The Four Wings of Personal Growth Lessons on self-love, self-awareness, self-care and self-empowerment

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

My Spiritual and Artistic Connection to the Dragonfly



It's been a minute since I have written. Summer got busy, and I stopped doing one of the things I love most. But now fall is nearly here, and I find myself drawn once more to my laptop to put into words my thoughts, ideas, and reflections. I do this because I love it, but I also do it in the hopes that my words will inspire other women. 

Today, I have chosen to share with you a page from my Damselfly Transformations website. It speaks to my connection to the dragonfly/damselfly and why this beautiful creature has become such a source of inspiration for me both as a coach and in my paintings. Many of us have had spiritual experiences with dragonflies, and many women have shared their stories with me. If you have a story, I would love to hear it.  

In the spring of 2006, during a particularly challenging time in my life, I took my students on an overnight trip to a conservation area north of Ontario. The first morning after we arrived, the guides took us on a hike around the property. This was a gorgeous wooded area with a calming river that ran through it. When we were approaching the river, I felt a fantastic sense of peace and calm envelope me. Something I had not felt in a long time. It was a warm sunny day, the sky was a lovely shade of blue, and I could feel the gentle touch of a cool breeze on my face. I decided to sit down by the river's edge and take time to appreciate the moment fully. When I did, I happened to look down at the ground next to me. I noticed what looked like the dead carcass of some beetle. But there was a worm wiggling its way out of it. What intrigued me the most was that this worm was a beautiful fluorescence turquoise. Just then, one of the guides walked by, and I asked him if he had any idea what it was. The guide explained that it was a dragonfly shedding its skin. Now I had no idea where dragonflies came from.

I just saw them flying around and thought they were pretty. The guide continued to enlighten me. I learned that dragonflies live underwater as nymphs for months and sometimes even years. When they are ready for their 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 metamorphosis. I was even more amazed at the fact that I was witnessing this transformation firsthand.

The guide walked away, and I kept watching in awe. As I did, the dragonfly's entire body emerged from the carcass and then the head with its two impressive eyes. It was exquisite. I had seen dragonflies before, but the colors of this particular one were especially astonishing. But there were no visible wings yet. And I remember thinking, "there is no way there is room in that dead bug for a set of four dragonfly wings. And then, to my surprise and delight, the wings began expanding like magic from either side of her body. In all her glory, she stood there on top of the carcass she had so painstakingly left behind. I'm assuming she was taking the time to regain her strength after the strenuous and arduous task of completing her final transformation. Or maybe she was generously letting me take in her beauty. But then, she flew away and began her new journey as a dragonfly.

As I looked at that dead, dry, ugly skin my dragonfly had left behind, it reminded me of what my life had felt like. It spoke to me of the pain, the fear, and the hopelessness I had been feeling. But I knew then, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that everything would be ok. I knew that I was going through my own arduous transformation and that if I trusted in the experience, great things were to come.

When I got back home from the trip, I grabbed my computer and started researching dragonflies. I knew very little about them at that point.

What I discovered blew my mind.

Predictably dragonflies represent transformation, but they also represent courage, emotional maturity, and self-realization. They 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 powerful 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.

I chose to accept her challenge.

After my serendipitous encounter with my dragonfly, 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 the future, I remembered her incredible transformation of hope. When I got discouraged, I was reminded of her message of courage and self-realization. When I was unsure, I remembered her agility and adaptability.

I eventually tattooed my damselfly to my shoulder because I wanted to see her every day and be reminded that the universe had my back.

I have had a few spiritual experiences in my life.   My encounter with my dragonfly is definitely one of the most profound and transformational I have had, and I will forever be grateful to the universe for sending her to me. 

Create an awesome day!

Joanne ๐ŸŒบ


Sunday, August 9, 2020

Increasing Your Self-Love Quotient

Love is a Powerful and Creative Vibration.

When you cultivate self-love, you are increasing your level of vibration and raising your consciousness. As you do, you connect with the universal energy of Love, and that's when magical things begin to happen.

Think about the last time you felt Love. Was it while listening to your baby boy's laughter? Were you staring into the eyes of your beloved? Or maybe you were looking at a stunning sunset over the horizon? There are so many wonderful opportunities to connect with Love every single day.

