The Butterfly Effect: What I Did When Life Blew Up In My Face
The Butterfly Effect:
The scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the Universe forever.
End of 2014 and most of 2015 was a particularly trying time for me. I refer to it as the Year of Purification by Fire.
Synchronicity. Miracle moments. Pain. Fear. Solace. All mixed into one. The perfect recipe for a major Metamorphosis.
I want to share my story with you, because my experience is entangled with yours. My struggles mirror yours, and your struggles mirror mine. We are interconnected in this invisible web called life.
Every little action creates an effect: We are all interconnected.
– Yehuda Berg, Author of “The Power of Kabbalah
Allow me to throw a little pebble into your world with these words, because my goal is to cause ripples that create more ripples until ultimately, BIG CHANGE has occurred and you’re looking at yourself through the eyes of someone else you have become.
That is the very essence of the Butterfly Effect…
“The flap of a butterfly’s wings changed the air around it so much that a tornado broke out two continents away.”
The Zero Point Field: The Grid That Links Us All With Everything
No matter how big or small, our actions/thoughts/emotions/choices create invisible ripples into the Grid, or what scientists call the Unified Field (UF).
The Grid is the invisible field that pervades and connects everything and everyone in the entire cosmos. The Grid acts as an invisible blanket that weaves everything together, both seen and unseen. It acts as the glue that connects us all.
Scientists consider the UF to be the originating point of all fields in the Universe, the place from whence everything comes into existence from. And since we’re all interconnected via this quantum web, what you do ultimately (and sometimes invisibly) affects me. What I do affects you too. (Quantum Entanglement.)
In her groundbreaking book, The Field, investigative journalist Lynne Mctaggart makes the case for a radically new way of understanding the human mind and body. In this new view, mind and body aren’t separate from their environment. Instead, both are pulsating energy that dance and interact with The Field:
“A field is a region of influence, where a force will influence objects at a distance with nothing in between. We and our universe live in a Quantum sea of light. Scientists have found that the real currency of the universe is an exchange of energy. Life radiates light, even when grown in the dark. Creation takes place amidst a background sea of energy, which metaphysics might call the Force, and scientists call the “Field.”
….The self has a field of influence on the world and visa versa based on this energy…
…Our natural state of being is in relationship, a tango, a constant state of one influencing the other. Just as the subatomic particles that compose us cannot be separated from the space and particles surrounding them, so living beings cannot be isolated from each other… By the act of observation and intention, we have the ability to extend a kind of super-radiance to the world…”
Our intentions, observations, and experiences shape our reality. This means that everything we do affects everything and the majority of what we do is conditioned, programmed, and on autopilot. We are creatures of habit; slaves of our past. We will continue to recreate the same experiences (even if they present themselves in different form), until we wake up.
Think about it. Most of us arise at the same time in the same way every day. We get up thinking the same thoughts. Shower and brush our teeth in the same rote way. We get dressed, eat the same breakfast. Take the same route to work. Think the same thoughts about ourselves, our lives, and those in our lives… every day. We become conditioned to our environment. We get in the car and drive to the same destination and even zone out for most of the journey.
Being on autopilot means the awareness of our choice and power escapes us as we battle our inner demons amidst the smoke filled mirrors of illusion. We can’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s mirage. And we keep battling our inner demons. And we keep on… but nothing ever changes unless we wake up.
How many times have you found yourself re-experiencing the same scenarios at work or at home, just in a different form? Think about your present and past relationships. Have there been similar patterns, dynamics, and unfoldings? Just maybe different characters and different locations? Do you or your partners play out the same roles in different ways? Have you ever had the feeling of “how the hell did I get here again?”
That’s autopilot. And since we’re on autopilot, we’re not aware we have to wake up. So what does the Universe do? It pulls the trigger for you. It opens the door, kicks you in the ass and pushes you across the Threshold. “Good journey,” it whispers, as you’re sent off to become the Hero of your story.
The way you do anything is the way you do everything
– Tom Waits, Singer & Songwrite
My Story: Waking Up From Autopilot
This time last year, I was still on autopilot in many ways I didn’t want to acknowledge. I felt depressed and dimmed. I felt like a f*cking huge gray cloud followed me everywhere I went no matter how hard I tried to reach for external band aids like seminars, coaching, shopping, and eating to help me escape it. I ran away from myself so hard I was exhausted and didn’t have energy for anything else. Worse, I didn’t know who I was anymore; I had lost touch with my essence, my spirit, my fire. And I had no idea where to start in recreating myself.
