Living the Life of My Dreams: Yes I Dare!

I finally received the sign that I was asking for last week!?!?!  How do I know?  Obvious, I FELT it.  Honestly, we humans have a tendency to make shit so complicated… when REALLY our feelings will tell us the truth every time.  As I sat in church listening to Terry McBride passionately remind each of us of our divine MAGNIFICENCE, my body reverberated with unmistakable aliveness.  My attention was single pointed.  Presence was effortless.  (I felt the same as the choir SANG!  Fuck can they SING!!!  I swear, they make me cry every time.  And I love looking at their diverse, shining, holy faces.  So many stories, emotions, experiences, hopes and dreams.  So many colors and shapes and expressions of light!  You would be AMAZED!!!)  He told us that we are each the living Christ, NOW(meaning we are divine children, fashioned from the very potent fabric of the All Pervading Light that is this Universe).  There’s nothing we must do in order to earn this innate privilege.  Yes, my mind shook and trembled under the weight of his bold stance.  He said he’s not a proponent of the school of “go with the flow”.  Nope… Unless the flow happens to be going where HE wants to go.  Otherwise he will change it.

I have been toiling in this very inquiry of how much is my life is up to God, circumstance, destiny, fate, flow… and how much is it my right, responsibility, privilege to engage my individual will and CAUSE my life?  Believe me, this inquiry fucks my mind every single time… and not in an even remotely erotic sense.  I have been plenty tumbled and pummeled by the waves of life, victimishly billowing in breezes that seem to be but a ceaseless stream of miraculous, haphazard chaos, in my thirty years this time around.  And frankly, it BLOWS.  But hearing this unabashed, vital, bold, sixty six year old man who survived a spinal infection that was “supposed to” be fatal, who survived more than twenty surgeries throughout his twenties, doctors telling him to “be realistic”… this man standing before me, fully present, alive, HEALTHY and adamantly conveying a message of personal power to every single human being who has the interest in waking up to our innate, divine power…

What?  Well, his stand certainly stirred up some dis-ease in me.  These teachings of infinite personal power demand a high-assed level of responsibility for one’s dreams, beliefs and actions.  Damn.  Wow.  Yes.  But beneath all the waves of mental conflict caused by the clash of limiting beliefs grating on an invitation to step into a life of liberated choice, passion and vision, the bottom line?  I FELT WIDE ALIVE as he spoke.  And that is how I ALWAYS want to feel.  And I don’t see why I can’t. (As soon as I wrote that, the all too familiar voices of social conditioning flooded in to convince me that that is WAY too much to ask, who do I think I am, life is suffering, I must tolerate… blah, blah, blah… WHO DO I THINK I AM????  I AM GOD.  And so are YOU.)  There are so many thought forms floating around trying to convince us that we have to settle for less… that we must acquiesce to being victims of circumstance much of the time… Nope.  We don’t.  Stay tuned, because I’m rolling up my sleeves and walking the walk.

You know what I’m fucking sick of?  All the collective beliefs we hold in this culture about aging.  We anticipate all the creaks and groans of our withering bones before they even hit.  As soon as they wink their first traces of arrival, we righteously affirm them as our birthright and destiny.  Terry McBride proudly announced that he is sixty six years alive, and all vitality.  Reverend Elouise is like eighty two…  And she too refuses to succumb to these stupid ideas about being physically and mentally limited by the number of times her human vehicle has circumnavigated our resplendent olde friend the sun.  Hell YES!  Let’s dare to flourish till we drop!!!  I have always been so enthused about aging… I imagine that I’ll just get deeper, richer, tastier, like high quality wine or cheese.  But now I see that there is even some bullshit lurking in THAT idea… because it wreaks of a subtle message that I am not DEEP, RICH and TASTY [enough] right NOW!!!  Funk that!  I am done with not being enough right here and now.

I am through with my extended holiday on the isle of existential crisis.  There is too much life to celebrate, NOW.  There are far too many blessings to bestow, NOW.  And certainly there are a pant load too many miracles to bear witness to, NOW!!!  I am ready to love my life.  I am ready to stand in and as the infinite power of a hella fresh, generous, all pervading God in the face of ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.

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Weaving, Whales and a Call to LOVE

I’m at Hudson Bay Café this morning.  Though the café is pretty full, it is ominously quiet here and the energy feels… dull?  It feels to me like we were all at war last night, fighting for something we mostly have forgotten in the first place, and this morning we are all weary as hell and our souls are bleeding in a hundred and eight places.  But our spirits are still full of a covert strain of strength and hope as we all sit in mostly silence together, recharging with warm caffeine and greasy, crumbling pastries.

Am I making this up?  Maybe, but something about this sketch of the now seems valid and true.  I went to my friend Aron’s birthday party last night, and even gathered among friends, I felt like I had three flat tires.  Why?  I dunno… you tell me… what is going ON, on this planet right now?  This morning I found a blog written by a woman who is particularly into looking at the world through the conspiracy theory lens~ (http://pollyann.wordpress.com) And I guess her simultaneously intelligent and righteous slant on things is coaxing my mind into a slightly condemning strain of curiosity.  She seemed to think that Japanese whalers are slaughtering whales mostly to exile their energetic vibration from our planet.  Honestly, this is not so far fetched to me… Come on… think about it~ WHALES.  It doesn’t take a genius to feel whale energy on cue.  When I think of these immense, ancient, peaceful ocean mammals, I flood with respect, awe and an implicit spirituality.  Surely they are anchoring very powerful frequencies onto this planet.

