Embrace the Change

Prior to a certification in personal training, or college degree, my mastery was limited to that of big-sisterhood. No matter what came our way — or how imperfectly I handled the pressure — there was an undeniable primal pull in me to prove worthy of protecting our pride.

My brother — about 2 years younger — is a surfer with a mind that melts over physics, philosophy and physical activity. He’s brilliant, bold and a ‘Barzooni’ through and through. A tried, and true, cali-dude with a heart as gold as the coast he loves.

I didn’t always boast about my little brother, as big sisters do.

But, regardless of the wounds we’ve licked, or the times we’d been kicked, there was never a shred of doubt — even in the worst of bouts — that the other was in our corner, with affirmations of support and wit. 

He’s wise, and wanderlust, about worlds beyond comprehension. He’s inquisitive about what we cannot see and eager to make sense of the incomprehensible. He believes in human potential, the serendipity of science, and spectacularity of stardust.

He’s the human that keeps me grounded, grateful and grinning, when my world feels like it won’t stop spinning.

One day, while wrapped up in a workflow, I sent my brother a message. A reminder of just how “rad” of a human he is. Within minutes, his caller ID — a grumpy-baby-photo — pops up. We share in a sappy moment — that would make Mom faint with disbelief.

Then things quickly returned to normal when he indulged me with a recent discovery from his ventures into the dark scary corners of the internet.

Today’s finding: True Facts: Carnivorous Dragonflies. 

(PS… Uhhh… if you haven’t watched this. Do. You’re welcome. )

While we’re here, I gotta admit, the Dragonfly and I have a bit of a love affair. They seem to find me, with the whip of their quartet of wings, when their presence is needed most. And they love to make surprise visits during deep-dive sessions with clients, as they traditionally serve as a protective reminder of our right to transformation.

Something my brother and I know all too well.

Our parents separated when he was 6 months old, with a divorce finalized the week I started kindergarten. Both parents remarried, and in many ways we gained 10-fold what we thought we’d lost. In high school we would travel back and forth. Weekdays with mom, weekends with dad. For a period of time, my personal angst got in the way, creating a divide between us. Then, Mom had an accident that left her with partial paralysis, six years of bed rest, and a home and family that would never be the same. And in many ways, these changes — yet again — left us feeling as though we’d gained significantly more than what we thought we lost.

Dragonflies have spiritual, esoteric and cultural meanings dating back to ancient civilizations. Generally surrounding themes of rebirth, protection and divine transformation. A marvel all their own — at a feather-like weight with the ability to reach speeds up 30 mph — they’ve stumped humans, and theologians, for generations. 

My not-so-little brother listens to my reaction, which in all honesty, is a series of cackles inherited from Mom. No. Seriously. You can hear us laughing from anywhere in the family house.

Did you know that… 

  • Dragonflies evolve up to 17 times before reaching their full adult form (here I am thinking back on my childhood going “yeah… that seems about right”)
  • The initial phases of transformation, from birth, are experienced submerged underwater for up to 6 years!
  • Once a dragonfly reaches its adult form, they only live for about 6 months. Which only reinforces the fact that the journey truly is the destination. 
  • Their eyes — large enough to rival that of celebutante sunglasses — allow them to hunt down their target with supreme accuracy. Only AFTER they’ve fully analyzed all possible angles and potential outcomes from an objective perspective. The only way to take effective action is from a position of total clarity, discernment and objectivity.
  • Each of their four wings operate independently moving in all possible directions — giving the dragonfly the power to fly anyway it sees fit. Up, down, diagonal, backwards, or sideways, creating a flight pattern, entirely unique to them. 

As a kid, it was about who was right and who was wrong, weak or strong. Our needs to exert our autonomy and authority stemmed from a desire to exert personal freedom. To take flight and see if the wings we’ve been given can carry us at all. To take a leap, and trust that our tribe will catch us if we fall.

When we were tiny humans, change came early on and it wasn’t small. In fact our parents’ separation, at least to me, felt like an overhaul. Though we knew the change was for the best, it’s not easy for little heads to rest, when you feel your foundations are being put to the test.

We fought a lot, but always knew that we were there for one another without question, the second one of us beckoned. We’ve been through it all, the rises and falls. The build-ups, the breakdowns, and the heart-aches caused by clowns.

A human, who was once half my size, now carries with him wisdom and an uncanny ability to rise. His balance: unparalleled. On a skateboard or shredding the swell. His mind only comparable to his heart and willingness to be a human who’s kind. 

My not-so-little-brother is the one who holds me accountable to my personal transformation; to the human I could be if I surrendered fully to my power and truth, even if my way of going about it is relatively uncouth. He gives it to me straight as he helps me bust down the gates; of fear, doubt and the illusion of clout.

We’ve been through it all and somehow we’re still standing tall. Transformation, to us, is more like a beckoning call. Change is a challenge that, while uncomfortable, is something that we mastered from a really young age. And with the right humans by your side, trust me when I say you’ll never be confined to a cage.