The Barefoot Corporate Warrior
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Can 2022 be your Year of the Butterfly? Paul Bird offers a pandemic-Inspired Imagination Morph.
When a butterfly emerges from its pupa stage, seemingly an entirely new creature from the voracious caterpillar which formed its chrysalis, it floats forth into a cascading senses explosion of a life on-the-wing.
It unfurls its wings, steadies itself and then sets off, bringing beauty to our eyes, weaving an erratic course (to us at least) over its relatively short life.
It knows not what the world brings. All is new. All is tumbling experience after tumbling experience. It wastes no time on its past or future. It lives and dies as part of the ongoing process of change in nature, and by extension, the Universe.
Why do I suggest you consider the butterfly as we end this tumultuous year and look to 2022?
The winged stage of the butterfly has been a symbol for the human soul for millennia. The Ancient Greek word for butterfly was “psyche” or soul.
British author of Wild Volumes, Simon Barnes, tells us in his book The History of the World in 100 Animals that the transition from pupa to butterfly is called, I think fittingly for 2022 inspiration, ‘the imagination’.
The beginning of the end of the pandemic and its octopus tentacles and disruptive ripples, bringing so much pain, misery and tumult to human civilisation, might be an opportunity.
Can we imitate the butterfly and use the pandemic for a complete metamorphosis of body and spirit?
Can we move through our own imagination phase, creating a different future for ourselves and others?
I admit that my optimism bias delivered a bout of premature anticipation in the first half of the year.
I began to believe that the pandemic was over, that our rather grim national psyche of earlier this year needed to shift to an economic recovery and all that that held for our material, mental and emotional wellbeing.
At the beginning of the year I boldly suggested the mantra for 2021: “The recession is over, opportunities abound”.
Then along came Delta.
I may have gotten the timing wrong but I stand by the sentiment. Indeed, 2022 looks like being the Great Reset MkII – when we truly emerge from our own chrysalis (we Queenslanders acknowledge some have endured much more suffering than others) and can, if we commit to it, live like butterflies again – or for the first time.
Butterflies mostly live on nectar, flitting from flower or fruit to flower or fruit, sampling whatever that source of nourishment has to offer.
We can use the trauma and reflection so brutally visited upon us by the pandemic to take inspiration from this way of living – drinking deeply of all that a human life offers; the full gambit of experiences and emotions which make for a life well-lived.
Our brain, and the intellect which it provides to us, has driven our development as a species and delivered the kaleidoscope of processes, systems, structures, machines and technology that allow us the freedom to live as we do.
It can, however, drive us to great distraction.
The pandemic has given us all cause for pause. It has touched us in many and individual ways. It has brought pain and suffering, has robbed people of their very existence, severed familial ties and driven people to economic despair.
Because we are human we feel fear. The pandemic has brought a kind of general background of terror to our human souls. We must not lose heart. For example, we can look to generation-upon-generation of ancestors who have brought stoic and stubborn survival instincts to their own calamities, continuing on in order to give us the future which we call our present.
We can’t ignore the reality of what the world has endured over the past almost two years… and continues to endure. Seeing the world through the naivety of rose-tinted glasses all the time can only result in a riskier world.
However, I am suggesting you consider lifting your sights again. Re-grow ambition to live life as you envisioned it pre-pandemic; plus the imagination change factor driving the butterfly through its life cycle.
Perhaps in the Great Reset phase there might be a greater appreciation of the fragility of life, more humility and care. A set of clearer eyes to our goals and how to achieve them?
A living more in the moment as it happens rather than in the moments as interpreted by our magnificent but problematic and furtive mind.
The butterfly attitude is fit for all our walks of life – work, play, love, spiritual development. When the butterfly emerges it enters the same world but with a different view and capability.
Make no mistake, 2022 beckons as a changed world from the one we knew. However, it is still a beautiful world, replete with promise. It is up to us to launch forth into the new reality and make it our own. A butterfly soul for the times. The sentiment interrupted (by Delta) remains.
(Reset) mantra for 2022: “The recession is over, opportunities abound”.