08242017Headline:

Flight Lessons from the Warrior Monarch

By KM Huber

Sometime ago I met the warrior monarch, the fearless bodhisattva butterfly. Not only does the warrior monarch undergo a complete life change four times, this last great monarch participates in a migration that will take its life but ensure its species’ survival.

Not a single warrior monarch makes the entire journey that is thousands of miles. It is a group effort of metamorphosing—living and dying—that makes the quest successful.

On winter mornings that I find myself reluctant to awaken, I remember the warrior monarch butterfly, a welcome memory on the mornings I hesitate to meditate. The complete metamorphosis of the butterfly reminds me why I meet each day I am given.

It is the butterfly who gives up one way of life for another—each stage fraught with life-ending possibilities—for to fly is to know the freedom of walking on air. From the stillness of the larva the caterpillar stirs to its search for sustenance, consuming one leaf after another.

There is a reward for all this eating, and it is not a long sleep but rather it is the spinning of a pupa—the chrysalis—a chamber of life as tissue, limbs, and organs of a body that once crawled become a body that now flies.

No new life emerges until the old is transformed into what is necessary for the life that awaits.

And for the monarch warriors, there is a 2,500-mile migration critical to its survival, a quest that relies not on individual warrior monarchs but on all monarch warriors living their lives to ensure the species.

The monarch warrior moves through one form of life after another without wondering about the ways of existence. Such consideration falls within the realm of the human species.

We yearn to be like the monarchs, warriors working together, not singularly, to ensure our species survival. We might ache for metamorphosis but we do not easily let go of our accumulated experiences, especially those that seem to require so much of us.

“We don’t want to go through that again,” we say, which we won’t, of course, not exactly. Perhaps the monarch warrior does know this.

We want to spread our wings without changing who we are. We are agreeable to making necessary changes—an adjustment of our very being—as long as we are allowed to keep what is most dear.

We may not be as fearless or as selfless as the warrior monarch but we are just as connected to existence. We are born with the capacity for complexity rather than the singularity of purpose of the warrior monarch.

I have to wonder just what the warrior monarch might know for it is my nature to wonder. And so I do as I awaken to the day I am given.

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KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch[at]gmail[dot]com.

© 2015 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.


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