Slaying Dragons with Toothpicks

Remember back in the late eighties when baby Jessica fell down the well… and a massive search and rescue party spent days or maybe even weeks trying to get her out?  (Yes, I came from one of those mainstream households where the sun rose and set by the light of the television profusely spewing news, and we were all (pathetically) “abreast” of what THEY prescribed we should be…. Talk about a past life within a life.)  Anyway, I was just jogging through the woods (for the third time in the two years Serena has been with me), and I realized that I too, have lost my Best Friend down a cruel, dark well.  Except nobody sent a search and rescue party for my darling, linguistically portrayed dimension of Athena Grace.  Frown.

October first was the date I posted my last blog entry in here Athena Graceland.  Today is December first.  For all you math retards out there, that’s TWO WHOPPING MONTHS.  Ask me if that’s “OK”… Ummm, nope.  It’s really not.  In a way, this free-wheeling, journal-esque blog seems frivolous.  But peel back the cheap plastic wrap of seeming, and you’ll see that I am here making love to myself.  I am here realizing my Existence.  Befriending myself in a way that is healing and even essential.

This morning, Serena is with her beloved, stand-in-grandma-friend for two massive/fleeting hours…. and it’s a rare and hella sacred interlude, where I do not have to be a survival driven hussla, shackled to making a dirty buck.  Two holy hours.  And a gentle, humming desperation as I deliberated on how to spend them.  But I’ll tell you ONE thing– there’s nothing like being the single mom of a two year old to spur a bitch to master time management!  So I opted to jog through the cool, marmalade sunlit forest, and then, yerba mate in hand, slowly explode on this ecstatically empty page.  Although now, it is ecstatically filling with gorgeous fluidity and understated pleasure.

Actually, this is the happiest mOMent of my life.  And just for the record, I WAS gonna write my “article”… for Rebel Priestess Magazine…. about alternative parenting.  It will be about my journey as a single mama.  Entitled, “From Victim to Victory”… I will brazenly share about how goddamn seductive it is to feign victimhood as a single mom… It’s like this dumb card that I get to ostentatiously wave around at the world… so that the masses will take pity on me for all that I have to do by my poor, withered and wasted self.  A masturbatory stigma…. that somehow makes me feel…. like somebody, I guess.

But then…. all I have to do is flip a switch in my mind…. turn on a little “mood lighting” inside my psychedelically persuaded perceptions…. And suddenly my identity flips on her brilliant head.  Like the hottest magic, I am empowered, abundant, triumphant, resourced.  The truth is, without Serena, I would be aimlessly wandering the slums of Graceland.  And with a man up in the mix, I would be dependent and disempowered, perpetually choking myself on the short, cruel leash, as I devoured rotten scraps from his fat, sweaty palm. (C’mon, just let me indulge in superlative drama!!!  This is MY DAY.)   The journey into single motherhood has demanded that I dig fuckin DEEP and claim my power in a way I never would have, had I had a partner holding my helpless little hand.  That’s not to say I don’t want a partner.  I do.  And I will have one.  Serena’s dad.  He’s *finally* separating from his wife.  For real.  We will be together in a year.  But I need(ed) this initiation before I was ready to board the Partner-Ship and cruise the cosmos, family style.  Because of this rigorous initiation, I will do it from true sovereignty.  Not from need.  Not from ancestrally informed autopilot.  I am nobody’s bitch, Bitches!!!!!

Whoa.  I didn’t know I was gonna write all that.  What I was intending to say, is that I was planning to invest my few, fleeting moments of Me Time writing said article.  For which I’d feel so damn important.  Like, “Look at me!  I’m sooo cool… I know what the hell I’m talking about and I write ARTICLES.”  The notion of being “Important” makes me salivate, honestly.  And it cracks me up at the same time.  But as I was jogging through the forest, breathing heavy and carving through forsaken layers of my own mostly delicious thoughts, I realized that blogging is how I befriend myself.  And at once, I knew that this was way more crucial than being “Important”.  At least for today…

Day after day, as I pour my whole self into raising Serena alone, I feel mostly crushed by the excruciating weight of my dreams.  Yes, people, FINALLY, at the age of thirty seven and eleven months, my Dharma, my Destiny, my Dreams are coming into crisp, lucid focus!  But the irony, is that I could contain the amount of spare time I have in a crystal thimble!  Every day, I aim to move forward and get my women’s circles way the fuck OUT into the world– clarify my Vision statement, work on my website, write relevant articles and blog posts….  But mostly I FAIL!!!!!!  Mostly my life revolves around an artistic weave of bacon scavenging and meeting Serena’s gorgeous needs, which I should NOT be whining about.  She is a fountain of joy-full, creative, awe-struck, unfiltered Existence!!!!  But sans adequate self-care (a concept I once upon a time took frivolous delight in snubbing and snarking at….),  I find myself all too often, a depleted pile of anxiety, anger and sprawling frustration.

I mean it would seem “logical” that maaaaybe if I can’t even do an uninterrupted half-a-blessed-hour of yoga, take a hot bath or WRITE A FRIGGIN BLOG, that it might be INSANE to believe that I can take over the world and generate a prolific culture of empowered, deliciously embodied women leaders who stand up together in authenticity, vulnerability, unleashed and spiritually aligned Desire…. and collectively call forth a fucking fabulous, harmonious, peaceful, turned-ON, co-creative world.   Yeah.   Mostly it feels like trying to slay a dragon with a toothpick.  Dumb, right?  WRONG.  Because I’m gonna slay the flame-breathing beast.  I am.  And then I’ll stand atop the mountain, gloriously penetrating the heavens with my blood-stained toothpick…. and rightfully feeling like a badass Master of the Yoniverse.

