Clumsy Integration

It’s amazing how much life can be crammed into the span of a single week, day or even an hour. Last time I offered my inner world to the page, I was still at Ananda, and pretty sure that Ed and I were in our not-so-grand finale. Today I am in Oakland, at good olde Pizzaiolo. It’s morning, the sky is soupy-gray and I’m contemplating putting a jacket on. Don’t tell anybody, but a huge rat just scampered across the worn, wooden floor. I can hear the feminine trill of distant opera, mingling with the sound of clinking glasses, the soft aum of a humming motor and the shhhh of water rushing from a faucet.

It feels good to tell you simple, grounding things, rather than leaping straight for the land beyond the moon. I want to be the white-haired couple who are settling in two tables away from me. They each have a news paper and a morning bun. The man just gave a little jar of homemade jam to a dude who works here. His face is bright and inviting. Gosh, I’m noticing that the grass sure looks greener beyond just about EVERY fence these days. Certainly this seasoned pair is every bit as human as I, but in this moment, they represent simplicity to me; non-striving. Presence and contentment.

And then there’s Athena Grace, working so hard. Working so hard to integrate this being human. To heal my mind, my perception of the past… To dream not just MY future, but OUR future. The future of my human family. Fatigued and determined, I climb my own self-imposed walls in hopes of scaling them and discovering a panoramic view of Truth and Love and Infinity. Who will hold me while I break down and sob?… but not for TOO long. Just enough to cleanse and polish the mirror of my soul… and then I’ll carry on. Carry on with this alchemical mission of Awakening. I promise to give away everything that is revealed to me. What’s mine is yours.

Oh stark contrast! I left the pristine gentleness of the Momshram on sunday. My Ma drove me to Emeryville, where the archangels, Jennille and Marty are now hosting me in the guest room of their thirtieth floor penthouse apartment. As Ma and I rode the elevator up, up, up to the foothills of Heaven, we made conversation with a fellow passenger, over the elevator’s sudden, inexplicable inundation of the scent fried chicken. When he exited the shiny chamber, I cheerily called after him, “Enjoy yourself!”

“I’m sure I won’t,” he replied as the door slid shut. Stupified and tickled I looked at my Ma and giggled, “I guess we’re not in Kansas anymore.” And thus began my decent back into this limping, glamorous urban world.

From an ashram to a penthouse. Now I have an epic view of a bay of liquid silver, veiled in thick, white mist and bleeding, electric sunsets through grimy floor to ceiling windows. Like all poetry at it’s finest, it comes swaddled in thick paradox. Thirty floors below, flows an incessant river of traffic: the 80 freeway. From purring crickets and dark, pristine skies pierced with starlight, to growling semi-trucks and endless, rolling scapes of city lights. My nervous system is recalibrating. It doesn’t feel graceful, but more like riding down a mile-long sandpaper slide.

Yes, I’m being dramatic. But I’m also about to start my period, and I feel sensitive and raw. And let’s factor in that the morning after my descent back into this epicentric urban madness, I began a week-long tantra yoga immersion. Just when I felt spiritually grounded… I had to go and rip up the floorboards; peel off the scab.

Pedro, my teacher keeps affirming that tantra and classical yoga are grossly disparate. While classical yogis give their all to denying/renouncing/transcending physical reality, tantrics EMBRACE this physical plane and recognize it ALL as divine. I can see the value in BOTH. I want to transcend it all as I fully, gracefully inhabit it. I guess that’s more tantric than classical… if you must slice it all apart with a scalpel. Well… it stings my heart every time Pedro scoffs at Patanjali and classical yoga.

From my “partial perception”, (as Pedro refers to each person’s unique, galactic vantage point) the practitioners of classical yoga, as illuminated by the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, are all very grounded and embodied in this earthly reality, living lives of harmony, devotion and service. I don’t see negation of life… only a grounded embrace. And yet, personally I don’t want to dress modestly and diminish my sexuality. I want to dance naked and glorious in the sloshy tides of warm, salty, semi-figurative, tropical dawns.

I guess what I’m driving at, is that I am feeling clumsy as I integrate all that I have lived and learned, to form a coherent and empowering view of reality. And when it gets to complicated, I find solace in the remembrance that I mostly want to be a kind, loving, honest and inspiring human being. I want to live by example; take care of all of my Brothers and Sisters, (yep, that means YOU, beloved child of God) and this magnificent planet on which we dance. I want to be happy and free and at peace. That is more than enough.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Darrell
    Sep 01, 2013 @ 16:48:02

    Welcome home, beautiful Athena…


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