Here we are, another year coming to an end. Scrolling through Instagram recently I saw that it is once again the time for a flurry of inspirational 'live your best life/let go of the past year' quotes and New Year memes. I wasn't paying much attention as I scrolled, then one caught my eye.
It said 2016 was the year of the caterpillar, 2017 is the year of the cocoon and 2018 will be the year of the butterfly. Yes, I thought, I can so relate to this. I then wondered how three simple statements written by a stranger on the internet could resonate so personally. I shared the image on my account, and based on the feedback it seemed quite a few others felt the same.
This inspired me to create a series of questions you may like to ask yourself as we transition from 2017 to 2018. This blog is an invitation, from my heart to yours, to take some time to recap and reflect on the year was and the new year that will be. I also share some of my own 2017 reflections below.
For you, the cocoon may have been a place of pain, of heavy emotions, of darkness or isolation. It may have also been the place that held you, nurtured you, protected you. It's important to acknowledge the time spent in the cocoon and the role it played in the process of transformation.
There have been many times over the past year I could relate to the feeling of being inside a cocoon. Alone, changing, not knowing what lies on the other side.
The cocoon has challenged me to slow down, to be less 'out there' and more 'in here'. I have learnt what it is to have, and feel, an unshakable bond with myself. Earlier in the year, from inside the cocoon, thinking about life on the other side, I wrote these words:
“Perhaps the lesson we can take from the butterfly is the times of deep darkness are the times of deep transformation. The time we spend in the cocoon prepare us to take flight, it’s the place we build our wings. For when we emerge from that place of darkness, we emerge as colouful, beautiful, magnificent creatures of the light.”
Reflections from the cocoon:
List the ways the cocoon has supported you.
List the ways the cocoon challenged you.
What did you learn about yourself inside of the cocoon?
Time inside the cocoon is solitary, but life's not meant to be lived alone. This year I surrounded myself with some new people and became closer to ones who have been in my life for a very long time. I also said goodbye to a few and discovered boundaries. I began seeing a therapist, I got a brilliant business coach and I joined a couple of online courses with Facebook group and found connections with and felt supported from women all around the world.
Reflections on the people in your life:
Who was there with me during my time in the cocoon?
Who am I letting go of now that I have wings?
Who has taken a similar journey of the caterpillar to the cocoon to the butterfly and how can I show up in their life to support them?
Being a butterfly means you will be seen. Inside of your cocoon you have not been visible but in 2018 chances are you will be. This may bring up some fears for you or it may feel exhilarating. As you leave the cocoon to take flight you may find people don't quite recognise you, because you are different, you have changed. Here is another post I saw on Instagram that speaks to this and gives a suggestion of what you could say:
Reflections on the butterfly:
Now that I am a beautiful butterfly, how do I want to be seen?
What part of me is ready to emerge from the darkness?
What parts of me do I want to show the world and what parts are just for me?
And most importantly, how do you now see yourself?
Having wings gives you a new sense of freedom. Having wings means you can visit new places or finally leave the old ones. Wings give you a higher perspective, a more expansive view point of your life and the world around you. In mid 2017 I was carried home on the wings of three angels I met on a Qatar flight (you can read all about that here
). Now that I have found my own, I look forward to flying high in 2018 and visiting new places. Not so much new countries and cities but more so new places of experiences and ways of being. Like stability, and consistency and joy.
Reflections on having wings:
Who can I meet now that I have wings?
What new places can I go?
And now that I have wings how will 2018 be different to 2017?
Three ways my 2018 will be different to my 2017:
One. I have will have a base, I will have a place to call home. In 2017 I moved back to Sydney. In 2018 I will move into my own place and for the first time in my life create what I am calling a ‘sanctuary for my soul’. I will have my own place, no longer living out of suitcases, in other people’s apartments or my sister’s old room at my parent's place.
Two. I will make more conscious choices in 2018. In mid 2017 I choose to no longer eat animals and I look forward to continuing to make this choice. As a result my relationship with my body, and the creatures I share the earth with will be different.
Three. I will be financially independent in 2018. I did some massive groundwork in the cocoon in relationship to my finances this year, and I know this work will continue in 2018. I engaged a new accountant and some of the conversations we had made me squirm. I had to take a long hard look in the mirror. I had to stop playing avoidant games. It was extremely uncomfortable. But that is the work and as a result 2018 will be the year that my business is able to sustain me and I am just so excited.
The process of transformation, isn't a one time thing. It is an ongoing life experience. You may find that in 2018 you have moments you crawl back into the cocoon and that is ok. As 2017 comes to a close and 2018 begins, you may like to mark this transition in a meaningful way, to empower your butterfly self. Here is a simple suggestion:
On New Years Day stand outside, outstretch your arms, look up to the sky and say, 'I am not a caterpillar anymore. I have wings. It's time for me to fly.'
I would love to hear your 2017 reflections in the comments below.
With love, Rosie x
Ps. If you enjoyed these reflective questions you may also like my journal prompts, check out my 21 day journaling e-course here
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