Wandering About My Springtime Mind

POW!!!  Whooooosh!  Shimmer.  Sizzle.  Hussshhh…

 

It’s springtime.  And it’s moonday.  The air is a perfectly warm, spacious embrace, and its only nine forty eight am.  Today’s one of those days I could write to the end of affinity about the frivolous nuances of the present moment.  I guess my heart must be relatively untroubled today, hallelujah praise the lord!  I’m gonna lean into THIS.  I mean GOD, it’s been a while since I was genuinely excited about such sweet nothings as the man behind the counter with his bare arms plunged into a huge plastic bucket of loose, sloppy dough, kneading his heart out, or even the flies whizzing gracefully about the glowing atmosphere of Pizzaiolo.

 

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my beloved Dan’s death.  The day came and went… and honestly, it felt just like every other day.  Ever since his passing, every time I feel the urge to make any kinda fuss about him, I can totally hear him telling me to get over it, already.  Dan was a true minister of The Moment.  The steady song streaming from his heart, if not his delicious lips, was BE HERE NOW. BE HERE NOW.  BE HERE NOW.  It used to drive me cray-zay.  Oh how often we sat in languid mutual delight, sipping red wine, our minds fully erect and ready to pounce on any and every compelling topic… Inevitably, his gospel would swell and break upon me, “All we have is THE MOMENT.”  And I’d reflect on the stark diversity of moments that make up the weave of my life.  Some of them so rich and full and satisfying… others, pathetically empty, limping and nutritionally void.  Really, I’d wonder aloud?  Is that IT??  And if we are ALWAYS fully given to this self-contained, multi-dimensional, tepid toaster pastry we know as NOW, then how will we ever birth and foster any substantial dreams or visions?

 

Moving from moment to moment like a tragically hip, freewheeling buddha seems cool and all… but… WHO DOES THAT?  Really, Dan, this is the “real world” (which honestly, I’m not sure HOW REAL it really IS… But it’s the realest thing on the menu at this point…), and in the “real world”, one must bust one’s butt in the hamster wheel of survival and perhaps even thrival, should karma and the stars be smiling upon one…  But Dan, buddha though he was/is, and freewheeling, too, lived one of the richest, most serviceful and adventure-laden lives I’ve ever been privileged to witness.  He sailed around the world, started an organization assisting people with disabilities who need help living in this world designed for fully functional people, ran a hundred miles through the forests and shores of northern marin, had sex with over two hundred women (damn!), took care of his elderly mother, even though as a full-fledged alcoholic, she had never really taken care of him, wrote endless seas of poetry… God, when it comes to the rich nuanced adventures of Dan’s life, I could really go on forever.  I swear.   But that’s not even what I meant to blog about.  The bottom line, is that Dan was accomplished on every level.  If I were a judging, condemning God (wink), guarding the pearly gates, and Dan came a-knockin and handed me a sprawling scroll on which was written the complete resume of his most recent incarnation, I would take off my hat and bow in disarmed humility at the blue lotus feet of this profoundly accomplished and heart-full soul.

 

Remember, right before he died, he wrote, LIVE A in the dirt on the river’s shore… God, how many times in this past year have I reflected on that… as I stood before the judging and condemning pseudo god who smites from within me (just being honest)… and tried to add it all up… my existence, I mean… Wondering, “IS THIS LIVING???”

 

I wanted friday to be over so bad.  I just couldn’t find anything authentically compelling to give myself over to.  I was sure that saturday would be my salvation.  Saturday came.  And granted, it was better than friday.  At least it started off that way… but like a one hit wonder popstar, it quickly became a fat, ugly junkie, too pathetic to even make the tabloids.  And what of sunday?  Well, naturally, I dragged my hope-eroded ass to the early church service at East Bay Church of Religious Science, before Ecstatic Dance, hoping to soak up some gossamer gospel like stale bread soaks up the sweet eggy cinnamon goop on it’s way to reincarnating as succulent and life-affirming french toast.

