Letting Lonliness Slice Me into One

I was going to write about jury duty… I still might.  But I must start where I am.  It is a familiar place, though one that I try to avoid.  Fear and loneliness have seeped into me like wet, cold wind that sneaks right through winter clothes.  Three thirty in the afternoon and the sky is gray and unforgiving.  The air blowing through my open window chases me deeper under the covers of my bed.  I feel so lonely.  I was released from the courthouse by eleven am… and then my yoga student canceled our appointment for this evening.  So my whole day has become one long whisper of unstructured time and space.

Part of me wants to scramble and reach out to *some*one and make a plan.  My mind desperately tries to structure the rest of my waking day.  It is terrifying to be here, devoured by the most starkly ordinary moments, wrought with silence.  Silence!  The very thing that I have been yearning for.  Yes, the thirst for silence has been tickling my palate, pressing relentlessly against the bottom of my mind for some time now.  Then I read one of Souldipper’s most recent blogs, which exalted the virtuousness of silence, adding weighty validation to the increasingly amplified inner beckoning to submit to sacred quietude.  I have become hyper sensitive to words shared between myself and others and honestly, most of them are on par with light beer.

So here I am.  Silent.  And terrified.  Terrified by the threat of meaninglessness, aloneness, emptiness (The “nasty nesses”… Grin.).  Yearning to be diverted, yet digging my heals in and refusing to move.  I must face this.  I thought about taking myself on a date to the movies.  But I’m too stubborn.  I feel challenged by this state of panic. Seduced right to my edge.  I don’t want to be a typical American, stuffing in MORE of anything that I can get my smarmy mitts on…  I don’t want to reach in desperation for a hollow something to shove into this intimidating chasm.  I want to claim liberation.  I want to lean on God.  But God is so blessed quiet and that frightens me.  What if I spend the whole rest of the day trying to feel God’s presence… and I fail?  Then the joke’s on me, because here I was, reaching all of my hands out to this God character and all I wind up with are infinite fistfuls of Nothing.  (Wink.)

Does all of this sound crazy?  Ridiculous?  I’m just sharing my experience with you, because it is what is true right now.  I feel vulnerable, very vulnerable inviting you in to this weird crevice of my existence.  It doesn’t seem very normal.  I think most people would just go to the damn movies, or call up a friend, or put on some music and clean out their closet or paint a water color rendition of their orchid colony.  But not Athena… She’s got something to work out in this echoing realm of solitude.  I feel better putting words around it, transforming the experience from gaping infinite to defined, articulated, translated.

This unresolved relationship to aloneness as articulated by time and space is something I have used my intimate relationships to avoid facing.  I have cast my boyfriends as my saviors, my entertainers, my continuous distractions.  I am curious and excited to navigate the world alone for a while and heal this wounded neighborhood of my soul.  (Are Mykael and I breaking up?  Dunno… but we are certainly separating for a while.  I am going to spend some months in Kauai and he will go stay with his parents while he passes his nursing exams and finds a job.  I will be Athena’s Athena.  I will be All Pervading Love’s Athena.  That is as far as I can see right now.)

Yesterday, Sir John of the Land of Unicorn Milk and Frivolously Spilling Coins (Reno) drove our chariot back to foggy, dismal Oakland.  We drove on highway fifty, through South Lake Tahoe and we were both engulfed by silence for almost the entire drive.  Are there ANY words that can transport you into the sea of awe that I splashed in as we wound along those mountain roads?  Clunky-assed words…  I am digging.

Lucid.  Imagine massive mountainsides composed of gray stone, interspersed with magestic, towering pine trees.  Imagine the vibrant play of lucid, tremulous blue, screaming green, entire intricate worlds of brown and this almost silvery, immovable sea of stone.  Imagine all of this set to the sweet scented music of hot mountain air rushing at your face through an open window.  Enchanted.  Mystical.  I would not have been at all surprised to see gnomes out gathering mushrooms and medicinal barks at twilight, or unicorns frolicking in the occasional waterfall that tumbled down the long, hard, timeless faces of the breath giving rocks.  Rocks.  I was taken by their mostly smoothed contour and definition.  In some places, the mountain peaks appeared to be composed of precariously stacked boulders.  In other places, the same face of stone would stretch unbroken for long spells.  And how do trees grow so virile from ancient, impenetrable stone?

Shrug.  I did my best.  But the wonders of this world are not to be clumsily told.  They are made exactly to fit into the wide-open chasms of peace that reside at the center of each one of us, as lock incites penetration by key.

