Monday, February 20, 2012

Forsythia Bushes. A Suicide, And The Importance of Living Fully Where We Are...

"Forsythia is pure joy. There is not an ounce, not a glimmer of sadness or even knowledge in forsythia. Pure, undiluted, untouched joy." 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh



Dear Ones,

I have been moving through a very complex series of emotions for some time now, and have found myself unable to do my creative work, the work that sustains me. I could give you reasons and many of them are understandable because they are heart-breakingly sad, but most are neither here nor there, simply life tossing me hither and yon as it is wont to do. However, in these past weeks we have experienced a terrible family tragedy, we lost a beautiful 31 year old man, the nicest, sweetest, gentlest soul that ever walked the earth, a man who adored his tiny 18 month old daughter beyond measure, and was adored by everyone who knew him. He took his own life, leaving in the wake of his death not just all of the things that you expect --  grief, sorrow, a depth of sadness you hadn't known possible -- but all of those fruitless questions that breaks one's heart but have no answers... "If only I had..." "If I hadn't..." "If only I'd realized..." and on and on. We are quick to blame ourselves, but there really is no answer to any of this, and when a person has reached that point, there is no stopping them. Maybe today, maybe next week, but there will come a knock on the door one night, or a phone call startling you awake out of a sound sleep, and the news will come. No, there's no way you could have stopped it. The only thing we can do is to honor him by keeping all of the beautiful memories of his life and who he was and what he gave to all who knew him alive.

And then -- and I don't compare this in the least, but the odd juxtaposition of Whitney Huston being pronounced dead just as our Memorial Service was ending -- really hit me. I suppose it was a combination of the two. The former cutting so deep it is hard to even allow oneself to go there, and the latter waking you up to a life lost too early after so much promise had faded leaving incredible pain and sorrow in it's wake. And the fact that Whitney was ten years younger than I am when she passed and her music was very much of my generation, and younger as well, made me realize that life must be lived, and lived now. And then I made what for me was a startling discovery and I am still rocking from it, and leaning into it, and finding relief, recovery, hope and even a kind of gentle joy from it. What came to me was that I have not been able to move forward with my work because it was rooted in my past and the threads of past dreams were holding me in a place I had grown past, a place I no longer belonged. I had to find the place I need to be now, do the work that is age appropriate, and as I have written elsewhere today it is not about aging, I have never worried about that, but I need to do my work in a different way to fit the woman I have become in the circumstances in which I now live.

I don't want to say that there aren't real gems and lessons and experiences from the past that I have brought with me, because there have been many. I have written since I was nine years old and in my heart, in every molecule of my being, first and foremost, I am a writer. And in those early days I wrote to survive. A frightened little girl who never quite fit in, scarred and continually frightened by the sexual abuse ongoing, the drunken rages in the house, the ever present heavy weight in the pit of my stomach, I hid underneath and behind a large stand of forsythia bushes. They were thick and backed up to a white fence and there was an opening at the bottom of two adjoining bushes with a space behind them just big enough for a small girl to slip into. I took a little red spiral notebook and a Bic pen and wrote my heart out. I wrote rather pitiful poetry and journal entries and doodled little pictures, and that little red notebook saved my life. I would go on to keep journals all of my life, became a teacher of a healing journal process that I taught for thirty years, five online, and at 55 years old, going through a major life change, I rid myself of nearly 400 journals. People were shocked, but they had become the albatross I carried around, they weighed me down, they were full of decades of therapy and dealing with the abuse and the struggle to become whole. The only way to start anew was to let go of all of that, bow to the lessons that I learned from the decades of writing them, and move forward in a whole new way. Now, two years later, the ripple effects are finally spreading throughout my whole life. It's time to let go of the past, treasure the tender memories but not let them bind me to a time that keeps me frozen in a place that I can't go back to, that I wouldn't go back to, and as the ice melts and I become lighter and see more clearly I can finally understand the direction in which I must go now. I can still write, but I write from the place of being a nearly 58 year old woman, a crone, in menopause, a time I cherish. Crone Mother Maitri, that's how I think of myself. I have a very motherly nature, I am a healer and a teacher, I bring my skills and experience to bear on this present time, and I see the work before me in a whole new way. I am heaving a great sigh of relief because I have long been lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

In the months ahead I will be doing a lot of writing, I will also be using my web space to create the work that I can do from right here at Dragonfly Cottage. I am still the little girl alone under the forsythia bushes, but I am now peaceful and content. I live in a little cottage in the woods with many animals. A contemplative, a teacher, minister, Reiki Master, Shamballa Master Healer and there is much that I can do online. I have stopped fighting the idea that I have to go out into the world to do work, I can no longer do that, and I am at peace in my sanctuary, surrounded by my animals, in my ever growing and beautiful, magical garden, and I can share with the world all that I do here, all that I learn in prayer and meditation, and as I write I can also do phone counseling and I can teach online again. I am learning so much from Goddess Leonie's Business Course I just cannot tell you. I have gained a whole new perspective and I know that I can do this. And the Goddess Circle that she has created, a beautiful community of women worldwide, is giving me the support and help I need to learn to live and work and celebrate all that I am now, all that I can be. What a gift! I just cannot express the joy and comfort I am finding there, even when I am too shy to post but just read what the other women are writing, and I am shyly stepping into the pool and learning to speak up myself.

