The Dawning of Athena

November 10th, 2008

I now wish to be called by my middle name, Athena, because when I speak my first name, “Dawn”, it rushes forth in an elusive, etherial whisper, before merging organically with the sky. This delicate and worn flower of a name behaves as though she is inflated with helium, eager to be uttered, so she can drift hOMe, beyond the clouds, into the star-strewn Beyond. An essential facet of me, is left alienated and screaming to be acknowledged, revealed, cultivated, nurtured, challenged.

Now, nearly seven months abiding in my snazzy new syllables, this “upgraded” (yet still under massive construction) rendition of me, Athena, is being challenged, tested, called out on a daily basis.The “Dawnie” aftermath is reminiscent of a city decimated by explosives.I clamber thru archaic memories, old pictures, and peoples’ bottomless well of outdated perceptions of me. Glamorous as the job may be, I’m resigning (at least for now) from being the etheric fairy princes version of Johnny Appleseed, wafting like incense smoke in the stratosphere, scattering fistfuls of glitter all over everything.

I am here on the page this November morning, to declare myself. To boldly drive my staff into the yielding earth and claim Athena.  Here I stand, a vulnerable and fierce warrior goddess… feeling pissed. It fucking pisses me off when people try to engage with Dawnie and become defensive when they are met with substance, opposition.

WWAD?What would Athena do?That is the question I am here to explore this day, under this hazy autumn sky.And why do I want to cry?I suppose that shouldn’t concern me.Athena cries when she feels to.Athena, what will you do in the face of this continuous stream of confusion that life is spewing forth?Dawn would have laid down in the intrepid waters and implored them to drown her, while simultaneously waiting and hoping that someone would come and lift her out of the suffocating tides of her own God-given life.Dawn was a seemingly endless daisy chain of poetic collapse.Dawn beseeched the world to save her.Dawn was certain that life owed her.Dawn was committed to denying that her seat on planet earth was the ultimate blessing.It is Athena’s duty to surrender, and be resurrected by a universal and benevolent messiah:  Gratitude.

When Mykael first called me out as a default ingrate, I felt ashamed and defensive. I felt daunted and confronted by his declared mission to attune me to gratitude. How, I wondered, could I lift my entire orientation, and flip it upside down. I, who can not lift an elephant, or even a large meat lovers pizza with extra cheese… I who have yet to master the art of relinquishing the weight of the world, instead taking a primary stand for my own integrity, authenticity and inner peace. Days pass, and the inquiry of cultivating an internal garden of gratitude continues to percolate and ripen inside me. How does one grow any garden? Commitment, love, dedication, HARD WORK. Pull some weeds, plant some seeds… then rest a while in the hammock with a blue bottle cappucino and a hand-rolled smoke. (That last part was an embittered joke. I don’t want to be smoking. But stopping feels like Chinese water torture. I wonder if Chinese water torture is really so awful, anyway… what do they do?… Just dribble water down the tingling skin of some naughty little citizen? Is that really so bad? Would it prevent one from reenacting unsavory behavior???)

I have a severe compulsion to call Mykael right now. Noon. Monday. We got in yet another fight last night. That seems to be our favorite past time these days. I expressed my deep desire to meet the day when we shared a bed. When it was “Our” bed. Our sacred space… when sleeping together was not an overwhelming juggling act of compromises and concessions. I felt so vulnerable saying that. And suspicious, too. Like WHO is it, who is in the driver’s seat when I speak that way? I’m afraid it’s good olde obsolete Dawniecakes. The little girl who wilts in a tremulous, knee knocking pile at the thought of being responsible, hard-working, structured and self-reliant… But her downy voice still cries out from a deep, ancient ache in my heart. On one hand, I want this pain to be okay… because it feels real. Certainly more real that some high-horsed construct of how I should feel, what I should want, what would be good for me. I don’t want to bombard the tender feeling, even if its source IS a scared little girl. But if my need to be held and safe thru the night is indeed born of a frightened child, it’s probably not the place that I want to live from. How do I give her space, give her a voice, give her safety and nurturing, and still stand tall, strong and independent?

