“365 Days of Mindfulness” [Day 78] Embracing Miracles, Moments, and Beginning To Live Again…

It is 6 1/2 weeks since the fire. We have been in the rental house now for 2 weeks today and I have not left this house in 2 weeks, until last night…

I have been terrified. Agoraphobia is a frightening thing and losing one’s home, the safety net you have built to survive going up in flames before your eyes not to mention a decade and a half of dreams, is to feel lost in the world. After not leaving the hotel room for a month save to walk the dogs, and one hour to come look at this house, and then moving here and not leaving for 2 weeks, my walls were raising up high into the sky like Jack’s beanstalk and I wondered if I could ever leave this place. And then there really was no food, and I needed so very many things. Finally, forced by circumstances, I left the house. I went to the Dollar Store with a list a mile long.

I love the Dollar Store. I feel comfortable there. I feel like these are my people in a way that fancy department stores and even big grocery stores never could, in fact those places terrify me. Still, I had to sit in the car in the parking lot to get my courage up to go in. Once inside I got a little basket and started down the first aisle, and in moments I was simply enchanted.

I used to go to this particular Dollar Store some time ago but when I moved into Dragonfly Cottage it was no longer close. I was amazed to see the things they had there and though everything isn’t $1 the prices are amazing. I soon felt, if shy, like a kid in a candy store with big eyes walking up and down the aisles in wonder, they had so much more than they used to and name brand nice foods. Lovely wines for $3.50 a bottle that you pay $10 for in a grocery store and I always get tickled to buy my hair color for $3, the exact same hair color I pay nearly $10 for in a drug store.

I needed lots of things like hangers, and little things for the house as well as drug store type items and odds and ends and I was actually enjoying myself and it felt good to get out of the house, but then…

I started to feel overwhelmed. My heart was in my throat and I felt lost at sea and wondered if I could make it home, and just then I looked up into the eyes of a very kind older woman. She smiled and complemented my dress and laughed and said if I wore it Monday it would be just perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. It was an ankle length cotton seersucker green dress with bits of pink.

I continued on as did she in different parts of the store and when we came upon one another again she stopped and said, “Honey, I don’t want to intrude but you look so sad, are you okay?” I started to tell her that my house burned down and it was the first time I had come out on my own in over 6 weeks and I was feeling… but by then tears were running down my cheeks and I was thinking “Oh God please don’t let me lose it in the middle of this store.” but she looked at me kindly and said, “Can I hug you?” And as she did I just broke down in sobs and cried harder than I have in weeks in a stranger’s arms in an aisle in the store. She stroked my hair like I was a little girl and she prayed for me, that I would be given strength to get through this difficult time, and when I stood up she smiled at me as she took a pin off of her dress and put it in my hand and closed my hand around it. “I want you to have this…” “Oh no,” I said, “I couldn’t possibly take it, it’s beautiful!” but she insisted. She said it was a very special pin and would bring me luck. It was a golden bumblebee with beautiful stones set in it. I just stood there gaping at it and she started talking to me about bees.

She told me that bees help us see the sweetness in life, that they are industrious and would help me work my way through everything that I needed to to get through the time ahead, so many things about bees that I knew. I love bees, I always have. I have planted large gardens full of wildflowers for the bees and I have always cherished their presence around me. She hugged me again and we parted.

I saw her now and again as we both continued shopping in different parts of the store. I felt shy and kind of awkward but very appreciative. She was like a fairy godmother and made me feel like my grandmother had. My grandmother was the most cherished person in my life and I loved her dearly.

It was because of grandma that I came to love vintage things. Grandma didn’t have much money but she had a charming little house from the 30’s and 40’s and I loved the things in her house. Her house was my safe haven. In a childhood full of abuse I was safe at my grandma’s and I just loved going there. She made donuts and let my cousin and I eat the donut holes she had cut out. I played in a sandbox in her back yard with the little girl who lived next door. Grandma was a wonderful cook and I liked to sit in the kitchen and watch her. She had to quit school in the 6th grade because her mother died and she had to raise her younger brothers and sisters. She then raised her own 5 children and took care of her father and her in-laws at home until they died while she raised her little ones. She was a tiny, round, Irish Catholic woman with wiry, unruly hair, very rosy cheeks, and she was just adorable. Family was all that mattered to her. She was very self-conscious about the fact that she had had to quit school so young but she was wiser than most people I’ve met with Doctorate Degrees. I miss her terribly still and she died in 1977.

