Entering the Fire in my Heart

If I had one wish… it would be to be a pure, living embodiment of Truth/Love.  Come to think of it, I musta already tossed that coin into the ravenous, slobbering mouth of the world’s deepest and most unapologetic wishing well.  But mostly, I have lived in a state of pathetic though sweet amnesia.  Beautiful and Beloved Lord Krishna, please take my hand and lead me swiftly to the glorious day when I am entirely willing to release ALL paltry, conflicting wishes, that I may dance naked in the grace of Self Realization.

 

The goddess Kali.  Most people want to tiptoe by this fierce embodiment of Divine Mother, who dons a garland of bloody skulls, a skirt of human arms, and dances upon the corpse of Shiva.  I don’t freaking blame them.  I mean can’t we just skip over the whole creative destruction facet of this game of life?  Well the answer is no, so I might as well get right with the fact that she is storming the gates of my safe and comfy little world of delusion right now and thrashing and slashing all my treasured nothing ness into a thin, snaily wake of shimmering dream shine.

 

Holding on only causes unnecessary suffering.  But it seems that unfortunately, letting go is not something I do but one noble time and then am free.  It is a moment to moment discipline.  A rigorous strength training… which is ironic, of course… because how in God’s magnificent name can it take strength to hold on to nothing??  Well, I suppose that “nothing”, is truly the heaviest burden to carry!  It is fully releasing nothing, that is the goal to which my heart aspires.  And dog bless america, if life isn’t so lovingly and generously giving me the opportunity to let go and let go and let go some mo.  At first glance, my circumstances seem “undesirable”.  But this is only because once upon a time, I subscribed to a thought system built on a foundation of smoke, mirrors and the illusion of separation.

 

If only I allowed the heirloom quilt of cobwebs and thick, greasy smear to be wiped from my eyes, Love would be entirely free to look through me.  I’m trying.  I really am.  And now, I’m leaning into you, my smiling eyes burning into yours in a moment thick with candid intimacy, as I confess that it is *REALLY* helping me to write this all down today!!!  It’s like sorting through the rubble of my habits of mind, to discover and claim the heavy, pure gold nuggets, gleaming within the ugly, chaotic mess.

 

Lately I have been wishing too often that I was living a different life; comparing myself to those who *SEEM* have it easy, who *SEEM* not to be struggling.  Wishing I was a fucking soccer mom from Danville (not really, but who am I to pass up an opportunity to luxuriate in benign dramatism?!).  Fuck that!!  I’m Athena Grace LMNOP, a fierce, unrelenting Truth Seeker, whose heart is carved deep with ache to serve this world and reveal LOVE where once was a veil of darkness.

 

Do you think that a lump of lead is super jazzed to be hurled into  the scalding cauldron that will consume its valueless essence in the sacred fires of purification, that it may become a glowing, golden puddle of divine perfection?  Ha!  I guess lead doesn’t give a shit.  But what I am driving at, is that I really want to be not only a “good sport”, but the BEST sport, as I come undone.  Because… POP QUIZ!!!  Complete the following statement:

 

Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing _________________.

 

How’d you do????

 

 

 

Well, if you said, “Nothing UNREAL EXISTS,”…  YOU WIN!!!!

What do you win???  You win a the only prize with any REAL VALUE:  your consciousness has come a step closer to the Realization of and reabsorption AS Truth!!!!  Sweet, huh?!

 

And now, ladies and occasionally-gentle-men, let us take a mini vacation from realms abstract and conceptual, to the gross, explicit and concrete!  I am going to give thirty day notice tomorrow and move out of my GORGEOUS, light, spacious apartment nestled on beautiful, urban Lake Merritt. Why?  Because I’m sick of fretting as the end of each month nears, and I am figuratively sweating salty, toxic drops of worry as to whether I will be able to pay the rent on time, while meanwhile, I am stagnating in a well-worn rut of low level soul boredom, vague purposelessness and stagnation.  Something INSIDE is calling up to me from way deep down in that aforementioned wishing well, which is nowhere but within my very own bottomless Being.  It’s a classic case of Heroine’s Journey.  I am answering the incessant, screaming whisper within my heart, which some would mildly describe as “the call”.  Shrug.

 

And then there’s my Beloved Edward.  Every day my heart sears on Reality’s scorching grill as I sit in the discomfort of not having him how I imagine I want him.  And every day, I have a choice:  I can surrender to what IS, or I can suffer as I fixate on the unsurmountable, seeming gap between what I yearn for, and what is so.  But A Course in Miracles reminds me every day, that peace and happiness are NOT found in illusory projections of future.  They are HERE, NOW, ALWAYS, because of what I AM.  Because of what YOU ARE.  We are infinite, indestructible, all pervading LOVE.  Right fucking NOW.  And there really is nothing else.  But we believe there is… because we can.  And for this we suffer.

 

But I’m gonna find IT.  Because I already AM IT.  All I must do is be willing to relinquish the illusions I once cherished.

 

“The teachers of God have trust in the world, because they have learned it is not governed by the laws the world made up.  It is governed by a Power That is in them but not of them.  It is this Power That keeps all things safe.  It is through this Power that the teachers of God look on a forgiven world.  When this Power has once been experienced, it is impossible to trust one’s own petty strength again.  Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him?  And who would place his faith in the shabby offerings of the ego when the gifts of God are laid before him?” (from A Course in Miracles)

 

Today, I pray that I may open my wings and fly as the Divine Eagle I am, in Truth.  And in doing so, it is inevitable that you too shall Remember.  Because, duh, we are One.

 

Live,

A

 

 

Today Grace Feels Like This

Wow.  Amazing Grace is certainly the Word, here in Athena Graceland this am.  I swear, I was dangling over the edge of a steep, plunging, psycho-emotional crevasse…

 

And then I went on Facebook real quick, just for one last fling with frivolous distraction before I hunkered down on the page here in Graceland… and the BEST thing happened!  There was some silly post where you can discover your cell phone’s name, by entering some weird code involving the last three digits of your phone number… And I found out that mine is Mark Lurie.  And better yet, Ed’s is Ben Soskin!!!!  It doesn’t take much to crack me and let the light in.  Praise God.

 

But I still feel plenty of anxiety in my body.  Wait… do I really?  When I tune in to my body as it truly is, in present time, it’s actually a pretty subtle experience.  What AM I feeling?  Slightly nauseous… a radiant, dull ache in my womb… a spacious, open, yet somehow uneasy feeling in the front of my heart, which extends out beyond the immediacy of my physical body.  My hips and legs want to stretch and open.

