Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Butterfly Effect

A few weeks ago my Kundalini yoga teacher asked me to help put together a display window for his new yoga center. I teamed up with another yogini and we surveyed our homes for appropriate objects that might be yogi-esque enough for the display. She had a few beautiful vases and some large, silver candleholders. She also contributed some lovely purple fabric.
            I searched my home to find something I could bring, but the only item that called out to me was my butterfly—a large, metal butterfly that hangs from a wooden frame. The butterfly was a gift from a dear friend who ran the first yoga studio I ever practiced at; when she closed the place she handed me the butterfly and said, “This is for you."
            I actually never had a thing for butterflies, but my mother adored them. As a child I was always looking for butterfly gifts for her: candles in the shape of butterflies, notepaper, mugs, butterfly jewelry, etc. So when my mother died I kind of took over her butterfly love, and whenever I practiced yoga at Nesheemah (the name of my first yoga studio), I would look up at the metal butterfly on the studio windowsill and feel that my mother was with me (as she always is, in my heart).
            So, I realized, I’d become attached to that butterfly and I didn’t really want anyone to borrow it, even another yoga studio. Just as I was leaving to set up the display, however, the butterfly caught my attention. “Bring me along,” it seemed to be saying. “Let me do my stuff.”
            Okay, so I don’t really hear the voices of butterflies, but something prompted me to let go that day and offer the butterfly up. My display case coworker was thrilled when she saw it and so was my teacher; the butterfly took center stage in the window, and looked perfect.
            It wasn’t until a few days later, however, that I realized that the butterfly was weaving its magic, just as it had at Nesheemah. In the sunlit window, its shadow seemed to sway and flutter as if the butterfly was alive. I glanced up during my yoga practice and thought again of my mother, of how she spread her love and goodness to everyone she met, and I knew that to hold on to something like that is really not the idea.  Just as I shared my mother’s love with my siblings, cousins, friends and so many others, the butterfly’s magic was meant to travel. I wasn’t surprised that many people who came to the center during the opening weeks commented on its beauty. Perhaps it had even reminded some of a person they’d lost and loved.
            This week, the window display was changed and I brought my butterfly home to its rightful place on my piano.  It looks even more content there now that it’s had a chance to do what butterflies do best: happily flutter their wings and create love's ripple effect.

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