Purgatory: It’s Not Just For Catholics Anymore!

I think the catholics gave purgatory a bad name. It’s actually kind of a sweet place. Not that I recommend it. Not that I’m even enjoying it. But I’m inhabiting it. And now that I am aware that this is where I am, I am opening myself to the possibility of falling in love with it. Purgatory. It’s that no-woman’s-land between heaven and hell. Like hanging out in a broken elevator that plays jazz so smooth, if you hooked it up to an EKG machine, the line would be reminiscent of a horizon slicing across a sky and sea so vast, it could be misconstrued as infinity.

But don’t let the elevator music fool you. It is anything but bland inside ME, as I mill about in this forsaken somewhere inside me, like a cow preparing to birth a handful of wet, spindly calves. My heart feels mostly broken. Sigh. I guess that’s how the light shines through. Sometimes…

And now, my beloved Devis and Devas, Athena Grace LMNOP shall explain what she means when she says she is in purgatory. Well… Yesterday I realized that I don’t know where I “belong”. Spending nine weeks in an ashram in the woods, I have become hyper-sensitized to all of the noise and energy and excessive, senseless motion of the urban environment. “Well, then,” you say, “why don’t you just move your sensitive little butt to Ananda, Mrs. Grace, and live with the God-loving yogis?” Well… maybe I will. But when I imagine being here full time… I panic in anticipation of all this incessant calmness. See? I’m in an unsolvable awkward phase. All I can really do is endure. And keep taking the step that reveals itself from this disorienting dark.

I’m feeling sorry for myself right now, can you tell? Someone PLEASE slap me. I am not here to be self indulgent. So be raw, yes. To be naked, yes. To share… but not to wallow. It’s just that not only do I feel like a cow being swatted along toward the slaughterhouse, as I prepare to return to the Bay Area and fumble into some new chapter of reality, but I also saw a picture of my ex-fiance snuggled under warm covers, holding his three day old son to his chest… and it shattered me. My heart erupted like a volcano of so many contradictory emotions: my own profound LONGING to be a mother, and devastation that it seems SO FUCKING FAR AWAY FOR ME, sadness that he chooses not to include me in his life (yes, I own that I broke his heart when I left him for another man…), joy for him, because I feel him to be truly happy and having what he wants in his life and plus, he’ll be the best dad ever, shame for feeling anything but happy for him and his wife, pure awe for the deep, open love that was transmitted through the photo… I fell to my knees and sobbed for a while. Shrug. Such is life. And so I type these words with a raw and bleeding heart. I just told Ed in a text that I would kill myself right now, if I believed it would solve anything. But I know it won’t. So I march on. He told me to remember God… and I was like “Oh yeah…” (Holding onto the awareness of God seems like clutching at a slippery soap with wet hands!) See, that’s why I keep him around. Because he is a pro at feeding me back my own medicine at just the right moments.

God… Please envelope my slashed, aching heart in your miraculous, healing love now….

I realized this morning that I can’t remember the last time I felt really, purely “happy”… Not that I haven’t… I’ve just been so busy transforming. And I’m thinking that maybe my definition of happiness is transforming with me. It’s like… well… more of a subtle, sober quietness, than a bone-rattling, skin-ripping high. But then… it’s not like I’m perpetually streaming with zen mellowness. I’m still managing to cry all the time. And yet, I feel that there is a deepening experience of myself taking root. Like more of a consistent contentment in the quiet spaces. I can’t say for sure… because I’m still dissolving. But I know that beneath the struggle, something beautiful is emerging.

Wow. I just stained the page with a big spill from the chalice of my heart. And then I took the world’s deepest, slowest inhale, and I was transported to heaven for a split second. Now I’m back… to this glorious purgatorial sphere of perception. And I’m contemplating how to sum it all up… I just keep looking at life “out there”, and measuring it against life “in here”… and all I feel is “bepuzzlement”. How do I unite these two faces of my one self? I guess this inquiry is the beginning of the next leg of the journey Home. Sigh. It seems to be such an arduous trek. I want to take the express elevator up the Mountain. But I guess if I did that, I would surely be blinded by the intensity of the Infinite Light at the top. I believe the strength and endurance we gain along the climb prepares us for the inevitable, all-consuming rapture. Or maybe we just go on foot for the sheer fun of it…

Live,
A

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