 

The sky is dull and grey.  I am sitting the cafe down the street from my house.  I never come here, because the ceilings are low and cheap like the kind I remember from my torturous years in the public school system… except they are painted brown.  Hardly anybody is in here and it smells like cheap, expired junk food.  There’s a chubby hispanic man outside scraping plasticy film off the window with a squeegee.  I’m sitting on a dingy loveseat, with my feet up on a little coffee table.

 

Just writing about the distasteful environment somehow transforms it from repulsive to amusing.  And then I remember to take deep breaths… and everything sorta feels okay… and even good.  In my ideal world, I would NOT let stuff get to me.  Because when I’m hosting fear, I am not available to love the world, and this feels shitty and inauthentic.  Because I feel that I am here to be a source of warmth and genuine kindness.  But sometimes I forget to trust God and my face gets rigid and serious and my heart, tense.  Anthony Robbins says to always smile before you answer the phone, and joy will be conveyed in your voice.  So I just smiled, to see what would happen.  And my eyes stung with tears.  How many times must Grace carry me, before I realize once and for all, that I am NEVER NOT HELD???

 

That [heavily pertinent] question reminds me of the sweetest moment that I lived last tuesday.  Ed and I were shopping at Trader Joe’s.  I was riding in the shopping cart… and he wanted to go grab me some peonies for me… but he was concerned… “How will you move, when the line progresses?”

 

“BY THE GRACE OF GOD!” I said without hesitation.  So off he went.  And soon the line took a huge leap forward.  The beautiful, athletic, latina woman in front of me turned around, maternally took hold of the front of my cart and slid me forward.  Just like that.  I melted.  I love participating in a world where we all take care of each other.   Without reason.  Just because we remember we are all connected and truly in this together.  I probably don’t need to bother recounting the moral of that story.

 

I’m afraid to die.  My mom’s not.  At least she says she’s not… Because she has complete faith in the life of her Divine Soul.  Maybe it’s that I’m afraid to LIVE, not die… I dunno.  But I am present to a fundamental feeling of fear right now.  And I just want to have a good cry about it.  (I’m about to start bleeding btw… so everything feels amplified and just barely tolerable.)

 

It’s been exactly a week since I last turned myself inside out on the page for you.  I deemed my life to be a porcelain puzzle cast from the top of the statue of liberty.  And now, a week later, I am back in love with Ed, praise the lord, because I prefer being in love with him, to being in fear with him… and yet, I am still a porcelain puzzle, free falling from the spiked crown of that great lady, who rises from the sea…

 

DO YOU FEEL IT?  All this rapid transformation that is sweeping through our endearingly human, earthly midst?  Shit.  Awe… My eyes just wandered upon an elderly man crossing the street with a cane.  He looks wobbly and erratic on his feet.  Yet he keeps stepping forward.  Slow.  Willing.  Humble.  It’s almost too much for my heart to bear right now.  And then came the mystic sprinkle sound of a text coming through on my phone, “Mark Lurie” (Tee hee).  It was from Ed.  He sent me a picture of him when he was a little boy, sitting on a very old and very white Santa Clause’s lap!!!  Same intense and loving brown eyes… but he’s tiny and his face is round and his blue jeans are tucked into black cowboy boots.  I laughed out loud.

 

Life.  What does it all add up to?  Certainly not what we THINK it does.  No matter WHAT equation you choose let gnaw on your soul, the answer is infallibly LOVE.

 

One of my favorite sections in A Course in Miracles talks about the attributes of a teacher of God.  The first one is Trust.  Trust, meaning a complete surrender to God/Love, and a relinquishing of all other goals and agendas rooted in, and inservice to illusion.  I read this section whenever my life feels particularly undone, and I need to remember due north on my heart’s compass.  Like now, for example.  Wait, is the record of my life stuck on the grossly unsettling groove of my saturn return????  Here I am, with the fundamental structures of my life crumbling once again: home, work, relationship…. Really???  Did I fail the tests the first time around???

 

Hey, Athena… No fair slipping into VICTIM!!!!  Citizens arrest!!!!  Remember beloved Goddess, **Nothing real can be threatened.  Nothing UNreal exists.** It’s okay.  Just breathe.  Feel.  Let go.  Yes.  Be willing to relinquish everything, trusting that what is real and pure can never be lost or destroyed.  Really?  Yes.  Okay.  I’m just gonna shed a few tears and keep trusting.

 

LIVE,

A

The End. (Or Not…)

If my life were a porcelain puzzle, somebody just snatched it out of God’s ever-open hand, scrambled to the top of the Statue of Liberty, and cast it down to the platinum dance floor below.  Okay.  That’s extreme.  And my life is not.  In fact, I almost want to start this blog over again.  But the image of the porcelain puzzle is so evocative.  And my life is certainly breaking apart, as it must from time to time.  Om namah Shivaya.

 

But maybe I should’ve begun my entry like this:

 

As I was leaving the Momshram precisely one week ago, my Ma said to her utterly adorable and perfect young cat, Jupi, “Jupi, go say bye to Athena.  She’s gotta go back to Oakland and get back to her soap opera.”  Yes!  I swear to God, she said that.  It poked me in a tender place.  My first reaction was a low-caliber “ouch”.  But after the initial sting, naturally, I had to laugh!  My soap opera… I never even WATCHED soap operas!

 

But if you held up her life alongside mine, like two intricate and masterfully crafted, oversized snowflakes, mine would definitely more closely resemble a soap opera.  Sigh.  Oh well.  I am here to learn lessons of Love… and sometimes the curriculum makes me go, “huh?”… or “whoa!”…or “OUCH!!!!!!”.  (I was thinking of that C&C Music Factory song, “things that make you go hmmm”.  Lordy, the wonders that lie dormant in the folds of the human mind!…)

 

A few years ago, right here in the glowing, literary sanctity of Athena Graceland, I declared myself a tumbling student of the School of Mostly Soft Knocks.  But today, as a turn inward, and consider the lessons of the past year… I feel that there is a better adjective for my knocks of late than “soft”.  No, they’re certainly not hard, either.  But they DO sting, in a way that softness never could.  Neither hard nor soft… I’m gonna go with… The School of Sporadically Stinging Knocks… with some soft ones in between.

