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The transition cycle part 2 : cocooning

The term 'cocooning ' comes from the work of Fredrick Hudson and Pamela McLean who studied transition cycles. We can go through a mini transition which is about improving a life chapter ( e.g. when we change jobs) or it could be the end of a life chapter. Cocooning is about renewal and inner transformation. It's a time of reflection and self-evaluation as well as a time of surrender and allowance. This means allowing your old world to fall away while surrendering to the in-between space, before the next phase begins. You could feel a sense of relief, but you may also feel lonely and sad at times. Grief may surface and you are offered an opportunity to process it.

We all have an inner sanctuary, a place deep inside of us. In the cocooning phase it's time to cultivate our relationship to it. Our inner sanctuary is the place where we can nurture ourselves and offer ourselves unconditional love.

Activities that could be beneficial during this cocooning are journalling (to help with self-reflection) taking up a new interest, travelling or taking a sabbatical. In some cases taking a transition job or part-time work will enable you to transition to something else when it's the right time.

You may not feel like doing anything much for a few weeks or months. It's very easy to get caught up in old patterns of self-judgement and view yourself as lazy. Know that you are going through a metamorphosis. Try cultivating patience and trust in the process. Eventually you will experience a sense of excitement and renewed purpose and passion.

Trust that this will emerge, like the butterfly, when you are ready.

The struggle to leave the cocoon is what strengthens the butterfly's wings so she can fly

Tricia Stirling

Here are my tips for navigating the cocooning phase:-

  • Cultivate kindness and patience towards yourself
  • Don't force things, rather ALLOW them to emerge
  • Positive solitude. Connect to your inner sanctuary daily (during meditation, when you are out in nature or taking quiet reflective time out)
  • Breathe into the softness of your cocoon and connect to the inner peace and safety there

4 thoughts on “The transition cycle part 2 : cocooning

  1. Shinade Jayne Gribben

    Hi Heather, It's good to know that cocooning exists for humans as well as butterflies. Most of us has heard of that analogy but reading your article is very affirming and helps get a feeling of what is it to cocoon for a person in the types of lifes we live. My experience is that cocooning can last for years and the second of you tips would be the one that helps for me the most.

    Many thanks for writing this for us ~ Shinade x

    1. Heather Day

      Hello Shinade, thank you for reading my blog posts and leaving your comments. I'm so pleased you find this post so affirming. Cocooning is definitely a 'process' that has its own timeframe. It can't be rushed, especially when we are coming to the end of a LIFE CHAPTER rather than a LIFE PHASE. It may only be on later reflection, when looking back, that we realise it was actually a life chapter that had been completed.

    1. Heather Day

      Thank you for your comments and I’m glad you are finding this article useful. The “cocooning” cycle can go on for a few months or longer. It has its own rhythm. It’s a reflective and inward time where we let things emerge. I suggest keeping a daily journal as a way of deepening your insights during this time.


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