Doodling To Find Your Life’s Purpose…

I was really astonished when I got done with this doodle (Shown in this blog post from all 4 directions). I did not, as I never do, start out with anything in mind. No person or thing, no subject matter. The only thing I started with was a shape. I have been making all of my doodles in hand drawn squares because I started out trying to make “zentangles” which are made on white squares called “tiles.” I didn’t have the money to spend on tiles so why not just draw my own on whatever paper was at hand. I started on a little notepad and moved to my big journal, drew a big square and just doodly doodly dooed my way around the square. Last night I thought, gee, wouldn’t it be fun to draw a different shape? There really are no rules to this. I thought I would like to try something sort of egg-shaped. As I draw freehand with a Tombow Dual Brush Pen (Brush tip on one end, fine point on the other. I adore these, I bought a box of them on amazon and draw and write with them every day.), and I’m a little wonky and cattywompus, this was the best I could do. And then I drew kind of a lopsided figure 8. What to put in it? And then I thought two women, looking at each other from across the world. And what would I want to share with her? I would want to bring her flowers, and maybe make her a cup of tea. And I was off!

The thing is, since 1999 when I created Dragonfly Cottage Community For Women, a website community that had 1500 members, 15 mailing lists (Those were the days of Yahoo lists. People had barely begun blogging, there was no Facebook, no such thing as “social media.”) that were so active I eventually recruited a couple of wonderful women who became moderators because the mail was so heavy I just couldn’t handle it all, what I wanted to do most of all was to create a gentle, loving community for women, and there was a special focus on women at midlife. I loved those women dearly, and when I decided to close the community in 2006 it was with sadness and some regret but it was time to move on. Still, I never stopped wishing that I could create a community for women that felt cozy like home with flowers everywhere and endless cups of coffee or tea. But times changed, the Yahoo lists went by, there was an explosion of social media outlets and communities springing up everywhere, most notably Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, and the once possible cozy little corner of the internet has ceased to be. Most teachers I know teaching all kinds of things use Facebook Groups. The thing I had once created would be nearly impossible to manage now. There are a handful of exceptions, communities that are running in cyberspace, but they still aren’t like the feeling I had when I created Dragonfly Cottage in 1999.

Too, Dragonfly Cottage was my beloved home. I moved 7 times after my marriage ended in 1999 and every place I lived I called Dragonfly Cottage. It wasn’t just a physical location, it was a state of mind. And finally I found my real Dragonfly Cottage and moved in Feb. 1, 2010. I worked hard to make of this little house a home, it was all vintage things, and handmade, and I was making fiber art and handspinning art yarns and writing and building a huge magical garden and finally a business that would take me back to working with women again, teaching, mentoring, and more. Dragonfly Cottage had become a real place, finally, and I was never happier. It’s true I rarely left the house, and I had my issues, but I was creating a world for myself here in the house and online that seemed the culmination of everything I wanted to do. But on Feb. 5, 2014, the house burned down, everything I had created here, gone, including 4 beloved parrots, vintage and antique furnishings and things in the house, and my new business, everything was gone. Dragonfly Cottage died that night and something in me died too. I have never been the same since. The house was rebuilt but it’s not the same and I’ve never quite felt at home here. But tonight I started to doodle, and there are the two women, and the flowers, the teapot and the teacups. I almost cried when I looked at it. It felt like something was coming alive again.

When the house burned down, and in the aftermath, I lost any and all financial security I ever had. I haven’t known how to start another business, or what kind it would be. My mental state plummeted and just getting through a day has been hard. The last six months have been harder than any other period of my life, and creating new work to do hasn’t even seemed possible, but, I am finding, as I doodle, women keep coming up, and I’m not just drawing me, I’m drawing women I’d like to know, women I’d like to teach, and help, and make a community with, and I don’t know how in the world I might do that, and frankly I’m not well enough just now to even try, but I know if I just keep writing and doodling every day answers are going to come for questions I never even asked. Nearly twenty years later the same elements are still there. I didn’t even have words for any of this, words put too fine a point on things. I just started to doodle, I doodly doodly dooed and I found these wonderful women, and I feel happy.

