The economy is in a downward spiral. Perhaps, someone you know is laid off from work or maybe it’s you. Your home might be filled with clutter, possessions you don’t use or even know you have, and the bills are piling up on your desk. It’s time for some plastic surgery – cutting a few credit cards in half. Next, you might consider de-cluttering your environment to see your purpose with greater clarity because all this material stuff is obscuring the real you. Let go of the past because times have definitely changed.

Venture out on a limb
Metamorphosis is a traditional symbol of spring. Normally, we don’t consider an egg, caterpillar, or pupa to be beautiful. It’s the dazzling butterfly which lures our attention. On a butterfly farm in Costa Rica I experienced the magic of metamorphosis close-up and personal, where I realized that each stage of life has its own beauty. I saw pupae that looked like golden earrings and miniature Faberge Eggs. Murals on walls and shops painted by local artists honored the theme of mystery and beauty that wishes to fly free, yet trapped in a technological human world removed from nature. The time has arrived to surrender to the power of transformation.

For Pre-Columbian culture butterflies symbolized color and light. They were responsible for the renovation of life. When we contemplate butterflies, we see that we have the ability to interact with nature, remember its myths and embrace our changing identity instead of fearing the unknown.

When we think of butterflies, the phrase, butterflies are free comes to mind. However, we also have butterflies in the stomach – stress. We are both victimizers and victims of our own negative thoughts. When we are upset, those around us become upset. We must release those butterflies because they should not stay trapped within causing our gut reactions to become confused and disturbed. Similarly, we need to release negative behavior patterns which inflame our health and rob us of vitality. Releasing is hard because we are basically taught to possess. This is known as consumerism. No one teaches us how to let go. We must learn from nature.

At the butterfly farm I observed a caterpillar and butterfly on the same branch. It seemed like the past and future were looking at one another: What was and what will be. This magical moment inspired me to take stock of my heritage, while I get ready to give birth to myself again and again. It takes great energy to shed the cocoon and emerge pulsating with new life. For a butterfly this is a one-minute window of opportunity; otherwise, the glue within the cocoon will stick to its wings and the butterfly will remain stuck, unable to spread its wings and fly towards the light. What are we waiting for?

Let’s not get stuck looking into a window of the past, what we once possessed. We can recall the old stories and lessons learned while we shed what no longer serves us emerging into a truer, natural self which does not suppress its colors. If other people remark, “What has gotten into you?” you are on the right track.

What can you do to manage the butterflies in your stomach? Desperate times call for fusion techniques:

* Stress will always land on your doorstep, but you don’t have to constantly open the door. Manage the small stressors you can control because they pile up and overwhelm. This includes cleaning up the polluting chemicals in your immediate environment as easy as opening a window and bringing in a house plant, substituting the junk food you eat with healthier foods and taking a break from technology.
* Move the body and the mind will follow. Create a relaxation synergy for intense stress: Take a brisk walk or jog outdoors in the light for some Vitamin D and be sure to wear headphones tuned into upbeat music.
* Meet with your entourage and have fun. The more positive people you connect with, the greater your optimistic resiliency.
* Use sound and sense. Close your eyes, breathe deeply inhaling and exhaling to your own rhythm and visualize that you are flexibly moving with the universe, freeing up your energy to move forward in life. Combine your visualization with aromatherapy like citrus, vanilla or lavender. Use soft music or nature’s sounds to enhance the experience.
* Change your verbiage from your dramatic, cluttered vocabulary emphasizing all that is wrong in your life to a simple clean sentence structure – subject , verb, object - to objectify the problem(s) and resiliently cope. You are now ready to challenge the irrational thoughts of how bad you are.

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Author's Bio: 

I'm an author, stress management specialist, and my latest book is "Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life" (Wiley, Sept. 2008). Also, I host a weekly radio show and run an educational site where you can learn more about building immunity to feeling bad: