Provision #805: Love Like Butterflies

There are around 20,000 species of butterflies, with the earliest known fossils dating between 40-50 million years ago. That’s a long time. Many butterflies are famous for their migrations. Some, such as the Monarch, migrate for distances of up to 4,800 kilometers or 3,000 miles. That’s a long way! Given the durability and tenacity of butterflies, you can imagine my delight, then, when I saw the following saying on the wall of a Korean restaurant in which we were eating recently: “May my love like butterflies fly.” Of course! May this Provision encourage you to take this spirit to heart.

LifeTrek Provision

If anything has kept me in the game of life since the end of last August, when this whole ordeal of brain seizures began, it has been love. First and foremost, as you know, the love of my wife, Megan, has carried the day. Right behind her love has been the unfettered outpouring of love from my family and friends. I have benefited from their care just as much as, if not more than, I have benefited from the care of the many medical professionals who have made sure that I was receiving the requisite treatments and medications. So far, notwithstanding occasional, minor setbacks, their interventions appear to be working. That means I am now sitting home alone for a change, as my wife travels to California for a conference, waiting for my children and loved-ones to show up later today to be with me for the rest of the week. What could be better than that?

Since waking up from my first round of seizures, I have often focused these Provisions on the story of how receiving their love, and the love of so many others, has made such a difference to my recovery. Although I have written about this before, such as in my Provision titled Generosity Follows, I was moved to write again about the subject when my wife and I went this past week to eat at a Korean restaurant. I looked up and saw the following saying on a wall that was decorated with painted butterflies: “May my love like butterflies fly.”

Wow. It’s the butterfly’s combination of tenacity and beauty, of strength and delicacy, that immediately came to mind when I saw that saying. First of all, butterflies need tenacity for those long migrations. Can you imagine a dainty little Monarch butterfly migrating for distances of up to 4,800 kilometers or 3,000 miles. Wow! Talk about hanging in there for the long haul; talk about riding, pushing into, or circumventing the wind currents; talk about following an intuitive sense of what needs to happen until your destination is finally and ultimately reached – migrating butterflies demonstrate all that and more. They keep going until they either die or reach their destination.

When I find myself faltering on my journey back to health, my wife, Megan, likes to remind me of how far I’ve come and that I didn’t die, even though that was a definite possibility early-on in the process. I have, apparently, demonstrated the tenacity of migrating butterflies. They may appear fragile and dainty on the outside but on the inside they have an instinct and a drive that keeps on going strong. I apparently share with them that same instinct and drive and I would encourage you to find the resources and wherewithal to incorporate those life-sustaining elements into your spirits as well. If you don’t know it for yourself, then take my word for it: life is worth living.

But life is not worth living just any old way. Life is worth living well. That’s the beauty side of the “love like butterfly flies” equation. I cannot remember seeing a butterfly in flight that was not beautiful, at least in some sense of the word. So, too, with each of us. We all have our own beauty and grace to share with the world and doing so is, I would claim, a responsibility of life itself. We are not here to just spin our wheels, to pass the time, or to take advantage of others. We are here to find and to enhance the beauty of life itself; and the best way to do that is to discover our gifts and to use them well in the service of others.

No wonder people hire coaches! It takes works and discernment to find the willingness and ability to move beyond selfishness to service, to give ourselves to others in ways that enhance the beauty, wonder, and grace of life itself. Do that with tenacity and you’ve learned the lesson of the saying on that wall in the restaurant. “May my love like butterflies fly.”

As if to add to the wonder of it all, however, just as I was putting together my thoughts for this Provision, my daughter and son-in-law called to check in on how I was doing. When I told them the focus and theme for the Provision, they told me of a most amazing experience they had while on their honeymoon in Costa Rica. They went walking on a remote beach when a blue butterfly flew up and started following them on their way. As they walked, so flew the butterfly, step by step, as if to bless their marriage and life to come.

