by Brooke Faulkner
While sitting in my backyard with a friend recently, we watched a butterfly float gently by. We stopped chatting to stare at its brilliant orange wings. I knew immediately it was a sign.
It happened on the five-year anniversary of my mother’s passing. The symbolism of life, change, transformation, joy, and lightness of being was a direct message to me from her. The butterfly is a powerful symbol, so when you see one – which is more rare than you might think – pay attention to what is going on in your life at the current moment and what the butterfly represents to you.
“When the butterfly comes into your life as a spirit guide, you may be going through or expect important changes in your life,” writes Elena Harris. “More than changes in your environment, the transformation the butterfly totem points to are more internal: They could be related to your own perspective on a subject, aspects of your personality, or personal habits. Personal transformation is emblematic of the butterfly symbolism.”
With this in mind, we can choose the path of our destiny and manifest our own reality. But how?
Realizing that human personalities are deep rooted and complex, we can still choose to be happy or miserable. When we realize how intrusive thoughts can be, we have the ability to acknowledge those thoughts and move into a more positive mindset. The awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes is called metacognition – or “thinking about thinking.” People who use cognitive thinking skills, which is the ability to perceive our own thoughts and experiences, tend to be happier than those who don’t.
Say it like it’s already done
Tell your mind what you want to do. When people are able to regulate their thinking, problems are only problems if they perceive them to be. Maybe someone is unhappy because of their evaluation of their circumstances. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “You create your own reality. ‘ Reality is nothing more than our own state of mind.
If you’ve always wanted your family to live a greener lifestyle, for example, start by thinking green. Reframe the way you think about you and your family’s relation to the planet. Instead of walking on the earth with the mindset of being a separate entity, take off your shoes and feel the interconnectedness between your body and planet beneath it. Open up your mind, and encourage your children to do the same, and the practical steps toward environmental conscientiousness naturally follow. The magic is in the mindset.
Don’t spend time thinking about anything opposite to what you want
It’s a waste of time to dwell in negative space. Psychologist Daniel Wegner coined the term “ironic process theory.” He found evidence that when we try not to think of something, a part of our mind avoids the annoying thought, but another part of our brain “checks in” periodically to make sure the thought is not coming up, and as a result, ironically, bringing it to mind. We end up generating the opposite of what we are trying to control.
Meditate on what you want
By not getting carried away by your own thoughts, mindful meditation could be just as effective as traditional talk therapy, according to a landmark study from researchers at Lund University. There are at least 500 scientific studies on mindfulness/meditation and the brain in the National Institute of Health PubMed database.
Any time your mind starts to wander, bring it back to the present moment if you can. It will keep you focused on the here and now – and not get you trapped into thinking about the past or ruminating about the future. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the power to just enjoy this very moment?
See it, smell it, feel it, hear it
Here’s a poem by Keisha-Lynn Koopman to explain how she interprets these senses:
I see….. leaves changing on trees; whispering it will be okay.
I hear…. Birds singing; they are saying winter will soon be here.
I smell… the fresh air of the outdoors; It calls to me saying come outside and see me.
I taste… Nature; it taste wonderful, a little like happiness. Can you taste it?
I feel…. Amazing and content; surrounded by nature I no longer feel alone. Not even a tiny bit. Nature is my happiness.
If it’s real in your brain, it will be real in the physical
When people are anxious, the symptoms manifest physically. Anyone who’s suffered from anxiety knows how intense and scary it can feel. Tightness in the chest, sweating, helplessness, panic and dizziness are just a few of the overwhelming symptoms. Understanding yourself and acknowledging the physical symptoms will make it easier to control them. Alleviate stress by avoiding triggers, meditating, getting exercise, and taking prescribed medication.
Like a butterfly, we all have the power to transform into something beautiful. We can set goals for manifesting change and reflect on our need to move into the next phase of being, mentally and physically.