And then I’ll take a decadent bow, and keep right on dreaming and doing in the name of LOVE.

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Romance dawns in Graceland!

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It’s four forty one am.  The refrigerator is singing a resounding rendition of the sacred syllable OM, and my nervous system feels like a potato chip.  (Not the thick, ridged, crinkle cut ones… the thin, irregular, bubbly ones that are translucent with grease.)  I am a refugee, mud-streaked, bleeding and disheveled, stealthily fighting my way back into the honey-dripping throes of Graceland.  I was stollen away and locked in a solitary tower, without my faithful laptop, or even a toilet paper roll, ink and a feather to write my Life into honest, lucid, artistic existence.

Actually, I fell in…. Love?  Lust?  Or have I risen into the aforementioned dynamic duo of L words?  I’d like to think I have risen.  But being so perpetually sleep deprived, unfortunately, it feels more like a fall to the gritty, indifferent ground.  Ohhhhh YES!!!… I am loving being dramatic right now.  But I felt a pang of sadness, talking about the ground that way…. because the ground is Mother Earth’s own sumptuous* body, and she is anything but indifferent.  Indifference is not in any healthy mother’s instinctual palate.

*I just looked up the word “sumptuous”, because I wasn’t certain of it’s precise meaning… and I was surprised to discover that it implies expensiveness!  “Expensive” is not how I would describe this marvelous place we are blessed to call hOMe for now… But I still like the word… Sumptuous.  The sound, the feeling of my mouth and breath forming the word– Feminine.  Round.  Sensual.  Mrs. Earth is definitely all that.

Are you still with me?  Or are you like, “Athena, stop masturbatorily pontificating, and TELL US who in God’s hella holy name you have risen/fallen into this wild and unruly state with!!!”

Yeah, you’re right.  Life is but a flash in the pan, and I really oughta roll up my sleeves and get to it!  But wait!!!  May I please share something frivolous with you first?!  When I wrote the word “oughta” just now, I had a flashback to my hella glamorous childhood… Back in the tragically dull, concrete-heavy, gridded neighborhood in San Leandro.  I must have been a budding pubescent, with a few dwindling, tenuous shreds of innocence still in tact.  My mom drove the fuck out of a silver Dodge Caravan minivan.  Stick shift.  (Actually, I learned to drive on this beast.  The clutch was a total bitch, and the car had a proclivity for lurching forward at the slightest mishandling…)  My Ma had a job delivering phone books!  All the fuck over the vast expanse of the East Bay.  I mean, seriously, sometimes she’d have to drive more than an hour, with said van weighted with phonebooks to get to her route du jour.  Rush Limbaugh was her abiding co-pilot.  Even though I didn’t share her smolderingly impassioned political views, I did find him mildly amusing… Actually, I am still impressed by his marked (though misplaced) intellectual capacity, which enabled him to throw his outrageously opinionated and substantial weight around in a compelling fashion.  Ahhh the good olde days!  Are you scratching your head right about now, and wondering how in the heck I fell into this tangential cul de sac of memory lane?  Well DUH!!  Because his book was entitled, “The Way Things OUGHTA Be”….. Grin.

Ok.  Get this– his name is Giordano, and he shot like an Italian comet, straight into my DRIVEWAY.  I oft wondered how I would ever find a lover while cloistered in the thick, wooded folds of a spiritual community who collectively strives toward sexual renunciation…. Improbable, right?  Well, I flew home from Costa Rica, and this beautiful man was… just here…. My landlord imported him from Italy to….”help him” .  When Ryan introduced me to his quiet Italian buddy, the man didn’t even make eye contact, so naturally, I inadvertently dismissed any possibility of… anything.

The next day, he was loitering in the driveway, as Serena and I were heading out on some mundane mission or another.  Giordano just watched us… the way a child watches.  With passive, unadulterated curiosity.  A couple days later, Ryan told me I should invite him to the River.  This caught me off guard.  “But he didn’t even make eye contact,” I replied.  “Is he capable of connecting?  Is he just shy??”  Ryan assured me he was “just shy”.  Hmmm….

Since it was the rapidly dwindling end of River Season, I didn’t have time to dick around.  I either invited him, or forever held my peace.  So the next morning, when I saw Giordano pacing the gravel driveway, I invited him.  He said yes.

God, why do I endeavor to write my life down on the page in thousand word installments???  It just doesn’t make sense…  I’d be better off writing enchanted, sprawling epic poems that unabashedly draped about Infinity.  But here I am again… aspiring to contain my existence in a meager thousand words.  I guess I dig the challenge.  Akin to how The Lord delights in smashing His archaic prayer onto a measly grain of rice.  Besides, I can always come back for round two.  And three and four and affinity….

Well, our first date was sweet.  His english was decent enough to sort of understand each other… and sparse enough for the experience to feel like the set-up of a cheesy romance novel!  I was struck by his sweet sensitivity.  And his innate proclivity to connect with Serena.  He seemed a little embarrassed when he stripped down to his black, cotton briefs, confessing that he didn’t have more appropriate swimwear.  We laid on a flat, smooth slab of granite and marinated in gentle, delicious, autumnally slanted morning sunlight.  I tried to speak slowly, and with simple, latin based words that might transcend the language barrier.

During the following week, I felt a soft, potent longing to see him… but we were both consumed by work and Life.  He did timidly hover around my front gate a few times… Each time I eagerly sucked him into my music and sunlight drenched lair.  It was comical… the way he loitered awkwardly as I cooked and tended to the masterfully flirtatious Serena.  Our mutual desire was obvious… yet neither of us sure what to do or say.  Is that like SO romance novel, or what?!  One time, as he was preparing to leave, I got super bold and asked, “Would you like a hug?”  I forgot to mention that he flies back to Italy on November 3rd… so we really don’t have time to dick around.  It’s a classic case of shit or get off the pot.  Anyway, naturally his answer was YES.  We moved into an embrace…. And…..

OhMyFuckingGod.  Talk about clothes-on-energy-sex….. Luminous, gushing rivers flowing between us, birthing entire new ecstatically persuaded galaxies.  Neither of us wanted to let go.  Just melt and bleed into differentiated unity and bliss.  Then he departed.

But he left trail of reverberating, energizing lust that fueled me for days.  Jesus. The next weekend, I invited him back to the River.  This time to a nude beach.  I was tickled that he opted to keep his underwear on, regardless!  Not Athena Grace.   Lordy, this story’s end is nowhere in sight… yet I must draw this entry to a close.  More to come.  Literally.  I’ll just say that we had a beauty-full time together that day amidst the sunlight, clear, rushing water, smooth stones and earthen, perfumed air.  Serena loved him from the get-go.  And he, Serena.  Which naturally gets me hot.  If this was not the case, I don’t even think I would bother.

What I am bursting to unpack next, beyond the linear sequence of our hella romantic unfolding… is the deeper cut.  Witnessing the cacophonous choir of selves within me… how they all seem to have disparate motivations and longings… and how I am navigating these deep and murky and compelling waters.  And what about Ed?  So much more to tell!!!

Talk to you soon.

Sacred Agitation by Moonlight

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For how many revolutions of our dream team of heavenly bodies can one speak to the first haunting whispers of autumn creeping in through my wide-splayed windows while I sleep at night…. or the ever-evocative, luminous, pale-gold ball, swan diving in slomo toward the silhouetted, pre-dawn horizon?  It’s all been said.  Still, it always begs saying.

Autumn’s arrival always draws melancholy to the surface of my heart.  Bidding farewell to my life-long besties, Heat and Light.  So scarce now, are remaining liberated nights of naked, sensuous, blanket-less slumber, or waking to perfectly warm mornings of outdoor, scantily clad yoga practice.  Time to pump up the volume on my anxiety as to how the fuck I will manifest two chords of firewood to heat my hOMe all winter.  Yes, I know anxiety is not the be-all, end-all… but it seems to be an inevitable facet of my wiring…. and I no longer have a mama to tell me to take a chill pill.  Well… maybe she’s calling out to me from the Astral Plane…. I shall pause and listen, because I need a copious dose of her laid-back Libran medicine right about now.  And Ma… since you have boldly proclaimed yourself my Guardian Angel at this stage of the Journey, PLEASE bring me two chords of firewood.  And a tall, quenching, golden challise of Holy Water, with which to swallow said “chill pill”.

I only wrote one lone blog while traveling in Costa Rica last month…. And rather than being a poetic celebration of Mother Nature’s verdant, tropical resplendence, or the gentle ecstasy of marinating in spanish… it was about my daughter’s constipation odyssey, and the devastating havoc it wreaked on my psycho-emotional wellbeing.  What can I say….?  It was a soul-stretching and rigorous month of losing control, coming undone and too much practice holding my own deeply sensitive inner child.  Laced with many beautiful and ordinary moments of this under-cover-divine business of Life-Living.  One of the greatest gifts was my swollen happiness to come home.  A fresh, passionate embrace this sprawling, blessed ordinariness.  Since I’ve been home,I feel like a drunk puppy, ecstatically writhing in a dusty heap of opulent, mundane quietude.

I just looked up the word “mundane”, wondering if it was actually a Cinderella’s glass slipper-fit to what I was aiming to communicate:

adjective

1.

common; ordinary; banal; unimaginative.

2.

of or relating to this world or earth as contrasted with heaven;worldly; earthly:

mundane affairs.

I love the word mundane… It always tickles me, because it possesses a trace of fib.  Here in Athena Graceland, even the most eyeball-gouging ordinariness is laced with Heavenly Sparkle.  It is inescapable.

Like last night, for example.  Some might even classify it a “peak experience”….. Seriously.  I’m takin’ it to the grave.  Well, except I don’t feel the need to be embalmed, boxed and buried…. But I digress.  Darkness was quietly engulfing all the secret, overlooked, in-between spaces, as I gave Serena her final hit of “booba” for the night.  Satiated, she pulled off and began to wander the small expanse of my double bed.  It was getting late, so I offered her the requisite ultimatum, “Booby or bed,” to which she replied “Big Bear,” as she crawled between my legs and snuggled up next to the big, white bear who stowed away with KenPie while he was shopping for rugs for us at IKEA, once upon a time.  At first, I was frustrated, because I was exhausted and wished she would cooperate, so that I could brush and floss and flop into bed myself….

But Serena was so…. serene…. laying between my legs, delightfully snuggled up with Big Bear.  And then, she took hold of my index finger with her tiny, tender hand!  And just held on to me…. looking so peaceful and content.  The windows were wide open, and the air flowing in was extra thick and heavenly.  It carried the scent of dirt, sweet pine, (and a hint of fresh, impending death) as it had just rained a little.  I fought the urge to destroy the perfection of the moment by putting her in bed, reminding myself that it would all end soon enough… My tiny daughter would be a grown woman with her own compelling, urgent and unknowable Life.  Instead, I breathed, allowing my body to slowly melt in relaxation. In this deepened state of presence, I became aware of the sensations in my heart.  I marveled at the intricacies therein!  Seriously people… if my heart were a bottle of red wine, it would’ve been wicked expensive.  I felt notes of pure content and whispering joy… mingling with deep, raw ache for the irreparable break with Serena’s father… laced with heavy notes of grief as my heart bled for the still fresh and jarring absence of my own Mama.  It all felt so right and natural and harmonious, swirling about in my lucid heart space.  Each note so crisp, clear, distinctive.  Seemingly disparate… and yet… simultaneous and whole.  Dusk’s poetic depth settling on Serena’s little, peaceful face.

