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  • Writer's pictureGilli

Trying to catch butterflies


All my life I’ve had a mind that periodically flits from thing to thing, stopping me from anything productive that takes longer than five minutes.

Most of the time, over the course of 61 years, I’ve learned instinctively how to manage it. Structure helps, things like timetables plans and lists and at times it helped me as I had the sort of job where you needed to be able to change focus quickly and be able to cope with changes to routine at short notice. I still find it difficult to maintain concentration during meetings which is why you’ll often see me making notes as this helps me stay focused – very important when I’m chairing meetings.

Sometimes the butterflies seem to hatch out in my brain daily and refuse to let me catch them and tidy them away into a net and at these times my focus flits all over the place just as a butterfly will flit from flower to flower in the garden.

Young children can are sometimes described in a derogatory way as having a “butterfly mind” as they go from activity to activity with just a fleeting time spent on each that we could also say that these children are experiencing wonder and curiosity about the world around them and sampling different things until they find the one that interests them and have not yet learnt to harness their butterflies.



Although my butterflies can be frustrating I wouldn’t be without them they’re part of who I am these butterflies are an intrinsic part of how I approach life through my curiosity, the things I’m interested in and even the jewellery I make. My mind butterflies lead me to ask questions such as “Can you make origami jewellery?” To which the answer is obvious. Recently as I’ve become more aware of the waste we produce I asked questions about how I could reuse and recycle waste materials. When I’m at a market I often get asked how I get my ideas and I always reply that it’s just how my mind works, that I ask “What if…” or “Can I…”?

Mt butterflies can get in the way but I’ve found that the best way to keep them under control when I’m in my studio, surrounded by so many materials to play with, is simply to plan things out on my whiteboard. Even when I’m physically tired or my pain is extra bad my butterflies are still at work as I think of new ideas and new designs in the flower garden of my mind as the butterflies flit from flower to flower.

Frustrating as they can be at times I love my mind butterflies and wouldn’t be without them.


Gilli 01/23



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