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Butterflies

Updated: Jan 11



I adore butterflies. Their whole story fascinates me. The images of metamorphosis and positive change are embodied in them. I love that they are both delicate and resilient. They are beautiful, but far more than just a pretty face. They have existed on this planet for about 130 million years, and come in approximately 20,000 varieties. Pretty impressive longevity.

Ever stop and wonder why they all don't look alike? Why there are so many species of the same basic insect? So many patterns and colors? So many wing sizes and shapes? They could serve their purposes just as well if they all were 1" wide and beige right? Apparently not. How do I know that? Because if they could - they would.


Nature is remarkably efficient. Creatures that are best suited to their environments survive where the weak do not. So those with optimal traits most often live on to continue breeding. Over time those desireable traits are therefore passed on, becoming the norm for that particular area and ecosystem. For instance, if a group of butterflies live in a field full of red flowers, they are most likely to avoid being eaten by the local birds if they are red and blend in. So the red ones have the best chance of living long enough to mate with other camoflauged red ones, producing little red butterfly babies. (Yes I know, caterpillars first, but let's not get too technical here.) Eventually in that field red butterflies will dominate. Does this mean the red butterflies are better and stronger than the blue butterflies? Well yes...in that particular field at least. In the garden of blue flowers next door, however, the blue butterflies would have a distinct advantage. They are all butterflies, just doing what they have do to overcome their circumstances. If they look or act slightly different from one another that makes them no less beautiful, and no less legitimate in the butterfly kingdom. That's an extremely simplified explanation of a scientific process called adaptation. Simply put, the secret to continued health, strength and even survival is flexibility and willingness to change as needed.


What if the butterflies in the red flower field simply refused to adapt though? What if they all just decided together that yellow butterflies were the most attractive and perfect variety, so they only sought out yellow butterfly mates? I think it's safe to say that the birds would have a tremendous feast, and it wouldn't be long before there were very few butterflies left. If it was possible to move over to another bed full of yellow flowers, altering their environment altogether, that could work. But staying in the red field while remaining yellow wouldn't end well. Stubbornness and perfectionist ideals wouldn't work for them - and they don't work for us either when trying to progress. We also MUST adapt to keep our goals from dying. Find our own proper patterns that work within our individual environments.


My personal example of this currently is trying to fit the P90X workouts into my extremely busy schedule. I have a large family, and a full time job that doesn't have set hours. As a realtor I often work nights and weekends. I can be in the office or on the road. Sometimes working from home. It varies depending on the needs of my clients, and no two days are the same. That's just the nature of my profession. In addition, my husband and I have 12 kids between us, 5 still at home full time. A few others that live close by are home occasionally, and even the ones that live far away are still a important part of our lives. Throw in the grandchildren, the dog and the cat, and as you can imagine this all creates a bit of scheduling chaos. "Rolling with it" is an essential way of life at my house. It has to be. The "perfect" P90X plan outlined in the manual that comes with the DVD's has been extremely difficult to achieve. I'll have a workout planned, and then things will invariably come up that sideline me. I'm three weeks in now and realizing that trying to do this by the book is just not going to work. At least not all of the time. I can't (and wouldn't want to) get rid of the job or the family. They are my top priority, but yet this goal is also very important to me both physically and mentally. So what to do? ADAPT! Sometimes in big ways like the butterflies changing color. I am trying to learn to get up earlier before the craziness of daily life begins. This does not come naturally to me, but I am determined to slowly make this habit part of my life. But I also need to take a lesson from the chameleon who has adapted to a place where it can change color often, even multiple times a day as needed. Some days I will have to work out in the afternoon. Perhaps occasionally at night, although I hate that. Evenings are for unwinding in my opinion. Sometimes I am having to skip a workout one day, then double up the next day and do two to stay on track. I've missed so many recently I will be on doubles for awhile actually. This is not the perfect vision I have in my mind of one workout a day at 6 am consistently. But who cares? If I try to dig in and tell myself that the perfect way is the only way, I will surely fail. And eventually quit. I don't want to quit. Adaptation is far better, so I tell myself daily:  As long as I am still staying true to the commitment I made to myself, even if it doesn't look like I wish it did in an ideal world, this is OK. Just like the butterflies - red, yellow or blue - I can still be successful. I can still be beautiful. I can still fly.




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