Life as a Holy Pilgrimage

Man, I really oughtn’t be drinking a latte right now.  I was already so hyper this morning.  But I couldn’t resist.  Kurt (a follower of this blog), I fell deeper in love with you when you made the effort to clink metaphorical glasses to my stance that cappuccinos are indeed spiritual!  Cappuccinos are one of the most revelatory facets of my existence.  Except right now.  Right now it feels like the devil’s wicked poison, making me manically ecstatic.  My heart is probably beating faster than a hummingbird’s!  And on top of this, it’s a BEAUTIFUL, warm, lucid spring morning.  Well, I’ll do my best to remain poised and heavenly.

I missed writing to You yesterday.  I missed it so much that I had to play hooky from church just to be here with you now.  My day is pretty full, so it was either church or write.  Duh, writing IS my church, when push comes to shove.  And yesterday was my church too.  Doesn’t that sound ridiculous?  The Church of Revelatory Yesterday!  I’m gonna start it!  How deliciously ironical that would be, since the essence of most spiritual teachings are about the “here and now”.  But we are all yesterday junkies… so I bet it would have a relieving appeal.  I will stand up and preach about the perpetual, noble struggle to cling to yesterday in the face of a present moment that keeps trying to distract us and seduce us into the sacrilege of immediacy!  This is brilliant.

I was desperate to write today because my mind is simply overflowing with resplendence.  You know… inspired thoughts.  I want to slosh them gratuitously about the page… and I dare you not to open.  I dare you not to get turned on, inspired, enlivened.  (l LOVE slurping my warm beverages from a spoon!)  So yesterday, Mykael and I hiked from Tennessee Valley to Muir Beach.  For those of you who are not bay area natives, my condolences.  Just kidding.  But it’s a pretty hefty hike.  At least four miles each way.  But tons of steep ups and downs.  Like a metaphoric portrayal of a challenging period of life.  Parts of it wind right along cliffs that drop off to the churning, sullen turquoiser than thou body we know as the Pacific Ocean.  The first half of the hike, from Tennessee Valley to Muir, my mind was agitated.  Mykael was being moody, which made it harder for me to just rest in my own sphere of peace.  Also, I was expecting the temperature to be a lot warmer.  When we got to the beach, it was cold and windy and late.  Frown.  But the way back was worth it all!  We smoked a little pot, and prayed to for physical endurance and plenty of peace and happiness to sustain us the duration of the walk.  As we stood at the edge of the world, a prayin’ and a tokin’, the horizon began to blush like a modest though oversexed bride.  The sky was the softest blue.  A few sleek, patient clouds hovered here and there~ think bashfully melting marshmallows.  We continued to walk.  Smoking dropped me deeper into my body and I fell in love with the hard packed dirt and the heavy, rooted feeling I experienced each time I stepped.  Meanwhile, back in the sky, it began to look like APL (All Pervading Light) spilled Her psychedelic palate.  What a HOLY MESS.  It was all vibrancy.  The sun was a neon orange hole in the sky.  A hole through which the truth of existence as Light could be sneak previewed.  Slowly it oozed down toward the salivating, dramatic horizon of smooth, green, silhouetted cliffs and deepening ocean.  The pale blue of the sky made the whole scene look so gentle, approachable.  And if your eyes were brave enough to meander through the innocent canopy of blue softness, they would have stumbled right over an almost imperceptible sliver of crescent moon!

Every single moment there on the edge of the world was unique.  Every moment was revelation.  I stood, consumed by awe and PRAYED.  I prayed that I could widen myself, allow all this beauty to flood my being so that I could give it away.  I thought of the Rumi quote, “Let the beauty we love be what we do,” and I finally understood it.  Those moments of witnessing such pure grace… they were so WHOLE and COMPLETE.  There was no striving, nothing to figure out.  It was simply the beauty I love.  That is ALL there was to do.  Except, of course busy myself with trying to cram it all into a divine doggy bag, so that I could bring it home to feed to YOU.  And I don’t mean just with these petty words.  I mean with the generosity of my heart.  I mean EVERY WAY.  The thoughts I invite into my mind.  The purity of my actions… the trail of sweet nectar that floods in the wake of my footsteps upon this earth.

Once upon a summer afternoon, E* and I were hiking at Lake Tahoe and it was stunning!  The water was crystalline turquoise.  The sky vast, deep blue.  The air was clean and hot and held the sweet scent of pine and mountain dirt.  The immense granite boulders stood still in perpetual twinkle.  It was another one of those moments that is devastatingly uncontainable.  So we stood at on the tender precipice where past fucks the future wide open in the space called now… and we folded the vivid image.  Then we folded it again.  Then again, and again and once more… till it was small enough to fit in the palm of a standard sized hand… and we both tucked it away in the luxurious, divine privacy of our own souls, so that we could keep it forever.  I still have mine.  I nibble and sip on it every so often.  I would bet you tons of gold and jewels that if you asked E*, he’d indubitably admit to having his nestled in the breast pocket of his own heart to this day.

I didn’t fold up the sunset last night…  But I widened myself and begged for it to become me, me to become it.  And then I walked on, bathing in the blessing that was too big to wrap my head around.  And as I walked, the sky continued to darken, which only vivified the high hanging, dainty slice of moon.  I told you before that every moon is different.  Well the beams that danced off of this one were reminiscent of honeyed jasmine.  Don’t ask me why.  I could almost smell jasmine as I thirstily lapped up the fuzzy, luminous moon breath.  Slowly, shyly, stars began to come out of hiding.  But the BEST part was happening upon a view of San Francisco.  (I just danced in the bathroom again.  I am a good dancer.  I wish I felt like doing it in public… I bet it would be really healthy and fun.  Any day now…)
”San Francisco twinkled

as a sudden spray of effervescent gold,

cast by a hand so large

and Loving.”

That’s what I wrote last night as I marveled at the glimmering, gold lights that logic would have called “San Francisco”.  But REALLY… Was it SF?  For all I know, it really could have been an accidental spill of magic, flaming dust by some drunken, horny angels… Who am I to say?  All I know is the enchantment it sucked to my surface.

And then more walking.  And walking and walking.  Despite all this beauty, my mind threatened to suffer with thoughts of exhaustion and “when are we going to BE THERE?”  I begged it not to.  In order to quiet it, I reminded myself that I had walked all the way across Spain with a heavy backpack on.  (with E*)  We averaged fifteen miles a day.  One day we walked twenty six miles.  Marathon distance.  It was the pilgrimage route, the Camino De Santiago. It took us a month. Then I realized that I could perceive this walk, too, as a pilgrimage.  In that context, walking toward Revelation, toward awakening to the truth of our saturation in LOVE, suddenly I was willing to walk Forever.  I realized that LIFE is but a holy pilgrimage. Which means that every single person is a fellow pilgrim.

I dunno if you’ve ever walked a pilgrimage before… but there is a special comradery among pilgrims.  There is an unspoken bond we all have, sharing a sacred goal.  We have an understanding of what it takes to walk and walk and walk and walk, in the name of touching something holy within ourselves.  Walking through our own fears, limitations, aches and pains, hopes and dreams.  What a beautiful and accurate way to perceive humanity.  We ARE all pilgrims and the road is long and arduous and beautiful.  But it is sweeter when we share our water and our joy along the way.

Almost As Immaculately As Jesus

I don’t like to think about my parents having sex, but as the story goes, I was conceived ( almost as Immaculately as Jesus, I reckon) on this day thirty one years ago.  Every year on April 16th, I think of this and feel like it should be a bigger deal than people make it out to be.  I think kings and queens who rule over heavenly realms should greet me in bed with kisses and cupcakes and champagne.  Their skin is cool, Krishna-blue and softer than silk.  They ooze a fragrance that teases me with the dancing promise of the long awaited blossoming of the lotuses arduously growing in my inner mud.

That’s what this blog is really about.  I’ve been contemplating what I am up to, here on the page… and if I had to boil it down, which of course I don’t… But if I did… (which I DON’T), I would say that this blog is an expression of the lotus growing from within me. (And too, inside of YOU)  It is not just exalting the pinacle of the pretty-assed, electric blue and lavender bloom, but it is the celebratory savoring of the nutrient rich mud.  The fascination with the ridiculously thick, smooth stalk.  The lotus stalk is just like a bean stalk.  Maybe you can climb it all the way to a holy land above golden clouds where spiritual giants and their miraculous accessories and side kicks kick it old skool.  Okay, I got a little excited and worked up.  Lotuses do this to me… But yeah, I offer my words to this page as an acknowledgement of the perfection and beauty of the incessant process of Divine Becoming.  I am sick of constraining my mind with all these concepts of “When I become Enlightened”… When I am spiritually awake.  All these needless divisions imposed by a mind bred to divide and hide the intrinsic miracle of BEING.  Enlightenment is a spiral staircase, Baby!  Hop aboard!

