Welcome To Dragonfly Cottage… Finally Landing In My Beloved Cottage After 11 Years…


If Home is where the heart is
Then may your Home be blessed
A shelter from the storms of Life
A place of rest,
And when each day is over
And toil put in its place
Your Home’s dear warmth
Will bring its smile
To light the saddest face!

~John McLoed ~ 




Eleven years ago, after the end of my near three decade long marriage, I was cast adrift on a sea that I was ill-prepared to sail upon. After several moves and some near disastrous mistakes, I settled down into a little older townhome where I lived for 8 years. But when you have a lifetime of accrued possessions and left the 3000 square foot marriage home for a teeny, tiny cottage no bigger than a tissue box, with most of your possessions in a garage that flooded during a hurricane, ruining a life’s worth of over 300 journals, many of my beloved books and other possessions, you are at the beginning of the metamorphosis that would, eventually, be the beginning of a new life. Then, I could not imagine it, I could only see and feel the loss. 


It was at this time that while trying to survive physically and emotionally I created a little garden around the tiny white cottage with it’s sweet little picket fence — the year was 1999 and I had moved out of my married home on April 30, 1999, my 45th birthday, not intentionally on my birthday, it just happened that way. Gardening has always been my salvation, the most healing activity for me, and so there I was in my tiny garden planting flowers and herbs, and it didn’t surprise me that there were dragonflies all around, as they often are in gardens, but there was no water anywhere around that they might have been drawn to, and there seemed to be, well, quite a lot of them.


My little place was up above the garage, surrounded by large old trees so close to my windows that I would open them and hang bird feeders in the trees just outside the second story, and watch the wild birds come to the feeders which fascinated my parrots inside no end. There was a very long, tall metal outdoor staircase that led up to my little cottage in the clouds and I began to find it odd that several dragonflies would follow me up the stairs and hover around the little landing as I went in the door. I hung baskets of flowers and a little hanging water dish for them and for the wild birds on this tiny landing to offer them a place of respite, but the numbers of them and their continuing close proximity to me I found rather fascinating and perplexing. Then, I started dreaming of dragonflies. 

Having studied Native American spirituality I was very aware of totems, and I have quite a collection of Zuni and Navajo fetishes from my trips to New Mexico. That’s when I realized that the dragonflies were not just a happy coincidence but that they had come, as teachers and healers, to lead me out of the darkness and into the light, and to teach me the lessons I needed to learn. Dragonflies represent metamorphosis, and I was at the beginning of a huge life change that I couldn’t even yet fathom. I had left a decades long marriage, my children were grown, and I had finally come out as a lesbian. The dragonfly was leading me out of the shadows I had lived in my entire life since the days when my childhood, rife with abuse, dark corners, and frightening secrets made me more comfortable with hiding and living in a cloistered world. Now it was time to turn the corner toward the light. I loved my husband and children, but the time had come to be who I really was. I thought the change might be the death of me, in fact it was the death of my old self. I named my little cottage Dragonfly Cottage in honor of the totem creatures who had come to lead me through this dark passage and to honor the journey toward the light.

In the intervening years I would move 6 times before finding this precious home of mine, my seventh move, and each place I lived in was “Dragonfly Cottage.” For me, it became more than a physical place, it was a state of mind, something that I carried inside myself like a precious gem, the eternal flame inside of me that would not go out, the spark that kept me alive and going when I did not believe that it was possible. More than once I came to the precipice of deepest darkness, but the dragonfly always pulled me back, literally. Once, in the little old townhome, I was really at the brink of despair. I was dangling so far off the edge that it seemed the only peace I would ever find was just to let go completely, and then a miracle happened. I heard the softest, barely audible bump against my patio door, and much to my amazement, when I opened the door, the most beautiful dragonfly I have ever seen in my life flew right inside. Not just for a moment, for over an hour. 


He sat with me on my hand, on my shoulder, on my knee. He just sat. Afraid to move or breathe I reached for my camera and took as many pictures as I could. I could feel my whole body relax. I don’t know what kind of dragonfly he was but he was huge, and a bright glittering, irridescent gold. I will share with you, here, some of the pictures I took then…
 







And after an hour or so, he flew off of my hand and back onto the window ledge next to the door where he had come in.



His work was done. I was pulled back from the brink, never again to consider death as an option. I was turned toward the light by a shimmering golden creature lighter than air, and he left such an indelible mark on me that I had a huge dragonfly flying over a full moon with tiny stars twinkling up to my ring finger and in the other direction up my arm tattoed on the back of my right hand/wrist. I had taken my totem permanently as a reminder not only of he who came to save me at a crucial juncture, but, putting it on the back of my right hand so that I, as a right-handed writer, would always remember to use my writing for spiritual good. 

