Maitri Libellule

Dear Ones,

It is with some regret but also necessary that I close 2 of my four blogs so that I am not spread too thin. My mother is about to pass in the next few days and when that happens my life is going to be drastically altered and past getting through the experience just ahead I will be moving. I will be leaving the blogs up for some time but will not be updating them, and the subject matter in those two blogs will be incorporated in the other 2 blogs.

My other two blogs, Maitri's Heart, and Life at Dragonfly Cottage will still run on, and I hope you will visit there.

I wish you all blessings, love and again, I thank you for your kind support.

Maitri Libellule
Maitri Libellule
If you like this light, come sit by me...

You have to be a true aficionado of the odd, the peculiar, and the just plain unimaginable to appreciate this light. I loved it dearly but finally it went the way so many things do in a house with parrots. Henry, my beloved African Grey parrot whom I lost -- oh Lord, I just looked at the calendar and my heart sank, it was one year ago to the day, sigh... -- last November, used to sit on top of his cage to play and he got too close to the lamp and would nip the bits off. Finally it lost it's magic without all of it's green and purple birds, flowers and stars intact, and more and more empty holes, and down it came, but I had it for a number of years. I bought it from a little old lady on eBay who made them to sell. I paid $5. When I got it in the mail I was so enchanted I was beside myself.

You see the light was made of a white plastic pot turned upside down and screwed to what would have been the little tray the pot sat in. It was an ornate sort of plastic and the fixings of a lamp went inside with a hanging light cord. THEN the dear woman -- someone would have had to help her drill all of those holes -- put what look very like those little plastic pieces you would put in one of those children's "Lite Bright" sets, and they were purple and green stars, and flowers, and birds. Now, in a house full of birds that was very special! At night when it was dark I would just have that one light on and I would stare and stare at it mesmerized. Oh, I miss that light. I was bereft when a friend helping me organize things around here made me throw it out. I don't do well parting with things.

Closeup of the Magic Lamp.
The pink and
green circles
stars and flowers &
lots of the little green
were birds.

Then there was the most enchanting light that a little lady at a farm stand had made. She was round as a pumpkin with very pink cheeks and wiry grey hair up in a straggly bun. I wanted to squeeze her she was so adorable. She made lots of them in different colors and when I brought mine home, proud as a peacock, people were absolutely in shock that I paid money for it. I wish I had a picture.

You see, what she did was take a ton of those clear plastic cups you buy with picnic ware, the small ones, and she put a strand of Christmas lights all bunched up in the middle and it made a huge ball with lots of those little cups connected together, the clear plastic glowing in the dark with the colored lights shimmering through. I chose one with blue lights -- it was a blue Christmas with a Christmas tree full of blue lights and strands of blue lights everywhere in my tiny cottage.

My two lights. I think those two lights were the grandest things I'd ever seen.

And then there are the flamingos.

I have a flamingo hat that I have actually worn OUT to the horror of a great many people...

And once, just for fun, I wore a string of flamingo lights as a little joke. I thought I was hilarious. Others did not...

And we can't forget the flamingos on top of my refrigerator...

And I have a passion for the pink plastic flamingos in the garden...

I don't know how they got on my patio. I think they liked the antique stone mermaid. She kind of makes me swoon too. And they got into my Christmas tree the year of The Pink Christmas...

A friend of mine sent me pink lights for my tree and
I just loved them. So did the
flamingos and they crept
in and crawled
into the Christmas tree. I bought little
birds from the craft store, all different
types and colors,
the kind with wires
on them that were just perfect for
wrapping around the tree branches. Oh, that tree was
a marvel!

Yes, I have a passion for flamingos. Gnomes too but I'd best not go into the gnomes. We have secrets, the gnomes and I, and I'm not telling them here. Nosirree, you'll never get it out of me. We might have been arrested if the police saw us. At least it startled the neighbors who I think are afraid of me, but I think it's best that way. I say If you can't seem weird to your neighbors, or scare the hoo-ha out of them on occasion, you're probably doing something wrong.

There are so many screwball things that I have collected over the years like vintage teapots in the shape of snails, chickens, a woman in a ball gown whose head comes off to fill the teapot and so many other things. You can see some of my teapots at Flickr.

I could go on and on, but by now you are probably either nodding off or calling someone to have me taken to the funny farm (I bet I'd have a ball there! I'd fit right in!). It's my theory that I fell down the rabbit hole with Alice and decided to stay there. I mean, really, who would ever want to leave a Cheshire Cat, a rabbit who is always late, and a Mad Hatter who gives tea parties. Yes, they would be just the kind of folks I'm comfortable with.

Never try to be "normal." What's the point really? I never want to be normal I'd be bored to death with myself. Next time I'll tell you about my (live, cut) Christmas tree that I had for a year.

My favorite t.v. show is coming on now and I don't want to miss it. I know you will be waiting with baited breath, but I'll get to it soon...

Maitri Libellule
"Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life."

~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~
Vietnamese Buddhist Monk

It was just past midnight last night. I was out on the patio as two of the dogs, Big Moe, my lab-doby mix, and Sampson, my Velcro pug, snuffled about in the grass to find just the perfect spot to do their business. This is very important. Dogs are very mindful, and they were single-minded in their pursuit. It was just then that I saw a glint of bright green against the white stucco wall of the patio. I stood, barely breathing, and stared at him. I thought he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. In each moment there is something perfect, beautiful, unimaginably tender and touching, if we are aware, and present. For a single moment I was one with him, his bright eyes locked with mine. It was perfect bliss...

I held my breath as I slipped in the door to grab my camera, and took several pictures of him. He stood quite still as if posing for me. The camera flashed and he will be with me for all eternity in this photograph, even though moments later he jumped through the air so fast that I blinked and he was gone. I saw one flash of a tiny green leg disappear through a crack where the patio wall meets the cottage wall. Morning glories slip through this crack, and beetles, lady bugs, spiders, and the little green lizards we have in abundance here. I live in harmony with each and every one of them. These are the simple things in life that I treasure, the ephemeral things that disappear in a moment. Present Moment, Wonderful Moment -- that is the title of one of Thich Nhat Hanh's books. His books are slender little volumes, his words are a whisper in the air. You hear him in your ears as you read. I have several video and audio cd's of him speaking and his voice is mesmerizingly soft and gentle. I hear his voice when I read the words in his books.

