The butterflies live within each of us as children. My family consists of adults and during my single years I have not been around children that much. One year when I dated a man I got invited to his family’s Christmas Eve party. Only after a couple of minutes it was very clear to me who the center of attention was this evening , it was a lovely little girl of three and a half years. This night I experienced one of my clearest moments and I could see exactly how children’s butterflies get frightened and fly away. We adults are the guilty ones; we all do it, all the time, without being aware of it. We do this, not to be mean, but because our own butterflies also got scared and flew away when we were children.
In Sweden Santa Clause comes to our homes Christmas Eve and gives out the presents in person. One of the men in the family usually makes an excuse, such as “I forgot to buy the newspaper”, and then he sneaks away to get in to the Santa costume.
This night the girl was safe and happy with all her loved ones gathered around her. Suddenly a series of loud knocks were heard from the front door and the little girl immediately looked scared and uncomfortable. The loud sound didn’t fit in to the otherwise soft and friendly environment and her butterflies flapped their wings in her stomach. “Who could that be?” all the grownups shouted, focusing all the attention towards the little girl. They acted as if they expected an answer from her. She did not have a clue!
Someone went to the door and let the stranger inside. It was a big old man with lots of white hair on his face. He spoke with a dark and scary voice as he asked her if she had been good during the year. She had never seen such a strange person in her short life and she was terrified! The little girl tried to seek protection, hiding behind the closest relative’s legs.
“Go and say hello to Santa. Give him a hug!” the grownups urged the girl. She held on even tighter to the protecting leg and refused to let go. Her butterflies where in a state of panic and they screamed at their top of their lungs. “Don’t do it!! He could be dangerous!!” The grownups tried to encourage her. “Be a good girl now and give Santa a hug!!!” The girl had never been so confused before. Why should she hug a stranger?
After many tears and lots of pedagogical persuasion the little girl finally sat in Santa’s knee and she gave him lots of hugs and kisses. In return she got present after present and all the grownups seemed happy and very satisfied with her.
This story fits in to almost every child’s up growing even though it’s not always Santa who is the main character. Whoever the main character might be, the result is that we learn to listen to what the grownups say instead of trusting our own butterflies. If Santa had been a real stranger entering the house in the same manner, then of course the butterflies would have been right. But the butterflies don’t know that much about Christmas traditions and upbringing. The butterflies are as old as the universe and back then they didn’t celebrate Christmas.
When you are only three and a half years old you don’t have the confidence to be strong for a very long time under the pressure of grownups. Nor do you have the necessary frame of reference that covers Santa or other fictional figures. It all ends with you having to give in and abandon your own feelings in order to obey and keep the good graces of the people that you love and trust. This is when the butterflies get hurt and fly away.
There are so many examples of how we learn to ignore our butterflies and how they grow weaker and weaker the older we get. When a child paints a picture with the sun in green and a blue dog we immediately correct the child and tell her or him that the sun is yellow and dogs are not blue. When, after many years in art school, grownups paint strange things we celebrate them. We call them new-thinkers and brave border-breakers. We applaud them for having an ‘understanding’ for the things that we don’t have and for seeing something that we don’t see, yet we discount the child who knows and sees the same.
Ignoring the butterflies is something that we do during our whole lives. We are constantly being told by outside sources what is right and what is wrong. One year it is bad to eat eggs and the next year it is not only good to eat eggs but even recommended to eat one egg a day. Then you are not allowed to eat soy sauce, or was it olive oil? I forget. One year you must avoid carbohydrates but two years later they are ok to eat again, but only the slow ones. Chocolate is good, bad, erotic, healing, unnecessary, sinful but oh so good. Diet products are not good for you, but they do not contain any fat so they are a bit good anyway, it all depends on how they are sweetened. Taking birth control pills both gives you cancer and protects you from cancer only in different places. Alcohol is not good for you but some people say that it is. It all depends on how much and how often. If you cross the invisible line and have too much alcohol then you kill your brain cells and they can not grow back, at least up until now when, surprisingly, they can grow back after all.
We eat medication and vitamins and food supplements to be on the safe side. Or we numb ourselves with different kinds of drugs, illegal or socially accepted. We eat pills that change the substances manufacturing in our brains so that we can be happy. But the same antidepressants make us fat, tired, empty inside and sad about completely new things instead. God forbid if we actually had to feel something, real.
We do tests on the internet to find out what career we are best suited for, and if we are great lovers. Eventually, we ignore not only the butterflies, but all the signals our bodies are trying to send to us. We don’t know when we are hungry, thirsty, happy, stressed, horny or sick. So, what do we really know? Not much. But some of us are beginning to suspect that something is not right or even that something quite possibly is very wrong, that something is missing, that the jury is out and that the butterflies are on strike.
Our butterflies are our intuition and we are exposing our very Selves to great danger since we have stopped listening to them such a long time ago. We will walk scared to death on streets in the middle of the night just to save cab fare. “I can’t afford it”, we say to ourselves not thinking of the price we would have to pay if the something we are scared of actually happens. We will stand alone and not move, waiting for our buss, even though become overwhelmed with fear as a total stranger approach us. We do not run away because we were not raised that way and it would be considered rude, especially if it turns out that the approaching stranger in fact is a kind person, only strange looking. Which animal on the planet would have done the same? None! Animals are not well-mannered; animals live in harmony with their butterflies.
How many times have you heard people say “I had a feeling” or “I suspected this would happen.” These feelings and unpronounced words came from the butterflies. They are whispering messages to us all the time with voices that have been left barely audible after years and years of shouting to our deaf ears.
When we find ourselves in a situation when we realize that we knew the answer long before the question was ever asked the only thing we can do is to go back and try to remember the emotion that spoke to us then and try to name it. The next time we get that same emotion we know that we should listen more careful and maybe try to act a little bit different than a well-mannered person would do
If we give back confidence to the butterflies and let them speak to us again, then we can use their wise messages in all situations in life. The butterflies knows what is best for us and we can always trust that everything they say is important and should be taken into consideration when we make our decisions, big or small.
This book is about how life can be when we live it without listening to our butterflies. It is also about love and relationships and all the other stuff. It is time for us to understand that we cannot develop any more without first going back and understand who we really are from the beginning. We have been upgraded and adjusted one-to many times in the reality that is running over us like a tsunami. Now it’s time to deal whit the things that really matter, the butterflies, life and love.
Welcome in to my world…