Once and for all, IS this Enlightenment?

Eric used to tell me, “this IS enlightenment,” which always made me want to claw his eyes out.  Why?  Because if this is IT, then I have indubitably taken a good few wrong turns along the way.  Which ever “way” that is… If this is it, I want my money back.  This is an attitude I have dragged around with me for as long as I can remember… Though honestly, it blows and I am looking to leave this gnarly attitude at an unsuspecting pawn shop any day now, or better yet, just toss it off in the emotional recycle bin.  Because in this very moment, I am looking around and I can’t find any evidence to negate that this is indeed enlightenment.

I tried a new café (!!!!!!) today.  And I glory to god, did I score!  It’s actually the best café ever!  It’s Pizziolo, the restaurant owned by the same rockstar folks who own my beloved Boot and Shoe service.  Here at Pizziolo, they offer the simplest breakfast of toast, homemade doughnuts and blue bottle coffee drinks.  I am having a latte.  The organic clover milk tastes so sweet, and the blue bottle ristoretto shots are smooth, deep and nutty.  Not to mention, the place is packed.  Every single table in the whole place is occupied.  I am sharing with two randoms.  One of whom, I realized was my choir director when I was like fourteen… I didn’t realize this until I sat down next to her and she looked up to see who was gonna be gettin’ all up in her aura.  “Small world”, as we say in my country.  Incase you forgot, I am an ambiance junkie.  And I am in heaven here.  It’s the best of Italy and California rolled up into one phat smokable moment in the life of Athena Grace.  (Though the barista called me Nina… I guess he couldn’t hear me over the swanky crooning of Nina Simone.  Oh, that’s it!  He was inspired by the music… Oh wait, she didn’t start singing until I had already placed my order, it must have been prophetic!)

God, I just got up to go to the bathroom (Which is also very aesthetically pleasing, elegant.  Man, am I a sucker for a pretty bathroom!) and I thought how ridiculous it is that I’m a writer.  What I mean is, that I am here, marinating in this stellar ambiance, basking in it, drinking it through every pore, even the pores in my mind, and I feverishly yearn to be able to translate my feelings of appreciation and inspiration.  I want to take you here with me to this room saturated with slow crooned jazz, hissing, burbling milk, muted voices exchanging their frivolous though seemingly crucial mind contents.  You should see all these faces!  So many races and ages.  It’s hard for me to believe that the whole world isn’t as racially integrated.  Oakland is awesome.  Over half the people in here are on laptops.  A bunch more are absorbed in books.  I love seeing people absorbed in books… it turns me on.  Writing in journals does too.  I always feel tempted to peek at the exorbitantly private scrawlings, discover the secrets of one single serving universe.   The walls in here are “shabby chic”. Some parts are exposed brick.  The art is eclectic and makes me want to go home and paint.  That’s my criteria for what constitutes “good art”.  To me, “good art” is art that causes my own creative urges to rise and surge through me.

Language.  Only one petty letter at a time.  Words politely forming single file lines to march quietly from inside me, to your mind… make you see, feel, wonder, understand, discover uncharted parts of you…me… the world.  Do these words take you deeper inside, or outside and beyond?  Where do you want to go?  Where do I want you to go?  I want you to taste the sweetness… of… enlightenment.  The kind of enlightenment that happens when you allow yourself to sink into a single slice of now, forgetting for a brief little heap of relieving moments, all those ideas of “yourself” that extend backwards and forwards, binding, containing and constraining you.  This is enlightenment.  When I suffer and fight, it is because I am living in the tangle of past and future, which mostly strangle my sense of awe and freedom, right here, right now.

This is on my mind because twice in the past couple days, Mykael told me that he thinks I work too hard at my spirituality.  He said he wishes for me the ability to just pause and rest in the sweet fruits of all that I have cultivated thus far.  Hearing this, I somehow felt attacked.  I have such a staunch belief that this is NOT it.  “This”… You know, this world full of daily grinds and shifty eyes (As I was gathering my thoughts, I met eyes with this handsome Italian looking man, lost in his own glowing screen.  We had an awkward, guarded moment of connection, before pulling away and diving back down into our respective, private cyber worlds.  The exchange left me feeling cold and fidgety.)  I got pretty seduced by tantric philosophy once upon a time and according to that wild bunch known as the Kashmir Shavites, this IS it!  God is Everything you perceive in this world, in this moment.  I can not deny that this is it.  I can not deny that all is a grandiose, optical illusion cast as an ecstatic play of light… But… I also have a lot of undoing to be done (that was supposed to be funny) before I can just let it be.  No sleep till I’m spilling with sweet peace.

I cried when Mykael told me that I work too hard.  He hit a nerve. Often, my whole existence feels like one exhausting effort to justify being here, to merely survive and hold up the world, which might otherwise collapse on my like a windless parachute.  By afternoon, I can barely keep my eyes open.  But I don’t know any other way.  Eric used to see me in a similar light as Mykael does.  This spiritually ambitious woman who might be missing the boat altogether, because she is too busy TRYING to chew her leg free from an accidental trap called “life”.  But I don’t know any other way.  My sun, moon, rising sign and my mercury are all in Capricorn* (*according to western astrology), which basically means that I have been smitten with the double edged blessed curse, cursed blessing of being way too ambitious.  I wonder what I’d do with myself if I stopped trying so hard…???  Would I be here writing right now?  Or just petting puppies with one hand and holding my sumptuously melting ice cream in the other?… I can’t say, because as far as I can tell, I’m me, and this is what I do.  Maybe life experience will tenderize me and some day, I’ll be blessed with the remembrance that there honestly ISN’T anywhere to get to.  But for now… something in me feels that I MUST write… and STRIVE.  (As the old adage goes, “I’ll go to the movies when I’m dead”.)  I must drown myself in spiritual ideas until I can no longer breathe life into this false self I seem to be dragging around everywhere I go.

One breath at a time, Athena.  One patient word, and then another and another.  What if I just widen my gaze and drink in everything at once, and then let it sing and tingle out my very fingertips?  I want to share this privileged, electric bouquet of externality with you.  I want to steep myself in this infatuating ambiance and perfection and then spit it out as a wish, as a gift, as an artifact of a strange world that I think I might be dreaming… or is it dreaming me?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. contoveros
    May 11, 2010 @ 18:56:11

    Awaken with a kiss!
    But stay in the moment. Don’t go back or think too much of tomorrow. Now is everything, as you so elequently put it in your writing.

    Can the spirit of enlightnement arise through your writing? Of course it can, and it does. That’s why you write. You are touched by the love within that urges you to let it flow out to engage, nurture and aid others along the same path you seek your happiness.

    Yes, drink it in. Sip with eyes closed and focus within. Ease on to that well of the Divine that allows you to share Love with me and all other sentient beings.


    I may return for a few more drinks before my journey ends. It’s quite intoxicating.

    michael j
    conshchocken, pa usa


    • Athena Grace
      May 11, 2010 @ 19:07:24

      Michael J,
      Your heart and mind bleed with lovely language! I am impressed. Thank you for your heartful, insightful comments!
      Peace and Sumptuousness to You!


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