 

I think Ed and I might be done for a while.  Maybe.  Although I bought him a tomatillo plant yesterday… and I sure wish I could give it to him!  Maybe he’ll bust through the door of Pizzaiolos any second, pausing in the threshold, a mighty silhouette, John Wayne meets the Terminator… and then stride to my table and take me in his arms and kiss me long and deep and loving, then look in my eyes and say, “I want to keep growing with you, Athena.  I hit a wall, but I trust that love will dissolve it.  And I am willing!”

 

I really would NOT put that past him.  He’s been growing at such a rapid pace over the past year.  It has been extraordinary to witness.  I feel honored and privileged to have participated thus far.  But maybe like a kid who is growth spurting all over the place, he needs to take a pause so that he doesn’t split his skin open or something…  That would suck.

 

Dost Thou wonders what happened?  Well, I guess, basically, we are from different cultures.  Does that make it impossible for us to meet in love?  I say no way jose!  But it does take a clear recognition that this is the case…. and a willingness to understand and accept one another, given our different wiring and world views.  We would need to agree to disagree on some matters.  And love ourselves enough to be at peace with the inevitable gaps.  Sounds a little bit complicated, doesn’t it?  Well… too bad, because I’m a believer.  I believe that Love is stronger than anything.  And yet… I’m only masochistic to a point.

 

I’m pretty sure he wanted me to cut a certain friendship out of my life, because the man makes him feel… uncomfortable.  Threatened, even.  Whenever this topic rose to the surface, it caused us both a lot of pain.  And the beauty of the human mechanism, is that we are wired to avoid pain, so that we will survive and endure and continue to extend our species through the endless corridors of time.  So we did our best to avoid the topic for some time.  Inhale.  Exhale.

 

Yeah. I need to breathe a lot, because I just got an email from Ed.  And I couldn’t do anything but RIP it open like a kid in a horror movie set on christmas morning.   Yes, that was dramatic again.  But in the name of poetry.  But if I was gonna say it plain, I’d say that reading it made my heart shudder incessantly and my guts twist in a pre-puke-rush.  Lord.  I don’t understand.

 

Basically, I think Ed was asking me to abandon this said friendship, so that he would not need to feel threatened.  I think… I’m still not exactly sure what happened, because my head is spinning and my heart is shedding a waterfall of internal tears.  Anyway, I expressed to him that I will never stop loving the way I love.  No, that doesn’t mean sexualized loving.  Just open, authentic, vulnerable, nourishing connections with quality human beings.  (I loooove what my minister, Reverend E says on occasion- if there is ANYONE who you think of… and a smile does not spread across your face, YOU HAVE WORK TO DO.  That was just a word from our sponsor, btw…)

 

“You must really love that man,” Ed commented when I drew my sacred circle in the sand last night.

 

No… it’s not about “that man”, I told him.  It’s principal.  I need to be trusted and supported in my life and relationships.  I’m not the kind of weak woman who will close her heart off,  just to make her man feel safe and secure.  I love MYSELF, I told him.  I do.  But unfortunately loving myself does NOT mean that I don’t hurt like fuck.  Yes, in case there was any question, I HURT.

 

But I am hurting in God’s embrace.  I feel this in my bones.  And all I can do is surrender.

 

Last night he said “Bye” to me.  Via Facebook messaging.  It was just after nine pm.  I was in bed with the lights out.  Nearing the precipice of slumber.  The word and his finality stung like a hard slap, and then the quiet of death settled like an invisible, suffocating fog, over everything.  I was stunned.  And yet calm.  All I could do was pray to God.  God, please be here with me.  I surrender to You, God.  Be here with me.  And be with Ed.  Let us both find comfort in Love’s embrace.

 

Sleep.  It came flirtatiously near… but no closer.  Instead, I spent the night feeling mostly sober and lucid after a bad acid trip.  I dreamed dreams that woke me with a pounding heart and sweaty sheets.  And yet, still I knew that God was cradling me.

 

Ahhh… here come the tears.  They have been evading me until now.  But I feel dropped.  Like a porcelain puzzle.  Off the Statue of Liberty.  Oh well, NOTHING REAL CAN BE THREATENED.  NOTHING UNREAL EXISTS.  This is from A Course in Miracles.  And I know it’s true.  Even when it doesn’t FEEL that way.  Ahhhh feelings.  They are *NOT* for wusses.  NO WAY.

 

I dunno.  I guess that’s about all I have to say right now…

 

Except I want to say to Edward… Ed, if you change your mind and want to keep growing with me, and consider that there is a beautiful world on the other side of your wall, that is YOURS FOR THE LOVING, I am still here.  You still have much to learn, and I would be honored to hold your and and continue to be your guide, your friend and your lover.  Boner.

 

Live,

A

Dark and Exposed

Friday night.  Seven pm.  Quiet rushes in through the open window.  It’s a restless quiet, strewn with distant, random, urban sounds- train whistle (but it’s *not* a whistle… it’s more like a horn… but if I said “train horn”, wouldn’t that sound awkward?), an occasional siren, the continuous swish of flowing freeway, and the most lonely sound of all: the ticking of the clock.  So slow and indifferent, as it devours life as we know it, one fleeting second at a time.

 

I feel depressed tonight.  I just got home from the grocery store… Didn’t run into anyone I knew.  I was hoping I would, because I usually do.  And I need a hug.  I’m sure at least ninety seven percent of the people in Whole Foods would have shared a hug with me, had I asked… but I didn’t.  Instead I listened to dancy, devotional music in my headphones and looked around like an alien tourist, at the myriad human lives; consciousness streaming through a multiplicity of artistically dreamed bodies…. so near to each other, and yet mostly anonymous.  This world doesn’t make sense.

 

I know the only sanity is to go inside and blend with the silence that lives here.  I do.  Every day.  But still, it doesn’t feel like enough.  Because I still feel trapped in the incessant static of a meaningless world.  Inhaaaaale.  Exhaaaaale.

 

I am waiting.  Waiting for something I can not define.  Waiting for something to click into place.  Like some ultimate meaning which will inform my day to day, moment to moment engagement as a human being, living a human life.  I know that I am here to deepen in my knowing of God.  Like DUH, that’s a given.  And I know I’m here to serve, such that others are more able to touch their own core of sacred remembrance.  But the HOW… the how is so fucking elusive I could scream.  But it’s too quiet to scream.  And the slicing sound of soulful desperation would probably frighten my neighbors.  Life is so arduous.  I can’t wait to wake up from this stupid, pointless, benignly excruciating dream.