I came in with the dogs, the tiny frog gone wherever bright green nocturnal creatures slip off into in the night, and I sat here with only one small reading lamp on, but I didn't read, I didn't turn on the computer or the t.v., no, I sat here to meditate on that miraculous moment, when one tiny little tree frog and I met, a moment that I will forget, sadly, but that one single moment will remain part of me forever.

Present Moment, Wonderful Moment. I bow to Thich Nhat Hanh, in Plum Village in France where he lives, I bow to the wee little frog who disappeared into the night, I smile at the sleeping pug attached to me who is settled deep in sleep and snoring softly. I listen to the air, the soft whoosh of the Hepa air filter moving particles that sparkle in the dark. If only I were a frog I could see them. I listen to my breath go in and out, in and out. I slip into a meditative state and behind my eyelids there is a sea of bright green. I float in it, and only when I open my eyes again do I realize that it was a frog meditation, and for one single moment I was as green as my tiny visitor.

As I was writing the above I looked down and smiled. I am wearing a soft lime green cotton caftan, the color faded with age, and on my wrist are three beaded bracelets, all green stones -- prehnite, green turquoise, aventurine, and peridot -- all powerful, healing, comforting stones for me now. It is a green time for me in my life. Green is the heart chakra color. It is a heart time for me now, as my mother, who just went on hospice faces, in peace, her final days. She talked softly today about the end, which is near, and I have never felt her more at ease. She is prepared for her passing. I wear these green stones so that my heart may be healed as she makes her final passage.

In the last moment I spoke to her I said the prayer for her that she loves. I say it to her now every time we speak, and she loves to hear it. I first heard it in Unity Church in Roanoke, Virginia, more than two decades ago.

"The light of God surrounds you,"
I tell her, almost in a whisper...

"The love of God enfolds you,"
I can feel her relax into the moment
as a tear runs down my cheek...

"The power of God protects you,"
We are one spirit in this moment,
mother and daughter, for what may
be, at any time, the last moment...

"The presence of God watches over you,"
We both face toward the golden light
of God's presence, and the light that
will draw her home in the days ahead...

"Wherever you are, God is, and all is well."
I feel her tender smile, I am in awe of
the total peace she radiates in these,
her final days. When we get off of the
phone, I say the prayer for myself,
that I may feel the peace that passeth
understanding when my mother crosses
over into the light.

I will sit here for awhile before I go to sleep and I will close my eyes and breathe in the gift of green that the little frog brought to me, I will feel the soft green cotton against my skin, and the sparkling green beads and stones around my wrist. As I closes my eyes I feel my belly rise and fall as I become all breath, rocking gently, like a baby in her mother's arms, and pray as I get ready to turn off the light and go to sleep...

The light of God surrounds me...

Present Moment, Wonderful Moment...

My heart beats in my chest, my breath slowly moves in and out, and for one singular moment I feel the peace that passeth understanding, and all is well...

Maitri Libellule

Yesterday something happened to me, and I don't know why, or what caused it to happen just then, just the way it did, but I am thanking God for it today. I spend too much time on the computer, as if clinging to life itself. This afternoon I called to speak to my mother to tell her I love her, but she was not able to come to the phone and my aunt said it was a very bad day. My heart just sank. I realized that in the year ahead I will heal my heart by doing my art. I think there is no mistake that the word "art" is part of the word HeART.

I use crystals and gemstones for healing. For a long time I made jewelry that I sold in my etsy store called Stone Medicine Jewelry, but I no longer make jewelry to sell and my etsy store is currently on hold. I had one for a long time closed it, opened it again and had to close it immediately after selling only a few items because of my mother's cancer. I just didn't have it in me. Everything went numb. I was frozen in the middle of my own life.

I believe very strongly in the healing power of these stones. They are energetic minerals from deep in the earth, and bring with them different kinds of power and frequencies that have been used in healing since ancient times. You needn't believe in the healing power to appreciate their beauty, but if you are interested you can look at this wonderful page, Crystal and Healing Properties of Gemstones. I keep this on my toolbar for when I'm ordering but have a vast library of books of these stones and their healing powers.

And so I knew that I needed Flourite. (Scan down the page until you find this stone.) It is a very gentle healing stone, and I have had this puffy little flourite heart for some time. I have carried it with me everywhere in my purse. I always wanted it near me. I turned off my computer all afternoon on Friday and worked on this piece. It is not finished, but this will show you a little bit of my process. I will keep you posted along the way. And in the process I started writing a book that will be a year of the healing process ahead through my art, of many various types.

The Flourite heart on my wrist so you can
imagine the size...

I held this gentle precious stone in my hand for awhile and just closed my eyes and meditated. It was so soothing I almost drifted off to sleep. I think of the people who find it near quackery to believe in the healing power of these stones, and yet they believe in the flowers and herbs and plants of this earth for their healing powers, their beautiful properties. The gifts of this earth are many, and if they seem strange to some who don't understand them, that's okay, but at least, if you are a spiritual person, imagine that nothing was put on this planet without a reason. These stones have their reasons, their place. Enjoy their beauty, if nothing else. You will find that you will be drawn to certain stones for reasons you can't imagine, but don't question it, simply enjoy it. If you choose to, you can study more about these stones, and there are many books on the subject and sites to buy them inexpensively.

This piece that I am working on will use many different techniques, among them spoolknitting, crochet, beading, and finger weaving. By the end of the piece, and when it actually turns into a long necklace, it will be quite an elaborate piece, with all the stones I need to heal my heart. The act of making the piece will be the most important healing process of all...

A Hand carved spoolknitter, a gorgeous butterfly,
made by my dear sister-friend,
Noreen Crone-Findlay.
You have just got
to see her amazing work. Some time
I showed the collection of crochet hooks that
she handmade. I almost exclusively use
her tools in
my work. And she has several
other sites, a daily
blog, and an etsy shop,
but her magical main site
my favorite...

