I’m Soup Again

I’m Soup Again

Have you ever been in a liminal state?

Liminality is a condition in which you had exited from one way of being but had not yet completely crossed the threshold into the new you? This place of being not the thing you were but not yet the thing you will be has often been likened to the pupal stage of metamorphosis, the time when the caterpillar has ceased to be and the butterfly has not yet become.

Just what is happening during that stage?

What is going on in the pupal stage for the insect or the place of liminality for a human? This article in Scientific American says that in the cocoon or chrysalis, the caterpillar secretes enzymes to dissolve itself! What is inside of the cocoon or chrysalis is “caterpillar soup.”

Well, “soup” is an apt description of my current state of being.

I have been here before many times in my incredible life, so on some level, I trust that there will be a full-fledged manifestation of my next metamorphic stage. I also trust that it will be equally as amazing as the previous stage was, just as the butterfly is as wondrous as the caterpillar.

What’s it like to be soup?

Not very comfortable, I must admit! As a creature who loves to take action, who thrives on clarity, and who prides myself on knowing things, breathing through a state of not-know is extremely challenging! In fact, I would rather plan, organize, and implement 22 events in 13 weeks than be present for this feeling of disintegration.


In fact, what I actually did from October 1 to December 29 was plan, organize, and implement 22 events in 13 weeks! And ironically, that is what it took for the caterpillar that I was to recognize the need to completely dissolve myself so I could become what I feel called to be. The caterpillar was marvelous, AND it had gone through its final molt before pupating. It was clear that the time to enter the transformational pupal stage had arrived. I let go of the known and took a leap of faith into the unknown.

Alright, already!

So I have now been soup for about one month. I feel ready to begin the process of coalescing into the new form. I’m so grateful that, like the caterpillar soup in the cocoon, some very special cells, “imaginal discs,” have survived the disintegration process and have within them a complete blueprint for the next phase of my existence. It is an act of faith to rely on this, and faith is what has gotten me through so many pupal experiences before.

I can’t wait to see what emerges, and to share this new form with you. In the meantime, I’m soup. That is not only okay, but also necessary and ultimately beneficial, for me and for those I am meant to serve.


Have you ever been soup?

What emerged after your experience of liminality?

A Fishing Trip with Dad

A Fishing Trip with Dad

The following is an excerpt from Sensational Salads to Cool the Earth, by Beth Love.

When I was a child, maybe 10 or 11 years old, and several years before the advent of vegetarianism in my family, our father took my sister and brother and me out on a fishing expedition. If I remember correctly, he chartered a boat and we went out on the sea. Much of the experience is lost in the depths of memory, but I do clearly recall that I was the only person who caught a fish, a very large tuna. I also remember the sound of the fish after it had been hauled into the boat, disconnected from the hook, and placed into a wooden box on the deck; in fact this sound is the crispest part of the memory. For the rest of that expedition, until it finally died, the fish flopped around in the box, causing crashing, erratic, drum-like sounds. I was fixated on those sounds. They forcefully drove me to face the fact that I was the instigator of the slow, painful death of a living creature. If, as seems likely, there was blood in the box when the fish was removed, or if the body of the fish was lacerated from its heroic struggles, I have completely blocked these things out of my memory.

In recalling the incident, I want to believe that I begged and pleaded with my father to let the fish go. I can almost see my child self doing that, hear myself crying out for mercy for the fish. I even seem to have a vague recollection of my dad taking a stubborn stand; after all, he had paid good money to charter the boat for the purpose of catching fish! In actuality, however, I don’t really know if I even made the suggestion that the fish be released. I may have simply sat, silent and numb, feeling disempowered to right the wrong that I had surely just committed.

I also want to believe that I took a stand when my Baba (Dad’s mother) cooked the fish and served it to us later that day. I want to believe that I refused to eat it and that I made my reasons clear. But I don’t really know whether I ate it or not, or whether I said anything or not.

I fantasize about the idea of having had that incident be a conversion experience—of having sworn off of eating living creatures ever after. I know that that did not happen.

How is it that most of us who live in cultures in which the eating of meat is normalized become so shut off from the ethical and spiritual dimensions of routine cruelty and killing? How have we, as a species, so fully otherized our animal brothers and sisters such that we can take their bloody, dead bodies into our bodies for pleasure without even giving it a second thought? How can we tolerate the ripping of children away from their mothers in order that we might enjoy the mothers’ milk? Or the excruciatingly horrifying realities of imprisoning animals in Auschwitz-style conditions so we can take pleasure from consuming their body parts, their children, their potential children?

(The photo is of my dad, my siblings Craig and Alix, and me, taken around the time of the fishing trip. I am wearing a treasured pair of bleach-dyed bell-bottoms that my dad bought me, after much begging and pleading and protestations to his suggestion that I get a pair of JC Penney’s “plain-pockets!”)