I sit at the edge of a pond watching the movement below when I realize the rippling in the water is not a fish, but a group of nymphs. “Nymph” is the poetic word for baby dragonfly, the kind which looks similar to the insect, but with no wings. Instead of flying with admirable precision, they “swim” by comically, clumsily contracting their body through the water. It is obvious their body was built to fly, but with no wings, it's forced to wiggle in an environment very different from its future home.
The longer I sit and watch them, I realize that although I have the knowledge of how graceful the winged version of them can be, from the nymph’s perspective, those awkward wiggles are as good as it gets.
Can it be that sometimes we are in a “nymph” form of ourselves that is merely buying time, gaining energy, and learning how to survive before we transform into our graceful, thriving selves? Sometimes we are not privy to what lies waiting for us on the other side of transformation, but like the dragonfly, it can often be the version of us we were born to be.
Other times we transform into a new version of ourselves, and still long for what we once were, not yet recognizing the new wings on us that are finally ready to soar. With new eyes, we can be wise enough to know that the earlier version of ourselves was merely preparing us for the current version, and was never meant to last forever.
Personally, as I transition into my new role with GrowthQuests, I can see how all the years of wiggling through various professional and academic roles have prepared me for these shiny new wings. At first I didn't know what to do with them and longed for the life back in the pond wiggling with all my nymph buddies! But as I grow into my wings I recall just what my purpose in life is--to help others find theirs.
When we grow and change, we may worry about being prepared to support the new version of ourselves. Yet, if we take a cue from the nymphs, we will see that when we trust the natural growth process, we often become who we were meant to be all along. The wiggles of searching and yearning turn into the wings of a calling.
This blog reminded me of an old parable that I wanted to share called “The Dragonfly”, (unknown author).
I feel this parable may suit those whose life changes may influence their relationships with friends and family…Until then--"Wiggle till you get wings!"
Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads,
there lived a little water nymph in a community of water
nymphs. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond
with few disturbances and interruptions.
Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of
their fellow nymphs would climb the stem of a lily pad and
would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their
friend was dead, gone forever.
Then, one day, one little water nymph felt an irresistible urge
to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would
not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what
he had found at the top.
When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the
surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so
warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body
changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful
blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body
designed for flying.
So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole
new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never
Then he remembered his nymph friends and how they were thinking
by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and
explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been
before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended.
But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could
not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he
understood that their time would come, when they, too, would
know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off
into his joyous new life!