Maribeth Dunlap Dressage

Articles & Events

2023 New Year's Day Jump Pt.1 - The Dragonfly

Posted on December 31, 2022 at 12:20 PM

2023 New Year’s Day Jump Pt.1 - The Dragonfly

By Maribeth Dunlap

December 31, 2022


Here I sit on the morning of the eve of a new year.  I don’t feel well.  The results, perhaps, of the vaccinations I received last Wednesday - a shingles booster and a flu shot.  The arm where I got the flu shot is still swollen, red and sore.  Or another thought - perhaps from a bad burger I ate the day before - ugh.  But I have not felt well since receiving the shots, but I pushed on, riding my horses, working my real estate, and keeping myself distracted with all my busyness that I so often do when I’m avoiding something.  Last night was the worst.  I was up half the night with digestive issues.  My body wanted to expel all its contents and never a pleasant experience.  I’m feeling drained this morning.  And I’m feeling sad as I process through all the emotions from 2022.


I’m jumping tomorrow and I’m supposed to do a Polar Bear Plunge into the Atlantic tonight.  The Polar Bear Plunge at midnight: a metaphor of the washing away the past year and the Jump on January 1st to jump into a new year with hope for new things to come.  I am so very excited about it but this body of mine doesn’t seem to want to cooperate.  I’ve been wanting to write about my up-coming jump, but the words wouldn’t come.  I tried several times, but I couldn’t string the thoughts together.  This will be the second time I’ve jumped.  I jump for a reason.  It is not a sport that I want to take up or a deep passion that I have.  I jump for a reason.  A reason.


The first time was my Birthday Jump on September 3rd, 2016.  I jumped with my kiddo as our birthdays are 2 days apart.  I wrote twice about that jump and I couldn’t type fast enough as my thoughts formed into words and poured from my brain.  That jump was a metaphor for a stage and transition in my life.  I was going through tremendous change.  That was my Phoenix Jump.


However, this time, this jump means something else to me.  It is, again, a metaphor for a stage of life for me.  But this one is different, as I presume, they all will be should I decide to jump for a third time.  This jump is more about attitude and how I’ve grown and now look at things. 


In almost every part of the world, the Dragonfly symbolizes change, transformation, adaptability, and self-realization. The change that is often referred to has its source in mental and emotional maturity and an understanding of the deeper meaning of life.  This.  This is what this jump is about.  This is my Dragonfly Jump.  I am a dragonfly.  




One of my favorite quotes is “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at, change”.  I’ve grown to be more accepting of things; things I can change, and things I can’t change.  I’ve learned that the only thing I can truly control is me - how I see things, my attitude, my behavior, my reactions and, better put, how I respond to things.  I have choices and options.  I get to choose how I feel about something, who I believe I am, and what kind of person I want to be.  No matter what someone says to me or tries to make me feel about myself or something, I have a choice - whether to believe them or not.  I have a choice - whether to remain in a situation or not, what kind of people I want to surround myself with, and I get to choose what kind of person I want to be.  When I truly accept the truth in myself and in others, then I get to choose my path accordingly.  And this gives me freedom in that no one has control over my mindset, my thoughts, and my well-being, but me.  And this in turn, allows me to be more gentle, forgiving, and compassionate toward myself and those surrounding me.  Authenticity, truth and remaining true to my genuine self are keys to true acceptance.  And from there, the possibilities are endless.


This jump is about acceptance of all that I can and can’t change.  This jump is about knowing that no matter what, no matter what the outcomes are - I will be okay.  I will be okay because there is One that doesn’t change.  There is One who is a constant in my life.  There is One who has never left me.  There is One who is always reliable and someone I can depend on.  This jump is about knowing that God is always here for me and that I am truly never alone.




Something I’ve had to work on.  I’ve had to learn to wait, be still, pause, go with the flow, and allow things to fall into place.  I’ve had to learn to be patient with others and be more accepting of their needs - not just my own.  I tend to be a “fixer” and want to “fix” everything so everyone can go forward and be happy.  I’ve had to learn to allow others to move at their pace and just allow the other person to work through their emotions in the way they need to.  I’ve learned to do this in my career and personal life.


Waking up and not feeling well.  Being patient with my body and allowing it time to feel better with the knowledge that I may have to accept that I may have to forego my jump.  Another lesson, another metaphor, that good things take time to come to fruition and grow slowly with stability.




Trust… this is a biggie for me.  I have learned to trust God for everything.  Even if it doesn’t feel good, look good, or is not exactly what I expected or thought it would be, simply trust that God has my back and has something amazing planned for me.  My mother used to say, “when God closes a door, He leaves another ajar”.  So true.  The end of something is usually the beginning of something new.  I trust that God has my best interests in mind.  He teaches me and allows me to go through tough times and struggles, but all for a reason and a lesson.  He is preparing me for something better and I trust that better times lay ahead.


And on the other side of this jump, there is something better waiting for me.  I don’t yet know what it is, but I trust that it will be there.  God will always be there to guide and uplift me.




I am so very grateful for the life I have lived and for the life I currently live.  I’m grateful for the people and animals who have come in and out of my life.  And I’m grateful for all those who have remained still in my life.  I was talking to someone the other day about gratitude.  I said that I have everything I could ever want in my life with the exception of two things that I’m still working for.  That’s pretty good.  And if those two things don’t come in my life, I’m okay with that because I’m happy for what I have already.  I know I’ll be okay because I already am.


Jumping tomorrow is an outward expression of my gratitude for the life that God has given me.  He has given me so many wonderful opportunities and has brought so many wonderful people and animals in my life.  An attitude of gratitude is positive, and this positivity is a magnet.  It attracts more positivity in my life, bringing more opportunities and wonderful people in my life.  I grow.  I touch lives.  People come and go, in and out of my life, and they touch my life.  These are all opportunities to grow.  It is endless.  It is lovely.


Letting Go and Letting God:


Letting Go!  It is so much easier to just let go of all the fear and worry that often plagues and occupies our minds.  We lose sleep over it.  We lose our health because of it.  It often costs us our relationships.  And it always costs us our joy.


I’ve learned to let go and let God.  I’ve turned it all over to Him.  He’s now in charge.  He always was anyway - I just got in the way.  When I turn things over to God then I can let go of the emotions associated with my circumstances and I, in turn, gain emotional control.  I can be at peace, remain calm through the storms of my life regardless of the chaos surrounding me.  God is a good, good God.  He is greater than all my circumstances.  He is more powerful than my pain.  I am strong because God is stronger than anything that exists because He made all things and from Him all things flow.  


Oh, these wonderful and crooked roads we travel.  Oh, Glorious God.  How magnificent and wonderful life is with Him.


Jumping is an outward expression of letting go and letting God.




The trials and challenges in my life have taught me to persevere.  The storms in my life are temporary and something I walk through with God.  The opportunities that are presented to me are sent by One greater than me and I may achieve it not by shrinking myself and making myself less, but by focusing on serving the world and uplifting those around me.  Because of God, I have the confidence to not conceal or suppress my gifts and talents in order to make others feel more comfortable, but to embrace what makes me - me.  And this in turn provides the focus required to achieve and grow.  Other people’s insecurities and judgements about me are not my problem.  Those things are about them - not me.  Humility, freedom, and focus allows me to redirect my attention from others and back to me.


This jump is about me and the gifts that God has given me.




I’ve learned that I do not need to search for love in others as it lies within me.  God lives inside of me.  That’s all I need.

Categories: Personal Musings

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