 

I don’t even EAT french toast.  No way.  But how cute is it that my magnificent Ma had it for DINNER one night, last time I was “shramming”.  I perched on the spacious, wooden counter top, munching left over salad and dangerously salty olives as she soaked her toast in the wiggly batter of salvation, snuggled it in the hot, buttered “castie”, and left it to sear in the alchemy of destiny.  I admire a woman who is liberated enough to eat french toast for dinner, if that happens to be her fancy.  Ruth, the eighty-something year old woman who habitates in the room next door to my ma, laughed when she caught wind of my ma’s fine dining selection.  Neither of us were certain why… so we collectively mulled it over as she fried and buttered her dinner and I munched mine like a fierce herbivore dinosaur.

 

What’s the point of ANY of this?  There really IS NONE.  Honestly, I have no idea how I got to this eighth paragraph of modern day Athena Graceland.  I wanted to talk all about how the roses are bursting into unabashed bloom, and how good it felt to be in the pool this morning…and how at church, Reverend E once again preached on her impassioned stance that couples today must *fight* to stay together in a speeding modern world that practically shuns such classical steadfastness.  Reverend E is eighty something… and gracefully manages to pull of an ingenious synthesis of old skool values anchored sustainably in present time.  She’s like the thousand year old oak tree, whom the entire village takes refuge within and beneath.  She is the roots who embrace the time-transcendent, nutrient dense darkness of the soil, the lush, leafy branches who embrace the purity of space we call the sky, and point the way to heaven.  She is the sturdy trunk who has elegantly weathered a thousand and eight storms, and is now a living example of patience and strength.

 

I even wanted to throw down a gigglish honorable mention to the radiant older woman perched in the corner, nibbling upon delicious nothings as she pours over a clipboard, because she is sporting a backwards visor.  Kinda like a backward cap meets a sweatband… but like what’s the point?  It’s not “fashionable”, by any stretch.  I mean really- visors are strictly functional.  They keep the sun from scorching innocent eyeballs.  But clearly, she’s marching to the beat of her own drum.  I applaud her loving adherence to that eccentric inner drum beat.

 

So now is the part when I soften my inner gaze and let the full contents of this writing session soak in… so that I can add it all up and then divide it by Dan’s entire life times my unborn dreams and spit out something resembling a non-dogmatic “moral”.

 

Not.  In summing up, the best I can say, is that this is me saying YES to my mind.  Sorta like a pap smear, just a random swiping of cells to be sent to the lab and examined in a petri dish.  And on a gorgeous day like this, THAT’S MORE THAN ENOUGH.  Oh yeah… so I hated friday and saturnday… and sunday shone with some weighty though tarnished redemption…. But I must say, so far, Moonday is one of those garlands of NowNess that sticks to the ribs of my inner life.  Yeah, yeah, this too shall pass… but I hope it lasts a while before it evades the gentle, spacious grasp of my insatiable appetite for sweet illusions.

 

Live,

A

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Riding The Waves Of Relationship

I’ll come right out and say it.  I feel ashamed because last week I declared on Facebook that Ed and I were gonna take space.  Member?  And I posted those awesome pictures of us all tragically ripped and emotionally thrashed?  Well I managed to uphold the integrity of our commitment on moonday when he asked to come over and hold me and pray together. (But I gotta give the broth props for knowing my weak point~ spiritual practice and God worship… Knuckle bump, Eddie 😉 )  But then came tuesday.  He told me he wanted to see me “so bad”…and I couldn’t think of a reason why not.  I mean, by noon, I had pretty much already conquered the world.  I swam for a heavenly hour, and then gotten so much potent and satisfying work done at a rad cafe.  I was basking in a hot spring of personal fulfillment and success… so what harm would it do to have lunch and some quality time with my “estranged” lover?  Yeah, exactly.  So we did.

 

We met on forty ninth street.  I saw him from afar, and as we strode self-consciously toward one another, his body language was tentative like a dog who has just been scolded by his master.  It was kinda cute… and certainly awkward.  But as soon as our bodies touched, we melted into each other like some sort of indecipherable recipe for Perfection.  We got lunch at Whole Foods and sat in the sun, and everything was a soft, pretty song.  Until we dared to bring up the unbearably charged subject of my relationship with another man.  A FRIENDSHIP.  A friendship that frightens Ed, for some reason.