Still, I don’t think my lotus has bloomed yet, but who cares?  It will in APL’s sweet transcendent time.  I have been realizing that patience and perseverance are my spiritual path right now.  I laugh as I write that, because again, my words divide and conquer.  As if life were created to be boiled down to garden variety, mundane sentences.  What does all of this mean???  It means that I LOVE.  It means that every single word that spills from me like a wilderness of spring raindrops is imbued with heart.  I can feel my heart bleeding like a sun, pouring hot rays of love’s language out my finger tips and onto this page in the spirit of freedom.  I guess I’m glad my parents knocked boots.  I like it here.  I don’t always.  How often I have yearned to die!  But NOW, in love, I feel like a lighthouse throwing out wicked bright beams of praise, guiding lost ships back to the sacred place that has never left any of us.

More on relationships!  Yesterday Mykael and I were having sex and I was not feeling my heart.  It felt like going through the motions and honestly, sometimes, when I’m horny enough, I don’t mind that.  But yesterday I minded.  I was in my head trying to figure out what the source of the disconnect was… Finally I said something to the effect of that I was not feeling my heart… or his… or something and I wanted to feel more connected.  Interestingly, Mykael filtered my communication through all the nuts and bolts and gears in his human head and spit out the interpretation that he was being attacked and the situation required defense on his part.  Then Miss Athena suddenly began to feel hurt because she didn’t feel heard and her desire for deeper connection had turned to battle.  Let the games BEGIN!!!  She fought to be heard.  He fought to be good enough, a good enough lover, a good enough man.  Soon enough we were in the all too familiar cesspool of exhausting attack and defense.  Capricorns and Tauruses are supposed to be a match made in heaven… But where’s the accounting for two extremely stubborn being coming together?  Two cloven hoofed beasts in a slow, arduous earthen battle.

Capricorns are far superior anyway…  (GRIN)  When we fight and he slips into that embodiment of extra dense dude, I feel like I’ve gotta sling some seriously long, dangerously sharp arrows in order to penetrate his bedrock thick skin.  I get mean.  He gets hurt.  I don’t know how else to get through to him.  The scene:  Us naked.  Him inside me, losing his hard on by the defensive second.  The intensity and the volume raising.  Me pushing him off me.  More exacerbated, desperate, frivolous communication.  Him finally storming out and slamming the door behind him.  (To hear him tell it, he was never a door slammer before I habituated him to that highly indulgent, asinine behavior.  Personally, I’m proud to be the initiator of door slam-dom.  He claims he is NOT a fan of the practice.)  Sure, I was mad… I’d much rather express my desire and have my man reply, “Why YES, Beloved Goddess, surely you are right, let’s enter deeper into our hearts, each other’s hearts, god’s heart!  Right now!!!  On your marks get set GO!!!!”

NO.  I would NOT rather relate like that.  How boring, pathetic milk toast would that be?!!  No challenge.  NO friction.  NO FUN.  If this same scene had occurred last week, I would have made it mean more evidence that we should not be together.  I would have felt so justified in leaving him.  But not this week.  As Grace would have it, I was standing in my love for him.  Miraculously, I stood at the very mouth of the deep well of patience.  That’s a good place to find yourself standing when you are feeling triggered by your partner, eh?!  HERE IS THE BEST PART!!~ I opened the previously slammed bathroom door.  His bathrobe was still jammed in the door from the prior dramatic demonstration!  The look on his face when I entered his chamber was PRICELESS!  Holy GOD!  I can’t explain why it opened me the way it did… but I’ll die trying… Just for YOU.  He was fiddling around on his Iphone… and his face was contorted in the most exaggerated, though entirely sincere teenage-strife-pout-face!  Honestly, it was so over the top, it looked like a face a bad amateur actor would make if he was trying out for the role of a silver spoon, thirteen year old from the alabaster and caviar side of the tracks!  I wanted to keep a straight face, but not a chance.  I cracked up.  Woops.  (In my world I lose points for not being able to keep a straight face in a “serious moment”.  It’s like falling out of character on set of a movie and you have to re-shoot the scene.)

Apparently, during our spat, I said something that made him think I was threatening to leave him again.  This terrified him.  Not once during the fight did my mind even stumble into that prickly possibility.  So when he divulged that he was tangled in that reality again, I wanted to draw him to my breast and pet his frightened head.  Women.  We change our minds a lot… Love us or… Shrug… In that moment, I realized the impact of all my recent talk of break-up.  It erodes the container.  I am not making myself wrong at all for going there. I did.  That’s all.  And I probably will again.  I’m just saying, that I can see that the impact is creating a partner who flinches on some level, waiting for the door’s final slam in his face.  Ouch.

I managed to stay rooted in curiosity throughout this whole ordeal.  It was revelatory for me.  Let me tell you why.  Because I saw this possibility shine like rich, honeyed sunbeams pressing their way free of the thick, steely gray clouds~ The possibility of engaging in relationship from a place of genuine curiosity and incessant exploration, rather than all of these stupid, cardboard expectations, unexamined social programs.  Some part of me has been constantly preoccupied by hopes of marriage and financial security, children and owning our own home.  All the soulless endeavors agreed upon by a sleeping world.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind having all those things.  But not at the expense of thriving in the MYSTERY.  Not at the expense of truly SEEING.  Not at the expense of feeling fully alive in a state of wonder of self and other.  Not at the expense of striving so hard that one day you wake up and you are DEAD!

Yesterday’s experience helped me realize that that is truly what I want in relationship.  I want to be continuously curious and surprised.  I want to cultivate patience and acceptance to the point of MASTERY.  I want to love the process more than some blah-zay, hollow result.  And I want to laugh my ass off at the pouty teenager who is all too alive and well in my partner! (and yes, CERTAINLY in myself, too…)

I Have A Crush On Depak Chopra!

I wonder what it would be like to be married to Depak Chopra.  Seriously.  I watched some of the movie, “ONE” last night… that movie made by three dudes without any film experience who just got a bug up their collective butt to go on a cinematic pilgrimage asking fellow humans their thoughts on the meaning of la-la-LIFE!  I highly recommend it.  (at least the first thirty minutes…Since that’s all I’ve seen so far…)  I loved how they emphasized that the reason that this movie came together with such profound ease and global participation, was that the underlying, driving force was the service of la-la-Love, and that anything is possible when one steps onto a path in the spirit of the Highest first.  One of the guys admitted that if they had have realized the magnitude of this project at the start, they never would have taken it on.  That reminds me of a quote I read on my visit to Glide on Sunday.  It said something like, “Faith is taking the first step, even if you can not see the top of the staircase.”  You know who said it?  Martin Luther King Jr. (a fellow Capricorn!)  Quite different than my Nigerian friend’s idea of faith equating to being force fed dogmatic cardboard concepts such as the Immaculate Conception in the name of Immaculate Manipulation, eh?

But back to Depak Chopra.  Man, I sure got a crush on him.  In my opinion, he is a wonderful speaker.  He presents himself so professionally.  He is clear, articulate and intelligent as hell.  I wonder if I could get away with ANY of my wily feminine games with him.  He seems so on top of his game… seem, seem, seem, I’m bursting at the seems!!!  I sure can’t imagine what it would really be like to be his wife.  I totally creamed my pants when he said, “We are the only species who is aware of our mortality. If you are not totally amazed and bewildered and mystified by your self… then you’re still not fully human.”  For some reason that was a relief for me to hear.  I sit here day after day, turning over stones inside my mind, my heart, my shadowy cracks (and cracky shadows!) and it is endless.  Somehow my fascination feels validated now.  And I know that I am in resplendent company here with all of YOU!!!  I know that as I sit here excavating and musing, I AM doing it for the team.  Another great thing he said was, “Our dualistic thinking leads to ignorance.  Sometimes we institutionalize this ignorance and call it “religion”, and then we go to war over it.”  You know what I love about that quote?  Its succinctness.  It strikes me as a highly profound truth, but he spits it out with a wham, bam, thank you ma’am PUNCH.  Sha-zaam!  Unlike some wordsmiths I know, who are so in love with words that they spread them on the page thicker than Mykael spreads jam on his morning feast of open faced almond butter and jam sammies.  Honestly, it took me months to let go of my judgment and repulsion in regards to his gratuitous jam usage.  It’s a sugar swamp. He needs thigh high rubber boots to wade through it.  This morning, I was feeling especially nuts.  I grabbed mykael’s wrist while he was poised to spread the jam.  (He has to turn the jar sideways, and coax it with a butter knife, so that it pours upon his bread slices like thick, cooling lava.) I started talking in my manic, wacky child’s voice and took raucous, erratic control over operation strawberry jam spillage, laughing all the way, of course.  Don’t ask why, but participating in this sacrilegious rite was somehow healing for me.  Mykael was only a sliver of a fraction of a slice of delight as tickled by my antics as I was.  But he felt my joy and allowed me to playfully dominate his breakfast preparation. (Thank you, Benevolent Sir)  You wouldn’t believe how engaged and at one I was!  I doubt Depak Chopra would allow me to spread his great wall of jam this way…  Another reason to stay committed to Mykael.  (Plus, I bet Mister Chopra is a conservative lover… but I’m not trying to start any rumors.  Maybe he’s all unbridled passion… but he just “SEEMS” so moderate in his lifestyle and behaviors…)