That epic scenery is a tough act to follow in the way of conversation… so even as we descended into the relentless heat of the sprawling suburbs of unsavory Sacramento, we kept quiet, each nursing the mysterious nectar of our own private world.  Then I got a text from Mykael updating me on his plans upon moving out of our home at the end of August.  In that moment, the curtain of serenity tumbled up and fear, loneliness and alienation swept down in me.  Suddenly I was looking change in right in the cold, reptilian eyes and all my heart could do was stammer and squeeze in on its self.  I felt inundated by cold and shadows.  As if receiving his cue from the All Pervading Cinematic Director, Sir John popped his CD of Coleman Barks reciting Rumi poems into the player.  My paralyzed heart shuddered with a strange cocktail of heavy relief and boundless woe.  The poems were set to delicate, evocative music.  I released myself into the hidden worlds that spilled from them.  Every single poem spoke to my heart.  Or spoke FROM my heart… My eyes became the mouths of raging rivers.  I clung to this sane and sacred poetry like one lost in a violent sea, clinging to a benevolent, bleached piece of driftwood.

Poem upon poem, lavish with timeless truth, ageless wisdom, transcendent beauty and I let each one break my heart wider.  Soft, silent sobs.  I let my soul feed and release.  Outside, Sacramento streamed by in a series of perplexingly meaningless images and sweltering heat.  A couple of times I noticed Sir John wipe tears from his own face and I knew that he too was allowing his heart to be forever changed by this slicing strand of moments.  It was poetry at it’s finest, living through us.  It hurt.  This Love so big trying to squeeze its way through two ordinary humans in a big, silver diesel pick-up truck, speeding through a mundane, baking afternoon in Sacramento.

God, keep all these worldly distractions, I want them not.  I choose this awkward aloneness.  Help me dive in and be quenched in the oasis of Peace that is always here to nourish me in this dream of thirst.  Amen.

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Moonlit Unicorns in Desert’s Breath

Alright, alright, I’m going to come out of the blasted closet.  It’s hot in here and hella stuffy.  And besides, I’ve heard that the world outside is kinda amazing…

I was born in Reno.  I don’t often tell people this.  I identify myself as a bay area native… I have lived there since the age of two.  And to me, Reno, Nevada seems kinda trashy for the likes of a sophisticated, bohemian lady such as yours truly.  Not only was I BORN in “the biggest little city”, but I spent [too] many a childhood summer under wide, dry, vast Nevada skies.

Why do I bother to confess this modest nuance of my personal history today?  Because these very words are tumbling forth from beautiful Reno.  And there is something about Reno that fits like a square peg in a square hole inside me whether I like it or not.  (At least in summer time… I don’t love all that frozen business as far as I can throw it…) As it turns out, this is becoming the summer of holy pilgrimages!  I have made a holy pilgrimage to Reno to ride unicorns!  My dear friend and beloved knight, Sir John has a gaggle of them and he’s been trying to get me up here to ride for months.  But I was too busy trying to hold my frenetic bay area life together.  Shrug.  Now that it’s falling apart, I have set myself free to wander and drink from the bottomless well of sacred images, textures, scents, feelings that lay in wait all over this miraculous planet, earth!  Three cheers for falling apart!  (At least in this moment… I imagine I’ll feel less enthused in moments to come…)

(Last night, I dreamed that a cardinal flew into my temple (massage/yoga/meditation room).  Cardinals are one of my favourite bird… I am stunned by their redness and their gurglish elation of a song!  Cardinals live in Hawaii (among other places) and I take it as an auspicious sign that Hawaii is one of my next destinations!  A cardinal flew into my temple!)

What do I love about Reno?  The dry heat.  The infinite sea of sweet-scented sage brush.  Being surrounded by endless chains of arid, shadowy mountain ranges who rest in a patient timeless meditation, their shy peaks kissing the sea of unbounded blue above.  It is six forty two am and already the world is flash flooded with vibrant light.  In the bay area, I usually only get to taste stingy bites of the sky at any given time.  It is always obstructed by buildings and ostentatious topography and the towering ambitions of those who live lives in perpetual high gear.  (Generally, making plans with a friend in the bay area requires planning at least two weeks out and then blocking out a sorry two hour slab of time at best.  Can you feel my disdain?  I could say a lot more on this topic, but I’d rather write about the enchantment of Reno right now…)

I am drinking all these images as one who has almost died of thirst without hardly noticing that she was wasting away… but every time I leave the bay area, I find dormant pieces of my soul.  They come alive and I remember more of the sacredness that beats my poetic heart.

We spent the day at Sierra Hot Springs, lounging like nobody’s business, luxuriating in warm water and decadent shade, expansive lullabies sung by towering pine trees and warm desert wind, bird songs and the expertly blended perfume composed of heat and dirt and pine.  I invited all the beauty to enter me and become a long term guest in the spacious world Inside.  It graciously accepted and flooded into the infinitude of cracks in me.  We arrived at Sir John’s home after dark.  The moon danced in taunting stillness, high in the foldless canapé of deepening indigo.  She was just over half full and her light was icy silver.  Her light was infectious and uncontainable.  Ever time I looked at Her she drenched me silly, while throwing a twisted, knowing smile my way.  Touché, lady luna, I bow to your spicy, understated splendor.