 

I’m sharing this with you, because it’s the kind of stuff that is tempting for me to keep to myself.  You know… because I just want to be an inspiration.  A source of upliftment.  And I want you to love me.  And who wants to love someone whose mind and heart are sheathed in dense, deep purple storm clouds?  But I also know that there is SOMETHING to be said for having the courage to simply BE HERE.  And be witnessed at that… Because we all cycle through patches of shadow and light.  And when I am in the light, I am so drunk on the endless beauty and goodness whose juice bursts from the heart of everything…

 

Tick.  Tock.  Tick.  Tock.  Yup the clock is still taking little dainty sips of this life.  And I keep taking deep breaths, and even in my darkness, I am able to taste pleasure in the simple act of taking life into this intricate, expendable body, and then letting it flow out again, in a small and subtle death.  Tick.  Tock.  I would want to thrust myself right into the clock’s indifferent mouth of death… If I didn’t intuit that life really never ends…  But alas, in the face of infinity, what is one to do, but love as BIG and BOLD as we can.  Tonight the love is not comfortable or glorified love… It’s love that just looks like being willing to be here, marinating in loneliness and frustrating uncertainty.

 

I bet Ed can not hear any clocks ticking in the raucous dining room of the divvy pizza place where he and his family are celebrating his sister’s birthday as I type these tenderly tortured words.  Does salt really sting wounds?  I’ve never experienced that… lemon juice, yes… But if it does, I will confess that it sucks like a salted gash to imagine him out with his family, eating and drinking, laughing and having the gayest time in the world, while I sit at home in this puddle of heart ache.  I want to be included.  Of all the dudes to fall in love with…  I really don’t understand why life serves up the ever-imaginative and cruel combos that it does… But I believe in an unsayably intricate and loving intelligence, who is calling the shots, while all of us little blind bitches dance around like tiny, endearing munchkins playing dress-up in mommy’s clothes, inventing entire, fantastical worlds from our crafty imaginations.

 

I guess that’s all I have to say today.  I just wanted to feel real.  Writing makes me feel real… And naked.  And vulnerable.  Because the truth is, I know we all encounter our own flavors of darkness.  And beneath the scummy top layer of resistance, I believe its okay.  And necessary.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Tick.  Tock.  And I pray to God… God please help me find the light switch… and by your grace, be *willing* to flip it ON.  And God, please guide my life, such that I find a place to plug in and give away the meaning that I most want to receive.  And God… just let me feel you here in me now.  Inhaling, you fill me.  Exhaling, you wash back out into the invisible mystery in which we swim.

 

Thank you for being with me…

 

Live,

A

Monogamy Vs. Polyamory… Who Will Take Home The CUP?

I’m at Pizzaiolo, because it just feels right here.   Lots of dark wood and dim light and civilized, interesting people.  They almost always play roughly textured music too loud, but I just try to deal with it, because everything else about the ambiance here certainly rubs me righter than any other writer-friendly public domain.  Which strikes me as odd, considering that this is the Bay Area, and it really ought to be brimming with aesthetically intelligent, hip hang-outs.  Oh well… one is enough.

 

Anyway, that was just me setting the scene, so you are able to relax and snuggle into this precious and fleeting moment of life with me.  What I really want to explore is monogamy versus polyamory in Relationship.  Life truly is a ceaseless stream of evolution and involution… which I forgot for a minute… and I caught myself grasping at the hopeful illusion that I might stumble upon some sort of pervasive, weighty truth or over-arching understanding, as I tumble myself out upon the page.  But unfortunately (and fortunately) the most I can expect is a stimulating, thought provoking and naked exploration.

 

Part of me wishes that I could just declare myself monogamous, pour myself out in endless devotion to Ed forever and get on with my life.  I mean that’s such a pretty picture… I’d even go so far as to call it “lovely”.  But is it realistic?

 

Before I fell in love with the dude, I was pretty convinced I never wanted to be monogamous again, because it cramped my style.  Like why should I restrict who and how I love?  It seemed fear-based, and inauthentic.  Up until very recently, it used to drive me cray-zay that Eddie was so jealous and possessive of me.  I aspire to never to make major life choices based in fear… But then check THIS out- you click reality two subtle notches to the left, and the fears shape shifts into the foundation of a potent and valuable *container*.  I never thought I’d say this… GOD!  But I’m gonna.  I’m gonna exercise the metaphoric parallel of locking my apartment door.  I am savoring the irony of this, because a few years ago, I wrote a blog about an epic fight that Mykael and I got in, when we left the house to visit our neighbors five houses down.  He wanted to lock the door, and I was adamant that he just relax his anal sphincter and trust that our home would be safe for a few minutes while we shmoozed down the street.  Member THAT?  And we ended up getting in a face-slapping match over it?!…

 

https://athenagrace.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/a-fight-that-will-live-in-ecstatic-infamy/

 

There’s the link.  Refresh your memory.  It was a good one…

 

But yes, as much as I strive to expect and invite the highest conduct from my fellow humans, and life in general, I still put my valuables in the trunk of the car while I frolic about life, and lock my house when I leave.  Because I want to keep that which I value safe.  Can you see where I’m headed with this?  When done right (grin), sex creates a hella deep bond, and makes a relationship infinitely more complex.  Beyond the mere energetically demanding juggling act of maintaining multiple such connections, it really does open the door to potentially jeopardizing the depth and purity of a primary relationship, if you ask me.

 

Sure, a lot of people pull it off… And I am not knocking that.  Not even.  I’m just asking myself what sharing sexually with multiple partners is really in service of in my life…  And *at this point*, the hard, fast answer is NUTTIN.  I value depth far more than I value variety.  I’m really not one for all you can eat buffets… or those sushi restaurants with the little boats… they make me anxious and its hard to just relax and enjoy my meal, because I’m all adrenalized and on edge because I’m perpetually scoping out the little river, in anticipation of the “perfect” piece of sushi… It’s very primal.  But that has nothing to do with monogamy.