Energy.  Remember, everything is energy… Life is energy soup.  It’s easy to forget, being habituated to our collective hang up on the most gross expression of energy~ physicality, form.  But pan your camera back and switch modes so that you can recognize all of creation as a humming mess of mingling frequencies.  Now consider the frequency cocktail here on earth.  Whoa.  Imagine that cocktail sans whale vibes.  Really… don’t you think that’s fucked?  How long have whales been churning earth’s oceans with peace and ancient wisdom?  That’s right… a LONG time.

I appreciate this mysterious voice of a co-blogger speaking to me through the vastness of the internet, first thing this morning.  But I will say that although I found her perspectives intelligent and expansive, there was an ingredient missing for me.  Love.  Focusing on all the manipulative strategies of control executed by “the powers that be”, by nature induces a sense of helplessness and fear, which can so easily spin out of control, if that’s your default lens on reality.  My feathers were more than a little ruffled after reading her voice on the world’s current wonky state of affairs.  Ruffled feathers… are a good thing.  As long as we use them as a gateway to INSPIRED ACTION.  We are the world’s gardeners, and right about now, we BEST be planting seeds of love, no matter how challenging that feels.  Simple.  Be a kind, generous neighbor.  Pick up trash, even if you weren’t the one to cast in on the unconditionally loving body of our Mother… There are an infinite well of simple ways to love RIGHT NOW.  If you hug someone, hold on an extra heartbeat or seven, and remind the “other” that it’s truly okay to simply rest in this connected place for a few vitalizing eternity wrought moments.

Weaving.  I see my blog as a tapestry woven from the influence and interconnectedness of so many voices, hearts, minds.  No different than life, really… We are raised to believe that we are “INDIVIDUALS”… and yeah, sure, that’s true enough.  But that individuality is but a specific confluence of a whole chorus of voices, ideas, experiences.  A unique weaving of the many colorful threads composing LIFE, its self.  One definition of the word tantra is to weave.  Trust me, tantra is a word that in modern day is used so liberally frivolous.  Most dummies just think it’s this elitist, fancy, spiritual sex.  Ummmm, nope.  Tantra is an ancient-assed spiritual path, embracing the divine through all creation and beyond.  Rather than transcending, ascending, those on the tantric path use EVERYTHING of the here and now as a vehicle of realization.  As I continue to deepen my understanding of the intricate weaving that is life, I am beginning to grasp the idea of tantra as weaving.  One of my Maha (Great) yoga teachers, Sianna Sherman, said that it wasn’t until she took a class in weaving that she TRULY felt intimacy with that definition of tantra.
As I look into the never ending plethora of mirrors that this world provides, finding little pieces of myself everywhere, I am coming to understand the weaving that is me, that is you.  Every book I read, every blog I peek in on, every conversation I have, every single person who anonymously nestles near me in the café, and even the silent though potent presence of our ancient oceanic friends turns over soil in my mind, heart and soul, creating fresh strands of words, feelings, ideas, beliefs.  This is a profound, intricate and indubitably divine weaving.

Am I the weaver, or the woven, or both?  Am I self important to think that I am DOING any of this earth bound, yet celestial weaving?  Is it a collaborative effort between All Pervading Light and little, lovely me?  I yearn to consciously gather each beautiful, sentient thread and weave a world of peace, conscious creativity and reverence for the interconnectedness of all life.  God, may we all actively participate in fashioning the tapestry of life in the spirit of a durable and celebratory LOVE…

Forgiving the Hellish Existential Rollercoaster

I forgive my mind for being a cesspool of hellish, existential thoughts this morning.  I forgive my mind for being a cesspool of hellish existential thoughts this morning.  I forgive my mind…

Ahhhhh… Consider yourself lucky that you are YOU today, and not ME.  I woke up CERTAIN that today was gonna be a stellar day!  Swaddled in the sheets of luxury, I sipped my tea, decadently read my book, Commitment (the book exploring marriage) and celebrated feelings of relaxation, gratitude and wholeness.  Later, after breakfast, I charged into Mykael’s bedroom and announced what a great day it was destined to be!  And then, I guess I lost my footing somehow, because the next thing I knew I was writhing in the vicious, salivating jaws of an existential crisis.  What the hell?  How on earth did that happen?  I couldn’t stop thinking about what an immature soul I am, and how many more times I might have to live, as a result.  I can barely endure THIS life, let alone ten, a hundred, a million MORE lives.  Even if I take new vows of forgetfulness and innocence each time, still, the thought is WAY TOO MUCH for me to bear today.  And somehow I thought I could THINK my way out this prime real estate in hell.  But the more I thought, the more I felt hopeless, overwhelmed, starkly alone and terrified.

