Leave The Chrysalis Alone

Leave The Chrysalis Alone


“I had tended to view waiting as mere passivity. When I looked it up in my dictionary, however, I found that the words passive and passion come from the same Latin root, pati, which means “to endure.” Waiting is thus both passive and passionate. It’s a vibrant, contemplative work. It means descending into self, into God, into the deeper labyrinths of prayer. It involves listening to disinherited voices within, facing the wounded holes in the soul, the denied and undiscovered, the places one lives false. It means struggling with the vision of who we really are in God and molding the courage to live that vision.”
~Sue Monk Kidd~

Sue Monk Kidd was on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday a couple of weeks ago. I’ve loved her for almost 25 years.

Her most famous book is “The Secret Life of Bees”, but I became familiar with her after reading her spiritual memoir “When The Heart Waits” in 1990. That was a time when not too many people were brave enough to write about their spiritual journey of transformation. My copy is water stained from reading in the bath, highlighted with a yellow marker, has my insights written in the margins and is dog-eared almost beyond recognition. I ate it up with a spoon when she wrote that waiting for your purpose is a sacred endeavor.

Waiting is not always passive. It can be a passageway from one way of being to another. She gave me permission to wait for the reveal.

These days, even more so than 25 years ago, waiting, being still, has gotten a bad rap. Inactivity is THE cardinal sin of the 21st century.

She used the analogy of the caterpillar in the chrysalis. If you poke a hole to check on its progress, the butterfly’s wings will be underdeveloped, and it will be unable to fly. The same thing happens if you try to help it break through. Every second, every step of the process is critically important to the transformation…and the survival of the butterfly.

Just let that one sink in……All the way down to your toes.

This quote from “When The Heart Waits” is one of my favorites.
I need to add it to the list.

“When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the Spirit laughs for what it has found” 

That makes my heart stop every time.

When Sue had her chat with O, she relayed an insight she had around 50.
She realized she had been a seeker all of her 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. In that respect we are kindred souls. But recently she’d admonished herself.

Enough seeking, she needed to “find” something.

It was time to become A Finder.

That just about made my head explode. Now I get it.
That’s what happens in your 50’s. The energy you expended as a seeker is replaced with the energy of “finding” and sharing. You’ve sought, delved and explored. You’ve attend countless retreats, seminars, conferences and sweat lodges. You’ve discovered along the way you DID get some answers. You have found nuggets of truth. Things you KNOW FOR SURE. All your seeking has borne fruit. That fruit is deliciously ripe and ready to share.

It’s the reason I write this blog.
I used to spend hour upon hour, day after day reading everything spiritual I could get my hands on. At one time I had over three hundred spiritual and self-help books. I have given half of them away.
Now I spend hours writing what I’ve learned.

I will always be on a journey of asking WHY? I’m hard-wired for it. But I’m also hard-wired to share anything and everything I know.
THAT is the payoff, the pay-it-forward of the seeker. We get to say: Hey, you wanna know what helped me? Have you read this or seen that?

I feel like in our second acts we are now Finders.
Things start to make some sense. Not everything, I still can’t wrap my brain around vows of chastity and silence.
What I HAVE found is that I am much more willing to wait and see how things work out.
I’m not perfect, some days I still want to see the progress inside the chrysalis.
I am forever a work in progress. I will always be asking questions. But I’m embracing my inner Finder.

I feel like she has a lot to share.

Tell me what you know about waiting. How comfortable are you with being passively passionate or passionately passive? Lol.


  • Kimberly Rais says:

    I’ve often thought that we should never mistake waiting and spiritual rest for passive inactivity. It’s often one of the hardest things we will ever do!! Thanks for sharing those gems of wisdom 🙂

    • jbertolus says:

      Thanks Kimberly! I totally agree, trouble is, I’m human. I fluctuate between a kind of zen waiting place, and wanting to constantly poke and check the chrysalis. Always a work in progress. Thank you for reading and the thoughtful comment.

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