Publisher: She Writes Press
Published: September 2021
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The loss of a parent hits you like a ton of bricks. No matter what, we are never too prepared or too old to lose a parent. What follows is the insurmountable grief, the what-ifs, the attempts to hold on to that last thread. All the while trying to come to terms with the loss.
Butterfly Awakens: A Memoir of Transformation Through Grief by Meg Nocero is the story of the extraordinary transformation of a forty-something Italian American attorney as she moves through unimaginable grief and sadness watching her beloved mother lose her battle to breast cancer. Experience with her the grieving process, a toxic work environment, and intense stress that results in depression and anxiety, along with a somatic nervous disorder called tinnitus. And similar to the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly, her story is a beautiful love letter honoring her mother’s legacy while detailing the awakening of her own.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write? What inspired your story?
In April of 2011, not only did I lose my mother to breast cancer, but I also lost my way. I retreated into my closet and did not want to come out and face a world without my mother. I showed up to my responsibilities at work and home, but I fell into a depression where I did not want to live anymore. It was a terrifying feeling. My kids were 2 and 8 years old when my mother passed away. I knew that I could not abandon them, but the sadness and disillusionment enveloped me.
As an empath, someone who can absorb another individual’s mental or emotional state, I am sensitive to the energies in this world. My mother grounded me when the world became too much. She was my safe place. When she died, I felt like my connection to my guide was cut off. I was left alone to navigate the confusing grieving process. Additionally, I burnt out from traveling back and forth from Miami to Orlando to help with her care while managing my own hectic family life, a full-time job as a federal immigration attorney, and raising young children.
I have always had a journaling practice — using writing as a tool to work out so much. So I looked for a way to navigate the grieving process and started to write as a healing tool. I started simply. I would wake in the morning and read from a book that resonated with me. When a quote or a passage spoke to me, I grabbed my journal and channeled at least three pages of longhand about what I felt my mother would want to communicate to me about it. One day led to the next, and this routine led me to complete my guide that I would later call The Magical Guide to Bliss: Daily Keys to Unlock Your Dreams, Spirit & Inner Bliss. I intended to empower myself to figure out how to will myself back to life, step into the unknown, and wake up to life again. In addition to allowing me to feel connected to my mom, it helped me muster the courage to make a career change after 20 years as a federal prosecutor. The writing was the first step towards what helped me trust my transformation; it was my cocoon, a safe place to strengthen my budding wings so that I could imagine metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly.
I remember thinking how easy it is to get stuck in life, far short of where I wanted to be, and I felt trapped by pain and despaired that the suffering was all that there is; that bliss is just a myth. I started to get intentional with my life. Paying attention to the people, places, and things that would show up every day, I became excited about my present and future again. When I was at an all-time low, I begged the universal divine for assistance. I promised that when I did emerge triumphantly, I would share the vulnerability of my story to inspire others not to lose hope and give up on their dreams if they find themselves in darkness. I wanted my story of transformation through grief to one day be the light for others — the greatest gift is for someone to look at you and say, because of you, I didn’t give up. That helped me fight my way out of my darkness.
And, some of the events that occurred as I learned to love myself unconditionally were truly extraordinary. When Oprah’s “Live the Life You Want 2014” came to Miami, it catapulted me to take the final step and truly live the life I wanted as a published author. One of my long-time dreams was to meet Oprah, one of my spiritual guides, and I was one of the lucky ones to get called up on stage with Oprah in Miami, and as they say, the rest is history; in this case, a trilogy — The Magical Guide to Bliss, Daily Keys to unlock Your Dreams, Spirit & Inner Bliss, Sparkle & Shine: 108 M.A.N.T.R.A.s to Brighten Your Day and Lighten Your Way and finally my memoir, Butterfly Awakens!
I will never forget Oprah looking me in the eyes saying to me “this is your moment, Meg, don’t miss it; it is time to live the life you want!” And so, I have! And the most fantastic thing is that I have brought many others with me.
What do you think makes a good story?
I love a good story. It is magical when good music, books, or fantastic movies inspire me to think outside the box, offering hope, sometimes even getting a break from the world’s stress.