I honestly don’t have a clue where any of this is taking me but I can tell you that I’m not stopping now. And I have no preconceived notions about what will or should come up. I will just sit here like a little kid with a big sketchbook and a bag of brightly colored markers and I will let what wants to come, come, just like magic. It tickles me, it really does. It gives me a sense of hope and possibility that I haven’t had since the house burned down, things that I had come to believe I would never feel again. And I am grateful, and I am not putting any pressure on it, and I don’t expect some great revelation everyday but I do believe I’m onto something and doodling, a non verbal, no pressure activity is taking me there.

I can’t begin to tell you how much this means to me, and what it might mean for you, but I do hope you’ll try. Make your own marks, your own way, with no expectations whatsoever, and make no judgments, just keep doing it. And I’d love to see some of your doodles too if you’d like to share. Share them with me on my Facebook page — Across The Vast Expanse Of The Notebook Page — I’d love to see you there.

Doodle On Brave Souls! Onwards and Upwards and away we go!



September Blogalong Challenge With Effy  Day 18)

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  1. So cool!

  2. Claudine Denert says:

    Dear Maitri, doodling can really have an impact on life… Ever since the eighties I have been making mandalas, I was into zen tangles, in doodling, in zen doodling, in zendalas … And I just colour in colouring books… There was a shift too, instead of the tile zen tangles, I made huge zen tangle bases drawings, line drawings… Years of it, I could not stop… But even when now I found my own visual language in art journaling and painting, I still doodle, just for fun, to ease my mind and relax… I like your colourful doodles… They too would look good in a book, with one of your life stories… Thanks for sharing…

    • Thank you so much Claudine. It’s comforting and relaxing isn’t it? Right now I’m listening to Binaural Beats for Anxiety which my therapist wants me to do for at least 5 minutes a day, I am trying it out, it affects your brain in a soothing way. I’m having my coffee and listening to this and I think it helps. You might want to try that. And thank you so much for saying they would be good in a book. For now they are just an exercise to try to calm me. I am going to try to draw to the binaural beats today (free on youtube, there are TONS of them!) and see how that goes. And you’re so welcome dearheart, it was my joy to share…

  3. Yes, “Those were the days my friend” those days when messages dropped in on the list, day and night – I do miss them, as I miss a lot of things, but life has its own ways of meandering. And all I can do is to turn when life does, and enjoy (at least try to accept) what you find after every turn. Whatever happens I know you are there, on the other side of the world, and I’m so grateful for your friendship and what I’ve learnt from you!
    Keep doodly doodly dooing and know that I think of you when I have my tea at three o’clock in the afternoon!
    love and hugs!

    • Oh Margaretha! I owe you a note! I have your e-mail saved to answer when I was having a better day but they keep being hard and I’ve fallen behind. I will answer you very soon my dear friend. And oh yes, those were the days and I miss them too. Like so many things that I loved in life that no longer exist as the world rushes past, it makes me sad, but as you said it so well, life does indeed have its own way of meandering. I love thinking that you think of me when you have tea, know that I am right there with you in spirit, giving you a gentle hug, and just loving sitting with you. Take care, you will hear from me very soon….

  4. this latest reminds me of russian dolls, stacked inside each other. i love this image.
    i love all your doodle paintings. you have found a new form and it is vibrant and
    quirky and colorful and comforting. the creative spirit lives in you and shall always give you joy


    • Thank you so much sweet Ka, it’s so funny, I love the thought of Russian Dolls nesting inside each other. I’m glad you like my doodles, but I use colored markers, they’re not paint, but I want to get back to painting, I really do. Baby steps. I love you so much honey….

  5. Maitri, I felt so elated for you reading this and your doodles are just gorgeous <3

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