Most everybody has heard about the Butterfly Effect, the notion that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can influence a distant tornado in Texas several weeks later. Scientists have argued the idea that a butterfly could have far a reaching ripple effect on subsequent historic events since the 1890’s. Personally. I’ve definitely felt the effect of one impactful butterfly’s metamorphosis on my life.
Nothing has prepared me for the mixed ambivalent feelings I’ve been having as I start winding down to retirement. As owner and founder of my own company, Elite Resorts & Spas, I have always had boundless enthusiasm the last 15 years and have thoroughly enjoyed representing 20+ award winning resorts and spas.
However, this past year I’ve been slowing down a bit and losing interest in working the same old way. Prospecting for new business through emails and phone calls, making appointments with clients, driving to outside sales calls, doing trade shows and all the other proactive solicitation that goes into my work has been wearing me down. I’ve found lately that I’m just tired of the pressure to produce business. The other day, I just laid my head down on my desk and let it go clunk! Last Wednesday, I couldn’t even feign an attempt at prospecting, cold calling and soliciting new group business for my resorts. Yes, I know I’m ready for a change.
I’m in what Ron Pevny, author of “Conscious Living Conscious Aging” calls the “neutral zone,” the transition period where “we’re not who we used to be but we’re not yet who we’re becoming. We don’t know if new meaning will come. It’s uncomfortable, rich in potential, waiting for seeds of new beginning.” He says “Be patient, get quiet, go out into nature. Do things to stimulate your imagination…”
Sometimes life forces us to be still, and get quiet.
Last week I got a bad case of food poisoning from a restaurant salad and it laid me up for 5-6 days. I was so nauseous that all I could do was lie on my couch, eat clear, watery soup and drink mint tea. It was a very humbling and depressing week but it forced me to take some much-needed time to reflect on my life.
I realized that I’m coming to the end of a 15-year chapter of running my own business. It’s been a good run. I’ve represented some of the best resorts on the West Coast of the U.S. but I’m feeling like it’s coming to a close. Feelings of emptiness, fear of the future, depleted energy and a void. Like - what’s next? This business was my baby but now with tears streaming down my face, I cried and realized sadly, I’m getting ready to move on.
But a surprising gift came to me that same day. I got up from the couch and walked out my front door to get the mail and on my way back in – I noticed once again a small orange pod hanging on my front door. A few weeks prior, I had almost pulled it off the front door but then realized it was the pupa or chrysalis of a butterfly. It had been hanging on my front door for a few weeks. It may look like nothing was going on but big changes were happening inside. Special cells that were present in the larva were growing rapidly. They were becoming the legs, wings, eyes and other parts of an adult butterfly. By the fifth day of the food poisoning I was finally feeling a little better, rising from the couch with a desire to get out into the fresh air. That happened to be the first day of spring – March 21, 2015 - a very special day that combined the Equinox, an Eclipse and a Mega Moon. Astrological reports said a major shift took place on the planet that day.
I opened my front door – and low and behold a beautiful monarch butterfly was emerging out of the orange chrysalis. It shed its skin and what a miracle – a butterfly so delicate with the orange and black pattern slowly worked its way out of the now translucent pod. It then flew away before my very eyes. It will live 2-5 months while it mates and lays eggs. Wow- Rebirth!
As I was emerging from my own chrysalis, it seemed like such a great metaphor for my own life. I had gone within to reflect upon this time of transition. I’m now ready and excited for the next stage of my own evolution. I’ll probably have what is called an “encore career.” I won’t jump straight into retirement partially for financial reasons.
But I do know the old “energizer bunny” frenetic go-getter in me has matured into a more mellow, hopefully wiser woman. I’m becoming more accepting and peaceful about my next stage of life and it’s exciting. I trust the still, small voice within. The vision for my next stage is becoming clearer.
As a person who was always into “do, do, do” I’m realizing it’s okay to just BE and not totally know what’s coming next. Yes, it’s okay to not know. I’m in an in-between stage but it’s full of possibility and not such an empty place as last week.
I’m reflecting on passions that I never acted upon. I’m connecting on a deeper, spiritual level. I found myself smiling for no special reason today. At 64 years old, my thoughts are more interesting and I wouldn’t want to trade them for the traumas of being 20 or 30 years old again. Stimulating creativity is good for us when we’re in the neutral zone. I’m reigniting some hobbies and my passion to make a difference in the world, to become more fulfilled. I intend to aim as high as I can and shine my light even brighter. It’s a transformative time. I truly feel this will be my most awesome chapter ever. The timing is perfect to spread my wings and soar!