Spoolknitting with pink wire, I ease the heart
down into the spoolknitted section to check

For those of you who have never spoolknitted it is one of the most calming artforms on the planet with endless possibilities for making things, easy to use, and you can buy them in all shapes and sizes. I have a red plastic one I bought a year or two ago at a craft shop for $2. They usually have them wherever you can buy sewing notions and supplies. In days gone by they used to be called "Knitting Nancies." Spoolknitting is also a contemplative art, very meditative, and I have spoolknitted lots of long tubular pieces using all types of materials for spoolknitting from yarn to string to twine to soft grasses, long thin strips of leather, suede, to unspun wool or strips of old clothing. Sometimes my closet is the best place to find odds and ends for my art, and what a wonderful way to recycle!

Once the spoolknitted heart was taken off of
the spoolknitter, I used a tiny antique
crochet hook to crochet it shut. I
rarely ever
use this type of hook, but
each project has it's
own needs.

Then the really joyous work began, and this
will be long work and by the end of this entry
you will see the heart given a good start but
nowhere near the end! Here I am beading and
fingerweaving the wired and knotted beads
around the flourite heart in the spoolknitted
"case." The stones I am using are flourite in
many colors and my favorite current stone
which calls to me deeply, peridot. You can
read more about it on that page, and much
more in wonderful books, and on the web,
but it is, among other things, a heart healer.
People think of pink as the color of the
heart, but in chakra work, the heart's
color is green...

The flourite heart at it's very beginning
what will be a long journey...

For those of you like me who spend too much time on the computer, one of the most healing (and I believe truly essential, increasingly so...) activities you can do is turn off the computer and move on to other pursuits. Work in the garden, read a good book, take a nature walk, even do housework, but turn off the computer, and live your life. I plan to do this more and more. and will still be spending mornings and evenings and once in awhile spottily on the computer if I need to check on something, but I am writing my book by hand as I do my art, and it will all get moved to the computer when it is good and ready. Writing by hand is also a lovely thing, a lost art really. I am also going to start collecting long lost addresses, and put something in the mail to a friend everyday. A post card, a letter, a tiny treasure. Reviving the lost art of letter writing, believe it or not, is part of my ministry. It is connecting with real people in real time, and giving them something that they can hold onto and cherish. Something tactile, something that is not ephemeral and disappears as soon as you push a button.

I will continue to share this journey with you as the "Healing Heart" progresses, and then I will wear it as I work on the book for the next year, and when my mother passes I will be wearing it over my own heart, allowing the stones to heal me, and the work of my hands will bring me peace...

Blessings and Love to one and all...

Maitri Libellule

"Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier.

The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want."

~ Margaret Young ~

I live with piles of books all around me, the current ones I am reading and a number of them that I go back to for quotes or references when I am writing. I have thousands of books collected over many decades. The thing that always amazes me, and I'm sure you all have experienced this as well, is that you can read the same book ten times and each time you read it, it's almost like you are reading a different book. The book hasn't changed, you have.

I have been a journal-writing teacher for over thirty years. I have seen it time and time again with now somewhere in the thousands of students, and I always told them the same thing. Some exercises, like the one I shared a few entries back, "At this very moment..." which is a standard exercise that many writing teachers use to just get the pen moving, is really not only the bedrock of our writing foundation, but a touchstone in our lives. If you were to write "At this very moment..." every day for a year, and a year later go back and read all of them, you would have probably felt, before starting, that not much changed from day to day, and that overall it had been, given no extenuating circumstances beyond our control occurring, pretty much the same old, same old. What you would find would be very different.

What you would find would be that not only does each day shift a little, over the course of a year you have shifted quite a lot. Track that over five years, over ten, and you would simply be dumbfounded. As a person who has hundreds of journals in boxes and lived very close to this process since I was a young girl, I am acutely aware of the fact that huge changes are happening over time, but as they are happening over time, we don't see them or feel them, unless we encounter one of life's heart-wrenching circumstances like the death of a loved one, the loss of a child, a close friend who was like family, a divorce, loss of a job you felt would be your lifetime job when you had never thought of or prepared for anything else, unless those kinds of things happen to you, you are shape-shifting all the time, in every moment and are, for the most part, completely unaware of what is happening.

So through these difficult days and weeks and months with my poor mother's decline stepping up it's pace every single day, it has been one of those times when someone sits down and takes stock. A time when one notices things that they hadn't stopped to look at before.

I wrote, just last night, on my Unimaginable Dreams Made Manifest blog, that I was coming to the time in my life when much that I had been dreaming and hoping for all of my life was about to start happening, but that after I go over the first big hump, it will be a tremendous lot of work to do, meaning the foundation will have been laid to allow me to do the work, but the hardest part will begin when I finally face and have to live out the, "If only I could..." Well, now I'll be able to, now I'll actually have to, and all of a sudden I was scared to death.

And so last night I "slept on it," or rather slept on it and half way on a pug who is always attached to my person and I am either leaning against him or he is halfway on top of me. I thought about the dreams and wondered if I had done what I needed to all of these years to prepare properly for what lies ahead. I mean I'm 55 after all and while I don't consider that old, have never been worried about age, and am in good health, I am also very well aware that as the years keep marching onward (and there's been a lot of marching already...) you have less time to get things done. It's time I started.

So, circling back around to the beginning of this piece, I found this quote, and it made me sink into my chair and take a big sigh of relief. I have done exactly what I was supposed to in her definition of what you need to do to achieve what you want, but I did not do it consciously, more to the point, and as the poet Louise Bogan was often quoted as saying, "Let life do it." meaning that you needn't worry so much about what to do about every little detail, life will just be what it will be for you, and sweep you along downstream, and there will be a sense of momentum that comes from you know not where. So "Life did it," in the manner of my having been a mother raising and homeschooling three children and all the while, right next to them, I was writing, publishing in magazines and newspapers, I had three small presses and a rubber stamp business, I did art of all sorts and I was always doing "my work"right along with them as they did their school work. A decade ago my husband and I separated and my kids grew into their own lives and met their partners or spouses and I have spent a very hard decade both financially and trying to figure out what I was going to do, and then it came to me, I have been doing it all along.