God, I am so grateful to be feeling the freedom of the flow again.  The last couple of days I have felt so linguistically constipated.  Now, I feel like I am at a sleep over with my best friend and we are so excited to be together, that we plan to stay up ALL NIGHT talking about EVERYTHING!!!  Pretend with me, won’t you?  Let’s love every moment!  Let’s make messes and freely reveal our hearts and our overflowing inanity!!!  Thank you for this freedom… whoever you are…

Speaking of best friends and sleepovers, you know I spent some time with one of my Besties, Amrita yesterday.  It was profound as always.  Thank All Pervading Light for those beings who grace our paths, and no matter how much time goes by, the meeting place is always the same deep, eternal knowing place!  We shared about our current vantage points in our relationships… and I was left with an expanded perspective on my current standing.  It was nothing specific that she said, or that we even discussed.  It was more like the involuntary impression that was burned into my mind’s eye during our time together.  (Two women at a nearby table are speaking Spain Spanish.  It turns me on.  My dad’s wife is from Barcelona, and because of all the time we’ve shared, my ears have come to appreciate the dignified angular music of the language.) (A man across from me is nursing a generous glass of red wine, accompanying his bagel and cream cheese!  Ladies and Gents, eleven am, and this party is officially STARTED!!!)  Anyway, the impression that burned into my inner vision was an intangible understanding of…

Hard to say.  But I feel it and I know it.  It is a place where the masculine and the feminine quintessentially clash.  It is a place where human beings are quintessentially imperfect. Inevitably every relationship bears this blessed curse.  Cursed blessing… or “ISness”, if you prefer the less dramatic portrayal… Made me think of the story of Sita and Ram, as portrayed in the movie, “Sita Sings the Blues”.  I was astounded at what a bonified DICK Ram acts like most of the time.  And in the face of that, Sita is steadfast in her devotion to her beloved husband.  I grappled with that one for months after I saw the movie.  I was struck by Sita’s potent, uncompromising devotion to Ram.  But I did not see much evidence that Ram deserved it.  He didn’t trust her and he seemed to be a pretty ego centric King.  Last night it occurred to me that she was merely practicing unconditional love.

Unconditional Love.  The term has been beaten to death by our modern, new agey, popular culture… but at it’s essence, it is simple~ Love without conditions.  Lately, I have been painfully aware of my bottomless “font” of conditions in relationship with Mykael.  I see that my default habit is to be entirely self serving.  So far, the result is much disappointment.  It seemed at first glance like Sita got the shorter than sin end of the stick, while Ram had more stick then even a renowned king knew what to do with.  But really… I say Sita got a stick that stretched clear to heaven.  Because the one who chooses Love is free.  The one who chooses love, chooses intimacy with the very binding agent of the Universe!  I am considering the angle that one [profound] purpose of long term, committed relationship is to practice, purify and strengthen one’s capacity to LOVE without condition. Like really, truly without condition… not just when its fashionable and convenient. Why bother binding to one single other?  Because the commitment is a container that allows for the perpetual deepening, the profound alchemy intrinsic in practicing Love.  In the face of this other’s inevitable imperfections, you commit to seeing, serving and loving the eternal light in them.  It is like a dress rehearsal for loving, serving, seeing humanity this way, and ultimately widening your heart so much that the illusion of duality is decimated and the truth of Oneness reclaims reign in the forefront of your mind and being.  Real Love once again takes the wheel of your existence.  All of humanity is elevated and awakened by looking into the clear, still mirror of your perfected Self!!!!

Amen.

Cedar Waxwings, Ducks and More Carrots, Of Course!

I could have sworn that today was going to be an auspicious one.  First, when I was doing my kicking laps in the outdoor pool this morning, I heard a chorus of holy voices.  Immediately I knew the source of the song~ cedar waxwings, my most favorite bird.  (But let me set the record straight, I don’t use the term “favorite” as an absolute term, but only to serve as a vehicle conveying passion, enthusiasm, joy… that whole strain of shimmering feelings.)  Have you ever seen a cedar waxwing?  They always travel in flocks.  Big flocks.  They are not big birds, they are not especially small birds.  They are compact and sleek.  When I gaze upon them, I always feel like I am looking through a soft filtered lens~ you know, the kind they use in the movies when they want to illustrate that someone is falling in love?  The object of affection shows up so softened and glowing.  Cedar waxwings look like that without even needing the aid of Hollywood special effects!  Their feathers are modest shade of tawny earth.  On their cheeks they have a soft, circular spray of red, downy feathers, so that they are in perpetual blush!  They wear black feathered masks around their eyes like sexy, angelic love bandits.  They feast on berry bushes, while singing the praises of Heaven.  I don’t see them very often (though I do hear them pretty frequently.  Their voices are what birds would sound like if they purred!), so when I do, I know I am blessed.

Then, as I was getting out of the pool, a mallard couple landed gracefully on the surface of the warm, crystalline, chlorinated water.  I heard their slick landing as I walked, through the frigid, yawning air to the locker room.  Then I heard their goofy voices (Duck voices.  Is there anything sweeter???) announcing the presence of Love and I turned to prick posterity’s bubble, not believing what I heard.  Yes indeed, they paddled their beautiful, buoyant bodies along the lap lines and my heart tickled so bad it cracked open multiple times, like a whole nest full of duck eggs.  I heard myself shriek and squeal.

But now I feel lonely.  The ducks were a pair.  The cedar waxwings were a flock.  Athena is alone.  Café 504 is busy.  How do I know that I am lonely?  It’s this feeling in my heart.  A black hole comes to mind when I focus on the sensation.  This insatiable hole, from which sadness could ooze like an endless honey stream if I let it.  But maybe if I just allow it to be… maybe if I create a new story to surround the sensation.  Maybe it is a sensation of sacred vulnerability.  Maybe.  Maybe it is love.  Maybe it is not meant to be filled.  This must be what the banks of a raging river feel like.  I can just let this feeling pour through my shyly awakening heart.  It feels like raw desire.  Desire~ the reason that we keep casting our rods out into the future, hoping that a particular delicious, gracious, winged carrot will swim up and bite our line… and then this feeling of outrageous yearning will be quelled and real life will begin.

Real.

Life.

Will.

Begin.

I know I talk about this a lot, this illusion of future happiness… but I am determined to break on through to the other side.  I am determined to claim my home right here, right now, make my nest, stake my claim, own my throne.  Here.  Now.  Even with this ache in my heart and this auspicious, wishful fishing pole, perpetually on the hunt for carrots that swim with fishes.  Isn’t that a pretty image?  Inside my mind is a viscous substance, the offspring of the torrid affair between love and water.  Aqua-golden and warm as moonbeam jelly.  In it swim schools of slender, flaming orange carrots with iridescent scales and exotic, twinkling eyes.  Long, flowing fins that flow like silk scarves blowing in tropical breezes.  Who wouldn’t want to fish for carrots as beautiful as that?!?!  I bet when I finally find the heaven inside, I’ll see Jesus, Krishna and Saint Theresa chillin’ with forties (peeping out from crumpled brown paper sacs) on the end of a pier, dippin their holy poles into the viscous sea of love potion, waiting for a sacred carrot to bite their golden lines.