 


In June 2005 our divorce was final. At that time I felt a deep need to change my name, a name that would represent the spiritual path that I was on and would be on, going deeper and deeper, for the rest of my life. Having been a student of Buddhism for over 30 years at that point, and having decided that my work was meant to be centered in the teaching of maitri, the teaching not only of loving-kindness and compassion, but most importantly that you must first have love and compassion for yourself. You cannot give from an empty well, and in trying to do so the consequences may be dire, at the very least in that empty dark state where you have nothing to give to others, you cannot flourish and live as you were meant to. I took Maitri as my first name, and Libellule, the French word for Dragonfly, as my last name.
I am half French, and my biological grandmother’s maiden name was Papillon. Butterfly. It seemed only fitting that I would take the last name Libellule, the name of my totem, and my name, Maitri Libellule, would be my guiding star for the rest of my days, it would remind me of the way I wanted to walk in the world, what I wanted to share and teach, what my purpose and responsibilities were, and I knew it would take me all of my life, the rest of my days, to come close to learning what I need to know, and to teach and share all that I am meant to.

In July of 2005 I walked outside on the courthouse steps, legally, and for all time, Maitri Libellule. I did not, at that time, begin to realize the impact that taking the mantle of the teaching I meant to follow and to share, and my totem, the dragonfly, would mean. I had not chosen an easy path, but I wouldn’t have chosen any other for all the world. And my life and work continued on from there, going deeper and deeper through the following years. 

I need not record the details of the journey to this point other than to say that on the brink of the new year, 2010, 5 years after changing my name, I knew that something enormous was happening. I was about to cross a threshold into the new life that I had been preparing for for nearly 11 years. My mother passed in mid-December after a courageous 5 year battle with cancer, and in January I bought the home I had seen the summer before, surprised that it was still available and the price dropped considerably. With the sale of my townhouse and a little extra I bought my dream home, the little cottage that was years in the making, and I came home to the real Dragonfly Cottage where I was meant to live, and do my work, creating a magic garden for solitude, delight, a place to heal and meditate, and be close to nature; the place where I would write my books and teach what I was meant to teach; and to do the fiber work that tied me to the centuries of women who have worked with their hands, spinning fiber into yarn into tapestries and more. I had landed, finally, where I was supposed to be. It had been a long journey, but I needed to walk every step of that journey, and I know I am still only beginning. It is as if at 56, now, my real work can begin, and I am finally settled in my own home, my sacred space, where I was meant to be.

Without really thinking about it, in March I found myself going into a tattoo studio to have my rather simple dragonfly tattoo embellished and it is now quite complex and stunning. I hadn’t really thought about it but now that I had a home, and the real Dragonfly Cottage had finally materialized as it was long meant to, my life was beginning to metamorphose once again, and the dragonfly on my hand did as well. I don’t have a picture of the new tattoo but I will post a picture when I take one sometime soon. 

Finally, I was working in my studio last week. The studio is a very large room with windows all the way around that look out onto my deck on one side hung all the way around with bird feeders and windchimes, the windows I look out as I work at my computer, watching the birds just a foot away from me eating, afraid to breathe I am so delighted to be so close to them, and the long wall of windows down the other side look out over The Magic Ship Garden that I am working on. This particular day was a gorgeous, sunny, breezy day, and all of the windows were open letting the fresh air waft through the house “rinsing it clean” as I always think. All of a sudden, out of nowhere it seemed (Had it come in the dog door with the dogs?) something flew past me and it was so big I thought it was a bird. It flew directly into the screen and couldn’t find it’s way out. As I looked closer I realized that it was a dragonfly, and I had no idea they could get that big! Right in the middle of my Dragonfly Cottage Studio was the biggest dragonfly I had ever seen and he took my breath away. I didn’t know what to do. 

Gently, very gently, I cupped my hands around him, called to my friend to come open the door, and I set him free. I believe he had come to welcome me home, and to let me know that he was here with me too, that he would always be near me. We are of the same tribe, this dragonfly and I. And this beautiful little spot that I have finally found, after 11 years, and had the ability, at near 56, to move into, is without a doubt one of the greatest gifts of my life and meant to be. 

And so I am home, and I am writing the book I had put off for some time and all of the fiber and fiber equipment are being set up in my studio so that I will begin selling my yarns and fiber creations and more by June, donating a portion of the proceeds to pug rescue, and the pugs and the parrots and Big Dog Moe and I will live here in perfect harmony, and I fall to my knees in deep gratitude, and every morning and every night as I go to bed the first and last words I utter are “Thank you God.” I am here, I have made it, now my work can begin in earnest, and I am no longer running toward, or away from, anything. I am here.  

