I’ve always needed depth and purpose to give my life meaning, and to help me navigate a world that seems so endlessly crazy and confusing.
In my teen years, the church of my upbringing provided this. Then during my 20s, in spite of my absence of belief, I used my role of minister’s wife to inspire my own life and the lives of others. In my 30s I explored alternative communities and lifestyles, and found meaning through social activism. In my 40s I spent many years living nomadically and un-partnered, surrendering many attachments and comforts in the pursuit of a deeper connection to myself and the world.
Last year, a few weeks after my 50th birthday and a few months before his 30th, my son Jonathan and I spent time together – just the two of us – for the first time since he was three. Our winding life paths brought us to a similar place at the same time, and we found we were both ready for a new calling. We began to see that we had a common goal – to offer ourselves and the world an alternative to the deeply flawed and insidiously pervasive “American Dream.” As we each became more clear within ourselves, we found that our inner clarity was strengthened and crystallized working in partnership with each other. When we focused on our personal visions, together, a common vision became more and more conceivable and doable.
We’ve coined this common vision “maitri-ism,” taking the word maitri (loving-kindness) from Buddhism, pronouncing it differently and giving it a new life. We expect it will take a few more decades to uncover the extent of what all of this means to us, but we’re content for now in simply embarking on the journey.