To Everything There Is A Season

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.                          - Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

Most people of a certain middle-ish age are familiar with the song Turn, Turn, Turn (The Byrds, 1965) and how, taken from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, it contrasts various aspects of life. In a nutshell, the chorus lyrics go something like this : a time to be born/die, to plant/reap, to kill/heal, to laugh/weep, to build up/break down, etc.

As winter turns into spring here in the Midwest USA, my attention turns from redesigning websites to writing a book. And just like that, my Turn Turn Turn earworm - you know, when a song keeps playing over and over in your head - manifests itself.

How timely, how relevant to entrepreneurship and owning a small business, because as I look back over the last few years - as artist, writer, and owner of Abundance Art LLC - I see seasons, all the seasons.

The Spring of ideas, a new website to be designed and created, paintings to be painted, mandalas to be drawn, photographs to be organized. The sighting of success shoots popping up in the form of a first exhibit and sales.

The Summer of watering and watching the website grow with the opening of an online store, of joining an artist's cooperative gallery, hanging my visual art. And waiting, watching for signs of growth. The Summer of drought and worry when sales dry up and aspirations fade.

The Autumn of discouragement and letting go, understanding that somehow rejection is really just redirection. Being willing to receive feedback, and make changes accordingly. Redesigning the design.

The Winter of darkness, loss of hope when, in spite of all the work of the preceding months and years, the bank account remains barren. Trusting that, invisible underground, life grows. Listening in the wintry silence for the wisdom within, and saying hello to truth. Redesigning the redesign in a way that FITS.  Under the snow, something is being made whole.

And here we are, surrounded by signs of Spring again: bright yellow daffodils and forsythia, trees budding pink and white against the blue sky.

The seasons are always overlapping in this entrepreneurial world. My book's framework, outline, introduction, and first two chapters written, I learn that it's not the right book.  Devastated, I lay low, the smallest effort seemingly monumental.

And outside it is snowing. Winter isn't done with me yet!

Slowing down, allowing the snow covered daffodils to rest under their burden, I too rest, allowing something new to form in the place vacated by my book's first works.

Spring is just around the corner here in the Midwest USA.

And it's ALREADY here inside me in an abundance of thoughts and possibilities about my new ideal reader, marketing and publication strategies. For I am now blending the bits I like best -  painting fine art, selling beautiful photographic prints, and helping others - into a book that tells the story of how creativity saved my life. And growing a variety of income streams around that.

I am right where I'm meant to be.

And, I'm looking forward to Summer. And Autumn. And Winter. And life.

Are you?

You can find my original paintings and prints (paintings and photographs), mandala exhibit "go slow: woman on a journey" as well as artisanal notecards for sale at Abundance Art.

You can find my stunning collection of Russian Chandelier photographic metal prints for sale at ShopAbstractPhotography.

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There's a Whole Lot of New in this New Year

New Year's greetings and blessings all around!

What's new in your world in 2017?  At home? At work?  With children? With pets? 

According to my informal survey of one (me), a slight shifting occurs, along with a new sense of possibility.

And lots of change.

Starting with my website redesign:

  • Home - streamlined, including links to ShopAbstractPhotography and Etsy store
  • Blog page - easier navigation through current and past posts.
  • Shop - simpler display and clearer path to originals for sale vs print collections. Plus, by the end of the month, I'll be offering two different collections of fine art notecards, suitable for framing.

Did someone say GIVE AWAY?

Yes.

Twice.

Times twelve.

Each month, I'm giving away something from Abundance Art and ShopAbstractPhotography.

Starting with two drawings on Friday, January 27th, which gives you lots of time to join each list and share with family and friends. Feel the love, spread the love. 


 Abundance Art:

Imagine yourself lying on a beach in Costa Rica. No, I'm not giving away a free trip. Sorry. However, imagine having your own museum quality print of Costa Rica Beach... a $70 value - free! And you have plenty of time to join and spread the word.

 

 


Shop Abstract Photography

Now imagine yourself walking through the great hallways of the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, Russia. Look up. Gorgeous chandelier! Who would like to have a special limited edition of this stunning metal print - normally selling for $297 - for free in your home? Join and spread the word, and it might just be you.


