How to be a Butterfly – A Step by Step Guide


There are those who fly and those who crawl. There are those who imagine futures beyond the curvature of a horizon and those who don’t. We think like small creatures. We have plots and fences. We keep our feet planted and our heads down. There is too much drama in the wind: the way it tickles you and plays with your hair, then hits you with a sucker punch, peeling back houses and breaking trees in two. 

Step One:

Better to stay belly to the ground. 
Better to trust Gravity over Lift. 
Better to eat my weight in cellulose 
than believe in the possibility of ambrosia.

My body is a beacon for monsters. 
My body knows nothing of freedom.
My body is luscious and they hunger for it. 

Step Two:

There are memories in me that I will not know. 
There is a time where everything is broken and yet
everything is exactly how it should be. 
I am sludge and I am nebula. 

There will never be a darkness darker than this.
I do not remain. How can I, when all that’s left is suffering? 
I dare not come out of this life alive.

Step Three:

From underneath the world I become Kintsugi. 
I have scars of powdered gold. 
I unfold from inside myself as bigger, bolder, wiser. 
I am reborn a kite, untethered. 

Carrying kisses from the wind,
tricking flowers into loving me,
and chasing wishes towards children. I am infinite.
I see potential now to feel Everything.


There is no heaviness I will not rise above. 
There is no shape I cannot unravel. 
There is no world I shall not circle.

©Skye Nicholson 2022

(Featured image of monarch butterfly by Tracy Price)

Kintsugi pottery is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer and powdered gold.

Transformation is such a natural process ~ we see it played out all across the earth, from metamorphosis of caterpillars to germination of seeds, from forest succession to gentrification of neighborhoods. If you are lucky, you will experience it at some point in your human life as well. But when we are deep in the midst of our reforming, it can seem the most intense and lonely place.

This poem is written for all of us who have been, or are currently, in the ‘Goo.’ Remember, you are not alone – this is a time-honored process, and everywhere you see a butterfly, you are seeing a survivor. There is only one way out, and it is THROUGH. The other side is so wide open. 🦋

For more thoughts on butterflies, check out “The Chrysalis.” My personal story of transmutation can be found in my book “Unexpected Alchemy: Poems of Addiction and Awakening,” available on Amazon.

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