Monarch Butterfly

On a fall morning following one of my Guided Resilience wellness retreats, a monarch butterfly landed on my arm and rested with me for several minutes.

It was a beautiful, fall Sunday afternoon that I hosted a wellness retreat at our state park. It was peak season, and the landscape was adorned with a tapestry of fall colors. The group of about 25 gathered in the lodge for an afternoon to practice self-care and resilience building skills. We explored meditation, mindfulness, gentle yoga, and crafted wellness visions all in a beautiful setting unplugged from technology.

I used the Monarch butterfly as inspiration for this retreat. The story of the Monarch butterfly begins on a particular tree that grows on a particular mountain range in Mexico that serves as birth place for this remarkable species. Four generations of monarch travel north through the summer months. The late summer monarch, or “super monarch” as it is called, faces the amazing challenge to fly the thousands of miles back to its home. So how do the super monarchs know where to go? They have never been to Mexico. Their parents or grandparents have never been to Mexico. How is this possible?

“Inside each of us there is a marvelous compass which greatly favors life, freedom and vitality.” ― Bryant McGill

Science cannot yet fully explain this mystery. It is thought that their “inner compass” somehow navigates them to the destination of their calling. We do know that the monarch’s existence is in jeopardy. Numbers have been falling dramatically in recent decades. The monarch butterfly is close to being placed on the endangered or threatened species list. Many suspect that toxins in the environment including air and maybe noise pollution may contribute. Others surmise that landscape and roadside maintenance choices including mowing and use of herbicides threaten their food supply.

Cami Smalley Monarch Moment

The monarch is not the only species threatened by our increasingly toxic environments. An alarming number of Americans face unprecedented levels of stress in their personal and professional lives. In the retreat, I used the monarch to explore the importance of going on retreat to tap into our own “inner compass” and realign with a wellness vision that will take us to our own “Mexico” – the place where we regenerate our own life story. I made the connection to the threats and adversity that challenge our resilience and ability to thrive including toxins that exist in our food, environment, relationships, and even in the thoughts we think. At the conclusion of the retreat, participants had their own wellness vision (their Mexico) and an origami butterfly to remind them of their commitment.

On the morning following the retreat, I woke early and went for a run. It was another beautiful fall day. When I returned, I stopped for a moment to visit with a contractor about resurfacing our driveway. While we were visiting, a monarch came and landed on my arm! No lie! She stayed with me for about 10 minutes. I left the driveway and walked to my side garden and sat down with her still resting on my forearm. She seemed to be gently stretching her wings by lightly floating them up and down. She was also probing my skin. I suspect that she was enjoying the salt that was the result of the sweat from my run. So we sat there and shared a moment. Want to know what she taught me? Her presence affirmed two things:

Lesson #1: Self-care is essential to resilience.

She was obviously one of the super monarchs embarking on the journey of a lifetime. But she took time to rest, nourish herself, and stretch. This moment set the course for my future work. I knew that I was on the right track. I would continue to carry the message of self-care through the nourishment of body, mind, and spirit for cultivating resilience and well-being.

You can’t peacefully pursue your life passion or purpose without practicing disciplined self-care. Stillness and rest are important for connecting to your own inner compass. Mindful Pause offers you that rest and opportunity to orient your life direction. You will be guided to connect with your inner compass and reveal a journey of your own toward personal and professional wellbeing. I hope that you, too, can take a moment to rest and nourish yourself with the wisdom and strategies that I have learned and witnessed to be supportive in my professional coaching practice.

Lesson #2: Life is a Miracle.
There are two kind of people in the world. Those who don’t believe in miracles. And those who believe everything is a miracle. – popular wisdom

I choose to believe everything is a miracle. I believe you are a miracle. And I am honored to accompany you on your journey toward your meaningful and rewarding life. Whether through my website stories or movement meditations, or on retreat with me, or in a coaching engagement, I never grow tired of witnessing the profound beauty and uniqueness of each person I meet.

Follow this link to see  a video of my special monarch moment