From caterpillar to butterfly...

September 18, 2012

Meeting with a few of my coaching colleagues this morning, we started talking about change and transformation.

It seems that everywhere we look these days, we are offered transformation on a platter. It is the buzz word in the marketing industry and everyone hitches their bandwagon onto this newly used concept. “Transform your life” they shout from their marketing soapboxes, but do we?

What is change, and what is transformation?

First of all, we cannot have transformation without change, but we can have change without transformation. Change is an event, transformation is a process. Yes, I know…that starts to sound a little muddled but bear with me.

When we decide to change something, it requires introspection and a willingness to move things in a different direction, as in ” I want to be healthier, thinner, better, smarter, richer”…etc.  It is about taking action to effect these changes, like eating organic food, watching caloric intake, mending fences with someone you don’t like, going back to school or getting a part time job to make ends meet. Change is action, not the idea of action. We often obey our internal compass that guides us in the comfortable, predictable direction we are already going in. Change is about stepping off that path and making a course correction to head in a different direction. It requires us to make a decision to act, it is about being accountable to oneself.

When changes are successful, it is easy to measure the results and see if we are better off than before the changes were made. Is the scale showing a smaller number, is the bank account a little fatter, did you enroll in that new program or reconnect with the relatives you were not speaking to?

But change can be reversed and is not necessarily permanent. It can be quite short-lived when we decide, consciously or not, to revert to usual and comfortable behaviors. This is why the diet world is full of repeat offenders… They achieve results for a while, then revert to what is usual and comfortable and things come back just the way they were, sometime even more so, as in more weight to lose and less energy to do so.

Transformation is change at a far deeper level. Transformation is about finding the true you and letting it shine, it is about strengthening what you already possess to create the future you are looking for. This process can be achieved only by letting go of the past and coming up with totally new ways to bring about that future. Unlike change, transformation, when achieved, is irreversible. There is no going back.

Think of a butterfly: the caterpillar goes through transformation to become a butterfly. The caterpillar was a butterfly-in-waiting…By transforming, it became more of itself, opening up to the possibilities of a brighter future. The butterfly cannot go back to become a caterpillar though…transformation is for good.

Transformation in health requires a paradigm shift. It requires looking at things the way they were, acknowledging them, and starting down a brand new path where we allow ourselves to envision health in a whole new way. It is trusting that our innate intelligence can guide us, letting us know innately when we are on the right path, when we exercise the right way, eat the right food or have consumed the right amount or not. Transformation is acknowledging our personal power and not relinquish it to others, it is trusting our gut feeling, it is letting go of what is no longer serving us to make space for what is . Oprah Winfrey said it best: “The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.”

Transformation is a real journey and it requires courage and determination. It is not always easy to contemplate who we really are.

In my practice, I see clients make changes that often lead to personal transformations. That is what makes my life such a joyful journey.