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Being Patient through Transformation: Trust, Change, Believe

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” ~Charles R. Swindoll

Ever noticed a chrysalis hidden within its cocoon? The final few moments before it emerges as a butterfly compose what science terms as metamorphosis, a transformation.

If you have been lucky enough to observe this process, which I highly recommend watching, you’d notice it has to struggle quite a bit before it gets all the attention for being the magnificent creature it is.

It’s long and painful. However, while watching it, you may be tempted to clip off the outer covering of the chrysalis with a pair of scissors. And you might do it, thinking you’re doing it a favor. But when it finally emerges, you’d be sorely disappointed.

The chrysalis’ covering holds within its shell vital fluids that are important to its wing formation. But your act of kindness, of clipping that outer shell deprives it of that, and as a result, the butterfly that emerges is crippled, deformed, and nothing like the butterfly it was supposed to be.

On the other hand, if you can muster up the patience to watch this metamorphosis take place, without any intervention from your side, you’ll see one of the most beautiful miracles of nature, and one of life’s best lessons.

Our lives are journeys to this same type of metamorphosis, to find a sense of purpose in life. We cannot achieve this without the difficult situations or the pain that life often brings in generous doses.

Each one of us has had to let go of a dream, compromise, and experience pain and the entire gamut of emotions that an undesirable change can bring. But by no means did it ever spell the end of all dreams.

I graduated from law school with big dreams to help the world, to fight for justice, and to make a difference with my education, because I considered myself fortunate to have had an academic training— unlike the millions of other kids who haven’t had a chance to study at all.

I joined the non-profit sector with high hopes and zero expectations of financial rewards, because all I wanted was to make a difference. But life had other plans, as it always does.

Eight months down the line, I quit my job over the lack of work ethics. I couldn’t stand to compromise my principles, or to allow myself to be manipulated for what I held to be good and true. That was the end of a long cherished dream. It was a difficult decision because it certainly didn’t look good on a resume!

My family was disappointed with me, and when you don’t have the support of your loved ones at times like this, it hurts. I knew I had broken their dreams in the process, too, but I had to stand up for what I believed in. The weight of their expectations—and my own—was too much to carry. I had barely started my career when it ended. (Or so I thought at the time.)

And yet, in those eight months, I learned everything I possibly could about the field I had chosen because I was passionate about it (and the learning continues). All was not lost. I could still try for another job or back up and try something else.

I always had a flair for writing and editing. I loved the English language and all the nuances associated with it, so I was entrusted two manuscripts for editing that I'd religiously try to complete in my free time.

In the time after I quit my job, I took my editing work on the manuscripts a lot more seriously. And quite suddenly I had a realization about what I was supposed to do—I felt liberated me from all the anxiety and stress I was feeling regarding my future career plans.

I quickly drew up a plan of the options I could explore. Self-employment was beginning to look like an attractive option, and I was excited by the possibility of making the best use of my creativity, talents, and varied interests.

Today my heart is at peace because I am doing something I enjoy and staying true to my heart’s calling. I didn’t realize it before, but this is the metamorphosis I was headed to all along—I just needed to allow myself time to emerge.

The seemingly “impossible situation” of quitting a career that barely took off might have plunged me into the deep abyss of hopelessness; but looking back now, I remember the chrysalis going through the struggle to emerge as the beautiful creature its meant to be.

If you stay true to your conscience and live your life the way you believe it should be, you can be rest assured of this:

Every bad experience, painful relationship, and compromise you’ve ever made in good conscience will somehow transform into a beautiful inner reservoir of spiritual gifts and blessings.

Life wants you to take notice of three things when you’re going through a difficult time that may seem eternal:

Trust life. There’s a higher purpose behind every seemingly impossible and difficult phase. You’ve just got to hang in there and know that it’s for the best.

Change. If you find yourself feeling bad a lot more often than not, take time out to reflect on whether or not you’re happy deep down with what you’re doing.

Believe. Believe in yourself, even if the world around you doesn’t. If you don’t, who will?

Hold onto what you believe in. You’re meant to emerge as a beautiful butterfly from your chrysalis. Always remember that, with a smile, and give yourself a chance to delight and revel in the mysterious workings of the universe.

