When you see a dragonfly soaring in all her iridescent splendor, it’s hard to believe that such an elegant creature spent much of her life crawling around the bottom of a pond.
But it’s true. Dragonflies spend as much as four years in their larvae-like, creepy-crawly “nymph” phase,
And it isn’t pretty. (More like Alien than A Bug’s Life.)
But here’s the thing.
Even though a nymph’s appears to be mundane to the outside world, big changes are happening inside.
In fact, that little creature actually sheds her skin up to fifteen times before finally making a dramatic exit from the pond.
Then, when she’s finally ready to climb out, onto her launching pad (a reed or leaf), she lets go of her final layer of skin.
And tada! Her wings had been growing all along.
Now, does the dragonfly’s story remind you of anyone you know?
I thought so.
Haven’t we all found ourselves stuck in the muck of our own private ponds?
Sometimes no matter how hard we work to get out, it just feels like nothing is happening.
Whether your pond is a stagnant work situation, a stuck relationship issue or something in your life that just isn’t flowing, the dragonflies have a lesson for us all.
Here are some things I’ve been learning from them. Hopefully, they’ll help you:
Be one with the muck.
When we find ourselves crawling around in uncomfortable feelings, it’s human nature to want to get out.
But the truth is, allowing ourselves to feel and explore our frustration, pain, worry and uncertainty, is the only way to truly evolve.
Instead of cursing our time in the pond, let’s ponder the gifts.
After all, it’s the courage to dive deep into emotional waters that grows our wings.
Stop bugging yourself.
Dragonflies have a distinct advantage over us. They don’t have to endure the agonizing, scrutinizing voice of their Inner Critic:
“WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?
“EVERYONE ELSE IS ALREADY FLYING!”
“GIVE UP! IT’S TOO LATE!”
To combat that constant and crippling critique, we need to first become aware of it.
Then, imagine turning down the volume on self-judgment. And turning up the wise, accepting voice that lives inside your heart.
Dragonfly nymphs eat anything they can get their jaws on– insects, fish, tadpoles, you name it.
I suggest being more discriminating.
When you’re stuck in the muck, choose carefully. And I’m not just talking about nutritious, comforting food, either
Feed your soul with music, books, movies and things that feel yummy to you.
Surround yourself with humans who “get,” inspire and support Who You Really Are. And don’t be surprised if you have to shed some friendships along the way.
It’s just part of the process of becoming more and more your true dragonfly self.
Follow your flutter.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed and powerless in the outside world, try retreating to the quiet of your inside world.
Just place your hand on your heart and take a few deep breaths. As you go about your day, try to tune into the gentle yearnings of your heart.
Pay attention to that little fluttery feeling that urges you to take dance lessons, pick up an old book or have tea with someone you just met.
It may not make any sense at all. But you never know which tiny little leap of faith will eventually lead to your wings.
For instance, when I was unhappily stuck in the muck of my big fat Execu-woman job, I passed by a bulletin board in an art store.
For some random reason, a flyer about an art workshop in Mexico caught my eye.
Even though I knew I couldn’t go to Mexico, something told me to call the art teacher anyway. To my delight, she taught a local painting class one night a week
That one night a week eventually changed the whole trajectory of my life. You just never know.
Join the Dragonfly Movement.
Just like the dragonfly nymph who dares one day to step onto a stem into the sunlight, I’m taking a leap of faith.
I’m following the voice of my intuition and starting a movement to inspire others to show their true colors.
But first, I’m working up the courage to show mine.
For years I’ve kept my colorful, whimsical paintings stuck in the muck of my studio/garage.
But on March 17th, I’m finally giving my paintings wings and sending them out into the world as a collection of limited edition prints.
If you live in Los Angeles, I hope you can come to my Dragonfly Salon on Sunday, March 17th from 4-6pm at the fabulous BREADBAR in the Century City Mall. Click here to see the invitation. (I’d love to clink a Red Dragonfly Cocktail with you.)
But no matter where you live, I’d love to hear your dragonfly dreams. (Feel free to comment below.)
When you dare to share what’s in your heart, it lifts us all.