“Do you want to see my babies before you retire?”  Sir John asked.  I felt lazy and hot springed out and just wanted to flop into bed, but I mustered.  Were they *really* unicorns?  I guess as with all things, it’s in the eye of the beholder.  But if I had any doubt before I met them, now I am sure that it was unicorns that I encountered last night.  Sir John turned off his obtrusive beam of light and took me into the pen of his stallion, Rico.  My vision was all silhouettes, shadows and moonbeams!  Rico’s white body shimmered at the edges as it made ghostly love with the moon above.  I felt shy in the presence of this intimidating equine presence.  I reached out and pet his velveteen muzzle.  He exhaled a massive unicorn lung full of warm air and I became at once drunk on its simultaneously animal and vegetable sweetness.  I feel like I need to reiterate this point.  You MUST understand the potency of tasting unicorn exhale!  Unicorn exhale could heal the sick and resigned!  It transcended my finite self and wafted effortlessly into the eternal world of my soul in a single, slippery instant!  And then it was over… but I am still reverberating with the sting of enchantment.

Unicorns burning in the icy light of a half illuminated wily moon!   It does not get any finer than this.  May you bathe today in Grace-drenched, soul-quenching images!

Amen!

Poetry Muse Strikes Again

Committing specific chains of words to the page… where does one begin when there is so much inside?  Where does one begin when one has not had a nourishing swig of uncontrollable laughter in too long to mention?  Yeah, that’d be me… Yesterday I realized I haven’t had a good laugh in way too long.  I have laughed.  That’s some consolation… but not the kind where I get an ab workout and feel divinely empty and blissfully spent afterwards.  Please, All Pervading Funny Bone, come take a swim under my skin.  I beg of Thee!

I guess I’ll tell you that I went to the Lake Meritt Farmer’s Market yesterday to serve as the Poetic Muse again!  But I felt extra shy.  Honestly, this new and uncaffeinated rendition of myself feels very tender and sensitive like a fresh hatched dinosaur.  (OMG, can you imagine how adorable that would be… to stumble upon a boulder sized egg, just in time for it to crack open from the inside and reveal the most shiny, tiny, slippery little tyrannosaurus rex!?  To me that sounds profound!  Which reminds me suddenly of a dream I had last night that I was in Disney Land on a Saturday night and all my friends wanted to go on dates.  I didn’t.  So I got left behind… and I was really bummed, because I wanted to go out and play, but I was not so moved to step out into the vast, dark amusement park on my own.  I didn’t want to be alone.  I was afraid of getting lost and of being bored.  I think I just stayed home and watched a movie starring Steve Carell instead.  (But even the movie was scary… in one scene he was walking through dark caves with blood dripping from the walls.  The only reason I could handle it, is because it was Steve Carell and he makes any situation more than palatable.)

Anyway, what a BRILLIANT metaphor for my experience of Life!  Alone in a vast, dark amusement park on a Saturday night!  Touche, I say to my own divine psyche!

Well, I sat on the wall with my typewriter for a while… But I after not too long, I just couldn’t bare the sensations of so many people walking by and making intentional effort not to look at me.  It was excruciating.  I flirted with the idea of heading home.  But I decided to take a lap around and get my vegetables and hopefully load up on some courage and inspiration while I was at it.  I asked the young, handsome though tortured tamale salesman with open-sky-blue-eyes to typewriter sit for me.  And while I was at it, I asked him for some words of wisdom and strength.  He’s adorable, because he’s got this kinda mopey demeanor juxtaposed with a deep engagement in the moments we share… it puzzles me beautifully.  Like a good breathing poem should.  I felt stronger when I left him to hunt and gather.

Speaking of hunting and gathering, I have discovered these Japanese cucumbers that are SUBLIME.  They are so sassy and snappy like cool, submissive ice cubes.  The skin is thin enough not to be a bitter, dense hassle.  (And who likes bitter, dense hassles after all?)  I BOUGHT TWO!  This was a first… buying TWO entire cucumbers just for me…  You gotta try ‘em while they’re peaking.  If you know what’s best for you.

