The last two days there have been two flightless dragons in my tea cup. The dragon is me (I am born in the Year of the Dragon). I ignored the first one (oh, give me something that I can read!), but was unable to ignore the second one, as much as I would have liked to.
A dragon with no wings is not a noble animal, full of power and magnificent in its abilities. No; a dragon with no wings is impotent, frustrated and slightly ridiculous, a figure to be pitied.
A dragon in its full powers (see us WITH wings), is powerful, free and serves no-one. The dragon’s reach is broad and its sight vast; the dragon’s perspective is valued for the wisdom that comes from distance. The dragon can see things that others cannot, simply because it is not stuck down there in the mud like everybody else. The dragon can see the big picture because it has WINGS, people.
But what if it doesn’t have wings? Why, it’s just a common reptile, a goanna. Sure, a fire-breathing goanna (am I taking this analogy too far?), but greatly reduced in stature all the same. And don’t let a dragon tell you that stature is not important to them. They care what people think, don’t you worry.
I know better than to ignore a symbol that appears two days running. A repeated symbol like this tells me I need to attend to what it represents. A flightless dragon huh? Well universe, what are you trying to say?
Do I feel grounded, impotent, frustrated and ridiculous? Well, maybe not ridiculous…yet. Give me time. Perhaps when it all gets too much for me and I have a very public hissy fit. Or maybe I’m already there and I don’t know it. God forbid. If I am, whatever you do, don’t tell me. I’ll figure it out myself soon enough. A girl-dragon has got her pride you know!
So how am I grounded? Having to share my car with my husband, who takes it to work while I stay home? Maybe. What about if there was no public transport and I was 30 km from the nearest town? Maybe. Stuck , grounded, call it what you will.
And when you’re stuck in a place, it can really start to stink. Metaphorically speaking of course. Peoples’ dramas, the lies, the inconsistencies, the petty silences, the silly slights are harder to dodge when you don’t have wings. Without wings I can’t get the height to get the perspective I need. I can’t rise above it. I’m stuck in the
mad mud with everybody else!
This Year of the Dragon has been an interesting one for me. As the Year of the Water Dragon, it was always going to be a bit challenging for a fire dragon like me to keep the fire alight. Indeed, the fire that has fuelled many of my pet community projects over the past couple of years went out completely this year. This year has had a much more internal (yin) feel in comparison to the external (yang) feel of the last few years, where I have dedicated much time and energy to the needs of the community. For some reason I have lost all desire to do this anymore, and have begun to pay attention to myself; to what it is that I want to do. This has not necessarily been by choice – it just seemed that my community projects became harder and harder to keep going, but anything that I chose to do for myself, like study, write or do yoga, flowed incredibly easily.
I am not one to ignore the writing on the wall.
This does not mean that I am entirely satisfied with the outcome. The part of me that loves to connect and participate feels neglected. The relationships that flourished in the regular meeting place of the Medlow Markets (one of my most successful community projects) have been under-nourished, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Still, I don’t dislike it enough to embark on another community building project; mostly because I am wary of the burden of responsibility it entails, but also because I know that the energy that supported these community projects has shifted.
It’s all very well to have a vibrant inner life, and I feel honoured that I am able to do so. But where is the balance? Can I not have a vibrant community life as well? Perhaps not at the moment. Perhaps I need as little distraction as possible. Perhaps this dragon needs to be grounded in order to do her inner work, to nourish the seeds of creativity growing within. Perhaps it is not a deformity or a punishment, but a gift. Perhaps I need to concentrate on growing my spirit wings in order to truly fly.
There is something else too. People who are born in the Year of the Dragon need to cultivate compassion and learn not to buy into their own mythology. For it is very true that the reputation of the dragon can be quite misleading – just how the dragon likes it. It is difficult to develop genuine compassion whilst flying above life, watching everything unfold below. Compassion comes from com patior – which means to ‘suffer with’. One way for a dragon to learn compassion is to lose her wings.