 

Or maybe it does.  But mostly I shared the sushi trip because I find it to be a quirky and humorous nuance of my human experience.  But allow me to reign myself in and say that the depth and quality of love, friendship, intimacy and sex that Ed and I share is waaaaay more than enough for me at this point.  And it is certainly worth sanctifying.  Hands down.  But can I make radical, over-arching promises to myself and to him about who I’ll be tomorrow?  I wish it was that simple…

 

But it’s not.  And honestly, why do I even wish that?  Well, because peering into the fantasy future of loving and evolving with one RAD man for our entire lives inspires me.  The notion of *mature love*, perpetual deepening, friendship sturdier than nautical rope…  I find it so appealing.  More appealing than being a promiscuous little slut.  Not that promiscuous little sluts can’t also thrive in long term, committed partnerships…

 

I dunno.  I mean here in the Bay Area, so many people are polyamorous.  And as I try to navigate and define myself, naturally, I look without for mirrors and models that resonate with my own concealed knowing.  And sometimes all this searching gives me a headache.

 

But in order to navigate the inquiry of monogamy versus polyamory, an essential question for me to explore, is what is the purpose of Relationship for me?  Ugh.  This is a massive topic.  And the answer really depends on which facet of me you ask…

 

The answer according to my most idealistic self, is that a partner is someone to hold hands with as we walk home to God.  Think in the vein of the whole is greater than the sum… Someone to raise a family with and serve the community and the planet with… a source of…

 

Oh shit.  Edward just got here and he was fresh from the court room, all decked out in a dress shirt and tie and slacks (and his sporty digital watch peeking out of his left cuff… teehee!) It’s way too profound to put into words… the feeling of our embrace.  So warm and human and transcendent.  That’s how I mostly feel about the glorious perfection of the love we share (except, of course when we’re romping and splashing through the dark, creepy shadows…).  Its way too big to imprison within the confines of language.  But I never stop trying.  It’s just my endearing nature to perpetually stab at saying the unsayable.

 

But as for the purpose of Relationship… I suppose that the best things in life are those which are sourced and informed by the infinite Mystery.  But it *must* have a lot to to with evolving and expanding our recognition and practice of living as perfect expressions of Divine Love.  Mmmm… Divine Love.  That excites me.  Way more than all you can eat buffets, or the perfect piece of sushi…

 

This is definitely an endless inquiry.  It’s more fun this way… Stay tuned.  And please feel free to leave a comment and offer YOUR thoughts on this profound and essential inquiry of contemporary human existence.  I’d love to hear from YOU!

 

LIVE,

A

 

P is for Philosophicality

Lord have mercy there are SO many disparate topics bursting from my “seems” this morning, my pants might just split down the seat!!!  How in Krishna’s name will I choose which thread to follow?  It’s not even like a paltry fork in my mind’s road… it’s like a whole prismatic collision.  Hmmm… Maybe that’s what  I AM- a prismatic collision.  Just like a star…

 

I want to say it ALL.  And I want to say it all beautifully.  Tall order.  But just now, as I was slogging through the swamp of my pre-blogging anxiety, a question sparkled upon the surface of my mind:  What would I say if I truly knew that I was already complete, whole, perfect and divine, with nothing to prove and nowhere to get to?  God, that’s a question I want to crawl inside of and make a happy and lasting home, such that informs every single moment of my life.

 

Well, I am back on the lawn, outside Master’s Market, at Ananda (aka “the Momshram”).  I will be returning to the Land of Oaks this afternoon.  And even though this visit has been a day shorter than most, “on paper”, in practice, it has been timeless.  And I am *not* just saying that to be poetic or philosophical.  I’m serious.  I have not been existing in time.  Only in the motion of perpetual presence.  But not the usual, unrelenting suck of time and space.

 

I think one of the byproducts of daily meditation is attunement to the more subtle expressions of being alive.  In our modern world, we are bombarded by so much noise and stimulus, that many of us become addicted to cheap, rough, empty and continuous “strokes”, in order to feel that we actually exist.

 

I’m certainly not declaring myself exempt from this concealed, contemporary plight of the human soul… but I will testify, that the more I practice sitting in quiet, and bypassing the continuous, shallow roar of my mind, the more I am able to recognize the song of peace that is always singing oh so softly from within everything.

 

Yesterday my Ma and I went to sunday service together.  The talk addressed the subject of living in a state deep calmness.  Honestly, hearing radiant Anandi speak about it felt startling and revolutionary.  She said that when we let go and let God be the doer, this is the smooth, rolling continuum on which our lives unfurl, like a red carpet rolling its way to the exalted feet of Ultimacy.  I want that.  And in truth, I don’t quite “get it”.  Like, how would this peaceful and connected surf across waving time and space be any different than who I am, here and now?

 

Well… it wouldn’t.  And yet…

 

Is GOD the author of this spree through Athena Graceland?  Or is it but a cheap, ego fever dream imitation?  The lines are smeary, you see?  And then, there’s a heavy-handed chance we’ll wake up and realize none of this really even happened.

 

Was God the doer when my heart tumbled through dilapidated floorboards and fell into a room of love and like and live and lust with our beloved, married friend Edward?  That’s a controversial topic.  Because on one hand, what ISN’T God in this life?  I’m inclined to cast my vote as NOTHING.  And yet… on the yogic path, there is such a thing as “right action”.  And I don’t think that includes getting involved with a married man.

 

I’m gonna pause and breathe here.  Here.  In THIS moment.  Because I started to feel tense, considering that I did something WRONG.  Really, I don’t even believe in “right” and “wrong”… But I do believe that every action sends ripples throughout all creation.

 

After I wrote about my ex-fiance Eric a couple of blogs ago, I got an email from his wife, kindly reminding me that I had left out the crucial piece about how Eric’s current state of extreme closure to me is a result of the WAY that I left him: for another man.  Sigh.  Yes, Mrs. Eric… it’s true.  And now I’m in another situation where the bridge of love and respect *seems* hopelessly burned.  I often feel Ed’s wife in my heart.  I consider her heart, and what she must be going through… And I wish I could be a friend to her.  A sister.  I wish I could be a space for her to speak her raw, unfiltered experience and feelings… and invite her into inspired realms of possibility and desire.  Like okay sister, now that your drab, wilted marriage is waning, WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT TO CREATE??  Like not from security and familiarity… but from tender, vibrant desire, inspiration and passion…

 

I’m not sure that she has someone in her life who is inviting her into that juice-laden inquiry.  God I want that for her.  And I know… ultimately, I must remember that it’s not my job to pull the levers and cranks and push the big, glowing buttons that operate the multiverse.  But I can’t help but want her to be happy and turned on and tapped in.  What a contradiction… that my actions have played a leading role in the undoing of the safe, insulated world she has built… which could be construed as careless and inconsiderate… And yet I really do care.  But the truth is, it will be PURE GENEROSITY and GRACE if she ever opens her arms and her heart to me… sigh.