I’m in love with the man who works at that particular veggie stand.  Nothing fancy as far as love goes, but very mutual nourishing.  We just both savor the brief, simple moments of overlapping existence.  He’s a tall, slender black man who I bet has like ten pounds of dreadlocks, but he keeps them all neat in a big, black knitted hat.  He’s got the right kinda soul for me~ old, well seasoned, deep.  Honestly, we don’t even need to speak a single word to dig eachother’s groove… we just do because… it’s the American way.  (Actually, now that I think about it, there is no shortage of soul to be imbibed at farmer’s markets in general…)
I shared my conundrum with him of simultaneously wanting to run away and hide and to stand boldly committed in the face of my discomfort.   I said, maybe I just needed to find a different place to sit.  He grunted and quickly stated that there ARE no better places to sit.  As I hoped he would, he ordered me to march right back to my original perch and take the power back.  After I had an overflowing sac of vibrant, rainbow colored gifts from the earth, that’s exactly what I did.

Thankfully, because I connected with two very awake souls and wrote them pretty kick ass poems if I do say so myself.  I only have the bandwidth to share about one though… Jim.  He was all decked out in cyclist gear.  He approached me and shared that his wife was a poet also.  And an amazing renaissance woman.  As he spoke of her, he spilled with deep respect, admiration and devotion for this woman.  Honestly, she DID sound about like me in another quarter of a century… Which rings these here bells, since I’m all about aging and ripening.

This man, Jim, talk about a wellspring!  Lately I have been consciously collecting Lovers of Life… Because that is something that I am fostering in myself.  After so many arduous years of feeling depressed and suicidal, I am SO ready to love life.  And since we are the company we keep… But back to this particular slice of passionate humanity.  Jim shared himself with me unabashedly.  After sharing about his wife, I offered him a poem and asked him what was in his heart.  This question stirred something in him.  He told me that not so long ago he had had some heart troubles that may have been precursors to heart attack.  This had changed his life.  After surgery, he actually FELT his heart in a whole new, profound way.  He quit a job he hated.  I mean *REALLY* hated.  It had been sadistically sucking him dry of life for a long arduous walk through the soul’s desert scapes.

I just have to say… that I have met so many people who have been freed and seasoned by life threatening illness.  In fact, I think that should be a top criteria for being the president.  You must’ve had a brush with death in order to be in charge of our county!  Ahem.  So Jim… His amazing wife was a total support during this massive transformation.  And now he is a passionate cyclist.  On his rides, he sniffs out fascinating, liberated humans and makes a connection with them.  Then he blogs about it!  Sounds familiar…

He told me that on a recent ride, he met a woman riding a unicycle with a mountain bike tire, up very steep hills.  She said she was training to ride through Mongolia, where none of the roads are paved!  And he met an old hippy freak with a long beard and a Hawaiian shirt who it turned out was a WORLD CHAMPION gambler!  And… He met me.  He said he would blog about me.  He took my photo as I plunked out his profound poem.  (One thing I forgot to say about Jim is that he was wearing these red lensed sun glasses… so I could see his eyes, but not fully.  In retrospect, I realize that the whole time we were connecting, this was passively driving me bonkers.  I just wanted to bask in the unfiltered light of his soul as is my proclivity.  Just for the record…)

So he has already written the said blog.  I discovered it last night and it made my heart dance like a drunk!  I loved being able to see my offering from a whole new angle… and the rippling impact that it has on the world.  Check it out:

http://flashblog2011.blogspot.com/2010/07/athenaa-goddess-of-poetry.html

The last thing I’ll say about Jim is that I was so inspired by his dedication to being present, receiving the moment as a miraculous gift.  I have been practicing that lately and it is absolutely stunning what characters, situations and shades of aliveness that the One graciously offers at our Holy Feet!  Thank you, oh All Pervading Bestower of Winking Profundity!
Amen.

Dealing With Mortality and Department Stores

Oh the bitter sweetness!  Oh LIFE!  God, this life is such the Ultimate Poem!!!  Do I need to explain, or do you just GET it???  Well… I will explain…

A couple of months ago, I was on the phone with my dad and I was feeling frustrated about being in this [all too familiar] survival loop where I was just barely making it.  (My M.O.)  You know, that feeling of perpetual survival mode.  I started to express how uninspired I was every time I went to get dressed and I started to cry.  Shrug.  What can I say?  It sounds shallow… but it builds up and every once in a while the frustration of not feeling capable of creating abundance bursts like an undercover dam in me.  Here’s something I learned in the moments that followed.  I honestly did not realize this before, but daddies hate for their daughters to cry.  Is that true?  At least MOST daddies with even half a heart.  I didn’t know because I had rarely allowed myself to be that open with my dad in the past.  It was a new technology in my scope of emotional expression!

