Finding a First Communion gift for an eight year old boy is challenging. Bibles are great and will be placed on the shelf for future use. Money is always the hoped for present, but finding a gift that will hold space for this sacred event in a young person’s life needs to be memorable. So of course, I bought my grandson Jack a butterfly kit!
We have grown butterflies once before, at Easter, when he was younger. This time we were really going to link the changes we saw in the metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly with the transformation that happens as we grow into our faith. First Communion is one of those milestones of faith that says, we are the body of Christ and we hope to continually be transformed.
While it was a great idea to get Jack a butterfly kit, it would have been a better idea to ask if said butterflies can coexist with a cat AND in a two household situation. Yes, you guessed it, the butterfly metamorphosis took place at grandma’s house! Jack and Addy, his sister, got to visit the habitat regularly, but I was the one to see the transformation on a daily and sometimes an hourly basis. I witnessed the caterpillars feeding and crawling to the top of the habitat to hang upside down. I watched them maneuver for space. Then there is the one I thought was dead, but really it just took longer than the others to transform.
To be honest I have never considered what it means to be transformed or changed as much I have since I truly watched the transformation of caterpillars to butterflies. This metamorphosis was a metaphor for God’s creative nature. God’s creative nature is always about transforming and changing that which God has created into the original order of relationship. A relationship with nature, with each other and with God. That is something that will never never change about God, that God’s energy is always a transforming energy, for that is what God has promised.
I have just been too busy most of my life to notice. I have been that person that tips my hat to such miracles and then I move on to the next thing. Check it off my list, done, gone. But that is not how transformation or change works. We are ever changing and transforming, we are never done, always evolving, always shedding our old self that no longer serves us and taking on new spirit, clothing ourselves in the pure energy of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Not surprisingly, I came to know this through theology (God study) and through the experience of yoga.
The physical practice or asana of yoga prepared me to be still, to become more aware of my body and to sort out my thoughts, letting go of those thoughts that are ‘old material.’ While this is true and experienced by many of us that take to the mat, the real change happened when I started to incorporate this experience into my everyday life: I wasn’t just changed but was continuing to change in how I experienced life around me. I became, without any effort on my part, a change agent choosing to live into almost every situation around me, differently. This wasn’t about becoming a better human being, or pushing an agenda on anybody, it was simply being transformed.
When Ghandi said “BE the change,” I think BEing transformed is what he was alluding to. Not “Do the change,” but live a transformational life as you become aware of the power to be transformed. Ghandi was not the first person to recognize this power nor will he be the last. Many spiritual leaders have this awareness, many of us everyday folk do too, those who spend time on our mats or in nature. For many of us it is when we have our “Jesus” moment over and over again and wake up to the power of his mission, ministry and love. How many times have I heard the words yoga changed my life or better yet the wonderment heard in the voice of one who proclaims, “I don’t know what happened here but I feel different, better, ready to go back into the world.”
I don’t think one needs to purchase a butterfly kit to experience transformation, even though it sure was fun! Transformation, metamorphosis, change is happening all the time, all around and in us. Our awareness is the pause we take to notice the change. Pause today, notice God’s creative transforming activity in your life, give thanks and BE the change.
This story was originally published on Yogadevotion's website on May 17, 2016. Reprinted here with permission.