I have been setting the alarm on my phone to go off every hour, so that I can affirm today’s course in miracles lesson and sit in sacred silence for five minutes, inviting effulgence into the cracks between my habitual bondage thoughts.  While I was sitting in sacred invitation, my phone chimed with the revelatory news of a text message.  After five minutes of affirmation that “God, being Love, is also Happiness”, I saw that one of my most stellar (and long lost) friends, Amrita had texted me, informing me that she was in town for the day and would I like to meet up later!  I haven’t seen her in over a year.  So the cedar waxwings and the ducks did NOT lie after all!  Athena too shall be graced with auspicious company today!!!  When I am with Amrita, I feel like a shooting star.  Or maybe the ticklish blackness giggling uncontrollably as light whizzes anonymously through Her endless body of spacious something.

I said that I would tell you more about Glide Church.  But honestly, going to church is no more or less spiritual than any other experience that I have.  It is confounding to me how spirituality has become this compartmentalized, teensy patch within our glistening existence.  Or how bout those people who ardently declare, “I am not a spiritual person”?!?!  As if there is anything else to be!  I suppose this is another ingenious tactic used to bind our minds to illusion.  I am guilty.  I seem to be stuck to the concept that finding the light inside will be something that “happens to me… SOMEDAY”.  The quintessential Mother of all carrots!  How can it possibly be here now?  How can it be here now as I sit in this  moderately comfortable chair, my butt becoming flattened and stiff, my heart an empty frame hosting a vast, black hole and my mind relentlessly clawing for an understanding that saves my small fearful life, if even for a split second.

Don’t ask me how, but the Light is here, now.  Don’t ask me how, but this is IT.  There is nothing more.  No, wait, ask me.  Ask me how!!! Come on, ASK ME!!!  LOVE is how.  Mostly I hate when people tell me that.  Like my friend Dan.  He’s all bent on Love.  Like a holy obsession.  (As far as obsessions go, that one gets the thumbs up from nine point four out of ten angels… but only two out of eighty seven Popes, believe it or not)  And when love lives like an elusive concept far from available to me in any given steaming slice of Now, I feel desperate and frustrated.  LOVE?  Where?  All I feel is X, Y, Z…. What’s love got to do with THAT?  But I can feel it right now.  This feeling of brimming appreciation for all these divine dream creatures, blind as worms, wriggling about in our outrageous fantasy of separation.  Is it enough to just say YES to this feeling of reverence, this outpouring of sweetness?

Spiritual.  It does not have to be such a serious word.  Spiritual.  It is spiritual to breathe.  It is spiritual to ache.  It is spiritual to laugh, to cry, to yearn, to eat, and CERTAINLY to drink high quality cappuccinos(!!!) to pee and poop, to be a couch potato.  Ewwwe, I cringed as I wrote that last one.  I am not a fan of couch potatoes.  But you know what?  Who cares?  What I am fond of does not equate to what is spiritual.  Even the couch potatoes will eventually re-member this MAGNIFICENT light.

AMEN.

No One Told Me It Would Be Like This

What is it about a freshly blossoming female?  She is neither girl nor woman, but a sumptuous entity all her own.  I think it is okay for me to broach this subject…as a woman… if a man were to describe his fascination with the pubescent girl he sees regularly at the climbing gym, he would surely be condemned as a pervert.  But me?  I’m a woman.  A good, honest, God thumping citizen, who has even paid taxes once or twice!  So I for some reason have a little more permission to say that this girl makes herself into quite an enticing little morsel.  (If I were her parent, I imagine I’d feel into some jagged edges around setting my little baby free to express herself versus not wanting to set her free on the streets looking like a freshly hatched sexual invitation…)

She is tiny.  No trace of woman curves.  Except she has these darling new born boobies that rock!  Seriously.  She wears bras that push them up into little understated mounds of ivory cleavage.  Over that, she wears a very minimal, low cut tank top. (usually a red one)  On the bottom, she wears skin tight jeans with a hole in the knee.  Her hair is long and blond and a little tangly.  Around her wide, child’s eyes, she wears a tasteful rim of black.  I bet she’s thirteen.  Whenever she is in my vicinity, I find myself studying her.  Honestly, I can see why men would be involuntarily, biologically excited by a little girl like this.  Sheesh, even I am.  She is a strange cocktail of freshness and danger, innocence and wildness.  She’s so small, but with such promise of impending fullness.  Beholding her is looking at a masterfully crafted poem.

Thanks to this modestly spicy little creature, I can almost understand why my step dad freaked out when I painted my fingernails a bold, mauvy-pink color for the first time.  I was either thirteen or fourteen.  I sat down at the dinner table and he exclaimed that it was a color that a prostitute would wear.  I had been so thrilled to take a preliminary dive into the pool of sensual, feminine play, and in an instant I was thrown on the defense and wondering somewhere inside, if I had done something quintessentially wrong.  Did I really look like a prostitute with my shiny, pink nails?  I had only meant to be beautiful and express myself.  But I suppose it is an odd thing for a man to suddenly perceive his daughter as attractive.

This brings me to another topic… Becoming a woman.  In my experience, it was a journey as arduous and lonely as inventing the wheel.  Nobody told me it would take thirty years.  And neither did anyone tell me that once I was a woman, I would still feel like the same child inside.  Seriously, I look out my eyes, I feel through my heart, and it is the same ageless, being of perpetual innocence, wonder and heavy wisdom that has always taken up residency here.  The only thing that has changed is that I have more responsibility.  I can’t just hang out at my best friend’s desk drawing cartoons of older boy next door, who simultaneously grossed me out and turned me on.  I suppose I could do that after the bills have been paid and the children fed… Grin.

I wonder if it is like that for all women… I suppose if my mom was more open and communicative about all topics woman, it could have been different.  But she didn’t say much to me on the subject.  Slowly, over much time, I just found myself inhabiting a woman’s body.  No, scratch that, I was far from inhabiting my “woman’s body”.  I think that’s really what becoming a woman has meant for me, is learning to actually INHABIT my body.  I didn’t begin to feel glimmers of hope in that arena until I was twenty seven or twenty eight years old.  Before that?  My body did NOT feel like a comfortable, safe or inspiring place to hang out.  Remember, I had an eating disorder (over eating) in my late teens and early twenties, which meant that my body was a place of S-H-A-M-E, hiding, repulsion… and my mind was perpetually fixated on what I would eat next… until I ate and felt repulsed and then I would scheme my plot for impending starvation.  Man, talk about prison.  Talk about hell.  And it was all in staunch secrecy.  When I say that shame is an emotion meant to guard the fortress of imagined separation, I am not kidding.  What an ingenious mechanism to perpetuate the campaign for separation!  It was impossible for me to just be with others, with myself, with the moment.  Then, add to that chronic constipation, scoliosis, shoulder pain, difficulty drawing a full breath.  Yeah, there was no way I was gonna drop down and feel all the unwieldy sensations and emotions that were festering in my tortured human form.

What shifted?  Years of yoga practice, healing (and self discipline) around my relationship to food, a commitment to exploring and unfolding my sexuality, and a willingness to feel my belly.  A willingness to feel my belly.  Seriously, I think that might be the key to the Queendom.

When Mykael and I were at dinner the other night, (remember, the “date night” from hell?) we were seated at the community table, which I wanted to report actually saved our lives, because we ended up making friends with the women next to us, and that diffused some of the immense pressure we had built up between us… (the moral of that story is that we need to get out and socialize more.)  Before we officially invited our brooding selves into the sunshine party next door, I overheard the woman next to me talking about dieting.  So many women incessantly diet, don’t we?  I forget that sometimes, because many of my friends are not dieters… that I know of.  So mostly the topic is off my radar.  (My neurosis around food these days are more in the vein of “is eating this going to make me constipated or exhausted?”)

But you know what?  Fuck dieting.  Dieting is an obsession.  Once the diet is over, then what?  Then you whiplash to the other end of the spectrum as a natural function of depriving yourself for so long.  I used to be terrified that I’d inevitably be fat one day.  But somewhere along the line, that fear vanished.  Now I just focus on eating nourishing, balanced meals, and actually feeling my body as I do so.  I exercise regularly, not because I “SHOULD”, but because my mind and body function with more lucidity and vitality when I do.  Many times a day, I remember to release my awareness down into my belly and I realize that I have been holding it in.  Sometimes letting go feels like work… Something in me is so habituated to holding on.  I remember when I wore my first bikini. I think it was around the same time that I painted my nails like a prostitute.  I was a little bit squishy around the middle, and when I wore it in front of my step dad’s family, one of his sisters poked at my squish and told me to suck it in.  That was a pivotal moment in losing my innocence, a moment I became painfully aware of how I looked.  Not that I didn’t have any body issues before that moment… I did.  But that was the beginning of a committed practice of shamefully sucking my belly in.