This strategy worked only for so long, until the invisible scales tipped and it all blew up in my face. A series of catalysts manifested themselves and pushed me to the edge – to the unknown; to the unprecedented. My new business venture tanked. A break up challenged everything I thought I knew about love, partnership and the self. I moved from my hometown of Miami to the remote mountains of North Carolina, alone. It all came roaring in and before long, I didn’t recognize my life or myself.
Feeling lost and desperate, I thought I might find sanctuary at a spiritual yogic center called Kripalu, where for ten days I licked my wounds, communed with nature and chipmunks, hugged majestic trees, and learned to begin to accept this new reality I was fighting. This is the ‘Painful Burn Period.’
It was there on the front lawn of Kripalu, after a morning meditation, where I remembered about a $1,300 credit with American Airlines from a previous trip I didn’t take How could I have forgotten $1,300?! I had tickets booked to go see some family in Spain the previous Christmas and because of an unforeseen family meltdown, I had to cancel my trip last minute.
I called AA customer service to find out if I could still use the credit.
“You have to have traveled by November 1st,” said the airline agent, “Otherwise you lose the credit.”
It was the last week of September.
All of a sudden, the Universe gifted me with the unexected opportunity to travel anywhere. And fast. I had no idea where to go. Amidst the squirrels in Kripalu’s main meditation garden, I prayed. I asked the Universe to show me, tell me: Where do I go?
That day after lunch I had an appointment with Kripalu’s resident intuitive for a reading. I told her about my story, why I was there, and now this decision I had to make rather swiftly.
“Make a list,” she said, “Then dedicate your evening yoga practice to your highest good. The answer will come to you in exactly the right time and exactly the right way.”
So that’s what I did. I made a list and narrowed it down to 3 places: Paris, Bali, and London. I was 17 the last time I visited Paris, and had vowed to spend time there as an adult woman at some point in the future. Bali had been on my bucket list ever since I saw Liz Gilbert’s movie “Eat, Pray, Love.” I had lived in London for two years right after college and had felt like I was in the center of the Universe as a wide-eyed, naive 22 year old. Maybe if I returned this time the city would cradle me yet again, I thought. I kept the list in my journal and headed off to evening yoga, where I dedicated my practice to surrendering so the answer would surface within me.
It was right during my last child’s pose, with my head to the ground and eyes closed, that I heard a faint whisper say: “7 weeks in Paris.” I then saw images flash in my mind’s eye. I saw myself walking the streets of Paris by myself at night, sipping on a glass of Bordeaux outside a cafe as I researched and wrote. I saw myself running with my ear muffs on through Parc Monceau. I saw myself filling myself up so much that it would eventually overflow. It felt right. I checked in with my body – did I feel expanded or contracted at the thought? Check. Total expansion. Bali? Contraction. London? Contraction. That was it… Paris, j’arrive! (SIDE NOTE: I’ve been practicing this kind of Intuitive Decision Making for years now and it has not failed me. To get my 4-step Checklist click here. )
Two weeks later I flew to Paris to spend seven weeks solo, roaming the streets of the city of lights and immersing myself in its art, culture, history, and gastronomy. This was the ‘Healing Indulgence Period.’
And why not Paris? Why not give myself the gift of indulgence when I had worked my ass off for the last year planning the creation and launch of a business venture that hadn’t gone as planned? For months I had toiled away at my computer researching, writing, creating content, planning and strategizing. I had burnt out not just physically and mentally, but emotionally and spiritually. I was running on fumes and needed to fill my tank. I deserved it and had earned it.
This is where I really started learning to love and nurture myself. I promised myself I’d live out every scene I had seen in my mind’s eye during that yoga class at Kripalu. I took myself on many dates: the museums, the best bakeries and bistros, old historic sites… I coordinated with a few friends who came to visit me for a week at a time for a perfect blend of solitude and company.
Paris provided me the perfect cocoon.
It was there that I decided I would return to my new home and make the most of it and of myself. I made a vow to myself then, that I’d follow my bliss and feed my soul. I’d be my own nurturer, protector, muse. I’d give myself what I needed to become strong, inspired, creative, and alive. I realized then I had had unrealistic expectations of relationships and men. How could I expect them to give to me what I was not giving to myself? Overflow baby, the only way to be magnetic is to feed yourself and overflow.
As I ubered to Charles de Gaule airport I ran through my seven weeks and took stock. What had I learned? How had I grown? What were my biggest takeaways?
First, I learned that almost anything can be soothed with either a buttery fresh croissant or a buttery glass of Sauvignon Blanc (with a side of brie.) I learned that I was stronger than I had thought and more resilient than I gave myself credit for. I learned that art heals and history gives us perspective. I discovered I could very well be my own home. I learned that the great artists, writers, poets, sculptors, and thinkers had a thing or two to teach me about the troubled dark side of humanity as I saw fragments of myself reflected back to me in their stories.