Somehow or another I finished getting everything I needed, my little cart was overflowing, and I got to the checkout counter. I had a ton of stuff and was kind of embarrassed. Suddenly there was a woman behind me and I turned around and apologized for having so much, I said my house had burned down and I’d lost everything so I needed a lot of things for the rental. She squeezed my shoulder and said, “Don’t worry honey, I’m in no rush. And a year ago my house burned down.” We talked for awhile and discussed the fact that as sympathetic, kind, and wonderful as people are unless you’ve been through this you can’t possibly understand. We both said that it was so hard because you get yourself together and then you remember something else that you lost that you completely forgot about and you are blindsided all over again. We talked about many things.

When all of my things had been bagged up the checkout lady said she needed to see some I.D. I had purchased a bottle of wine. I kind of giggled. As I handed it to her I thanked her and said that she’d just made my day, that I would be 60 next month and it tickled me all to pieces to be carded. And the lady behind me said, “60?! Oh honey you are beautiful, you look so good.” I blushed so hard my cheeks got hot and I kind of giggled again and thanked her. As I finished loading up my cart the lady behind me hugged me and said, “It’ll be okay honey, it gets easier with time. I’ll pray for you.” The checkout lady said she would pray for me too and I thanked them both and walked out feeling so loved, so happy, so alright, in a way I hadn’t since the fire, then, right then, in the parking lot of the grocery store I knew I would be okay.

When I got back to the house I had to make several trips to get everything in and it felt so good to have food and so many of the odds and ends that I needed. I knew then that I could make of this little house a home, for now. It has been very hard because the rental furniture they brought in is really staging furniture, there is very little of it so that the house feels very empty, and all hardwood and tile your voice and every sound just echoes around inside. The only chair for me to really sit in is so wobbly it’s hard to get in and out of and if you slap your hand against the side it sounds like cardboard. I have been absolutely forlorn over all of this. But I am going to buy a good chair, a comfy recliner, and this week they are finally going to get a desk, chair and lamp in, and I am going to make a cozy little office and begin to work again.

Today I wrote to the students that had signed up to work with me in January for mentoring sessions but who had not yet had their sessions because of the fire. They have all been lovely and sweet and told me to take my time but I have to get back to work. I think you heal best when you rise above your own problems and open your heart to helping others, and that’s what my life is about. I have realized, too, that while I still have a long way to go this experience has changed me profoundly. I bring a deeper knowing to my work, my healing powers have been greatly enhanced through this time of trial by fire, and my resolve and commitment to the present moment is deeper than ever before. It is time to get back to work, I’m ready. It is time to begin to live again.

I know that this will be a long slow process. They are saying that now it could be as long as 8 months before the house is rebuilt, everything is gone inside, it is gutted. I have gone back and forth about living there or not living there again but I really can’t. I have prayed about it, meditated and asked for guidance and I truly believe that I am not supposed to. The house is really too big for me which I hadn’t realized until I was in it for awhile. I am a nester. The dogs and I spent almost all of our time in my large studio, and the Cozy Room next to it. Of course I used the kitchen and went in the back to shower and change clothes but I even slept in the Cozy Room. I would like to find a little place, have a small fenced yard for the dogs, plant a few flowers, and mainly dedicate my life to my work. I want to start the school I have been planning and even this will be a much deeper experience. And this work will all be begun from this little rental house.

Bloom where you’re planted. It seems so trite we’ve heard it so often, but it is touchingly true to me now, and what else is there? I’m going to be here for awhile so I will make the most of it. And as I hold my little bee in my hand I know that I will make it. I hear him buzzing and it makes me feel cheerful. I am not alone.

I send you all so much love, and hope that you are having beautiful moments wherever you are. Whatever you are going through, you will make it. And open your heart to the little miracles all around you. They are everywhere. Everywhere…



Make this the year your resolutions come true!

Make this the year your resolutions come true!


  1. This is SUCH a beautiful and stirring post, Maitri — thank you for sharing it and I’m smiling to think of the way you are busy making the honey of Life in a whole new hive; so inspiring, so wonderful to be reminded to look for miracles with an open heart … continued e-hugs to you!!

