The Cantadora’s Way…

There once was a frightened little girl hiding behind a dense thicket of forsythia bushes, golden flowers in her hair, tear-stained cheeks, trembling, but she learned, at nine, that she could escape, if only for a moment, with her little notebook and pen in her lap. She sat, grounded by the cool earth, supported by the branches, and accompanied by birdsong she wrote fast and furious, stories about the little girl who could get away from those who hurt her, and over and over in her mind she packed her little bag, took her little dogs, and crept out in the night. Endless variations of this story she wrote, year after year, through ever darker and more terrifying nights and days, until, free at last, she knew, she had learned, that she could survive, and that the instrument of her survival was her pen and the power of the stories she had written.

As a young woman she married and had children but never stopped writing. With a baby at her breast she wrote with her free hand, while her husband and children were asleep she crept secretly into her little room where she wrote with her books all around her and a dog by her side. She sold stories and poems, wrote books, and filled journals, and her words anchored her to the world. She stayed alive, and moved forward day after day, her pen anchoring her to life, often precariously, sometimes stabbing her pen in the paper and clutching it with both hands so as not to fly away from everything and disappear. And then the day came when she did. Children grown, now alone, a woman in her middle years, she knew that she had to peel the layers of her heart back like the petals of a lotus flower and gently lift the pain, piece by piece, out of the crevices with her pen. It would take much time but petal by petal she wrote the pain free, digging gently with the nib, writing through tears, unleashing fears, and anger, despair, and, finally, as she came closer to the outer petals, she felt her heart lifting, lighter, freer, she took deep, full breaths for the first time in years, her tears coming harder now but they were tears of relief, tears of joy, and then laughter, and story turned into song, and hope, and finally into the knowledge that a door was opening before her and she was ready to cross the threshold and live a whole new life. But where would she go, and how?

She wrote the story of a woman moving through the decades from forty to sixty, becoming a grandmother, a woman more deeply connected to earth, living alone with animals in a forest, and with a light heart she wrote her way over the threshold, to the sounds of birdsong, and there were flowers in her hair, and the sun shone on her face. She put her pen down and walked barefoot out of her little cottage into her garden, fell to her knees, and bowed down to the ground that had supported her through her darkest days, to her Mother, the Earth, and she sang songs of praise as she wove her fingers in the dewy grass, and the animals gathered round her, the trilling of birdsong high in the air above her, her dogs all around her, leaning into her soft body, and she rose up, moving slowly, and carefully, not as easily as she once had, and raised her arms to the heavens. She thanked the sun and the moon and the stars, the plants and animals that had been her companions, and the words that had allowed her flight, out of her body and into other worlds. She had finally come back into her body, she was ready to live, and sixty years into her life on the earth she could once more take up her pen and write the story she would live her way into in the years ahead.

The woman threw back her head and laughed, and golden forsythia petals fell down from the heavens, and caught in her hair, and a bird landed on her shoulder, the wild animals drew near, her little dogs chased each other around tumbling playfully in the grass, and the child that she had been waved to the woman that she had become, and disappeared into mists of gold, and she walked back into her little cottage. She had found her calling and as she grew into an old woman she would live as the healer and teacher she had become, and as a cantadora she would sing her song to others, and call their stories forth from them, and help them heal and transform their lives as she had, and write their way into lives they could heretofore have only imagined.

She fed the dogs, and the birds that lived with her, made a fire and knelt on her hearth stirring a big kettle of soup. Herbs and vegetables were piled on the table, and the whole cottage was redolent of garlic and a host of spices, bread baking, cinnamon and cloves. As night fell she lit candles and bent her head in prayer, and finally she reached for her pen. She would write her way into the year ahead, and the year after that, and the years beyond. Everything was possible, her story had become her song, and her song her life. And so it would be to the end of her days and beyond. Her stories would be passed down to the younger ones who would know that their stories were sacred, and powerful, and that they must record them and pass them on. And through the generations countless children survived and men and women thrived, and the babies came and the grandchildren and the women and men grew old. We know their stories today, we tell them to our own children. And so it will go until the end of time.

The Cantadora’s life was forged in fire and healed by the balm of tales she would spin and fables she would leave behind, and when she left the earth she left with a smile and a light heart to the sound of birdsong and there were yellow flowers in her hair…

If you enjoy this blog a donation would be deeply appreciated to help me continue to bring “Maitri’s Heart” to you. Thank you, and many deep blessings to one and all…

Comments

  1. Teresa Myszka says:

    I wept as I read your story. What a beautiful spirit you have, your words touched my heart.

    • Oh Teresa, thank you so much…

      Even though I write very openly, from a place deep in my heart that wants, not just to share but to help others, I am still, so very often, shy, and very vulnerable, so your kind words mean more to me than you could possibly know. Thank you so much dearheart, you have lifted me up and warmed my heart. I appreciate it more than you will ever know.

      Blessings and love,

      Maitri

  2. Dearest Maitri,
    So exquisitely beautiful.
    I am moved to tears for that little girl
    And for the courageous woman she has become.
    Many Blessings to you,
    Donna

    • Donna, I am so deeply moved by your kind words I barely know what to say, but know this, you have touched me deeply, and I have read your words with tears in my eyes, and I thank you so much for sharing them.