A good storyteller brings me into their world, introduces me to incredible characters who become so real. She shows me beauty as she takes me on a journey to discover something new, evoking a full range of emotions. From laughter to tears, I appreciate when the writer is vulnerable to where I feel the story come alive off the pages. When I get to the last page or the end of the movie, a fantastic story stays with me inviting conversations that expand my mind and fills my soul.
Is there a message/theme in your book that you want readers to grasp?
When I was moving through grief, I promised that I would keep going to share a better story for my life, healing myself and in service to others. The metamorphosis of the butterfly and the guidance of the lighthouse were symbols that stood foremost in my mind. Never giving up in this life, doing the hard things that surround transformation, and in the end embracing your inner beauty — not needing approval or permission from others to be here. I want other people to honestly know that there is always light, even in the darkness and that they are more than enough just as they are.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
There are so many synchronicities in life. Living my story was amazing. Getting it out there has been even more amazing — meeting and collaborating with so many creative people. I have learned so much and continue to learn every day — the learning curve is steep.
What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
Living these words –
I wrote this before I resigned from DHS:
And as I sit here ready to write my own final mission statement, out comes just two simple words:
I QUIT a job where I am no longer able to develop my talent.
I QUIT and take off the golden handcuffs that have kept me tied to something that no longer serves me.
I QUIT fear.
I QUIT seeking approval from others. I QUIT needing that approval to know my worth.
I QUIT beating myself up mentally.
I QUIT sabotaging my own peace and freedom.
I QUIT not believing in myself and my purpose.
I QUIT not paying attention to the signs that tell me that it is time to move on.
And I grab onto BLISS!
I am changing the negative charge of the words “I QUIT” to a positive one. One that allows me to follow my dreams, my bliss, and my calling here on Earth. I know that the past 20 years have provided me with some of the most amazing opportunities to hone my craft. I know that I have had the chance to meet some of the most amazing people on this part of my journey. I know that I have impacted and made a difference in the lives of so many. And I know that many of you have so impacted and made a difference in mine and will remain such an important part of my story. I know that I have accomplished and learned so much. Quitting is not a failure, it is actually a sign of success. To know when it is time to move on and have the courage to step out on your next adventure into the unknown, even though you may be terrified, is such a badge of honor. Such a gift to yourself. such a gift to the world. Because this world needs more happy people, who let go of a state of depression and anxiety and choose to claim their joy and go for it!
So I leave you all with this, if you stay where you are, make sure that you are passionate about it and look for the lessons to be learned. But when there comes a time when you are no longer satisfied and there is something that is tugging at your soul to move along, then answer that call like a hero and fearlessly and courageously (with your angels by your side) open the next door that awaits. Only then, you will discover the endless possibilities for you. You can say “I PERSIST!”.
About Meg Nocero:
Meg Nocero, a magical manifester, is a former federal prosecutor, an inspirational speaker, a transformational coach, and the award-winning author of The Magical Guide to Bliss: Daily Keys to Unlock Your Dreams, Spirit & Inner Bliss and Sparkle & Shine: 108 M.A.N.T.R.A.s to Brighten Your Day and Lighten Your Way. After she was brought on stage in Miami with Oprah Winfrey in 2014, she was inspired to manifest the life of her dreams and founded Butterflies & Bliss LLC and S.H.I.N.E. Networking Inc., a nonprofit that provides educational scholarships to young innovative leaders in her community. She holds a BA in Spanish from Boston College, an MA in International Affairs from the University of Miami, a JD from St. Thomas University School of Law, and a Happiness Certificate with the Happiness Studies Academy. She is also a Certified Federal Law Enforcement Instructor/Mentor and a Love Button Global Movement Ambassador. In addition to being named Miz CEO Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019, Nocero appeared on CNN Español with Ismael Cala and hosts her own YouTube channel and a podcast called Manifesting with Meg: Conversations with Extraordinary People. She lives in Miami, Fl.
Follow her on her website MegNocero.com, Instagram, or Twitter.
I would like to thank PR by the Book for providing a digital copy of the book for the blog tour. All opinions are my own.
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Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay