What happens in there, inside that cocoon? What silent process turns a worm into a glory? Has anyone peered inside somehow and beheld the process? ’Tis mystery all to me.

Copyrighted images courtesy of Christina Moore at Crumbs from His Table. Used with permission. Do not reproduce.
If you look closely here, you can see the monarch wings within the now translucent confines.

Such thought forms in my head today because I feel cocooned. Cocooned long now, and much in process, preparing to emerge. A pulsing drive in this little ’piller is starting to emanate from core to skin, starting to push against crowding confinement—desire transforming into hope and labor, labor into breaking free.

Yet I know this: you cannot rush the process, or you get process fail. I’ve seen it with moths and butterflies. I’ve seen it with baby chicks. And I’ve seen it with overly “helpful” people. You dare not hurry emergence.

How often some observer, watching the drawn-out struggle, interprets it as pain (which it well may be), and rushes in to “rescue,” to help the struggler “just a little”—and what results is weakness and death. Of a butterfly, or a baby chick, or an embryo of creativity meant to become a masterpiece, or a new level of faith and understanding or personal victory.

You peel back even a bit of that shell or cocoon or shredding armor and you deprive the emergent being of the strength that comes from the struggle itself.

It’s like in the Song of Songs…

Do not stir up or awaken love until it pleases…” (Song 8:4).

We get in love’s way. We get in God’s way. We get in the way of natural processes. We do it with chicks and butterflies. We do it with other people. We do it with ourselves.

With our rush and impatience or self-importance we eclipse a process needing hands-off space.

At the “Silent Sanctuary” retreat, in the orientation session, one instruction to all attending warmed my heart and left me feeling safe and free: If you see someone crying, don’t rush right in to rescue them.

I’d seen that kind of thing before: some mama hen kind of woman swooping down on some seminar weeper who actually needed space, not rescue: space to puzzle and ponder and process, space to connect with God as her source of strength, space to work and struggle, imbued with solely His divine power, to clamber, exhausted, out of her cocoon…

And I knew, as I felt myself on the edge of weeping, I didn’t want anyone swooping down on me! Not after all the process I’d been going through, which I knew still needed inside-outward completion.

To view wonderful real-time videos of monarch emergence from cocoons, go to this link and enjoy–in real-time or with speed adjusted upward, alone or with children or grandchildren.

I also knew that an actual mother hen doesn’t peck away the outside of a shell that needs breaking from inside. She rolls eggs beneath her wings to keep them uniformly warm. She pokes her head in wonder toward newly hatching ones. She tosses out the cast-off shells. But she doesn’t pry the fledgling out of its confines or its strengthening struggle. Instinctively she’s wiser than we. [View a great video of the chick hatching process here.]

So, all that said… That’s why you haven’t heard from me till now about the silent retreat. A lot is still in process.

From my shredding cocoon…


Copyrighted images courtesy of Christina Moore at Crumbs from His Table. Used with permission. Do not reproduce. But to view more, visit here.


4 thoughts on “Metamorphosis Advice: Hands Off!

  1. I have wondered about this silent retreat. Not about your personal journey-but how does it work? is there guidance? You and I are at a stage in our lives where we can have blocks of silent alone time…what makes a retreat different? Now my comment for this post: So many of us that want to “fix” everything…to swoop in… Guilty. I need to learn to let God do His work. Think how different things could be. Less stress. Less anxiety. Not owning other’s problems means less burden. Less of that control you were talking about the last time. Your heartfelt “left me feeling safe and free” struck a cord. How shocking to think that instead of helping someone as we think we are –we might be hindering. so important to stop and listen to the Holy Spirit. Coming alongside– walking with someone but not tripping them or slowing them down.

  2. Hi Laurie!
    So happy to see you here and read your insightful comments and questions!
    I plan on telling more about the retreat in future posts, including its set up, etc. There’s way too much to put in a comment box. But basicially, beyond an orientation session and an optional art journaling intro Friday night and a retreat recap and sharing session Sunday at 11 (“breaking the silence”) it’s a “self-guided” retreat. There were 8 “prayer stations” set up, each with someone there as sort of facilitator (like with the creative journaling one) or just a hand-out with things set up. (I picked up a bunch of handouts before the orientation session Friday night.) You could choose to go to all the stations, or some, or none, as you felt led. I was so exhausted and in need of processing the previous couple days that I ended up going to *none* (!) though I used a few of the handouts, even back here at home. So you ask, why not just do-it-yourself at home? I can’t answer for everyone, but I both had specific conscious practical reasons for myself (unhindered, uninterrupted silent time isn’t as available for me as one would think), and just a sense of really needing this. I feel the same way about another similar retreat coming up in March, because with my exhaustion, I felt like I’d barely gotten started on all I could have done…

    More on all that later. Comment reply getting long. And I did want to amen your saying, “How shocking to think that instead of helping someone as we think we are –we might be hindering. so important to stop and listen to the Holy Spirit.” Amen! Probably more on that later, too. We in the modern western church may be way overly fleshly and activist, methinks, and just maybe don’t really trust God to do His part, so we jump in to do it ourselves, deep-down believing otherwise it’ll never get done…?

    Hope you get some sweet quiet time today, with softly falling snow slowing things down! (I am! 🙂 ) Blessings to you, friend!

  3. Thank you again, Sylvia, for sharing my images here and linking back to my blog. I appreciate your prayers, encouragement, and sisterhood in the blogosphere. As you wait and trust Him, may the Lord bring you all the way through your current cocooning to the spreading of your wings in flight.

    1. Thank you, “Tinuviel,” for allowing me to share them! I hope they bring joy to many people. Your photography is beautiful, and this is such a marvelous process to be able to observe. Blessings to you this weekend!

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