 

And then, like one slipped into a sudden coma, or a man trapped inside a massive block of ice, he was gone in fear.  And all hope of meeting in real time sunk faster than the Titanic.  I marvel how often, in relationship struggles, both parties long to be afforded the *same* gift of generosity from the other.  He wanted desperately to feel heard by me.  Guess what I wanted.  Yup.  But in the moment, I had been a staunch refusal to extend my patience and listening to what I perceived to be his voices of fear and defensiveness.  I imagined they would dribble on endlessly like a broken faucet and I could not stand the prospect, nor see the value of drowning in all of that.  So instead I struggled up the steep precipice of insistence that he must have been on crack to be perceiving any threat.

 

To his credit, he WAS willing to chant our mantra together, while I laid on him in the driver’s seat of “Magic Mike” (we named his truck the same day he took me to see a matinee showing of the movie.  And it is beyond pertinent that you luxuriate in the knowledge that I dared him to dress like Magic Mike (the hot male stripper).  He not only saw my dare, but he RAISED it, and did a strip tease for me before we left for the show.  This is a man who had been adamantly insisting since the day we met that he had two left feet…).  Meanwhile, back in Magic Mike, his voice came in a tortured whisper, “Om Gam Ganapatayai Namaha…Om Gam Ganapayai Namaha…”  But sometimes a tortured whisper is all a brotha at his edge has got.

 

Two utterly wrecked hearts, we parted ways.  And without a twist of hesitation, I walked straight to the public altar in the witchy store around the corner from my house.  With a heart rubbed so raw, it was my only option, as I saw it.  I strode into the crystal-laden fortress, intuitively scooping up two large pieces of smoky quartz, which I discovered were good for “navigating the shadow”, and finding refuge behind the beaded curtain in the back of the store.  I wrote a prayer to God on a piece of thin, decorative paper, lit FOUR tea light candles (my version of bustin out the “big guns”) and settled into the epicenter of my ache, offering everything to the Silent Presence.  Again.  And again.  And AGAIN.  For a long time.  And then I felt better.

 

But don’t mistake “better” for “good”.  It was a rough night.  Mostly I just lay in bed, snuggling my large rose quartz sphere, and continued to offer my life to the only thing that is real:  LOVE.  The beauty of hitting such walls in life, is that one has no choice, but to surrender.  Or go insane… So I surrendered.

 

And meanwhile, Ed met with the beloved Mykael.  Member HIM?  He used to be Graceland’s leading man!  My ex-boyfriend.  He was in pretty much every blog of 2008-mid 2010… Well, being a master stone-carver, he had put out a call for a metal worker to create a base for his newest piece (an aroused “bloom” of one of his favorite goddesses…), and I forwarded it to Ed, because guess what?  He’s a metal worker. Of course I had the ulterior dream that Ed and Mykee would make a powerful and real connection… because I don’t think Ed’s used to going too deep with other men… and yet I say it’s essential.

 

Jesus.  This blog is taking forever.  You know how I feel about linear time… wading through it often feels like wading through dark, oozy swamp.  And honestly, I didn’t even MEAN to expound so hard on this frivolous tale.  Like a neon parade of magician’s scarves, it just kept spewing out.  Honestly… why do I always feel so compelled to talk about Relationship?  I mean really!  I could dig into politics or the weather or my optimal breakfast or how much I LOVE my  mom… Well, there’s always tomorrow for that… (smirk)

 

In the mean time, I will tie up loose ends with this dribbling tale of relational agony and ecstasy.  I love stories with morals.  Like parables.  Cuz I AM a Jesus Freak, ya know.  Wink.  (The “good kind” of Jesus Freak, naturally…)  So the moral of the story, is that PRAYER WORKS.  I let go of all attachment to Ed’s and my relationship… I put it in God’s hands, where it belongs.  Where EVERYTHING belongs.  And then he met with Mykael and they talked for over two hours… and I dunno what sort of “Man Magic” occurred… but Ed came out on the other side a changed man.  In the best way.  Clear.  Present.  Willing.  Open.

