Gardening has been rich in opportunity and lessons for my own healing journey.

While tending to seedlings in my garden, I saw the parallel to the process of my own inner garden space cultivated through self-guided neuroplasticity. This simple hobby and joyful movement practice served as inspiration to eventually create Brain Gardening®.

New lessons emerged, quite literally, this summer with my very first experience in seeing the complete metamorphosis of Monarch butterflies.

Caterpillars are well-known for their ability to transform into butterflies. Yet, how often do we consider all that goes into such a transformation? These little beings have been a richly potent metaphor of resilience, but the extent of their strength is even more apparent when you witness the depths of their fragility and the specifics in their care. 

The process caterpillars undergo is not effortless, though it may appear that way externally.

We may simply appreciate and observe the butterflies in their final form, without recognizing where the journey began.

To see the beginning of a tiny lone egg evolve into caterpillar, chrystalis, and eventually butterfly was amazing to say the least. I chronicalled much of the experience through photos and video on Instagram during my August adventure.

I had planted milkweed in the spring not knowing if anything would come of it and by August, I noted the entire plant disappearing before my eyes while nearly a dozen caterpillars consumed it. It began subtly but I took notice around the fourth instar stage and soon it was time for them to create chrysalises. 

Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle


Have you ever seen the process of when a caterpillar goes into chrysalis?  

The chrysalis formation happened in a way I wasn’t expecting. It appeared after the caterpillar shed one final layer of the old, rather than being built on the surface. The bulk of the changes for the caterpillar were taking place from within and were not immediately noted by me, as an outward observer. I had always thought the transformation to chrysalis happening through something that gets built around the caterpillar when actually it’s something happening within and beneath the surface, under a layer of exoskeleton (skin).


This experience served as a poetic metaphor of our own healing journey. The bulk of the changes happen beneath the surface and are not always visible. Proof of the changes reveal in the midst of shedding the outdated coping behaviors and belief systems that no longer have a place in our future.


So much of transformation happens in the deeper layers, beyond what our eyes can see.

This is true for healing and recovery. Only so much is visible on the surface. We can’t judge progress that way. There is a level of trust needed in the process—in what is happening underneath the layers.

What we can see on the outside doesn’t negate or outweigh all that is still happening within.

We too are capable of incredible transformations, far beyond the limits of what our own minds may imagine.  

Trust the process and the layers will unfold. 🐛🦋 

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