So what did he do, he bought me a gift card at his FAVORITE store!!!!  Kohl’s…

Yeah, that cheapo central, where everything is made in China by precious, tender humans all under the age of ten.  The store where Britney Spears is one of the main junior department models and Paris Hilton has her own perfume!  And the BEST part is that he explicitly directed me to shop on the SALE racks!  Now please understand, I AM entirely poking fun at this situation, AND… and I feel SO loved by my dad and appreciative of his generosity.  Come on, given his reference points and orientation to life, he offered me a gift from his heart.  His miserly jewish father’s heart, the heart that deals craps in Reno, Nevada (and has been for like forty years) and supports a family including a wife and twin eleven year olds.  It tickled me to get this intimate glimpse into his universe, where the sale racks at Kohl’s reign supreme and line his family’s closets with cheaply made junk turned regal robes.

I hate shopping.  And worse, I hate shopping under fluorescent lights with noisy pop music blaring in my head and air conditioning freezing me out of my own skin bag.  But there comes a time in every American woman’s life when she must face this Beast.  Maybe.  At least the majority of us.  Thank God, Mykael accompanied me.  Can we have a round of applause for the man?  No seriously.  Give him a round of applause.

Thank you.  I mean how many men do you know who not only accompany their girlfriends shopping, but also are PROACTIVE participants.  I don’t know none. (That grammar would make my dad turn in his grave, if he HAD one…)  Yeah, Mykey even picks stuff out that he thinks would look hot on me and gives me very useful feedback, which I need, because my brain turns to mush inside these treacherous, soulless realms otherwise known as department stores.  I’m pretty sure they’re designed that way… by… who?  Ummm, the Powers that Be, I guess.  The ones that want to manage and restrict the human vibration so that we can more easily be manipulated and controlled and kept in a holding pattern, unaware of our true power, potential and infinite creative potential.  Really.  I am NOT a conspiracy theorist, but I know this to be true.  I know because I FELT the life get sucked out of me in a matter of minutes.

My saving grace though?  I felt my father loving me as I shopped.  And that is a beautiful feeling.  I worked so hard to remain peaceful as I shopped… and I did a great job.  The worst of it was a moment in the dressing room when Mykael started talking like Kevin, from my *favorite* (and only) TV show, The Office.  Kevin’s the big, fat, sorta slow and highly adorable character.  The Office.  Wonder Woman!  That show has seriously carried me through some dark times.  A few years ago, I spent an entire winter in bed, so bereft by this confusing thing called life… watching the entire first two seasons of The Office.  And no matter how dark it got inside me… no matter how dark… The Office managed to make me laugh, bring me joy.  It’s strange.  I never thought TV would be medicine for me… but it was the only thing that seemed to help me cope with the thick, engulfing darkness.

It is summer time now, so there are no new episodes.  Generally I don’t even think about it… since I’m rarely in the watch TV via the internet mode.  But hearing Kevin come so clearly through Mykael as I zipped up a scandalously teensy pair of denim shorts, I felt a wave of longing.  That’s when Mykael broke the horrifying news that Steve Carell (who plays the Michael Scott character, the boss/mother hen of the office) is resigning from the show!  THIS IS NOT OKAY.  I repeat, THIS IS NOT OKAY.  I repeat… oh, okay, I will spare you… but…

THE OFFICE IS NOTHING WITHOUT STEVE CARELL.  He is the epicenter, the heart and soul of the show.  Even in such a rigid, corporate environment as a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania, he transcends all odds through his child-like spirit and makes the work environment a sweeping act of beauty.  He generates a family.  He erects a playground where any other would see merely desks and chairs and computers.  You could NEVER plug up the holes where vibrant life gushes from him, because they are infinite as the pores of the universe, Itself.

And now he’s leaving.

And someday I will die.

And I just supported child labor in China.

But at least my daddy loves me!

Amen.

Oh Duh, We Really ARE God!

“You will never get any closer to God than you are right now,” Reverend Elouise informed us at church last Sunday.  Her saying that was the straw that broke my wild camel.  I hate to admit it, but I guess on some level, I really thought God DID live just north of the sky.  When I prayed, I always wondered if my desperate words would EVER find their way to that esoteric sanctuary tucked away in the idyllic heart of Sacred Somewhere.  Ask me how many desperate letters I’ve written to this wily, absentee God character over the course of my life, each time feeling hopeless that they had any chance of being discovered by His and Her Holiness, the One.

Even when Kiesha Crowther, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK5OOfEmut4) (incase you missed this link the first time around!!!) the Little Grandmother oh-so-casually announced that each of us is God-Goddess, the Great I Am, something still didn’t click.  I mean, intellectually it did.  But not in the depths of my knowing.  Not in my bone’s boots.  Even in meditation, I always waited for something to “happen”.  Like maybe God would throw a lightening bolt spear down on me and burst my bubble of ignorance (which would be nice).  And Rumi’s poem about knocking from the inside… BFD.  Still my holy head remained up my holy butt hole.