As women, we are trained to do this.  It makes perfect sense.  When I just let myself FEEL my belly, there is so much energy in there.  I feel alive, turned on, creative, powerful, intuitive.  It’s been a popular topic to discuss the return of the Divine Feminine these days.  Collectively, we are aware of the nearing of the end of this destructive, imbalanced cycle of patriarchy…you know what I’m talking about… all the recent Goddess buzz… The domination of the patriarchy never would have gotten away with it if women were at home in our bodies.  Our bodies are sanctuaries of wisdom, temples of boundless pleasure and intuitive magic.  And if we all knew this, the world would be quite a different place.  Not to say that we DON’T know… Slowly, we are waking up.  But I wonder how quickly dieting would become obsolete if we all just let go of our bellies and made ourselves at Home, from the INSIDE out.

Vows of Silence, Earthworms and Orasmic Revelation

Mykael and I are not speaking to one another today.  Seriously.  He proposed that we take a vow of relationship silence on Mondays.  At first I felt intimidated by this, because it was not MY brainchild, which had me feel out of control.  But then I realized that feeling perpetually in control has not been a very prize winning alternative.  In fact it has actually been a straw bale on my over-burdened camel’s poor, humpy back.  A way that I have been pressing myself into the precipice of exiting the relationship altogether.  So I accepted.  I let myself wriggle in the sexy jaws of submission… and it turned out to be a green eggs and ham story all over again! (Meaning the very thing I fought fang and claw was delicious after all!)  It’s way sexier to gesture and flirt and speak with everything besides clunky old words and concepts.  Or maybe I’m just horny.

Speaking of horny, I must confess that I sort of came last week.  Sneaky girl.  I was not going to tell on myself, but what fun is that?  It was an accident.  Suddenly I was having involuntary spasms.  But it was only a half credit orgasm, I swear, because I tried to stop it.  That must be something men do way more often~ That Holy OH SHOOT!  What a buzz kill.  Afterward, I was in denial.  I tried to pretzel twist my way out of the failure.  But when push comes to shove comes to spasm, I failed at my goal.  So the next day I masturbated and came proper.  I was having a weak moment.  A fuck this shit moment.  But soon enough, my strength returned and I recommitted.  A text book case of get right back on the mythological, horned horse syndrome.  (I like calling everything a syndrome, because these days, “the Experts” are classifying many healthy human responses to this frantic world as “syndromes”, as though we are broken and must be fixed and medicated.  WE ARE NOT BROKEN.  We are sensitive.  We are impacted by the imbalance of this world, impacted by the popular fantastical belief in the scarcity of a particular ISness we call LOVE…)

I almost ran over an earthworm on my bike on the way here.  I hope I swerved in time.  I mused on why earthworms give me the creeps… I think it might be because they are ultimately the ones who are going to digest my rotting corpse when I die.  But then, they are so cute.  Mysterious and long and slimy.  It just started raining really hard for a few minutes.  Now a thin layer of water flows down the sidewalk, turning it into a cement river.  I feel some grief imagining that this could be one of the final rainstorms of the season!  No more liquid symphonies dribbling, pounding, skipping down from above. No more mystic, silvered mirrors spontaneously cast upon the pavement, hosting a glimmering play of city lights about its temporal faces.  Ahhh, the fleeting nature of this existence.  All we can do is love it.  No, that’s not true.  We sure can fight it… Speaking of music, I just took a chickletish piece of Dentyne gum from it’s over packaged plastic and foil enslaved chamber and it made so many flirtatious sounds as I freed it.  Next time you indulge, take a good listen.  It’s quite a lovely song.

God there is so much to say.  Getting back to “getting back on the horned horse syndrome~ it would have been so easy to cling to the failure aspect of my cracked commitment.  But I didn’t.  I just dusted off my tremulous, feminine self and swan dove right back into the game.  That style of play is not my habit.  I am much more well versed at reprimanding myself for messing up and then using it as evidence of my quintessential unworthiness… but coming from one who has tried both tactics, I recommend the climb right back up on the unicorn and keep on ridin’ game.  I might not get the gold (this time), but maybe the bronze, or the tin!  And thanks to my willingness to forgive, let go and return to the practice, I have been having some orgasmic experiences that MUST have re-scrambled the eggs of the universe.  (A sparrow is bathing in a gutter puddle!  I feel frigid just watching from inside the café!  But it is epically cute!!!  So fluffy and ecstatic!)

The female body is capable of pleasure that transcends anything that language could hope to touch, stimulate or justify.  Many people have thought me mad for undertaking this endeavor, as if cumming were really the meaning of life or something.  And there have been days when I thought they must have been right.  But those were days I was not invested in my pleasure at all.  The days that I am, and I step courageously toward the VAST, uncharted territory of my own bliss… I’ll tell you what~ I have stumbled into the Holy Land, and it rocks far harder than some momentary quake, no matter how fierce it’s reading on the orgasmic Richter scale.  It’s like comparing the spontaneous realization of Eternity to a handful of skittles.  Now if you chow down on the skittles as one awakened to Eternity, I suppose you have cracked the code and have mastered the holy straddle of the chasm of dualistic infinitude… but that’s not the case for most skittle chompers.  Bottom line?  I found something.  I stumbled on something that some awakened, knowing part of me knew I was seeking, yet could not yet articulate.  It is electric, it is infinite.  It is worth the perhaps clumsy pleasure paradigm shift.  What is the secret?  OPEN.  SURRENDER.  OPEN.  SURRENDER.  OPEN.  SURRENDER.

Today is Monday.  You better believe that I went to my first church research yesterday.  And here’s the miracle~ My dad was in town (from Reno), which in its self is a miracle, since he RARELY visits… But I invited him and his wife and twin eleven year olds to Glide with me and they accepted!!!  So not only did I kick off this triumphant research project, but my dad was present at its conception.  I am thirty years old.  I don’t think he has been to church once in my entire life. (unless his wife managed to get him to her catholic institution when he was still driving under the influence of honeymoon…)  MY DAD WENT TO CHURCH WITH ME.  He asked, “are they going to talk about Jesus?”  And I thought to myself, “oh, fuck, they might… what do I tell him???”  I am so curious what that means to him.  SO WHAT if they talk about Jesus???  How awful is it to sit and listen to the inspiring stories of a man who was truly committed to being a living embodiment of unconditional love and service?  A man who persevered beyond the comfort zone of imagined separation, limitation, preached into existence by a frightened, dillusional, limited mind…

Originally I imagined that Monday’s blog would be dedicated to a full disclosure on the previous day’s church experience, but that ain’t gonna happen.  I think I’ll dabble in the recounting all week.  For now, the pressing thing to say is that I feel like I SHOULD like Glide better than I did.  It is so ALIVE, what’s not to love?  Its foundation is unconditional acceptance of every single human being.  What is more Holy than that?  I can’t think of anything.  Except maybe my non-climactic orgasms of late…

But I don’t really like gospel music.  Sure, their choir is awesome and so charged with spirit…but… The minister, Cecil, kept demanding ANOTHER song, which inevitably meant standing up… a-gain.  Clapping in rhythm.  A-gain.  My favorite recent past time is to knit in church.  To sit quiet and anonymous in my seat and let my hands meditate and produce something useful as I soak up rich and nourishing words that worm their way into lost civilizations of holy knowing, buried in the thick jungles of my heart.  Be forewarned~ Glide is not a knitting church!  Glide is a clapping church.  Furthermore, I can NOT clap and sing, which is SO EMBARRASSING to admit.  The congregation was invited to sing along with This Little Light of Mine, and within the space between heartbeats, I was all tangled up in rhythmless chaos.  Mykael finally whispered permission for me to give up on the clapping aspect and just sing, God bless’im!  My polyrhythmic dimness is one thing that is hard to love and accept about being me.  Even when I’m happily clapping praises in the church of unconditional acceptance.

“Cigarettes and booze can only take you so far.”

I wasn’t sure how to close, but then my prize-winning barista sat down next to me and chowed down on his ham and cheese sandwich on baguette, weaving between ravenous bites and frivolous snippets of gossipish conversation.  And how beautifully he summed it up for us!

Stay tuned for more unfurling Revelation!