Did you feel the energy and vibration of that loving feeling? How it made you want to share the moment? How it made you want to be a better person? How it filled you with gratitude and hope?

David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., was a nationally renowned psychiatrist, physician, researcher, spiritual teacher, and lecturer who, after years of research in the area of consciousness, developed The Map of Consciousness. The map distinguishes between creative energy and destructive energy. You will notice that with each progressive rise in consciousness, the "frequency" or "vibration" of energy increases. Love resonating at a level of 500 dissolves negativity. Dr. Hawkins argued that higher consciousness radiates a beneficial and healing effect on the world.

It isn't difficult to believe that Love is creative energy. How many of us have done amazing and courageous things in the name of Love? Love inspires and propels us to new heights. And fear stops us in our tracks. The lower-level vibrations stop the flow of inspiration and creativity and begin to spread pain and chaos.

An essential thing to remember is that Love is Love. Many of us learned that Love should be selfless. To be given to others without expectation. To love ourselves, we were told, was egotistical, self-absorbed, and selfish. For this reason, we often get stuck at the lower levels of consciousness below courage and become our worst enemies. We feel worried and anxious. We feel fear and a sense of hopelessness. We fill disempowered and dependant on external conditions. From this place, we do absolutely no good to those around us because we live our lives from a place of destruction. The antidote to this is to cultivate self-love and increase our Self-Love Quotient.

When we move above and beyond courage, we begin creating. We begin expressing our authentic selves, and the universe can support us. The universe responds and matches our energy. From this place, we start making our dreams come true and giving ourselves the power to attain our most ambitious goals.

Here are some ways you can begin raising your Self-Love Quotient and tapping into your creative power.

1.   Surround yourself with individuals who inspire you.

2.   Stay away from or set boundaries with individuals who lower your vibrational levels.

3.   Pay attention to your self-talk. If your self-talk causes worry, fear, apathy, or shame, get support in developing strategies for changing it.

4.   Spend time every day doing something that inspires you.

5.   Cultivate self-awareness and mindfulness.

6.   Identify your core values and live your life in alignment with these.

7.   Connect with your authentic self and your strengths every day.

Increasing your Self-Love Quotient is an exciting and stimulating process.

It allows you to live your life with passion and enthusiasm.

Create an awesome day!

Joanne ๐Ÿ’—

Your Self-Love Coach

 

 


Sunday, July 19, 2020

Self-Awareness, Anger and Our World


Today I wanted to talk about Self-Awareness, one of the Four Wings of Transformation, and how it can inform one of our most common emotions, anger. In this blog, I will discuss this emotion from an individual standpoint but also address it from a global perspective. I apologize in advance if I confuse my readers in the process. 


Our emotions are not good or bad. They are messengers. Strong emotions offer the possibility of self-awareness. They contain information about who we are, what we want, and our relationship with others.


Anger though, if not properly processed and expressed, can result in some of the most primal and aggressive forms of human behavior. And we too often see this played out in movies, society, and the media. We haven't quite gotten a handle on anger, and the truth is it too often controls and overwhelms us. 


We've seen way too many examples of this lately. Maybe this is because some of us feel that simply expressing our anger using our words has not been enough.  


If our emotions are to serve us as a society, and they should, two things need to happen. 

We need to learn how to understand, process, and communicate our own emotions. And we need to learn how to listen with compassion and respect when others express theirs.   


In this article, I will be focusing on the former, but I stress that the latter is just as crucial. 


"Our need to learn how to understand, process, and communicate our own emotions."


What causes us to get angry? There are many common triggers to anger. 

  • fear of rejection or abandonment
  • a sense that our needs, wants or even fundamental rights are not respected
  • fear of not being heard
  • impatience
  • feeling our opinions or our efforts are not appreciated
  • injustice
  • worrying about our problems


Often, we do not even get to the point where we've understood exactly why we are angry. We go immediately into a fight or flight mode. Our lizard brain takes over, and we react to how we are feeling.  


Anger = Counterproductive Reaction


These knee jerk reactions are not always in our best interest or the best interest of those around us. 


