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We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. --e.e. cummings

Of Butterflies & Stillness

--by Shwetha Sridharan, syndicated from shwethasridharan.blogspot.com, Jun 02, 2012

Waiting for our departure, something in the sunlight caught my eye. A moving something. A small moving something. Could it really be? A butterfly had landed on the floormat inside the house. Beating its wings ever so slowly, trying to catch its breath. I crept closer, just wanting to capture its beauty in my hands. To admire its simplicity and intricate design. She sensed my presence, and we locked energies. Slowly, slowly, I inhaled and she beat up. I exhaled, she beat down. Me: Inhaling, exhaling. Her:beating up, beating down. 


I pulled in closer and she stopped beating her wings. I held my breath. For fear of her fear, I crouched still and silent. Pulled my body in close, head in knees, bum against ankles. She had a story, I could tell. I imagine she was once a white monarch that flew higher and higher. Not like a bird that soars, but like blue waves on a white sand beach, bouncing and bobbing to anywhere. Like this she traveled laterally, all the way to the sun in a bliss unbound. A ray from the sun hung limp and loose, swaying like a Persian cat's tail. She must have been frightened, caught in this ray. The warmth of sunset orange covered her body like glue and the heat singed the ends of her wings black.

Finally, a release. She opened up again, trusting me. Every scale on her body shone brightly against the fading straw mat every time she stretched open her wings. Where have you been old lady? I asked. Why are you so unafraid of me the giant moving beast?

I just couldn't believe this moment. How lucky was I to have a direct interaction with nature? With one of its inhabitants, who knew I only wanted to learn and listen to the many stories it carried about faraway lands and sweet pollen? My eyes magnified like a telescope and I studied her abdomen nestled in between her wings every time she stretched. We weren't so different, she and I. I too want to rest sometimes, take a breather, soak in my surroundings

There are moments in time that we will remember forever, and they always always catch us by surprise. Which means we can never go looking for them, but only recognize them when they appear and just submit. Submitting to the moment is by far the most rewarding life lesson we can embody. So Thank you, butterfly, thank you for believing in me and my presence, because in your slow and unassuming process you made me stop and watch. You grabbed my attention and held it still, and like a baby, I got lost in your beauty. 

Lately I have been seeing butterflies everywhere. Sometimes they lay on the ground, lifeless, and sometimes they are flitting away joyously with no reservations. It just seemed so paradoxical that butterflies would exist in this crazy town of cars noise and pollution. But they do! They Do! I always pictured them in gardens or fields, but never amongst the trash that sometimes lays across the side streets. What amazing notes of nature's instruments!

Now with heavy steps I stare at the ground and occasionally look up, hoping to catch a glimpse of a flying rainbow.




This article is printed here with permission. Shwetha Sridharan is passionate about the development sector. She previously worked at Arghyam, an NGO that funds water and sanitation projects across rural India. For more information on Nyaya Health and their work and vision of health care for the poor, visit nyayahealth.org or on twitter @nyayahealth.    


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