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Life, Therapy, and the Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum

After a bout with some serious seasonal depression, personal heartache, and anxiety about an upcoming life milestone, I decided to dive back into therapy. My previous therapy experience had been a lifeline and very positive. About a half hour into my second session, the topic of butterflies came up. I was expressing how life felt lately: hopeless, dark, and without direction. It was then my therapist asked me what I knew about butterflies.

"Did you know that when a caterpillar goes into its cocoon, it thinks it's dying?" she said. "It believes the darkness of the cocoon is the end of life. It doesn't realize it's only resting while it undergoes a beautiful transformation process and will later emerge as a butterfly."

Now, I don't know how scientific this theory is. I've never read a caterpillar's first-hand metamorphosis to butterfly account, but for a girl on the hunt for hope and inspiration, I didn't need scientific proof for this to make sense.

I'm not generally in the business of discussing the private things I talk about behind the closed doors of my therapy sessions, but this analogy was so profound to me that I had to share. I walked away from that session, realizing I'd spent the last few weeks in my cocoon era: resting, healing, and caring for myself. Things may have seemed dark, but it was a necessary act of self-preservation.

The message: take the time to prioritize yourself and your needs. Take the time to retreat and cocoon, but remember that the days that seem darkest are only a phase in the cycle. Eventually, you'll emerge.

Needless to say, I'm now obsessed with butterflies. Don't worry, I'm not running off to get a butterfly tattooed on my lower back. No shade to anyone who does, but the way my commitment issues are set up, a butterfly tattoo isn't in my near future. I did, however, visit the Butterfly Pavilion at the National History Museum in Los Angeles. Seeing the butterflies, up close and personal, in their different phases of life was an incredible experience that I highly recommend.

Click HERE for more details. The Pavilion is open annually from March to August. If you're in the LA area during those months, it's worth a visit!


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