Follow the Butterflies

I did a webinar this week and right before signing in, I got butterflies in my stomach. The same thing happens when I do karaoke, when writing to publishers, or whenever I enter a new room or prepare to have a difficult conversation.

The instinct is to retract, to get rid of the butterflies, to retreat from the expedition and get back to the tribe. But my fortress is all too familiar, the lines in the stone can only say so much, and the weather stays the same. Besides, once I know something is out there, that’s it. I can’t stop thinking about it and what it could mean.

Those butterflies. I know they’re still there because any time I get near the door, they start up again, like whirring electricity, making me glow from the inside so I can see just far enough ahead to wander into the woods. And eventually, I do.

I do the webinar, I get on stage, I walk into the room, and I have the conversation.

Here’s the thing: there are always beautiful things in the woods — bright, unearthly colors that amaze me and scare me, new species not yet logged in my book. And as I breathe in new air that hurts a little because I’m not used to it, and as I scoop up a handful of soil, foreign to my skin and eyes and nose, the sky shows itself through the canopy of trees.

It’s at this moment, standing in a column of invigorating light, hands covered with earth, that I must remember: it’s the butterflies that got me here.