The bees that came to visit the lilac beside my window stopped coming. They have been replaced by butterflies and it got me thinking about how things change.

Butterfly and Lilac by Anne McKinnell

When it happens to butterflies it seems conspicuous and abrupt. It can seem so too when it happens to other people. But when it happens to ourselves it seems like a long drawn out process that began sometime before we were aware of it.

Butterfly and Lilac by Anne McKinnell

Oftentimes I find that when I need to make a change in my life, to move ahead, it is not learning something, purchasing something, or taking on something new that is required. Rather it is the discarding of something that sets me free: expectations, choices, even physical objects.

It is the removal of things that brings about simplicity.

Butterfly and Lilac by Anne McKinnell

Perhaps it is the metamorphosis itself that should be our expectation.

We are all butterflies.

Share Button


  1. Marc Theriault says

    Very well said, Anne. Now let’s compare this post with the other recent one, in which you explain to us that you “expect” to make money with your new profession!

    As David Duchemin wrote, do not let your professional expectations tame your passion (or something like that).

    However, it’s easier said than done. For someone in your position, how can you discard your expectations when you put so much efforts in getting somewhere?


    • Carrie says

      Maybe the key idea is not that of discarding all expectations, but rather the ones that do not serve us at this point in our lives.

    • says

      I’m not sure I said I “expected” to make money. Just that I really need to make it sustainable if I’m going to keep doing this :) I’m certainly not going to make as much money as I did in my previous career.

      I think the expectations I discarded were both other people’s expectations of me and my own expectations that didn’t suit me anymore. I changed my expectations. Before, my expectations, at least some of them, were about making a certain amount of money. Now my expectations are about living the life I want, even if that means making less money.

      Thanks for your comments Marc!

      • Marc Theriault says

        Thank you for your explanations, Anne, they shed some light on your goals… although they also bring up other questions to mind, like what kind of life you want to live? But that might be a bit too personal for this public place. : )

        Anyway, it’s always great to see your work. You might want to check Elaine Hunter’s work just for curiosity, if you don’t know her. She’s from Halfmoon Bay, here on the Sunshine Coast (the only relationship with me). Her web site is She is building herself quite a name too (expos in Toronto, N.Y. and Portugal, important sales to American Airlines, JFK Airport and Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto.

        • says

          No, I think all of my personal stuff has already been aired on my blog!! :) I’m pretty open about things.

          What it all boiled down to when I made the big change in my life, is that I wanted to be a happier person. That sounds pretty theoretical, but I discovered there are tangible things I can do that make me happier. Photography is one of those things. Because I made a decision to only photograph beautiful things, it forces me to discover good things in the world.

          Working in the corporate world was good and I did enjoy it while I did it, but it wasn’t meaningful enough for me. When it comes to the end, I don’t want to be remembered as the person who made it easy to get a licence for something online (I know what you’re going to say, but my websites actually worked). See, I’m still proud of the work I did, but that’s not the life I want anymore. I want to photograph, write and travel. So that’s what I’m doing. It sounds easy but it’s actually a lot of work to make it happen.

          Thanks again for your comments Marc, always appreciated! And thanks for the link, Elaine has some lovely photographs.

      • Carrie says

        “I think the expectations I discarded were both other people’s expectations of me and my own expectations that didn’t suit me anymore”—this is me at this point in my life. Great post, Anne. A word at the right time…

        • says

          I’m glad you enjoyed it Carrie, and know that while it may seem scary to change your life before you’ve actually done it, when it comes time to do it, it wont be as hard as you think. It’s making the decision that’s the hard part.

  2. Sunny Marker says

    Anne, I enjoy so much your thoughts and photo’s. This one is great. Really gives me something to ponder.

  3. says

    “…But when it happens to ourselves it seems like a long drawn out process that began sometime before we were aware of it.”

    Your perception is right on and I needed it, thank you. I followed you here from photo tips on silhouettes. So glad I did. Your encouragement built on experience and tribulations is well taken, your philosophy and fearlessness is inspiring, but your pictures…ahhhh- I often think out loud to another who may compliment a particular photo “sometimes I take the picture, sometimes the picture takes me.” It seems your photos are so natural, an extension of you and what you love…thank you then, a good find this A.M!

    • says

      Thank you so much for your very kind words Terry! It means a lot to me that my journey and my photographs are inspiring to others :) Thank you for your visit and comments, much appreciated.

  4. Jim says

    About 18 months ago, I too experienced a metamorphosis. My goal was to become more aware of my purpose on earth. I have only three rules: keep breathing, do the next thing on my list and try to do more good than harm. I read your free book on Lighting in Photography which is how I found your blog. Thank you for your photography tips as well as your personal story. I haven’t looked at your photos yet but wanted to say hello and express my admiration for a sole that has decided to take a different path. Good luck in all your endeavors!
    – Jim

    • says

      Hi Jim, thank you very much for your message. It is so important for us to be aware of the direction we are taking in our lives and make it a purposeful direction instead of just going along with whatever life throws our way. It isn’t until you make the conscious choice that you realize what a waste it is to do otherwise.

  5. George says

    Anne, In reading your dialog with Marc it strikes me that the butterfly you are chasing is an allusive one. (yeah, I took that from the song). But perhaps your readers will truly know what you are striving for if in their occupation they could experience a moment (or many moments) when they cannot contain an out loud chuckle while thinking, “I cannot believe I am being paid to do this.” And knowing they are “making a difference” in what they do.

    On that day, you will know you have that butterfly in your net, you will let it go, and never stop.

    • says

      Very well said George! It really is an amazing feeling to spend your time doing what you love and knowing that it does make a difference, both for my own life and for others too. Thank you very much for your wonderful comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge