Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, as if that holds some ages-long answer to the age-old question: What does it mean to be human? No Windows XP background could possibly explain in digitized 1s and 0s formulaic outreach, to even touch the definition of what it means, because despite A.I. and all its glories and faults, it will never quite get…there. And as laughable as it is that some pizzerias take on the namesake of the globe’s most famous Renaissance man, like in addition to inventing, drawing, and painting art here is a man fixing his meals in a brick oven, expert-like, with tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese. I guess who’s to say though? I haven’t read up on the subject and do not know the timeline in which pizza graced the globe in its first form. Stable mindsets never grant geniuses their ideal work environment; I wonder why everything needs to be chaos sometimes. Something to push against, maybe. Something to entertain as well as enthrall. Mistakes are just opportunities to learn. Leaning back on a radiator for long enough will eventually show you it’s hot. Stand back! Here comes knowledge in a 4:3 frame, a book encircles the globe like a sped up satellite in orbit. It is cartoonish, large, and embarrassing. It opens its pages to the screen, to the camera, breaking the fourth wall.
You ever feel like the universe is trying to send you a message, either through certain happenings or symbols? I think that those types of messages exist and I become more sure of it as time goes on.
For example, yesterday (and frequently when I have been driving lately) cars kept cutting me off, making me have to brake somewhat abruptly so I wouldn’t hit them. No close calls or anything but all of these careless drivers could have definitely waited until I passed. I noticed many of them even flew past STOP signs and just swerved out into the road. Right turns, left turns; They were all going for it. I was on a main street in my town (Franklin Ave and Centre for those who live in or around it) and was coming to a light, which turned yellow as I approached. There are two lanes at this light: One to make a left and the other to go straight or make a right. I was making a left but an Astro van in front of me (and the only car in front of me) had positioned itself between these two lanes, in front of the crosswalk with no directional. The light turns green and this car immediately makes a left hand turn. Oncoming traffic was heavy so I had to wait for all the cars to pass and didn’t make a left until the light was about the turn red again.
Okay, so I’m driving on Centre St. now. I then approach the next light at Centre and Passaic, which is red. I’m the third car in line. Light turns green. The first car (a Chevy Impala) is making a left and has to wait for traffic to pass, the second car goes around the first to go straight, and I am also making a left and wait for the Chevy now in front of me. After the traffic passes, we make our lefts in succession. Now this Chevy was going so slow, exactly 25 mph and braked for every slight turn, every person walking on the sidewalk, every approaching car, it even braked when the breeze was blowing. It was so irritating. I joked to my friend later on that whoever was driving was either a young new driver, extremely old, or high out of their mind. If you know me, you know I love to drive somewhat fast preferably with my windows down and music blasting, so this was a bit of a struggle. But I slowly breathed and told myself to have patience, the universe was telling me something – slow down. Don’t rush. This pattern, especially while driving has been extremely recognizable over the past few days.
Much to my displeasure, this car seemed to be going exactly where I was – all the way down Park Ave and over the Lyndhurst Bridge. We finally separated at the light that comes right after the bridge – the Chevy was making a left. I was making a right. As I made the right I couldn’t help but put a little more weight on the gas, so glad to be free of that tortoise driver in front of me. I’m driving smoothly along with no lights, no traffic, and no pedestrians. I was starting to feel so liberated. Then I slow to 25 mph again – in front of me there appeared a white Honda Civic moving at the same pace as I was, and a garbage track in front of the Civic moving at a snail’s pace while smelling up the entire road.
I guess you can say these are all coincidences. Hell, any skeptic could. But I think the universe has a lot to say if when you keep your mind open, breathe in the open air, and take in everything with a clear state of mind.
So you might be saying, “Okay, fine. So what? You had to drive a little slower than usual. Big deal.” But something happened to me this morning that I am still in disbelief about. The universe sending out more messages? You be the judge.
After stepping outside this morning I was taken aback with how beautiful it was outside. No humidity, cool air, and a slight breeze. The sun was shining, birds chirping, and the air smelled so sweet. Since graduating, I’ve rediscovered the joy of reading. It sounds awful but I never could make the time for it while I was in school, specifically most of high school and all of college. One of my favorite things to do now is to go outside with my book, a glass of ice water, my sunglasses, and just read. My backyard has become such a soothing and peaceful environment to me lately. So I put on my sunglasses, poured my water, grabbed Pathways to Bliss by Joseph Campbell, and went outside to read at about 9:30. It was so quiet and beautiful out and I quickly became absorbed in my book. At one point, I glanced up at a dead plant that was on my deck and noticed a leaf on it that looked like a dragonfly. I paid it no mind and went back to my book, eating up all the Joseph Campbell knowledge I could about myth, the psyche, and the importance of archetypes. About five minutes later, I noticed something fly over my head and saw the shadow in my lap. I glanced back up at the plant again and noticed the leaf was a dragonfly. It’s wings were translucent and had green lines towards the edge of all four of its wings and a green dot in the middle of each wing. (I can’t find a picture of this type of dragonfly for the life of me, so if anyone knows what species this might be, let me know!) I stared at it for awhile. I don’t ever recall seeing a dragonfly ever, nevermind in my own yard. Every time I looked away, I looked back. It was near motionless on this dead branch of a plant in front of me. The wind would blow hard enough to shake the trees and the leaves. The dragonfly would sway but still remained locked on to the branch, looking at me. It became difficult to concentrate on reading at this point, so I closed the book and stared at this funny little dragonfly staring back at me. It was not afraid when I moved my arms and legs; It did not budge. Sometimes it moved it’s head/eyes to the side but they always came back to me. We were pretty close to each other, only about two or three feet away. And we sat like that for 10 whole minutes. I timed it. After the 10 minutes, it flew away.
It left an impression on me. What could that possibly mean? I was shocked. I had never had that type of experience before. I thought about it all day. In the afternoon I did a brief Google search on strange dragonfly behavior and found a few things that piqued my interest. One thing that did is the folk tale that, “dragonflies have traditionally been one of a select few creatures that have been known to carry a deceased person’s energy (soul) to their loved ones. Contact from one of these simple, yet splendid creatures brings peace to a grieving soul.” I have been thinking about my grandmother from time to time, who passed away in 2004 but because I was only 14 when she died, I never really mourned her death until this past Easter. It kind of caught up with me then. Could it have been her somehow? Then I started reading about what the dragonfly symbolizes and this really got me going: “The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.” The dragonfly’s iridescent properties are believed to represent, “the end of one’s self created illusions and a clear vision into the realities of life. The magical property of iridescence is also associated with the discovery of one’s own abilities by unmasking the real self and removing the doubts one casts on his/her own sense of identity. This again indirectly means self discovery and removal of inhibitions. Well that’s totally what I’ve been trying to do! I’ve been eating up the teachings of Campbell, Jung, and Sagan like crazy! Trying to learn everything, rediscover myself, transition myself away from my student self which has died and transform into something great, something better. I’ve been trying to remain objective about this rebirth, yet keep tabs on my subjective feelings. As I was reading and discovering the symbolism of the dragonfly, I was in utter disbelief at parallels I was finding. “The dragonfly normally lives most of its life as a nymph or an immature. It flies only for a fraction of its life and usually not more than a few months. This adult dragonfly does it all in these few months and leaves nothing to be desired. This style of life symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living IN the moment and living life to the fullest. By living in the moment you are aware of who you are, where you are, what you are doing, what you want, what you don’t and make informed choices on a moment-to-moment basis. This ability lets you live your life without regrets like the great dragonfly. The opening of one’s eyes The eyes of the dragonfly are one of the most amazing and awe inspiring sights. Given almost 80% of the insect’s brain power is dedicated to its sight and the fact that it can see in all 360 degrees around it, it symbolizes the uninhibited vision of the mind and the ability to see beyond the limitations of the human self. It also in a manner of speaking symbolizes a man/woman’s rising from materialism to be able to see beyond the mundane into the vastness that is really our Universe, and our own minds.” Who knew this deep symbolism even existed?! “In many regions and as a norm of this day, the dragonfly is considered to be an agent of change and presumably symbolic of a sense of self realization.”
If this isn’t the universe sending me a message, an affirmation of everything I’ve been doing thus far on my journey of self-discovery and personal enlightenment, I don’t know what the hell it is. How do you explain these things? Too many things make sense to me. Too many things fall into place, so why fight it? Let’s just go with it. Might I also add that when I first went to go outside to read, I shattered a drinking glass and spent at least 20 minutes cleaning up, picking up shards of glass and vacuuming. If I hadn’t stalled myself by doing this, would I have even had this dragonfly experience at all? Think about it. Sometimes these real life, waking dreams can have such an impact. I can only encourage others to lead their own journeys of self-discovery and see what they find. It can be hard work but it gives you the gift of understanding and the possibility of reaping infinite rewards.