There is a butterfly in each and every one of us.
But before she can emerge from her cocoon, she must first go within – she must retreat from the world of noise, chaos, and control to reclaim her ultimate purpose: to fly without limitations, with total release and abandon. In flying, she is able to see for the first time a world of possibility, freedom, joy, and passion.
She reminds me of my own sacred unfolding.
Sometimes, it seems as though that journey began so long ago. I yearned for that vibrancy, that freedom embodied by the butterfly who roams as she chooses. I wanted to fly away from limitations, away from others’ expectations – from needing the approval of everyone around me, from living a life that wasn’t mine.
I wanted out of the cultural chains that held me back: the very same chains that anchored generations of women before me.
What made me think that I could be the first in my family to break these heavy chains? I had no role models to show me the way. I had nobody encouraging me to follow my dreams, my passions. Nobody around me recognized the suffering that I had brewing inside of me. I was led by generations of women who had guilt as their constant companion: “Marisa, you need to be a good mother, and a good wife, and keep your house clean, have dinner ready on the table, and tell your kids what to do, and always stand by your husband’s side.”
Is this it for me?
Where am I in all of this? How did I get here? How did I become so robotic? How is it that I am going through the motions…without any emotion? How did I lose the vibrant, passionate, creative girl that I was, the person that so desperately wanted to help other people? When did I stop valuing her? When did I lose her? Or…did I give her away in exchange for a cage made up of other people’s expectations?
You can’t contribute if you don’t know you matter.
THAT’S IT! How could I follow my passion for helping others, for making a difference in the world, for being fully present with my loved ones…if I didn’t value myself? How could I keep everything the same – not challenge my beliefs, continue living according to everyone else’s expectations, constantly hustle for approval – and expect different results?
I needed to recover the real passion of my life. I needed something that was going to light me up from within. I needed to get real in my relationships, get clear about what I wanted and needed, and then ask for it.
Most of all, I had to be willing to go inside that cocoon so that I could EMERGE and fly. Only then would I be able to fully contribute from a place of knowing that I matter.
As all of this whirled inside me, my soul cried for help with a roar that burst out of me. It was beautiful and terrifying, all at the same time.
It was the cry of generations of women buried inside my soul, needing to be expressed, to be seen, to be heard for the first time ever.
Letting myself feel that absent presence was an act of courage that I didn’t know I had within me. It felt like a volcanic eruption that needed to be released. Once I surrendered to that yearning, only then could I see the suffering that wasn’t just mine, but all of ours.
The space that opened up within me when I let out that gasping roar of pain and lack and loneliness called me. That was when I knew I needed to go within myself in order to heal what had been eclipsed inside of me. I couldn’t help others if I was in a place of unworthiness, a place where my life wasn’t as important as the lives of those around me. How could I help other women if I was still drowning in my own limiting beliefs? Until I addressed the suffering within me, I knew I couldn’t rise to my calling, when I was suffering deep down inside.
It was time to retreat, to go inside the cocoon, in solitude, to seek my life within.
Journeying within was unfamiliar. But I’ll tell you this: it is where the quiet is – such a difference from the reactive environment that I was deeply accustomed to. Within, I found a place where nothing on the outside exists; a place I could go to find my truth.
It’s where my voice met my spirit, and their conversation was stillness.
My body disappeared, and my thoughts became distant. This was the true self-care that I desperately needed. This was where I found the real me. It was the place where I recovered my purpose.
Before that day, the day when I went within and sat with the stillness, I thought I knew what self-care meant. It meant going to the spa and getting a massage or getting my nails done; planning a lunch date with my girlfriends; going to the mall and buying a new outfit.
Although all of these things are great and they serve their purpose, in the end, they only afforded me the illusion that I was in charge of my life. In reality, keeping a busy social calendar only made my cage more spacious. But a cage is still a cage, and our spirits cry, “Freedom!”.
