If the TyrantoCrankaTsuris had a best friend, it would be the CrankaTsuris Caterpillar. And the CrankaTsuris Caterpillar is almost the perfect metaphor for our own CrankaTsuris.
The CrankaTsuris Caterpillar spends its life crawling through the weeds and the trees, moving slowly through the woods waiting to get eaten by birds and ladybugs. The typical CtrankaTsuris Caterpillar has 16 legs which means 16 feet! So, I imagine this conversation with my two CrankaTsuris Caterpillar friends, Zig and Zag.
Zig: Whoever thought it was a good idea to put 16 feet on a caterpillar was nuts! You know I missed school all week, just getting the dirt out from under my toes! My parents, who I love, can only afford 2 pairs of shoes for each of us. I put one pair on the front two, and the other pair on the back two. The rest of the feet. Ugg. By the end of the week, they are disgusting.
My family has one bucket for ten kids so I get only one day a week to soak my feet, and as you know, it is not easy to soak 16 feet in one bucket.
Zag: Have you tried slippers?
Zag: Yeah. I go to Target, and they have a 'buy one, get one free' deal on slippers. Way cheaper than shoes. I put the slippers on all the middle feet, and that way, I can just walk with the front, and slide with most of the others, and the back to give me support.
Zig: Ohhhh. I saw you with the slippers trying to climb up the tree the other day. You were ahead of me, and it was the slippers that kept falling off and hitting me on the head!!! I was wondering what that was!!
Zag: Ooops. Sorry.
Zag: No. No. I think its good. I heard about the slippers, and birds don't like to eat caterpillars wearing slippers. Thanks."
Enough with the feet. The feet is the least of CrankaTsuris Caterpillar's worries. As they get close to becoming a butterfly, all of their insides turn to liquid, forming this larvae. They do not know why. They just know that they do not feel good. "Maybe, I had some bad grass." Zig says. "Zag...do you hear me? Are you there?"
Zag already got trapped in his little cocoon. "I am in here!!! It is so dark! Where am I? I had the bad grass, became liquid mush, and now, look at me!
Before Zig can answer, he too metamorphoses into a cocoon, and they both slip into unconsciousness.
Now, I said that the CrankaTsuris Caterpillar was almost the perfect metaphor for our own CrankTsuris. The reason I said that this was an "almost perfect" metaphor is because a caterpillar has no clue that he or she will turn into a beautiful butterfly. And don't we love to tell Little Johnny and Little Susie that they are little caterpillars that will grow into beautiful butterflies!
So, let's give the CrankaTsuris Caterpillar the knowledge that one day, he may turn into a beautiful butterfly, and can throw away the shoes and the slippers, and just fly away. That is, if, of course, they do not get eaten, and become frozen in the winter.
In the meantime, poor CrankaTsuris Caterpillar sits at home, and watches all those TV shows about beautiful butterflies. He had a favorite Caterpillar show, and it got cancelled. The worst, however, was when some of his friends became butterflies. This is what he got from his parents:
"I hear your friend Marty got a good summer job at Butterfly World. Why can you get a job there? A teenage caterpillar should be working in the Summer!
....Oh, and I hear that Stewie got into the Butterfly Academy. You did not even apply. There was a deadline. You look, but you only look after the deadline. Oy. Our son the caterpillar."
And, it does not stop.
Oh. And what is that mark on your face? Did you get bitten by a ladybug again? Now, if you were a beautiful butterfly with wings, you would not have such problems!"
What makes this story funny and relatable is that the parents of the CrankaTsuris Caterpillar are themselves caterpillars. They never were and cannot become butterflies. It is precisely because they never became butterflies that they desperately want CrankaTsuris Caterpillar to become a butterfly.
So, much of our own CrankaTsuris comes from our Caterpillar mind. We get stuck in the weeds and we look at others flying around with their beautiful wings, our Caterpillar mind causes this form of CrankaTsuris suffering.
That is why, when I would go to the Village Zendo in NYC to meditate, our wonderful teacher, Roshi Enkio O'Hara, would refer to our bodies as a skin bag. You do not go to sit on a cushion and stare at a wall to work on your body. We work to develop our Butterfly Mind.
I was reminded of the Butterfly Mind when a friend of mine, Nupur Biswal, had me read her wonderful book, "Let's Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali." It is a Children's Book that describes this Indian holiday that is referred to the "Festival of Lights." Each day comes with a different kind of celebration with different colors, different tastes and different smells.
Before reading this simple but beautiful little book, I never even heard of this holiday. However, I finished the book and felt absolute joy. It was a holiday that young and old; children, parents and grandchildren, all got together, and I realized that this was a holiday meant for only one reason: to help all of us cultivate our Butterfly Mind.
And, if we all tried to spend a little time each day working on our Butterfly Mind, some magic happens. Our CrankaTsuris Cocoon slowly disappears, and it is then that we get to start growing our Butterfly Wings.