Maitri Libellule
"My religion is simple. My religion is kindness."

His Holiness, The Dalai Lama

As I move more deeply into my commitment to my ministry, and design the website and blog that will be the home of The Maitri Ministry, I realize that I am creating a non-traditional ministry that will not be understood by some people. I am at peace with that. I am creating a non-denominational, interfaith ministry that embraces people of all faiths and spiritual paths, and, offers, to others, a simple message, one that does not take away from an individual's preferred religion or spiritual path, or even the lack of one, but invites all people to add to their own beliefs a simple truth. That truth is that it doesn't matter what you believe, it matters how you live your everyday life. If you live your life with compassion, kindness, and a loving heart, that is enough to make a life a holy one, filled with grace. That is a way of life that blesses each of us.

For me, this ministry is a very simple one created by one woman, an ordinary woman, who has decided to live her life simply, and quietly, and yet reach out to every single soul that she meets with love and compassion and kindness. Not in a church or building of any kind, but simply heart to heart, hand to hand, each one, reach one. The lady at the checkout counter at the grocery store, a neighbor, those that we meet on our daily rounds of life as well as the people we encounter that we don't know. The simple, the ordinary, the mundane, a no frills ministry that doesn't just celebrate a service for one hour one day a week, but is a way of living in every moment that we are alive. At least this is the goal I strive toward. I may stumble and fall, but I get right back up and journey onward. The message, the teaching itself, will guide me, which is why five years ago I took the name Maitri as my legal name, so that it might be a constant reminder of what it is I am here to do. Every time I write my name I am brought back to the teaching I have been called to live by, the star that guides my course.

We are all imperfect human beings with faults and foibles, we make mistakes, we forget what we know, we get angry, we do not accept or love others because we cannot accept or love ourselves, and so we distance ourselves from the very heart and soul of our own Being. Our very faults are a blessing because they deepen, if we allow it, our understanding of what it is to be human. If we are open, we embrace that which we perceive as imperfect, and see the perfection in it. For years I taught about the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi, the imperfect perfect. Now, I live my life teaching the practice of maitri, a teaching about loving-kindness and compassion, and that we must first have it for ourselves before we have it to give to another. My most important goal, in this ministry, is to hold up a mirror to every individual who reads my writings, or whom I counsel, or meet, and help them to see the beauty, feel the tenderness toward the man or woman looking back at them, to help them accept themselves, and treat themselves gently. When their cup runneth over with kindness for themselves, they will have an endless supply to give to others.

Ram Dass wrote about compassion-in-action. His life has been a life of service, gentleness, and kindness. He is a great teacher for me. I have learned from both Buddhist and Catholic monks, Christian ministers, Native American teachers, from the teachings of indigenous peoples who live the simplest of lives. I am open to what all have to say about what they believe, or don't believe, because I know people that sit in a church pew every Sunday and then go into the world and lead lives that don't follow their own beliefs. I know people that consider themselves atheists and agnostics who are some of the kindest most caring people you will ever meet. And so I choose not to label what I do as a religion, but as an outreach ministry, one that ministers to, reaches out, tries to make perhaps a single moment one of gentle kindness that might be remembered. I care. I care enough to commit my life to a life of service to others. I care enough to accept this unusual life of mine, and to make the most of it, to reach as many people as I can from where I am.

I rarely leave my house and I almost never stop writing and working. I answer hundreds of people every week, twelve hours or more each day. I care for a family of 11 animals and work with rescues to save the little ones. When I adopt a parrot or a little pug, I take the elderly, the disabled, the hurt or the frightened ones. I have learned from them more deeply how to love, how to accept myself, how to live in the moment (... and yes I forget, and then I remember, and I keep on moving forward...), and from my solitude I meet thousands of people.

The last decade my work has taken me around the globe from my own little cottage. I have come to accept myself and celebrate the life that I have. I rejoice in all the love that I am given by my family and friends, my animal companions, and people all over the world who meet me through my writing, or who have studied with me during thirty years of teaching a very healing journal writing class. Now, I work online, on the phone, through e-mail and in person. That's why this is an outreach ministry. I am reaching out from where I am. I am learning more, every single day, the reasons I must do this work, the importance of taking the life we have, whatever shape or form that takes, and making the most of it, of giving all that we can, of sharing what we know, and learning from others. I am 55 years old and my work is just now beginning in earnest, it is taking a more defined shape and purpose, even though I have done much of what I am doing for over thirty years. Now I am moving forward with more than 50 years of learning and growing, of working through difficult issues and celebrating joys. Now, I am ready.

In less than a month I will perform the marriage ceremony for my daughter and her beloved. It will be one of the highest points in my life. What a beautiful way to deepen my role as a minister, and sanctify the sacred, the holy, in this work of mine, in this life I have chosen to live. I feel deeply blessed and grateful. And through the portal I step, into this new life, with a congregation that includes all that I meet, that includes the whole world, as well as the little snoring pug next to me, and all of the sleeping animals around me. I cannot define my faith, I can simply live it, and I am content with my choices, and I love, from my whole heart, as best I can, from my imperfect perfect humanity and in this way my informal ministry formally begins.

Warm Regards and Deepest Blessings to All...

3 Responses
  1. I think what you have started is just wonderful. Oh how glorious things could be for so many if other's took this road you have chosen.

    I know you have certainly touched me deeply and will forever be a part of my soul.

    What a blessing you are Dear Maitri!

  2. Dorothy Says:

    I needed a dose of your kindness and peace today and I feel once again the golden rule coincides with what you believe and I do try to live within those guidelines. Some days it's hard and I want to lash out and say harsh things and then I ask what will it accomplish I pause and pray for patience while the moment passes and when I win I'm so proud.

    Blessings and courage to continue and congratulations to you and your daughter when you do the ceremony for her.

    Dorothy from grammology

  3. symposio Says:

    I gave you the Humane Award, you can go to my blog to get it!

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