And one more thing. I am going to plant forsythia bushes here this spring. In the years to come they will grow into a glory of golden blossoms that remind me where it all started, and I will leave a gap in the middle so that I can sit in an old rocking chair and write, my notebook in my lap, my pugs around me, and wildlings all around. I am coming home to myself as I am now, right here, in this moment, and the words flow so fast I can barely keep up with them as I work on the book. I am grateful -- filled with gratitude, inner peace, and for this slower pace -- and I know that now I can survive.

Once upon a time I would crawl out from under the bushes with little golden blossoms in my hair. Now I shall make a crown of them and wear them as the crowning achievement of that frightened little girl who has made it nearly six decades and is still alive, excited by life, and love and the work at hand. I lift my eyes to the heavens and sing praise and hosannas. I am finding my way, with grace and time.

I was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see...




15 comments:

Split Rock Ranch said...

Much love and light, many blessings and much peace to you my dear friend. You are not a crone - you are a wise woman with a young spirit. HUGS to you.

Maitri said...

Thank you dearest, you are very kind, but I love the word, the meaning of the Crone, the wise woman, who, with the cessation of the menses has come into her wisdom years and can now offer whatever gifts she might have to others. I love Clarissa Pinkola Estes and I have been listening to her wonderful "The Power Of The Crone," and it is just wonderful. We have stories to tell, wise medicine we carry inside with our stories and gentle hands. And yes, I do have a very young spirit and a very old soul. A nice combination, I think.

Thank you again, and blessings and love to you dearheart,

Maitri

Crystal said...

Oh dear Maitri, kindred souls we are. I am filled with such great sadness and empathy towards you and what you had to go through at such a young age..I too have had my fair share of pain and suffering but we are very strong hearted women who refuse to let the past drag us down into the pits of despair. Bless you Maitri. Your words are nothing short of beautiful..

Maitri said...

Crystal,

Thank you so much for your kind and gentle words. They mean more than you could possibly know. And I try to share my experience as a way to reach out to others who have suffered their pain, in whatever form it has come, so that they feel less alone. A burden shared seems lighter somehow. I hope your days are full of love, and that a warm light fills your heart, tonight and always...

Maitri

merlmd said...

Life on earth is not easy but the way our positive perception of it makes it easier to live out. I come to visit your blog once in a while and I really admire your persevering spirit. May God continue to bless you today and always!

Crystal said...

Thank you Maitri, and bless you always.

Maitri said...

You are most welcome Crystal, and to you as well...

Blessings, and a warm hug,

Maitri

Maitri said...

Dear Merlmd, thank you so very much for your kind remarks and good wishes. It means more than you know.

You know, though my mother and I had difficulties much of our lives, I loved her dearly, and I can tell you that I believe she was the most courageous woman I have ever known. During her 5 year battle with cancer at the end of her life, and it was a brutal cancer, Multiple Myeloma, that took her by inches and with great pain and suffering, she never complained and even on her worst days when you spoke with her she would say, "Every day's a good day, it is what you make it." And so it is.

I have hard days, I have not been as strong and positive as my mother was, but I want to be and try every day now. We love and understand more deeply in death, sometimes, than we do in life.

I wish you good days, love and blessings, and that the gold of forsythia blossoms are scattered in your hair. You might not see them, but they are there...

Maitri

Jenny said...

The hardest times in your life have given you some of your greatest gifts Maitri, wisdom, insight and the gift of beautiful, sensitive writing! Thank you for sharing! I shall think of you whenever I see forsythia blossoms. Much love and blessings to you.

Maitri said...

Jenny, you are so very kind honey, I wish I could give you a big hug...

You know. I truly believe that the hardships that we all endure in this lifetime, even though they are different for each of us, are the very things that forge our souls, and make us walk more tenderly and gently on this earth and with each other. At least I believe it can be so if we live with open hearts, love, compassion, and learn to accept all of who we are. At nearly 58 I have finally done so. Of course I have my share of hard days, as we all do, but mostly I live in a state of incredible gratitude, and I think that, too, is key to a life well lived, as best we can.

You will never know how much this post has meant to me, it was one of those times I needed a few kind words when my heart was hurting a little, and your sweet note made all the difference and put me back on the right track. I thank you with all of my heart...

Blessings,

Maitri

aynzan said...

Our life in this world is only temporary.Our journey through it is only once and It's wonderful to read how well you are taking each step.God bless You!

Maitri said...

Dear Aynzan,

Thank you so much for your beautiful note, it means the world to me. And yes, life is too precious to be wasted, even the difficult times move us farther along on our journey and make us stronger if embrace the lessons and move forward. Some we will grapple with for a day, and some a lifetime, but there is so much in every single day to be grateful for. Just moments ago, out with the dogs, seeing the little green shoots of the daffodils pushing up through the soil made me squeal like a child. Such miracles all around. I try to cling to the miracles, like a life raft in the sometimes stormy seas of life, and they carry my through, praise God.

Blessings to you dearheart, and your blog is just beautiful, I really enjoyed my visit there...

Maitri

merlmd said...

what a lovely blessing! Thank you Maitri. You know, talking about your mom reminds me how important our mothers are to us. My mom will be 78 in a few months time and she has been through a lot too. And even to this day, she still looks out for us, her very adult children. Although they might never say it to us, I know our mothers are mighty proud of what we have become. Stay strong!

maritel (merlmd)

The Other Side said...

one word.. awesome.

Heidi Nordberg said...

Beautiful - beauty, truth, love.

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