I continued to sit in this psychedelic puddle of grace-strewn Existence until Serena was well asleep.  Even though I was spent, I felt profoundly wealthy and full.  Then I scooped her up and laid her with sublime care into her pack n play bed, at the foot of my own.  I had the best night’s sleep I have had in too long to mention.

And now, I am here in this freshly autumnal, audacious-moon-lit darkness… feeling torn apart, churning, burning.  On one hand, I am flush with this very compelling strain of content.  But also a hissing whisper of desperation to BECOME.  To make more of my life.  I feel this Immensity… fiercely longing to be fully alive, engaged, expressed through me.  I want my fabulous gift with words to lift the minds and hearts of the masses and generate wealth for me and my daughter.  I want to be a bold, courageous and inspiring leader, inviting wild and wise women to rise up together and return this world to sacred balance.  I want to inhabit the lavish reality of having more than enough money, and the freedom this provides, to make choices from desire, vision and inspiration.

Sitting.  Breathing.  Feeling.  This sacred agitation.  As Light quietly floods the world.  Again.

Poo-poo.

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By now I’m sure you know this… but I’m gonna tell you anyway.  In the beginning, there was the Word.  And the word was “poo-poo”.  If I had a golden Sacagawea dollar for every time I’ve coaxingly uttered those sacred syllables over the recent days….

I feel an urgency-gone-desperation to spew these words out before Serena wakes up, because lately I have had less than nothing for myself, due to her amplified demands on me, combined with the absence of community support.  My Cosmic Dad whisked us away to Costa Rica for the month of August… and everything is foreign and new and unpredictable.  Which basically means that she has taken up permanent residence on my boob.  Yes, I’m exaggerating.  Because I want to convey my feeeeeelings, which primarily consist of overwhelm, isolation, irritation, frustration and even some ferocious, white-hot rage… to name a few.

Actually, (and thank GOD),  those crucifying textures of my current inner-life have been broken up by sporadic expanses of peace, contentment, awe, fascination and other such palatable flavors.   I remember when I used to frequent Chucky Cheese’s as a kid… (In retrospect, what a creepy place!)  I remember this little crawl space under the stage where Mr. Cheese and his robotic band of freaky animals performed their “live show”… Inside was a button you could press, which would set off a strobe light.  I was rapt by the magic of this intense pulsation of light– the way it freeze-framed physical movements into rapid, flip-book successions.  This is how life has felt on our travel odyssey.  Extreme, pulsating vacillations between light and dark.

And now back to poo-poo.  Since we landed nine days ago, Serena has been a continuous, willful refusal to let it go.  With the help of gritty, watermelon flavored chewable kid’s laxatives, she pooped once, early on…. And then held on for six, anxiety-laden days.  Encouraging her bowels to move has become my neurotic raison d’être.  I gave her prunes, magnesium, probiotics… with no success… so I graduated to more saline laxative.  Getting her to eat them was the battle of the century.  Which I initially lost.  (She is cultivating a gorgeous will, at nearly twenty-one months earth side.)  But I made a triumphant KO in the second round, when I crushed them up and mixed them with watery orange juice.

God, sometimes I hate moving stories forward.  It can feel so restrictive.  Like, I have been living through copious amounts of miraculous, jagged experience that I long to share with you.  I wish I could write like one of those snakes that unhinges it’s jaw in order to swallow it’s massive prey.  I would unhinge my mind and my fingertips would explode with unobstructed, simultaneous worlds of imagery and feelings that at once harmonized and clashed in a highly compelling fashion, which transformed your consciousness in such a way that it trumped visions of a renowned Holy Virgin.

I’m not quite sure how to do that… so I’ll just keep plugging away at my story with as much honesty and creativity as I can muster.   But if my world WAS spilling simultaneously into your mind, you would see an impressive gaggle of young, hottie surfers (men and women) behind me, speaking myriad languages, waxing their boards with notable focus and a dash of passion.  It’s six fifteen am.  Oh, they just set out for the beach, which is a modest block down the gravel road from our “home” for a whopping ten days, “Casa Zen”.  I can hear Her mighty, crashing roar from my station on the patio downstairs.

Serena has never gone so long without pooping.  Oh, I guess I got derailed before I finished recounting the laundry list of laxatives and suppositories I imposed upon my poor little goddess.  Well, let’s just say it was a “butt load”.  Literally. (the list includes two rounds of glycerine suppositories).  Meanwhile, she refused to sit on the potty at all.  She’d stiffen and yell and put up an impressive fight.  Which of course stirred and stoked the hell fires inside me to unbearable degrees.

Do I have to do a play by play of this bone-crushing saga?

What I want you to know, is that I have felt extremely isolated on this trip… Riding a continuum of Unknown has increased Serena’s demands on me.  And here I am, attempting to hold MYSELF as I navigate the deep waters of losing *the illusion* of control… while constantly being required to hold Serena… through the intensity of crumbling nap schedules and bedtimes, restaurant food that doesn’t appeal to her, pooplessness… to name a few.  I have had too many moments where I want to hurt myself, in response to the excruciating internal pressure.  I keep asking myself why the fuck I was called to this journey to Costa Rica.  The truth is, it was a very clear calling.  The compass of my heart read an unmistakable YES when I tuned in.  Hence, I know I am straight-up dirty dancing with my Destiny.  I just don’t get it.  I thought Destiny was supposed to be laden with glitter and falling balloons and jet streams of happily-ever-after euphoria.