Self-care starts within you. You can’t keep doing and doing all these things on the outside to fill the deep gaping hole inside of you.
Only by spending time in the cocoon can you find true healing. Unless and until we do, we’re just putting a Band-Aid on an open wound that won’t close. This is why the same issues arise over and over again and no amount of mani/pedis seems to help.
Again, and again, you know deep down that you’re resisting the lesson, the message, the yearning that goes unanswered until you turn back toward yourself.
It starts with a decision to stop turning your back on yourself, your spirit.
Although my life was incredibly busy – and seemed ‘perfect’ on the outside – I was not healing the core of my being. I needed deep self-care, the kind that reconnected me to my truth, to my passion, and to my purpose for living.
I armoured myself with courage and focused on what was true: I was created for some purpose. And the truth of who I was at my core must be inseparable from this purpose. I didn’t belong to anyone other than myself. The battle for my worthiness, this fight, was, at first, internal: I had to shed the layers of lies that I had to be anything other than who I was created to be.
I owed this to myself. And it wasn’t about anyone or anything other than reconnecting to my spirit.
But…people do not like change. Human beings are wired to be afraid of the unknown. We thirst for certainty, predictability, and the comfort of expectations met: “If you leave your marriage what does this mean? How will you support yourself? What will happen to the children? What will people say about you, about our family?”
It’s a funny thing, isn’t it? When the soul tries to break free, it is almost always met externally by a force of opposition, one that is the cumulative result of other people’s unresolved fears about themselves, their worthiness, their ‘reputation’, their need for certainty.
What did other people say about me?
They said I was a drug user, a stripper, and a lesbian. I must be a lesbian for wanting to leave my husband, right?
And THIS was the small-minded mentality that I had been living my life for? That I was seeking approval from? That I lost myself to?
This was one big kahuna of an aha moment!
Of course, after any devastation or apparent loss…comes a chance for new growth: a rebirth, a transformation, and wings to fly. It was time for me to EMERGE.
Even the tiny caterpillar has the wisdom not to grieve its outgoing form, doesn’t it? For it expects the miracle that’s to come.
YOU are that miracle, just as I am. We all are!
I cannot tell you how my life changed once I did the work: and I continue to grow and evolve.
Once I declared my commitment to return to myself and recover my deepest truth, my most authentic being, and my highest purpose…then and only then was I able to experience real relationships and deep, powerful, growthful connection.
Before, I wasn’t really IN my relationships because I was showing up as persona: the good daughter, good wife, the good mother (according to everyone else).
But when I turned back toward me, my spirit, I was finally able to BE in my relationships…as me. The real me. Not Marisa 2.0…but me, walking with purpose and embodying my spirit.
I am living my life for me, and I model for my children that they must do so also.
And I am able to be more present and to love unconditionally. I have no time, no space, no more eff’s to give for conditional love.
Human beings who have not recovered their spirit and their purpose demand conditions be put on love…because the idea that we might not have to do anything in order to be worthy of love and respect is a surprisingly radical one – still!
Because having traded chains and a cage for the ecstasy of flying, we’ve had to learn to tell ourselves that we NEED our chains because to fly without restraint or regard for convention is dangerous, reckless, selfish. Especially if you’re a woman.
But the chains that bind our freedom to live with infinite possibility do not make us safer, just as they do not guarantee that we will be able to control life. They do not, as it turns out, create more responsible citizens: just sadder, more isolated ones.
The counterfeit values and shaming, finger-wagging warnings to color inside the lines only delay the moment when we return to embody, fully, the miracle that we are.
Because my life is a gift that was given to me, so is yours, and it is time to open the present.
The freedom that comes with the gift of a life lived fully is priceless. And you deserve this! We all do!
Being able to help other women recover this same freedom is my passion – first, supporting you to create real connection to yourself; and then in your relationships.
Let me make it easy to help you get started: I’m offering a limited number of complimentary, 45-minute Coaching Sessions. Simply send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.