I guess now the trick is to simply step out.  Okay.  I’m willing to give it the old college try… but first, I just have to say ONE more thing… I know, I know, that is a dangerous proposition.  But it is important.  Really, I swear.  I was noticing my thirst for fame and fortune.  I live in this pathetic little construct of scarcity, where I habitually see the lack… lack of money, lack of love, lack of you name it… and I have this sorry little egoic plan for salvation.  Some day, somehow, I will become a famous writer.  I will feel fulfilled (some day) (maybe…) knowing that my books explode like frivolously ecstatic firecrackers in the minds of the masses, which in turn, explodes ME in a frivolous, ecstatic manner, and for this, I get paid plenty of money to lead a life of financial freedom, inspired philanthropy and continuous, playful expansion.

Not bad, eh?  See, my carrots really are the kind that can slice through glass… (I know, I know, that kind of carrot is spelled different…)  But then, a barrage of spiritual ideas about our desires being what binds us to this world of illusion, fear and suffering flooded in, and I thought, “fuck fame and fortune, I just want to be DONE here!” But then I started thinking about how pathetic I think renunciates are, when they don’t really feel INSPIRED by the path of renunciation, but they just do it because Buddha did it, and they becomes slaves to a dry, uninspired path of perpetual trying.  It seems so inauthentic to TRY and emulate a spiritual leader, as a cop out from blazing your own holy trail.  I think all great spiritual leaders courageously blazed their own trails (in cooperation with Missus Almighty, of course).  Remember in Herman Hesse’s book, Sidhartha… Sidhartha was following the Buddha for a while, so he had a chance to intimately study Buddha’s hard-core disciples… and they were all so pathetic.  They became robotic dorks, investing everything in some hope bound, conceptual twist to which they incessantly milked for every last drop of creamy, less filling dogma.

I am not knocking the path of choosing a spiritual teacher… But “better to do your dharma poorly than somebody else’s well”… Right?  So, here I am, fighting my dharma, because I just want to get off the ride while it’s still in motion.  Good luck, Athena.  That’s why I stepped onto the page with the sole objective of FORGIVENESS.  Because that’s about all a sistah can do, when she’s stuck on a horrifying, gut wrenching rollercoaster.  Forgive the ride.  Forgive myself for somehow BEING on the ride.  Forgive the ride operator, forgive my fellow riders, as we shriek and squeal and barf all over each other.

Speaking of barfing all over each other, Mykael and I got in a horrid fight on date night last night.  Naturally, we were at Boot and Shoe service.  And again, I was all stoked to have a fantastic evening, since we had not spent much time together at ALL for the past two days.  The glitch?  Well… have you heard that clever-assed saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments”?  Well especially after last night, I attest!  But the tricky thing about expectations, is that they seep in like a slow leak, a flooding basement, perhaps.  You might be upstairs having the dinner party of the century, all the while… and it’s not till the next morning, when you’re modestly hung over and you have a big mess of dishes still to clean, and you go down stairs and HARK, your LP collection is wet, warped and ruined along with all your photo albums full of photos of grandma and grandpa’s wedding day and their proud bathtub full of  nasty moonshine!

Expectations.  I had an expectation that we would have DEEP, satisfying, thoughtful, rich conversation over dinner.  And I was even prepared to generate it!  I had a few prizewinning insights and confessions that I was SURE would serve as a smokin’ kick-off!  But each time I spoke one… ummm… they would drift from my mouth like holy smoke and evaporate mysteriously into the shimmering ambiance.  Well, it didn’t take me too long to flood and nearly drown in disappointment.  But it wasn’t my own for long.  I did everything in my power to cram my disappointment down Mykael’s silent throat.  It started as an innocent confession.  I identified and then verbalized my expectation.  Simple, right?  Wrong.  T’was the recipe for a fierce spat.  (I seem to have an entire recipe book full of gourmet spats… if you ever want to whip one up to impress your loved ones, you know who to call!)

Intrinsically, there’s nothing wrong with my boyfriend having a quiet day, right?  Of course not.  But can you also see that it might sting me to share my innermost thoughts~ I had been cultivating this particular insight for more than… a day~ In my tireless contemplation of partnership, groping for the CORE of my desires, my commitment… I realized that I am nowhere near as good at unconditional love and acceptance as I want to be… and that our relationship is a fertile ground for practicing these invaluable, virtuous spiritual muscles.  I felt surprisingly shy expressing this to him… Because it made me feel vulnerable.  Then, to be met with silence stung.  But I kept stepping back in, sharing more of myself, giving him the benefit of the doubt.  I am patient, until, abruptly, I am not.

As soon as the fight turned from an accidental spark to full throttle, licking flames, he was suddenly more than happy to engage with me.  WHAT THE FUCK, I thought.  How fucking unfair is it, that he isn’t interested in meeting me in the space of my joy and enthusiasm, but as soon as we step into battle and bloodbath, he is right there, shouting back at me.  Meanwhile, I am feeling sick to my stomach and can’t bear to eat the gorgeous, artistically steaming pizza before me.  This pissed me off.  I pointed it out and then BEGGED him to stop talking.  He wouldn’t.  SO I shifted into eighth gear and DEMANDED with the full force of my being for him to STOP TALKING.  He did.  And instead he began to CRY!  “You are so mean,” he said in a voice of wounded, crumpled defeat

Later, outside the restaurant, he named me “the first person EVER to ‘make him cry in a restaurant’”… Can you believe it??!!  Do I get a medal for that, or a death sentence?  I’m still not sure.  What did I do while he cried?  I renounced eating, turned toward him and felt dumbfounded, helpless and sadistically comical.  He would not turn toward me.  After an eternity of those awkward moments, I turned away from him and slowly finished my slice of pizza and we left in loaded silence.