So yesterday, awash with mild jewish neurosis, I opted to take Serena to a clinic down the road, in hopes they’d be able to coax the poop out of her.  The hella young, moderately handsome medic consulted his iPhone, listened to her heartbeat, took her pulse and stuck his white, latex-gloved, pinky finger up her butt to see if there was any obstruction.  Nope.  She was a heart-crushingly willing patient.  I held her and chanted Ganesha’s mantra close to her ear as he performed the invasive procedure.  I shattered when she feebly repeated it, “Om gam ganapatayai namaha”.  OMG.  I love her.

Then, to my disgust, Doctor Boy gave her a watermelon lollipop.  I didn’t know what the fuck to do.  She’s twenty months old for god’s sake.  That’s the last thing she needs, is to curdle her blood chemistry and rot out her teeth.  I let her hold it.  She didn’t know what to make of it, thank God.  (Later, after she’d had as much innocent amusement as one possibly can have with a colorful, crinkly, plastic-adorned ball on a stick, I covertly tossed it in the trash.)  Doctor Boy said I should nurse her less and give her more fruits and watery, fibrous foods, including jars of Gerber mush.  Ummm yeah… no thanks Dude.  I cried out of helplessness and guilt that Ken had to pay fifty bucks for that nonsense.  Serena kissed my heart.

And now for the ending that indeed reads like a sweet, red cherry.

Yesterday, on our late afternoon wander (to a bookstore, where a book on how to create a compelling, widely read and lucrative blog leapt off the shelf a tackled me, insisting to be mine), when the outrageous thunder, lightening and deluge struck.  We ducked into a charming burger shack and ate a delicious meal, after which Serena began to fuss.  I had a sense that she needed to poop.  She hadn’t peed for hours either.  So I took her to a gravel area at the edge of the restaurant, and encouraged her to squat and pee.  She resisted, but finally succumbed, and proceeded to produce a soft-serve pile of poop… which she sat in and smeared all over her little butt.  This horrified her.  She cried and writhed and got it all over her dress.  I did my best to remain cucumber calm, totally approving and celebratory, as I undressed her, placed her poopy dress in a wad on the wet gravel and procured a clump of wet paper towels to clean her off.  Then, with more paper towels, I picked up the warm, stinky pile of poop and chucked it in some jungly underbrush nearby.

Ken scrambled to pay the check and we made our way back to our room, me carrying naked, stinky Serena on my back, and holding her poopified dress between my thumb and forefinger.

And now for the all-too-obvious and corny punchline:

The story is just as Genesis doth spake…. In the beginning there was the Word.  And the Word was “poo-poo”…………..(insert the creation of the World here)………… And on the sixth day—-

She pooped.

EPILOGUE:

So I successfully banged out the first draft of this blog while she slept this morning.  (A measurable accomplishment which flushed me with grounded euphoria…)  When she woke, she was unusually fussy.  I felt her body shudder, as I held her close.  I asked her if she wanted to sit on the “pot-pot”, to which she slung a bold, stubborn, “NO.”  But her body disagreed.  More firm, soft-serve poop leaked out onto my tank top.  Again I endeavored to remain calm as I carried her to the bathroom and straddled the toilet with her in my arms in the poop position.  I encouraged her to drop Bunny, but she refused and he got smeared with feces.  At this point, her body was hopelessly in charge, to the dismay of her *impressive* will.  Multiverses of poop spewed from her tiny, helpless body.  In multiple rounds.  I couldn’t believe she had THAT MUCH to poop out.  HOLY SHIT indeed.  At a certain point, as I held her on the potty, I noticed her eyes were closed, and her awareness was completely internalized.  Something I’ve never witnessed.  Afterward, I could tell that she was deeply impacted by the experience.  A layer of her innocence seemed to have sloughed off.  For quite some time, she was quiet and just wanted to be held.  Talk about INTENSE.  Now, hours later, she is back to her curious, vivacious self.  And I am soooooo relieved.

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Potent Reflections by a Heavyweight Goddess

By now you must be aware that smoking pot leads to “harder stuff”… Well, it naturally follows that the same is true for head shaving.  Yes.  Later this morning, Athena-the-Saucy will have one of her precious teeth extracted.   Heck, why not lighten my load?  Anybody want a kidney?  This heart is pretty awesome too….

This is my stab at making light of something that I honestly feel pretty sucky about.  And yet, there IS truth in that letting go of my hair did serve as a useful “warm-up” for this more permanent and tragic exercise in non-attachment.  Naturally, as I type this, my mind leaps to the box of dust nestled in the carved wooden chest in the corner, formerly known as “my Ma”.  The few gaping blackheads on her cheek that used to seduce and taunt me (I wish I had’ve asked her to squeeze them!)…. The hand(s) that poured forth the most perfect handwriting ever and clutched the steering wheel of her little red Mazda Protege, as she sped around The Village…. Dust.

And here’s little Athena Grace, breaking a sweat over a single, paltry tooth.  But teeth are so meaningful.  For most of my life, I have had recurring dreams (or shall I call them “nightmares”, because I certainly wake up with a pounding heart…) of losing my adult teeth…. and now they are real.  Let’s just cut to the heart of it.  I’m afraid I will be less lovable, lacking a tooth.  Less attractive.  Less….

