Have you ever wanted to change your life by dissolving everything into it’s most elemental pieces and then reassembling them? This is how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. So while I have put in my time enjoying wearing butterfly wings, feeling free and beautiful, I have to be honest that “everything dissolving” sounds sort of traumatic. Couldn’t change be more logical, like the steps for changing a transformer action figure?

Four monarch chrysalises

We’ve been rearing monarch caterpillars that we found on milkweed plants in our neighborhood. We watched them devour leaves and poop profusely, each day becoming dramatically larger. In the last few days they have become chrysalises.

When a caterpillar dissolves itself inside its chrysalis, it’s body breaks down into what are called imaginal cells. They are similar to stem cells. Over roughly two weeks they will reform themselves into a butterfly.

I love the term imaginal cells. Cells that can imagine our future transformation.

If we are going to transform ourselves we need our imaginations. This world needs transformation. This world needs your sparked imagination.

Here are some lessons I am learning from the caterpillars in my house:

  • Eat lots of green leafy vegetables. Anyone who has shared a meal with me knows I’m enthusiastic about greens!
  • Balance activity and rest.
  • Trust what is emerging. Allow the old skin, the old self to fall away.
  • Improvise. Those imaginal cells are creating something new from a cellular blank slate. Any time we practice creating in the unknown – on the dance floor, on the blank page – we develop our resources to move through the risks and changes of life.

Imagining you in your full creative power,



P.S. You might enjoy this article on the collective intelligence of imaginal cells.

P.P.S. There are many ways to support the monarchs throughout their life cycle. Monarch Watch is a great resource.