I had to be all of who I was because what else can you do? I lived my way forward through college, marriage, children, and onward, being the best person I could be with all of my oddities and idiosyncrasies, trying hard not to make the mistakes my parents had but making my own instead, and all along the while I was doing what I needed to do without realizing it. What a shock to realize you might have done something right, even if it was by accident. When you are a SAHM (Stay at home mom.) you are sadly not taken seriously, although thank God I see this changing all around me, and my writing and art were thought of as "nice little hobbies" and because everyone else treated me and what I was doing that way, and even though I knew inside that they weren't just "hobbies" but my life's work, I kind of felt embarrassed and while I kept trudging on and my belief in myself was strong, I finally stopped talking a lot about it to those closest to me who pretty much just had that, "There she goes again..." attitude when I started writing another novel or small business or whatever, but I knew, as I have known these past ten years on my own, that I was, indeed, working toward something. I was doing it in order, and not the reverse, and of course in order works differently for each and every one of us.

So here I am. I have raised my family. I am divorced and have teetered through the past decade pretty much just hoping I would survive, and I have made it through to a place where I will now have a kind of security I haven't known in my life, where decisions will be in my own hands, and I will have the wherewithall to lead the simple, gentle little life I've always wanted, surrounded by my animals and my garden, writing and doing my art, praying and meditating and having my quiet little "barefoot ministry," wherein I can walk metaphorically barefoot through the world touching anyone I can with love and kindness, and, considering the whole world my "congregation," for lack of a better way to put it, no matter what their religion or spiritual path or none at all, I will love those I meet, pray for all and sundry, and finally be able to take myself and my work seriously because there is no one to tell me that I can't.

I have been, all along, who I really am, warts and all, I have done, inasmuch as I've been able, to do what I've needed to do, and now I am at the the threshold I will soon cross into the life that I want and it will all have happened just exactly as it should have. I "Let life do it," even when I didn't know I was doing so.

And so here I am, at the crossroads. I know which path I will take...

Maitri Libellule

Dear Ones,

I just wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten about my memes, "Mysterious Monday," "Wisdom Wednesday," and "Serene Sundays," but I will not be able to do them for a little while ahead. My mother is going on hospice on Monday and her end is very near. This is, as you can imagine, a very hard time, but actually doing my blogs has been a lifesaver and helps me hold on to something. The thing is, I never know WHEN I am able to do things right now, so holding to some kind of "Gotta do it TODAY" schedule won't work for now. I do, as a matter of fact, hope to update this blog later today, but I felt I needed to put a little note here about this issue so you didn't think I'd stopped them. Those who are doing them, keep on, that would be lovely, and I will certainly be back to them when I can. The memes have gone cattywompus, and there's nothing I can do about that now.

Thank you for your understanding...

Maitri Libellule
Align Center
I had counted on Coco, a more sensible
girl than some of the others, but she is
notsomuch a morning girl, and she hid
on the stairs and went back to sleep
and no one could find her...

It's so hard to get a pug to be useful when you really need them. Oh, I might have had 2 hours sleep when they are ready to go potty first thing in the morning about 6 a.m., and they'll get me back up again at 7 to go out again and get their milkbones, by 8 to 8:30 they're up for good (or one would imagine) and they go out and then eat their breakfast. Then they go back to sleep for awhile. Then they have to go out again. Then, just when I need my latte, and think SURELY, after all I do for them, ONE of them could handle the job, nosirreebob, it just ain't gonna happen.

I thought I might have better luck with Babs, who, though she is fourteen, blind as a bat, and deaf as a door, is like a little black Mexican jumping bean and literally hops straight up and down barking her fool head off when she wants something. Surely, I thought, I could count on Babs. But...

She poked her head out from under the
covers and scowled at me and said surely
I wasn't daft enough to ask her to do a
single little thing before she'd had HER
latte and read the New York Times. She
gets the Braille edition and it takes her
awhile. This time is, for her, sacrosanct,
and I should have known better. Sigh...

I mean truly, I did get the pugs for companionship and they were rescues that I wanted to give a loving home to, and I simply adore them, but I don't see why they can't pull their weight around here a little bit. Is that unreasonable? And then I thought, SAM, Sam the Man, my Velcro Pug, who spends 106% of the day on my person and truly adores me, unless I'm about to ask him to lend a helping paw. I started out with that voice that is dripping with honey.... "Oh Sammyyyy..." (... this was accompanied by smooching noises and that batting of eyelashes, but there's no charming a pug who doesn't want to do something, like stay awake, or help around the house...), but he only looked at me like this...

When a half awake pug, still under the covers,
raises his head for a millisecond and looks at
you like this, you might as well hang it up...

But then I had the GREATEST inspiration. You see, wee little Harvey, who is the youngest pug in the house at 9 years old, and was here one year in September (the others had been here two years by then), is the sweetest little pug of them all. He is a little timid and shy, but he so wants to please that he will do just about ANYTHING for you. "Yessirree, that's the ticket!" I thought, I'll ask Harvey. He'll probably want to make my latte first, and then let me get settled in comfortably while he goes over to the computer and writes the morning blog entry, but, much to my shock and dismay, I found him looking like this...

Cripes, he's been here too long and the others have
gotten to him. Another one bites the dust...

I'd rescue a few more but Pug Rescue won't let me. They know I'd have a herd of pugs around here if I could. They cut me off at four. (I thought that was a dirty deal, but I did get tired of Big Dog Moe always trying to eat the newest pug and me having to go all Dog Whisperer on him when he's been my boy for 15 years, since a wee tiny puppy from the Humane Society.) He and the pugs look like "The Jolly Black Giant and The Little Niblets," and they sure looked tasty to him, kind of like chicken nuggets I think. And Moe is just useless. I learned long ago that if I asked Moe to do anything he just flopped down, rolled over on his back, paws in the air, looking for all the world like "The Most Submissive Dog In The Universe," and then I don't have the heart to bother him. He's got my number, they all have.

I went back to Coco and thought maybe I'd use a little reverse psychology on her. I told her that if she got up and moved around a little, they wouldn't call her a "Stylish Stout," at the groomers, but she looked at me and it was all too clear what she was thinking. She looked me up and down, and mumbled under her breath, "Well, you're not even stylish," and the implication was all too clear. Stout but not stylish. I thought that was rude.

