Jennifer Westcott, MA, LMFT View Entire Blog

Unfolding at Our Own Pace

In the foreword of Zorba The Greek, by Nikos Kazantzakis, he describes a painful lesson in patience.

“I remember one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the bark of a tree, just as the butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out. I waited a while, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient. I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it. I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle
began to happen before my eyes, faster than life. The case opened, the butterfly started slowly crawling out, and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath, in vain. It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings needed to be a gradual process in sun. Now it was too late. My breath had forced its time. It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand.”

Allow yourself and others the pace needed to unleash internal beauty and glory.

What does it mean to unfold at our own pace? How do we not get caught up in the urgency of others? This is a dance I witness in myself and my clients.

As with the butterfly in the above story, we all have unique and specific timing for our growth, change, expression, grief, process, etc. Sometimes we can tune into our inner voice, our internal wisdom and allow ourselves to honor that pace. Other times we get influenced by our partners, our parents, work relations, outside pressures that carry a different desire for our pace, such was illustrated in the above story.

How do we recognize outside pressure and stay grounded in our own pace? Our body and breathe are great tools to explore when we feel wrapped up in someone else's urgency. Sometimes we may feel the pressure in our gut, a clenching in our stomach, a pinch in our shoulder blades, a tightening in our neck, a headache, rapid breathing, or maybe all of these things....how does your body manifest taking on someone else's energy? When you ask yourself this question, the answer usually arises.

Once you acknowledge how your body communicates with you regarding outside pressure, monitor it. Notice when you feel those physical discomforts. Is there always a correlate? After you notice and monitor the physical manifestation of your emotional distress....BREATHE! It doesn't have to be any fancy type of breathing, yogic or counted breathing....just tune into your breathe. Recognize by breathing you have slowed down the process.....go back to your pace, your unfolding. Blossom your butterfly wings at your own pace!