But perhaps this is a secret recipe for Liberation with a capital L.  Because if you possess any intelligence at all, you know those fears are exactly that.  My body parts (or lack thereof) do not determine my worth.  Deeeep breath.  I’m honestly jazzed to finally not have a pus volcano living in my mouth anymore.  (Plus, it’s on the bottom… so not quite as screaming as it would be if it was on the top.)  I gave my best effort to healing the infection naturally:  changing my diet, taking massive doses of vitamin c, taking a cocktail of the badass, fat soluble vitamin trio– A, D, K2, acupuncture and chinese herbs… But the damn tooth just wanted to come the fuck out.  And seriously, releasing my hair was a gateway.  I let it go, and I realized that I am still the same potent, regal essence of indestructible love that I always have been and always will be…. so take my fuckin tooth, bitches!!!  In your face!!!!

Just don’t take anymore, ok?…… I’m only thirty seven years old for goddess sake.  Let a woman enjoy her goddamn body parts for a while, willya???

Do you think I’d be a better writer if I didn’t allow myself to jump from topic to topic, like a strung out monkey in a bouncy house?  But if I did exercise such discipline, I wouldn’t have gotten to birth that awesome sentence….  And I think this world is already saturated with tidy, well-behaved, modestly contained essays, anyway.  I’m here with you now, so I might as well make the best use of your illustrious and intoxicating attention.

As I was *devotionally* making my coffee this morning, my mind skidded gracefully into the groove of the pervasive patriarchal paradigm…. Explicitly, how most women take on their husbands’ last name.  Often without even a question of like “why does this practice smell like dead, rotting fish?”….

Names are divinity, powerfully called into form.  Women!?!?  Why do you allow yourselves (and even aspire) to be called into form as your husband’s property?  It’s a subtle relinquishment of your sovereignty, in the name of feeling secure, chosen, loved.  Yes, I recognize that was a totally brash statement to make.  But come ON.  Let’s be done beating around the damn burning bush already!  We are queens, selling ourselves into slavery!!!!  But I suppose we are born into the chains of our fathers’ names, to begin with… so it seems like a welcome relief to flee to the initially erotic clutches of our husbands’ lineage.

It’s super fun to be so extreme and opinionated.  Liberating, even.  Being an empath, I used to try not to rub anyone too wrong…. because I took responsibility for their experience and feelings and I wanted everyone to like me.  But I’m learning to have a damn backbone.  I gave my energetically sensitive friend Chandra a mantra, recently.  It goes, “That’s YOUR shit, bitch!”  Haha, it’s totally funny BECAUSE it’s real.  But as a writer, it’s a little different.  I aim to say stuff that’s profoundly relevant to your journey…  But I know this is relevant.  I’ve gotta trust myself on this.  My deep calling is to gloriously inhabit Woman in service to ALL WOMEN and this gorgeous, generous planet, Herself.

So just think about it.  Why do you choose to become a limp rag doll who wears your man’s lineage… inadvertently abandoning your own?  And when I say, “your own”, I’m not talking about your daddy’s.  I mean your lineage as a Goddess.  A Priestess.  A magical, winged, enchantress, ever-rooted in the rhythmic, pulsing, oceanic infinity of LOVE.

I always felt burdened carrying my dad’s name.  “Horwitz”.  It never felt like the truth of me.  More like an anvil I was tethered to.  It took a goddess rooting in my womb to thrust me into the willingness to break a sweat and leap through the sprawling chain of bureaucratic hoops, and officially cut myself loose from that burdensome weight.  Now, she and I are full fledged founding mothers of the Matriarchal Society of Graceland!!!!  I feel great about that.  Like I stood for my Self.  And please spare me the arguement that my “True Self” is beyond name and form… and all that spiritually enlightened mumbo jumbo.  Like, yeah, DUH.  But I am here to inhabit this body and this world as the divine fullness that I AM.  I am here to play the Game in Love’s name, and WIN.  For the Team.  That means mastering this rigorous curriculum of career and money and relationships and all the shit that spiritually inclined types are tempted to bypass.  I’ve spent enough lives, enlightened on mountaintops.  This is the championship round.

And I own this fucker.

Yo Lord, throw down a little bitta sweet lovin’…

Thank GOD shit has lightened up over here.  OMG.  That was far from the most “knock it out of the park” opening sentence ever written, but I had to go with it, because it was honest.  I bet Hemingway is cheering me on from his scrappy, desolate log cabin above the clouds.  But yeah, after my last entry, my throngs of fans were all like “I feel your pain.”  Haha, my Ma used to say that to me occasionally, as I marinated in flames of self-inflicted, luxury vacations to hell.  She’d first say, “As Bill Clinton used to say…”  This always tickled me just right in too-serious moments.

Well thanks for feeling my pain.  I remember Matt Kahn testifying that success feels way more surreal than the struggle ever did.  That really struck me.  Deep down, I know that I will get to experience this firsthand some day.  In the mean time… what is it that I want you to feel with me today?

My longing.  Inhale.  Exhale.  My longing to be touched beautifully.  Physically, emotionally, mentally and heck let’s just toss “spiritually” into the mix, even though who the fuck knows what that actually means!  It just makes my desire sound more massive and unwieldy! (which it certainly feels from INside…)  But if we were gonna roll up our sleeves and get nitty-gritty, I’d say that “spiritually” can encompass (and transcend) all realms, dimensions and facets.  Like how at the end of the day, you can’t pick Love apart, because it’s the binding agent of the entire multiverse and Beyond.  Or as wise, old KenPie says, “The ground of all Being”.

