My husband saw a butterfly the size of a monarch today, and he said it reminded him of how many generations it takes for those royal butterflies to migrate.
“If it takes several generations to get to Mexico,” he said, “how do they know what route to take?”
Â It’s a great question. We think of butterflies as the iconic symbol of rebirth and transformation,but they also have much to teach us about trusting an inner knowing to follow a path we’ve never seen before.
Here’s what a news report said about the monarch migration:
“Every fall, monarchs in North America begin their long journey back to Mexico for the winter. Then, in March, they start breeding, and fly north to lay eggs in Texas or elsewhere in the South. Successive generations move north, before reversing their course in the fall. On average, the journey spans four generations, although it can take as many as five.”
Clearly, there’s no elder monarch leading the way, telling the others, “This way! Follow me!” Instead, each new generation along the route somehow finds the path, using the sun or magnetic fields as clues about general direction.
And how do they find the same spots in Mexico year after year? No one knows.
There are many thingsÂ weÂ don’t know, either, about our own paths and how we follow them. Why do we move forward with confidence some days, while other times are filled with self-doubt? Why do we end up in a relationship that doesn’t serve us when we make consistently successful choices in our work?
And how do we know which way to go when there is no road map, and when each new stage of life feels like another generation in our life migration?
This week, take time to journal about the inner knowing that serves as a compass along your way.
1. Think of times when you were certainÂ about decisions in your life. How did you know they were right for you?
2. Revisit a time when you needed to leave an old relationship,Â job, friendship or home behind. How did you know it was time to leave…and what inner knowing directed your path forward?
3. Do you trust your inner guidance system?Â Why or why not? How could you strengthen it by seeing how it has served you in the past?