Photo by Tiago J. G. Fernandez

About Andrea Johnson

Andrea Johnson is an inspiration evangelist, freelance editor, social media consultant, artist and philanthropist. She founded Creative Elixir to share her passions for social media, arts, photography, non-profit strategies, motivational writing, and social good and to help individuals and organizations explore their potential in a fun, creative way. Connect with Andrea on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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  • Chrissy

    This article reminds me of one of my favorite quotes…Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly. I really enjoyed this article as I feel I am currently myself in the process of a transformation after a painful and unsure period in my life. Thank you.

  • Elizabeth

    Thanks for this. I dropped my eldest child off at college yesterday and I’ve been very down all day. I know she’s been in her chrysalis and these next 4 years will be very transformative for her. I need to step back and let the process happen, and be happy to be a witness to the miraculousness of it. All the pain and struggles along her path will serve to form her into the woman she needs to be. It’s just hard to hold back and NOT call/text/email to check to see if she’s taken care of things, or hear the minutia of her day, or make sure she’s eating & sleeping. Now the process is hers, not mine, and I need to trust in that.

  • Elizabeth

    Thanks for this. I dropped my eldest child off at college yesterday and I’ve been very down all day. I know she’s been in her chrysalis and these next 4 years will be very transformative for her. I need to step back and let the process happen, and be happy to be a witness to the miraculousness of it. All the pain and struggles along her path will serve to form her into the woman she needs to be. It’s just hard to hold back and NOT call/text/email to check to see if she’s taken care of things, or hear the minutia of her day, or make sure she’s eating & sleeping. Now the process is hers, not mine, and I need to trust in that.

  • I really needed to read this today. I’m a 23 year old who has no idea what to do for a career, and have been doing multiple part time jobs, hoping to be inspired. Some friends and family don’t understand why I don’t just go for a full time job in the area I went to school for and it’s frustrating. This uncertain period of my life as been a great challenge every day for me. It’s exacerbated my anxiety problems and even lead to depression at times. However, it’s articles like these that remind me to hang in there and hopefully, one day things will be clear to me. Thank you!

  • jessica nahar

    This gave me such a clear understanding of transformation. The comparison to the butterfly is just perfect! I just took a deep breath, and feel so good! Thank you for sharing this and making my day beautifuly felt!

  • Djlync

    the timing of this article is serendipitous…..thank you universe for knowing what I need to read.

  • Louisya

    I needed to read this today as well.

  • Serendepity is god’s way of letting you know that he’s very well aware of what’s going with your life, trust the universe to take care of you and see your own little ‘transformation’ happen 🙂

  • I think any career choices that are not in line with what your heart truly wants to do, is going to create distress and put you out of sync…sometimes events transpire, which can be both divine intervention or mere play of destiny to lead you onward to your true path…its a matter of living your life until that time with a clear conscience making the best of what you have..Believe me, life won’t fail you if you trust it 🙂

  • Elizabeth, so true…Though I am not a parent I can totally understand your concern for your daughter because I also am someone’s daughter and have felt the protectiveness and need to ‘watch at all’ times from my parents when growing up…life has already been planned out for her beautifully, your duty as a parent is now only to guide her…you have to trust your instincts here and let go 🙂

  • so glad you did! have you ever had any experiences like this?

  • Glad I could do that! We so often overlook little miracles taking place all around us, that we need constant reminders of life’s beauty…breathe, dream and trust the universe to manifest whats best for you!

  • You are blessed! Everyone at some point in their lives go through a tranformation of sorts to lead onward to their true destiny, so rest assured you’re on the right path 🙂

  • Meljenglish

    Profound. And, timely. Thank you.

  • This was a lovely article to read – thank you.  I sometimes feel like my life is a constant process of transformation from one state/moment/thing to the next, to the next, to the next. Sometimes I love that, and sometimes I wonder what “stability” would be like (would it feel comfortable? or would it feel stagnant? maybe both at once?)

  • Jonnagraulich

    Wow.  Just yesterday I was telling a friend that my life has been slowly unraveling in a downward spiral for the last year.  I feel like I supposed to be learning a lesson, but I dont know what it is.  I had a nasty divorce a year ago at 6 weeks pregnant and I have a happy healthy daughter, but just not healing from the pain of the sudden discovery of betrayal in my marriage.  In an effort to distract, I have a new job, moved across the country, but now am far from my support system, new life is exhausting and I feel like Im falling apart.  Cant possibly continue like this for long!  I guess Im stuck in transition and have to trust that I’ll come out a beautiful butterfly eventually!!