Babies Bobbing In My Bath

It’s windy right now.  There’s something vulnerable about watching humans in the wind.  Watching their hair flail about and plaster to their faces, sensing their simultaneous discomfort and rapture.  Anyway, the good news is that I figured it out!!!  I figured out the purpose of long term, committed relationship! (If I were you, I wouldn’t take my claim sitting down though…)  Did I REALLY figure it out?  Probably not, but it “seems” like it.  Ahhhh, the seeming.  Holy smokes!  Seeming for president… Actually, I’m pretty sure that seeming IS the president, and has been for centuries.  But this is not a political rant.  Who cares about politics when there’s human relationships?!?!

I knew that Mykael was gonna spend the day with a friend today.  And I felt jealous because they are going to this beautiful beach, which according to Mykael is covered in rainbow colored rocks (but like I told you before, he has wizard vision.  He sees rainbows in your garden variety, organic grey scales), and I felt left out.  I haven’t been getting out into nature enough, so here I am A-gain, at the café, feeling the stream of traffic and psychic chaos as if it is all flowing right through my center, which I guess it is, since I am the dreamer, dreaming this dream of the main thoroughfare of Piedmont Avenue, teaming with oh so civilized civilization slicing right through the center of my mind, suckling my nerves like over grown babes with oral fixations.  Anyway, so this morning I asked Mykael if he was excited to spend the day with this dude.  He said he was nervous.  That threw me off.  Why would he be nervous about going to the beach with a good friend?  Because, he informed me, he would be “shrooming”.  OH!  Well this is fucking news to me.  And I felt bitch slapped by the spontaneous additional information.  Alienated, excluded, surprised, confronted… and you throw those ingredients in the pot and simmer them under the hot flame of exacerbated old wounds and it becomes an alchemical disaster.

Today I believe that a cornerstone purpose of relationship, at least in MY world, is to serve as a magic mirror.  A magic mirror that is way harder to break than your garden variety glass and metal job.  Or even any other fleshy rendition of reflectivity.  Mykael has been a broken record, constantly bringing it to my attention that I am choosing to see the worst in him.  It’s true.  I have been having a really challenging time focusing on the good things about him. (It’s not hard, given how he’s behaving… but still…) Feels like an addiction.  And speaking of addiction, I can see that my ways of being in Relationship are WROUGHT with addiction, and this is a big piece of why I have been plotting my escape.  It’s really my additive behaviors that I want to break up with. I hate admitting this, because automatically, this confession of awareness raises me up to a new level of personal responsibility… which I suppose is good, but confronting too.  That’s what I love about writing.  I love to show up on the page as deeply honest as I dare to dive, and inspire you to choose the same game, the same journey into self and Self.

In this magic mirror, I am seeing all my incongruencies.  I see that often times, the wounded little girl is in the driver’s seat.  She is needy and clingy, punishing and demanding.  As I evolve, I am discovering that I am a very powerful woman.  But my power is unripe and even dangerous when the aching three year old is the one wielding it.  Yikes, right?  “LOVE ME,” is her ceaseless mantra, and no matter how much she is loved, it is NEVER ENOUGH, and all the while she is swinging a samurai sword three times bigger than she is.  I believe that we are all wounded children, imagining the most epic mother of all betrayals.  The betrayal of God.  (APL= All Pervading Light, for those of you who wake up in severe night sweats due to the abused, battered, scarred “G word”)  Anyone who is paying attention must feel the ache that it is to be invested in this dream of separation.

Love.  To be made of the stuff… and still acting as a beggar at the door to our very own nature.  That’s enough to drive even the most average, corporate person mad after enough cooking time.  But we all have this program uploaded in our collective mind that tells us that finding a mate will cure us of this consuming ache.  It won’t.  Once upon a time, I used to find my wounded behaviors acceptable.  Now I am thirty and life is pulling me deeper into my core, purpose, truth, maturity.  And it is becoming intolerable to let little baby me have the wheel so much of the time.  Doesn’t work.  I want to grow.  But I don’t want to change, I don’t want to let go.  Yes I do!  No I don’t!!!  NO!!!! YESSSS!!!  You see?  It is like this in me.  Is it like this in you?

Just for the record, Mykael is totally imperfect.  But just for the record, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US is totally imperfect.  The question is, do I want to traverse my short time as Athena Grace, with my eyes fixated on the faults of myself and others?  No thanks.  It’s a bad habit.  (One that according to vedic astrology, is a much stronger inclination to one who was born in the dark of the moon.  That would be yours truly.)  (I am feeling calcified and stiff from all this serious talk, so I just stretched and breathed and looked around at the café full of PEOPLE.  This rainbow of skin tones and ages and life experiences.  So many hands lifting refined flour and sugar lumps to open, anticipating mouths.  Proper mouth wiping with crumpled brown paper napkins.  Eyes lost in distant, lonely dreams or buried in glowing screens.  Voices and silence and bad modern rock music.  Woops, the old man with the long scraggly white hair and salt and pepper beard and mustache combo dropped a layer of croissant sheet in his pint glass of milky coffee.  He fished in for it with his weather beaten hand, on the pinky of which he wears a thick turquoise and silver ring.)

What was the turning point inside me, when I realized that Mykael was the ally, not the enemy?  I can’t even remember.  But what I DO remember is that time after time, he steps into me.  Moves closer even when I invest all my strength in pushing him away.  I find this odd. Why doesn’t he break and quit?  I would if I were him.  Curious that this woman with abandonment issues would keep attracting the most loyal, indestructible men on the face of the earth, eh?  (If only he was RICH and loyal and indestructible… Ha!)  Another question I have is, WHY do I fight so hard to stay closed when I touch my pain?  I want to be great enough to open in the face of my ache… but every time, I fight.  WHY?

Look at this~ I say I want to feel what it is to be alone, Athena with nothing added, accountable to no one save herself.  Then, Mykael hangs out with a guy friend last night instead of going to Shabbat dinner with me, and then he makes plans to go out and have a psychedelic play date with another friend the very next day and I am devastated.  Independence~ the very issue that I take a warrioress’s stand for becomes reality, mannifest and I cast it to the stone floor, wishing, in a state of hot, childish passion to smash it into an infinitude of useless pieces.  What the fuck?  I need to herd all these rebellious cats inside of me, and hitch them to a sled, so that they can race at full speed toward the Land of Milk and Honey from whence I sprung back in the old days before Jesus and the dinosaurs.

It feels harder to stay in relationship and behave in new, intelligent, empowered ways than it would be to “close up shop”, leave and do it all by myself.  I am going to take the liberty of making a broad generalization now, because I am a studier of humanity and I think I am pretty damn accurate.  Okay, here goes:  In relationships, modern day humans seem to find solace in shoving each other into tight, comfy little boxes.  We create all these mostly unspoken rules, pictures and expectations of the other, and strike this precarious balance by being who we are supposed to be in order to get this scarce commodity called “Love” from the other.(Which as it turns out, is not really Love at all.)  And when one person behaves not in accordance with the “contract”… look OUT.

So you see, I can’t leave.  There are too many stones unturned.  Too many babies still helplessly bobbing in my bathwater.  And sending babies down the drain is a felony, I think.

I Can Do Anything For ONE Day…

Today I have accepted my role in “God’s plan for salvation”, as a course in miracles fondly phrases it.  Yikes.  They invited me for this ONE single day to relinquish all my lofty, flavorless carrots and instead, rest.  Rest into the peace that is always nestled sweetly in the core of me.  I can leggo of all the shallow pursuits of future happiness and peace… just for ONE day, right?  I mean there’s always tomorrow for me to fixate on whether or not I want to choose Mykael to grow old with.  There’s always tomorrow to sear myself into the grill of regret around breaking up with E*.  And tomorrow too, I can neurotically ruffle my own feathers to a bloody pulp over financial concerns!  But for one day, I can totally recognize the implicit perfection in this strange and beautiful slant in which I have somehow, strangely come to believe myself to exist.  Just for today I can relax my belly, rest my guts and simply BE.  It won’t kill me…

Or maybe it will.  God’s plan for salvation does include ego death.  Oh well, shhhhhhh… don’t mention that part to my fearsome little sheath of illusory identity.  Maybe she won’t notice till it’s too late.

The thing is, I don’t know what to say as one dedicated only to full surrender.  I wonder if I was truly surrendered, if the “Holy Slave Driver” (I’m teasing.  It’s a way to poke fun and call God names.  We have that kind of relationship.  The kind where we give each other noogies and serve as the divine butt of each other’s jokes… Don’t worry, it’s all in fun!)  But ahem, because would the Holy Slave Driver even have me here, indulgently plinking away on the keys?  I hope so.  Because here I am, and it feels non-negotiable.  Besides, there is so much to discuss.