So I would have written this entry but I got so tired looking at all of them that I went back to sleep, fiber work all over Sam and the chair and I, and if I ever get my latte it might be some time next year. Right now I think (yawn) I'll just maybe (yyaaawwwnnnn) rest my eyes for a minute and then get up and make my latte and write an entry here, but for now.... (....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...)...

.......... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ..........

Maitri Libellule

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

~ Dr. Seuss ~

Click on the above image to see a larger size. Put on
your sunglasses. Squint a little. Take an aspirin. It's
just GLORIOUS!!!

Are you afraid to be all of who you are?

Don't be.

Are you so much wilder and magical than you'd want people to know because you'de be afraid that they would think you were loony. BE LOONY! WEAR IT LOUD AND PROUD.

Are you
different? THANK GOD!

Are you 50+ years old and you still love Play-doh and blowing bubbles and swinging on swings and do just LOVE being peculiar, but you only let your full self shine behind closed doors? THROW OPEN THE DOORS, RUN OUTSIDE, PUT YOUR FLAMINGO HAT ON, AND GET JIGGY WIT IT.

It doesn't matter what or who or why you are, just live it all, live it fully, admit everything, hide nothing, celebrate everything, and remember...

"... those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

Isn't that something? What are you waiting for? I'm going to go to fax some things now and mail a thing or two and leave the pugs and parrots and big Moe home alone for a few minutes and, yes, I'll admit it, I let them watch
The Home Shopping Network while I'm gone. It's okay, I cut up their credit cards a long time ago, but they still call in and try to buy things with Monopoly money. It never works but they never get discouraged. I just love that.

I talk really well with animals, but clam up around people who often scare me.

It's okay, everyone knows, by this time, that I am so odd, they either join in the fun or run for their lives. Here, have a flamingo hat. Let's do the rhumba. Let's listen to Petey the macaw who snores like the pugs.

I grow African violets bigger than anyone has ever seen. They think I'm magic. I am.

I've got to go now. I've got to get my flamingo hat now, and my playdoh bracelets and my pink boa and my clunky lime green Crocs. You know, they just love me at the Post Office...

... skipping out the door with glee...

Maitri Libellule

It has b
een a very quiet, serene day at the cottage. There is something about being not quite well, at a time when there are huge and heavy things going on in your life, and you find yourself having a day that seems like a break in all the clamor, the worries, the fears, and a deep calm comes over you, and you just kind of glide. That has been my day...

The parrots, the pugs, and Big Dog Moe felt it too. They have been very quiet and peaceful and sleeping a lot of the day. We all seemed to be in a dreamy sort of place, and I found myself feeling free of everything outside of my own body and my own little home. A gentle release. One of those times when you realize that your whole body is tense and then you consciously relax from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, like at the end of a yoga class as you lie on your mat perfectly still with your eyes closed, just breathing. That's the kind of day it's been.

It is been a day of silent prayers and waves of love going out to everyone I know, to my dying mother, to my children, and their spouses or partner, my grandchild, friends, and somehow I felt connected to the whole world without sorrow, or worry, or pain, or grief. It has been, really, a miraculous day, a day after so long, so many months and longer, of feeling so much pressure from so many directions I felt as though I were being flattened and could barely breathe. Today my breath is rhythmic and relaxed, I listen with a soft smile to my sleeping pugs snoring all around me, and every once in awhile a little flutter of wings as a sleeping parrots settles himself in a different position without waking up. I am happy, it is a day of grace.

It is the kind of day that you can't plan for, and you can't make it happen, and you don't know why it happens, but you are grateful for the gift of this soft space to rest in. There is no big news here, I just wanted to share it with you. Maybe if we know these kind of days exist we can consciously watch our breath and remember to relax our bodies, consciously let go of tension, let it flow out of our bodies and feel, even if only for a moment, like a swath of silk blowing gently in the breeze. I always think, on these rare precious days, that I feel like a frog on a lily pad in the middle of a stream just resting and watching as the rest of the world goes by. Maybe I am a frog today. Maybe this chair is my lily pad.

I don't know why but all day long I have been thinking about writing this quiet little post, just to share the gentleness of this day with you, maybe, I thought, I could send little waves of peace and kindness, love and compassion, tenderness and grace out to all who stumble across this blog, at least that has been my intention in writing it, and surely I have been doing it, sending out ripples of stillness and hoping it can bring you back to your center if only for a single moment, to hear the still small voice within, to witness your own life, and all of the people, places, and things in it, and for once just let it exist, and be, and glow softly, like the one light I have on here as I write, in a mostly dark room, with all of the animals sleeping around me, no television, no music, no sound save the soft whooshing sound of the air purifier and a humming inside my body that you only really feel when you are very still and very quiet, at peace with yourself and the world, no matter what it may bring, I have this moment, I have had this whole gift of a day, and I believe I will sleep smiling, feeling the soft air from the overhead fan, and I'd like to think that this day will soften the days ahead, and as I meditate I will feel myself here, I will try to carry it with me, like a magic elixir, and drink from the tiny bottle that I carry in my pocket, just a sip, to help me let go of worry and fear, to remember that such a day can exist, and if a single day can be this way, so too might it spread through our lives if only we allow it.

Of course we forget, and then we remember, and when we least expect it a soft quiet day slips into our world and we wake up feeling it from the start. This has been my day. I wanted to share it with you, and send you love, and wish you peace...

Maitri Libellule

I have received a lot of notes from people saying "Don't Discontinue Mysterious Mondays!" in response to my saying "Mysterious Mondays Are A BUST!" in yesterday's post. I should have worded that better. What I meant was that what with the shingles I hadn't been able to do "Serene Sundays" and you could just forget "Mysterious Mondays" (from ME for now) until I feel a little better!

So no worries folks. I love "Mysterious Mondays" even though with the things that are going on in my life MM have been a little funky and cattywompus! Mysterious Mondays are here to stay!

... still trying not to scratch!

