Today I am going to imagine what those highly efficient and beautiful wings might reflect to me if I were able to “read” their iridescent shine. Imagine with me….
A message for you from the dragonfly…
You cannot become perfect.
Because you are perfect. Just as you are. Your responsibility is to be an explorer, not a tourist in this adventure which is your life and fully observe that perfection visible in the world.
Today. Right now. Fully present in this moment. With integrity, laughter, and joy…embracing
the questions, and living your way into the answers that are resonant for you. Both the questions and the answers only have to make sense to you. When they make sense to you it will not matter if they make sense to anyone else.
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
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 –