Reflecting on metamorphosis after a session with Leo in Vienna

To become a butterfly, let go of your desire to be anyone but yourself. Notice the wings sewn onto your back, as if they have always been there. They are full of colors: goldenrod yellows, lilac, orchid, magenta, with a dash of black woven in.

Your anxiety and sorrow are included in the weaving of your wings. What else could have woven the midnight blue of compassion? See how the lines are slightly jagged, edging the lively yellows and warm purples with the depth of suffering. You cannot escape your blues. You are beautiful, you little cocooning butterfly. Can you ground in the sufficiency of your beauty?

To become a butterfly, snuggle ever deeper into your cocoon. This is warmth, true belonging, home. Your cocoon won’t be discarded, it is with you for life, a magical, wondrous home that is always available to you when you need it. On its walls are imprints of your escapades – capturing your bravery, your kindness, your beautiful open heart. Remember that it’s easiest to find your cocoon in a quiet, warm place, perhaps near a tall forest of trees and blooming wildflowers. But it’s with you always, even in (especially in!) the scariest of places.

Peek your head out ever so slightly. Take in with your senses the colors of the world. Other human bodies, the blur of cars and trains, the vastness of the ocean. The church bells ringing, the clickety-clack of keys on the computer. The whipping cold of the Viennese air. How rapid and colorful it seems out there. You are safe in your cocoon, and can thoroughly examine your surroundings.

Is it safe and friendly outside? Are the people around me loving and kind? Are they able to meet me where I am? Am I ready to emerge from the shelter of my cocoon?

Notice if stories are arising, stories that make the world out to be a cold and dangerous place not fit for butterflies like you. Ask yourself, am I sure? Know that it's okay to stay; you do not cease to grow inside your cocoon. Trust your body as the source of your truth.

Check in with your body. Bundle up in your warmest winter coat, find your lost mitten, cover your head. Fully prepare for the unknown. When you're fully dressed and ready, remember anew the beauty of your wings. Emerging from your cocoon is a gift. Your vulnerability, authenticity, loving soul are a gift. Are you ready?  

Allow the love you cultivated in your cocoon to arise in you. Unfurl your wings, becoming aware of the strength of your own love, the beauty of your own rainbow wings. Take the first step out of anxiety, dear one. And let this first step be your guide: imperfect is beautiful, people are kind, nobody is out to get you.

There is power in your imaginary cocoon, for you can always return for refuge. The interplay between butterfly and cocoon, cocoon and butterfly, is ever flowing. A butterfly needs its cocoon for rest and nourishment.

To be a butterfly, take refuge in your cocoon.
To be a cocoon, be patient and offer love.

Cocooning today

Hi Leo,

It was pretty overwhelming and scary to meet you in person today. I was so excited to see you in person and to share with you some of the things I learned in Paris, to be present for my joy in finding buddhist economics.

I feel now quite disappointed and unsettled, like I didn't touch my joy or power, like I allowed the weight of my anxiety to puddle me into a cocoon for the whole time. I could barely even look at you or be present for our being together, apart from my paralyzing fear. I am pretty sad.

I don't agree with the idea that I am in a cocoon in my life at the moment. No, I am a caterpillar, cocoon, and butterfly all at once, sometimes in the same moment -- the desire to hide and be safe existing alongside the desire to fly and be beautiful. I feel like I keep letting down the piece of myself that is alive with color. I am angry at my anxiety for what feels in my mind like wasting time.

Who knows if/when I will see you again in person? I chose to come into our session without a topic, with only the intention to see how you live and to be present in vulnerability, without more explicitly declaring a desire to play and have more fun. I didn't expect how vast the space would feel, how tiny and trivial I would feel in comparison. I didn't expect that I would be tired from a night of not sleeping well. I didn't expect the physicality of being together to be so foreign to me after so many intimate sessions.

The fear I experienced today was different than a fear of being physically in danger; it was a fear that I didn't belong in such a house or with you. I could not reach the ground in my chair. I was embarrassed by my crumpled 14MT and my 5 euro backpack. Sitting on the ground under the safety of a blanket eased my anxiety about being seen by you: my face and clothes not quite enough for my surroundings or company.

Yes, I want to touch into this fear, anxiety, sorrow. I want to practice the balance of being with this difficulty while not paralyzing myself in new, scary situations. I want to be able to access my power even when I'm overwhelmed or feeling inferior.

I also want to step into lightness and happiness together, for this anxiety and sorrow is exhausting. Maybe we can explore what being a butterfly is like. What the process of metamorphosis requires. In each moment, how to step out from the safety of the cocoon into the true meaning of flight -- not for anyone else, but out of love, joy, safety, trust in the enoughness of my own being. I like this, I'll invite myself to free write on becoming a butterfly sometime.

I did like the idea of playing peekaboo, the process of building trust in a series of repeat interactions: the fear of loss, not knowing, and the joy of being met over and over.

Anyhow, there isn't a longer post at this time, just some poetry in process and the note above. Thanks for your time, the welcome to your home, and your presence as always.


A new morning

Waking up this morning, I wondered if yesterday was a dream or nightmare that I could redo. The feeling is a familiar one, arising after breakups, fights with dear friends and family members. The fear this morning was of wasting time, the resentment of my own anxiety and fear. Why couldn't I have gotten enough sleep, not been overwhelmed by the surroundings, and had vulnerable, playful, deep conversation with you? A "productive" session?

These are all stories about the way things "should" have gone, a lack of acceptance of the way things were and are. Was time wasted, or was it simply over, like all things eventually end? Perhaps my perception of a "waste of time" is when something ends without lasting results, without documentation or friendship or new "insight". Now I'm realizing that I am dwelling in new insight in the body: it is my deep fear of waste, of not building anything meaningful or lasting, of the pressure I place on my rest time to result in writing and wisdom, propelling my "productive" time even further.

Perhaps the pressure to "produce" even during rest time transforms it into productive time. There is a fear of rest time that has no outcome, a resistance, a sense of being forgotten, lost in the void, with nothing connecting it to the next moment. That's how I sometimes feel about the possibility of my new company failing -- like it will simply go into a void where we don't see or talk about it anymore. A waste of time while others were building lasting things (buying houses, getting married, having kids, making money).

What am I doing floating across continents? What am I building in California and in Palestine? How will the learnings I am accumulating become something lasting that I can point to at my deathbed? What arises for me now is that I am building up the courage to listen to my body and follow my heart, again and again. Is that enough to point to at my death?

I don't feel so sad about spending a large portion of our time together yesterday hiding under a blanket. If I do return to your house, I believe I may just sit against the wall on the floor again. We will see what is comfortable. I feel a small budding sense of silliness -- imagine that! I spent an hour under a blanket at Leo's lovely house and that was okay. In my body's inclination to hide, I saw my own fear and overwhelm of meeting you in person, of seeing the physical gaze of someone I admire and look up to (you) looking at me. Of feeling tiny and out of place. All of the insecurity, comparison, fear that arose. Hiding was beautiful, it allowed me to touch into a deep and vulnerable piece of myself and feel safe in the meantime.

I remember you asking if my tendency to compare is based in a difficulty with self-love or self-worth. That's arising now; and yes, I think there is a block for me in establishing self-worth not solely in "productive, lasting output" but in being who I am. Maybe I can request your help here. How can I touch the "worthiness" of myself without needing to base it in productivity?