My mother once told me a story from her childhood about a time she came upon a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. She stopped and marveled at the wet butterfly slowly breaking out of the hardened pupa. Its progress was painstakingly slow and my mother felt compelled to help.

You already know the rest of this story: her efforts to help unfortunately killed it instead.

Sometimes in our rush to be helpful, we inhibit growth, learning or healing.

We can be so eager to share our knowledge and our hard-earned expertise that in our hurry, we lose sight of dignity, pacing and innate wisdom.

We forget, I think, that souls have their own pacing. We’ve stopped listening to their natural rhythms, we’ve stopped paying attention to the ebbs and flows inherent to any growth, learning or healing path.

We’ve stopped turning inward, constantly distracted by external performance measures and others’ “feedback” and timelines.

For me, the most profound learning, growth and healing happens in safe, patient, loving human relationships.

The kind in which I am simply Witnessed. Known. Seen.

The kind in which I am not being analyzed, evaluated, prompted, prodded, given “feedback” and compared to a statistical norm.

Or someone else’s idea of what “healthy” should look like.

Or sound like.


Instead of behaving like eager, innocent (but dangerous) children, be the chrysalis and the sun.

Do not underestimate the power of becoming safe containers for yourselves and one another: and when you see growth, healing or change, radiate warmth.

Healing, growing, learning? These arise naturally.

We are wired for them.

We can’t help ourselves: Our bodies and souls have their own inner intelligence ~ they heal, they grow, they learn. We just need to get out of the way.

If you aren’t familiar with it already, you may also enjoy Paulo Coelho’s lovely similar butterfly story about the value of the struggle and how struggles make us stronger.

Ready for more accompaniment at the right pace?

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