Are You Ready, Butterfly?

Well, my friends, we have come to the final phase of the Change Cycle. Phase Four, the end of the journey. And to be completely transparent with you, I am pretty uncomfortable with Phase Four.  I know one of my patterns is to quit during the trials of Phase Three and then I go back to Phase One. I assume I failed, and I decide that Phase Four won't come for me. But what I've learned is that the process is more complicated than that.

So, what exactly is Phase Four, you may be asking. Phase Four is the butterfly phase- the butterfly emerges from its cocoon as a completely transformed being and goes about living its new life with wings.

Reaching Phase Four feels like you have been biking straight uphill over rocks, unpaved roads, and paths that you had to make up along the way, and you finally reach the top of the mountain. From the top, you get the most amazing view, the kind that makes a person think "Wow, it was all worth it." And then the fun really begins, because you get to coast on your bike downhill. It's smooth sailing! Phase Four is all about enjoying the fruits of your labor. 

In other words, Phase Four is about being the butterfly. There's no forcing. Just being. I want to take a moment, and let that sink in for myself. Because I don't know about you, but I have a hard time remembering a time where I just let myself BE. 

This is why Phase Four is really uncomfortable for me. Even when I do reach it, I have a hard time slowing down my pace enough to appreciate how far I've come and stopping the hard work. 

While I am looking forward to finding Phase Four in my own process, I hope that I will recognize when I reach it so I can actually pause and enjoy.  

Here's the tricky part about the change cycle- there is no timeline. The Phases can be unequal in length, arrive without warning, and even bleed into each other. Each Phase eventually ends, but the transition to the next is unclear. There really isn't an "arrival" point when you are finally "there." As a fantastic friend and coach Terri Hofstetter pointed out to me, no one goes through the phases in a linear way. We tend to bounce back and forth between some of the phases because we are refining the process. Sometimes I am in Phase Three and the dream I am working towards is not what I want anymore, so I go back to Phase One. Or sometimes a person is working in Phase Three and they need to go back to Phase Two to clarify their dreams. If you find this happenning, don't judge yourself. It's all a part of the process. 

Even as I wrote this article I was judging my past and my own processes. I was telling myself that I am really bad at "being" in Phase Four, I never let myself just enjoy. I was re-reading what I wrote just before sending it and saw how harsh I was being with myself. I had to pause, and bring in some compassion for my own process. 

What's even trickier, is that each person has a certain Phase that is really comfortable and really uncomfortable. For me, I like Phases Two and Three, and really don't enjoy Phase Four. So I naturally avoid Phase Four and try to hang out in Phases Two and Three as much as possible. Ask yourself if any description of these phases felt really familiar or comfortable for you? More than likely, that's your favorite and you also tend to hang out there. 

Each part of the process is absolutely necessary in order to grow because each part has a purpose in revealing more of who we want to be. And even at the end of Phase Four, the butterfly must die because nothing lives forever. The cycle will begin again. In one person's life, there are countless cycles that will begin over and over again, continually. 

And that's ok. That's life. 

It's probably no coincidence that I am writing this right before the New Year, the time that we humans have decided is the time we wipe the slate clean and get to start anew. It's a time that we set aside for reflection and purposeful planning of what we want to do, be, and achieve. You don't have to force yourself to be in a certain part of the cycle just because it's that time in the calendar. 

Where are you right now in the Change Cycle? What do you need to feel supported with where you are? If you feel compelled to share your responses with someone, I encourage you to do it. Support from another person is a wonderful gift. And if I can be of service, please feel free to reach out to me. 

Please share this email with someone you think might benefit from hearing about the change cycle. Thank you for sharing, because sharing is caring!

And thank you for being with me this past year. It's been a wild one, to say the least. Thank you for reading my words, for sending me notes of encouragement or for sharing your lives with me. Your presence has been a wonderful gift to me, whether you know it or not. And I want to thank you for that. 

Warm wishes and big hugs,