Outside we picked up where we left off.  I hate that.  The feelings (pain and rage) suck.  They feel humungous and threatening, and I always just want to run away and find a private place to bleed and nurse my wounds.  One of Mykael’s most KICK ASS strengths in our relationship is his commitment to getting clear and returning to Love.  Left to my own devices (if I was, say, dating myself…), I would do a lot more punishing, dramatic exits and private wound nursing sessions.  But Mykael doesn’t roll that way.  This is very healing for me.  So we stood outside the bookstore in the cool, breezy, waning evening and SOMEhow, miraculously, we found love again.  I was having a REALLY hard time letting go and forgiving.  WHY?  I think because I’m afraid that if I let go so easily, I’ll just be in a vulnerable position to be hurt again.  So the prideful, gleaming alternative is to hold on to the pain, glorify it, make it the most real and important thing.  Ironic, how holding onto pain is the ego’s remedial solution to not getting hurt again.

??????????

Mykael said he’d accompany me into the bookstore.  I still yearned go be alone so I could continue sulking, but this man was relentless.  His only commitment was to restoring connection.  Fuck, I wanted to fight.  But instead, I just gave voice to my resistance to letting go, and in doing so, stumbled upon some holy flecks of freedom.  He embraced me and I let myself melt.  God, it sure felt better to open than to fight for my right to remain closed.

Later, we had amazing sex.  Strange how that works.

I’m gonna find my way out of this crazy labyrinth… any minute now…

P.S.~ I feel SO much better after getting all this out on the page.  Peaceful and closer to empty.  Hallelujah!!!!  My hope is that you find something of yourself here in this poetic tangle of words and can love your ridiculous humanity more as a result.  Amen.

The Haunted Tunnel of Love~ I Survived!!!

Oh the arduous task of linear thinking.  This morning it feels especially challenging and unsavory.  It’s like my mind is a burning building, ignited by the licking flames of inspiration and wonder, and all the innocent and frightened little words must flee from impending death by exiting my mind through my selfless fingertips, single file.  There is a sense of desperation, to which I can only respond with deep, patient breaths.  But escorting these words out of my wildly flaming mind is a sheer act of love and devotion.  So I breathe.  I sink into an expansive sense of patience, tinkle and pound out one trembling little word at a time.

I came to Mykael’s café this morning (He’s not here.).  Mostly because I couldn’t make myself get on my bike and ride this morning.  I already swam and the idea of biking made me consider crawling straight back into bed… but how lame would that be?!  Walking down the hill was even a stretch, but a very doable stretch.  Britney is working this morning.  She is young and tiny, but fierce.  I bet she could kill if she had the chance.  I like her.  I do not like her drinks though.  Once I came here with Mykael and we both ordered double mochas.  She pulled two sets of shots with the same grounds.  She just let the water keep running through them, until it was pouring like dirty water and she divided the dingy liquid between our two cups. I didn’t say anything, but instead chose to die of repulsion and disappointment. I guess I have not let that go.  But I will right now, because she just made me a decent Americano.  Plus she’s so awake and alive and that’s worth SOMEthing.  (I mean it would be worth EVERYthing, except that she works in a café, which in my mind means that she SHOULD give a shit about the quality of the drinks she makes)

I asked her how she was today and she said she’s awesome, because she’s going on vacation on Saturday.  Vacation!  Of course in my mind’s eye, I immediately saw the tropics, since that’s the quintessence of vacations to ME… I asked her where she was going.  “ROAD TRIP!” She exclaimed as light spilled sloppily from her elated face.  Driving to L.A., then up to Vegas and through the desert, where her boyfriend is lustily planning to shoot his gun!  She said she could LIVE on the road, in her car… but she doesn’t for the sanity of the people in her life who love her and wouldn’t understand or approve of an unconventional life.  Hearing of her passion for adventure, her thirst for the unknown gave me confidence and strength to embark on this next leg of my own journey.

I have been second, third and fourth guessing my rough draft of a plan to release the familiar drudgeries of my daily life and leap across the pacific ocean to tropical, Hawaiian paradise for a much needed healing intermission from this ceaseless pounding Bay Arean saga.

Something that I am finally coming to terms with after thirty years of life is that everyone sure has a unique map and compass when it comes to living life.  When I was heavily considering breaking up with Mykael, naturally I had a hearty cornucopia of conversations with my near and dears… and every single one of them had a unique slant, a personal cup of shoulds for me to sip from.  Ultimately, all anybody could offer me in the way of advice was based on what they had lived through thus far… I am the only one who is qualified to make the choices my life path demands.  And ideally, those choices spring from a deep listening and a long term committed partnership with that sexy hunk upstairs.  (NO, GOD IS NOT A MAN, I’m just poking some necessary fun at the ridiculous concepts that abide just north of the surface of our collective, western minds … relax… God is way too big for my masturbatory reindeer games… but Heavenly Highness encourages me to make gratuitous fun of the human condition as often as I dare.)