Maitri Libellule

What a few days it's been... The tense over-riding fear as my mother's death grows closer, so many changes happening faster than the speed of light and more, the stress finally got me in a physical way. I have a whopping case of the Shingles and I am in pain and exhausted. I want to touch base and explain what happened to the Sunday and Monday memes. It seems that life just will happen, and there's nothing you can do about it.

And the trouble is that I am in the contagious phase, so no one can come around me, and it's on My back and moving around under my arm. Itches like mad and if I try to scratch it ever so lightly pain shoots through me like a lightning bolt (I don't think that's fair play. It should either itch OR hurt, not itch so bad you think you will go insane and then the least little scratch sends shooting pains that seem to go through your back and out the front.) Be careful, don't let it land on you!

So if I don't write for a few days you'll know why, and I wouldn't want you to get too near me and get some horrid disease because I would feel guilty for the rest of my life and frankly I've got more than a lot going on. (Shrug...)

So take care of yourselves, stay out of trouble, don't go near contagious people, just knit or watch a movie or something. I'm self-medicating with movies. Good Lord, I tried to watch the Tom Cruise movie "Vanilla Sky" and I nearly went insane. Watched it over 2 nights and just couldn't go any further. I felt like I must be on some bad acid trip and I've never done drugs! Maybe it was the shingles. No, I think it's just a weird movie. I think I'll crochet a little and hope tonight's movie is better.

I'm about to get out my little violin and sit on my pity pot so I think I'd better go...

... itching, but not daring to scratch... sigh..

Maitri Libellule

Well, you see, here's the thing. If I have any wisdom at all, I have encountered one little fragment in the last 24 hours, just a bit of wisdom, and I think it's something about taking care of yourself.

You are not a slave to your memes (Or anything else for that matter.). I love the ones that I set up and they are very special to me but when your mother is dying and your life is topsy turvy and you are in a bare subsistence mode in a place you're absolutely certain the health department will come in in any minute and shut down, and you are absolutely vehement that the animals are to be taken very good care of but you don't do the right things to take care of yourself because you are mostly found either curled up in a ball in your over-sized "womb chair" either crying, depressed, frozen and unable to move, breathe or think, or just a blob of leaking matter making a mess of the only piece of furniture in your little place filled with old furniture that you truly love.

And so what I am saying is that yes, I love this Meme and shall continue to do it as I may. The time ahead is iffy at best, and when the worst happens, I will be very gentle with myself and allow myself to let everything go. It is a very surprising thing that the world can get on without you. I shall likely be a ball in a chair for some time. So I do the best I can, I give all I can, and I simply won't apologize for not being what people expect me to be.

This is wisdom too. Be good to yourself. Take precious care of yourself. Learn to say no, and remember that no matter how caring a person you are, you can't give from an empty well. That is one of the basic teachings of my ministry, The Maitri Ministry, which is not based on my name but on the teaching of maitri which was my impetus for changing my name legally to Maitri 5 years ago. Maitri is not only the teaching of loving-kindness and compassion, but it is first and foremost the teaching that you have to take care of yourself, you have to have compassion towards yourself and love yourself and fill that empty cup inside of you before you have anything to give to another. We are not slaves to life. We are participants in it, part of a larger world. And as everything and everybody change in every moment of the day, when you need to pull back to nurture yourself, there is someone else who has just filled his or her cup and is ready to go out and share that love with the world. Your day will come again.

So I am not so much doing Wisdom Wednesday as I am putting a stake in the ground with a rainbow ribbon on it and saying, "This is where Wisdom Wednesday takes place. The three memes in all each have specific days in which I might get the job done on time, but if I can't, I can't.

So those my thoughts for my day late and dollar short meme. I have three memes who each have a state of free-flowing, in the moment, on the right day and the right time sort of thing going on. Oh, they'll be here, and will make every effort to use the day of the week it has been set up for, know that it's going to float a little. And you know what? That's just fine with me.

The greatest wisdom of all is to listen to your own heart and intuition and never stray from it. If you don't learn anything else, learn that. It will save your life...

It is essential that you only register your link here if you are an original content blog that plans to participate in the meme and not just try to advertise your blog. Also no blog will be accepted with sexual or other questionable content. The blogs are checked constantly and those who do not comply will be eliminated with no further comment. We appreciate your understanding. This is for fun and friendship, not promotion. Blessings to all...

Maitri Libellule

When you feel as though you've lost your footing in life, when you need to ground yourself, when you need a practice to set you straight, reclaim your life and your presence upon the earth, or simply need to check in with yourself, write, "At this very moment..." and keep going. It doesn't matter what comes up, or if it makes any sense. Don't judge, just keep writing.

I have been a journal-writing teacher for over 30 years now. I have taught in churches, colleges, women's centers, in the offices of therapists, ministers, to AIDS patients, to pregnant women, in person and online, large groups and one on one. These are only a few of the mediums I have taught in, as well as writing circles in my very own living room. I write very detailed classes with new material for every class. They run roughly three hours long and may contain up to a dozen writing exercises, but the most important one, an exercise used in many journal and writing classes, is "At this very moment..."

As a student of Buddhism for thirty years as well, I constantly practice mindfulness. It is a never-ending practice because you keep falling away from the present moment into outer space and get lost in your very own life. You can become agitated, depressed, anxious, or at "loose ends" causing you to become very nervous. It's an important thing to practice mindfulness and meditation, coming back to the present moment, but it is even more important to write it down, to ground yourself in words. Black words on white paper is something with weight. You can touch it, feel it, you can breathe and relax once more because you have placed yourself back in time and space and are tethered to the ground. I do this exercise very often, even in my mind driving down the road, but it is best done on paper.

I need to do this right now because my Circadian rhythms have gone all askew again. From the time I got up this morning (yesterday morning!) until I went back to sleep in the afternoon, I could barely keep my eyes open. I took care of all of my animals but I didn't even have the energy to make coffee. I kept falling back to sleep, or dozing off. I finally gave up about 1:30 p.m. and went to sleep and slept until late afternoon. I was disoriented and off kilter. I got up, got the dogs out, took care of the parrots, and then walked out across the way to get my mail just to help me wake up. I gathered up and took three bags of trash out. I made coffee. I had my morning coffee at 6 p.m. It is now 4:05 a.m. and I am wide awake. I am drifting because I am at odds with the world. I need to do this exercise so I won't drift right off of the edge of the planet. I need to try to figure out where I am and what I'm doing. I need answers to questions, and I need to write stray thoughts down so that I may gather them up as if I were carrying a basket over my arm picking apples. If I gather them up like this they won't run about all asunder. And so I shall begin.