Until Reverend Elouise’s simple reminder popped open to my Self.  God is typing these words.  God is reading these words.  There is ONLY God.  Only All Pervading Gracious Light.  That’s it.  There’s nothing more and nothing less.  There is nothing to CHASE.

Yesterday I was meditating in the Rose Garden two blocks from my house (how SWEET is that?!) and instead of trying to have some experience other than the one I was having, I just relaxed knowing, this is God meditating.  Even with a distractible mind, I AM the Great I Am.  There’s nothing to debate or haggle or postpone.  I am That.  And so are YOU.  And YOU.  You don’t have to figure anything out beyond this very moment.  You don’t have to suffer or struggle or prove yourself in order to be that which you ARE.

I think what fostered my shift in consciousness is taking Little Grandmother’s words to heart and practicing getting my energy from nature rather than people.  When I am feeling drained, I walk to the rose garden and BREATHE.  It works!  This is how I was able to let go of caffeine relatively easily after being ADDICTED for fifteen years.  I found and claimed my true Source.  I have been breathing a lot more and deeper since I let go of my former devilish vice.

I guess that’s all I have to say today.  Now that I’m not flying high on caffeine, I feel less compelled to keep poetically rambling.  I am in the midst of a dissolution, like a caterpillar dissolving in her cocoon.  I am not yet a butterfly (or am I?) (I believe I am and I’m not, because time is not real… so even in the midst of massive transformations we are inevitably all stages of the cycle in a single, eternal instant.) But for the purpose of expressing myself in this now moment, I assert that I am not yet a butterfly and I am not feeling the same as I used to about stepping onto the page and recklessly dumping myself out.  That’s why I didn’t write yesterday.  (Instead I got hella domestic and made some bitchin’ pesto sauce with cilantro, parsley, dandelion greens, a tiny bit of kale… walnuts, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt.  It was the tastiest fucking thing!  Try it.  Just blend all that in a food processor or blender.  It’s so nourishing.  Just think of all the vitamins and minerals in it!)

Oh, one last thing… My mom told me that she thinks I should not say “fuck” in my blogs.  When she told me this, I did not get defensive, revert to teenage rebellion and stand firm in my conviction to use the f word.  I got more curious.  I mean from my vantage point, it is a “both and” game.   I don’t use the word fuck because my vocabulary is too crippled to support any other form of expression.  I use it sparingly and with indulgent reverence.  But I am not so attached to it.  I just want to be free on the page to host the entire spectrum of linguistic expression.  And I wish to make a powerful impact with my words.  So I told her that I’d ask all of YOU, my readers for your valuable opinions.  Fuck or no fuck?  That is the question.  Please leave a comment with your thoughts on this matter, oh hallowed Divine One!

May you be awake to your Divine Origin, now and forever more!  So much LOVE to you!!!

Amen.

Leaping Typewriters on Speeding Buses (part II)

Would you believe that I’m sitting here in Pizzaiolo drinking PEPERMINT TEA?  At ten oh one in the morning!!!  What this means is that I have ditched caffeine.  This is very weird for me, since caffeine has been my biggest addiction since high school!  But allofasudden I am more interested in being as vibrant and divinely sensitive as humanly possible than clinging to a stagnant comfort zone.  So peppermint tea is the only thing on the menu that I can sip.  Can you tell that I’m proud of myself?  I am SO ridiculously proud of myself!

Anyway, I have a story to tell, so nestle your butt into your chair and listen up!  This is part two of the greyhound bus saga.

Four timeless days marinating in spiritual ashramish sauces and I was ready to be sent back into the urban madness I call “home”.  (But I’m not so sure I want to call it home for much longer…)  After one more sumptuous, essential, healing, purifying, ecstatic, mystical dip in the Yuba River, my mom and her sweet, punchy ashram mate dumped me off at the convenience store in Colfax that happens to double as a greyhound bus stop.  When the bus pulled in to my stop (an hour late) I was delighted to see that it was the same poetic driver who had commanded my chariot to the land of breath and blessings.  Somehow this made my heart purr.  We were family now.  We had history.  And he had shared an intimate slice of his soul with me.  Though when I poured loving acknowledgement in his direction amidst the rows of candy and packages of salty junk food, it seemed to ricochet off an impermeable love-bullet proof vest and bounce frivolously hollow onto the dirty well tread convenience store floor.  Oh well, it’ll sink in later when he’s alone and safe in the comfort of his own dark corner.  I’m sure of it.

