imaginal cells

Having never studied or really thought about it, I kinda thought I knew how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly and if you asked me I would have told you that once all cocooned and in a deep sleep, I think its body gets slowly thinner while wings begin to sprout and extra legs retract. (And you probably would have said that’s not even close.) OK, then. But surely, though not understood,  it would make some sense to me if I could see it, right? (Still not close.)

Once inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar doesn’t just slip into unconsciousness and change.  Instead, its body dissolves from the inside out through the power of its own digestive juices. “The fluid breaks down the old caterpillar body into cells called imaginal cells. Imaginal cells are undifferentiated cells, which means they can become any type of cell. Many of these imaginal cells are used to form the new body.”

In order to be anything but a caterpillar, it first has to un-become what it was, and dissolve into a mass of unrecognizable goo.  Only then, and quite miraculously, the imaginal cells…. which could become anything…. reorganize and make a butterfly.

I’ve had a lot of dreams in my life.  None of them have ever involved first becoming goo. And I’m sure it sounds scary and icky but the more given over to the process I am the more beautiful it is and the more fun I have. Vulnerability really is the birthplace of creativity and innovation and what’s more vulnerable than goo?

One really good thing: Unlike with the caterpillar, God works on me a little at a time.