Creating the Conditions for a Crisis to Become a Chrysalis.

October 2, 2023

Creating the Conditions for a Crisis to Become a Chrysalis.

May 29, 2023

Recently, I was being filmed at my home in Galisteo, NM, near our new Ranch campus. It was a lovely late summer day, and I was talking about the “midlife chrysalis,” the subject of my upcoming TED talk, which will go live on November 13.

After I shared my thoughts on how midlife can be a crossroads—a time of chrysalis versus crisis—the filmmakers shot me walking through my home and backyard. Coincidentally, we happened upon a beautiful bush full of a kaleidoscope of butterflies. We captured it in this video, including my thoughts on the chrysalis and imagery of the butterflies. I hope you enjoy it.

Let me spell out a few additional details (in a logical order) that aren’t in the video:


  1. The U-curve of happiness research shows that our mid-40s to our early 50s are the most challenging time of all of adulthood for a variety of reasons, including disillusionment and disappointment, feeling overwhelmed with obligations, body and physical changes that aren’t welcome, and overall, feeling like we’re terrible at playing The Game of Life.

 

  1. So, it’s not unusual to feel the crisis of these normal challenges. It feels even worse when you add circumstantial changes like divorce, an empty nest, losing one’s job or business, and parents or friends passing away. 


  1. Fortunately, this mash-up of liminality creates the conditions for our crisis to become a chrysalis such that a metamorphosis begins to have its way with us. We learn how to surrender. We edit what isn’t working. We change our habits. We are forced into the space to work on ourselves. And, miraculously, our primary operating system moves from our ego to our soul. 


  1. Suddenly, we feel a sense of liberation as the conditions have been met for the alchemical transformation process to occur. We are ready to take flight as wings sprout through this dark and gooey period.


One of our alums, Ryan Berman, says the following about how MEA creates the proper chrysalis, 

“The upside-down world of Mexico helps. Everything you’re surrounded with is a tool, a catalyst, or an inspiration to help you unlock (or dust off) your wings. The wing business isn’t just about reclaiming your wings. It’s also the wingmen and “wingwomen” you meet who nudge you along, root for you, and, when you integrate back in with the rest of the world, hold you accountable to charting your course.

I’m coming to believe that MEA (and hopefully all kinds of other midlife wisdom schools that will be opening) IS the chrysalis that helps people turn their crisis into a calling. Midlife is a crossroads, when you can either sulk into later life, feeling demoralized and lonely, or when you can transform and feel inspired by what’s next.

As you’ve heard me say before, the caterpillar and the butterfly—while very different creatures—share the same imaginal discs, a special cell group that contains the directions for transformation. Maybe MEA, whether in the liminal locations of Baja or Santa Fe, is a language school to help you translate your human form of imaginal discs so you can emerge from your midlife cocoon with wings. 

- Chip

P.S. I’d love to see you in Baja this fall. Three of the four workshops I’m co-leading are sold out, but we have a few spaces left in this one: Power of Purpose Nov 6-11. This is my favorite time of year to be in the Baja with the hatching sea turtles in the beach in front of our campus, the migrating whales, and the green desert. Hope to see you!

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