Then I looked up and who should appear as if she crawled from the folds of a very auspicious dream, but the English falling typewriter victim, Zoe!  I did a double take!  I had the uprooted, dizzy feeling of being but a cracked dream, leaking a cast of characters and scenes from my very own secret, central somewhere.  We exchanged a glistening mutual hello.  I felt a sharp pang of desire to sit with her and connect the way I had regretted that we didn’t on the way up, but I felt shy to ask to sit next to her.  I didn’t want to be rejected by someone that I thought was so beautiful and intriguing.  Thankfully, the only open double seat was right behind her.  And thankfully squared, a man appeared out of nowhere and asserted that I had taken his seat.  I just shrugged coolly and sat down next to the illustrious world traveler.  We dove in to the refreshing pool of conversation and splashed about.  We splashed and frolicked and frolicked and splashed.  The next thing I knew the bus had stopped at the station in Sacramento.  She was telling me about how she wanted to think deeper thoughts.  I had noticed that she had a tattoo on her wrist (which she informed me was henna) that said “pienso”, which means “think” in Spanish.  I was surprised to hear that her mind easily got swept along into the eddies of mundane, day to day existence and had to break a sweat in order to think deep thoughts. (She sure picked the right woman to sit next to if she wanted to think more deep thoughts!!!)

As she was sharing this with me, the bus driver made an announcement on the intercom.  I was more interested in what she was saying until I heard him say something about a poet on the bus and thank you for… but my brain had trouble latching on to his words in mid stream.  I got off the bus to stretch my legs and asked my beloved, blue-eyed driver what he had said on the intercom.  He told me he had expressed gratitude for me for helping him bust loose from his mundane, default reality and look inside, feel inspired and alive in a different way… or something to that effect.  I flushed with shy ecstasy and then exclaimed that that’s exactly what Zoe and I had been discussing when he made his announcement.  Weird.  Beautiful.  Can you believe that he had made an unabashed announcement on the intercom to the entire bus?!  This must be a dream.  It just must.  It must be God’s dream.  It must be good.  It must be only blessed.

Zoe and I nattered all the rest of the way to Oakland.  (It turns out she had had the same feeling of regret that we did not connect more on the way up!)  I asked her where she was going to stay.  She said a youth hostel in Union Square.  Thumbs down, I thought to myself.  I invited her to stay at my house.  I told her I had plenty of space for her.  She graciously accepted.

This is where the story really gets wild!  Well, not in the biblical sense.  Only in that I had the profuse blessing of experiencing with everything I am the absolute equality of giving and receiving.  I wanted to give her everything I possibly could.  I fed her and took her to my beloved east bay church of religious science.  I showed her my favorite farmer’s market and bought her a Blue Bottle Cappuccino (my favorite coffee).  Every time she accepted my generosity, I felt more… myself.  Vaster, richer and more profoundly connected to all life and wide awake in Love.  Maybe y’all already knew that giving is receiving.  Yeah, I’m probably the late bloomer at the back of the bus.  But I’ve grown up with such a deep imprint of scarcity.  I mean, in some way or another we all did.  That is the nature of a world of separation and division and finite supply.  But the only thing that is really REAL is the Infinite, which as it turns out, is infinite!  Zoe taught me this… all by saying yes and opening to receive that which I yearned to give.  And in the giving, I found my Self.

She stayed for two nights.  Now she is on to the next blessed chapter of her travels and I am here, the universe pouring through me like a thunderous waterfall.  This is indeed a strange dream.  I just keep offering myself to the Light.  Resting back into Grace’s Loving arms.  Blessed Be!

Amen.

Leaping Typewriters on Speeding Buses (part I)



I forgot to mention to you that I brought my illustrious typewriter* with me on my recent pilgrimage to the Ananda (my mom’s ashram).  I just figured hey, you never know when you’ll encounter a soul thirsting madly for a poetic blessing… well actually, I think most of us are parched in the way of poetry and intentional blessings.  So I carted the heavy beast along on the greyhound bus, often being mistaken for an anvil saleswoman… just like the one from The Music Man (wasn’t his name “Charlie”?)

*A brief and reverent word on my typewriter:  It belonged to Mykael’s grandmother, who was a minister of the church of religious science!  (Which happens to be my church of choice these days!)  She was head of the ministry of prayer and she used the typewriter mostly to conduct related correspondence, such as replying to letters for prayer requests.  The moral of this ridiculously short tale?  The typewriter was BORN to serve the All Pervading Love Hemorrhage!

As I was boarding the bus in Oakland, the driver noticed the sign on the outside of my typewriter that said “poems for sale”.  He was clearly titillated.  He confessed that HE used to write many poems back in another [prehistoric] incarnation of himself.  His blue eyes twinkled and danced.  Then I boarded the bus and made my way to the only remaining vacant row, toward the back.  As I was trying to clumsily shove the mythological alphabet stamping beast in the overhead rack, the hard-cover case came sprawling open and the heavy machine plummeted down on an innocently by-sitting woman.  I was mortified.  Blank sheets of paper flailed about.  I asked the woman if she was okay and she said she was fine.  That was hard for me to believe, since the thing weighs at least as much as a baby unicorn.  I must have asked her eight times… and apologized twenty one… But alas, there was no blood or broken bones.  And not even any hard feelings, aside from mine.

