My son’s impatience with the Impatient Caterpillar made me chuckle. Six-year-old boys may have endless reserves of energy but they quickly reach their limit when patience is called for. After several readings of the Impatient Caterpillar he now had no interest in watching the two-week metamorphosis process take place. He didn’t want me to make what I deemed funny voices and dramatize the struggle this impatient caterpillar was having all wrapped up in his cocoon waiting to transform. The caterpillar calling for pizza delivery to his cocoon was no longer funny. He just wanted me to get to the point. Is the damn thing changed or not? Watching the transformation process had become excruciating.
I can sympathize with my son. I’ve become weary of navigating this pause. I also am over pizza delivery.
Perhaps we are all behaving like an impudent and impatient six-year-old boy. The world’s begging us to take a break, to have some patience, to stop and think. In return, we are throwing our hissy fit not wanting to pause, reflect, or change. We want what we THINK we want and we want it NOW.
Is the damn world changed or not?
In the weeks of this period in time that’s known as the great pause, quarantine, groundhog’s day, I’ve been both relieved and restless.
Initially, I was relieved to slow down, to have some time to breathe, reconnect, and reset. But then the unrest settled in. I had more time but zero motivation. I kept waiting for my engine to rev. To wake up and run five miles, to write every day, to connect with my children in ways I hadn’t before. To re-energize my career, to find my passion, to become….But nothing came.
I didn’t feel filled with energy and vitality and ready to take on the world.
I felt tired.
I would go in spurts of action and inaction.
I would vacillate between doing and despair.
The frustration I felt at starting something and not having the energy or desire to follow it through began to wear on me. I felt stuck, drained, suspended. I felt like I was on autopilot and I couldn’t figure out how to take back the controls and set my course.
Morning after morning I hit snooze. I only really got out of bed because I thought my husband who was working an insane amount would judge me for languishing in laziness.
Suspended in the pause was the truth.
Truth is light.
Truth is illumination that causes the eyes to narrow as they adjust to the brilliance.
The Truth is I am the impatient caterpillar.
The truth is I am burrowing in the pause because I don’t want to go back to my old way of being.
It was exhausting.
The truth is I am luxuriating in the paralysis of the pause because I am unsure of how to move forward.
The truth is I am so over this pause because it’s so uncomfortable, and dark and I don’t know what comes next.
Perhaps we are all in the middle of a metamorphosis. The old way is exhausting, we are now uncomfortably waiting for the new way to emerge.
It’s not revealed itself yet, because we need the time to incubate, to sit with ourselves, to embrace transformation and time to let our eyes adjust to the brilliance that's coming.
Maybe the pause is our collective chrysalis.
A virus is calling on us to be selfless, to help our brothers and sisters, to sit still and let the healing begin. To heal we have to slow down but we can’t seem to do it. We fight it and want to muscle it into submission.
Mother Earth has broad shoulders she’s taken our collective pain and suffering and excess for such a long time. She’s born our bad behavior with the sigh of a resigned mother who watches from the sidelines hoping we will learn our lesson. Finally, she put her foot down and said enough. She sent us to our room, to our cocoon, to our chrysalis to think and be suspended in discomfort and said you can't come out until you can behave.
For me learning to behave is learning to let go and patiently wait. You can’t create, expand, or move forward if both hands are wrapped in tight little fists clinging to what we know best.
The best lessons come in the most unexpected places and I began to realize the way forward was to let go. As I sat snuggled with my squirmy 6-year-old reading about Kevin the Koala who clings. I distractedly read the words “un-cling called the crowd who had gathered below,” and as I tune back into my voice I realized letting go of the past and sitting in the present is all we are being called to do.
Un-cling and trust the present moment.
It’s so simple. Yet, so hard.
I’ve spent a lot of this pause seeking. Seeking answers, chasing spiritual truths, wanting all to be revealed, and wanting to know where we go next.
Mother earth remained silent. I remained suspended. Seeking was my old way of being.
My six-year-old self shouts.
“Is the damn thing changed yet?”
She wryly smiles and whispers you can’t come out just yet.