 

I often wonder… do we REALLY have a choice in the unfolding continuum of our lives?… or has the sprawling garland of moments been strung well before we even squeezed through that hot narrow slit between our mother’s legs?  I know it’s very popular these days to believe in “free will”… but from all that I have lived thus far, and intimately observed in the lives of those near to me, I can’t help but feel that the irresistible, gravitational suck toward the whos and whats, wheres, whens and hows that fashion and shape the scopes of our lives are so much stronger than anything we could muster with the paltry muscles of our isolated, half-baked imaginations.  Please don’t misunderstand… I’m not bashing the sublime masterpiece that is your imagination and creative force… I’m merely suggesting that the tapestry is FAR TOO INTRICATE and COMPLEX to think that we, alone, are in charge.

 

And in the long run, this is totally cool.  Because, just like at the deli, we are each clutching a paper number that we pulled out of the red, plastic dispenser, and when our number is called, it will be our turn to go HOME.  That is, to remember the unbounded miracle, the LOVE we always were and always will be.  And perhaps when we “arrive” (awaken to that which we always have been), time will collapse, and we will have an epic laugh because like any other dream, we will realize none of this really happened… but it was somehow fun to pretend it WAS, for a frivolous, infinite sprinkle…

 

But I digress.  I want to exist in a state of perpetual calmness and soul peace as I navigate this perplexing jungle of relationships, circumstances and the mundane, mythological underbrush of human existence.

 

LIVE,

A

 

Please Come In…!!!

Warning: My mind and emotions are *especially* rambunctious today.  Enter Athena Graceland at your own risk.

 

No!!!!  Waaaait… PLEASE COME IN.  I yearn to be witnessed.  And unconditionally accepted.  I want you to be with me.  As I am.

 

I hafta laugh, because what just came through is such a quintessential part of my me-ness.  And I would be so bold as to imagine it may be familiar to YOU and your you-ness, too.  The part of me who pretends she is indifferent.  Like, “I don’t need  you.  I’m cool.  Whatever.  Stay or go… it’s up to you…”  But really, inside, I’m screaming, “DON’T GO!!!!!!!  LOVE ME!!!!!!  HOLD ME!!!!!”

 

That’s real.  I want to feel connected and accepted.  I want to be heard, and I want to make a difference.  Just for being so fully, unapologetically ME.

 

Ahhhh… Now that we’ve got THAT out of the way… I can tell you that I’m at the Momshram.  And for those of you who don’t know what that is, allow me to illuminate with a simple, mathematical equation:  Mom + ashram = Momshram.  My mom lives in a spiritual community, over the river and through the woods.

 

Pbthhhhhtt!!!!  That was the Athena Graceland back-up accompaniment- the distant tremulous croon of a whoopee cushion.  Actually, now that I mention it, the orchestra of life is blaring right now!  I am sitting at a  shaded table on the moist, lush lawn outside Master’s Market.  And the surrounding area is littered with children and the myriad voices of lusty birds.  If I wasn’t having so many intense feelings, I’d certainly be drunker than thou on springtime!!  Ten twenty five am, and even in the shade, I’m perfectly warm.  The especially kind voices of spiritually persuaded children warm my heart as a cool breeze whispers compassionate and generous about my bare arms. I am drowning the stereophonic vivacity of all these young whipper-snappers with harp music… It smooths out the jagged edged intensity of their unfiltered expression.  Binds the moment into sonic smear of subdued, diverse perfection, that allows me to focus and relax into the invocation of this new-born world within a world that is the world of Athena Graceland… much like eggs bind the ingredients of a cake, such that it RISES UP in sweet, moist perfection when exposed to the alchemy born of intense heat.

 

I take it back.  I’m not having intense feelings anymore.  I have finally arrived in the perfect peace of this moment.  I wish you were here with me.  It is really quite extraordinary.  In the most ordinary sense of the word.  I often blink awake for a split second and realize just how much time and energy I spend trying to “get somewhere”… somewhere “better”… Namely the version of reality where I am thriving in my full throttle creative expression, living in my own sweet, spacious, light penthouse apartment overlooking lake merritt, on my own terms.  The rendition of reality where I am free to be with Ed as we wish, without the consideration of his *other life*.  And God… my heart and body long to have a child… (and don’t bother telling me that having a baby is a *huge* responsibility and I will basically be handing my life over to an unrelenting stream of selfless service.  I know that.  It’s not an intellectual desire.  So as much as I try to reason with myself… it doesn’t change the depth of my longing in my heart and body.)

 

Patience, Athena.

 

Desire… it’s such a beautiful beast.  And a powerful force to become deeply intimate with.  She is why we are here.  And She can either be a source of raw power, or perpetual discord and disappointment.  Do you see what I’m saying?  If we allow ourselves to be tossed about by Her like sorry little bitches, we will suffer.  But if we can cultivate deep presence and openness, we can know Her in a way that informs and empowers every single moment of this spiritual mind-fuck we call Life.

 

Desire will never cease.  I will not necessarily be any happier when I find myself suddenly living within the sensuous textures and shades of my unborn dreams.  No… the peace, the joy, the profound love that I seek at the heart of all my wishes has nothing to do with circumstance or shifting sands.  They are a world unto themselves.  Eternal and unbroken by the illusions I project upon the vast canvas of time and space.

 

Wow!  Suddenly, I smell the bright, evocative essence of oranges.  Sweet, tart, fresh… drifting on the breeze, invisibly pressing into my senses, causing my mouth to flood with juice.  How do I open even *more* fully to this quietly sensuous heaven I am currently perched in?  That is a question worth living inside of, if you ask me.  And ultimately, it all comes down to breath. Inviting the breath to wash tidally, all the way into and through me, to the very bottom of my belly.  And softening.  Relaxing my jaw, my face, my shoulders, my belly.  Receiving this beautiful moment and all of the nuanced textures of nourishment it has to offer.  I WANT IT!!!!  I want to invite heaven here.  By just allowing it.

