Sunday, March 22, 2009

Layers, Cells, Constellations ~ Metamorphosis...

"We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations."

Anaïs Nin

"I thought I could change the world. It took me a hundred
years to figure out I can't change the world. I can only

change Bessie. And, honey, that ain't easy either."

Annie Elizabeth "Bessie" Delany at 104

"So it came about that both legally and familiarly,
as well
as in my books, I now have only one name,
which is
my own."
~ Colette ~

Part of my retreating into my cocoon, my near silence and solitude, was a necessary part of my understanding the different parts of myself, that which had been, that which I am becoming, and the amalgamation of all the various phases and stages along the way.

My childhood left me vulnerable, fragile, naked, tender, soft. I could not have survived that way. Through the years of my young adulthood to my mid forties, marriage and children, to the leaving of the marriage, I had been shape-shifting without knowing it. Through thirty years of writing and teaching and living amidst a family of 5 I was learning more than I realized, and then I was suddenly alone. Somehow that set the seal on the first half of my life, and at that point I began the metamorphic process, entering the cocoon, and a deep and unknown transformation began to take place.

At just past 50, with the finalization of my divorce, I changed my name legally to Maitri, which I have often stated, and I took that name and all it meant to be my guiding star, not that I thought I had achieved maitri, but that in taking the name I would remember all the days of my life that my purpose was to daily try to live up to the Buddhist teaching of loving-kindness and compassion, and further, to write about it, teach it, share it, and plant seeds of compassion all along the way.

My metamorphosis, my true metamorphosis, began to take place when I was ordained the first week in January, but even then I had no idea what I was about to become, or would be becoming for the rest of my days. And I have struggled with the title, with the name, and you have traveled that journey with me if you have been reading my writings here. Officially ordained Reverend Mother Maitri Libellule, I first used Reverend Maitri for ease, and then it felt more appropriate, more humble, to use the simple name Mother Maitri, and then, suddenly, as when the fledgling butterfly first escapes the cocoon, stretches it's wings and looks around at the world, I saw it as if for the first time.

Yes, I am a minister. Yes, I am a writer and teacher. And yes, I am Maitri. And if my most certain direction (... knowing of course that I will be buffeted about, hither and yon, by life...) is to teach, to write about, to share the teachings of loving-kindness and compassion, and all that goes along with the Buddhist teaching of maitri, then, truly, I need nothing more than a single name, save for legal documents...

"So it came about that both legally and familiarly,
as well
as in my books, I now have only one name,
which is
my own..."

I needn't be concerned about anything else, because my name says it all. It is the reminder that I need, the star that I reach for, the seeds that I spread, the purpose and scope of my teaching and writing all expressed by one little word. Maitri.

Need I say that I am a minister to teach love? Must I use a title to command respect? Certainly not. We earn respect, or we don't, and a title has nothing to do with it. I will be striving, even as I am teaching, to learn, to live the principles of maitri all the days of my life. I believe it is why I was put on this earth. It is what I have to share. It is small and humble and heartfelt, and I need not have a prefix nor a surname to do the work that I was meant to do. I am Maitri. No more, no less.

This is what I went into seclusion to find. And closer and closer I came, down a long and winding road, and I had to be divorced and alone to get here, and I had to take the name Maitri legally to start the process of metamorphosis, and I had to be ordained to allow the cocoon to start to open, and now, with a single name, I can move forward into all that I am, all that I can be, all that I hope for, and dream of, and pray that I am worthy of the name I have taken, and let me wear it with joy, and grace, and be a lantern that leads me through the dark days that surely will come.

In reading this issue of the magazine, The Sun, I was reminded of a quote by Viktor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor. He wrote,

"What is to give light must endure burning."

I thought about that, as I have before, in a way few people would understand. No, I certainly would not have wished to have had a childhood full of abuse, but those long years of burning taught me empathy, compassion, gentleness, and a tender kindness for people who have suffered all manner of afflictions, damaged hearts, trembling souls. And there is not a person on this planet who has not suffered something of the above. We must never look at the outside of a person or their world and judge them above or below us, for we are all on a level playing field, and those who seem to "have it all" sometimes suffer most of all. And the homeless man or woman in the street may be the Saviour dressed in rags. Judge not, less ye be judged. Be maitri. Live maitri. Give, from your deepest heart, love, kindness, and compassion to all.

And so I have reached another fork in the road and I journey onwards. I move slower, and more softly. I am not so quick to make decisions, but to allow myself to be led by life and spirit to the perfect knowing I need in the present moment. I pray that I may be of service to others. I pray for guidance and for help as I do the work ahead.

And I am ready. I am...


BC Doan said...

Reading this post is like looking at myself in a mirror, and see the road of life..

Though we have many similar things, I still haven't found myself like you have...

Anonymous said...

have you been in touch with Alissa B?
She could use a hug

Reverend Mother Maitri said...

Hello BC,

I think it is an experience we all go through in our own way, and actually I am moving from peri-menopause into menopause and I think this is a particularly reflective and transformational time in our lives. I'll be 55 on April 30 so it is a time of great change, and when you cross a portal into what the rest of your life will be. It's an amazing time, even if hard at times. You will find yourself dearheart. You know what they say about the dark before the dawn. One day you think you'll never figure it out and then BAM, the light goes on! Many blessings to you on your journey...



Reverend Mother Maitri said...

Dear Anonymous! (I wish I knew who you were since we both know Alissa!)...

Yes, Alissa wrote to me a couple of times the week prior to her procedures and I'm on the list now to get info through Brad. I know we are all praying for her and sending out many prayers and much love.

Thanks for checking in...



Victoria SkyDancer said...

Beloved sister~daughter of Changing Woman, I salute and greet you in the morning of this blessed year. Ho YES, you are worthy of your mantle, if I have anything to say about it! ;-)

Blessed Be,

Reverend Mother Maitri said...


How wonderful to see you here lovie! :o) I really appreciate your kind comments and support. You are such a blanket of warmth and gentleness, I want you to know that I appreciate your presence here and in my life very much.

May the stars twinkle in the night sky and Mama Moon shine her light down on you...



Shinade said...

Hello Mother Maitri,
What a wonderful inspiring post and one that I certainly needed to read and hear today.

I have been forced into a somewhat retreat due to my internet connections.

I have done much thinking and I prayed for a positive post. My last post even though it may have spoke the truth, it was one made in haste and aggravation.
You are such an inspiration to me. I think of you now so much and you have begun to make me think before I write a post.

I am so thankful that you are doing what you are doing. You have become my touch stone. And Lord knows I needed one.

Sending you big hugs and lots of love from a very tender heart,

umeko said...

Hello Mother Maitri,
What a wonderful inspiring post and one that I certainly needed to read and hear today.

bunda azka said...

Reading this post is like looking at myself in a mirror, and see the road of life..

Jackie said...

Love Anaïs Nin.

Thanks for such a wonderful post. Many of us appear to only go through a metamorphosis later in our lives and we all hope that it turns us into someone as far along the path as your are Maitri.

Lots of turmoil here in South Africa over the Dalai Lamas VISA appears our new Govt no better than the old one.

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