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Images of SoaringTMSmall Orange Butterfly
Orange Butterfly
The Butterfly
The butterfly—the transformed caterpillar—flying off into the blue sky, is one of the images chosen to represent the concept of SOARing.™ The butterfly represents positive transformation, rebirth, joy, and happiness.

Soaring™ is offered as a Grief AIDE to help in surviving a loss, be it acute or long-standing. This concept is probably best utilized in circumstances that require picking oneself up and "flying" again following the loss and restoring self-esteem and self-confidence rather than crawling around consumed by grief.

CaterpillerOne cannot be content to creep,
when one feels the impulse to SOAR.Orange Butterfly
Helen Keller

Soaring™ provides positive motivation for overcoming loss. The types of losses or crises best suited to this concept include relationship, occcupation, financial setbacks, diagnoses with long-standing medical conditions etc. These losses require that one accept and integrate the loss and recognize that their life is forever changed. The concept of Soaring™ can provide grieving people with a framework for transitioning through that change:

      Sensing the need and determining it is time to change.
      Opening the mind and the heart to change.
      Ameliorate the Grief and assimilating the loss.
      Reconcile the loss, releasing the pain (if possible) and recognizing you are forever transformed.
In the grief process, the bereaved person must deal with the loss, crisis, or significant change. Many people may hide away from the rest of the world much like being in a cocoon while trying to heal. This cocoon phase is one of transformation and often introspection and reflection. Finally after a time of self-imposed seclusion and transition, the grieving person emerges from the cocoon having undergone a major transformation, metamorphosed into a different person as the butterfly.

The Eagle

EagleWhat's wrong with wanting more?
If you can fly, then soar.
With all there is, why settle for
Just a piece of sky?

Alan & Marilyn Bergman

For those who prefer a stronger symbolic image, the eagle—flying off into the blue sky— was also chosen to illustrate the concept of Soaring.™ The eagle is a bird of majesty, our national symbol of strength, courage and facing adversity. There is something special about the eagle that sets it apart from the other birds that makes it a good representation of overcoming adversity.

And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he for ever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than other birds upon the plain, even though they soar.
Herman Melville

There has been a resurgence in the use of this image of strength during the healing phase from the September 11, 2001 tragedy. The image of the eagle helps to remind us of the country's and individual's strength, courage and resiliency to survive present and past adversity.

Many times, especially during times of sadness and doubt, I have sat mesmerized, looked to the skies, watching the birds fly over head thinking how peaceful and carefree the appear. Watching birds in flight, one can imagine them taking away your cares and worries on their wings, as they disappear into the heavens. The ability that birds possess to fly high and fly away escaping their situation is very appealing, especially for those who have ever been in situations or circumstances that they have wanted to, but been unable to escape.

A flock of seagulls fly overhead,
carefree and peaceful.
"Please, take me with you,
I want to be free.
Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS

The eagle can also help to visually illustrate the concept of Soaring™ by providing positive imagery for overcoming the loss. Significant losses or life-changing crisis force people to change. Soaring™ can provide people with a framework for transitioning through the change: Sensing the need and determining it is time to change. Opening the mind and the heart to change. Ameliorate the Grief and assimilating the loss. Reconcile the loss, releasing the pain (if possible) and finally recognizing you are forever transformed. Ultimately, the grieving person emerges from the crisis changed and transformed as the butterfly, reborn as the phoenix or with the strength to overcome adversity as the eagle.

The Soaring™ can be used to better understand the grieving process and consequently, shape attitudes and choose the environment in which the loss is processed. A positive, uplifting outlook can aid the bereaved in getting through the grieving process. Life is very different following a loss and the grieving person is forever transformed by the loss, but it is important to remember that life continues and the bereaved can eventually find wings to SOAR again.

We become like our environment, and our environment becomes like us.
Everything around us molds us and shapes us.
So it is important to choose our environment with care: one that is positive,
one that lifts us up and gives us wings to soar.
The Best of Success

The caterpiller is © by Maryann Sterling at Maryann's Art and used within the copyright guidelines of the artist.
See the Emergency 911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless, hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.

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Last update March 1, 2002