My book launch wasn’t about a night of plugging or selling my book. It was a night to celebrate how anyone CAN DO what I pulled off last year. About how I didn’t really see this book coming until six months before it was actually in my hands, “An educational guide on Monarch butterflies”.
Writing a book was never a dream of mine. I knew friends and family struggled to read my texts and emails, so how on earth would they ever be able to read a book, were I to write one? Reflecting back on last year, I can see that anything is possible once you have a vision or a dream, and you feel it’s right in your heart.
It can happen, it just takes passion, focus and determination. When you’re passionate about something in your life and want to share your knowledge with other people, the writing becomes easy and your words just flow. When you’re on the right path nothing can stop you, you become aligned to your soul’s purpose. Along the way you’re presented with the right people.
It may seem coincidental, but it’s all part of the master plan. True friends and new friends stepped up and listened and gave encouragement and advice and this is something I will never forget.
December 15th 2016 was the date I set for everything to be ready; books all printed, website up and running, public book launches, procedures in place so people could order books online ready for Christmas and beyond. I had to have faith everything would work out and the universe would deliver.
My private book launch was something else to juggle, with everything that was going on. I wanted to organise this for all my support crew and close friends who had been there encouraging me along this catapulted journey. It was another major project to organise; finding a venue, a great photographer (and the universe delivered a girl who too loved Monarchs) and a sponsor (cheers Lindauer!).
That evening a fabulous bunch of people listened to my journey and helped celebrate the launch of my book. Special guests included the other half of The Butterfly Musketeers, Yvette Sitten, down from Auckland to meet everyone here in Christchurch. It was a privilege too, having Chelita open the night with a carefully chosen waitata and giving my book a special blessing, then hearing from other inspiring Goddesses, talking before me and shining their light too.
On the day of the book launch my phone went crazy, texts of support, love, and book orders. Plus one special text from a teacher wanting to hand over 30 letters of thanks from her 7-8 year old students, all typed up, excited and inspired by what the had learnt from a talk I had given their class a few days beforehand. These letters are very special to me, they were so touching. Already I was starting to make a difference in people’s lives.
It felt like a miracle had happened. What started as a two page guide for my daughter’s teacher to read, so she had some facts and information on hand to teach her class about the life cycle of a monarch butterfly, became MY metamorphosis.
My vision grew rapidly over the next couple of days and I thought, I’m going to write a book! I gave lots of power to this thought in my head and knew it was the right thing to do and that there was no going back on my word. When you’re in a state of mindfulness and live in the present moment you get to see opportunities that you might have missed when rushing with day to day life.
I saw only butterfly artwork around the classroom and felt there was a need for information to be out there for teachers. I’ve always wondered why more than half my friends were teachers, principals, teacher aides – I was halfway there with school connections already! I look back and it still hasn’t sunk in how much I accomplished in such a short time whilst juggling three children, after-school activities and a busy home life and friends. Not forgetting all my caterpillars and planting all my swan plants for the summer which too was major task.
I was always truly conscious of finding a balance in my life, seeing friends and walking in nature to keep me grounded, as sometimes I needed not to think about Monarch butterflies for a couple of hours. Yet in the back of my mind I was keeping focus on my print deadline and that my book would be edited in time and ready for distribution.
Not all teenagers are lucky enough to receive inspiration or guidance from their family, friends or teachers to help navigate the big wide world. I suppose I had to find my own path, travelling and meeting amazing people and working and excelling in a variety of jobs along the way, soaking up experiences that have made me the person I am today.
No one really believed in me when I was younger, although I have always had great friends in my life. However, I didn’t initially realise that I could rely on them or ask them for help. I felt I wasn’t good enough to fit in at school or with certain groups! This is why it’s so important to surround yourself with uplifting people in your life, even if these people are only in your life for a short time, they can make a huge impact.
My sleep and family meals were the only things that suffered during the writing period, take away sushi become a hit in my house twice a week as I forgot or didn’t have time to prepare for evening dinners but my kids didn’t complain one bit. I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had to do for the book, plus ideas kept popping into my head all night long. It was intense, but somehow I found the energy next day to focus at lunchtime once Felix (my toddler son) was having a nap, and I would just pick up from where I left off the previous night.
Once I had the bulk of the book done I started telling people what I had been doing, and it was so exciting to hear their enthusiastic responses. So many people had stories about Monarch butterflies remembered from childhood and this made me excited, that there was so many people who loved Monarch butterflies. I often met people in the community and heard more and more stories about how people were willing to give up so much of their time caring for and raising caterpillars and monarchs in their own homes, which gave me strength and the buzz to keep on going.
Once my book was out on the shelf, my hard work was sort of over and the adrenaline came to a complete halt. I finally had time to sit back, reflect and literally smell the roses and relax (which I have trouble with). It’s an adjustment, slowing down! Knowing there are no more deadlines on the horizon just yet, ha ha!
I still felt the need to plan some ideas for 2017 and expand The Butterfly Musketeers to a whole new level. Gathering new Butterfly Musketeers on board is a priority, so we can all help save the Monarchs, by protecting them and creating awareness. Also organising our exciting big butterfly day event in Christchurch this coming February at the Bromley Community Centre.
Mitre10 Papanui were my backing partner at the beginning. They saw my potential and the need for my book in the community and New Zealand. I just couldn’t believe they had spotted an opportunity for a good cause, but once I had spent more time with the managers I knew it was a perfect match as they heavily invest in the community and local schools. It’s not only because the company colours are orange and black like the beautiful Monarch butterfly!
Once support was lined up, I really had to devise a plan and write day and night when the kids were sleeping and most weekends. I had to brief my designer that I needed a logo, banners and business cards. Then casually on one of my weekly walks, my dear friend Sofia said “you need a website” which I digested and thought “she’s mad, I need a website just like I need a hole in the head”, but I knew she was right so I took that task on too, during the last stages of my book.
I went home that day and started looking for the right website package. I had to get my head around that and write the content and choose a theme and designs, with only about a million to choose from!! With a few amazing crash course lessons from Sofia (www.goddessesintheworld.com) I pulled it off. Thanks so much Sofia for doing all that background work on the website that was beyond me.
I’m excited about this year and don’t know what surprises are in store, but I feel really positive. It’s an honour to receive so many requests asking me to visit pre-schools, kindergartens and primary schools in Christchurch, Queenstown, Auckland and North Canterbury.
In February I started presenting my talk again at many schools, which I had totally missed over the holidays. I love it, especially interacting with the children. When they come rushing towards the school gate to greet me with such beautiful enthusiasm and I see the excitement on their faces as they say “You’re the butterfly lady!” (which is hard to hide as I’m dressed head to toe in Monarch butterfly gear).
Comments from teachers after my talks are overwhelming, in that they watched their students absorb everything I said and are delighted by my visit. My friends tell me how proud they are of what I’ve done, and it’s magical and so humbling to know that I’ve inspired friends and people to start raising caterpillars for the first time in their lives, or to hear how much they have learnt from my book. This once again wasn’t my aim, I didn’t think I could do this. I have achieved lots and the experience has given me confidence to soar and spread my wings to protect and create an awareness of the beautiful Monarch butterfly.