Scatter

IMG_2287A couple of weeks ago I noticed this jewel in my front yard. A monarch chrysalis perfectly positioned in the gap of a decorative boulder. An ideal spot for viewing turned out not to be an ideal spot for thriving, for making the transition from chrysalis to butterfly. This is the same specimen today.

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No longer healthy or vibrant, I speculate that the heat of the rock warmed by the afternoon sun made for temperatures far too extreme for its fragile gestation. This one’s not going to make it.

Immediately after taking this picture I stood up to see a fully mature monarch floating through the garden, searching for a place to a lay its eggs. I was stunned by the sight of so much aliveness after staring so intently at its opposite.

The monarch will find a suitable place and continue her migration. It’s what she knows. Unattached to outcomes she keeps moving along her instinctive path encumbered by nothing but the next step in the cycle. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not. That is not her concern.

We could learn to float and scatter like the monarch. We could relentlessly look for small, potent opportunities to leave a trace of new life – a kind word, an open hand, some unexpected generosity, an earnest smile, an interest beyond our responsibility, a willing “yes” – without assurances of their impact because that is not ours to know.

Some will live on, spreading in ways impossible to imagine. Some will land and not last, like so many seeds not meant to grow.

Scatter all you have. Leave a legacy beyond your knowing.

DAVID BERRY is the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world, especially the parts where he doesn’t handle it very well. If you enjoyed this post someone else might, too. Please pass it along.

A Suitable Place

The monarch caterpillar thrives on milkweed. We have two small plants in our front yard. The monarch eats it, grows nice and fat and lays its eggs on the underside of the leaves before wandering as far as forty feet away to find a suitable place to become a chrysalis. “Suitable” means any place that is firm enough for it to both adhere to and hang from, a place that will allow for a strong attachment, holding it up as it becomes something new.

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For the monarch caterpillar there is no perfect spot, there is only the spot that they find. On this day I was lucky enough to bear witness to the connection that was made just a few feet from our front door.

The monarch leaves the comfortable nourishment of the milkweed to find a place, as yet unknown to them, to go through the changes necessary to its survival. It sets off in search of the connection that will support its transformation.

Fed by our preparation, we set off in search of the connections that will help us to transform.

Prepare. Connect. Transform. These are the changes necessary for our survival.

DAVID BERRY is the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world, especially the parts where he doesn’t handle it very well. If you enjoyed this post someone else might, too. Please pass it along.