We’ve got to talk about something. It’s the proverbial white elephant again. I know, the whole cliché thing sounds cheesy, but it’s time to acknowledge and become fully aware of its presence.

Something’s going on–with all of us, unless life has granted you with a magic wand or you’re just coasting along and everything seems to be going your way in life (at least for right now). But for most of us, some thing is causing turmoil within nearly all our personal and/or professional lives.

What is this “thing?” Maybe to you it’s your dark side, a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde moodiness, an overwhelming subconscious or physical pain, maybe some form of bitterness or resentment, a stumbling block or a seemingly insurmountable obstacle; but whatever the “thing” is, the real issue is that you just seem to keep falling prey to it, or you keep failing to overcome or get past “it.” The specifics of the “thing” are as diverse as all of our many circumstances.

It’s the thing that goes unmentionable within us and sometimes goes ignorantly unclaimed by our own minds—it’s a “reality” about us that we refuse to see.

This thing or place or trait (whatever works best for your perception) is also where most of us get lost because we only recognize it by it’s guise—that big, disgusting, nagging, negative “thing.” We get stuck and focused on the wrong part. And that’s when the undesirable blinds us.

Now, I’m sure that at one point or another you learned about or heard something of the phenomena called “metamorphosis.” You may even have been the victim of someone’s motivational lecture (which seemed to come at just the wrong time) that used yet another cliché “you haven’t turned into a butterfly yet.” Whatever the case, let’s talk about it again, only this time, we need to focus on the cocoon, or pupa/chrysalis stage. The science behind what happens is miraculously fascinating.

You see, when we are stuck in a rut, dealing with something so difficult that it mentally, psychologically, and even physically affects us, then you’re really in a metaphorical (some say psychospiritual) cocoon. And SO-O-O-O many times the one thing that hinders us is the point where we fail to realize this “problem” actually has a solution—a very real and possible one. When we fail to recognize the “thing,” or the problem (that has a solution), we miss the very fact that we are in a sort of existential, metamorphosis-like process: We’re really just in the cocoon stage where everything is dark, mixed up, and undeniably uncertain.

I recently heard the lyrics from Imagine Dragon’s song entitled “Shots:” “I’m sorry for everything / Oh, everything I’ve done / From the second that I was born it seems I had a loaded gun / And then I shot, shot, shot a hole through everything I loved . . .” Sometimes we feel that our flaws are fatal, but they’re not: They’re just inevitable. And rather than focusing on those holes that we sometimes feel responsible for, we can and should focus on accepting that those flaws are sometimes a very big part of who we are. In this case, those holes are what usher us into the cocoon where something greater than our physical, earthly selves knows what’s best for us.

These figurative holes, our flaws, become the source of the pain and suffering that we endure, and if we’re cognizant or aware of this process, it can psycho-spiritually and maybe even biochemically change us while we learn to adapt and transform to meet the needs of our current circumstances. After all, these are our circumstances and no one else’s; so if we are aware of what is truly going on, we attempt to overcome, over and over and over—until we transform. That’s when our wings form, and our colors reveal themselves to us. Why? Because there is only one way that you can look at life—and survive it—and that is the fact that you ALWAYS have what it takes to transform. You are never given or placed in, or challenged with any more than you can handle. How can we know this? Well, if you’re still hanging on and working towards some sort of betterment, then you’re not dead yet, are you? Because in the end, if we are to be successful in anything, we never give in to self-pity. We. Keep. Trying. Instead, discouragement just motivates us to keep going.

Keep going. Keep moving. Keep pushing in whatever thing it is you’re up against. Because it’s either you or it. That’s science. That’s a fundamental law of the universe.

What are we being transformed into? For some of us, innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs, experts, doers, and social change agents to name a few, but we’re all becoming creators of our own realities. Realities that are created when we conquer, overcome, achieve, or improve on something in our lives.

If you are consciously aware of your cocoon and are confidently doing everything you can while in it, then you must learn to live in the moment, trust the process that is taking place and begin recognizing that the solution is in that very moment. Right here or right there. Wherever you are. You just have to trust in the unknown, trust that your continued heartfelt efforts that you’ve planted and continue to nurture will grow into something. All right, so I mixed metaphors. But for those who are becoming more aware, there’s no denying that nature models for us what we must expect as a part of our human experience, whether through insect and cocoon, or seed and fruit.

Baz Luhrman in “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen),” reminds us: “The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself,” although I’d change it to “within” yourself.

It seems no matter what we do sometimes, we’re still destined to face obstacles, but part of the lesson in facing those difficulties and obstacles is in finding equanimity—for ourselves and with ourselves. This equanimity teaches us how to use our awareness and imagination to overcome or get passed the obstacle. We must recognize it for what it is, and rather than just discount it as something we cannot change, we must at least attempt repeatedly to change it or overcome it. It’s all a test, and the only way you can fail is if you die with the regret of not overcoming the obstacle or making it through the difficulty, and the only way that can happen is if you consciously choose to give up and not find yourself in the moment. So, if you’re in a place, take notice of the cocoon that surrounds you. You just haven’t transformed into the butterfly yet.

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