Costa Rica is apparently famous for their blue butterflies, but my daughter and son-in-law did not know that ahead of time and they certainly did not expect such a beautiful butterfly to show up on their honeymoon and to follow them on their way in such an auspicious and wonderful way. If you believe that life is not just a series of coincidences but a treasure-trove of blessings, then this would certainly count. Although the Internet is filled with images of these spectacular butterflies, here’s one that I like especially well:

Blue Butterfly

The Costa Rican legend holds that seeing one of these blue butterflies is a sign of peace, love, and happiness. It certainly seems like a great way to start out your marriage. And I, for one, am going to hold onto the notion that seeing that saying in the restaurant as the inspiration for this Provision, learning about the legend, and then discovering that my son-in-law and daughter had such an amazing experience on their honeymoon is more than just a coincidence. I am going to claim it as a gift and as a sign that more good times are yet to come for them, for me, and for us all.

Coaching Inquiries: How does this legend and image speak to you? In what ways would you say that your life combines tenacity and beauty, strength and grace? How could you enhance those elements so as to be even more of a witness and even more of joy to others?

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LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.

I’m glad you wrote that you are now taking breaks from feeding the email beast. Therein lies the lesson, I think, for us all: just be, not necessarily do. Be well, my friend.

Only very recently have I subscribed to your Provisions newsletter. Through those few issues plus the reports we all receive in the Spiral I have followed the frustrating and sometimes heart-breaking course of you illness. Have you considered the Chinese healing practice of Qigong (pronounced, “Chi Gong” or “Chi Kung”). It is closely related to Tai Chi, so closely related that Qigong is referred to as the mother of Tai Chi. I would encourage you to give it a try and I would even be willing to come to your house to introduce you to this marvelous Chinese healing practice. I have no idea whatsoever to what extent Qigong will heal you or, at the least, just make each day a little brighter and more energetic. But it might be worth a try!

I am sorry to read about your latest seizure episodes and continue to hold you in my thoughts and prayers for continued healing, health and energy. Reading today’s Provision, I reflected on your question as to what were the lows and highs of the past week. No doubt, learning about Boston was earth shaking and moved me to the core. I did my graduate work at BU, so I have a lot of fond memories and friends and worried all day. These lows can be so all absorbing that already years ago, my husband and I decided to eliminate cable TV. We read the news selectively, which to some might be strange but we choose not to be flooded with the ongoing avalanche of news reporting.

After a day like Monday, April 15th or other “low” moments, I go outside and garden to ground myself. It helps me to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me and often I am rewarded with a little blissful moment. This morning, I finished potting herbs and the first hummingbird showed himself. He hovered right in front off me and it seemed he hinted it is time to fill the feeders. Then later when moving shrubs my husband spotted a big turkey in the high grass. These moments reenergize our spirits, just like cooking, dining and talking with family and friends. And then there are low and high’s at work too.

We are not living with rose colored glasses, but knowing how ongoing health issues can be so energy absorbing, frightening, and frustrating, we have learned to be aware of the “lows”, to live through them, and to continue to focus on the “highs”. My husband is instrumental in helping me to maintain this outlook because he has such a wonderful sense of humor and laughing is medicine for the soul. I’m wishing both you and Megan continued healing energy, perseverance, strength and hope.

You are so honest and positive and just keep going! I’m amazed that in the middle of “your” health chaos that you continue to get “out of yourself” and serve others. I wish I could do that on a daily basis. I know it takes practice and prayer and love but I do go into “self-pity” for no apparent reason OR I get so sad for others, that I hold that sadness to the point of depression and “that it’s happening to me” Continue to share your strength and hope with others…it certainly catches my attention and I always look forward to reading your thoughts through LifeTrek Provisions.

My heart is broken at the evil released in Boston, for the grieving families and friends, and for those terrorized by the acts of willful violence. However, I am encouraged by the resolve of people to draw together to help one another and to put healing above politics for a time. My prayers go out to you and to them for healing, stamina, and grace. Avoid spending too much time with the news. Get just enough information to know the facts but not the constant replaying of analysis and commentary from every angle. That is debilitating to the soul.

I am so sorry to read about the return of your seizures. And yet, I believe they are a blessing to you. I believe they’ve come to teach you  and the rest of us something and perhaps what it is, is that we might want to embrace doing nothing, just not being productive for a while. Taking good care of yourself is the gift you will give to us all; I know that would be true for me.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School
Past President, International Association of
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

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