We all know the story of the hungry caterpillar that becomes a butterfly and you may be familiar with the rather sad tale of the silkworm that becomes a plain old moth (kinda disappointing after all that spinning).
The silkworm spins its finest silk cramped up in its cocoon only to NOT be able to fly away (because its moth body is too heavy for its wings).
Unfortunately most silkworms (the pupa stage of the adult moth) don’t make it out of their cocoons but are boiled alive (heat kills the worm while water makes the silk easier to unravel) so as not to damage the precious silk they’ve spun.
It’s all rather depressing, especially when you consider silkworms are domesticated solely for silk (although often the worm is also eaten, fried mostly) and cannot exist in the wild without their guaranteed diet of mulberry leaves, preferably the same old boring variety, consumed in huge quantities while in the larvae form.
Even the worms that do make it out as moths only live long enough to mate (in the male’s case) or lay the resulting thousands of eggs (in the female’s case). Then its Sayanora or zài jiàn silk moth.
You’d think it would be a cautionary tale against changing, let alone even attempting transformation.
But during our visit to a silk factory in China I found a story of strength and resilience.
You can tell real silk because it burns and turns to carbon, while the fake fabric melts like plastic – we were given a demonstration.
We also found out about the silk worms that spin double cocoons. The silk extracted from these double cocoons is a mass of interlocked fibres, entwined so strongly together that it is virtually impossible to tear.
This is the silk they use to make quilts – the fibres have a unique quality that keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter (I can vouch for this – we bought a quilt, vacuum-packed to fly home from China when we adopted Miss Yin, and then bought another on our adoption trip for Little Yang).
I’m interested in how the twin silkworms gain strength from each other – alone their threads would be fine and beautiful, but breakable. Enmeshed together, their threads are resilient, unbreakable.
The twin silkworms suffer the same sad fate as their singular siblings, but what they leave behind is something stronger than themselves.
I think of the lesson for us – that we are stronger when we support each other – that we don’t have to go through life alone, cosseted in solitude, trapped (mostly) by our own worries.
I well remember when Miss Yin was a baby, just home from China, and I would listen for her gentle breathing in the room next door – from orphan to much-loved daughter – life transforms in an instant.
I would think of our eternal connection to her parents thousands of miles away and imagine her cocooned forever in the love of two sets of parents. I’d ponder our shared dream for her transform into the beautiful butterfly that I know she’ll become.
I’d pull the silk quilt cover up over me, snuggle into Mr Yang, and drift off to sleep, happy.
We may not be strong enough to face some things on our own, but together we can be strong enough to face everything – even the often slow and difficult journey of transforming into the beautiful butterflies of our dreams.
So go transform – we’re in this together!
Linking up with Essentially Jess for another IBOT.
Tell me what does your butterfly look like – what would you transform about yourself and what would it take for you to change?