Our butterflies are starting to hatch as I was reading The Book of Joy, and something really struck me. The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu were wearily discussing the topic of happiness. Once again, I was reminded that happiness is a state of mind…a state of being. Happiness is a choice in the face of difficulties.
“We create most of our suffering, so it should be logical that we also have the ability to create more joy. It simply depends on the attitudes, the perspectives, and the reactions we bring to situations and to our relationships with other people. When it comes to personal happiness there is a lot that we as individuals can do.” •”
It is often difficult to make this choice when we are in the midst terrible fear and trauma. It is tough to choose joy when you are staring tragedy in the face, and all you want to do is run to your bedroom and hide under your covers, but we must. We must turn inside of ourselves and find the perspective that brings us joy.
The butterflies are now flitting around in their plastic habitat. We watch as their long tongues uncoil and sip up the sugar water we put in there so we can keep them for a few days before we have to let them go. Their emptied chrysalides lay flaccid on the plastic lid and the area around it is drenched in red. A red compound is expelled when butterflies break free and it covers the floor and walls. It looks like a murder scene, but it only means that they have obtained their hard-sought freedom. There are six in all, and I marvel at the transformation these earth-bound creatures must have undergone to become these fragile flyers. The caterpillar turns into a liquid and then back into a solid form to finally become a butterfly. It must be painful. It must be frightening. The caterpillar does not seem to question this metamorphosis, and after it must appreciate its transformation. What a sin if the butterfly is unable to appreciate how far it has come. What a waste if the butterfly is unable to find joy as it glides through the air because it is too busy being sad about no longer crawling on the ground.
Find your own joy and look only at the open skies that are right in front of you. Seek only that next strong wind that is going to take you where you need to go next.