The purpose of a good counselor is to support change. By traveling with our client on a journey, teaching skills, or encouraging the journey itself. The concept of change is often discussed in counseling and therapy. Change makes me think of butterflies. Consider the caterpillar if you will. A creature perfectly suited for life here on earth. Crawls around doing caterpillar things, munching on milkweed and preparing itself for a metamorphosis.
This caterpillar builds a bunker – from the inside. Somehow reduces all of his earth-dwelling parts into soup. And then reassembles himself as an entirely different creature. Eventually breaking through the walls of his bunker and exposing a transformed being. A butterfly. With wings for flight, a sucking tube for nectar, and other butterfly parts that a short ten days ago were nonexistent. But the most spectacular thing about this newly formed creature is what it does after exiting his cocoon. He climbs to a perch in the sun spreads his wings to dry them and then takes flight. Until then a creature that was perfectly suited for ground dwelling now takes to the sky. And, perhaps the most remarkable and the most exasperating thing for us humans, is the ease in which he takes flight. See, that butterfly will never fly better than he does on his inaugural flight. He doesn’t say: “Okay, this is new to me so I better practice a few flaps and stay close to home.” No, he takes off in a manner envied by all of us who must practice before achievement.
It is not in our nature – nor our DNA – to find some hidden talent. To awaken one day as something new. To discover that we have a previously undiscovered pension for hitting a 100 MPH fastball or picking up a guitar for the first time and magically cording the likes of Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix. No, the notion of discovering a hidden talent, like a caterpillar discovering flight, is absurd. It is not in the nature of man. It is our nature to set goals, to struggle and practice, and fail, and improve, and work and to be bound by our limitations and challenged by the notion that all things are possible.