the butterfly effect and efforts to help

Alchemy is all about change. And, if there will be justice and respect for human rights in this world of our, then some fairly serious change is necessary. And, yet, the right change, at the right time, in the right place, with the right people, in the right way is essential.  I am much more inclined to believe that the means define then ends than I am to accede to the ends defining the means. As story that I love to tell about the important of patience and ends and means and about respect for the dignity and abilities of others involves a little girl who LOVED butterflies. The way I tell it …

Once, in a place far away and very near, there was a young girl who was fascinated with butterflies.  She loved to see their colors, to watch them glide and sail on the breezes.  Her favorite plant in the field next to her home was the resplendent butterfly bush.  One spring, just before she turned 13, just as she was beginning to see with clearer eyes and a heart yearning to mend the suffering of the world, she was meticulously watching the cocoons, watching for the first butterflies to emerge.  She ever so patiently watched, attending to the suffering of the chrysalis  as it struggled to break the bonds of the cocoon, straining for the freedom of life as a butterfly.  Her heart yearned to help. She ached with sadness for the struggle. And, then it came to her. She went into her fathers workshop, found his exacto knife, and ever so gentle, ever so delicately, she cut the slightest incision in the cocoon, transforming the chrysalis in to the butterfly it was meant to be.  It burst out of the cocoon, spread its beautiful wings, floated gracefully for a moment, and then tumbled to crash into the red maple tree next to the butterfly bush. She watched as the infant butterfly struggle to straighten its wings. It struggled, and seemed to tire, and then just faded into the mulch at the base of the tree.  Heartbroken our girl-child ran to her grandmother and told her what happened. 

Grandmother gathered the girl into her arms, smiled through her tears, “My granddaughter,” she said, “your heart is warm and wonderful. You must challenge your intellect to grow to the same depth in its knowledge and wisdom.  The chrysalis in the cocoon must struggle for its freedom to build its strength for flight and freedom and survival in this world.  When you rescued it before its time, when you cut it free too soon, it had built the strength in its wings to fly, and so it could not do what it needed to do to live.  Each of us, Child, must live through our own struggles, to build the strengths and skills we will need for our lives. If you would help, you must know when and how to enter the struggles of others so that each finds her own best strength and power.

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