I finally got a chance to marvel at Rodin’s Le Penseur and Le Baiser. I finally fulfilled the wishes of my 17 year old self and got that portrait done at the Place du Terte (Artist’s Square) in Montmartre. I meditated on the steps of the Sacre Coeur Basilica and healed little bits of myself along the way. I discovered the existential philosophers Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre. The City of Love had filled me up and taught me to love myself despite myself. And for that I will be forever grateful.
So I returned to the secluded mountains of North Carolina for the next phase of the journey. If Paris was the ‘Healing Indulgence Period’, NC served as the ‘Energetic Healing Period.’ I signed myself up for yoga teacher training – an intense 21 day, 230 hour immersion that served as just the right soul and body medicine to activate the next phase of my Metamorphosis. It was one of my top bucket list items to cross off. Thank God for this training, it brought me into a new level of harmony with my body, which in turn changed how I viewed myself and how I treated myself.
I purged so many stuck emotions and alchemized my pains and fears into inspiration through this art form called yoga. One of the major learning points during teacher training was that we actually store our pent up emotions in the muscles and tissues of our body. By moving the body deliberately and breathing mindfully we can create an energy flow that can help release blockages and old stuck gunk in our bio-electric body as well as our emotional and energetic body.
I remember during one of our yoga classes, it caught me rather off guard and unexpectedly. The instructor was guiding us through a vinyasa flow and played Alanis Morrisette’s ‘Thank You.’ As I was bent backwards in peaceful warrior pose, with my eyes closed and chest open I could feel a sort of warm, swirly energy go up my spine and out through my heart. Before I knew it I had a stream of tears rolling down my cheeks. It felt like a catharsis, an energetic release and created more space inside my body.
It was time for a new beginning. Slowly. Deliberately. Mindfully, I began to emerge with the next layer of shiny new skin. I chose to live as awake as I could, achieving new levels of self awareness and understanding within my own soul. I chose growth over the comfortable. I chose challenge. With every trigger, every flashback, every moment of self sabotage I chose to face myself.
Because I had experienced it all before, time and again. Each time before I had chosen to look the other way, to take the comfortable route… anything but to face my shit once and for all. That’s usually the pattern isn’t it? To stick our head in the sand, or bury it deeeeeeep down, or to run away, or numb out by emotional eating or drinking or whatever kind of distraction is available to us. So we’re led back to square one, again and again.
Well, I was tired of the pattern. I had gotten to the breaking point where I knew something had to change. And the only thing I could change was… me.
I knew that I needed to do something radically different than what I had been doing. I couldn’t stay the same. I had to walk through the internal fire.
I’ve come to trust not that events will always unfold exactly as I want, but that I will be fine either way. The challenges we face in life are always lessons that serve our soul’s growth.
– Marianne Williamson, Author of ‘A Return to Love’
The move from glitzy, over-populated Miami to the solitude and silence of the NC mountains was a tough transition, but it was exactly the sanctuary I needed to reconnect to myself. Though I didn’t know it in the beginning and I resisted it with every ounce of my being. I’d constantly feel a wave of anxiety flush through my body as I thought: “What the hell did I just do buying this property and moving to the middle of nowhere by myself?!”
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was experiencing and practicing a mix of powerful transformation tenets in Yogic Philosophy, namely: tapas (or purifying heat) and ishvara pranidhana (surrender to the highest forces since there was really no other way for me to go but inwards and upwards.)
The Universe led me to this time of wintery solitude in preparation for the next phases of my Initiation. I was meant to shut the outside world out and go within. This was my Higher Self pushing me forth into what She knew I could become. And that’s how, after a long long time, I came home to myself.
Your Initiation and Sanctuary don’t have to be so drastic. Maybe your sanctuary can be a corner in your house or room, your yoga mat, or a solo walk in nature for an hour or two. The point is to take yourself out of your usual environment long enough to dive into you and your purpose.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this for me… The dream was to move to NC with my then boyfriend. It was meant to be me and my man creating a life together and building our online businesses. We broke up right before I closed on the property and I chose to move forward with the plan and found myself alone, crying myself to sleep almost every night for months.
Every day, no matter how challenging, I renewed this vow to keep moving, to keep putting one foot in front of the other even in the darkness of many nights. It was terrifying at times to face my dark side, childhood pains surfaced, deeply lodged old trapped emotions and traumas. I felt so unloved and utterly alone. It was terrifying to keep stepping forward without knowing if there would be something there to support me. I’d take three steps forward and fall back two. Over and over. But I kept upwards because staying the same was more painful than forging into the mystery of tomorrow.
What I learned during this phase is that in order to transcend your own self you must be ready and willing to face what terrifies you, because that’s where the gold is… It’s where the greatest gifts lie. You must face what you’ve been avoiding because the reason why you’re stuck is that you keep avoiding the lessons. There’s no way around it. There are no shortcuts to becoming. The lessons will continue to show up until we listen and pay attention. We’re called to face our shit in spite of our fears and traumas so we can transcend to the next level.
Change and transformation are scary, messy, painful, and uncomfortable because you’re becoming a new unknown, unprecedented, unfamiliar you as parts of the old you die. And this is necessary because this is the way we become purified and new.
A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable moments he or she is willing to have.
– Tim Ferriss, Author of “4 Hour Work Week”
Maybe, like me, you have to get to the point where you’re backed into the proverbial corner. You have to reach a tipping point where you get sick of your status quo. It’s only when the scales are tipped that we snap and realize: “This is not ok. Something has to change.”
So when the sh*tstorm comes and you lose your job, get that diagnosis, break up, fall on your ass or any other form of wake-up call, stop complaining. Stop wishing it was different. Stop asking ‘why me.’ None of that matters. What matters is ‘what NOW?’ Now that you’ve been struck and must rise from the rubble what will you choose? What will you make of it? Can you turn crap into gold? Who will you become? Just remember: this is where your greatest lessons are and this is all happening for a grander reason. You can believe one of two things: that things are either in the way or on the way.
Examples of those who turned crap into gold and believed that things were on the way not in the way:
1) Dr. John Demartini – This world renowned thought leader and global teacher was told as a child he had a learning disability and would never learn to read or write properly or amount to much of anything by his teacher. He also had to use braces because his legs were turned inward. Today, Dr. Demartini is a former chiropractor, self made multimillionaire, author of over 40 books, and counsels the likes of government officials, celebrities, and top CEO’s. (Learn more about his story here in my podcast.)
2) Oprah – In her words: “Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a different way to stand.” Being born as a poor black girl out of wedlock in the south, Oprah’s life began with the odds stacked against her. She was sexually molested and raped as a child but went on to college and persevered. In a then white male dominated broadcasting industry, she became the first female news co-anchor at Nashville’s WTVF-TV. She then re-invented herself as a talk show host and became the most successful female television talk show host of all time. Today, she is one of the richest female billionaires in the world.
3) JK Rowling – The creator of the Harry Potter series wrote the first book, The Philosopher’s Stone, in cafes while her daughter and her lived on benefits. She received 12 publishing rejections in a row until publisher Bloomsbury picked it up. The editor agreed to publish but advised Rowling to find a day job because the book showed little promise of making money. Today, she is known as the world’s first billionaire author, with an estimated net worth of over $1 billion in 2014. The entire Harry Potter franchise was said to be more than $24 billion in 2014 according to IMBD.
4) Meryl Streep -As a young woman in her early 30’s Meryl was turned down for the female lead in King Kong for “not being beautiful enough.” The movie’s producer was stated as saying: “Why do you bring me this ugly thing?” That didn’t deter Streep, who today has 3 Academy Awards and 19 nominations throughout the course of her career. Not to mention honorary degrees from Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and Dartmouth to name a few.
It’s in the small changes and minute instances of awarenesses within ourselves that our fate and destiny are created, by us. We either choose or we don’t, and not making a choice is also a choice by the way. The clock doesn’t stop ticking, the Earth doesn’t stop turning. Life is passing us by with every breath and every moment we’re not spending it living our truth, seeking, and growing is a wasted moment.
When the caterpillar is summoned forth to begin the grand transformation process she envelops herself into a cocoon and squishes her pudgy little body in as tight as she can. Enzymes then start to dissolve the caterpillar’s body and turn it into a mushy, chunky soup contained within the cocoon.
Within the caterpillar are magical little cells called Imaginal Discs. These contain the seed of the Butterfly potential. Each Imaginal Disc contains the codes for what this mush is to eventually become: a resuscitated, alchemized winged one who will no longer have to crawl through life but who is now free to soar to new, unprecedented heights.
You also have Imaginal Discs that contain the codes of your fullest self and your realized potential. Within you is already that fullest expression of you and your life. The only way those Imaginal Discs can unfold and carry out their purpose is if you let go of the old you so the new you can rise up and step forward.
The Butterfly is You.
Burn Your Old Skin.
Flap Your Wings.
Create a Storm.
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