Last night Jerry gave me his two million cents on my current situation and choices.  You have to understand that there was a [long] time in my life where I absolutely regarded Jerry’s opinion as GOSPEL.  He might as well have been God.  And then I woke up.  And he was just another man, after all.  It was not so different from the moment that I realized that my mom was not God.  Ouch!  That was fucking painful.  I swear to god, I was convinced my mom was God, (All Pervading Light) until I was nine or ten years old… and then I nearly drowned in a sea of disappointment and resentment.  Thankfully, it was not quite as traumatic when I realized Jerry was not my personal Moses on the mountain.  (Oooh!  Just thinking of Moses got me all hot and bothered!  Why do I love messengers of God so feverishly?!?!?)

Anyway, Jerry came over to my house for a yoga lesson last night and I happened to be dwelling in a cobwebby, shadowy nook of fear… so he proceeded to give me a decadent dose of his opinions on the mater of my path.  You see, he’s a life coach and his whole stupid world recognizes him as the man who sees straight among us.  But… his straight is my loopdy loop.  For the first time, I was able to just listen to him, without losing my own center, perspectives, sense of self.(though it was not exempt from tremors)  He was representing the masculine voice of reason, the father who is logical, who never leaves home without his map, shot gun and an enormous iced mocha.  I think he thinks I am absurd for letting go of everything I have worked hard for and free falling some more.  His sermon was all about planning and striving to fit myself into society’s bone crushing steal jaws.  I told him that I wanted to make money as a writer.  He said I should write for Hollywood.  Hmmmm… Why doesn’t that get my panties wet???  (Now that my mom is a subscriber to my blog, I feel self conscious saying stuff like that… but she told me not to edit on her behalf.  I certainly won’t… but I still feel the smiling sting born of the sense that Mom is watching…)

Anyway, it felt like a rigorous-assed test, to hear beloved Jerry offer me his righteous dissertation on my life and not crumble under the immense weight of his unwieldy perspectives.  Toward the end, I told him that we see things differently.  Part of me wanted to just collapse in a tearful heap of misunderstoodness… But I told myself that his beliefs were just that.  His beliefs.  Then I said, let’s do some yoga.  We sat facing each other with our hands in prayer before our hearts… and he confessed that he was proud of the seat I was resting in inside myself, and that really, he was just poking around at me to see what kind of ground I was standing on as I navigated this fresh incarnation of my journey… And HE APPROVES!  Sheesh!  He acknowledged that somebody is indeed home over here, the lights are on, the roots are  making natural love to their soil beneath my feet.

I SURVIVED!!!  Man, I swear, it was like riding along on my hot pink swan through what was advertised as the tunnel of love, only to realize once I was already cruising down the winding river, that it was the HAUNTED tunnel of love and all I could do was ride it out.  And when the lights came back on and the ghosts disappeared, God put a medal on me, because I made it to the other side with my truth intact!!!  It is such a precarious endeavor… being a sensitive, permeable creature, moving through this insane world and being able all the while to hold true to that which I know in my bones.  In moments like that, it helps to soften into God, and remember that there is NOTHING real but the peace and joy born of oneness with the light inside.

Waiting For a Holy Sign

The quote from the movie One that impacted me the most deeply was spoken by Robert Thurman. He said that we are all IN Nirvana… we’re just really bad at enjoying it. He didn’t even say, “we’re not very good at enjoying it,” he flat out said we’re really BAD at enjoying it. This almost knocked the wind out of me, because it rang SO TRUE.

If left to my own devices, I’d just spend the day in a wretched crumple of salty sobbery. Oh, fiddle, I guess I’m being dramatic, since left to my own devices, I AM doing what I love most~ blogging. I guess what I mean is that it is taking some self discipline not to crumple into a quivering puddle of fear. I may still be standing, but not without an indulgent helping of self pity. I know, I know, it’s such a waste of time, life, energy~ however you want to classify deluded concepts and false investments.

Mykael got the official letter yesterday that he failed his nursing exam …again. What does this mean? Intrinsically, nothing. But if I had to assign it meaning, I’d say that it means that I’m done paying our exorbitant rent and we must let go of our beloved home base and go god knows where and do god knows what. Probably separately. Not that we’re breaking up… I’m sorry. This is probably boring. My fearful mind on loud speaker. Zzzzzz. What I should really be doing right now is having a good cry and then stepping back onto the page cleansed and ready to face my God-given gift of using language to shape reality with a renewed sense of devotional responsibility. But here I am… Seated on a hard wooden bench in the heart of Nirvana, fingers eagerly outstretched on the bouncy, silver keys of my laptop, so I’m just gonna do the next best thing. Write and cry, cry and write, write and write and cry… Strictly as an ecstatic expression of Nirvana, of course…

God? Please send me an explicit sign that you got my back right now. I know, I know, that’s greedy… You give me nothing BUT blessings and signs. But I’d love to just have a nice racy one right now. One that I could share with all of my readers, and they’d be as superlatively stunned as I am, and unwaveringly certain of the humbling benevolence with which Life holds us all. Why is it so hard to believe that life is kind? WHY??? I refuse to buy into this unexamined pathetic strain of fear any more.

