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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

For the Future of Butterflies

Health Chess ABeCell's

14 September 2009 at 17:02
Art by Ally Way ( Juno Brown)
Art by Ally Way ( Juno Brown)

Health Chess ABeCell's

Full of our cells
We see our cells
Each A piece in a cosmic, political, and natural chess game of life, death, and health
Every cell is full of Aspirations, gifts, talents, and needs
Some hear A cell cry out for Attention, support, care, food, and other basic needs
Some think cells cry out for stupid, damn reasons: from pain or poverty, or A need for recognition, love, and An equal chance
Some Belittle the weaker cells, or Believe everything is ok as it is, after all some cells will always  Be poor, Be killed, Be homeless, Be weak, Be sick, Be hopefully gone from our minds and eyes, and Be gone from our ears and hearts
And if a black knight comes to help the damn cells  in distress
Many of the other privileged pieces say, "Let her Be whatever, we are the Best, we can't help every pawn, they will just have to learn, those damn cells that every cell can't have their basic needs met, this is A Be, C's for the Crooks of Capitalism and a D for Democracy to boot, forget socialism, it's a free and wonderful market place, not a free ride, don't they know? And if they don't have the money to pay for medical care or food, or a place to live, well then, they can just work for it, some cells will just have to pull them cells up by their boot straps, whether they have a job or not, what is wrong with those damn cells anyway, why can't they just get it together …....... "

and we do .....

Here's how it works in a butterfly

The Butterfly Metaphor for Transformation
by John Renesch




As we began the new year and welcomed a new U.S. president into office I was reminded of the metaphor of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly, befitting a time for transformation - new beginnings and paradigm shifts. The market crash offers a triggering event that could lead us into another aspect of a paradigm shift.

I first heard the metaphor from evolution biologist Elisabet Sahtouris who made the analogy between this miracle of Nature and the prospective global paradigm shift in which we find ourselves today. Sahtouris tells this story: “My favorite metaphor for the current world transition, first pointed out to me by Norie Huddle (author of Butterfly), is that of a butterfly in metamorphosis. It goes like this:

When a caterpillar has plowed rather destructively through its ecosystem, devouring up to several hundred times its weight each day, it gets bloated and hangs itself up to sleep. Its skin hardens into a chrysalis and then, deep in the caterpillar's body, tiny things biologists call 'imaginal disks" begin to form. Not recognizing the newcomers, the caterpillar's immune system ‘snuffs’ them. But they keep coming faster and faster, then begin to link up with each other. Eventually the caterpillar's immune system fails from the stress and the disks, becoming imaginal cells, build the butterfly from the meltdown of the caterpillar's body.

For a long time biologists could not understand why the caterpillar's immune system attacked the new cells, but recently it was discovered that butterfly (imaginal) cells carry a completely different genome. Apparently all metamorphosing insects acquired the second genome somewhere in their evolution and have lived these double lives ever since. If we see ourselves as imaginal cells working to build the butterfly- a better world - we will also see how important it is to link with each other in the effort and to recognize how many different kinds of imaginal cells it will take to build a butterfly with all its capabilities and colors.

I love this metaphor because it shows us why we, who want to change the world, are co-existing with the old system for a while and why there's no point in attacking the old system because you know the caterpillar is unsustainable. It's going to die. The question on which we can focus is “Can we midwife a viable butterfly?”

Patience and understanding is called for in this metamorphic transition. While many of us understand how paradigms change few of us possess the patience. In his book Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life, Greg Levoy tells a story that speaks to impatience, also using a butterfly metaphor. He writes:
In his autobiography, Nokos Kazantzakis, author of Zorba the Greek, described an incident in which he came upon a cocoon cradled in the bark of an olive tree just as the butterfly was making a hole and attempting to emerge. Impatient for results, he bent over it and warmed it under his breath, by which he succeeded in speeding up the process. The butterfly, however, emerged prematurely, its wings hopelessly crumpled and stuck to its own body, which needed the sun's patient warmth, not the man's impertinent breath, to transform it. Moments, later, after a desperate struggle, the butterfly died in the palm of his hand. “That little body," he wrote toward the end of his life, “is the greatest weight I have on my conscience."
As this butterfly story teaches, we have to learn to trust that all things happen in their own time when our lives are ready to receive the miracles in store for us.
Both of these stories can serve us as we weather this storm of the collapse of one economic system and hospice the old while standing ready to midwife whatever new system will emerge from the rubble. As Buffalo Springfield sang long ago,

There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
…. Everybody look what's going down

"There is a poetic, a psychic quality about a butterfly, especially a golden butterfly, that should arrest attention, if not inspire the honeyed muse, and make even materialistic turtles crane their necks. It would serve an excellent purpose, if some one should strike right through our banter and reserve of sentiment and hold aloft this symbol of spiritual beauty"....June 23, 1905 Edwin Manners
I read this over 2 years ago from a facebook friend and fell in love with all it's meaning and knew this is the point of connection I have, we have, with each other. Understanding this principle is key to "midwifing a viable butterfly" and is the fuel that feeds my work, my sacrifice, my gifts to the world, to Earth, to humanity and what is left of life here. It is taxing, but it will be worth it. I also understand that I will likely not see the type of results I am looking for in my life time, but it will hopefully start the movement towards it in the life times of the babies born during my life time, my own and the others I will touch in my work, and my children's children and their work.

For the future of butterflies....

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