 

And from there, we spent most of yesterday together.  I swear I couldn’t stop kissing him all day long.  Every time we walk through the darkness of the underworld together, we pop back out into the light, deeper in love, with strengthened trust and a clarified knowing of ourselves and one another.  Even though it feels scary and painful for a minute, I like the results.  I like letting loving transform me.  I like letting go and marveling at the mystery of my very own becoming.  I like Ed.  Usually… 😉

 

But I was hasty to announce on Facebook that we were “taking space”.  And I feel embarrassed about that.  And the moral of THAT story, is that I’d like to actively practice relaxing into the powerful emotional waves we ride together, so that I can have more fun riding them.  Knowing that soon enough they will break and melt and dissolve back into their own body of infinity, only to give rise to the next mysterious swell of feeling and experience.  I want to remain grounded in that deeper, sacred Something, amidst all of the tumult that deeply knowing and loving and surrendering with a man entails.

 

Live,

A

Athena: The Return

Yesterday, this woman who sees energy told me that *sparks* fly from my hands when I gesture.  She said she’s never seen so much energy in someones hands.  That explains why my writing can be so full of effulgent passion.

 

I’m slumped on the couch and I feel like I’m gonna explode.  My belly feels tight.  Oh, there, I relaxed it.  Now it doesn’t feel AS tight.  Have you ever seen a herd of wild horses thundering across the plains?  I bet you can HEAR them, FEEL them… way before you see them.  Well, I’ve never seen any.  But I am feeling them inside me RIGHT NOW.  Galloping across the mapless territory of my inner life.  So much breathing electricity ripping through me…

 

And yet… I don’t know what to do with it.  I’m at a turning point.  But *which* way do I turn?  Mapless, member?  Last week, before I started bleeding, I was pretty pissed that I signed up for this whizz thru the milky way on spaceship earth.  But this week, I’m delighting in a homeopathic splash of acceptance.  God, what am I talking about?  I just took a massive inhale, and on the exhale, I roared like a lioness.  No, not a tigress, a LIONESS.  I saw her as she spoke through  me.

 

Because like, WHAT AM I DOING HERE?????

 

Living.  Loving.  Making messes.  Cleaning them up.  Making messes…

 

Last thursday, Ed and I decided to stop seeing each other.  I cried my guts out and my eyes into red, puffy slits.  Then I took pictures of us all wrecked and posted them on Facebook!  Because WHO DOES THAT?  Nobody!  Why?  Because we want to look “good” and “pretty” and “desirable” all the freakin time.  Just like Kate Moss and Naomi what’s-her-name and Pamela Anderson or insert your favorite flesh-encased barbie doll here ____________.  Mmmmm, I  know!  Penelope Cruz is the hottest to me.  But I digress and confess- not no mo’, yo’… trust me when I tell you, authentic and whole is the new sexy.  Yes.  And you know what ELSE is the new sexy?  Wildly jiggling your woman ness, just for the pleasure and bottomless GLORY of it.  I do it on the dance floor.  Often.  If you are a woman, and you are reading this, you are *required* to try it.  It feels so wonderful!  So energizing and alive.  And satisfying not to feel like my body is supposed to be all hard and flat and managed.

 

Okay, you got me, I was avoiding the Ed thread.  Because I know if I actually follow through and click the “publish” button, he’ll read this and maybe his feelings will be hurt and then he’ll withdraw or lash out or even just suffer.  And I’ll feel everything he’s feeling.  And it’ll suck.  And maybe he won’t shoot work pictures of me on wednesday.  Yes, just to be clear, I DID just say that we chose to stop seeing each other last week.  But I desperately need new work photos.  And I feel so open and comfortable with him… and he has a wicked knack for capturing my flag.  No, my beauty is what I meant to say.  But capture the flag, GET IT?!  I know… stupid.  But I am amused.  And in Mazlow, or Pavlov, or whoEVER it is that has the hierarchy of needs, MY AMUSEMENT is at the pointy, solid-gold, lotus-shaped steeple on top.  At least within the stunning, glittery gates of Athena Graceland.

 

Ugh.  So much for amusement.  Ed just sent me a venom-filled text.  All his pain amplified by a magnifying glass and the blazing, high noon, desert sun.  IT’S NOT MINE.  That’s hard to remember in the face of love.  At least for me.  Because it is my nature to merge.  But it’s not mine.  And I’d rather be using all that energy that it takes to EXPLAIN MYSELF and SHINE ON THE WORLD.

 

Does that mean I’m DONE?

 

Yes.  And no.  I am still open to the possibility that we can use this time apart to grow ourselves… and find one another in a relatively near fold of time and space, in which we will join in divinely ordained and joyful communion.  But yes, I am done channeling so much of myself into this less than ideal expression of our Relationship.  Kali.  She destroys in service of new life.  Rebirth.

