The Chrysalis: The Dark Night of The Soul

The “dark night of the soul” is a right of passage.

Struggle and suffering is part of life and it is a deception to think that it is unnecessary and avoidable.

No caterpillar can fulfill its purpose of being without passing through the chrysalis stage to become a butterfly.

To become what you are destined to be you must go through the dark night of the soul. You must break away from the popular and be prepared for deep personal change. Yes it will be painful at times, you will lose friends along the way, you will go into and through strange and lonely places, but unless you do you will stagnate in your personal, spiritual and emotional growth.

Let us think, just for a moment, about the life cycle of a butterfly.

1 The egg

The egg stage provides a place where ideas can be mulled over and considered and no amount of forcing can (or should) be used to assist the hatching process. It will hatch at the right time and forcing it will kill it.

The strength of the egg is seclusion.

2 The caterpillar

To often people stay at this stage of growth, this is where on mass an army goes forth and devours all the food it can see. There is comfort in this feeding machine stage and there are friends around. Uniformity is celebrated and those who are different are discarded.

The strength of the caterpillar is numbers.

3 The chrysalis

The caterpillar finds another secluded place to secure a strong foundation for a tenuous thread, and then builds a hard shell around itself. This excludes all external contact. Within this quiet and private stage the caterpillar changes. It will have its whole physical being broken, the skin ripped open new limbs growing. How painful would that be? At this stage no amount of assistance will help it. But it must go through it.

Never be afraid of solitude and silence, deep personal change happens there.

The strength of the chrysalis is solitude.

4 The butterfly,

Once the butterfly has emerged, again a process that no assistance can be given without damaging it, it needs to regain its strength and unfold its wings. It can then leave the familiarity of its known world and move on to the new lands beyond. The purpose of the butterfly is to breed, to bring the next generation into the world.

The strength of the butterfly is partnership.

Points to remember

  • Things happen when the time is right
  • Pressure to grow or change can cause damage or worse
  • Staying at the same stage too long will destroy you
  • The true purpose of the caterpillar is not to just eat but rather to become a butterfly
  • Sometimes the life will be painful
  • Suffering is part of life and struggles are needed to help develop the full potential of what you were made to be.

Seek to be the butterfly.

Paul S Allen

About Paul S Allen

Kiwi singer-songwriter based in Dunedin, New Zealand. Musician (Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Mandolin, Keyboard); Photographer; Poet; Thinker. I have food allergies so ask when you invite me for dinner. Lumen accipe et imperti. (receive the light and pass it on) Email me:

Posted on 01/07/2010, in Church, Faith and Personal Development and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Nice to hear these words from you, I often reflect back on my own life and see the changes I have made in my own personal/professional world. They seemed like a struggle at the time.

    Everything we do is preparing us for what God has planned for us. “God has to break us, before he makes us”.

    Thanks Paul for reminding me 🙂

  1. Pingback: Strong… or not « The WaterSide

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