“What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.” —Lao Tzu
Over the last week I have steadily gazed through my thirteenth minute and rounded the fourteen minute mark, from various places all around my old stomping ground. I grew up in Connecticut, came of age surrounded by the same smells of salt water and seaweed that surround my niece Charlotte now. I have been attempting daily to gaze but the storm clouds have wedged little gaps in between my sought after steady stream of sunlight. As I approach the end of phase one (mental and emotional healing) and the beginning of phase two (physical healing) I find myself aflutter with excitement. My gums and my lungs are still in the crosshairs of my subconscious mind, the parts of myself I plan to dump all the sunlight on over the next three months. If the drastic emotional and mental changes that have occurred in me during these first three months are any indication then I fully expect to be asthma free with perfect dental health by Thanksgiving, whether I continue to chomp on Oreo’s or not.
I’m calling phase one my caterpillar phase. I have been steadily growing, but slowly; crawling around, and not really sure what was happening to me or what I would become. As Buckminster Fuller says “there is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” As this phase comes to a close (by next week I will be solidly into phase two) I sense myself slowing down, settling in for the long-haul: my physical transformation. I am spinning my cocoon, in my natal ground; with a healed mind and heart the sunlight is taking aim at my body now. I feel serene, yet completely untethered. I am continuing on my sun gazing journey, but with a strong sense that a roller coaster ride of mental healing is winding down and that a hibernation phase of physical healing, a cocoon of solitude, is descending upon me and around me.
A butterfly danced for me the other day, and posed for an entire series of amazing photos, like I was a hot director and this was going to make her career. When I first approached this Monarch butterfly, a bee came flying toward me, obviously scouting out my intentions for the butterfly. When I didn’t swat at the bee or react in fear I believe the butterfly knew it could trust me, because that’s when the magic started to happen. The butterfly would hop around from flower to flower, each time getting closer to me and each time at a new angle with the sun striking it in just the perfect way to illuminate the details and the beauty. At one point at the height of this hour long dance with a butterfly she sat on a flower three inches from me, posing like a queen in the sunlight. She was peaceful and seemed to be responding to me, truly posing for my camera. My sister’s friend who was on the porch when this happened seemed amazed at how the butterfly did seem to be interacting with me, not simply being observed. “That’s amazing, Brian,” she said, “maybe it’s the sun-gazing, maybe the butterfly can sense you are more in tune with nature.”
Well, fuck yeah, that’s what it was. I had a bird and a butterfly follow me home from the park a few weeks ago when I was in the thick of phase one, so I had no doubt this was another fantastical and mystical result of the gazing. But last time the butterfly remained at bay, never less than 10 feet from me. This time she was within inches, tranquil, almost obedient. I have a goal now forming in my mind, I’d like a butterfly to land on me before this adventure is through. Just putting that out there.
In the meantime I am content. I have found a routine with the gazing that grounds me and stabilizes me. I am feeling like a charged battery, a battery spinning a cocoon. Apparently sun-gazing can’t stop me from mixing metaphors.
“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” —Nathaniel Hawthorne
SIDE EFFECTS: None
BENEFITS: I can communicate with nature now, with effortless clarity it would seem.