I just paused and did this delicious stretch, which made a heavy shower of starlight drizzle through me.  I smelled my armpit along the way.  It was mild and sweet.  I am so healthy.  My armpits never stink.  But my shit does.  For whatever that’s worth.  (This was a totally superfluous paragraph, and I considered deleting it.  But I decided to leave it in… because it embarrasses me to do so.  And I figure in some strange way, that makes it valuable.  An editor would probably disagree, but eat your heart out all you tamed writers who do what your editors say, just so that you can make a buck… and feel like somebody cuz your words are immortalized in the minds of the masses…  As long as I’m an impoverished hussla, at least I get to call the shots!!!

Anyway, it’s almost comical how man-starved I am at this point!  Since my last post, Ed and I have been taking space with no communication.  Which feels sooooo niiiiice.  I’m not wasting my energy caring about the perplexing choices he’s making “over there” in his out of reach life… or breaking a sweat to get him to have deep, meaningful conversations with me.  Talk about a “luxury vacation”!  But maaaaaan…. I’m so in the mood for lovin!

I guess I have been for months now, really.  Back in the very late winter, I fell in love with the soulful young man at the local (enchanted) podunk grocery store….  I mustered the ovaries to invite him to the River… only to learn he is gay.  (I still love him!)  But I am cracking up at the slim pickins around here.  It’s totally comical.  Like, do you ever play that game where you run out of food and you try to make a bitchin, gourmet meal out of the five random, bizarre ingredients left in your fridge?  Pickles, ketchup, some dried black-eyed peas, the heal of a loaf of sprouted raisin bread and an over-ripe apricot?  Can somebody say avant garde sloppy joes?!?!

Just kidding, I would never make that.  But it perfectly illustrated my point!  And gave me a huge, satisfying bang.  Which is really why I write.  Just to ring my own bells.  Oh, my exotic choir of heavenly chimes!!!  What riveting and revelatory music they add to this world!

So yeah, there’s like three single men at Ananda… and I’m over here goin like, “what can I possibly do with these guys that would make them… palateble… or perhaps even… TASTY?

Then another part of me is clutching at the emergency break.  Because I’m scared of getting distracted and drained.  I don’t have energy to squander at this time.  It all goes to my girl, and to my burgeoning CAREER.  Yup, you heard me– when I grow up, I’m going to be hella IMPORTANT!!!!  Tee-hee.  I giggled out loud.  Because I have this fierce appetite to make something of myself.  And while it is totally real and valid and probably even inevitable, it is also hilarious… because I think most of us thirst to be “important”.  As if our worldly accomplishments will make us worthy, lovable, whole people.

But back to my comical quest for satisfying male companionship…. I’m asking myself, “do I want to divulge the intimate specifics of WHO and HOW?”  I mostly pride myself on standing naked in the floodlight…. But I’m gonna refrain at this point… because I feel shy and wimpy.  Plus, I feel like wrapping this confessional up soon, so I can get in some sumptuous yoga before mama duty broadsides and devours me….  What feels utterly relevant to report, is I’m scared that if I DID open myself to one of these impromptu, avante garde sloppy joe men, that I would probably get sucked down a love tunnel with him, because that’s my nature…. and I might lose my focus, get even less precious rest, leak my emotional energy.  Honestly, I don’t even think the Universe would allow such nonsense at this point… which is why ain’t nobody showin’ up.  Praise the Lord.

That said… another part of me burns to explore loving outside The Box… opening myself to casual, yet soulful and satisfying male companionship… Someone to occasionally entwine bodies with (clothes ON sounds like more than enough at this point) and have intimate, stimulating conversations…. and maybe when the the world I’m in gets dark and cold and hopelessly wet again (I’m sooooo not looking forward to another cruel and cloistered winter….) we can share warm, beautiful food and snuggle up and watch a movies!  Maaaaaybe even make out.  Am I capable of keeping it light?  I guess I’ve been a bit of a “serial monogamist” in my life…. more or less…. But I want to try something new.  I’m done with the codependent, self-sacrificing prison cell model of Relationship.  Hella high priestess Mary Magdalene as my witness,  I CHOOSE MYSELF.  And… still I must feed my need for touch and romance, seduction and intimacy.  I’m thinkin’ even some hot, clothes-on energy sex would totally hit the spot….

Stay tuned.

Everyone Dies. And a Funny Ending…

God, I haven’t felt the temptation to exit this earth drama for ages.  But yesterday I did.  Totally self-indulgent, I know.  No way would I leave my baby alone in this cock-eyed, drunken love circus.  But I felt like my seams were all busted and my stuffing ripped out, and no one was here to lovingly pack and patch me back together.  I felt hopeless.

I have never died like this before.  Or maybe I have… but not dared to be entirely sober and in my body?  But listen– I’m like *really* dying, while alive.  This paragraph goes out to all of you who have been there, or are here now… but have never had the words to articulate the experience.  I have watched myself kick and buck and struggle against this dissolution for a while…. rather than simply slipping in and relaxing every muscle, as though this sacred undoing were a hot, fragrant petal-laden bath.  I’ve fought to maintain a crusty, crumbling sense of who and what I have known myself to be.  For example, before surrendered to the Voice inside and cut off my hair, I desperately clutched at this husk of socially acceptable beauty, femininity, sexiness.  Finally I became too weary to fight.  I gave in to my inner impulse and became free.  Gloriously empty and true.  Now I want even more hair off.  I want it buzzed down to like a half or quarter inch.  As it is, it still feels like too much of a style, a persona, another thing to manage.  I want to simply be this exposed face.  These deep seeing eyes.  This naked heart.