There's one more way for you to win. For every person you refer to either subscriber list, you receive a $5 voucher towards a purchase from AbundanceArt.com. The way this works is that you contact me via the website with the names of the new subscribers and the list they joined. I confirm, and I send you the voucher code(s).

Sweet.

Don't you just love free stuff?

Here's to 2017 and abundant new possibilities!

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Out With the Old, In With the New... Mostly

Have you noticed some changes in my website over the last few weeks?

For example, there's a new logo/kid on the home page/block named ShopAbstractPhotography.com. There you will find the popular Chandeliers from Russia collection. This collection employs a very special metal printing process for a stunning result. The website also displays my Abundance_Art Instagram feed.

As for AbundanceArt.com…  well, ...  I've been pruning.

Streamlined is the menu bar. Hidden are the memoir bits, poems and journal entry excerpts. Gone are the mandala, photo, and Maitri galleries as well as A Piece of Hope and Healing.

It hasn't been easy. Sometimes it feels as if a part of me has been cut off.

Do you ever feel that way when you make a significant change?

And yet, that's what pruning is about. Removing parts that have not yielded fruit so that all the love, light and energy can be focused on the fruitful fruit and yield a greater harvest. With an uncluttered, clear and unambiguous path to it. Plus some space for visitors to see themselves in the space, to image what they see in their own space.

Speaking of which, Something For Your Soul does just that. It allows you to collaborate with me on a custom abstract fine art painting for your home or office space. Something that reflects and energizes YOU.

And now a question. When you let go of something, does that mean you get rid of it?

Sometimes it's the best thing to do. This is not one of those times.

  • Many of my currently hidden paintings and photos will reappear in the store, as collections of originals for sale, prints and notecards.
  • My poetry, mandalas and journal excerpts are already finding their way into a book I'm co-authoring with Candy, my former trauma recovery therapist, now life coach and collaborator. I'll tell you more about that in my next blog.

What would I like you to do during this transition?

Sign up for both email subscriber lists now, because starting at the end of January, I will give away something from each website, drawing from each email list separately. If you're on both lists, and you're lucky, you could win 2 prizes!

In the meantime, I'm sending you all blessings for a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!

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My Love Affair With Chandeliers

It was just curiosity at first, a glimpse in my peripheral vision. I could easily have turned away, resisted. But I allowed myself a full view of what had caught my eye. There was no going back, I was hooked.

Have you ever felt like that?

That's how my love affair with chandeliers began. Now I look for them, as I do mandalas, wherever I go. And my all time favorite, most beautiful, most meaningful, chandelier has a history that unknowingly wove itself into my life decades ago.

What? When? Why? How?

My entire first chandelier collection, which you can see here, is especially meaningful for me, as I have wanted to travel to Russia since I was a teenager. Getting there was the very first item on my life wish list. Forty years ago to be exact, I read the non-fiction book, "Nicholas and Alexandra" - which I am now reading again - and through it I learned about the Tsar Nicholas II, his wife the Empress Alexandra (and their family), what they were like as people and as rulers.

Even knowing the outcome, learning about these real people of history fascinated me from page one. The Romanov Dynasty and Imperial Russia would come to an end during World War I, replaced by communism.

Sadly, in 1918, the royal family and a few members of their household were brutally murdered, their bodies dismembered, burned and buried deep in a mine shaft with acid thrown on top. That was the end of the story as far as I knew.

Years passed and I was thrilled when Perestroika ("restructuring") and Glasnost ("openness") resulted in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Some day I would go to Russia!

My life dream came true in September 2015, when I spent two weeks in this huge and mysterious country. In only a sliver of travel, I encountered restored palaces, cathedrals, country churches and I savored past and present culture through connections with locals.

And I took LOTS of photos of chandeliers, the first collection of which you can find  here as a limited edition of special metal prints. You will fall in love with them, alone or as a selection.

My most memorable chandelier experience took place at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Simply stepping onto the cobblestone and seeing the cathedral with its 404 foot tall spire literally took my breath away. (I can count on one hand the times that's happened to me.)

pp fortress Cobblestone.png

Within the Cathedral, above ground tombs of the Romanov Tsars filled the side spaces. I stood among Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, most recently Nicholas I, Alexander II, Alexander III, etc. Hard to grasp, I just soaked it up.

But it was when I looked forward and above that I was truly inspired and filled with awe. For here was and is my favorite chandelier of all time, partly because of what came next.

The most powerful moments of my time in the Cathedral were spent in front of the Catherine the Great Chapel. It was here that I learned that the remains of Nicholas and Alexandra, with their children and household staff, were discovered in 1998 and following DNA testing, had been interred in the chapel. Nicholas, Alexandra, Maria, Tatiana, Olga Anastasia, Alexis. All there.

I'd had no idea their remains had been located and treated with the dignity and honor they deserved. I found myself overwhelmed with emotion. Crying quietly with grief and relief, with the comforting awareness that somehow, this complex and loving family had found their way home.

The depth of this experience remains with me today.


I reflect now how reading can open the world for anyone.  I reflect too on the blessing of being able to travel to places of such rich history, to walk the path of the past, and somehow feel connected to those who came before.I Invite YOU to travel vicariously through my Russian Chandelier Collection. To transport yourself back in time, click the image below. 

Is there somewhere calling you? I also offer chandelier collections from Europe, The Castle (USA) and Chicago, with New York and Kansas City on the way.

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Bonus Blogpost: My New (Ad)Venture is Live!

Hello all,

Well, my brain and my body are so much in the habit of writing a blogpost, that here I am again!

There's been a rumor going around that I've been gestating.

Yes, it's true.

I've been growing something for a couple of months now, and I'm proud to announce it's a brand new...  website!

And notice my favorite little swirl on the left of the new logo? A nice bit of golden continuity with its blue cousin from my Abundance Art Logo.

Back to ShopAbstractPhotography, here's what's great about the first photographic collection featured on the new website. three of which are shown here to further entice you.

  • I know you'll love these twelve gorgeous chandeliers I captured on my dream trip to Russia as much as I do.
  • The images go through a special printing process involving aluminium - that's aluminum to you Americans, the only ones in the world who pronounce it that way.. but I digress -  and polymers that bring out the absolute luster and splendor of each piece.
  • The collection is a limited edition, which means each individual piece (signed and numbered by yours truly) may very well increase in value over time. Get yours now!
  • These beauties are perfect for a variety of residential and commercial venues.
  • For your convenience, you can purchase them directly from my Abundance Art Facebook page.
  • All shipping, domestic and international is included in the price. Woo hoo! Come on world!

In case you're wondering, abundanceart.com is absolutely alive and well, and continues to grow, as Candy and I progress with co-authroing our trauma recovery book. The chandelier collection that was there will be replaced with different photos in the next few weeks, along with some other changes to make it easier to navigate the website.

Plus, I added a link at the bottom of the Abundance Art home page that takes you directly to  ShopAbstractPhotography.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

One more thing. I have created a YouTube channel called Abundance Art,  and am in the process of  loading videos old and new onto it, including some of my trek/travel adventures to Nepal, Trauma and Somatic Experiencing education, and business and marketing stuff. Also, I'm still figuring out some of the features, so bear with me. Do let me know if there's anything particular you're like me to post. I can do funny. I like funny.

Because of all that's going on, I'm asking for your help and support. The good news is that it takes very little effort. I would be SOOOOOO grateful in you would share this in your social media and email circles, to really help me get the word out. Plus, get your friends and family to sign up for my email list. I'll be giving away a painting for free to celebrate the beginning of 2017, and you have to be on my mailing list to win.

Mailing list + chance to win free cool art = no brainer. :) Pass it on

I think that's quite enough for one day, don't you? 

Enjoy your weekend!

Peace and love to all.

I'm falling asleep!

Namaste,

Annette

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Maitri: Unconditional Loving Kindness

Do you ever feel so tired that you just can't muster the energy to do what you intended to do?

More importantly, do you reach out for help and support when you need it?

I'm exhausted right now and I have a blog to write. And, I'm asking for support and it's showing up from the most unlikely source. My cat Maitri has offered to write my blog for me, and I have accepted. One thing you should know - she calls me by my nickname, Nettie.

Over to you, Maitri.


Thanks Nettie. By the way, this blog is dedicated to Zoe, who loved Annie and Craig with all her heart. You are missed!