Welcome to Dragonfly Cottage. It feels good to be home…



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. What a beautiful story. I believe that you would do well no matter where you are. Your spirit comes through your words and puts a smile on my face.

  2. Wow! I can’t help it but to continue reading it to the very last word. I do admire you my dear friend, you are truly gifted with many talents and on the top of that you blend it with kindness and compassion and that make life so soothing. You enjoy being you and what you do. You love nature and all the living wonders which come to you as friends. Beautiful birds, magical dragonflies, parrots, pugs and those who need your helping hands. They are all like little elves and faries playing in your cottage garden.

    When I read this articles, I feel so good and very much wanted to visit you if not possible in person but in spirit will be fine at the moment.

    Tell you my friend, I am not a good writer, but after reading your deep thoughts has made me write this way, words just come pouring straight from my heart and soul. Hear this my friend, you are an eye opener to me and reading your beautiful stories always creates a beautiful feeling deep inside of me.

    Love you & hugs,

    I will always come to visit you my dear friend as and when I find time and make believe that we sit and chat over a cup of hot and good coffee in your beautiful cottage garden with dragonflies, singing birds, parrots and your loving cute pugs.

  3. What a story! The dragonfly tatoois lovely!

  4. I enjoyed hearing you very much. You are very strong and resilient and full of love.
    Namaste
    xxsm

  5. Love to you Maitri as it surrounds you in your new home. I can feel your peace my friend – bathe in it’s golden glow.

    hugs,
    Kathy

  6. It is a story that would coincide with many of our lives.I often find tranquility when out in nature, and enjoy visits from those who freely live where I roam.I take a lot of pics of dragonflies while floating in my kayak feeling a part of their life melding with mine.

  7. I like ur post …i just want to say one thing
    “LIFE never turns the way we want, but we live it the best way we can!!
    Remember there is no perfect life but we can fill it with perfect moments”.

    Luv to c u on my blog

  8. lilashaktiromay says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. lilashaktiromay says:

    oh, maitri! you really are my fairygoddessmother. your post made me weep with beautiful sweet tears, you are an inspiration and i am deeply glad to have you amongst people i most admire. i will never forget your love when my first baby alma was born, and seeing your journey into wonderful and wise cronehood makes me sit up and take notice. *so this is how its done* i say.
    and so, maitri, i have a gift long over due, i was inspired to make it when i read of your dear mothers passing from this world, and it shall be sent soon.
    much love and thank you for sharing your journey with us all.
    you are loved.
    xo
    shakti

  10. Such a lovely post 🙂

  11. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. This piece was very moving for me to write, and I seldom hint at my abuse any more because I have healed that part of myself and don’t want to dwell on it, but we do wear the scars like a shaman’s trial by fire that makes us stronger than we knew we could be.I think that part of my journey is to share that with others, to let them know that they, too, can survive their pain, whatever the source, and make it to the other side. My pieces are often a leap across a great void, never knowing how they will be received, but hoping that they might help or touch someone else to know that they can achieve their dreams, no matter what the circumstances, the age, gender, or how long it takes. Thank you for your kindness and support. You are each cherished.

    Sheila, what a beautiful, kind soul you are. I see you smiling at me and I am beaming right back at you. As I wrote to someone else today, we were meant to be lightbearers for one another. You have been one to me. I bow in gratitude.

    Sweet, sweet Lily, you are always so dear. I haven’t had the time to answer comments for some time because of my mother’s long battle with cancer, when even getting a post up was about all I could do, but your encouraging loving notes have so often been here and they have meant a lot to me. I wanted you to know that, and know that I am sending you a warm, loving hug.

    Roj, thank you so much for writing in. It was very kind of you, and I’m glad you like the tattoo! He is fluttering his wings back at you now! :o)

    SweetMango… ah, what a beautiful name. Your words mean a lot to me as well. Strength is the blessing received from a long walk out of fear and darkness, if only we keep walking far enough. We can all make it to the light, and I wish for you that your path be illuminated before you all the days of your life. Namaste to you as well dearheart…

    Kathy love, thank you so much. It is so good to see you here, and I smiled when I read your words because it truly feels like there is a golden glow emanating from the walls of this little cottage and the garden and everything around me. It is as if after a long journey I have reached paradise. There is not a day I am not filled with gratitude. Know that I am sending you a warm loving embrace…

    Out On The Prairie — and I love that name — is Nature not the most soothing, healing, serene peace we can experience? Truly, a balm for the soul. And long before the dragonflies came to me I could feel their incredible magic and was in awe of them. They are here for us all. Thank you so much for writing.

