May 16, 2016


Metamorphosis II, M.C. Escher

Monarch butterflies are among the most amazing and beautiful creatures in the known universe. And probably in the unknown parts, too. Right now our metamorphosizing mentors are struggling.

The recent story of the monarch's plight is a story of resilience. With numbers dwindling, and their life-sustaining milkweed plant becoming rarer due to agriculture and urban expansion, they are still hanging in there.

This spring the butterfly's winter range in Mexico was hit with some late, unseasonably cold weather which froze many of them to the trees they were roosting upon. As I was reading about them on the weekend, before I could feel down about it, I read what a monarch researcher said about the incident.

"This is what nature gives you, and this is what you have to work with," she said.

"It's not at all disheartening. They manage to bounce back...,"  the researcher continued. "You're going to see these natural year-to-year variations in almost anything. Monarchs are remarkably resilient."

That was the take-away from the article. Monarchs are remarkably resilient. But it does't stop there. Nature is remarkably resilient. And we are part of nature.

These delicate creatures have so much to teach us. Are we not also beautiful? Can we not also metamorphosize and change ourselves completely from one form to another? And are we not able to overcome seemingly impossible odds?

I personally know people who have overcome monumental challenges. Cancer. Sickness. Disability. Abuse. Death. Abandonment. Modernity. Debt. Consumerism. Spiritual dehydration. It all pales in comparison to our resolve to carry on.

It is not at all disheartening. Rather, it is an opportunity for growth and change. When put to the test, we overcome.

Our efforts transform our character, our condition, and our function. Like an egg turning into a caterpillar, which turns into a chrysalis, and then finally in a burst of magic, into a beautiful butterfly.

The monarchs need a whole bunch more milkweed in their habitat in order to survive. I think about what humanity needs more of in order to survive. To thrive and turn into our final fully functional form.

What is our milkweed? Where has it gone, what has replaced it, and how do we get it back?


  1. Anonymous5/16/2016

    People have a unique role, in that we are part of nature and also have the ability to cultivate a life. In Taoism it is said that people have a way (Tao) and cultivate a life through meditation and voluntary simplicity, the only catch is that the Universe has it's way (Tao) and when we move away from this way suffering will result. Examples include the role of diet, we are plant based by nature and when we move away from this many diseases will result and can only be treated effectively by returning to our natural plant based diet. Permaculture can be employed for agriculture to create a balance of habitats. Mental health problems have a natural course and will often resolve themselves over time through relational support and without the need for experts and drugs - look at the famous WHO study that compares outcomes in developed and developing countries. It's a sad that the mass media spends most of it's energy convincing us that the opposite is true. Alex

    1. Anonymous5/18/2016

      Great points Alex, thanks for sharing.

    2. Anonymous5/18/2016

      Thanks for kind comments Miss Marla. The more I look into it the more people seem part of the earth and this is inescapable, we are part of nature. It appears that we are part of some vast universe, but we are really just part of the consciousness of this planet. Alex

  2. my milkweed:
    long hikes
    morning and evening bike rides
    laughter with family and friends
    my pups
    my spouse
    the wonders of the universe


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