Some of these reactions might include:

  • yelling, screaming, name-calling
  • lashing out with accusations and blame
  • talking trash behind someone's back
  • revenge
  • and at worst violent, aggressive or dangerous behavior


When we go immediately from anger to reaction, we usually make things worse.


Adding a filtering element between the anger and the reaction allows us to process and find a more suitable way of dealing with the anger. We let the prefrontal lobe part of our brain, step in, and manage the primal lizard brain.  


Anger + Filtering elements = Productive and Peaceful Actions and Solutions 


So what are those filtering elements? The following questions can help identify them.

  1. What is the underlying cause of the anger?
  2. What is the underlying need or want?
  3. How can this information be communicated calmly and productively? What tools and resources are available?
  4. What is the feeling possibly hidden behind the anger? Fear? Sadness? Frustration? Worry?
  5. Once the underlying emotion is processed and expressed, what would be the ideal outcome, the desired result?


Anger often has one or more underlying emotions. These underlying emotions are indicators of the root cause of what we are feeling. The following "Feelings Wheel" can help you better understand your anger. This understanding can allow you to identify your desired outcome. 



For example:

  • if your anger stems from worry, you can find strategies to manage stress and anxiety. 
  • If your anger stems from impatience, you can work on expectation management.
  • If your anger stems from frustration, you can develop awareness around what you do and do not control in any given situation. 


The point is, clearly identifying the filtering elements will allow you to pinpoint the best possible actions and steps you need to take to solve the problem that created the emotion in the first place.  Let's be clear.  This is a process, and it takes time.  This is not a quick solution to every one of our challenges.  What it is, though, is a fundamental self-awareness skill and ability that we can all develop and master over time, which can create profound and positive changes in our relationships and lives.


Now, I want to address the elephant in the room.  


How we sometimes feel the need to defend some who have reacted out of anger. We do so out of compassion because we have seen certain individuals suffer at the hands of selfish and narcissistic tyrants. 


We do this understandably. 


That is why we not only need to learn how to understand, process, and communicate our own emotions. We need to learn how to listen with compassion and respect when others express theirs.   


And the truth is that there are narcissistic individuals out there who are incapable of doing the latter. But resorting to reactive behavior will not change these individuals. They usually just up their selfish and egotistical game. They do not care about the chaos and destruction left behind in the process. 


Fortunately, most of us, on this incredible planet, are not in the category of narcissism. Most of us care about our fellow humans and want peace, harmony, and love. When we react out of anger, it's merely out of ignorance or fear. Self-awareness allows us to change that. And I believe that when enough of us do, we will reach a critical mass—a critical mass from which will emerge a synergy of peace, harmony, and love.



Joanne 














Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Transforming Our Wants Into Abundance


Yesterday I was working on a webinar I will be offering in August, and I was reflecting on the word Want. 


I think this word sometimes has negative connotations for women. It's a word that can make us feel uncomfortable. 


Maybe we were told that we should strive to have our needs met, and that wants are frivolous luxuries. And yet many times are needs are even set aside as we play out our roles as caregivers and nurturers.

Maybe we were made to feel selfish for having wants. A scarcity versus an abundance mindset also dramatically influences our beliefs around our wants or desires.


Others might have, intentionally or not, encouraged us to focus on their wants and needs at the expense of our own. 


We certainly live in a world that gives us a myriad of messages about what we should want.  

  • A certain kind of body.
  • A certain kind of romance
  • A particular type of lifestyle


And yes, there is some flexibility in all of this. We, as a society, are becoming more and more open to individual differences.  

But the influences remain. And if we are not careful and aware of these, we begin to integrate other people's ideas of who we should be or what we should want into our lives. And as we do, we bury a part of ourselves, our True Self.


Identifying are wants, and taking responsibility for them is one of the most empowering things we can do. 


I'm reminded of the song by the Rolling Stones.


No, you can't always get what you want.

You can't always get what you want.

You can't always get what you want.

But if you try, sometimes you find

You get what you need.


Mick Jagger is right; you can't always get what you want.

But I believe that as women, we too often dismiss our wants.  


You can't always get what you want, true. But if you don't know what you want and you never try reaching for your dreams and aspirations out of ignorance, well, you'll never get what you want. 


