The Caterpillar, The Cocoon, and The Butterfly: Which stage are you in?
I have a healthy sense of self, but lately..not so much. As internal deadlines begin to creep up on me, I find that instead of plowing forward, I am standing still. I am trapped in the Cocoon stage of my self development. Here is the kicker, I realize that I am here, and I am still choosing to do nothing about it. What is going on?
About a month ago, someone whom I consider a mentor shared his insight with me, regarding my writing and the current stage in my growth. He emailed his thoughts after reading a previous bio, I submitted to Fuel Your Writing, a site that is dedicated to writers, to which I am a monthly contributor. He found that my bio was immersed in the Cocoon stage of my maturity. It lacked the power, excitement and drive that are associated with the Caterpillar and Butterfly stages. I have your attention now, don’t I!
The Caterpillar Stage: The Dream, The Goal, The Spark, Who you will Be
You are focused on your favourite show on television, brushing your teeth or even sleeping, when it hits. Your mind is suddenly filled with a multitude of unique ideas for your next novel, painting, or blog. You know what you need to do, and are finally inspired to get it done. You race to your computer and immediately start to jot your big picture ideas down. You don’t want to waste time with the minute details at this stage. The ideas stream from mind to screen. It is beautiful. You finally believe in your purpose and your abilities. There is no need to broadcast your new found self with the world, because they already know. Your friends and family are also caught up in your world wind of excitement. Honestly, who wouldn’t be? The story board is plotted, the paints and canvas are purchased, your new website is up and running, you begin.
The Cocoon Stage: The Process, The Delay, The Procrastination, The Wait
It is unfortunate that the Cocoon stage, though powerful in its own right, often goes unrecognized. Amidst our excitement, a slow undercurrent begins to take speed. We ignore its gnawing at first, but bits of self confidence start to chip away.
What if no one reads my work?
Am I really a good painter?
Everyone has a blog, who cares about another one?
As doubt enters the mind frame, and second guessing steps up to the plate, the doing, the work, the fundamentals, suddenly halt. Everything appears rather difficult. You may be midway into your project or you may not have put pen to paper as of yet. “Out of reach”, and “impossible” are phrases and words that are now integrated into your speech. Where did they come from? Why now?
My advice, take a break from your project. Not a long break, I am talking, a trip to the store kind of break, or watch your favourite program, maybe even visit a museum. Allow for a reprieve from your current state. In doing this, the opportunity to clear your mind is cemented. With time apathy, fear and contempt no longer confront you, when you re-visit your project. You may not welcome the work ahead, but you accept its necessity.
The Butterfly Stage: Finished Project, on Display for the World to See!
“Nothing good comes easy.” Juliet Betancourt – My Mother
Can I get a Whoot Whoot?! Your project is finished, well actually it is edited, re-edited, and now it is complete. You are amazed that what stared off as a spark is now a living, breathing entity, called completion. The weight on your shoulders starts to shift. It is lighter, but not gone. The reason is simple; the moment has arrived to broadcast your accomplishment. This time, the world is not gifted with insight. It is up to you to share your work. This is the final step. People want to know and enjoy your project. They want or rather they need to hear the steps, the stumbles and at times, the sacrifice, of your journey. This is not the time for dismissing the limelight. Shine, baby shine!
I decided to take my own advice. I stepped away from my journal, and took on other projects. I read, created a movie, cleaned the house, and most importantly, spent time with my daughter. The result from my short jaunt from writing, the ability and the desire to write this article.