Who am I anyway?
After 25 years as an
award winning
advertising Execu-
woman I'm on a
campaign to inspire
women to unzip their
inner joy through
my writing, paintings
and transformational
speaking. To find out
more about me
over here.

Do you know a Goddess
of Transformation?

Each month we'll honor
a woman who has
changed her life or
someone else's. 

Contact me to
nominate yourself or
another goddess
(and tell me why).

My Mother, The Dragonfly.

When hundreds of red dragonflies literally flew into my life,I realized they had a story to tell.

Little did I know, my very own 81-year old mother would be part of that story.

But first things first.

Did you know that dragonflies spend much of their lives (up to four years) crawling around the bottom of a pond?

Just when it looks like nothing is happening, they climb out of the muck and into the sunlight. Their wings, miraculously unfurl. And the dragonfly soars. (Here’s my magical dragonfly story.)

If you think that’s inspiring, listen to this:

For the last several years, my mother has been stuck in the muck of some pretty murky waters.

Besides struggling with her own depression and daunting health issues, she supported my Dad through his long, sad battle with kidney disease.

Her pond these days is a skilled nursing facility.

It’s dreary on the outside but filled with the most vibrant, and loving staff on the inside.

Six months ago, some of that staff actually got my mother to do something that I’ve been trying to talk her into since I was a little girl:

“Take an art class.”

My Mom’s always been so-o-o creative. It’s evident in everything she does, from doodling to decorating.

But like many of us, she’s been stuck in the muck of self-doubt and judgment, lacking the confidence to “put herself out there.”

Fortunately, Lisa Kokin, the very talented art teacher at the nursing home didn’t take “no” for an answer.  She kept inviting my Mom to come and simply observe the class. (No pressure whatsoever.)

After a couple of weeks of just watching, Mom started doing.

And doing.

And doing.

Twenty paintings later, she had her first one-woman art show.

And I had the pleasure of seeing my octogenarian mother, Marilyn Berger, hold court in front of an entire exhibit of her colorful, whimsical and deliciously-detailed masterpieces.

Family, friends and residents were in awe. No one (including Mom) could believe she created all these pieces in less than six months.

That dynamo of a dragonfly spread her wings further and read a speech to the gathered throng as if she’d been doing it her whole life. (I get happy tears just thinking about it.)

One of my favorite parts was “If I become depressed, I take out my art supplies and color my demons away—even if it’s 3AM.”

And, her Big Finish: “I hope you enjoy the new world of this old lady.”

Then,  “The Artist,” as Mom’s now called, answered questions from the adoring crowd:

Her medium? Brush-tipped markers on paper.

Her inspiration? Coloring books. As a kid, Mom loved lying on the living room floor coloring while her family gathered around the radio

Her favorite artist? Her daughter. (It seems my brother put her up to that one. But I was touched nonetheless.)

Ironically, I’ve been speaking to groups of women about “The Dragonfly Movement,” with the message that “it’s never too late to soar.”

Little did I know that the Queen of All Dragonflies was fluttering around my own family tree.

Here are some flying lessons I’ve picked up lately:

Shit happens. But magic happens too.

Who could imagined that in the midst of so much loss my mother would find the joy of her own creativity?

If her wings could emerge at 81 in a nursing home, who knows what gifts are hidden in the muck and mire of your pond?

Everyone flies in their own sweet time.

I‘d been trying to get my mother to “do something with her creativity” for eons. But just like the dragonfly, we each have our own timing.

It takes practice and faith to respect another’s process. And our own.

Grow your own wings first.

I’ve noticed that when I focus on myself and move toward those things that spark a “yes” in my own heart, it gives others permission to do the same.

When I found the courage to get my paintings out of the garage and into the world, it seemed to give my Mom a little psychic nudge.

It’s never too late.

Lately, I’ve been meeting dragonflies at all ages and stages of their lives.

The next time you start clipping your own wings, just remember my Mom.

And happy flying.

Are you or someone you love a dragonfly? Do tell…..(Please share your comments below.)

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34 comments to My Mother, The Dragonfly.

  • I discovered the dragonfly on my totem 35 years ago. Thanks for the story about your mother. I’m sharing this with my shamanic mentor Star Wolf, Venus Rising, Whittier, NC. “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven.”

  • Wow. As an artist with an artist mother, I related to this with shivers to the bone. Thank you for your beautiful and inspiring work. Will be returning and bringing many friends. :)

  • Susan

    My grandmother went back to college and became a librarian when she was 56, after my grandfather died. It was a job she loved until she retired at 84! She enjoyed her ‘retirement’ until she passed away, on her own terms, on no medication and in no pain, surrounded by loved ones — just shy of her 101st birthday. She has been my inspiration my whole life — I wasn’t born until she was in her 60′s. I was blessed to grow up with this perspective.

    • Susan, your grandmother was truly a pioneer. I love that she kept working til she was 84. What inspiration. By sharing these “dragonfly” stories, we can remind each other to rise above a number on our birth certificates and to answer the call of our hearts. Thanks for sharing, Wendi

  • Lisa

    the world should “hear” this :)

  • Lisa

    Wendi, this is beautiful. You are a way-shower!!! (If that’s even a word?) the world should her this. Beyond inspiring!

    • Thank you Lisa. Wow, I just looked up the word “wayshower.” And this is what it said: “A spiritually enlightened being who has the capacity to lead humanity through a process of spiritual development. ” I am humbled and honored if that’s what you think I am. But it’s the dragonflies who are showing me the way. xoxoxo

  • Thank you so much for sharing this story! I am deeply inspired! In fact, it moved me to tears…
    Two coworkers were just talking about dragonflies yesterday. What a wonderful message!

    • Dear Angela, Yes–I think the dragonflies are trying to reach out to more and more people….reminding us that when we’re stuck in the muck, we’re growing our wings….no matter how old or young we are.

  • Wendi, this is such an inspiring story, and, I’m a total believer in ‘It’s Never Too Late’. I’m a retired corporate executive starting the next phase of my life, as an author and speaker. Love what you’re doing…

  • Carla

    Oh my gosh Wendi! I’m speechless with this story. I just showed it to Carlos (my fiancé) and he wants to go see her paintings!!! We are both so impressed and inspired, it’s beyond words. Where can we see her paintings??

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. Much love to you and your mom. You’re one lucky daughter and your mom is a star.



    • Wonderful to hear from you, Carla. And I’m soooo happy that you’re engaged! I’ve followed your romance on Facebook. Right now, my Mom’s paintings are hanging in the hallway at Piedmont Gardens in Oakland. But I have photos of most of them. I will forward the link to you, okay? And really should download them somewhere where others can see them. Not sure how to do that….but I’ll figure it out. Much love and congratulations, Wendi

  • Wonderful. I’m totally puddling up over here. Thank you and thanks to your mom for her courage and grace.

    • Dear Samantha, When I saw 20 of my mother’s works of art hanging on the wall, I had my share of happy tears as well. Her story continues to inspire me. Anything can happen. I am a true believer. Thanks for reaching out.

  • I was an art major in college and have had a career as a graphic designer and I think your mom’s colors and designs are fabulous! Keep the creative energy flowing. . .

    • Thank you, Linnette, I’ll pass that on to Mom. She has always been very talented–decorating the house, parties, etc. But she’s never put herself out there like this.
      I’m printing out everybody’s comments and sharing them with her.

    • Thank you, Linnette. I will pass these comments on to my Mom. I’m sure it will encourage her to creating!

  • John

    What an uplifting story this is, Wendi, and I’m so glad you chose to share it. It’s so wonderful to read about your mother’s successful flight, and it’s an inspiration to us all. Thank you Marilyn and Wendi!

  • Regina

    Wendi, your mother’s story has brought tears to my eyes. Her paintings are beautiful! You gave her a beautiful gift through your encouragement to explore her creativity. So many of us have hidden our gifts out of fear and lack of belief! You are a wonderful daughter to her and a blessing in her life!

    • Dear Regina, your message here means so much to me. It is such a pleasure to see my mother take flight creatively…We continue to learn and inspire each other. I am on a mission to inspire women to take that first little step toward the “yes” in their hearts.

  • Wendi,

    this story brought tears to my eyes. so inspiring. your mothers work is incredible. It’s obvious where you get your talent from. xo

    • Thank you sweet Lissa! You heard me talk about her at the Dragonfly Salon and now you can see how magical this whole thing is. She is soooo talented. We all knew she had this inside her. But until we give ourselves permission, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Big hugs to you, sweet friend.

  • Jamie

    Go Auntie Marilyn! And finally seeing them first hand was extra special. Karlie wanted a photo of each one!

  • Wanita

    OMG how beautiful <3 <3 <3 <3 please tell your mother how proud I am of her-inspiring others runs in the family- how amazing-the talents we carry inside with us, just waiting to be discovered

  • Lainey

    Wendi I just loved this and getting to see your Mom’s work and how much you are her daughter. Just glorious. I am truly happy for your Mother. She really found a way to climb out of the bottom of the pond. I know how worried you are for her, but I think it her own way she is thriving and certainly has her wings now in this new environment.

    • Yes, Lainey…isn’t it miraculous? I always knew my mother had all this in her. But she didn’t. And that makes all the difference.
      Thank you for all your loving support. You continue to give my heart wings.

  • Reba

    Thank you for the beautiful reminder that we can soar at any age. Unfurling my wings!

  • Krikit

    Oh my goodness, Wendi, they are beautiful!

    Two very talented women in the family sharing — what a blessing! ~:)

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