“You can only chase a butterfly for so long.”
― Jane Yolen, Prince Across the Water
From a very early age, butterflies and moths have been my totems. I have always been enchanted by their graceful movements and their vibrant colors. Although they symbolize different things to different cultures, universally, they represent change and transformation.
I’ve chased butterflies all my life…from the incredible Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán, Mexico…to a life-altering butterfly experience with a shaman in Machu Picchu, Peru…to an enlightening experience that led me to get a Luna Moth tattoo on my left shoulder. So, when the Butterfly Sanctuary in Charo Verde, Ometepe Island, Nicaragua opened last week, I knew I was in for a treat.
Now, I’ve heard that chasing butterflies is not a good way to spend one’s life. Some say that it’s like trying to catch an elusive dream or wandering aimlessly through life without goals. In the lyrics of Norah Jones song, Butterflies she sings, “Don’t go chasing after butterflies when everything you want is right here by your side.” Or the idiom, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
But, if you never search on the other side of the fence, or don’t chase after the fleeting butterflies, how do you know what you want in life? Chasing butterflies is always a mysterious adventure for me. An adventure that involves patience, strength, and cleverness.
Just because there are no butterflies on these gorgeous flowers doesn’t mean that butterflies don’t exist. In waiting patiently for the butterflies to arrive, I can savor the moment and stop to smell the flowers. They will come.
The butterfly is an insect that begins life in one form, and ends life in another. The Christian culture views the butterfly as a symbol of resurrection. In Asian culture, the butterfly represents a long life. The Fancy Shawl Dance ( a dance of the butterflies), as exhibited in Native American cultures, symbolizes how a grieving heart can be transformed through a new beginning.
Always keep the faith! The butterflies have arrived! No matter how fleeting the moment, chasing butterflies will always be an important part of my life.
Are you a butterfly chaser? I’d love to hear your thoughts.