Annette Simmons, author of the book"Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins,"
|Google Images: commons.wikimedia.org|
She used the example of the caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation that has become the symbol of reinvention, of rebirth. But Simmons' next comment took the attendees aback for a moment: "The caterpillar spends a lot of time in the cocoon. While we're in there we're bug soup and we need to acknowledge that."
Bug soup. Have you ever thought about it that way before? The caterpillar enters the chrysalis looking sort of cute in a caterpillar-ish sort of way, then emerges beautiful and flying in its refined state. Have you stopped to consider the detail of what happens behind the walls of the chrysalis? Bug soup. What an apt description for how it feels sometimes when the going seems really hard. There is a time of languishing, unattended, feeling destroyed with no re-emergence in sight.
Simmons says that sometimes in the process of reinvention we might need to take time to back up and take another road. "Backing up is not a waste of time. Sometimes you can't go forward without examining the past." One of her other points is that we need to experience our feelings fully, however uncomfortable they might feel. "Emotions buried alive don't die," she advises. You have to be in them, experience them, acknowledge them, before you can move on from them.
She told a story about a team building exercise she was supposed to do with a group of military folks in the early 2000's,just after the weapons of mass destruction weren't found in Iraq where they were expected to be. The group couldn't even consider going through her planned activities to build the team until they had the opportunity to discuss the elephant in the room - "Why couldn't we find them?" They were devastated, haunted by the feeling that they had failed in their mission. They had to deal with that first in order to free themselves to move forward.
You could expect that almost anyone would want change to be more like the removal of an adhesive bandage - one quick rip that hurts a bit, but then it's over with - quickly - and we get on with our lives. Real transformation isn't like that. We have to become bug soup first if we're going to emerge and fly.