Okay, so I really didn’t have this spiritual awakening until I was well into my 30s. It was 36 to be exact. This is when it all really started. I always suspected that there was more to see, but I really feel like I had blinders on for most of my time on this earth. A lot of my life was lived in my head. I was constantly worried about what other people thought, and because my empathic abilities were just at the surface but not truly manifesting, I usually felt like there was something just right on the tip of my tongue. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. In addition to all of this, I recently realized that I was going to divorce my husband. The sadness and discontent were overwhelming me, and whenever I even thought about my future, I cried. The thought of living out the rest of my life with this man filled me with complete hopelessness. It made me not want to get up in the morning. I had to make myself breathe through every day.
I have no exact reason for why it took until my 36 birthday for my awakening (oh, Kate Chopin you would be proud). I have my theories, but I won’t bore you with the numbers. I knew this was all starting for me because of a butterfly. I have always loved butterflies. I am drawn to them and they are drawn to me. My backyard fills with them every summer. This is partially because I have the flowers that they like to eat. I feel that when I see butterflies, I am on the right path. They have always been a sign of hope for me. So on my 36 birthday, which is March 20th, I was sitting in the IPC for our English department. There is a large series of windows in the back wall, and our line of computers face the window. I was writing something, and my mind was wandering, and I looked at the plants on the sill. There was a small flutter. I paused. I was not sure if I saw this correctly, but before I could doubt the flicker, it happened again and again until I realized these were the wings of a butterfly. I wasn’t sure how this was even possible. It had just snowed a few days before. This was not even close to butterfly season. I looked around the plants on the sill and saw a tiny cocoon attached to the side of one of the plastic holders. These plants have been inside the building since August. How could a caterpillar catch a ride on this plant in August and then hatch as a butterfly in March? Also, the butterfly was so new it’s wings weren’t even fully unfurled, and the yellow wings flapped only enough to flip it from one side of the sill to the other. I recognized it immediately as a yellow swallowtail, but it was still so cold I knew that I could not release this little one outside. Sadly, the butterfly was going to live out its two weeks on this earth confined to our IPC.
Despite this, I selfishly looked forward to walking into the office and going to the computers and seeing my little butterfly. I broke off one of my flowers from my geranium and sprinkled sugar water on it almost everyday and waited out the two weeks. Finally, one day I walked in to find it dead in the corner of the sill. I wrapped it in a paper towel and took it outside and laid it in the grass. It just felt right to finally set it free even though it was too late. The fact is that I allowed this butterfly to be a daily realization that even the most unlikely thing can be found during the most inopportune times. Butterflies are generally a sign of transformation. In its safe cocoon, the entirety of the caterpillar breaks down and realigns as the butterfly. I knew that my entire life was about to break down, so I could rebuild it again. It was not a process I could rush. It had to happen in its own time in the way it was supposed to happen. They are also a sign of rebirth, a chance to face the world anew with a different set of eyes. I wondered if this was a symbolic representation of the rebirth I needed to undergo, so I could manifest my true path.
My divorce became final almost two years to the day that the butterfly hatched. My husband and I sat in front of the notary signing the papers. We met her in a coffee shop a few miles from our house. As she flipped through the pages and applied her seal, I looked above her head. A local artist had covered the walls in artwork. The particular painting above the notary’s head featured a large and beautiful butterfly. My heart filled with love for the little signs the Universe sends me. A reminder that everything happens in its own time. I almost smiled as I reached over to take the pen. There was no part of me that felt like this was wrong, but there was also no part of me that felt like my transformation was complete.