At a recent outing to the Amsterdam Zoo, my partner could not wait to show me the butterfly enclosure. He’d been there before and had told me that it was his favorite part of the Zoo. It was truly spectacular, we were surrounded by an array of colours, and it was a moment that reminded me of childhood, full of innocence and wonder.
A short while later, I asked where the caterpillars were. We found them down in the lower level, and as we headed there I noticed that this part of the enclosure was almost empty; compared to the upper level, which was full of people mesmerized by the colours.
There were some small caged compartments in the lower level and inside tons of tiny cocoons. I stood captivated by the sight and wondered whether caterpillars ever consider that they might never emerge from their cocoon; let alone transform into something so visually different.
For The Quest, we consciously chose the tag-line ‘Gay men transforming their lives’. For like the caterpillar, participants embark on The Quest with a view to transform their lives into one full of vitality, expression, freedom, fulfillment and intimacy.
Embarking on The Quest does however mean that like the caterpillar, we must be prepared to trust that we will emerge with an awareness of our best and authentic self. Just consider the transition stage of the caterpillar into a butterfly:
This transition stage can last from a few weeks, a month or even longer. Some species have a pupal stage that lasts for two years.
It may look like nothing is going on but big changes are happening inside. Special cells that were present in the larva are now growing rapidly. They will become the legs, wings, eyes and other parts of the adult butterfly. Many of the original larva cells will provide energy for these growing adult cells.
For some, it may seem like nothing has changed in their lives after the Weekend Exploration, as they go back to some of their routines and patterns. However, like the pupai stage of the butterfly, there are big changes going on inside. And this is where trust, commitment and courage come in:
- Trust that everything will be okay and that everything that happens is simply part of the process.
- Commitment to stay on the path and keep an eye on the glimpse obtained during the Weekend Exploration.
- Courage not to foreclose and end the journey – before the emergence of the butterfly.