  2. oh maitri – the story of the woman and the bumble bee pin made me almost cry. what a lucky destiny, that you needed to go that dollar store. (we have one too and i love it also, mine everything IS only one dollar). my first thought was, did you get a good broom? you can’t live without a broom i find. well my friend it is so good to get your posts again. you have been on my mind alot, and in my heart. carry on, and can’t wait for the sequel – or “coming attractions” to this long saga of you



  3. Oh Maitri, I missed your posts! What a wonderful thing about strangers reaching out to you! That almost made me cry. I’m so glad you are able to get back to the work that nourishes your soul.

  4. Maitri, you are such a beautiful and courageous soul…. xo

  5. Oh Maitri, this is such a touching story. I believe there were angels in your life today. And this experience is proof that we are always exactly where we are supposed to be. I just knew you were going to be a Phoenix and rise from the ashes to become the most magnificent bird. And to think that this is all starting with a little bee. Dream big. Much love and huge hugs to you.

  6. What a wonderful and inspiring post, Maitri! And to have a bumblebee pin be an icon — telling, too. Definitely, your message to open our hearts to little miracles (and big ones, too) — magic. Hugs to you and your furry and feathered ones — healing and positive thoughts to all of you.


  7. Teresa Myszka says:

    Dearest Maitri, soooooo wonderful to see your post. I must share something about the bumble bee….anatomically the bee shouldn’t be able to fly….but it does….against all odds it flies. Each time it takes flight it performs the impossible. Like you Maitri the little bee shows us that impossible is really ” I’m possible” xoxo

  8. Sweet Maitri, I hope you aren’t tired of hearing “It’s so good to see you posting again…” It is. You definitely encountered angels at the dollar store. I bet if you had your camera with you every shot would be studded with your wonderful pink angel orbs. Isn’t it amazing how the moments of joy appear in the middle of misery. Your lady who gave you the bumblebee pin reminds me of when one of my coworkers gave me a bumblebee pin just after I was diagnosed with cancer, just before I went into the hospital for surgery. She said she wanted to find an angel but the bee just reminded her of me. That bee went with me to each appoint and radiation treatment. this world woudl be an empty place without the bees. It is so good to see you healing. thank you for being you.

  9. Oh, Maitri! What a beautiful story of courage and healing and magic! Bees have a special meaning for so many of us Earth Angels. I’m so happy you were strong enough to go out of the house and into that store today. 🙂

  10. Dear Maitri,
    I am sending a blessing your way. Close your eyes and sleep well. Sweet dreams will come. Thank you for letting us know how you are doing.

  11. I love the hope I hear in your voice in this post. It truly feels like you are back! (although I know it will be a long process of rebuilding). When I first saw the bee I wondered if you would be creating a “bumblebee cottage” next. “Bumblebee Cottage-Honey, the sweetness of life is tasted here!” A little corny slogan to get you visioning (giggle). The pin thing really amazes me and there is a significance to special pins which you will know more about when you open my package ;). I think the universe must be trying to tell you something! I just love these kinds of touching stories about the kindness of strangers. What a blessing and I am so glad you were sent that kind of love just as you needed it. You are so brave to go out to the store after all you have been through. Am so looking forward to working with you! I too have found that all my roads to healing have come from helping others. There is a long story which I will try to shorten of a phrase that the Holy Spirit told me once to do with this. My mom and I started doing our own prayer shawl charity where we knit shawls and give them to people we feel called to give them to. I made one that I mailed to a stranger I had never had any contact with internet or otherwise once. I had heard of her through a relative. It was some lady that had been crying in the pew next to her around Christmas. We always pray over these shawls before sending them and there was a phrase that kept coming to me loudly during my prayer and meditation time on this shawl. I felt odd to write it on the lady’s prayer card but felt called to and so said what the heck I guess I will. The message was “Don’t be afraid of brokenness, God uses it for His good-to help us repair others so that we may again become whole.”

    I think when we reach out to heal others , we also heal ourselves and that is what the Spirit was trying to tell me. When the lady received this message from me, she wrote back in awe because she was part of a women’s intercessory prayer group and they were called “The Broken Vessels”. :D. If you want to read her actual response and see the whole post on brokenness and healing others and ourselves here is the link: http://weliveinspired.com/inspiration-station/broken-vessels-story-of-brokenness-and-gods-provision/

    I don’t know why I felt like sharing this, but I felt it may speak to you somehow. Anyways take care and I look forward to working with you soon! <3

  12. You were surrounded by angels, Maitri – and I am so happy for you. And that is a beautiful pin, and a beautiful story – thank you for sharing it. You are very brave and when you do return to teaching, what a validation as a teacher to live through that experience the way you have done, with such courage even amid deep fear. Only someone very special could do that. The world needs more teachers who understand human frailty and loss and yet manage to shine like a rainbow and reach outward even through their tears. You are the real deal, sweetie. {{hugs}} 🙂 I am proud of you (not that I have any right to say that but hearing your stories makes me feel that way).