Mykael was snuggling me to sleep last night… I was in that sweet nether world infused with blissful oblivion, when THUD! He dropped his stone carving right on my face! My mouth, to be precise. Ouch. It hit my front tooth and my upper lip, which is still mildly swollen this morning. I was so stunned, I began to cry like a child, which felt embarrassing, but I was in such a vulnerable state, that I didn’t have a chance to edit my response. Somehow this incident feels symbolic. He is ultimately more enamored with his carvings than he is with me, (it seems…) and there he was, turning it over and over, stroking it with his adoring gaze in the flickering candle light, when his hands slipped. Woops! Oh well, it’s only Athena’s face.

(I’m still waiting for my sign of your incessant, loving embrace around my life… We’re ready any time, right ladies and gents?) Sometimes it blows to be partners with an artist. He reveres his creations with an obsessive infatuation, which can feel very exclusive to me. (the equivalent would be me reading and rereading my blogs all day long) It reminds me of this children’s book I used to own when I was a kid. It was called Narcissus, and it was about this gorgeous, chestnut horse who was so obsessed with his own beauty that he never made friends with any of the other horses in his pasture. He never learned to play or to love, because he was too busy fixating on the perfection of his physical appearance. Then one fateful day, he was gazing into a still pond at his enchanting reflection when two foals frolicked by and in a flurry of galloping and snorts, they accidentally bumped into Narcissus and knocked him into the pond. Narcissus was bereft when he realized he was soaking wet and covered in unsightly pond scum. But, low and behold, something did free up in him as a result and he learned to play and let go of his self-referential fixation.

No, I suppose Mykael is not Narcissus. If anyone, it is me… sitting here writing up a storm of perpetual self indulgence. In Nirvana, no less. My writing is boring me to tears this morning. Dare I publish this? Sure, why not. I will publish it to show you that even the most BRILLIANT writers have bad days. But you know what? We keep stepping up to the plate, regardless. Because writers write. And that’s all. And you know what else? I shall remain ever vigilant in my commitment to letting go. There is nothing to fear. And everything to let go of. I release yesterday and earlier this morning, and later this afternoon. I request ALL OF ME, here and now, front and center. Athena, listen, Sweetie, Life REALLY does ALWAYS have your best interest in mind. Always.

I still remember like ten years ago, when I was getting coaching from Jerry and he asked me, “What if your only job is to open your heart?” Hearing this tickled me, because at the time, I heard this like I was getting let of the hook from the rest of this real world junk. But now, ten years later, it sounds like Mission-Nearly-Impossible. Can I just open my heart, right here, right now, on cue? And if I COULD, would that be “enough”? Or would it just lead me to another hurdle, like in that children’s book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”… If you give a mouse a cookie, then he’ll want a glass of milk, then he’ll get sleepy and ask for a nap in your comfy bed, but first he’ll challenge you to a pillow fight… etc. If Athena opens her heart… Then she’ll be called to volunteer at the homeless shelter and then someone will ask her to teach them some yoga and then she’ll start teaching yoga to the homeless and then she’ll be called to open an international yoga center for homeless folks… (Athena wishes that if she opened her heart, she’d be called to keep writing, and eventually become a minister…)

I’m yours, God. Use me as you see fit. Do I really mean that? I think so… I’m just afraid that God will make me do something really boring. But why would a God who loves me more than any limping human ever possibly could, condemn me like that? It just doesn’t make sense. Humans condemn, not that which is pure, perfect, universal love and unabashed auspiciousness…

I’m still waiting for my sign… How will I know when it arrives? Because I will feel a surge of awe that nourishes my mind and sweeps my heart with a fresh breeze of peace. Peace. I need not wait to feel peace. Peace has already arrived. But still, I wait for my beneficent sign…

Three Cheers for the Illusion of Separation!

I am noticing a pattern.  Every time I place my order at Pizzaiolo, I start to feel hot and flushed.  It’s not too long before I find myself ripping off my sweater and feeling the cool, sweet relief of fresh, restaurant air. (Only to prance my ignited, dreamy ass over to my table and realize that it is actually COLD in here… and proceed to pull my sweater back over my quietly swooning head) The common denominator?  No… not ME… the cashier.  I’m watching him now, from my seat across the way.  He is so engaged with everyone whom he serves.  His face shape shifts through a vast cornucopia of expressions, many of them involving a smile.  Soul.  The man’s got no shortage of this crucial, divinely human ingredient.  Awe!  He just gathered my Italian boyfriend’s empty cup, meanwhile igniting the Italian in a haphazard erruption of laughter.  I think I’ll go ask for some hot water in my travel mug so that I can interact with him again!  Be right back.

He sniffed the contents of my mug (it had a fully loaded tea ball in the bottom) and he said it smelled good!  My heart is all aflutter.  This morning I woke up feeling rather devastated.  Maybe because I’m changing too fast and I can’t keep up with me.  Not that I’m supposed to keep up with anything.  Quite the contrary.  The change is a shedding, and there is less for me to hold on to than I have ever imagined.  I mean, I could easily hallucinate that there was a whole world of “stuff” to cling to… but hallucinations are… just that.

Loneliness.  This year, I have been learning how to accept the loneliness that abides in my heart.  I suppose we all have our “reasons” for avoiding this particular potent nuance of human beingness… Me?  I was occasionally left home alone from the not quite ripe old age of two.  So being alone sometimes casts unpleasant emotional shadows in me.  (I also cherish being alone and do it often, so it’s an experience as loaded as a gleaming machine gun.  But the irony is that when I feel lonely, my habit is to harden my heart and not let Mykael in… Then I feel even lonelier, being near my beloved, but shutting him out.  This morning I had some insight as to why I do this.

