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Lessons About Change from Monarch Butterflies

Would you like to know how to make change easier?

Most people find it a big challenge, or at least uncomfortable, to go through life passages – birth, puberty, marriage, having children, divorce, menopause, building a business and death – our own or the people we love!

In our discomfort, we may try to speed up, delay or resist these profound changes.

But resisting change, or messing with the timing of it, causes suffering.

And then we’re forced to deal with ‘what is’.

In the past year, I’ve experienced two significant life changes:

In my work of coaching people through deep personal changes, I began focusing on helping mothers who feel hurt and rejected by their grown child to build a fulfilling relationship that lasts a lifetime. This process requires the level of change known as ‘transformation’.

In my personal life, I’ve spent the past 11 months grieving one of life’s toughest life passages – the death of my mother.

I got help with these two big changes from an unexpected source – my hobby of raising Monarch butterflies in my house!

My experiences and observations with the Monarchs taught me how to embrace my life changes and transformed how I moved through them!

I chose this hobby because I’ve always loved Monarch butterflies and they’re in danger of extinction - mainly because of loss of habitat!

In the wild, the odds are stacked against butterfly eggs living to become butterflies. In fact, only 2 to 3 percent of butterfly eggs become butterflies. The eggs are food for ants and spiders, and the caterpillars and chrysalis’ are food for birds, insects and other animals.

I raised a few butterflies in the safety of my home to help increase the population – last summer I raised and released 10 Monarchs; in 2018 it was 17.

I’ve also planted native pollinator plants all over my gardens to provide food and nurseries for butterflies, birds and bees.

I’m doing what I can to change the Monarch’s future because, if there were no change, there would be no butterflies.

A monarch butterfly is a beautiful thing!

But, when you look only at the end result, it’s easy to forget about the journey!

A lot of hard work, perseverance and personal development are required for transformation!

A monarch butterfly has no control about her changes from caterpillar to butterfly. She flows from one change to the next with no resistance.

After these changes begin, they can’t be stopped. And when they are complete…they can’t be reversed. She’s never the same again.

When I watched the butterfly’s journey, I learned that everything is unfolding – exactly as it should – when it should. Change can be a very good thing! In fact, like the butterfly, if you’re not growing, you’re dying!

I’ve learned that all life transitions have their own process, timing and beauty.

A friend of mine who recently decided to separate from her husband of 35 years was regretting not leaving him 10 years ago. But she couldn’t have done it then – she wasn’t ready. She, like the rest of us, was doing her best with what she knew at the time.

The butterfly’s life story – metamorphosis – is a metaphor for all of life’s life passages.

In fact, a butterfly is the ‘poster child’ of change. She changes form many times from egg, caterpillar (5 stages), green chrysalis, black chrysalis, newly emerged butterfly, and adult butterfly.

Everything the caterpillar does is preparation for her biggest change of all – becoming a butterfly. Monarch caterpillars are like human babies – all they do is eat, poop, move around a bit, sleep and change into bigger versions of themselves! All those changes take a lot of energy and focused action.

When she finally wiggles herself into her chrysalis, she spends up to two weeks in isolation where great changes happen. To a casual observer, it looks like nothing is happening. Yet, she lets go of everything that no longer serves her!


Things get clear just before she emerges into her new life.

It takes time to get ready for a change, but when the change happens, it happens in an instant.

Nothing is the same between being a caterpillar and a butterfly.

Before she’s ready to fly, she rests, tests her wings, enjoys the moment and cool breezes. She contemplates her next move.

Unlike butterflies, humans can make intentional changes to get what we want in life.

What do you need to change?

Is it one or more of your relationships? Your circumstances?  Your mindset? Your beliefs? Your moods? Your habits? Your choices?

What if that change you’ve been avoiding is the one that gives you wings?

I’ve done a lot of processing and contemplation over the past 11 months since my mother’s passing.

Some parts of my journey I had to walk alone, and I asked for help when I needed it.

Now, I see the beauty of change – even when it’s painful.

I learned that when you’re going through big changes, you need to:

Like my Monarchs, I’ve earned my wings. And I trust myself to handle anything that happens to me.

I’ve prepared four bonuses for CAWEE Connected readers:

  1. 5 Ways to Make Change Easier
  2. The Serenity Prayer Poster
  3. 22 Ways To Change Y
  4. Let’s talk! Book a free 30-minute ‘Get Clarity’ phone conversation with me. Together we’ll discuss your change and see how I can help. Email: wendy@wendyvineyard.com today.