Sixteen house guests


We have sixteen house guests this Easter – caterpillars!

We have been asked to look after them by my daughter’s teacher who was returning to her home in the States over Easter. The caterpillars had arrived from England too early and were all ready getting super sized eating the food that rested at the bottom of the cup for each one of them. This is the biggest gainer rather than ‘The Biggest Loser’ and none of them requires Jillian Micatterpillar to be standing over them making sure they do one more leaf munch.

These caterpillars are committed.

So what on earth has this got to do with coaching?

Well one of the big metaphors discussed in the Martha Beck coach training I am doing is about the journey of the caterpillar to the butterfly. Martha calls this ‘the change cycle’. When a major life transformation happens, a job move, a change of direction, we leave the caterpillar state we were in and turn into green gloop. At the green gloop stage we do not yet know about the beautiful butterfly that we are to become. The caterpillar does not go straight from being a caterpillar to a butterfly. We all need to go through the green gloop stage.

After this the caterpillar (that might be you) begins to dream and scheme of what it could be. This is when you start to think about what it might feel like to sit on Oprah’s couch or dream about collecting your Oscar, wearing your Prada gown (a bit like the Carrie Mulligan one in ‘The Great Gatsby’.) You need to build yourself a cocoon to do this dreaming and not let the naysayers break the delicious sense of possibility you may be feeling.

Next comes your move out of the cocoon which can be a very arduous one. At this stage you are trying different things and some of them are working and some of them are not. Some things will throw you into one of the other squares, but it is not a backward movement. You are still moving forward even though it does not seem that way. You can read lots more about this change cycle in Martha Beck’s book ‘Finding Your Own North Star.’

So in the midst of my training I get sixteen caterpillars to look after. Talk about on the job training…

Martha, did you order these in?

What more have I learnt so far from our houseguests?

1. You need to get to the top of the cup you are in to create your cocoon – imagine looking down on the situation you are in. What would you see?

2. The stuff caterpillars eat looks like green smoothie or avocado – get with the blender and get in those greens and healthy fat. Even caterpillars do.

3. If you are hungry eat the tissue at the top of your pot – caterpillars use the resources they have around them. What are your resources?

4. The cocoon is built with gossamer light threads – even the smallest changes make the cocoon. What are the smallest changes that you can make?

5. It’s O.K. to rest sometimes even when involved in huge tasks.

6. You are going to need some help. Don’t think you can do it all on your own. The caterpillars could not have stayed at school over the holidays. Whose help do you need?

Post in the comments are you a caterpillar, green gloop or on your way to being a butterfly?