 

I saw this guy Charlie the other day and he was like, “howz it goin’, Athena?” And I said, “life’s been HARD…”  And he was all (Yes, recently I have given myself permission to fully EMBRACE my inner valley girl.  As a writer, I feel heavily liberated when I shatter and smash the tidy rules of anal retentive english and creative writing teachers and heavily processed, pre-packaged educational systems.  This is MY world and I am innately BRILLIANT, so I don’t need to waste my time trying to “act like it”.  Ya dig?)… anyway, where WAS I?  Oh yeah, he was all life is ALWAYS hard.  And if it’s not, I seek challenge.  It brings out my best.”

 

I took his words to heart, and gave myself an on the spot attitude adjustment.  Because I realized that when I’m a fat, comfortable WORM, I don’t grow.  And I want to grow.  I want to be the RADDEST me possible.  But that comes at a cost.  I’ve gotta sweat and bleed and cry a bunch.

 

Hmmmm… I didn’t really expound on the details with Ed.  But frankly, it’s none of your business!  And just for the record, I laughed out loud as I wrote that.  And for those of you who have no clue as to my esoteric and erratic sense of humor, I’ll spell out the punchline- it was funny because… oh it’s hard to explain.  Mostly because I didn’t mean the none of your business part, but I got a sassy bang out of saying it.  The truth is, I might talk about it later.  Just not now.  But I promised my esteemed handful of loyal fans that I’d keep showing up on the page and setting myself mostly free, no matter what.  Even if all that comes out is a meager and shriveled seven sentences.

 

So here ya go.  A thin crust slice of me.  Heavy on the sauce.  Zesty sauce.  And I’m spent.

 

Live,

A

Life Is But A _______.

Some people say that the meaning of life is to LIVE it.  Others say that being on earth is a school… and everything is a lesson.  Some people just try their best to enjoy themselves.  God, there are so many ideologies to subscribe to.  Me?  Hmmm… what DO I believe, anyway?  I believe life is a dream.  And it’s not even really happening in the first place.  I believe that Totality wanted to experience itself, so it invoked duality, so that it could cop a feel on its own ness.  But golly, lately that seems like a lot more trouble than it’s worth.  “Lately”, Athena?  Oh, okay, you got me… More like in general…

 

But I spose if I knew in my bones and my guts, that I was always held secure in the loving arms of Grace, for REALZ, I’d probably have a consistently better attitude than I do this morning.  I know, WTF, right?  Why should I have anything but reverence and gratitude for the opportunity to be here at Monkey Forest Road (a cafe in my hood), indulgently self-reflecting and streaking my computer screen with my innermost thoughts and feelings?

 

The sun just broke through this morning’s dark sprawl of storm clouds and cracked asphalt is glowing silver.  Quivering bamboo leaves now glow like nature’s own stained glass.  Every time we were together, Dan reminded me that life is only THE MOMENT.  And this basically undeniable isness used to wash me with strife, because my ego doesn’t like the idea of facing obliteration.  And Dan!!… If life is just this moment, then how do I ever GET ANYWHERE?  Not that I necessarily DO want to get anywhere… but say I changed my mind, and realized that I wanted to “make something of my life”… Then I’d hafta like plan for the future and stuff…

 

Ed just texted me and said he hoped that the words are “just flowing onto the screen”, which made me pause and reflect… Are these words just flowing onto the screen?  Hmmmm… Sort of.  But the bitch is the way I’m feeling right now.  Like a wine connoisseur, (what’s the word for a wine expert? … I forgot…) I’m sipping from the cup of my current inner climate, sliding my mind’s fingers about the  textures of my inner landscape so that I can give it a life in language.  It’s elusive.  But I might have to go with angry.  Though it’s not classical, textbook anger.  It’s more of a damp and subtle experience, that could easily be mislabeled or construed as depressed or sad.  But there is a lurking feeling, like a lithe panther, crouched in dusky jungle shadows, poised to pounce; or a stretched rubber band that may just snap.