Ok. Think 2012. Middle East. Doha, Qatar. The hot desert. Where I was a little baby kitty, all on my own. Someone was kind enough to rescue me and get me to the vet for care and fostering. Thankfully, I was socialized early enough in my life that I could be offered for adoption.

Nettie likes to tell the story of how I literally fell into her hands that day. She had brought in her other cat, Lucy (a beautiful and shy but sweet tuxedo kitty), adopted a week previously, for her follow up checkup.

As Nettie passed the cage I was in, the latch opened all on its own (ok, it may have had something to do with me pushing on it from the inside - I'm quite clever). I started to tumble out, and she instinctively reached to catch me in her hands. I was so tiny at the time it was a perfect fit.

All she had to do was look at me, my one blue and one hazel eye staring back at her brown eyes. She took in my adorable face and completely white fur, and these words came out of her mouth with a loving smile:" Oh, you are definitely coming home with me."

And I did. That day! 

Lucy, decidedly unhappy with my arrival, stayed behind a curtain for the first twenty four hours. Eventually she found that we could share the same space and even showed me the ropes a bit.

I had found my forever home.

One thing Nettie noticed straightaway was that I didn't respond to sounds like normal kittens. So she did a little testing, like calling my name and clapping her hands. No reaction. At my follow up appointment with the vet, her suspicions were confirmed.

I was deaf. Nettie said, "Oh, she'll never hear me call her name." And the vet said, "That's ok. She'll be able to read lips." Silly vet.

But Nettie was a bit sad, because she purposely had chosen the name Maitri, which is a Sanskrit word meaning unconditional loving kindness. And now I would never hear it.

She decided to write a poem in her journal about her feelings and experience:


I adopted a kitty - named Maitri

A sweet little white ball of fur

Unconditional loving kindness

Is what I had in mind for her

 

Her eyes, one blue and one hazel

Search my eyes and connect, so I think

With deep concentration she watches

Then pokes mine before I can blink

 

I'm sad as I think of her deafness

She'll never know to come when I call

Yet now as I cry in my grief-ness

She appears, loving kindness and all

 

Her playfulness-goofiness delight me

It's so good to laugh out loud

Her softness and tinyness quiet me

She's Maitri, loving kindness avowed


Isn't that cool? That I don't have to hear my name to be my name?

There's so much more I want to share with you, but Nettie really wants to get to bed. So I'll wrap it up with two calls to action for all humans who are reading this:

Come follow me on Instagram @maitri_memweowr, and learn more about me and my escapades at http://www.abundanceart.com/all-about-maitri

Unconditional loving kindness to all!

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Inspired, Wired and Tired

I'm getting really excited now. With Thanksgiving barely behind, it's time to embark on a whole new adventure. In my faith tradition (Roman Catholicism), today marks the start of the Advent season (advent… adventure… hmmm), where we are encouraged to slow down in our hearts, wait, reflect, anticipate, and prepare.

A challenge, considering this to be a season traditionally very busy with shopping, get-togethers, decorating, etc etc etc.

Are you slowing down and/or preparing for anything unique in your life? The birth of a new baby? Recovery from surgery? What are you reflecting on these days? Anything special you're anticipating in addition to the holiday season?

Can you carve some space into your busy schedule to just be?

Here's how life is falling into place for me right now.

Inspired:

I've been collaborating with a graphic designer on an additional website in which I am showcasing my photography. Specifically mandalas, and starting off, specifically the most exquisite mandala for me, the chandelier. I'm feeling especially inspired right now because these aren't your ordinary reproductions. We're using a technology that essentially infuses the image on a metal background, creating a stunning result that brings out the metallic colors, light and splendor of each chandelier. The metal image is then mounted on a sturdy wood frame, ready to hang. And the smaller size (12x12) is ideal for mixing and matching:

 

We're looking at launching the website in the near future and you'll be the first to know.

Wired:

In the meantime, I feel very honored to have been accepted to have my own little corner in an online store, which launches tomorrow, Cyber Monday. I'll post the URL once it's officially open.