 

This is why I meditate.  Because I am determined to discover heaven INSIDE me.  And not *just* on warm spring days drenched in harp music and orange slices, children at play and birds singing rapturous praises of new life.

 

Athena Grace LMNOP on meditation: There are is such a daunting plethora of ideologies on the purpose and practice of meditation.  But the more I give myself to my daily practice, the more my own motivations, the understanding of the WHY and the HOW dawn within me.   Morning meditation has become an essential respite for me.  It is the most sacred and essential half an hour of my day, because it is a time when I have officially declared that NOTHING that I think means ANYTHING.  That’s huge.  Because for the other twenty three and a half hours, I am mostly perpetually tempted to invest my faith this alluring, vivid wash of dualistic hocus pocus.  But sitting erect, before my altar, I simply keep returning to breath and praying for Grace to inundate my mind and carry me the rest of the way Home (Home = integrated embodied realization of the Truth that ALL IS LOVE)  I used to feel pretty discouraged by the incessant noise in my mind, the thick, sticky veil of maya.  But then I heard an angel whisper in my ear that we don’t call it “Amazing Grace” for naught.  We do OUR part- showing up, being available.  And in the perfection of divinely ordained time, Grace will do HER part and carry us the rest of the way.  It is inevitable.

 

LIVE,

A

 

 

 

Just Get Out Of The Way

Being human.  God, people… we are awesome.  I don’t care HOW tangled up or wayward or remedial we may seem in any given moment.  We are here because our souls want to sweat and bleed and cry and feel the unparalleled ecstasy of earthly struggle.  I’m seeing butterflies forcing their wings free from the constraints of cocoons, redwood trees standing tall and noble through relentless, bitter winds and driving rain, bovines birthing triplets in dank a stable.  What does any of that have to do with being human?  It’s figurative.  Just feel it.

 

Breathe, Athena.

 

Drawing in a deep breath, sinking deeper into my body, into this moment, my eyes well up with tears.  The first one is now sliding gloriously down my cheek… It’s not a hot tear.  It’s cool like this cloud-strewn morning.  I feel a bit like Prince Sidhartha these days.  ‘Member how his regal parents sheltered him from the harsh realities of the real world?  His boyhood inside the palace walls were unrealistically sterile… and when in his teen years, he finally sojourned into the REAL world beyond the palace walls, he was shaken and disturbed by the realities of sickness, old age and death.  And this awakening spurned the quest that eventually led him to his extended stay under the illustrious bodhi tree, where he found the ultimate truth of existence INSIDE.

 

Well, it’s not that I was oblivious to human suffering and death… but…up until like last week (wink), my magical thinking was a bit excessive.  I mean, don’t get me wrong… I condone magical thinking.  And yet I’m seeing that it shan’t be a substitute for good olde fashioned hard work in the face of the adversity that it IS to be alive.  Sigh.  I dunno exactly how it all adds up… I sure as fuck don’t.  And I guess it’s not my job to be the accountant of the entire contents of the multiverse… but as a natural born truth seeker, it is my nature to relentlessly stab at this impossible inquiry.

 

God, the weight of the world feels so heavy in this moment, it very well could flatten me into an Athena Grace LMNOPancake!  Haha.  I was writing that last sentence with the heaviest heart, more tears trying to escape from the hidden land behind my enchanting green eyeballs… and I didn’t realize it would end so neatly humorous.  But surprise!  Out squirted the world’s first LMNOPancake!!!  And suddenly, a surge of fresh, new hope is surging through the veins of my fear-stained mind…

 

I am being vague.

 

Which in writing, is usually not a good thing.  When it comes to writing, I don’t play by anybody else’s rules.  Rules cramp my creative groove.  I write how I talk, how I think, how I AM.  The world of my written word is casual… so that you can relax deeper into the casual isness of yourself and all creation, as you slurp my words off the glowing page.  But if I *was* to obey ONE rule… just for the sheer sport of it… it would be to BE SPECIFIC.

 

I’m struggling in my Relationship with Ed again.  We sidestepped the issue around my platonic friendship with another man for a couple of weeks… and took a delicious, sexy respite in our own private paradise.  But on the fringes of my mind, I knew that at some point, we would have to revisit this polluted bay of bitter medicine.  And as it turns out, this “some point” was yesterday morning.  Blaaaaaaakjhhhhuuuupppth.  Yesterday was sunday, so naturally, Ed was immersed and enmeshed in his *other* life.  With his family.  So we have yet to come together and Talk with a capital T.  Nope, the land mine was tripped via text.  And both of us have had unbearably sore hearts since.  He’s on his way to me now… And I am flooded with anxiety.  And a strain of prayer drenched in desperation.

 

Honestly, I don’t even want to get into it.  Because I know he’ll read this.  And as it turns out, being MISUNDERSTOOD by him is a modern form of torture technology.  Plus, it’s not JUST our Relationship that is causing me strife.  It’s work and money and purpose and other relationships with other human beings, too.  I see a baby at a table nearby…(I’m at Pizzaiolo)  and his smooth, round face is wide with wonder and innocence.  He vacillates between fussing and flailing about in captivated, immediate joy.  And I breathe.

 

A minute ago, I got up to get a drink of water and I saw my choir director, from back in the “good old days”, which were really not very good at all… My mom made me join Oakland Youth Chorus when I was like fourteen.  Oakland Youth Chorus in itself was not a particularly rainy parade… being fourteen sure WAS.  And being socially awkward and quiet and not fitting in with the other “youths” sure as fuck WAS.  But anyway, I run into Melany occasionally, because we both habitate in the Land of Oaks… and she even visits Athena Graceland on occasion!

 

Well I said hello to this overtly soulful expression of Woman and she asked me how I was… and god, that question works me over, most times… But apparently, the look on my face was worth an entire Athena Grace blog (about a thousand words!)… she felt my inner natural disaster aftermath.  I told her I was realizing that being human is just meant to be a perpetual struggle.  She figuratively raised her glass to that, and stood with open arms, inviting me into embrace.  “You’ve just gotta get out of the way, baby,” God spoke soft into my ear, through this holy other.  She held me.  Not tight.  Not loose.  Just perfectly.  And I felt her feeling my heart, which I allowed to soften open wider.  Of course tears began to tumble and splash, as a result.  She just kept right on holding me, our hearts meeting without pretense or protection.  I let myself cry.  Right smack dab in the middle of my favorite cafe.  Right here in the center ring of life.  As I was perfectly felt and held by a beautiful and realized messenger of God.  And as she held me, she kept repeating, “Just get out of the way…”, like a mantra.