I might as well tell you… wait… God?  Is it okay if I talk about you know what with them???  Well, I just dropped into deep meditation for a sec, and God said YES!!!!  Would you prefer that I refer to God as “All Pervading Light” today?  Does that make you feel more comfortable and at peace?  APL… that’s what I’ll call God today.  Just for the sake of setting your skeptical mind at ease.  Semantics, man… Who cares?  The heart of the matter is that there’s something good about all of this existence as we know it business…  Shoot!  All that effort to take care of your frightened mind and I forgot what I was gonna tell you!  I think three threads wish to be expressed through me today.  1) An update on my relationship to my Relationship.  2) Rock climbing as a perfect mirror.  3) The first scratch on the surface of the topic of women’s body image  4) The Guru who lives in my back yard.  Will I be able to knock out the whole baker’s quarter of a dozen?  Maybe not… but thankfully, I am still a subscriber to the concept of time and space and that means that there is such an ingenious invention of a thing called “tomorrow”, not to mention “the day after tomorrow”!!!  As I see it, in relation to writing, this is a great thing, because I LOVE writing SO MUCH.  I sit here in prostration to my keyboard, to my glowing screen, music pumping into my ears, the angry scraping groan of the coffee grinder pressing its way into my ears too, and my heart folds open like a fast motion video of a lotus in bloom.   This is the meaning of life for me. (APL, is it okay that I said that?  Does it groove with my role in your plan for salvation???? SAY YES, damn it.  Please say yes!!!)  (I bet that my open heart is a stellar indicator that APL is saying yes… Don’t you think?)

So last night was “date night”.  Mykael and I have recently started the practice of taking turns planning it.  You see, week after week we were finding ourselves in this lackadaisical place of “what do you wanna do?”  “I dunno… what do YOU wanna do?”  Which inevitably meant the most mundane evening in which I cook dinner, as I do every single night of my APL given life, and then we smoke a little pot and watch a movie and maybe have sex.  Honestly, I love these activities.  Especially in the dark, cold breath of winter.  But now that spring has sprung, we are both ferociously wanting to come unstuck.  So.  It was my turn.  The days leading up to date night, I was flooding with sweet inspirations like sitting outside on the patio at Caesar, sipping wine and sketching each other.  Wandering to the top of the hill in the cemetery and watching the sun set, splurging on a hot tub at piedmont springs, practicing orgasmic meditation on each other… But then the day came and I was over tired and also feeling all my doubts about the relationship and suddenly, my inspiration was nowhere to be found.  Shoot.  Blast it!  I just wanted to be taken out to dinner.  I was beat and didn’t want to generate.  Just to be treated like a purring princess, sitting in the waning evening sun, sipping red wine, nibbling on crunch, salty things, squishing and chomping on sweeter more enchanting tidbits.

I have been judging myself for this, and trying to pretend it’s not so, but last night, I just let myself be honest.  I want a man who takes me out on the town.  I want a man who wines and dines me, takes me to the ballet, the theater…  Mykael ain’t makin’ much money right now, nor has he been for the two year duration of our relationship (let alone ever)… so if I want to be wined and dined in his company, it is ME who’s footing the bill.  If I’m footing the bill, to me, that equates to less money that I have to buy myself simple things like RENT.  Like work clothes, a second hoodie (since I wear the SAME one every day), blah, blah, this is the scarcity based monkey chatter that I subscribe to on most days.  But not today!  Because today I accept my roll in APL’s plan for salvation, yo!  Tomorrow, though, I might just sink back into the pit of my dreams of scarcity and fear.

So anyway, I felt so full of resentment that if I wanted to go out for a frivolous night on the towne, it was on my dimes and nickels (and bears oh my!).  So I shut down, became pouty and punishing and then date night got canceled.  I felt simultaneously devastated and relieved.  Mykael I would venture to guess felt PISSED and HURT, since I heard a symphony of doors and drawers slamming from his room shortly thereafter.  Then he went into the kitchen to make himself pasta (which I refuse to eat 99% of the time) with asparagus.  I was starving too, since we ate an early lunch and then worked out and now it was seven pm… But I was too devastated and disappointed to forage through our scanty pickins in the fridge.  Oh, no, wait, I did end up standing, blinded by the light of the open fridge a few separate times, closing the door in a state of rigid overwhelm and pacing back to my bedroom… where I turned in restless circles before flopping down in a dramatic heap of anguish on my bed.

I don’t understand how his reserve tanks always seem to have SOMETHING in them, but Mykael eventually came in and flopped down on top of me and told me that I really needed to eat something.  THIS GENEROSITY IN THE FACE OF MY WRATH AND CONDEMNATION????   Where on earth does he come up with it?  I was humbled.  Even still it was difficult for me to give it up and open.  But I knew the alternative sucked ass… because I’d been living it for the last half an hour.  So I gave it up and proposed dinner at the Boot and Shoe service, down the hill from us.  Incase you don’t know, they make hella gourmet, bomb-ass pizzas in a cute, infernal wood oven.  The ambiance is A#1.  Dim, moody, bustling.  All the wait staff is young and hot and friendly as hell.

TO BE CONTINUED.

There’s God In Them Thar Hills!!!!

Well, God would have it this morning that I sat myself next to a man from Nigeria, who was chosen at the ripe old age of five to be a catholic priest.  You see, I told him my name was Athena.  He exclaimed, “The goddess!”

I said, “Yup, wisdom and war, baby… though people conveniently leave out the war part on a very regular basis.”  They do.  Whenever I tell people my name, the popular response is, “The goddess of wisdom!”

…Yeah, the goddess of wisdom who happens to be carrying a massive shield and sporting a high-fashion warrioress’s helmet… I guess war as we know it is a pretty frightening subject.  Better to just pretend it doesn’t exist, eh?  But then there’s the quintessence of all wars~ the war we fight inside ourselves every day.  The war that the ancient Indian sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita metaphorically addresses.  This is the war between the ego and… “The Great Love”, I’ll call it.  Yikes.  Talking about “religious matters” is a slippery slope, isn’t it?  Well, suffice to say, that I like to think that Athena’s stand for imbuing war with wisdom is a courageous stand for the highest, especially in the Holy battle fields that stretch across the interiors of every human heart.  At least that’s what THIS Athena stands for.  I am committed to cultivating my wisdom and intelligence and using it as a trusty ally in winning the only battle worth fighting.  The fight for peace in my heart, in my mind, here and NOW.

But, the crafty philosopher asks, does it HAVE to be a fight?  Fighting is the antithesis of peace, ain’t it?  After all, war begets war…  Maybe, oh Crafty One… but for now, all this devoted warrioress can do is fight this relentlessly chattering, fearful ego machine.  My bullets are made of condensed conviction, perseverance.  My gun powder is feverish devotion to a vision of something that I can not see with my eyes, but damn it, I know it exists.  I know that there is a world within me that is unbounded divine light, and that it is possible to live life unified with this great light.  And this silly, frivolous mind that never shuts up and ceaselessly dangles those wicked carrots all up in my sheee-it… You know, the carrots who seduce gullible little me with visions of a future wrought with every shade of wealth, happiness and peace (meanwhile, my heart is tight and trembling)… those carrots that that are designed with state of the art, aerodynamic elusivity…

How many times must I tell myself that this is it?!!??!  This is the only moment where happiness and peace are truly at my disposal.  Is this good news, or bad news?  You decide.

Anyway, a few days ago, I had this epiphany that I would start a research project in which I will visit a different church every Sunday, and blog about my experience.  TIME THE FUCK OUT!!!  The Nigerian would-be priest just strode up to my table with a handful of large, wet, glistening CARROTS.  I am SO FUCKING SERIOUS.  Really.  I swear.  He offered me one.  I said no thanks.  I said, “Listen, Your Piousness, you take your seductive, crunchy-assed carrots and shove them where the sun don’t shine!!!”  No, of course I didn’t say that.  I considered taking one, but I didn’t feel like starting my digestion at ten forty three am, so I politely declined, and very jubilantly exclaimed to him that I was writing about carrots as we spoke.  This is the man who was just preaching to me about how he didn’t trust faith as far as he could throw a whale-sized carrot.

God, you are SO, SO, SO brilliant!  Thank you for the comic relief… I was getting pretty heady this morning… Time in.  So I’m excited to explore religion, because I throw the word GOD around with such devotion and gaiety, in the face of a world that is AT WAR AS I TYPE THIS, in the name of GOD.  I forget that sometimes.  In my little microcosmic, insulated slice of forgetful heaven, “my God is an awesome God”, (as the beloved David Lurey would rapturously sing on occasion).  Suddenly I am insatiably curious about what “the masses” are being spoon-fed in all the holy edifices of the bay area… and maybe eventually the country, and the world!!!

