The Butterfly Beyond the Wall

Posted by Sally Dellow
3 Aug

Can we fly into the future today?

I am an unabashed Harry Potter fan. 

In The Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter suddenly finds that he can no longer run through the wall to access Platform 93/4 at King’s Cross Station.  That denies him access to the train to Hogwarts School – and all magical life he’s meant to live.  He may be a wizard, but when he bangs into those bricks, he’s having a decidedly unmagical ‘Muggle moment’… He feels stuck, frustrated, ordinary, bereft.

I’ve felt like a muggle quite a bit recently.  Life with aeroplanes and holidays was magical.  Life with brunches and beaches was glorious.  Time spent face-to-face with family and friends was an endless happy, golden experience… (Or it certainly it seems that way now that my is face pressed unexpectedly up against a hard brick wall!).

Managing my muggle moments

Living in Hong Kong, some of the bricks in my wall are political (US/China axis, anyone? National Security Law?). Other bricks are made of Covid-19 (my partner in lockdown elsewhere, missing my mother’s 80thbirthday…).  Some are simply the opaque glass bricks of being ‘a certain age’ in the midst of an uncertain time.  

Recent conversations with my coaching clients, with Heads of HR/talent and with leaders across industries tell me I’m not alone against the wall.  But I want to feel less trapped, less oppressed.  So, I’m going to share with you how I’ve been figuring out ways to pass through the wall of ‘what is’, and spend time frolicking in ‘what could be’?  After all, the ghosts at Hogwarts pass easily through walls – so why shouldn’t I?

Doing nothing to discover something

For a while after Covid-19 hit I tried lots of formal learning and all the other ‘positive, productive things’ I could do with my time.  I felt more trapped, more burdened, more unclear.  Trying too hard to DO made me feel negative. What I gave myself instead was permission to take time and space to BE: to use idleness and rest to exercise that under-used mind muscle – my imagination. 

Instead of spending my spare/‘me’ time in films, social media, formal study, books, I try to rest, walk, stretch, daydream. I doodle. As a visual person, I particularly allow images to enter into my head. I’m choosing to respect my right brain and my subconscious.

Then I go on to the internet and Google around to research the random images, words and phrases that have caught my attention… I see where the associations take me.  I try to let go of intention, planning, directing and controlling, and allow my subconscious some space to share its wisdom.

Key structures and imaginal discs

An example of the process in action: I was on my yoga mat doing Trauma and Tension Releasing Exercises (TRE® – see resources below) when an image and the word “cocoon” popped into my head.  When I researched cocoons I discovered that a chrysalis is different. Certain caterpillars build a chrysalis inside which they dissolve themselves down into key structures, then use imaginal discs to build themselves into a butterfly. Wow…!

I started wondering: What if Covid-19 isolation is my chrysalis?  What are my key structures?  What would my business and life look like if it became a butterfly?

With my coloured pens, I drew, wrote stream of consciousness. Then I spotted that a friends was offering online Tea & Tarot sessions, so I called and added a Tarot reading into the mix! Then took all those associations and words and sat with them some more.  And – though I’m not ready to share it yet – I have a dream emerging from the chrysalis. It’s fluttering inside me, preparing to fly over the wall and into the future.  

And that’s inspirational.  And inspiration triggers action. So now I’m starting to get practical. There are pockets of deep focus when I’m working on key structures: budgets, targets, markets, methods.  I have creativity, patience and hope… All of which have seemed in short supply these past few months.  

Resources for the eye-rollers

I realise my slightly woo-woo approach may induce scorn and eye-rolling in my more left-brain readers :o). I don’t apologise for that – after all, my background is in theatre, and my company is called Dramatic Difference!  

If left-brain logic is taking you into a realm of clarity and hope, HURRAH!  Keep going.  If using your body for competitive sports fills you with endorphins and gives you great mental focus, HURRAH! Carry on.  

This blog is for those who – in the current circumstances – feel wedged against a wall in their left brain, or trapped in a physical stress cycle. I’m here to remind you that your brain has two halves, that both operate as an intrinsic part of your physical body. Maybe embracing some gentle, restful, imaginative and creative ways to approach your thinking, your struggle, your future, your SELF, might dismantle the wall or produce a set of butterfly wings… 

Below are some online (and local HK) resources. These are how I set my subconscious free. They work for me, but may not for you.  That’s cool. Please share with me any others you enjoy:  

Bodywork: Online resources

  1. 5 Rhythms dance
  2. Rain walking
    • Article (8 Healthy Reasons To Walk In The Rain) (click here)
  3. Forest bathing (shinrin-yoku)
    • Article (‘Forest Bathing’ Is Great for Your Health. Here’s How to Do It) (click here)
  4. TRE®
    • Article (Can shaking exercises improve stress and PTSD?) (click here)

Bodywork: Hong Kong resources

  1. 5Rhythms with Moving Steps (click here)
  2. Shinrin Yoku Hong Kong (click here)
  3. TRE® (I am certifying as a TRE provider, so if you’re in HK and would like to experience this – for free – please write to admin@dramdiff.com).
  4. Float On Hong Kong (Click here)

Visual/intuitive: Online resources

  1. Intuitive collage (click here)
  2. Doodling (click here)
  3. Zentangles (click here)

Visual/Intuitive: Hong Kong Resources

Connect with my dear friend Katie Flowers at the WildatArtStudio – she offers in-person and online sessions, and is a guru of creative wellness: https://wildatartstudio.com)

Stanford science & Wonderfully woo-woo

  1. Thrive Global (Click here)
  2. Tea & Tarot – contact fiona@fionacoffey.com for a touch of Tea & Tarot.