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Sunday, August 31, 2014

"Metamorphosis"


I was sitting in my sunroom once when a very large dragonfly zipped up my yard, up the back steps, did a 90º turn, flew sideways through the almost shut sliding glass door, and committed suicide on my forehead, smack on my "third eye".  Its lifeless body fell neatly on my lap and didn't show any signs of damage from contact with my hard head.

I don't know how other people feel about moments like this, but I felt my world shifting.  Having spent so much time in the woods and river, I know dragonflies don't make a habit of committing suicide, and I seldom have dragonflies in my back yard.  I carefully picked up the dragonfly and thanked it for sending me a divine message.

Maybe that sounds odd to you, and I'm pretty sure dragonfly suicides aren't described in any of the major religious texts, but I notice it when animals don't behave right, or show up where they shouldn't be, or any other kind of strangeness in the natural world.

At the time of my life when the dragonfly died, I was separated from my husband, pending divorce.  I was thinking about my future and my disappointments when the dragonfly came into my life.  I looked at the lifeless body and knew the marriage was over.  New things were coming into my life.  This was the way it had to be.

When I was on my recent trip in Baltimore, a dragonfly danced around me and I thought "Oh crud!"  (Okay, maybe something a little stronger than that?)  I could blow it off and just say it was defending territory, but I knew better.  It kept flying in my face, "Look at me!" and I said "I see you.  No need to commit suicide on my head."  It flew back to its territory and did regular dragonfly things while I contemplated new acid in my stomach.

My dad told me whimsical stories about dragonflies being fairies, and there are traditions where dragonflies are angels in disguise.  If you want to put this in a more rational way, when I'm thinking of life changing events, I notice dragonflies.  Maybe they don't do anything different at all (though I don't believe that), but I notice them because of whatever's going on inside of me.  Maybe my heavy thinking makes my breathing or sweat different and there is a logical explanation, but even that's still a message to myself.  Something's changing.  I hate change.

I wasn't in a good marriage and needed out.  Ultimately, I'm a lot better off divorced than staying put because it was familiar and what I knew.  I suppose I took vacation recently because I already felt changes coming and needed time away to think about different things.  I don't know how to explain feeling change coming.  I just do.  Let's call it female intuition.  Time will tell if it works out plus or minus, but as much as I dislike change it is an opportunity for metamorphosis.  Seeing the dragonfly makes me feel like whatever's coming is inevitable, so it's up to me to make the most of it.

Sometimes I doodle dragonflies.  I think they're often as pretty as butterflies, and they go through just as an amazing metamorphosis from egg to nymph to adult.  Do you ever feel like you get dragonfly messages or messages from another animal?

27 comments:

  1. Thank-you for sharing such a touching story! I often find that weather (especially wind) symbolizes the moods and changes in my life. X Jane

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    1. I used to drive by Lake Erie on my way to work. If it was smooth and sunny, I figured a good day. If it was stormy, I felt like I needed to prepare myself for what was coming.

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  2. I love dragonflies with their unique 4-winged flight. Yours is very nice, The first thing I noticed was how very symmetrical it is!
    I think it's true, that when nature is acting out of the ordinary, it's calling us to pay attention to "something", but I don't always know what.

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    1. I often don't understand what to take from it when I see animals doing uncharacteristic things either. All I can say for sure is that I notice, and then I notice what's going on in my life. The two things often go together.

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  3. Amazing story about dragonfly vs your third eye, Linda. I take appearances by animals seriously too, though I don't always understand the message I believe they are delivering. Dragonflies are big in my life too…I have a stained glass dragonfly in my studio window and I've even had them on business cards in the past. My copy of Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson talks about dragonfly being the harbinger of change, just as you intuit…change coming because we are being challenged to see, to wake up about some aspect of our current life. I especially like this line, "On the psychological level, it may be time to break down the illusions you have held that restrict your actions or ideas." I see dragonflies nearby every day where I live, and very often there are swarms of them…I better get even more serious about this waking up business! :-)

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    1. I'm not sure what I'd think if I saw swarms of dragonflies. If each one is change, then that's a lot of change!