  13. (And your grandma sounds like the most lovely woman on earth!)

  14. This is a beautiful story, Maitri. You braved the Dollar store and you were sent all those kind people to help you. I know it must feel impossible for you to pick up the pieces and get on with your life after the fire, but I can see the hope in this post and I know the light is still shining in your heart.

  15. Dear Maitri,
    Thank you for sharing and opening, exposing, your heart. It is both freeing and terrifying to be oneself, truly in the most vulnerable sense of the word. You have amazing courage, and don’t let the little voices ever tell you differently.
    With love and hope,
    P.S. Miracles swirl about me too, one just has to notice, be grateful, and let them warm your heart. They always make me smile too.

  16. Beautiful post Maitri…love you. I used to be a Mary Kay Cosmetics girl back in my younger days. The bumblebee is significant. It was a big symbol in the Mary Kay world. Here is the quote:

    “Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway.” — Mary Kay Ash

    You can still fly!

  17. Bless you Maitri, for having the courage to go to the store and bless those wonderful kind ladies who were so supportive and understanding just when you needed it. We truly never know where our next miracle will come from. Thank goodness for human kindness and compassion.

  18. That little bumblebee was more than a sweet gift. It is a talisman to keep close. The bee’s spirit will keep your spirit flying when it feels like crashing. It will keep guiding you to life’s sweetness. And, oh, that bumblebee spirit will be needed in the coming months. It is still an achingly long time before you can be settled into the new home of your choosing. And during those long months we will all be sending you heaps of love, 24-7.

  19. Oh you beautiful dear souls…

    I know that I will come back to read these comments again and again. Each and every one of them are a treasure and mean more to me than I can possibly say. I am struggling, found out yesterday that it could be 8 months before the house is rebuilt. It feels almost too much to bear, but then, really, anything is bearable, it is all a state of mind, and a courageous heart, and these things are not always easy to maintain and hold onto, but the comments here I do hold onto and they keep me going. I cannot tell you how much they mean.

    I am going to blog as close to daily as possible now because I have to get back into the routine and it is very good for me. I want and need to work and this blog has been deep heart and soul work for me since 2007. I hope that you will be here with me for the journey.

    I send each and every one of you so much love, so very much, and I am with you in heart and spirit each and every day.

    Namaste bright beautiful souls, be at peace and know that you are loved…


  20. Dear Maitri: I just found your blog today. I just wanted to say I am happy I found you!
    I’m so terribly sorry for your recent loss. As a fellow animal lover, my heart grieves with yours at the loss of your beloved parrots. I lost my heart rabbit this past summer. I never, ever imagined he would die at the age of 3 (most rabbits can live to be 10) and when he died, it felt like a big, cold stone lodged itself inside me. I told my husband that God must hate me, to have taken my favorite pet away, amongst some of the other losses I have experienced in the past few years. Shortly thereafter, we adopted two beautiful bunnies from the SPCA, who bring so much joy to our lives. I am working on gratitude that I had my Bunsen for the short time that I did. He brought happiness and joy to me every single day for those three years. I’m not angry at God anymore but I do wish I understand Her ways more.
    I know this is such a difficult time for you. I wish I had some magical words to say. I keep crying as I type this. I applaud your bravery at going to the Dollar Store. I too have suffered from panic attacks, depression, suicidal tendencies and agoraphobia.
    I think you are a beautiful soul and a gift to the world.
    Much love,
    P.S. I was very happy to read you were friends with May Sarton! Her stories about her parents remain some of my all-time favorites (esp. Wondelgem). And I found you by Googling for quotes from Ellen Gilchrist and “The Annunciation.” Another all-time favorite!

  21. Sandra, it’s so lovely to meet you…

    I so appreciate your kind words and I am so sorry about the loss of your sweet bunny. These losses are heartbreaking, but I am so happy that you found new bunnies to love. May was such a special part of my life in the three years I knew her before she passed and I taught her books for decades. And I met Ellen Gilchrist at a writer’s conference and was just enchanted. She is one of my favorite writers and The Annunciation was one of my favorites.

    Such a delightful thing to meet kindred spirits in this medium, I’m glad you stopped by, come again soon… 🙂


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