 

Today’s Course in Miracles lesson is “I do not perceive my best interests”.  God, it’s so true.  What that means, is that all of my desires and grasping at future outcomes are founded in a steaming heap of bullshit.  You know, the dream that we are dreaming that ain’t even real.  Gosh, how do I convey this so that it makes sense to one who has not been thumpin the Course, year in and year out?   Well, it breaks down like this~ there’s God’s mind, which is the oneness of love, which obviously is where our best interests abide… and then there’s a belief that we are separate, and when we live from this insanity, it’s like wandering through a dim, endless maze of smoke and mirrors, hoping that maybe we’ll get lucky and actually stumble on something of value, something that truly brings us happiness.

 

Ya know, like if Ed left his wife and married me.  For example.  Or at least was able to spend the night with me a couple times a week.

 

But I digress.  It’s maddening to sit in this awkward place of realizing that I honestly won’t be any happier or more peaceful once I’m in a “real” relationship with Ed.  For example.  Or once I figure out what to do with my life, or earn more money or have a baby or live in Paris and become completely fluent in french, or… Ugh.  You see???  I know that everything I’m grasping for is hollow at best.  And yet I don’t want to stop grasping.  Jesus, what gives?  If only I could quiet my mind enough to hear Love’s incessant whispers in my ear.

 

Last night I dreamt that I was sneaking around with Ed at his house and his wife came home.  I didn’t want to look at her.  Not head on.  I averted my eyes and just took little calculating peeks.  I guess I knew that I was violating her by being in her space.  She looked old and homely.  Like life had sucked the radiance out of her like a dead sea sponge.  Then I woke up to the sound of running water and I was like, WHY IS THE BATHTUB RUNNING?  But then I realized it was actually a rainstorm!

 

I wonder if I should stop seeing (let alone communicating with) Ed until it’s from a free and clear place… We’ve been entertaining this possibility for a little while now… but neither one of us wants to leggo.  Over the past year, we have become essential fixtures in one another’s daily movement through time and space.  It really seems like letting go would suck.

 

But then, what about my illustrious ally, the Golden Rule?   I often tell people that if I were stranded on a desert island, and I could only bring ONE spiritual teaching with me, it would be that one- Do unto others as you would have others do unto you… I mean really- what more do you need than that?  Well, if the roles were reversed, would I want some hot goddess getting all up in my husband while I quietly slow-simmered myself in denial stew?  NO WAY JOSE.  In my heart of hearts, I believe in honesty.  Integrity.  Full and open communication.  But here I am, being a conspirator in a situation that is everything BUT that.  I guess I can’t expect anything more from others.  Will my husband cheat on ME someday?  Just so that I can feel the inverse textures of this scenario?  I wouldn’t be wildly surprised.

 

What’s more important to me, feeling good in the moment… or standing up and being the very best me I can be?  I wish it was a no-brainer.  But… I like the way Ed and I play and love and meet.  I like sitting in his lap before my altar and chanting mantra together.  I love the feeling of utter perfection that washes through me when I’m wrapped in his arms, nestled into his big, broad chest.  Little moments of fleeting fulfillment… is that as good as it gets?  Maybe.  But those little moments are EVERYWHERE….

 

Like riding to Emily’s bday party the other night, and nestling myself in the center console between the driver’s seat and the passenger seat, between Gabe and Brandon and feeling a cocktail wash of connection, naughtiness (I didn’t ask permission before I slid in!) and contentment.  Or this morning, when John, my crazy and entirely lovable building manager, came over to unclog my sinks, (a job he LOATHES) and he discovered the perverse magnetic poetry on my fridge and suddenly came to life… I was folding laundry and flushed with a stiff shot of embarrassment as he read my words aloud, riveted.  He wanted to change “slow hard fuck” to “quivering hard fuck”.  At first I was like NO WAY… but then… I considered it… and I realized that his word choice was actually superior to mine.  So I let him.  Which delighted him for a single moment before he began bargaining with me to convert his inch into a mile, by making more alterations, and I was like no way, buddy, be glad I let you edit my poem AT ALL.

 

Life.  It’s a meditation.  A waterfall of ever-new being.  A sleepy stumble through darkness which appears to be lit.  I am reaching deep inside to find “IT”.  Yet I’m simultaneously terrified of finding IT… because then none of this will be compelling anymore.  Ugh.  This calls for a deep breath.

 

Live,

A