You see wants, in my opinion, are the next step on the path to self-realization. We all have needs, and those needs are very similar. 


Maslow identified these needs according to three categories. The two most basic needs are physiological, and safety needs. These are similar to all of us; they are essential to our physical survival. Not having these needs met puts us at significant risk.  


Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Then we move towards Esteem Needs and Self-actualization. These categories of needs are were are individuality, and True Self resides. If we want to fulfill these two categories of needs, we must, in my opinion, identify our wants. 


And how do we do this?


We ask ourselves and reflect on some fundamental questions such as:


  1. Who am I?
  2. Who do I want to be?
  3. What are my core values?
  4. What are my passions?
  5. What legacy do I want to leave?
  6. What meaning do I assign to life?


As you reflect on these questions, your wants should begin to unveil themselves. You will gain clarity on where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow. You will start to create a vision for yourself, and from that vision will emerge your deepest desires. Do not be intimidated or overwhelmed by these. Working towards wants aligning with our True Self is an empowering and inspiring journey.  


Our wants, in the end, are where our wildest and most delicious dreams reside. They bring meaning and enthusiasm into our lives as we make a conscious decision to honor them. And when we take the next step and take full responsibility for turning those wants into abundance, magical things begin to happen.


Create an awesome day!

Joanne๐Ÿ’—


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Not Achieving Your Goals? Stop Blaming Your Circumstances or Other People!


How did the title of this blog make you feel? Angy? Frustrated?

Annoyed? 

Or did you feel empowered?  


Congratulations if it was the latter. You are well on your way to success.

The truth is, not a single person, circumstance, event, or situation is responsible for YOU, not achieving your goals.


What is? What you think and believe about all of these things. Yup, it is as simple as that. And there are no exceptions. Nothing short of death can stop you from achieving your goals! Bold statement? Try living your life believing it and see what happens?


Successful people do not let outside circumstances or people dictate whether they get what they want or not. This fact has been shown over and over by rags to riches stories. In a quick google search, I found the following examples: J.K Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, Shania Twain, Howard Schultz (founder of Starbucks), and Ralph Lauren.  


Now you might be thinking: 


  • Right, these people got lucky. 
  • They were in the right place at the right time.  
  • Someone gave them a lucky break. 
  • The stars aligned for them.  
  • That won't happen to me.  


Any of the above individuals would probably agree that they did get a lucky break or two along the way. But they would also tell you that to get a lucky break you have to believe in them for yourself. And You have to create the circumstances for the universe to gift you with that lucky break. You create those circumstances by not letting any outside person or situation slow you down or stop you from working towards that goal or dream that is yours.


How do you not let any outside circumstance or person stop you? Well, it is not by changing them—change YOU. 


Please understand, I am by no means asking you to change who you are.

Please don't; You are fabulous!.  


Don't change YOU - Change what YOU believe!


If you believe you don't have enough time - Change that belief!

If you believe you don't have enough resources - Change that belief!

If you believe you are not strong enough - Change that belief!

If you believe you are not smart enough - Change that belief!

If you believe your spouse is getting in your way - Change that belief!

If you believe your parents are getting in your way - Change that belief!


If you change your limiting beliefs, nothing will stand in the way of you reaching your goals and dreams. This is not to say that there will not be obstacles and challenges along the way. But by creating the right mindset, you will give yourself the power to overcome these. 


How do you begin the process of changing your limiting beliefs?


Here are a few ideas to get you started.


  • Work with a coach. A well-trained coach can help you identify your limiting beliefs and offer strategies for changing them.
  • Learn about how your mind and brain work. Below is a list of resources to get you started. 


The Motivation ManifestoBrendon Burchard

Mindset-The New Psychology of SuccessCarol S. Dweck, Ph.D

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleStephen R. Covey

Excuses Begone!Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Working with Emotional IntelligenceDaniel Goleman

Change Your Questions-Change Your Life, Mariele Adams, Ph.D


I highly recommend any of these books. They have been very instrumental in allowing me to reach my own goals.


If you have any questions or would like more information on this subject, don't hesitate to reach out at


joanne@damselflytransformations.com.


Create an awesome day!

Joanne