Recently, I’ve been feeling waves of pain that rattle the core of my being.  Ed (Serena’s dad) is choosing to stay married to his wife.  Just because she is holding on tight.  From what he shares with me, it “seems” (though who really knows what worlds and truths lurk beneath all the gleaming seemings of life….) there is no intimacy between them, and hasn’t been for years.  I wonder if that can be restored…?  It’s not that I want to be with him in the conventional sense….  But being locked into that family constellation, consumes him, so that he is not able to show up for Serena (his daughter) or me, much at all.  And we are faaaar from welcome over there.  This situation aches my soul, deep, deep down.  Betrayal.  Abandonment.  A sprawling chain of crushing disappointments.  I often wish I’d never met Ed. (And… I love him so deep.  Sometimes it’s just hard to feel beneath the consuming pain.)  But then I look at Serena’s perfectly gorgeous face… And I can’t imagine her being made of any other cells and DNA.  She’s essential and right and exquisite.

Life is the weirdest.

Another quintessential element of my oh-so-dark mood of late, is that I have been beyond tired.  I bled with the new moon last week, and it really sapped me.  So I took a nap with Serena yesterday.  I went deep enough to have a dream flash that I saw my Ma, walking up the dusty driveway to my house!  My mind fritzed, because I was like, wait… how can this be???  This surge of confusion struck me awake.  I was crushed, because she was coming toward me, and I felt so much joy and relief to see her and then in a flash, she vanished.  I lay in bed, still exhausted, and began to quietly cry.  I know she was coming to be with me in a time of need…. I know she is so close.  Even now… but I’m damn frustrated that I can’t get still enough to experience satisfying communion with her.  But even that fleeting mOMent was gold.

Gold…

I’m feeling a deep affinity for gold these days.  I yearn to bathe and melt and merge in warm streams of golden light.  In a flash, the “still, small voice” inside informed me that I actually AM being showered in this Mighty, healing light, as I come undone.  Shazam!!!  A lightning (my Ma told schooled me on how to spell “lightning”, after I wrote a blog about the black “lightening” bolt earrings she bought me in town last summer!  Thank GOD she set me straight before she ditched me.) flash struck me when I got up to pee just now.  I realized that dying is really not bad at all.  What it IS, is that our crippled, capitalist society has not designated space and value for this holy and wholly essential and inevitable dimension of Life.  It is a deep, dark, fertile space of rebirth and cultivation of wisdom.  But instead we are prescribed pharmaceutical drugs and collectively pressured to hold it together and pretend that everything is……………………. FINE.

Haha!!!!!  Fine.  Why does that tickle me so?  “How are you?”…….. “Fine.”  It’s just such a flaccid thing we say to each other and ourselves.  Fine…..

Suddenly I’m all lit up inside about this matter of dying.  Like it’s my activism to give a publicity plug for dying.  While I was stirring my hot rice cereal just now, I though bout writing a children’s book, akin to the classic, “Everyone Poops”.  Entitled, naturally, “Everyone Dies”.  It will talk about how we all die many times over as we navigate this life thing.  And of course there’s the “grand finale”, when we leave these cute little meat suits, too.  And while not necessarily comfortable, all of it can be graceful and maaaaaybe… even a little bit fabulous.  Gosh, I want to master the ART of dying.  I want to get really good at it and inspire you to lean into your deaths, and trust the rightness and necessity of these dark and barren passages.  I want to stop digging my desperate, dirty nails into the walls of the pit, and just let it swallow me whole, and TRUST that I will certainly rise when the time is ripe.    

I’m exhausted from trying to fast-forward this goddamn movie and be in a scene other than the one I am in.  I want to play my role so fully and beautifully that it liberates all hearts, purifies the waters and heals the planet.

What if I entirely trusted that my career aspirations and deepest, soul-full desires were inevitable….  and I didn’t have to fight the current to fulfill my Destiny?  What if this delicious undoing was ESSENTIAL to my being and doing and offering all that I am here to share?

By the Light vested in me, I declare this to be SO.

Three cheers for getting swept up by a linguistic river of impassioned conviction….

Oh!  I remembered something crucial that I need to tell you.  In the face of wanting to die yesterday, the only natural thing to do was go to the River.  Like duh.

Being there… the miracle that I AM, gazing through these eyes beheld the satiny, musical rush of wet, crystalline aqua, dappled with dancing diamond light… a precise half moon, smiling unconditionally amidst deep, blue space. I flooded my lungs with the incense-esque scent wafting softly from the heated, piney earth.  I hafta laugh, because I know that even this linguistically gifted mystic could never find words to touch the epic divinity of the world quietly gushing alive before my very blessed eyes.

But here’s the funniest part EVER:  It was a clothing optional beach, and Serena, who has been clambering around at the water’s edge, notices two naked men standing near.  Her eyes are fixed on one of the dudes’ You Know What… Good Lord… Is she?…  Reaching for it???  Yes.  And repeating a word that at first, I can’t make out.  Then it clicks in my brain.  “Candle”.   I repeat it… “candle?”  Nodding affirmative, gaze fixed, she continues to speak this random man’s shlong into enchanted, interpretive existence.  I look at the two men, to get a deeper read on the situation.  Their eyes are soft and friendly… yet I feel contracted in a wave of embarrassment.  I relax, and realize that it’s all okay.  My daughter’s precious innocence is not something to take personally, manage (in this case), or be ashamed of.  Relaxing open, I crack up.  Hard.  They laugh too.  Serena keeps repeating her mantra.  I guess she hasn’t been exposed to too many “candles”….

I HAD to tell someone.  It’s a classic case of “If the Pope shits in the woods, and there’s no one there to hear it….”  So thanks for allowing that gorgeous mOMent of pure and perfect innocence to take root and fully LIVE.

Here’s to fully living

and fully dying.

With inspiring grace.

Total faith.

And as much love

as One can muster

from amidst the flames

and purging pain.

xoxo,

Athena Grace

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