Amidst the melee, I had a chance to scope out this fellow citizen of the human race.  I was surprised by her youth, her luminosity and her fabulous, decadent tan.  She had icy blue eyes that spoke much in our nativer than thou tongue, the language of light!  She was young and vibrant and struck up an orchestra of curiosity in me.  I offered her a poem for her passive troubles.  She immediately accepted. I asked her what was in her heart… and after digging for a few moments, discovered that she had been traveling in Mexico and Central America for the last five months… and was soon going back to her motherland, England.  She said she was tangled in uncertainty about landing back home again, wondering where she would work and that sort of mentally pestering nut and bolty stuff.  I gathered myself in my sphere of chaos and made my way to my seat behind her, my mind already busy stretching into the heavens in search of images and metaphors and other essential celestial freebies.

I parked the typewriter in my lap and slowly plunked out a poem for her as the bus bounced me like a baby on its soothing, automotive knee.  I wondered if it was okay to produce that kind of erratic, sonic rhythm in a confined public arena.  No one said anything… until I was two lines from the end.  At that point I was approached by a real character.  A middle aged woman with a passively clownish countanence~ thick foundation make-up, eyebrows entirely fashioned from thin brown pencil lines, frizzy, stressed out hair orange as a bleeding sunset sky.  She informed me that my typing was offensive to a flock of people behind me and would I mind stopping.  Fair enough… But I asked her if she’d mind if I finished up the last two lines and she acquiesced, god bless’er!  I read over the poem and was more than satisfied.  But the beautiful English wanderer was sleeping, so I lay the poem to rest, packed up the typewriter (which sorely needs a name, don’t you think?) and got to my previously scheduled business of doing a whole lot of indulgent nothing.

It wasn’t until Sacramento, when the woman, whose name I discovered was Zoe, was about to flee the enchanted bus and remerge into the folds of the mystery that I bestowed the poem upon her.  She turned around and said, “Goodbye.”  Ahhhhh!  Wait… what about your poem???  I read it to her through the crack in the seats and then passed it through the narrow slit into her open hands.  I felt the warmth of her gratitude and she said that she hoped more typewriters fell on her.  I laughed and said “Be careful what you wish for…”  Then she was gone.  I glowed inside, savoring the strange fortune of my typewriter leaping onto her, and the blessing that generated.  Though I wished that I had been able to learn more about this kindred mystery woman.  Shrug.  I guess that’s not what life had in store.

When I got off the bus at my destination in beautiful Colfax, California, I asked the blue eyed, bus driving, closet poet if he fancied a poem.  His energy was all liquid yeses, but his mind had to navigate its own modest obstacle course before he caught up with himself.  I asked him what was in his heart.  Work and family.  A man of few words.  I had to roll up my sleeves and dig to find the plethora of gold nuggets laced in this obviously wakeful though mildly frozen in past pain soul.  But when push came to shove, he was willing.  I learned that he had a twenty four year old son who was tangled in discord with his mother.  Mister bus driver was playing the exhausting roll of mediating peace maker, holding a hundred times his own weight in responsibility within his own overtly tender heart.  He told me it was both comforting and taxing to head out on the open road in his bus… On one hand, he had respite from the familial tension… and on the other hand, his absence put strain on the family unit.  I nodded in recognition.  He WAS the perfect poem.  So wrought with internal struggle, dynamic tension, a divine play of light and shadow.

I only had ten minutes before the bus was to depart, so I got busy.  The poem was born in the nick of time and I ripped it from the auspicious machine and read it to him.  (I was not so enamored with this one… and actually gave myself a hard time for like half an hour… my ego screaming in my ear, WHO did I think I was offering ragged, limping poems to strangers?  I had to be vigilant in releasing that obnoxious voice.  Actually, I ended up giving myself a sober pep-talk-coaching-session out loud.  “Athena, your job is to be courageous and do your best.  To keep releasing yourself into God and saying YES.  That’s it.  Keep going.  Naturally, you will like some poems better than others, but who cares.” Etc.  Sheesh, where did I learn to be so mean???)

I read him the poem.  He lit up.  Then he recited from memory the first poem he had ever written, when he was a teenager, waiting for the greyhound bus(!!!!!).  It was very introspective, melancholy and soulfully universal.  Yup, he’s a seasoned citizen of the universe.  The he turned away, boarded the bus and drove into the sunsetless horizon.

Amen.

To be continued…

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