Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Lessons FLY Past You at 45 MPH

In THIS case, the lesson that might be flying past you is a Dragonfly.

The dragonfly is capable of reaching speeds upwards of 45 miles per hour. Yes, that little thing.  That prehistoric, perfectly aerodynamic shiney, little thing.  And it achieves that kind of speed with pure efficiency and minimum of physical effort.  A mere 30 flaps a minute holds this insect aloft while a mosquito requires about 600 flaps a minute to do what it does.

Here’s another instructive aspect of the dragonfly of the dragonfly – it has the ability to move in all directions.  It can hover.  It can move forward, backward, up, down and this side to that.  All with ease.  Or, rather seeming ease.  As a youngster, before I was able to launch into reading the biographies of great souls (that I loved so well) I spent a lot of time out of doors.  And the natural world became my first set of teachers.  It’s perfectly natural for me to take an day’s instruction from a dragonfly.  If it’s new to you – I’ll share some of the inspirations I draw from the capacities of this insect.

Even when I have a lot to do and have to achieve a lot in less than usual time, I don’t have to be in “a flap” about it.  Just like the dragonfly, I can move quickly and still maintain my poise, focus and ease.  Said another way – I don’t have to create drama around “having so much to do.”  I can just do it and get it done!

You’ve heard the phrase, “turn on a dime.”  It references the capacity to adapt quickly.  This primordial creature models the capacity for change.  It could be lovingly called the Master Quick Change Artist.  Years ago I wrote for a friend, “Just because you bought the ticket doesn’t mean you have to stay for the second act.”  How many times does it happen that someone stays in an untenable circumstance because they have already invested so much into the effort?  This is common in relationships, volunteer efforts, job capacities, even hobbies!  The dragonfly demonstrates the gracious capacity to simply go another way.  Without a lot of flap and fuss.

Whoooooosh.  There goes the dragonfly – leading me into more outstanding lessons from its long practice of beauty and power with grace.  Will you keep your eyes open for what lessons might fly past you today?

All is waiting and all is work; all is change and all is permanence.  All is grace. – Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, 1984 –

Beauty is everlasting/ and dust is for a time. – Marianne Moore –

Oh who can tell the range of joy / or set the bounds of beauty? – Sara Teasdale –

Art should be Truth; and Truth unadorned, unsentimentalized, is Beauty. – Elizabeth Borton de Trevino –

You have gathered the many powers, / you have clasped them now / Like necklaces unto your breast.  – Enheduanna, 2350 BC

My Case for the Dragonfly

Over the coming few days I’m going to make a case for the dragonfly as a model for modern behavior.

I am utterly taken with all the lessons the dragonfly holds for me and I hope you will find some inspiration in them.

Throughout centuries and across cultures, the dragonfly has been used as a metaphorical model for adaptibility and change.  Interestingly enough – the dragonfly itself, over the history that can be cobbled together about it – has changed very little.  It is an insect that adapts perfectly to its surroundings and circumstances and has done so over eons.  I look at the dragonfly and see pre-history fluttering before my wonder-filled eyes.

I draw the lesson from that for my own life and borrow from American wisdom to articulate it:  “If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.”   I’ve had occasion to re-invent myself and my personal operating systems on many occasions.  The model of the butterfly reminds me not to change for simply the sake of change.  It prompts me to retain the systems that work and reinvent the ones that don’t.

Here’s another magnificent instruction from the dragonfly.  Consider first the ordinary housefly.  It buzzes around your head and home with seeming zippity speed and ease.  To stay aloft that housefly has to flap it’s wings upwards of a thousand times a minute.  That’s a lot of flapping, friends.

The dragonfly?   With a much larger body span and more weight – flaps its lovely, iridescent wings a mere 30 times in a minute.  A picture of efficiency, poise and ease.  With the proverbial clock ever ticking on various requirements in the course of a day – it’s tempting to behave like the housefly.  Rapid wing movement LOOKS like success and APPEARS very busy.  Exhausting is what I say. With 30 flaps a minute the dragonfly models the grace of a master ballerina.  The master makes the dance appear effortless and the dragonfly makes it  look so easy to stay aloft.  And, perhaps, because the insect is operating in accord with its structure and nature, it is easy.

There’s another lesson:  when in cadence with our core talents, skills and abilities…things become more natural, full of ease.

I know the butterfly gets lots of attention.  This week I’m giving my whole attention to a lesser known icon – the dragonfly.

 

Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling. – Margaret Lee Runbeck, 1944 –

Learning too soon our limitations, we never learn our powers.  – Mignon McLaughlin, 1963 –

I think learning what you can not do is more  important than knowing what you can do. – Lucile Ball, 1954 –

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. – Willa Cather , 1915 –

People change and forget to tell each other.  – Lillian Hellman, 1960 –

The tragedy of life is that people do not change. – Agatha Christie, 1948 -

Share with Your Washington State Friends!

I will be in the historic barn with other working artists demonstrating a wide variety of art techniques.

 

Share the opportunity for a fun day with your friends in Washington State!  It’s lovely on Whidbey Island this time of year!

 

A Blessing for you on Monday

before you:  promise.

behind you: presence.

beneath you: integrity.

around you: source.

within you: joy.

may what you see be what you wish.  may what you know serve you well.  may what you sing bring kindness to others. may all you give bring mercy in a circle back to you. and may you be confident in the hand that will always be extended between you and your friend.

like the trees: may you stand/ firm/ ever reaching.  in the wind: ever bending. in the rich and healthy sail may you be ever rooted in your own knowing of the source of all things.

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