Life Isn’t About Dying a Peaceful and Calm Death. It’s About Skidding Sideways Into the Casket Yelling “YEE HAW!!!”
This post goes out to our loyal fan Tim Birch.
During these past 2 weeks I’ve been locking myself down taking notes and writing copy and hadn’t checked the comments on the blog since my last post, until today.
While doing so, I noticed Tim’s comment about one of his cousin’s passing away. When I read it, my first reaction was to reply but then I remembered a story and I wanted to share it with you Tim, and everyone else here.
This is a story I used to listen to over and over again on my walkman while working for a commercial construction company. At least a decade has passed since I’ve heard this but it touched me so deeply I knew you’d appreciate it too. It’s told by one of the greatest transformational story tellers I know of, Tony Robbins.
It was one of the rare gems trapped inside on of his discussions on metaphors buried inside his Power Talk series. The passage below is a gorgeous metaphor pertaining to the concept of death.
“My son Joshua came to me from school, and I think he was about six or seven at the time.
A child at school, a child he used to play with, one of his little friends was climbing on some of the playground equipment and fell off, broke his neck and died.
I came home and Josh was crying hysterically. And everything people tried to tell him and explain to him verbally about why it happened, what was going on, nothing would work.
So I sat down him and said ‘Honey, I know how you feel. But you know, I think the challenge is that, while you know you miss him and you have the right to miss him, you should feel those feelings, you should also realize that the reason you feel the way you do is because you’re a caterpillar.’
He said, “What?” This broke his pattern a little bit.
I said, “Honey, you’re just a caterpillar. And you’re thinking like a caterpillar.”
He said, “What do you mean?”
“Well, what happens to caterpillars at some point? There’s a point where most caterpillars think they’ve died. They think it’s over, they think life has ended. When’s that?” I said.
He said, “Oh yeah, when there’s that thing that starts wrapping around them.”
I said, “Yeah, that thing starts wrapping around them and pretty soon the caterpillar gets buried in all this mass of stuff. And you know what, if you were to open up that thing it’s buried under, the caterpillar’s no longer there. It’s just all this mush and goo and stuff.
And most people including caterpillars, even the caterpillar that’s transforming there, is thinking it’s the end yet it’s not dying, it’s transforming, you understand, it’s going from one thing to something else.
Pretty soon, the caterpillar thinks that life is over and what happens is the caterpillar comes together and what does it become?”
He said, “A butterfly.”
I said, “And can other people see that? Can the little caterpillars on the ground see that this caterpillar became a butterfly?”
He said, “No, they don’t see that.”
I said, “That’s right. Funny, he breaks out of the cocoon and what does he do?”
He said, “He flies.”
And I said, “He doesn’t fly right away, he get’s out and the sunlight comes down and dries off his wings and then he goes out flies and he’s even more beautiful than when he was a caterpillar.
Is he more free or less free? You tell me.”
He said, “Oh, he’s much more free.”
I said, “You think he has more fun?”
He said, “Yeah, he’s got less legs to get tired.”
“That’s right, he does. He doesn’t need his legs any more, he’s got wings. Honey, I think your friend’s got wings now. It’s not for us to decide when someone becomes a butterfly. We think it’s wrong but I think God has a better idea of when the right time is.
We think summer should be here now but you know right now it’s winter and you want it to be summer, right? But God’s got a different plan. Sometimes we just gotta trust that God knows how to make butterflies better than we do.
And when we’re caterpillars sometimes we don’t even realize that butterflies even exist because they’re up above us. Maybe we should just remember that.”
He stopped crying, and was smiling and he gave me a big hug and said, “Yeah, I bet he’s a beautiful butterfly.”
Metaphors can transform. Select them carefully. Select them intelligently. Select them in a way that deepens and enriches your life or the people you care about. Become a student of metaphors and become sensitized to them and your whole life can change.
Wishing you and your family the best Tim,
Talk to you soon,
Note Taking Nerd #2