A larva is the active immature form of an insect. The example of a larva is a caterpillar. The caterpillar starts out as an egg and then graduates to this form where it is able to move freely. All it does in this stage is move and eat. The eating is important for its growth. When it has finally reached its full length and weight, something else starts to happen. It transitions into an inactive stage called the pupa stage. On the outside, it feels like nothing is happening but on the inside, it’s a fast paced action scene. The caterpillar is rapidly changing. It’s tissue, limbs and organs are being completely changed and what emerges from the pupa looks nothing like the caterpillar. It’s now ready for it’s adult stage – the butterfly!
I have realized that many times, our growth patterns are very similar to the butterfly’s metamorphosis stages. In different seasons, we or our ventures are at different points of the cycle. Before a business is launched, there is a lot of planning happening behind the scenes. Conception happens and then what was simply an idea starts to take form as it is shaped into an active business. However after the business is launched, there is a period of a lot of activity, a lot of movement and a lot of feeding because just like a larva, a young business requires a lot of food – money and other resources. There can come a time though, when it is seems the tide is changing and one needs to retreat into a space where new ideas and new ways need to be formed. During this stage, on the outside no change might be perceived. It might seem that nothing is happening. However, on the inside new tissue, limbs and organs are being formed.
Unlike the pupa stage of a butterfly, we as humans can go through the pupa stage several times. Any time we are getting ready to make a significant change, there is a period of considerable thought, in-depth research and consultation, planning, strategizing and praying. In that stage, on the outside, people may not see or believe that any change is really happening. The pupa seems like the caterpillar just took a nap. The insects around it might wonder why it’s taking a nap. However, on the inside it’s working. It would be pointless at this point for the caterpillar being changed to be concerned about what the insects on the outside are thinking and doing. All that matters at this stage is that it minds its business and completes its work of change. When it emerges as a butterfly, the insects around it will say, “oh, that’s what was happening! It’s beautiful”.
It’s okay to take an external pause for an internal moment of reflection. It’s okay to slow down in your venture to strategize better so that you can pick up the pace much better. It’s okay to go through periods of change. Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher said “the only thing constant is change”, so it’s an inevitable part of growth.
Growth to the next stage of your life or any venture you undertake may have several pupa stages whereby you are certainly not in the larva form but you are definitely not in the adult stage yet. In those moments, you need to take an external pause for internal change. When that season comes, know what season you are in and know that it’s okay. Mind your business in those times of your life and make those necessary internal changes so that when you re-emerge, a new and better thing manifests itself to the outside world.
The silent times of the pupa stage where there are more internal reflective conversations are a necessary part of life. Embrace them. Keep in mind though that the butterfly must emerge. So when that stage is done, get out and fly! Get up and act!
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