I'm offering the same chandelier products in this store as on my new website. And here's the really cool bit. The metal print chandeliers are being sold across both sites as a special limited edition collection. I'm offering two sizes, 12x12 (a total of 200 prints) and 24x24 (a total of 125 prints). Each one numbered and signed by me. When they're all sold, that's it.

Of course, I'll be adding other special limited edition collections, so there's always something to purchase. Just not that glorious Bolshoi Theatre as a metal print. (You'll still be able to order it on Abundance Art as an enhanced matte giclee print.)

Tired:

When I'm so inspired, I get wired, and therefore so excited and focused that sometimes I forget to eat or exercise or go to sleep at a decent hour.  I confess that I don't always listen to my body's wisdom.

Now is a good time for me to heed my advent intention to slow down in my heart and take a bit of time to wait, reflect, anticipate.

And how about you? Can now be a good time to slow down and enjoy my chandelier collection with a cup of tea or glass of wine? And anticipate coming back in the next few days to purchase limited edition metal prints. I'll keep you posted!

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The Marvelous Mysterious Mandala

 Sea, Wishfulness, by Annette Hadley, 2010

Sea, Wishfulness, by Annette Hadley, 2010

Back in summer of 2010, I was introduced to the mandala during a trauma recovery therapy session. It started as simply as this gentle prompt from my therapist as she gave me paper and pastel chalk: "Draw a circle. Now fill it in." We did some additional work around what I drew, and now, 100 mandalas later, my love and appreciation for them has deepened immensely.

From my own hand drawn ones to all other forms.

Woah! Let's back up. What's a mandala you ask?

It's just a circle. And so much more. Because the circle itself is so rich in meaning, considered among different cultures and faith traditions a symbol that:

  • Is universal, sacred and divine
  • Signifies family ties, closeness & protection
  • Represents the infinite nature of energy, of the notions of totality, wholeness, original perfection, the infinite, eternity, timelessness.

And finally, a perfect circle is symbolic of something that is whole, complete, ideal and eternal; a circle has no ending and no beginning.

I just love that! What do you think about it? Let's take it a step further into its place as a mandala.

If you ask Wikipedia, here's what you get: A mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, lit, circle) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Indian religions, representing the universe. And I would add that the mandala/circle that represents the universe just happens to manifest itself in countless forms throughout our own little mandala/sphere called earth.

It is those manifestations I've fallen in love with, that I am drawn to like a moth to light. Mandalas are found in nature and architecture, natural creations and drawn designs, coloring books and specialty books. They may be round or create a round pattern. They may be spheres. They are created from repurposed broken bits of glass and other bits and bobs. They form on the floor when I'm sweeping up a broken Pyrex measuring cup, They show up as a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. 

 Pyrex Breaks 

Pyrex Breaks 

 Costa Rica Plant

Costa Rica Plant

 Summer in a Glass 

Summer in a Glass 

I zero in on them wherever I go.

Why does this matter? How does this happen? Because I have the mandala appreciation gene, of course! Those blessed with eyes to see experience a deeper awareness of the endless beauty of creation, the marvelous handiwork of craftsman, and the reminder of an eternal universal connection.

It's like there's a bit of software in my brain that registers the shape "circle" and I immediately experience a sense of one or more of the following:

Costa Rica mandala spheres.png
  • Path
  • Calm
  • Peace
  • Beauty
  • Eternity
  • Mystery
  • Curiosity
  • Symmetry
  • Wholeness
  • Nourishment
  • Completeness
  • Playfulness (who doesn't love to play ball?

I want to linger and soak it up. My brain circle software reminds me: 

  • Oh, my! Get a photo of that!

And so I do.

Here are some mandala photos from my most recent travel to London, Nice, and Monaco.

 From left: Monaco Mystery, Hilton Paddington Lamp, Nice Stonemasonry, London Chandelier

From left: Monaco Mystery, Hilton Paddington Lamp, Nice Stonemasonry, London Chandelier

My favorite mandala manifestation right now is the chandelier. Along with the power of the circle, in comes the power of light and all that it represents: power, beauty, illumination, possibilities. Abstract? Perhaps. Perfection? Definitely. I'm like a kid in a candy store when I find chandeliers to photograph. And they're so perfect because they offer a variety difference of perspectives, often mandalas within mandalas. 