At this very moment... I am sitting in my big over-sized chair with my feet up on the huge ottoman. I am covered with a cherry red fleece blanket and have 2 huge pillows on my lap which are a substitute for a desk. My velcro pug Sampson is asleep on the arm of the chair. The arms are very large and wide and soft and a perfect pug size. I have his flannel blanket on the arm of the chair and eventually he will slide down against me as we curl up together to go to sleep. Sam is my living teddy bear, or puggy bear as it were. I am not afraid of the dark, afraid to go to sleep when my body is ready, with Sam near. I haven't slept in my bed in so long I can't remember when I did. This is because of a childhood of night horrors, that led, as an adult, to my bed not being a safe place. This chair is a cocoon. I am in my cocoon with my soft, warm, snoring teddy bear. I am typing this to you, whoever you are out there, and mostly just for me.

At this very moment... I am comforted by a number of stones, different stones and crystals that I use for healing, wearing some, and having laid a few carefully picked stones on my chest and belly so that as I sit here I can write feeling protected. I am a stone healer. They are living, vibrant beings, and they do heal. I don't practice this on anyone but myself, but it works and is very comforting. My energy is lifted, in this moment, by peridot, angelite, prehnite, aquamarine, morganite, several "aura" crystals -- aqua aura, rose aura and ruby aura. Amazonite, clear crystals, amethysts and lepidolite. At this very woman I am a healer, and I am being healed. By stones and snoring pugs and stirring parrots who sometimes talk in their sleep.

At this very moment... I feel my book moving about inside of me, the one I have been writing for a decade inside my organs with dangling participles hanging off of my ribs, metaphors floating through the four chambers of my heart, sentences going straight down my legs bumping into muscle and bone, and whole paragraphs nestle in my belly. This book has been like a very long pregnancy, the gestation period needing lots of space and time for a book to grow, one ten year marathon to live through, and now, now I am about to cross a threshold and then, and only then, will I be ready to give birth to the book. I have done a lot of writing through these years, but it wasn't the book. At this very moment I am collecting syllables so that I can put them together like puzzle pieces into words. It is now 4:25 a.m. and the pages of the book are fluttering about so that I feel like I need to take alka seltzer, but I don't have or take it. I don't drink soda and I don't have any bubbly seltzer water. I hope those pages don't get caught in my throat when I go to sleep, just before I have to get up to get the dogs out in a couple of hours...

At this very moment ... I am wondering what you are supposed to do with your time when your mother is about to die and she waxes and wanes and almost drifts out to sea and then the tides push her back up on the shore and on it goes. It is a time out of time experience, and I feel myself floating out to sea as well, trying desperately to hang onto something, anything, a piece of driftwood, so that I might have a chance to live through all of this and make my way back to shore intact. I am using this time to do simple tasks and to try to finish things. I keep updating my blogs because I feel better when I write and it's not time for the book. It is still growing appendages and at this stage it would be a premie and might die if born too soon. I rest and elevate my legs so the book won't slide out before it's time. That could be the death of both of us.

At this very moment ... I have just realized that the cord has fallen out of my laptop and I hope I can keep writing awhile before I have to fish it out of wherever it is. The computer wants to go to bed but I am not ready.

At this very moment ... I am longing to get myself back into my art. It has taken the hardest hit these last several months when my mother's decline has, after 4 1/2 years, picked up it's pace so that something in me froze up and my crochet hooks, knitting needles, spindles, Navajo weaving tools, beads, buttons, stones, feathers and hatforms, and vintage dressform and more have all frozen in time. They are deep in a block of ice the size of an apartment building, and they won't start slipping out of the melting ice until my mother has passed.

I don't know why but I can't get to it no matter how hard I try. I have my 10' by 10' project in my large carpet bag that I always keep near me, just in case, along with my hand-carved wooden crochet hooks that I showed several entries back. They are life-like and keep whispering things to me. "You'll feel better if only you would just start..." Maybe when your mother is about to die you are not supposed to feel better. Maybe you are just supposed to float and drift and sleep and cuddle pugs and watch your spider sister, a banana spider you've named Bella who is the size of your palm as she weaves her web so big it stretches between bushes and all the way up into the limbs of the tree above and down farther than the eye can see. She is getting ready for new life, the time when her spiderlings will hatch. I am preparing for death, for the time my mother drifts through the portal and out of this world to the one beyond. Will she be sitting "up there" on a cloud strumming a harp, or will she be in some crystal lined holding cell waiting to slip through the "veil of forgetfulness" into another life when she is someone else living a life I can't imagine and don't know.

Approaching 5 a.m. your thoughts are airy and floating around you and through the house. They slip out of a window or door to get some fresh air and you begin to make less and less sense. At least to other people. At least I do. But it all makes perfect sense to me.

At this very moment I am becoming very tired. Writing has once again become the sedative I needed, because it emptied my mind and put all my words in a little block in an imaginary world where people I shall most likely never meet might read in the days ahead. Or not.

At this moment I just found myself stopping and rubbing my eyes and going into that place that has no name when we are not awake and not asleep but definitely heading in the direction of the latter. So in the next few moments I shall brush my teeth and ready myself to sleep with a snoring teddy bear of a boy, with a chorus of sleeping pugs all around the room snoring off key, just what I need to to lull me into a few hours sleep, if I am lucky, before it all begins again...

... yawning ... and ...

Maitri Libellule

I think there is something we were meant
to learn about Mondays, and it may be one
of the most important lessons of our lives...