Because the on the other side of this plagued coin that tinkers around inside hollow me, is this nasty compulsion to be saved.  I love casting my man in the role of Savior.  (And, coincidentally, I pick the men who love to play Savior.  Except when they DON’T…)  But throughout my two years with Mykael, I have had a plethora of gut wrenchingly disappointing moments when I have sent out urgent SOSes, calls to be emotionally, spiritually saved, and he stands before me, unwilling and unable to save this damsel who doesn’t even really need saving in the first place.  If only she knew this in her bones.  Maybe she does.  But then, her bones need to spread the word to her brains.  Anyway, I think this has something to do with why I hold myself in when I feel lonely.  Because I don’t want to meet head on the disappointment of that gap where no saving dares to dwell.

Tears drizzled my cheeks as I made my modestly greasy way to the shower.  I thought about oneness.  (I FINALLY finished watching the movie One last night.  I loved it so much and I was absolutely confounded as to why it took me like two fucking months to finish it.  Brilliant.  It was absolutely brilliant.)  Ahem, oneness.  To realize the truth of oneness implies that there is only ONE of us, right?  Well, that sounds pretty fucking lonely to me… even in its sublime profundity.  I could see why the One would dream of the multiplicity.  Duh, to feel less lonely.  Come on, what’s better than good company?!  Usually, when I contemplate the illusion of separation, I feel like I am drowning in an overwhelming sense of boundedness and isolation.  But today, I feel blessed.  I look around at Pizzaiolo and I see my implicit community.  I see fellow humans loving life.  My Italian boyfriend, my valiant, beloved, blush inducing cashier, my choir director, my ancient history crush who I made out with in the back room of the Real Food Company in the year 2000, the chubby, asian baby with enchanted eyes, whom I believe belongs to someone who owns this place and makes me want to have a child of my own every time I look at her warm, lunar luminosity.  Not to mention all these other unique faces, these imprints in the palm of a very generous, expansive and all pervading God.  Even if their bodies are outside me, and no matter how feverishly I pressed my body to any one of theirs, we would never fully merge, I still feel magnificent relief to be here with them.

Ahhh, today is one of those annoying days where I am too hot with my sweater on and too cold with it off, so I keep pulling it off, on, off, on, off…

This is totally unrelated… Or IS it?  I had been wanting to write about my name recently, and then Michael J expressed his curiosity about the very subject I intended to broach.  Is my name *really* Athena?  My name at birth was Dawn Athena Horwitz.  I’ve always adored my first two names.  But the last one?  Never dug it in the least.  It has always felt like HEAVY baggage to cart around.  Which is why when I was twenty, I changed my name to Dawn Athena Grace Kourage.  It stuck like to me like a sparkling, spirit gummed up jewel.  Until I was twenty eight.  At which point, a piece of my path involved shifting gears from the “airy fairy” aspect of my selfhood, into a more rooted, earthy power.  When I spoke the name Dawn, I felt like the word its self drifted up into the etheric stratosphere like a dreamy, rebellious balloon meandering aimlessly on God’s sweet breath.  Whereas when I speak the name Athena, I see and feel a thick, powerful staff rooting into the earth from the very center of me.  No offense to beloved Dawn.  I was born at six oh two am, and I am the dawn.  I am the dawning of something crucial that I can not see in this thick dark hour before my light is visible to that which it is destined to illuminate.

Athena Grace.  With a silent Dawn.  Horwitz?  I suppose I ought to make peace with my ancestry.  Word on the street is that making peace with one’s ancestry is the new rage.  Gone are the days of eighties Tupperware parties.  Here are the days of ancestral healing, recognition, gratitude and my favorite F word, FORGIVENESS.  I must also report that I FINALLY met someone on Saturday night, whom I told my name, to which she jubilantly exclaimed, “the Goddess of War!”  I told you that everyone mostly leaves that crucial facet of Athena-dom out, exclaiming, “the Goddess of Wisdom”.  Yes… and…

The Goddess of War.  Strategic war.  When I talked to my dad last week he told me that the first time he saw me, he saw Athena on my face.  He saw an ancient wisdom glowing from my fresh baked baby countenance.  Hearing that made me reverberate with glow in the dark tickles.  (I always imagined that my dad didn’t truly see me.  Recently, every time we talk, he says something that makes it entirely apparent that he sees me as clearly as anyone… and still… each time I am astounded and gleeful.)

God?  Please help us all love life and ourselves exactly as it is, as we are IN THIS PERFECT AND PROFOUND MOMENT.  Amen.

Free Falling into Heaven’s Arms

I took two days off from blogging and I forgot how to do it!  Not to mention that I am frozen solid from my early morning swim in frigid waters (76 degrees).  But the thing about being alive is that you just ARE… so now what?  I face that question all the time.  I have an ancient, calicified habit of getting into this mind fuckish loop~ I feel overwhelmed and disenchanted with life, I wonder why I am here in the first place, I wish I wasn’t, I want to die and then I tell myself that that’s a stupid mental street to roll down, since I AM here, which means that like it or not, this is where I belong.  Yeah, it’s a pretty ridiculous loop.  I take it with a sprinkle of sugar these days.  Come on, I have been looping through it since my teens… After fifteen-ish years, I just can’t take it as seriously as I used to.  Plus, I am now a self proclaimed saint in training, so it would be a dumb idea to take my own life, wouldn’t it?  I am playing for the team!