Having introduced the chandelier as mandala, I invite you to my online store where you can purchase prints of my first collection, all photos taken in Russia in 2015.

Spasibo (thanks)!

So look around you. And up. And down. Repeat. Discover the marvelous mysterious mandala.

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Namaste, Namaskar, Namaskaram

Do you have a favorite word?

I do. It's Namaste. You may or may not have heard of it. You may use it regularly.

Also, did you know that this traditional Hindu greeting actually is one of several forms of the same word, all rooted in Sanskrit? Now, I once heard or read that Sanskrit is a dead language, meaning not in use today. I promise you that is NOT the case.

Sanskrit is alive and well and filled with depth and beauty.

Let's start with Namaste: In Sanskrit the words namah + te = namaste which means “I bow to you - my greetings, salutations or prostration to you." It's a sign of respect practiced by Hindus and people of many other religions. In fact, its simple gesture is the same as what I was taught- to fold my hands together, palms facing each other at the level of the chest - in prayer as a child during my Catholic upbringing. I love how I use it now in my ecumenical and Catholic practices. And in my encounters with Hindus.

A true Namaste greeting also includes a slight bow of the head, to convey respect for the intention behind the word, and to the person being greeted… or being said good bye to. Because it's one of those hello and good-bye multi purpose words.

I first learned Namaste here in the Midwest USA. Awkward at first, the more I've learned about it, the more I've grown quite comfortable, offering it freely and with deep intention and love from my heart and soul.

As I understand, Namaste possesses several levels of meaning:

  • "I bow to you, I salute you." The literal translation above.

  • "May our minds meet." More like a prayer, the bowing down of the head at this level is a gracious form of extending friendship in love, respect, and humility.

  • "I honor the divine in you." This recognizes the belief that God is present in all forms of life, human and otherwise, and conveys the deepest spirituality.

So what about the other versions? Not having any scholastic knowledge behind me, I will simply share what I have learned from my friends and encounters with many others.

  • The further north in India you are (or the person with whom you are speaking is from), Namaste is the commonly used word. This is what we spoke in Delhi and further north in the Himalayan Hill Mountains. This also applied in Nepal. Oh, Nepal! The children! This is a MUST SEE video.

  • As you travel south in India, Namaskar becomes more common.

  • In southernmost India, Namaskaram is more common, and there are other versions. 

I'm not sure if the differences are because Hindi is more common in the north and Tamil in the south.

What do you think? What kind of experiences have you had with these greetings?

On a respectful side note, while living in the Middle East, I learned from an Indian Muslim gentleman that just because he was Indian did not mean that Namaste was an acceptable greeting for him. He went on to explain that because Islam's core belief is "There is one God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet" it would be inappropriate to acknowledge that God is in another person. He was quite passionate about this, and I found myself wondering how other Muslims feel.

At any rate, I began to recognize names as being either Muslim or Hindu, and adapted my greeting accordingly, offering As-salam alaykum, meaning "Peace be upon you" to Muslims, and the appropriate version of Namaste to Hindus.

Yesterday as I was paying for a soda in a convenience store, I could tell the cashier was from Nepal or India, so I asked him. Learning he was from southern India and not yet knowing his name, I took a chance and offered Namaskar! Oh, how his smile lit up his eyes, his whole face, as he brought his hands together and replied with a heartfelt Namaskar!

What a small world it is.

Wouldn't it be incredible if all people greeted and really treated each other with such words and intention of love and respect?

Namaste, Namaskar, Namaskaram.

Introducing Maitri

Hello world!

Today I introduce you to Maitri. She's my exotically beautiful white cat with a lingering hint of blue in one eye, the other golden. I call her my Zen kitty; in fact, in Sanskrit, her name means unconditional loving kindness, and that really fits her. Calm, curious, friendly, patient, mellow (mostly), very much living in the moment. Intentional and determined, with a plush coat of fur made for petting… when she's in the mood. People not particularly fond of cats like her. People fond of cats love her. She has just now started purring at the age of three… what a pleasant discovery!

That said, she's deaf, and often her primitive ancestry takes over her inner quiet with a full range of roaring meows and antics that entertain and sometimes startle, especially in the night. She makes me laugh out loud. Every day.

