By Kristi Tencarre | Posted September 18, 2006 | Updated September 8, 2019
A butterfly in flight is a beautiful sight to behold. It is calming to watch. A butterfly was made to soar. When it is fluttering in the air, it is doing what it was made to do. It is living its purpose. It reached maturity and can now bring forth life.
The same is true with our art. Sarah Ban Breathnach writes: "It takes a lifetime to create the work of art for which we were born ." Our whole life is preparation for the work(s) for which we were meant to create. There are many forms of creativity and many diverse paths to creation.
A butterfly begins in an egg with a hard outer shell and a waxy interior that protects the egg. Not all eggs are the same shape and size. So it is with us as creative beings. We are all individuals. Our life experience determines the shape our art takes.
During the caterpillar stage, all its time is spent eating and growing. This is the nurturing stage of our creative expression, when we learn and absorb not only our natural surroundings, but the creative work of others. We feed ourselves knowledge about our creative expression. We experiment with various ways to create.
The caterpillar loses its skin many times as it grows. This is symbolic of a creative being. We re-create our selves as we learn more about our world, our selves, and the art about which we are passionate. Our art also changes as we grow, mature and learn more about the world in which we live.
The transformation occurs when the caterpillar enters the chrysalis and emerges a beautiful butterfly. So it is with our art. Our time in our self-imposed cocoon is our time to absorb and reflect all that we have seen, heard, touched and sensed. We take it in to our authentic selves and make it our own. We breathe in our experience and breathe out our art.
We may have spent years in the comfort of a hidden spot, absorbing all that has gone on around us and to us. We may not yet feel ready to emerge and share our talent with the world. But if we surface and let our true self shine forth, the world will be brightened because of what we have added.
The adult butterfly does what it was destined to do. All that time it spent growing and transforming leads it to its next stage: the stage of giving life, living its purpose. We as artists bring forth life, whatever form of art we pursue. The creative process is not limited to artists in a traditional sense; parents, teachers, cooks, and engineers, to name just a few, use creativity daily.
Just as a butterfly must go through each stage to reach maturity, so must we go through similar stages as we live our lives and allow our art to flow out of us. There may be painful times as we shed layers that are not needed. As a butterfly emerges from the chrysalis, it must push itself through a small opening. This pain and struggle is essential; if the opening is too large, the body will not be squished, forcing fluid into the wings. If the exit is too easy, the butterfly will never be able to fly. It will have reached maturity, but be useless in giving life to others.
The world needs your creative gifts. Your talent may not bring you fame and fortune, but it will bring you delight as you pursue it. Your creativity will have an effect on everyone it touches. You may never know the effect, yet it will be there along with your art. You alone can bring to the world what no one else can. Frederick Buechner wisely wrote that our calling is found at the meeting point in which " the world's deep hunger and our deep desire meet."
There is power in the act of one person. A smile can seem a simple gesture, yet it can have a profound influence on the recipient. Allow your self and your creativity to emerge from within your cocoon. You will find a new form of bliss. You will be doing what you were meant to do. And the world will be a better place for the gift you have shared.
©2006 Kristi Tencarre. All rights reserved.
Kristi Tencarre (B.A., B.Ed.) has published her personal essays, poems, and articles internationally. ...