  • Jonna, I can’t imagine what you’re going through but it seems obvious that whatever is happening right now is definetly to your best interests…whenever you’re following or doing something that isn’t in line with your true destiny, events both good and bad transpire to get you back on the right track…your betrayal in marriage is something like that, you weren’t on the right track..if life has brought this far, I think you could very well believe that the universe is heeding your plea for help and if you trust it enough, life will unravel beautifully when its the right time. Keep the faith and don’t give up, you’re getting there! 🙂

  • Stability would come only when you’ve finally reached your butterfly moment, until then its constant changes and opportunities for personal transformation…the stability that comes after that is wonderfully comforting…stagnancy and stability are not to be confused, stagnancy is more of a state of apathy where you’re doing nothing..and nothing is changing…stability on the other hand is a deep seated sense of comfort and peace that you’re following your life’s path and fulfilling your destiny just as the universe deemed it to be..and its well worth the patience!

  • Glad you found it profound and thoughtful! 🙂 please consider sharing with family and friends!

  • Sharath

    Very inspiring words, it’s just amazing how most of us undergo this unsettling moments in this short life. There is always a desire to achieve certain goals and you tend to be in the wrong bus most of the time.
    We always live in hope to achieve and I took look forward too.

  • I think Life remains a very effective therapist sharath, all unsettling phases, confusion, struggle is all meant to guide you to your true path… what could one want more from life but to fulfill your destiny 🙂

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  • I’ve been reading, thinking and writing about letting go lately, and many of your insights and experiences resonate with me.

    On the professional dimension, I’m struggling with the story I make up about myself – and the stories I imagine others will make up about me – as I approach the start of a new job that will, in essence, be the same job (college lecturer, though in a different place) that I resigned 22 years ago to seek fame & fortune. Ironically, I always imagined returning to academia, and I believe this new/old job will offer me an opportunity to be of greater service than anything I did in the intervening years, but I suspect many of my peers will see this as a step down and/or backward. I am working to transform my perspective to focus on the contributions I can make, rather rather than the lower pay and prestige accorded with the position.

    On the personal level, my wife and I are both struggling with the enormous lifestyle transformations required to adapt to her recent diagnosis of fructose malabsorption. In addition to drastic changes in diet, many of the things we’d most enjoyed centered around food and drink, and so we are seeking to shift that center to other focal points.

    I/we look forward to emerging from our chysalis[es] and discovering beautiful new inner reservoirs of spiritual gifts and blessings.

  • undergoing my own metamorphosis. in fact thats what i named my blog post on my 30th birthday this year. so i’m happy to know that i’m not self comforting to think that i need patience to transform. but transform i will. from international executive to hmm…. dont know yet, but doesn’t matter, i will find out in good time. for now i will go back to doing what i rediscovered i enjoy – writing… thanks andrea

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  • Anonymous

    Beautiful and rich with wisdom that will empower anyone when held for but a brief moment! Thanks for sharing this!

    Edit: I forgot to mention that I wrote a book about my journey from adversity to blessings in hopes of inspiring others to keep moving forward and look for gifts. http://ariellabaston.com/?page_id=188

  • I enjoyed reading your story and agree with you. Transformation always involves a death, a letting go of some part of ourselves and the birth of something new. I’ve written a book on the journey, and part of what I wanted to do with it was make sure that we truly understand the WHOLE journey, not just the highs that we enjoy. I see so much of transformation linked to peak experiences, and it involves a lot more than that. 

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  • Fadmarin

    this is absolutely a perfect day to read this. going thru some difficult times and this just made me smile. i know that what im going through is a blessing in disguise. beautiful post

  • Perseverancesl

    my eyes could not of fell upon these encouraging words at a better or more needed time, I resigned my job to accept an offer to begin Flight attendant training and job. a week into training I received bad news from family and could not focus on training and exams. so I was told of I resigned that class I could write the director in 30 days so in a week I am requesting to see if I can return I must for I now am unemployed too since resigned to pursue my hearts desire. These words were affirmation for me:/) Thanks!!!!!!!

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  • sarah

    wow this was great. sometimes you read things and u forget them, sometimes certain things stick with u. the butterfly emerging is going to stick with me.. its a nice way of looking at things. like a good way to view yourself and situationse. the whole article was great. im going to read it tomorrow when i wake up too! it was calming, as i feel im going through a transformation and am a little scared. (of the change). thanks.

  • Jaton Warren

    Thank you tremendously for this divine sharing of your journey. It’s provided me with a lot of clarity, insight and support through times of change, especially change that you feel in your being but perhaps that which the logical mind and the conditioned world still are needing to grasp. Namaste beautiful ray