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  4. What a great post! Most of the messages I've gotten in my life came from the mountains.

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    1. I don't have mountains, so I guess I'm missing some potential messages :)

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  5. I keep wondering why I should be so attracted to dragonflies-- say, as opposed to other beautiful bugs, even butterflies. But I am. It could be because they are among us for so brief a time. It could be their AMAZING maneuverability. I think there are more children's songs in Japan about dragonflies than butterflies or any other insect --except for maybe fireflies. Since this culture values the melancholy, the end of things, and fragility, more than the West seems to (at least that's how I see it), the fact that dragonflies are an autumnal thing-- just before the coming of winter and death-- may explain why they have a special place in our hearts.

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    1. That's so interesting how Japanese look at dragonflies. I never thought about being in a melancholy culture since America tends to be more optimistic in thinking -- though there are times that I think the US could do a lot of learning if they looked at the past and learned from mistakes more often.

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  6. Change is often painful isn't it Linda but it is the one certainty in life. The problem with it is at the time we have not had a the luxury of looking back and seeing the outcome. Often it really does improve our lives but we do need the healing power of time. I totally agree with your thoughts that you are just more aware of dragonflies when you have big changes......good luck with riding them though. I love your thinking processes xx

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    1. You're so right Jane, change is a certainty in life. I've been trying to focus on what you say about change improving our lives, but needing the healing power of time. Wise thoughts!

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  7. I forgot to ask if you've seen the Kevin Costner movie, "Dragonfly?" It's an oldy, but it's good (and dragonflies figure prominently.) :-)

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  8. I can't remember if I saw that movie or not, but maybe it's something I should borrow and watch/rewatch. Thanks for the comments everybody!!

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  9. As always, very perceptive observations, Linda. And how perfectly a simple dragonfly sketch can relate on so many levels!

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  10. I had to laugh a little when you try to give a rational meaning to why dragonflies appear when things are about to change in your life. Your heavy thinking makes your breathing or sweat different... I do understand the feeling though. I don't have animals come to me to "tell" me things are changing, but I still know when it happens. Maybe that's why you see dragonflies, because you know in your gut - or some other way - that something is changing and then start to noticed dragonflies - because of the first suicidal one? Another interesting observation, I thought, was your statement that you hate changes. And still the changes you describe have been to the better. Thanks for sharing your stories. I enjoy reading them.

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    1. Yes, I think I notice dragonflies now because of that first one, and yes, eventually changes work out, but that doesn't mean those changes are easy. Oh well, live, learn, grow, right?

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    2. The question is then: Would it be as fun to overcome challenges an changes if they were easy? An easy life would probably be a boring life...

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  11. You are very brave to take this incident in such stride. If a dragonfly smashed into my forehead, I'd be covered in too much vomit to do anything.

    Then, after a while, I'd probably blog about it.

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    1. You're too funny :) I will admit to being a bit yucked out by dead dragonfly though.

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  12. I always have so much to say and think about when I've read one of your posts, LH. Thanks for opening all these mental windows in my head. Who knows what might buzz, flutter, fly or flop through - but whatever it is, I am now poised to notice. Be well. A

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    1. Thanks! and I like the way you said that too :)

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  13. I love dragonflies. We saw a biblical amount up North last weekend. It was like a plague. But it was wonderful.

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    1. Biblical amounts of dragonflies sounds like more change than I could handle. I hope you took photos!

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  14. Great post Linda. I know i quite often look for signs in times of uncertainty and doubt that i am making the right decisions and choices. I think change can be so frightening because of uncertainty, but i think it can also be quite liberating, especially for a control freak like me :) I hope that your changes bring you lots of positive outcomes.

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  15. Linda, I like everything about your story. Dragonflies were much much bigger in palaeolithic times. As for what it means to be visited by your totem animal is mysterious till we, like you, take our whole lives in to account and see what is happening on a deep level.

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