So there we were in Falcon, subdued-emerald jeep charokee, heading down the hill, into the Mission, toward a destination-yet-to-be-determined. His bed or mine? The prevalent desire welling up inside me was to be naked and warm and safe in his lucid-dream-blue, cloud puff of a bed. But that would mean leaving my precious, sentient feline, Anjali alone for the second night in a row. That would mean less of a likelihood that I’d poop in the morning. That would mean relinquishing my rhythm, which is a potent source and anchor in my life. Am I justifying? I am envisioning you checking out right about now. Are you reviewing your mental list of to-dos, thinking “This is really interesting… but I have a ton to accomplish today… honestly, I want to know about your noble and sincere inner conflicts, Dawnie~ I mean Athena… but…”

Deep Breath.I spoke the words “OUR bed”, and was immediately interrupted by his fervent exclamation, “MY bed.It will always be MY bed!”I stopped short, and my tail not only swept with urgent immediacy between my legs, but sucked back into the holy abyss of its origin.I felt mortified.Why?I am still trying to unfurl that one.I think because there is this place where he is unconscious, or perhaps I am unconscious, and he is a very accurate mirror… this place where he or me or we are terrified to fully let go into our choosing of one another.Of partnership, co-creation.

I have been tangled in a construct called “I need to attain a deep level of personal integrity and independence before I can give myself over entirely to the relationship”.But then, too, I want nothing more than to be entirely held by Life, by God, by my Man.I feel so afraid, uncertain.Terrified to stand up and wield my machete with feigned confidence and bold, deliberate strokes.Needless to say, I chopped off his head, and then silently pouted for the rest of our dark, nocturnal navigation to my doorstep.  This morning, I awoke with a heart still dripping with ache… Feeling angry and defensive.I told myself that I would not see him today.That I’d wait for him to call me.And now it’s one two three four o’clock (some of you might recognize this specific location in time as 12:34pm), and I have already checked my phone sixty bazillion times to see if there is a text from him, or a missed call.No such luck… though I know that he is thinking of me, feeling me, because I am becoming attuned to the subtle nuances of my inner life, my innate connection to all beings, especially those closest to my heart.

Which brings us back to the pressing matter at hand.Who is this creature, Athena?For what does she stand?Athena.She is unapologetic in her convictions.SHE IS UNAPPOLOGETIC IN HER CONVICTIONS.I had to write that twice, because it felt deeply true and important.As I was trudging along the sidewalk, through the fresh layer of brown, disembodied oak leaves, I felt into the exhaustion that it is to carry all these externally imposed images of myself.I feel a strong pull to return to that which is essential.That which arises from Inside (antara, in sanskrit).  Athena is willing to take a bold stand, even if it creates opposition with other agendas and viewpoints.Athena is willing to risk discomfort and disapproval.Athena is committed to her path, to knowing and acting from her own heart.Athena listens inwardly.Always.

Athena knows her own strength.Her life is a testament to that.Athena is willing to fail.Athena is willing to succeed.Athena is able to disengage from perfectionism so that she can LIVE FULLY NOW.Athena is willing to renounce safety and comfort in moments when commitment to her greater vision and purpose is required.Athena thrives in structure.Athena sets clear boundaries.Athena is unapologetic for her truth.Athena is fierce.Athena is willing to make mistakes in the name of growth, learning, leadership, creative process.Athena takes responsibility for her actions, cleans up her messes with an open heart and moves on.Athena is a well of forgiveness and compassion for herself and others.

Athena is committed to living alone for 6 months to a year. Athena is willing to be contributed to by others. Athena is a feisty bitch sometimes. Athena recognizes her powerful contribution to community, and takes her seat as a leader, a visionary, a sorceress, with honor and humility. Athena is not afraid to fuck up sometimes.

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