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My Spiritual and Artistic Connection with The Dragonfly

Some say an encounter with a damselfly can mean that she is sending you a challenge, to trust in the experience, and to open yourself up to what life has to offer.

In the spring of 2006, the universe blessed me with a rare and precious spiritual encounter. This encounter has become a great source of strength and inspiration for me. I carry it with me as a reminder of hope, both in my business as a self-love and women's empowerment coach and as an artist.

As a teacher, it was a tradition to take my grade eight students on a final school trip to celebrate their long-awaited transition from elementary school to high school. In June of 2006, this exertion took place at The Canadian Ecology Centre in Mattawa, Ontario. The students participated in various outdoor environmental activities while spending some precious time together and having some well-deserved fun.

Our first scheduled activity upon our arrival was a guided tour of the beautiful landscape. The guides led us through luscious, wooded areas and eventually to the banks of a sparkling blue slow-moving river.

As we approached the water that day, I felt overcome with a profound sense of peace.

This feeling came as a very welcomed surprise. At the time, I had been going through a very challenging and strenuous transition. My marriage of 17 years had ended a year prior, and I had spent the following months in a perpetual state of anxiety, uncertainty and fear.

Compelled by the mesmerizing and relaxing flow of the river, I sat down by its edge as I felt embraced by its presence. It was a much-needed respite from the uneasiness of the past months.

The peace and relaxation I felt in that moment would have been enough of a blessing, but the universe and nature were to offer me so much more that day.

It was a serendipitous encounter that would give me the strength and determination to continue on my journey despite its often-overwhelming challenges.

As I sat next to the riverbank on that gorgeous sunny day, I happened to look down at the ground beside me. When I did, I saw what appeared to be the dead carcass of a beetle with a fluorescent-colored worm wiggling its way out. I had never seen anything like it. Despite having spent many summers at the cottage as a young girl exploring nature and all its wonders. Being the curious woman I am, I asked one of our guides if he knew what it was. To my delightful surprise, the guide explained that it was a dragonfly about to reveal the final stages of her striking metamorphosis.

The guide went on to explain that dragonflies live underwater as nymphs for months and sometimes even years. When they are ready for their final transformation, they climb out of the water and attach to a leaf or plant near the water's edge. From that point, they shed their nymph skin and turn into beautiful dragonflies. I was amazed by this. I knew that caterpillars turned into beautiful butterflies, but I did not realize that dragonflies experienced a similar partial metamorphosis. I was astonished and humbled by the fact that I was witnessing this transformation firsthand.

I continued to watch as the body, and head, with its huge eyes, emerge slowly from the carcass. It was exquisite. I had seen dragonflies before, but the colors of this particular one were a magnificent fluorescent turquoise.

As I observed intently, the four wings expanded from each part of her body. It truly felt miraculous.

I felt deeply moved by the honor being bestowed upon me that day.

For a few seconds, Miss Dragonfly just stood there atop the carcass she had so painstakingly left behind. Perhaps she was taking the time to regain her strength after the arduous task she had just completed. I believe she was giving me a moment to pay attention and to reflect on why she had shown up for me on that particular spring day.

The dead, dry, ugly skin that lay beneath her beauty reminded me of what my life had felt like in the past year.

It spoke to me of the pain, the fear, and the hopelessness I had been feeling. But I realized at that moment that everything was exactly as it should be.

When I returned home, I researched Miss Dragonfly. I felt driven to get to know her better.

What I discovered convinced me that miracles happen, and that the universe always has our back.

· Predictably dragonflies represent transformation, but did you know that they also represent courage, emotional maturity, and self-realization.

· These fascinating creators have near 360-degree vision. For this reason, they are associated with curiosity, mental agility, and the ability to view situations and problems from all angles to decide the best life has to offer.

· They are potent navigators and are also associated with purpose and direction through difficult and challenging times. Some say an encounter with a damselfly can mean that she is sending you a challenge, to trust in the experience, and to open yourself up to what life has to offer.

Discovering all these facts about Miss Dragonfly, I chose to accept her challenge. After our serendipitous rendezvous, I set out on a mission to learn, apply, and practice the insights she had shared with me that day.

· When I was afraid of what was to be, I looked back on her incredible transformation of hope.

· When discouragement reared its ugly head, I reminded myself of her message of courage and self-realization.

· When I felt vulnerable and unsure, I recalled the strength of her agility and adaptability.

I eventually tattooed my damselfly to my shoulder to see her every day and know that the universe always has my back.

If you would like to see some of my Dragonfly Art, please check out my website at


Joanne Shank

Self-Love Coach, Workshop Facilitator, Speaker

705 229 6436


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