Plus, I see the impact of my kindness, my generous attention.  It brings others more alive!  I love that.  I love that just the simple act of putting my caring, inspired attention on others makes them shine brighter.  That is priceless.  But back to blogging.  The moral of the story is that if I can just keep putting one foot in front of the other in life, I can do that on the page right now, too.  And nine chances out of ten, something good will come of it.  Speaking of putting one foot in front of the other, I walked my first labyrinth yesterday at four am.  It was the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral.  It was a highly profound experience for me.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do the experience any justice as I attempt to articulate it… but I’ll give it a whirl.

As I slowly, mindfully (occasionally absentmindedly) moved my feet, wound my way about the intentional tangle of a path, I was struck by how much this is like life.  Doesn’t life seem to be going one direction in one minute, and then, suddenly without warning, it wraps around on its self, and you find yourself moving in the opposite direction, though the ultimate destination has not changed… but you might not realize this if you are only paying attention to what is two feet in front of you.  The mind is like this too.  Ultimately organized by a supreme order and intelligence, yet so twisted and wiggly and seemingly unkempt.

It drove me crazy in some moments, how round about the path was.  I am so conditioned to want to “get there” (you know, “THERE”…) as quickly as possible.  After all, that is the American way.  But the path just kept folding in on its self and dragging me through vast scapes of internal wilderness, at which point, I always returned to the choice to let go, a-gain.  Surrender a-gain.  I imagine that there is much more profound meaning within the advent and existence of labyrinths…  But the personal layer of profundity that I treaded was more than enough for now.  My prayer as I slowly strode was for radical forgiveness.  When I feel fear, I am learning that it is merely an indication that there is something to forgive.

Three very crucial people in my heart kept springing to the surface of my mind as I meditatively moved forward~ My aunte, my brother, Daniel and my friend Dan.  I prayed for their happiness, peace and healing.  Honestly, lately I am not convinced that “others” really exist.  I imagine that the people in my life exist as reflections of this one self.  And if I am trippin’ out on a particular relationship, or if someone in my world is struggling, it is up to me to realize that aspect within myself and pour super sonic love on it.  I believe that I have access to a kind of love that has no limits in its ability to transform, transcend and heal.  I guess that could be construed as lot of responsibility.  But I felt like my prayers were amplified as I walked this secret, sacred, ancient path.  Birds began to sing their melancholy, predawn invocation as I walked and prayed.  You know, the song that casts shadows and exalts veils.

Of course my experience in the labyrinth directly correlates to the current lessons in a Course in Miracles too.  Life is woven like that… (I’m back at Pizzaiolo and I am astounded by the huge pile of doughnuts stacked on the fancy serving plate.  It looks like a doughnut sand castle.  If I was a smurf, I would make a holy pilgrimage to this doughnut castle and scale it in the name of discovering something profound, taking occasional bites out of the terrain as I fancied!)  According to A Course in Miracles, we need not manage our lives, ever.  Really.  Not at all.  They assert that this comes from a place of intrinsic mistrust in the intelligence of God.  They say that life will guide us every step of the way, All Pervading Light will move us along in the currents of Grace with our greatest happiness, peace and quintessential best interest in mind, always.  There is no need to entangle in thoughts of past and future AT ALL.

I YEARN to live like this~ totally free to exist in eternal delight and wonder, alive and present in this one graciously unfolding holy moment.  But letting go that fully!!!???  What a massive, unwieldy leap of faith that requires.  Living every day unplanned?!??  Are you kidding me, screams my frightened little ego self.  Jesus!  But the alternative is certainly not making my soul blush and cream its etheric panties AT ALL.  I am fucking sick of living in fear, living with a perverse sense of intrinsic danger imagined to be imbued in the very threads that this life is woven from.  My heart of hearts knows that life is kind, that everything is burning with an ache to love and be loved, give and be given.  So I am embarking on a new leg of the journey in which I need not look ahead, scramble to figure shit out.  Fuck that.  That’s SO nineteen eighty six.  This is two thousand TEN, baby!  My new (improved) mission is to meet life head on, right now.  I am ready to ignite in crazy wonder, gratitude and divine surrender as life unfolds in ever new perfection.  Can I switch gears over night, like casting a spell with a mere snap of eager fingers?  Maybe…  I am gonna practice relaxing my belly, softening my heart and saying yes to what each moment invites and offers.

Worst case scenario, I die.  But “I” (the “I” that I have manufactured from this aforementioned sense of fear, this dillusional dream of separation) am closer to death with ever breath I take, anyway.  (Much like getting closer to the center of the labyrinth with each step.)  Besides, I ultimately want that false “I” to die, anyway… Then all that will be left of me is a perpetually overflowing fountain of peaceful loving kindness.  Better than your garden variety sharp stick in the eye, any day.

May you feel held, loved and buoyant in Grace’s omnipresent being today.

Amen.

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