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On-Site Staff / Opinion / Staff Leadership and Management

Butterfly, Spread Your Wings and Self-Care

Editors Note: This blog was first published on The Leadership Program‘s website on January 29th.  Breakfast Club blogger and author, Erika Petrelli, has generously repurposed this blog for the BOOST Breakfast Club out-of-school time readership. 

The field of out of school time can be so difficult—we give so much to the youth that we serve, and constantly worry that it’s not enough because we are only one person and how much can we possibly impact? We give to others at the detriment of our own self-care, putting our own needs second, third, fourth, last on our list. Last. I feel like between our own self-non-care and our relentless efforts to be a positive force for good in the lives of those we serve, we can start to feel a bit lost. Things can start to feel impossible… especially this time of year. It made me think of this quote, which I love:

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

Have you had this happen to you? A situation… a moment in your life… where you thought the world was over? When, in truth, only the world as you currently understood it was over, and what was waiting for you on the other side was something completely different, unexpected, and beautiful? Something there was no way you could have possibly predicted or understood?

When we’re feeling the “squeeze”—the darkness and discomfort of the cocoon as it surrounds us—I wonder how we can remember that. Because that squeeze can be tight, can’t it? And lonely. And filled with judgment.

If you’ve read more than a few of my posts, you’ll know that I love Brad Montague. I had the honor of most recently hearing him speak this past fall, and one of the things he encouraged us to do, if we were feeling lost, or trapped in that cocoon, was this: “Stop. Steady your boat. Study your compass. Seek the wind.” (Which is just about the best advice you could ever get for life, isn’t it?)

Seek the wind, butterfly. It’s there.

And who knows where it might take you?

For every moment where you feel like a caterpillar, can you allow yourself the gift of the wind, and imagine your butterfly wings taking flight?

Another one of my favorite quotes is one that gets bounced around in attribution, but most often given to John Lennon: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

Because sometimes it’s hard to steady the boat. And sometimes our compass is faulty. And sometimes the wind dies off…for a time. For sure, the path is rarely smooth or straight. But the wind can always be found, eventually. And when it comes, it beckons you to take flight.

How can you fly today, butterfly?

For breakfast, I had chocolate chip cookies. Even butterflies sometimes avoid the healthy route. 

Author: @erikap

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