 

Just get out of the way.  Just get out of the way.  Just get out of the way.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  And I was crying not only because my heart ached, but also because I felt so blessed by the simple act of two hearts meeting, without the need for story, past, future or meaning.  It was a moment of obvious grace and spiritual purity.  Both mundane and profound.  I know that God is always with me… But sometimes it’s hard to remember this resplendent, eternal embrace… when it is in the form of quiet, empty space.  So God enlisted an angel in the flesh to help me reconnect to this Great Love that is always surrounding us and beaming from within us.  Sometimes I am that angel for another.  Sometimes you are.  That’s just how it works.

 

******************************************************************************

 

Now it’s “later”.  Ed has come and gone.  Our talk went way better than I expected (even though I was gushing desperate, anxious prayers all morning).  I will say that Relationships can sometimes be hard freakin work.  But also equally rewarding, transformative and sublime.  I am amazed at how powerfully he showed up today.  I was afraid that we’d just smash into the same cold, hard wall… but by the grace of God and our own self-effort and willing presence, we were able to share and listen and meet.  God I LOVE that man.  More later…

 

LIVE,

A

The Past: Letting Go Into Unconditional Love

I was cleaning out my closet yesterday afternoon, because I have an aversion to needless “stuff”, and I came upon the scrapbook that my ex-fiance and I compiled over the course of our five years together.  Five years… once upon a time, that seemed like a lot.  But now… well, it’s been five years since we broke up.  Almost exactly five years.  I know, because yesterday, when I opened our scrapbook, I discovered a flattened package of “vanilla-neem” ayurvedic soap, next to which, my sloppy, pink, hand-written caption stated that it was the last box of soap Eric and I shared before we separated!  The date was May fifth, 2008.  I was sublimely tickled by my slanted sentimentality.

 

My intention was to toss the heavy, oversized book (that we stumbled upon at Thrift Town, back in the day), artistically plastered with the past into the trash.  Because why would I haul that around?  Truthfully, I felt crushed a coupla years ago when Eric told me he was gonna trash our Cuba photo album.  And *beyond* crushed when he refused to reach out and take my hand when I proposed continued friendship last year.  In fact, here is an excerpt from the last email he sent me in the fall:

 

“If I have a protective shell up between you and I, it is there for good reason.  For my reasons.  And you are not inside my shell.  You will not be inside my shell again.  It is my place.  For me.  And more and more for Erin.  I don’t say this to try and hurt you, though I can imagine it does hurt.  I only want to be clear on where I am.  And I want you to understand that as well.  If we are to be friends, we must come together from this moment and not from the past.  I feel that you are still loving me from the past.”

 

THE PAST.

 

The past… And here I sit, on this first day of may, twenty thirteen, trying to grasp what it is to let go of the past.  I’d like to think I’m a pretty skilled little bodhisattva, fashionably perched upon the illumined throne of holy nowness… but then… why can I not bring myself to toss this large, heavy book full of countless expressions of our shared love and life?

 

And in service to getting naked upon the page, I must say that it stung me to read that he felt that I was still loving him from the past.  Probably because he’s right.  But god, it bruises my lousy pride to consider that my loving is so remedial that it is founded in the long-dissolved and glorified dream of days now dead and gone.  When I read those words for the second time, I took a long wonder… How DO I love him from the PRESENT?  And I was sad to realize that the answer was simply to hear him.  And accept his desire for space.  So I have been.  But truthfully, I still have more forgiving to do… because I can feel this *subtle* bitter twinge of self-righteousness swirl inside me when I think of him.  Like he’s WRONG and FOOLISH for rejecting my invitation into proactively evolving our love and connection.  I must admit, it really does seem that way.  I mean, I’m ATHENA GRACE LMNOP, for Jesus’s sake!!!  And I love like a heavyweight champ.  Who WOULDN’T want to hit this heart???

 

Eric.  That’s who.  And I have the opportunity to deepen my practice of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.  Ya see?  It’s conditional love if I am waiting for him to want to be my friend.   It’s conditional love if I find fault in his desire for space.  It’s conditional love if I cast myself as the enlightened one, for wanting to stay connected, while casting him as the stingy jerk for choosing to live his life without me in it.  Sigh… I guess I’M the stingy jerk for feeling so perpetually tempted to find fault in his choices.

 

But I spose I oughtn’t shoot the messenger.  People stream through our lives to teach us so many shades of lesson.  I mean, if I was busy white-knuckle grasping the perfect picture of how it is SUPPOSED to be with Eric at this point… then I wouldn’t be available to this profound opportunity to explore what it is to love someone unconditionally; or to fully release the past.  Honestly, these are skills I would REALLY love to master.  I’m looking now at ALL my relationships… yes, every single one… and seeing how easy it is to “love” from memory.  Like Ed and I shared some glorious time together yesterday… and that most recent emotional impression informs how my heart feels about him today.  And my Ma… we have shared so much laughter.  And she is so generous in her practice of accepting me no matter what I choose in my life.  Or even Anitra, who I HAVEN’T connected with in a while… and began to imagine that she STOPPED loving me (AS IF!)… But…

 

All of that is a glorified bushel of shriveled yesterdays, at this point.  How do we do it?  How does one courageously toss every glimmering shell of yesterday into the transformative fires of forgiveness and simply LOVE… without limit; without “reason”?

 

I ask…

 

And then I sit in contemplative quiet… I feel my heart swell and shine with intimate warmth.  My heart says it is very simple.  Too simple.  My heart says I AM love.  Not love the concept.  Love, the radiant, eternal, indwelling presence.  It is my mind who complicates this undeniable, unwavering truth.  So ya know what I’m gonna do?  I’m gonna keep meditating every day.  Sitting and sinking deeper into Silence.  And letting that quiet place teach me; inform my choices and my movement through this seductive river of dream images.  Yes!  I’m signing up for a permanent subscription to simplicity.  Not that this will obliterate the complexity and chaos of the world… But it doesn’t need to.  Nah… it’s just a sweet sanctuary to nestle into from time to time, as I haul my fat, gravitationally challenged ass up the endless summits of this human life.

 

Live,

A