Before a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, it goes through a period of glutinous mass consumption. At that point, a few "imaginal cells" begin to initiate the process of transformation into a butterfly. These "imaginal cells" with a beautiful dream of the future are in the minority at first, but they usher in the movement to transform the whole being into it's vision.
When I heard this story used as a metaphor for our current state in the world, at a symposium called Waking the Dreamer by the Pachamama Alliance, it really struck a chord. Whether it's my intuition or my optimism, I have felt strongly in the last year that the current turmoil and stirring things up has been a push back towards inevitable (hopefully positive) change.
In this description by Imaginal Labs, they note, "At first these Imaginal cells – the seeds of future potential, which contain the blueprint of a flying creature—operate independently as single-cell organisms. They are regarded as threats and are attacked by the caterpillar’s immune system. But they persist, multiply, and connect with each other. The Imaginal cells form clusters and clumps, begin resonating at the same frequency and passing information back and forth until they hit a tipping point. They begin acting not as discrete individual cells but as a multi-cell organism – and a butterfly is born."
There are stories and predictions from around the world that tell of a time when the past age and the future age come together to create a new age.
This all goes along with my theory that the whole world is going through one great positive disintegration as Kazimierz Dabrowski would call it. According to positive disintegration there is a period of falling apart before you can move into a more integrated whole. I try to explain my take on it in this post on Finding Treasure in Ruins. In short, these are the levels of integration as I interpreted them:
- Ignorance is bliss (primary integration)
- Ambivalence (unilevel disintegration)
- The conflict between what is and what ought to be. (spontaneous multilevel disintegration)
- The challenge of what could be. (directed multilevel disintegration)
- Conscious self (secondary integration)
Self-awareness and self-education are all key elements in moving towards a higher level of integration. Connecting with our innermost values and sense of purpose can help us make decisions that are in line with our vision of the future.
I know that part of my purpose is supporting those "imaginal cells" in our community who have a greater vision for a positive future world through my podcast and other work. I know that a lot of what ails our world is a feeling of disconnection - from our earth, from our community and from our selves. I have focused mostly on the spiritual and social aspects of disconnection but I'm realizing that without a rapid change in how we engage with the earth, we may no longer have a home. If you have any great resources on actionable steps to help our planet, I would love for you to share!
In the mean time, here are some resources I'm exploring now to learn more:
One small step for me in supporting our "imaginal cells" is my Ignite Your Power group program that has been opened for the fall. My goal is to help women who want to make a difference "persist, multiply, and connect with each other" so that we can support each other in making the world a better place by connecting with our own strengths and using our powers for good!
You can find out more about the Ignite Your Power Group program or join us here.