    Amrit, bless you for being here and leaving such kind comments, and I love what you wrote when you said that life may not be perfect but we can fill it with perfect moments. So beautiful, and so true. Too often people get stuck in the reverse mode, and don’t see the beauty for clinging to the dark times, but if we do the reverse it can turn our whole lives into a continuing experience of gratitude which keeps us afloat through the hardest days. Keep making those beautiful moments…

    Lilah, my sweet angel girl, I have missed you so much and hope that we can be in closer touch. I remember so well the day that Alma was born, talking to your friend while you were in labor, announcing it to the SARK board for you, and seeing your beautiful pictures thereafter. We have long been out of communication but you have never been out of my heart. I hold you close and dear. A sweet loving hug to you dearheart. I am always here for you…

    Thank you so much Lady Banana. I really appreciate your kind words. I have always loved your blog and am honored that you have come to mine. Many blessings to you…

    Thank you again, one and all, you have filled my heart with tenderness and joy. I send my love to each of you…

    Maitri

  12. thank you for sharing such an important part of your self. Not only courageous it must be wonderfully freeing to write. I am amazed and overwhelmed with the dragonflies. I have never seen a dragonfly like you shared… Seems that if each of us become quiet and listen and watch we will each find our totem… I am so happy that you have found happiness, peacefulness…and joy.

  13. My dearest Maitri,

    Thanks for your acknowledgement My hugs to you always.

    Keep in touch by visiting one another always.

    Lots of love & hugs,

  14. Lovely Waterrose… thank you so much for your comments and yes, I thought the dragonfly was spectacularly beautiful and I had never seen one like it before nor since. And yes, finding your totem in an incredibly powerful thing and is life-changing in ways I would never have imagined.

    The kind of writing I do has come out of thirty years of teaching a very healing kind of journal writing class and is very heart-opening. It is for me a kind of prayer, a respect for the moments of our lives, all of them, the simplest and seemingly mundane as well as the powerful and often deep or difficult things that shape our lives, but like clay our lives are eminently capable of being re-shaped and strong enough to be vessels for holding more than we ever imagined that we could. I find tremendous grace in that, and try to share it as I can. The kind support I have received here is very life-affirming to me and means more than you know.

    Blessings to you dearheart, and a gentle hug to you…

    Maitri

  15. You are most welcome Lily. And I appreciate you and all the other lovely souls who come here more than you know, even if life has not allowed me the time needed to answer all of the comments. And yes, the blogging community is a lovely place to meet and connect. I have been blessed to meet so many lovely souls here, of which you are one.

    Gentle hugs to you sweet soul,

    Maitri

  16. What a journey you have been on, Maitri! I love the symbolism of the dragonfly and how you seem to find each other through life’s twists and turns.

    May I suggest a small pond for your new garden, as the dragonflies are drawn to water too. I have many who come to my pond to lay their eggs on the edge of the rocks. I love to find their nymphs in the water at night with a flashlight. It may just add to your story….

  17. Your story is one that should offer hope and inspiration to eveyone out there that maybe feels a wee bit lost….

  18. What a wonderful story, you so freely share. All the symbolism, shows your strength and genuine kindness. Your home, shows who you truly are and where your heart is, and oh how lovely it looks. It will continue to grow with you, and show the world who you are.

  19. As “Uncle Thay” would say…”I have arrived. I am home.” I too have had the blessing of feeling the energy of Home-Coming this past year. 🙂
    Like Lila, I have a prezzie that I would love to send to you in the near future…and like Lila, I am inspired by your journey into becoming the WISE WOMAN that you are. HO!

    Blessed Be,
    VSD

  20. awesome beautiful garden

  21. What a beautiful post! Reading this touched my heart so much. Thank you for sharing your story with us 🙂

  22. You are truly an inspiration! Amazing how we become grateful for our darkest times when we look back and realize they have been our greatest sources of growth. Your story is full of hope and redemption. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to following along!

  23. Right about now in my life, I could use a dragonfly. What a beautiful BEAUTIFUL story. It gives me hope.

    I remember last summer my mother, daughter and I were in my mother’s pool. A few dragonflies came by and began to flit around my mom and daughter. My daughter held up her finger and one landed right on the tip of it. We were amazed. When it flew off, another took it’s place, then another, and so on. My mother held up her finger and a few did the same for her. Now that moment means more to me!

  24. awesome story I enjoy it

  25. Beautiful story !
    Those pictures of the dragonfly are gorgeous !

  26. Thank-you for being you! What an uplifting story. Mother Nature does have a way of healing us…if we stop and notice the signs. Blessed Be!

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