Last year was a huge year of growth for all of us - local, national and world events have made us feel a little off balance - the 2017 Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index confirms that this is true for all demographics - gender, age, race, religion, political party, etc. - we are one in our feelings of uncertainty and in our desire to feel better.
This "state of the union" has caused me to want to "come out" about why and how Refreshment Zone was conceived - I'll be revealing more about that in 2018.
What is Refreshment Zone and How Can It Help Us Now?
Refreshment Zone is inspired by you. In my work as a social scientist and communication doctor over the last 20+ years, I have helped people find consensus, bridge differences and find productive paths forward for the highest good.
Refreshment Zone is a resting place for all of us - including me - as we look for balance, alignment and freedom from distraction in all settings - at work and at home. These are the places we bring our leadership and communication skills - the things that I teach every day.
Refreshment Zone also acknowledges what I like to call "practical spirituality" (i.e., a desire to bring our best selves with us to work and home). The materials on Refreshment Zone's site are reflections of our desire to learn, grow and improve and are designed to reinforce our natural optimism and hope that all will be well. Along these lines, I offer creative ways to help us move forward and get unstuck. They represent the best of me - and I hope you feel like they represent the best of you as well. I intend for this to be a place of rest and play and learning.
During my career, I have observed an important commonality - we all share a deep desire to be well - inside and out. I want to share this with you now, because I'll be increasing my presence in 2018 - you can expect to see my continued excellence with you as my clients and, in addition, you can expect to see an announcement about my new book (it's about negotiating the "off-road" of life). As a result, you will also see an increase in the retreats that I offer - I'll be traveling to different locales to do this. Contact me to arrange an event in your area. Our "refreshment community" will be growing by leaps and bounds and I am so happy that you are here with me now. Be sure you are following us on all of our platforms - Instagram, Facebook and Twitter - where we'll be making announcements about future events.
So, what about the butterfly?
2018 is the year of the butterfly and here's why....
A number of years ago (22 to be exact), I had a pretty dramatic, unscheduled and unwanted "off-road" experience - the teaching memoir that I will be sharing next year reveals my off-road journey and holds a lot of light (it's the only reason to tell a story). So, this butterfly will be - finally - telling you her story and flapping her wings.
But as I acknowledge my growth - I think about yours too. You see, I think we are all like butterflies - and there are great things ahead for all of us in 2018.
It is inevitable.
And - butterflies do not become butterflies overnight. So sometimes we need to be patient....
Several years ago, I took up raising butterflies in my spare time. And I noticed that a caterpillar has to work pretty hard to become a butterfly. Its whole purpose is to become a butterfly and fulfill its destiny. So the caterpillars eat, eat, eat - taking in all the parsley they can - and they seem to rest on occasion. I saw surges of activity - followed by a need for rest (similar to our activity/rest cycles at work and at home).
Caterpillars need "cocoon time" to transform.
I don't know what happens inside a cocoon - but it is magical. In the world of nature, I've seen the cocoon break open slowly - and I was surprised to see that a butterfly doesn't just pop out and fly. In fact, I was concerned the first time I watched a caterpillar come out of its cocoon because it looked weak and somewhat wet. It was all folded up in a new form. And then slowly - very slowly - over the course of a day or more - the butterfly's wings grew wider and it started flapping its wings gently - not the kind of flap that would make it fly - but the kind that was about testing its wings and understanding its own strength and destiny.
Then one day, the butterfly looked like it was ready to fly and I brought it out of the jar to release it to the sky.
It did not fly away at first like I expected. It still needed to get stronger - it needed a test flight. And so, I watched as the butterfly stayed on my finger for a while and fluttered peacefully - as if it was assessing the new world it was about to enter. Finally, the butterfly decided to fly off of my finger and surprise me again.
The first flight was not upward to the trees as I had imagined - it was to the grass to rest.
The butterfly rested and tested on the grass and I frantically looked around for a waiting bird, hoping that the butterfly would find its wings soon. Nothing bad was destined to happen to this butterfly - its next flight was upward to a tree branch.
It played in my backyard testing its wings for several minutes and I watched in amazement as it flew off into the blue sky.
And why am I talking about butterflies as winter is upon us?
I was distressed this past week to be flipped on my back - literally - as I lifted my dog and pulled a back muscle. All of a sudden, I needed a time of rest - which I am not very good at. I like to fly and move fast! It threw my work schedule into a state of flux and my holiday preparations into "rethink and simplify" mode. But it was such a gift and I am so grateful.
Have you ever had a moment like that - when things took you by surprise and you needed to go to "Plan B?"
It may be my medication, but thinking about butterflies is just what the doctor ordered. My back flip made me think about butterflies - their growth - and their need for rest.
All of us need growth and rest and sometimes, when we don't make time for it, it finds time for us. There is always a lesson patiently waiting us.
Butterfly's Message for 2018
As 2018 approaches, I want you to be certain that there is a purpose in joy and in discomfort and uncertainty. I also want to assure you that all will be well.
And as we enter 2018, the butterfly has some wisdom to share with us:
Take intentional time to rest and refresh yourself.
Be patient as you transform - transformation is happening in ways that we cannot even imagine - sometimes, we must simply allow it to magically happen while we rest.
Eat and rest.
Honor your cocoon time - we need it to grow.
Don't expect perfection right out of the cocoon - it takes a little while for new wings to get stronger - it will happen.
Forgive yourself when flights don't go as expected - try again because soon you will be soaring into the blue sky on amazing adventures.
Allow yourself to be the beautiful butterfly - everyone else can clearly see how beautiful you are.
You are perfect - exactly as you are - and right where you are.
There are no wrong paths to follow - you are exactly where you need to be right now.
You are a beautiful butterfly and I can't wait to fly together in 2018.
© Kathy Sturgis, Ph.D. Kathy is founder of Refreshment Zone and is a communication doctor who specializes in organizational and personal development. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on motivational programs.