Sometimes You’re the Dragon, Sometimes You’re the Bug

Yesterday I rescued a dragon in distress. Or maybe it was a damsel.

In truth, it was most likely a dragonFLY or a damselFLY. But it was most definitely in distress.

I had let my dog out into the garden for her usual morning ramble. She’d given fair warning to all the birds, sniffed the newly opened flowers, taken care of “business” and demanded to be let back into “her” house. And right on her tail (almost literally) flew this confused creature.

I left the door open. I tried to shoo it back toward freedom. But the silly thing decided that the window NEXT to the door offered the best chance at escape and began to beat its fragile wings against the screen.

Now I am fond of dragons (my dog is even dubbed “The Dragon Dog”) and count a fair number of damsels among my friends. So I wasn’t concerned with WHICH kind of winged beauty was dying to escape from my kitchen, I just wanted to help.

Of course, my attempts to distract it from its escape plan and offer an alternative exit route only panicked the poor thing. And I realized, to this tiny, beautiful creature I am the dragon!

Not counting the gossamer wings, this thing was no bigger than my finger. My entire hand must have looked like a moving mountain. What little brains it had were all in “OH SHOOT” mode. (Dragons and damsels don’t use “bad” language, I’m told.)

I won’t keep you in suspense. The story ends happily. At last, exhausted and possibly encouraged that the mountain hadn’t yet toppled onto it, the dragon/damsel in distress clung to my finger. I covered it gently with my other hand and darted out the back door.

I pulled the door closed with my toe (NOT as easy as it sounds) and uncovered my unexpected guest. It blinked at me. REALLY, I think it was saying “thank you” – and then it flew away.

All day I pondered how often we try to show someone an open path to freedom, to power, to success, to greener pastures, to somewhere they SAY they want to be. And then have had to watch them beat their wings against the barriers on the path they have chosen.

I thought about how often I’ve been the dragon, frightening or intimidating when I only wanted to help. And I pondered how often I have been the dragonfly in distress, frightened and intimidated by the friendly dragon who was only trying to rescue me from my own stubborn blindness.

There are so many lessons in this story – for dragons and dragonflies both. I’ll share a few.

If you’re the dragon –

Saying “I’m a friendly dragon” with fire trickling from your nostrils may not be very convincing.  Your dragonfly isn’t a mind reader, it won’t know your intent, it will only know what you say and how you say it. Be empathetic. Ask “how will this appear to a dragonfly?” – not “how would it appear to another dragon?”

You may have to be patient, difficult when you’re having to watch the dragonfly bruising its wings trying to be free. But if you just grab the poor thing by its delicate wing and take it outside, chances are it will never fly again. Your dragonfly will have to tire of doing things its own way and you will have to allow that process to take place.

You may have to move slowly, even if 30 seconds FEELS like 30 minutes. A hand the size of a mountain moving at normal human speed is a MAJOR threat to a poor little dragonfly. Offer your help at the pace your dragonfly can accept, regardless of how badly you want to see it fly on its own.

You may have to give the benefit of the doubt. A distressed creature isn’t thinking rationally. So you may be tempted to say “You’re too stubborn and stupid to be worth saving! Beat your wings to ribbons, see if I care!” But you know that is just your frustration speaking. Your dragonfly is plenty smart (for a dragonfly) – its just not thinking at full capacity right now.

If you’re the dragonfly –

DO NOT PANIC! (good advice if you’re the dragon too, but dragons are less prone to panicking. Or so I hear…)

Seriously, no matter how severe your situation (or how malicious the dragon) panicking serves no purpose. Have a breakdown later – when you’re safe and telling your tale of escape to all your dragonfly friends. Right now, keep your wits about you and THINK.

DO NOT ASSUME! (and yes, I know how to spell ass-u-me, but it can also make you DEAD if you make the wrong assumption about a dragon.)

If you assume the dragon will eat you and you’re wrong, you’re going to die beating your wings against the window screen while the dragon wrings her claws in despair. If you assume the dragon is friendly and he isn’t… well, I’ll let you finish that story. Pay attention to clues, then go back to the last tidbit of wisdom and THINK!

STOP being stubborn and OPEN your eyes! If you’d just admit you MIGHT be wrong about the best chance of escape being through the window you might be able to see the open door. ‘Nuff said!

REMEMBER – that dragon didn’t graduate from dragonfly status into full fledged, firebreathing dragon extraordinaire without learning a few things. (What? You say dragonflies don’t grow up to be dragons? How would YOU know?)

Just because you can’t see the open door, or any other path to freedom, to power, to success, to greener pastures, to somewhere you SAY they want to be, does NOT mean you need to beat your wings to ribbons against the window screen. The dragon can probably offer many other possibilities and paths if you’ll only listen.

In reality, I think being a dragon or a dragonfly is situational.

I have dragons in my life. I am blessed to have MANY dragons who have come along to rescue me from shredding my wings.

I’ve also had the opportunity to rescue a few dragonflies. Some flew thankfully on their way, some determinedly beat their wings against the screen.

Regardless of your role, dragon or dragonfly, just remember – you were BORN to fly!