You know, long before I was a 55 year old woman, living in a little cottage with parrots and pugs and Big Dog Moe and all the other little creatures who just will show up here, way back when I was a little girl, I realized that Mondays were special. No matter how your weekend went, you got a fresh start on Monday. If the week before hadn't gone well, Monday heralded a chance for a new beginning -- "Once more into the breech!" -- as it were. And have you ever noticed the widespread phenomenon when people try to do something like lose weight, stop smoking, etc, they always start on a Monday, and if they "blow it" through the week, they don't dare start again until the next Monday. Some people find this kind of lame or lazy. Not me. I think it's magic, and it surely is mysterious.

I think there's something buried deep in the twenty-four hours that make up a Monday that propels us on to greater things, and continually comes around every seven days to keep encouraging us. To start diets, to have a better week at work, at school, with the kids, with anything that we chucked aside in despair. Mondays bring with them good cheer and an air of hopefulness. I almost breathe a sigh of relief that the weekend is over and I'm back securely into the routines of the week. Of course I am a rather odd person and cling to my schedule like a limpet on a rock, and the weekends, though usually wonderful in their way, can also leave me in a state of free-floating anxiety when nothing is as it should be, anything might happen at any time, someone is liable to ask you to do something that they would never ask you during the week, and you feel oddly off-kilter even when you are having a good time. I don't get my sea-legs again until Monday and I move about quite cautiously until I am firmly footed in Monday morning. Anchor dropped, coffee made, a new week begun, phew!

Of course not everyone is as peculiar as I am, thank God, but I think most people, if they are honest, will admit to having a good little feeling inside when Monday rolls around again.

I wanted to make this piece impressively scholarly, so I went to Wikipedia to look up Monday and fell, like Alice down the rabbit hole, into a whole world of things that just made my head hurt. If you can make anything of this page, more power to you. It near startled me half to death right off as I opened up the page expecting to find all sorts of interesting facts about Monday, and the first word I saw was DOOMSDAY, and somewhere they called my precious Monday "Noneday," and then I had to take an aspirin after 15 minutes of trying to figure out what in the world they were going on about with their Gregorian calendar, the Julian calendar, math, astrology and solstices thrown in, and just as I was gasping for air and hoping there might perhaps be something like the Mayan calendar (which never showed up) I tripped over a ghastly thing called, "Poem Explaining The Doomsday Rule,"
and like some dumb cluck (now, I don't even know what that means, but I've heard it all my life...) I clicked on the link and was tossed out of the rabbit hole and went down with the Titanic.

I don't want to know any more. I don't want to be the least bit enlightened about any of that mess, and I don't want anyone messing with my Mondays and using Doomsday in the same sentence, shudder, as my favorite day of the week. I am simply aghast, exhausted, dismayed, and I think the color has drained completely out of my face (or perhaps it's just my usual ghostly white skin which I've got enough sense not to look at in the mirror and so I forget.).

As it stands, I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date (Putting the parrots to bed and making dinner.) and I should most surely rather be doing those things than looking up anything more about Mondays. They are too mysterious, and now I'm frightened.

...who shall undoubtedly sleep with a passel of pugs
tonight and stay away from Wikipedia forever...

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Maitri Libellule

There are serene Sundays that were meant to recharge our batteries and prepare us for the time ahead. They are days that we lay low. They are the days that are the calm before the storm. That's what this Sunday has been for me.

I've talked to my mother 3 times in the past 2 days. She is slipping away faster and faster. She will be gone soon. Somehow, even though she was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma over 4 1/2 years ago and given a very short time to live, she has been hanging on, even as she went blind, and her health declined and declined, and we went through numerous times of being told "this is it," and still it wasn't, and still she's hung on until now she is continuously in pain, and the great divide is getting wider and wider. I thought I knew. I thought I understood. But I didn't until I heard her voice this weekend. And when I got off the phone I wept like a baby. All night long, last night, I was shaken to my core. And then I got up today, and it was Sunday, and a sudden calm came over me.

When something first hits us our instinct is to fight it, to try to stop it, and from that vantage point we will never win. We have to let go. We have to breathe our way through it, we have to free-fall through time and space with our arms wide open, we have to glide to safety, even as tears fall from our eyes.

When a sailboat goes far out into the sea, where land cannot be seen in any direction, and there is no wind, and the water appears still like glass, and there is no movement, it is called a dead calm. It is a time of suspended animation. Nothing moves, until the winds pick up again.

I think grief must be like that. We are suspended in still waters. We must wait it out. It can be very frightening. But if we let go we can relax and be still and feel it, feel all of it, lie on the deck and feel the boat rocking on the water. Soon the wind picks up again and there is movement. But we are changed for having been through that time out of time experience, and we can carry it with us as we move forward. The next time it hits us we know we will survive.

My time is coming. I am in a dead calm. I know the seas ahead of me will be choppy and my very life will feel close to the edge from grief, but I know that I will make it to the other side, and life will start once more. I will never be the same again after my mother dies, but I will go on living.

Sometimes you need a calm, serene Sunday to think of these things so that you might face them when the time comes. All the way through the minutes and the hours I have concentrated on my breathing, on relaxing every muscle in my body. Only then can the knowledge that I will survive, arrive.

It reminds me of what happens here every summer. I live in an old town by the ocean. Every year warnings go out about the rip tides and what to do when you get caught in one. People panic and in their panic to swim in to shore they drown. But, as we are reminded, a rip tide is only a short distance and so you must swim parallel to shore, not straight in, not until you pass the rip tide, and then you can swim in to safety. How often in life do we know the safe way, and yet die, in one way or another, because we move, out of panic, in the wrong direction, even when we know better?

Sundays seem made to think about these kinds of things. I just stopped and thought about what I've written here, and I know that I've been talking in circular patterns that may make no sense at all. Maybe it just makes sense to me. I think I just had to write it.

My mother is dying. There is no way to stop it and no way not to grieve. I am just trying to prepare myself, inasmuch as I can, to survive the time ahead, and swim parallel to shore until the rip tide passes.

These kind of thoughts were made for a Sunday...

Serene Sundays...

Sundays are a day of rest, a day far away from the madness of the world, for most of us, although now with everything open seven days a week, not so much for everybody. I have always loved Sundays, and thought that this might be a quiet gentle thing for us to share. So share with us your peaceful Sundays, tell us what you do, even little things. Tell us what "Serene Sunday" means to you, and what that means in your life...

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