flying caterpillars

On Day 24 of the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge we are invited to create a health mascot. I prefer totem. A totem is any natural or mythical animal to whom you feel a close connection during your life or some particular period of your life. The energy of the totem animal speaks to you in some way that is relevant to your own personality or circumstance in life. The totem I have chosen is the butterfly.  It is included on the header /favicon of my website.

According to Native American lore, the butterfly relates to love, transformation and change.  In Animal Spirit Guides, Steven Farmer, describes the butterfly as follows:

flying caterpillarIf butterfly shows up it means:

Lighten up and stop taking everything so seriously.

Get ready for a big change, one where an old habit, way of thinking, or lifestyle is going out, and a new way of being is emerging.

It is time to make changes that you’ve been considering.

In spite of the challenges, you’ll get through this transition, and as always, know that “this too shall pass.”

It is the perfect mascot or totem for me… or anyone living with a chronic illness. Illnesses like multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease can bring your life to a screeching halt or downward spiral if you let them.  But the butterfly says, “What a minute… it doesn’t have to be that way… after all if a fat furry caterpillar can learn to fly – so can you.”

The butterfly reminds me that I am not my illness. Fears about what the future might bring, anger towards my illness, and focusing on my losses weighs me down and makes it difficult for me to fly. The butterfly invites me to transform my “heavy” thoughts into joy, gratitude, or peace.  The butterfly is not advocating a Pollyanna approach to life, after all it was hard work spinning its cocoon and equally difficult to break free.

This is what I have learned from the butterfly.  The changes in my body due to chronic illness are real and I need to give it special care but I am not my body. I am not my thoughts, fears, or emotions either.  I am a being of love and light. I am joy. I am like the butterfly.

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