29 thoughts on “Sometimes You’re the Dragon, Sometimes You’re the Bug”

  1. Dixie, what a powerful entry. How powerful could we be if we could step back and recognize when as are beating our wings against the screen. The knowledge that the open window might just be nearby could free us from the pain…

  2. Lots of food for thought – thanks for the vivid imagery – and the reminder of how powerful it can be to just be open to a different path…as well as some great insights for when we’re the dragon!

    1. “Open to a different path” – you totally NAILED the message there, Ben. Thank you for that nutshell! And thanks for the comment and tweet. Glad you found value there.

  3. Hernán E Jansen

    My first time here, totally love it. “you were born to fly” that ending is absolutely magnificent. Thank You.

    1. I’ll bet I know WHY you think it is magnificent… You instinctively knew it for truth! Spread your wings, find that open door and never be afraid of dragons! (and come back often, I’ll try to have new goodies here for you.)

    1. “Cackling Dixie” as opposed to “Whistling Dixie” which I ain’t 🙂 thank you Tracey – that means a lot coming from someone who’s been exposed to so much wisdom and so much GREAT writing (and has done her share of writing great wisdom as well.)Must blog more about the canine kid – she teaches me lessons every day.

  4. I read this quickly last night and said “I need to read that again when I have more time” which is now. Dragonflies are so cool and beautiful and unique…much like people. I wondered what they symbolize and went here~can you believe there is an entire dragonfly website?(http://www.dragonfly-site.com/meaning-symbolize.html)
    Very cool stuff, which could easily inspire another great post from you Dixie.
    It says the dragonfly symbolizes Depth of Character, Power and Poise, Defeat of Self-created Illusions (illusions like brick walls?), Focus on Living In the Moment and last but not least…Opening of Ones Eyes.
    What a thought-provoking post Dixie. I agree with Amy~ you have a beautiful mind 🙂

    1. Linda, I loved the posts you shared on FB! The “universal” symbols we associate with different aspects of creation fascinate me. I’m amazed at how much more people like you get out of my writing than what I read into it when I wrote it! Thank you for sharing here.

  5. Michael Jenet

    Dixie, twice in a row I’ve had something of yours forwarded to me (by Dafna of course) and both times I have been awed by your words and your ability to put powerful lessons into words anyone can learn. Bravo! Keep doing what you do, you have so much to give and we can all benefit from your wisdom.

    1. “Anyone can learn” – you cannot know what a gift THOSE words are to me. Writing isn’t the easiest thing for me – I am a perfectionist about very few things, but I care so much about language that writing is one of those things. What prods me to release my words “into the wild” is that the way I put words together might touch someone in a way they could not have been touched by any other arrangement. Thank you for your encouragement!

  6. I love the way you write. It really illustrates how rare originality is. But that isn’t why I am responding. What you say is affecting me more than the way you say it. Recently I have been ‘accused’ of being a dragonfly. This is when I let my mind dart about without following some expected pathway. I deduce this is kind criticism, but do not really know how to react because it feels like the dragon’s assuming and I had never even wanted to grow that big. But thanks for letting me back to my stream. You’ll be invited to the twinkling transformation I am currently choreographing.

    1. The dragonfly, when in its natural element (NOT my kitchen) is a purely delightful (and deceptively productive) creature. If the person meant it as kind or as criticism then that is THEIR concern and none of yours. I’ve seen a hint of that twinkling transformation you’re streaming toward – got your newsletter and loved, loved, loved your poem. Flight seems to be a common theme. Go up and read what Linda shared about the dragonfly as a symbol – who WOULDN’T want to stand for all that? You BE who you are now, and BEcome who you were meant to be tomorrow and never forget that we all choose our own wings, the mighty wings of the dragon or the gossamer wings of the dragonfly are just two of the choices. You get to choose YOURS and we’ll all celebrate your flight regardless of your choice.

  7. This is incredibly powerful,Dixie. I believe the path to freedom is ALWAYS available. And as you said, it requires us to stop beating our wings (or our heads against the proverbial wall), and face the light.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me today, my friend.

    1. You’re so right, Ava. When people say they had “no choice” they mean they didn’t SEE that path or it was too scary or too risky or… But it is ALWAYS there.

  8. Absolutely beautiful Dixie. Knowing we both have affinities for dragons, I am extremely impressed with the imagery you brought forth. Usually I fall in the friendly dragon (with dripping fire, or at least smoke) category, but I realize that not everyone has that mindset. Maybe I can see things more easily from the dragonfly perspective now.
    Thank you.

    1. Ah, my dragon baby’s other parent! (I recognize both those faces.) You can just picture her trotting in with the dragon fly in her wake. I’m afraid HER method of dealing with the visitor wouldn’t have resulted in the same post! LOL I’ve known you long enough to know the fire and smoke is all smoke and mirrors – but you DO make an impressive dragon when you’re really committed to helping! Hope these little tips help you help a LOT of dragonflies – you have so much to offer them.

  9. I want my daughter to read this! She is the mother of a very strong-willed four year old, and there are many times that little dragonfly beats his wings on the window. Your advice for dragons would help her immensely, I think.

    1. Ah Sharon, I had probably been both dragon and dragonfly by the time I was two. Hope this speaks to your daughter now (and maybe your granddaughter later.)

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