      Blessings and love you your dearheart. May all be well in your world. May you be deeply blessed…

      Love,

      Maitri

  3. Astrid Larsen says:

    Dearest Maitri,
    What a beautiful creation you have here. What a beautiful heart space this is.
    I feel such a resonance with your writing and story – that in truth I’m a little wary of reading too much of it until I’ve strengthened my own writing ‘legs’ and allowed my story to emerge into the full light of day. And when it has, I will be back! And I will bring with me my heart’s creation to share with you. So, so lovely this is. Flourish! Heart hug, Astrid Larsen – (participant Wins9)

    • Beautiful Astrid,

      I thank you so much for coming and sharing, from your heart, and dearest, we are all in EXACTLY the right place, right now, in this moment. Your writing is PERFECT, just as it is, just as you are. Hold you gentle words tenderly, and bless them, and celebrate them, for it is from that place that you will grow leaps and bounds, further than you imagine you will ever go. YOU-ARE-MAGNIFICENT!

      And you are loved, more deeply than you will ever know…

      Maitri

  4. Kathryn Walker says:

    Oh, so beautiful!! It touched my heart and made me cry. Thank you, Maitri.

    • Thank you so much sweet Kathryn… I am humbled and touched by your kind words. I thank you with all my heart.

      Love,

      Maitri

  5. Karen Stewart says:

    Maitiri, I am so drawn to your words, the beauty of them, the timbre of them, the pull of them on your reader. Thanks for your talent, for sharing your world. What a better place I am in from having read your words. Karen

    • Karen,

      Thank you so much. I am so deeply touched by your comments and very happy that something that I wrote could bring you happiness. I hope that you will visit again soon, and I send you love and blessings in abundance…

      Maitri

  6. Dear Maitri,

    I have found an old friend in your words. That old friend is me. But the relationship has been dulled by so many things: time, lack of attention, a nagging unsettled core that is afraid and uses doubt as a crutch…

    I find myself asking (myself) why my story is important. I find myself longing for the days when the answer is crystalline. I have hope.

    You are a shimmering soul. Your words nudge and flow and give me pause. I welcome the deep breaths and the tears your words elicit. You remind me that this is a journey.

    Namaste,
    Erica

    • Sweet Erica,

      First I am so sorry to be so late answering you. I have no idea why but I did not get notice that this comment was here?

      Dear One, all of our stories are important, but our connection to them gets dulled as daily life encroaches and we don’t stay awake, alive, and connected to our tender hearts. It is a daily practice, one that only takes a few moments, but it has been how I have survived, thrived, and continued on up the mountains of obstacles to a place of peace and a sense of rightness inside myself over and over again.

      Life is a journey, and we are all on it together. This is why I want to have the community of women that I am creating and will open soon, so that I can help as many women as possible along the way to realize how very precious they are, how much their lives and stories matter, and that there is always always always a way to heal and make changes and move into a happier life.

      I send you so much love dearest. Take gentle care of your tender heart…

      Maitri

  7. Christine Lakin says:

    I really enjoyed your heartfelt story and it has touched me, also. I love your writing and may play around writing my own little story, thank you for sharing, you are brave and very giving.

    • Christine,

      Thank you for visiting and for your kind comments, they mean the world to me.

      And yes dearheart! Do write your story. No one need see it but you, but when we truly develop an appreciation for our tender lives, the hardships and the joys, we can more truly appreciate all of who we are, move more deeply into self-love, and discover old patterns that influence our life today and perhaps hold us back as well as fully realize the strengths and positive attributes we have developed over a lifetime that can help us overcome those hurdle. This is what I teach in The Cantadora’s Way. I hope you will give it a try.

      Blessings and love to you,

      Maitri

  8. Dear Maitri,
    This was such a lovely story of hope! I am so moved by it – maybe because it resonated with me as a little girl, the blossoming woman and the woman who now stands before a door to something else. I feel as if I am cracking open and my main mode of expression has always been writing. It just boggles (and thrills me!) that as I come up against my own stories that want to be told – and told NOW – that I should meet you and that you are the spark that makes me feel like the time is right and that I can DO this if only I will be brave enough and vulnerable enough. Thank you so much for sharing here and in your Cozy Room on facebook. Joyfully, Donna

  9. Donna Honey, thank you so much for writing…

    This work is so deep to me and has come out of a lifetime of writing and 40 years of teaching journal classes and much more. I am a Cantadora, “A keeper of the old stories.” and it is a deeply spiritual process for me. People who work with me one on one for a year go through an extraordinary transformative journey, 3 month and 6 month packages are also available, and I begin to put together the group work this week for The Cantadora’s Circle so there are options for doing this work. This work will not be done in The Cozy Room. But I so dearly love The Cozy Room and am so delighted that you are there with us. Story is the greatest healer. Your story is your song, and it is the way we heal. More about the process and how it is done is in the blog entry: http://maitrilibellule.com/the-cantadoras-song-and-how-i-can-help-you/ – I hope this helps.

    Blessings to you dearheart…

    Maitri

  10. Mythologizing our lives is such a powerful tool for discovery and acceptance. This is an incredibly beautiful example of the healing art of story. Thank you so much for this, dear Maitri.

  11. Oh Cathryn you are so very welcome, coming from you this means so much. The role of the Cantadora is as old as time when stories were passed down verbally, and having taught this process for nearly 40 years I know very deeply that this works.

    You are such a blessing to me and I send my love,

    Maitri

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