Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Return Of Dragonfly Cottage Community For Women...

Dear Ones,

Oh, what a time it's been. I have been thinking, since starting this daily posting challenge yesterday, whose theme for the month is energy, how apt it is for me at this time. I made a note in my sketchbook last night as I was drawing and writing...

"Energy Multiplies When We Are Following Our Heart's Passion and Desire and Making It Our Life's Work..."

I did not know, in the autumn of 1999, six months after the separation from a 25 year marriage, feeling lost and alone, that when I created a website named after my little home, Dragonfly Cottage, that I would be changing my life forever. I started the website as a gentle community for women, who, like me, for the most part, found themselves at midlife lost and alone and afraid. It wasn't a dating site or sexual in nature and I guarded firmly against that. I wanted to create a safe haven where such things were not an issue, where your heart could be safely opened and you could find sustenance in a community of other women who, like you, needed a home, a family, albeit in cyber space. I was way ahead of the curve at that point being chided and even criticized by those who thought my "Living online and not in the real world...." was unhealthy.  Today virtual communities, tight knit communities, are all over the internet and we realize now that virtual or not for some women, for a great many women, for me, the only place I could feel safe, finding friends and like-minded people, existed in a world that was still at the time very new and foreign to me ~ on the internet.

This little community was meant to be a place where women would feel supported and safe and where they would not be judged. The online Dragonfly Cottage was an extension of my heart and home and in my mind I was welcoming women into my kitchen to sit at the table over tea and talk. It was very intimate even when our numbers grew to 1500 members, more than 15 Yahoo mailing lists, and so much mail in my inbox every morning I would, some days, lay my head down on my desk in tears. I finally, after several years, was graced with first one and then two and finally three women who would be moderators and help with the work of running the cottage and I could not have done it without them, but it was still my kitchen table, and the cottage was growing crowded. 

I realized later, after working sometimes round the clock to maintain a community that was free to everyone, that I was being drained, I wanted so badly to help other women, and I still do, but I need to be supported financially as well as offer a home to others. Money for services is an exchange of energy, and I give 150% when I am doing something I love. And I loved that community and those women more than I can say, and there will never be anything like it, but now I am ready to open the cottage doors to all women. Gay, straight, black, white, red, yellow, all the colors of the rainbow, any spiritual path or none. And I have always maintained very firm boundaries and rules in a community that I create because loving-kindness, peace, and gentleness are key to me. Non-judgment, open-hearted sharing, and a community that offers support to all women in a way that is not, I think, found elsewhere, not exactly in this way.

There are a great many wonderful communities for women available now and I am a member of some of them. I think the difference between these beautiful communities that I so love, that so enrich my life, and Dragonfly Cottage as a community for women is that this community is not centered in a specific topical form save being a home, a warm cozy place before the fire, or in the garden, or rocking in a chair while knitting and sipping tea with the woman next to you. It is a cottage of many rooms and different women with different interests may be found in any of them, or may drift back and forth as suits them at any particular time, but unlike some of the large forums online now where one might not always feel safe, or even known, so easily lost in the masses of people, you will be able to meet and commune with others who are like-minded and yet multi-faceted. We bring to the table what we have to offer and we share all that appears on the table. A gathering of hearts and souls.

 This is my home, my life, my world, and I am ready now to settle into the role that I believe I was created for, to be the gentle woman, mother, grandmother, crone, who sits with other elders and talks about our life past the meridian of midlife. Women of all ages are welcome, to be sure, but this is a world where those who have not had a place in society that was esteemed and honored can take their place beside other women who come together to share their knowledge. A council of sages, women of heart helping one another. I have always shared my basic philosophy, "Each one, reach one, and love, always love." And so it is here in the cozy little corner of the vast cosmos known as the internet. Come in from the cold. Welcome to Dragonfly Cottage.

Energy, coming back to energy... What I have realized in reviewing all of the aspects of what the old cottage was as opposed to what I want to create today was that while all members had to be approved, and there were rules in place that would send someone gently out the door if they could not maintain an aspect of` loving-kindness and gentleness toward others, was that there was no cap on the numbers of people and it grew way too big too quickly and not only became too much work for me but the quality of what I was trying to create, and had for a very long time, shifted in a way that was no longer comfortable when there were simply too many women to give full attention and love and ample space to sit and be. That will be one of the primary changes of the new cottage. It will be by membership only and the number will be limited. I want to be available to the women in my community, not get something going and then -- Poof -- disappear behind a curtain like the Wizard of Oz. You knew he was there but safely hidden from view. We all close the doors and go home at night, but I believe that there must be warm close contact to continue to nurture and build a community, hence I will charge a membership fee and be present to my members. I will have other work and take private students who want to do "Deep Listening Soul Guidance" sessions with me, and I will have books for sale, and eBooks for sale to the world at large that will be free for those paying members of the community, as well as courses to take should you want to sign up for one, and rooms where, like with an old fashioned quilting bee, women simply gather to talk and be. We are more alike than we are different, but our differences add color and flavor and texture. It will be a tasty stew.

I am currently building the new cottage, designing the many rooms, painting them bright cheery colors and making them cozy. The pugs and parrots will be here of course, and perhaps you would like to take tea with me in the garden. I can send you home with an armful of roses and seeds from the hollyhocks, perhaps a few cuttings to root and a warm hug as you take your leave and head to your own home. I will leave a light in the window for those who come to commune from anywhere in the world when the pugs and I are nestled in our bed fast asleep. There will be rooms that are always open.

And so now I take my leave as sleepy pugs wander around and tug at the hem of my flowing dress, and I will pull the shawl around my shoulders and take them out into the night for a walk under the stars, and we will come in for our cozy evening before the fire and, with a light glowing over my shoulder, I will read and write and sketch and dream and plan for the re-opening of the place I loved so well. I am a nurturer, and this is what I was meant to do and be.

Tomorrow I will tell you about my life as an oak tree, and what I am learning from another beautiful soul whose community I am new to but who is nurturing and guiding me in a way I have long needed and dreamed of. There is room for many, many women's communities, and we may visit one another from time to time. I will make up the guest room and welcome those who want to come for even a short visit and we will have a grand time.

Warm Regards & Deepest Blessings to All... 

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