I proudly disclosed my blue printed plans for this project to my Nigerian friend nesting at the table next to me… and little did I know that HE had a story.  Back in Nigeria, he was sent away to catholic schools from a very early age, so that he could be groomed for the rigorous vocation of Catholic Priest.  Good for him, right?  Wrong.  At age fourteen or fifteen, suddenly the raging river of testosterone knocked him on his ass and he became consumed with lust and curiosity about all things pussy.  Woops, I mean, “girls”.  Let’s not be lewd here, Athena.  Well this was BAD NEWS according to Father So-And-So.  My friend was sent to perform “penance”.  He informed me that the “English translation” for penance is more equivalent to “torture”.  He was sent away to a cloistered “retreat” (more like a “prison”) where he was fed bread and water once a day, slept on a cement slab and commanded to pray for hours on end to be purified of this “demon” called Lust.  After months of that, he was permitted return to school.  Foolish man, he confessed that penance had in fact not helped the situation, but actually exacerbated it.  (No, I don’t really consider this man foolish, I just wrote it for dramatics.  Actually, I perceive him to be highly courageous… to stand in his truth in the face of EVERYTHING on the outside negating his experience.  That takes some serious balls if you ask me.)

He stayed in this caustic, soul contaminating environment clear up until he was twenty two years old!!!  Don’t you think that’s a long assed time to be hanging out in a place that insists you are broken and possessed for wanting to explore your sexuality and speak your truth?  I do.  And when he left, he straight up FLED.  And he said that the “Holy Men” had pumped him all fulla this fear that he was bound to be struck by bolts of lightening hurled by an angry god at any moment.  Wow.  He said since then, he has been a seeker.  Since then, he has been asking a steady stream of questions.  They sure tied him in some tight knots.  No wonder he don’t dig no faith.  To him, faith means believing stupid shit like the Immaculate Conception without question, investigation or the entirely natural shadows cast by healthy doubt.  Then we had a laugh, because he flipped over the splayed open book on his table and showed me the title, “The Portable Athiest”.

So this is the world “outside” that I have to contend with, EH?  Good to know.  Humanity?  Are you listening?  Take my hand… We’re gonna go on a journey!  We’re gonna go on an adventure!  We’re gonna skip and frolic through the plethora of churches in this contemporary and diverse world… and hopefully, be able to sip the delish nectar of Love that quivers like a tremulous wishing well at the center of all of them.  It’s like panning for gold.  Sure, it’s an arduous process, picking out all the rocks, gravel, calcified beliefs and unwieldy clumps of control mechanisms… But then you have ga-ga-ga-GOLD!  Ga-ga-ga-GOD!!!!  La-la-la-LOVE!  A kind of Love that One really has no choice but to brake for, because it is so magnificent, healing, inclusive!  That’s what the miners really meant when they exclaimed, “There’s GOLD in them thar hills!!!”  They meant there’s god in them thar mountains of human confusion, war and pain… trust me…

Oh, and did you know there’s a Guru living in my back yard?!

Who Knew Salvation Was Only A Haircut Away…

I think the barista must have forgotten how beautiful she is.  I kept finding my eyes lingering about her satiny platinum skin… entirely of their own accord.  And I felt this tough girl vibe from her, as if she was saying “what the fuck are you lookin’ at me for, lady?”  All this was very subtle though.  It’s the kind of conversations we have all the time as we swim about our blushing, incognito lives, amidst other racing humans, but mostly do not have the presence of mind to notice, except once in a while.  Anyway, if she had have remembered how beautiful she was, she would have felt that it was completely natural for my eyes to play about her flower petal skin.  But here she was, just slingin’ coffee for the masses and gathering crumpled wads of meaningful paper, smoothing them and organizing them lovingly in a special drawer.  Mundane.  This world seems to be designed for us to constantly forget our radiance.  This world is a plea for us to time and again and maybe even once and for all remember our radiance.  I’ve been in her shoes.  Someone is staring at me and I am thinking to myself, “Man, why you gotsta be all up in my she-it, back off, wouldja?”  But if I could just remember that they are merely a thirsty soul, feasting upon God’s divided beauty, I would graciously smile and open wider.  Next time…

Okay, there went that topic… Now what?  Where is the weight?  Where is the resistance?  What are the truths that I squirm at the idea of disclosing?  What would God have me say?

A few things.  Mykael gave himself a haircut the day before yesterday.  Finally.  He was only threatening to for the past couple of months.  And then, Wednesday night, I come home from dinner with my fantastic friend Dan, and there’s Mykael, dressed to kill in his gray briefs, lily skin and the pinkest nipples, standing ankle deep in a sea of his own copper mane.  His hair looks awful.  It’s fuckin’ short… and very jagged and sloppy.  I panic, because I have already been feeling repulsed by him, and now he doesn’t even have his endearing eighties sit com heart throb hair.  He looks like he’s been drafted by the military.  Great.  It’s getting on nine o’clock.  He pleads for my aid.  I don’t want to, but I feel compelled to clean up his terrible mess.  I give him a couple of hopeless swipes with his dull scissors before realizing that I am not the messiah that he was hoping for.  He keeps at it.  A buzz here a few snips there.  Buzz, buzz, snip, snip, while I slither between him and the bathroom sink to slather my toothbrush with white, minty paste, stepping in his stunning auburn puddle, tracking sticky locks about the house.

Once when I was maybe fourteen, I cut my mom’s hair on the front porch of our house in San Leandro.  It was a very traumatic experience for me.  I snipped a bunch off, realized the seeming permanence of my actions and panicked at the unruly, erratic slop I had made of her hair.   But there was no turning back, so I fought the fear, and I kept snipping my way to attempted redemption.  But the more I snipped, the more helpless I felt, until I finally gave up and fled to my room in tears where I refused to come out.  My mom finished the job herself and looked seven eights decent upon completion.  Good job, mom.

Time out, because a man just left the café with a large sized cup of something… topped with a bountiful squirt of whipped cream.  He took an eager, glutinous sip as he strode toward the door, and whipped cream clung to his bushy salt and pepper mustache.  I was captivated.  I couldn’t help it.  My eyes were magnets that stuck to his endearing, cream strewn ‘stache.  He was one of those manly men, who looks like they’ve lived a full, manly man’s life, driving big rig trucks down the long, lonely road of life, his stony heart riding shotgun, he stops every few hundred miles to fuel up on chicken fried steak and eggs and a black, steaming cup of folgers at the desolate diner along the endless, rural highway.  He felt my eyes burning holes in his cream coated anonymity and soon enough his wily, leather tongue emerged to lick himself clean the way only a man can.  Priceless.

Time in.  The moral of the story about my mom’s haircut is that haircuts just aren’t my bag.  And that’s okay.  It’s just a horrible feeling to see that I have made a mess of someone’s appearance (!!!)  and the weight of the pressure to fix it crushes my delicate psyche.  I mean, it would be a different story if I knew what I was doing… if I had some actual techniques or something.  But I don’t.  And so I shant give any more haircuts… until I go away to beauty school, once and for all.

But I brought up Mykael’s haircut to say that something has shifted in his being since he cut his hair.  I can see glimmers of hope.  I had been totally wearing the dick in the family. (And loving it and HATING it, but mostly wanting to leave my pathetic pussy whipped man) But now, with his short, almost stylish faux-hock, he pushes back, and I am forced to reorganize my orientation toward our power play.  God, I can be such a sorry little drill sergeant.  Such a punishing father.  But only when I have a willing accomplice to carry out my steely commands.  This new rendition of Mykael hasn’t been so willing.  I think I like this, though it is a bit startling.  It’s kinda funny to notice our dynamics and poke fun at them.  This morning I was feistily teasing him about how big my balls were; how much space they took up in my briefs.  Listen, I don’t want to make a habit of this game… but it’s refreshing to reveal the covertly ruling, subterranean energies playing out in a relationship and then act them out in a comical way… just to let them know that they are no longer slipping under the radar and dominating.  Just to let them know that they are not so mighty and all powerful.

I announced my enormous balls as I attempted to pin him down on my bed.  “Surrender to me.  Surrender to my huge balls,” I commanded, as I exerted my full force, pressing down on him, feeling like a semi-domesticated tigress.  But thankfully, after not too much struggle, I was the one pinned, entirely helpless and choking on my own peels of exhausted laughter.  Thank God.  Maybe there’s hope for us after all.



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