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…





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… 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.





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