I adopted her one week after I adopted Lucy, my young black and white beauty. This was in Doha, Qatar, 2012. I had Lucy at the vet for her one week post adoption check up, and I stood near a cage housing kittens for adoption. All of a sudden the door latch came undone, and this adorable white kitten started falling out. Quickly catching her, I looked into her one blue eye and one hazel eye, fell instantly in love,  and said "Oh, you're coming home with me, and your name is Maitri."

Maitri baby kitty.png

Within a few days, I suspected she was deaf, something the vet would confirm at the next visit. As I reflected my disappointment out loud that she would never hear me call her name, the vet's tongue in cheek comment "Oh she'll be able to read lips" cheered me a bit. Still, my sense of loss lingered, so I decided to journal it, and this is what emerged:

I adopted a kitty - named Maitri,

A sweet little white ball of fur.

Unconditional loving kindness

Is what I had in mind for her.

Her eyes, one blue and one hazel

Search my eyes and connect, so I think.

With deep concentration she watches,

Then pokes mine before I can blink.

I'm sad as I think of her deafness…

She'll never know to come when I call.

Yet now as I cry in my grief-ness

She appears, loving kindness and all.

Her playfulness, goofiness delight me;

It's so good to laugh out loud.

Her softness and tiny-ness quiet me;

She's Maitri, loving kindness avowed.

Now, back in Kansas City, we share our home with Kiki, a sleek black indoor/outdoor kitty, who came to live with us in spring of 2014. Because Maitri is deaf, it's not safe for her to be out and about on her own. But she clearly communicates her desire to do so by standing at the door and offering anything from persistent plaintive mews to proclaiming her loud ME-OUTs. Our compromise?  Harness and leash. A longer leash for the backyard, a shorter one for our walks. Yes. For our walks. It's really quite fascinating to watch her explore her world, remembering that she cannot hear the birds, or the kids playing, or (yikes!) the cars. She and Kiki have made names for themselves in the neighborhood, and I'm known as the lady who walks her cats: Maitri on a leash, Kiki walking beside… or behind… or in front… or not at all. And Lucy? Inside, please and thank you.

Maitri  has the best stories to tell, and she is in the process of writing her memweowr. Seriously. OK, it's really me. Using her character as first person. But this is the only time I'll say it.

In her Maitri's Memweowr Instagram account, she tells tales of her life and that of her human and catpanions. She teaches mindfulness and stillness, provides insightful observations, writes poems, and is featured, along with Lucy and Kiki in short videos. Her following is growing, which is cool, because she wants to spread her unconditional loving kindness - and her quirkiness - all over the world.

Every Instagram post is also shared to her Facebook Fan Club page, and she's got YouTube on her mind for the future. She just needs to figure out the best way to get there and stay there. She might decide to ask another human for help. 

Maitri Facebook.png

Oh, and another thing: mosaics. Maitri Mosaics. This kitty has a tendency to knock things over for fun. In my undecorated Doha flat I gave her, among other toys, a bowl and plastic balls to play with and we brought those back to KC. So, I didn't think twice when unpacking decorative items from my year-away storage.

Her curiosity and resourcefulness stunned me.

I learned the hard way, too late to save the Moroccan vase and the Norwegian glass plate featuring a beautiful abstract of green and red Aurora Borealis against a sky of cobalt blue (my 50th birthday present being a trip to see the northern  lights in person - and I did!). Plus some other pieces here and there. Finally I discovered Quakehold, museum putty designed to protect fine furnishings against the rumblings of earthquakes. Or in my case, cat-quakes. If you come to my home, you will see globs of the stuff securing photo frames, candle holders, knick knacks, and anything else Maitri-worthy. Including the mosaic plate I made out of the pieces of my Norwegian plate. There are more Maitri Mosaics to come, as I've kept the bits and pieces along the way. Plus I dropped a dish one day... 

Maitri Mosaic.jpg

So. That's Maitri, unconditional loving kindness. And quirkiness and fun. But don't take my word for it. She likes you already and invites you to like her back, and follow her life journey and reflections on Instagram or Facebook. No obligation, of course, because her love and kindness are unconditional.

Is she cool or what?

Me-out

Maitri/Annette

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