presence known so often in this work.

Softly, “Yes”.

I carried the netting habitat outside and she unzipped it by the large pot of petunias. She gently reached in and got the butterfly to perch on her finger, pulling it out and attempting to place the winged beauty on the flowers. The butterfly would not release easily, and every time she did, would fly back to my client. It took several attempts, finally she was able to settle the butterfly into the blossoms.

Throughout the session, we would go to the window to check on her, she was always there. Her wings were gaining the strength necessary to carry her all the way to the mountains of Mexico. Inside, it was a tender session as we discussed the growing despair, and the possibility of a new treatment facility – could Hopewell really be the source of hope?

As we ended, and the client tentatively pulled out of the parking lot, my eye glanced to the pot just in time to see the new black, white, and orange butterfly take her first flight out of the deep pink sea of blooms, skyward.

A long journey ahead.