Friday, December 7, 2012

The Glorious New Form Emerging from the Old

When you come to the end of all that you know, you must believe in one of two things:  there will be earth upon which to stand, or you will be given wings...
                                                                                 Author Unknown
I have always been fascinated by cicada husks. There's something very death and resurrection about them for me. There's something about the way they are broken open that sparks my imagination and always causes me to stop for a moment, notice, and think.
When we come across them they feel a bit like a mystery, reminding us to leave behind our old forms. Here's the why: the glorious new form emerges from the old...

I am writing today, inspired by a photograph I came across the other day. It has simply captured me.  I remember as a little girl, finding the dry husks of cicadas on trees and feeling like I had come across one of life's great mysteries. It took me a long time to figure out what this creature might be.  It obviously was not alive, or was no longer alive, but I also did not remember ever seeing anything that looked like it in my forays in the woods. I could never figure out how those slender legs could support them. I loved the way they looked like they were crawling up the tree, and I wondered what had happened to stop them in their tracks.

As I looked more closely at them, I noticed how they were broken open. And I thought, "Ah, here indeed is a mystery!  What was in there, and what came out?"  I remember coming home one day with my small hands filled with them and my mom relating them to familiar summer evening insect sounds. And, of course, to the prismatic jewel-toned bodies I occasionally saw flying by or lying dead on the sidewalk. 

Periodically throughout my life I have come across the dry, broken open husks of cicadas. They have always seemed to be a message from nature for me.  What must be released so that something new can emerge? 

The timing often has been uncanny. And so often I will have found myself being broken open in some way -- with some new insight, some new understanding, some new knowledge, some new condition in life that has caused me to leave something behind in order to embrace something new.

The mystery of the cicada has continued to unfold for me.  Some years ago I learned that they live underground in the cool, dark earth developing, and it is only when they are ready to emerge in their new form that they make their way to the surface, and the light, to break open and emerge, leave their old forms behind and try their wings for the first time. 

When I came across this photograph I was stunned. How can such a large, juicy, and beautiful creature be contained in so small and dry a husk?  Look at those huge, wide-open eyes and how they are looking straight ahead at the new world into which she is emerging.  Look how straight and tall the cicada is as he emerges? I imagine the cicada flying away, not giving the old form another thought as she lives fully into the new.

All of this is instinctual for the cicada -- a normal part of its life-cycle. The whole point of its life cycle. Death and Rebirth. Death and Resurrection. Shedding what no longer serves and leaving it behind to embrace the new. For us, this may not feel like a natural process even though it is every bit as natural to us as it is to the cicada.  And as with every other issue related to being powerful in our lives, we must be aware around our thinking and feelings so that we allow our natural cycles of awakening, growth, and development. Allow the glorious new form emerging from the old.


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