Every Shade of Grace

Leaving Ananda (the “Momshram”) last time was an experiment. My Ma was sure that I’d return to her after my impending Bay Area romp, Humpty-Dumpty shattered, and she’d have her work cut out for her with the bottle of kray-zay glue. But I was like, “Oh, Ma! Why dost thou insisteth on investing thine faith in the worst case scenario?!” My stance was straight up curiosity. Like, “Huh… how’s it gonna play out… ME, going back out into “the world”. Yep. It has become like that… There is Ananda Village… and The World. And comparatively, the world can be a rough ride. Ma was right. At least today’s forecast calls for a bandage brigade. And probably a few stitches. And maybe a tourniquet.

And now for a deeper glimpse inside the writer’s mind: She’s thinkin’ like, okay, where do I go from here? Do I climb up to the high dive and leap into the deep, inhospitable waters of my dramatic sob story….? I want to bring my BEST to you through this blog. Yes, my MESSY, NAKED BEST… I want to turn my lead into gold before your very eyes… and turn yours the same through sympathetic osmosis. That’s what Jesus did. And every other saint and sage who’s blessed this Forgetful Zone. Great souls dwell in the light of Truth, and others are naturally and effortlessly elevated… just be sharing in the *realized* presence of the all pervading, indwelling God (LOVE). Now I’m not professing to be a saint. Or a sage. Just a genuinely aspiring, caring and determined soul. And I want to invoke the presence of the Miraculous, such that through the sharing of my story and my heart, Truth will be revealed where before there was a veil of darkness. I will heal myself as I unfurl upon the page, and you, in turn, will receive healing like pure alpine snow melt, pouring out into myriad streams, who surge with the force of destiny toward the Ocean.

Okay Athena. Beautiful aspiration. Now let’s get to work. Do you want to take a guess as to why I SOBBED myself to sleep last night and awoke with my eyes swollen and crusty… only to resume the wet festivities again this morning? If your mind wandered to our massive and mushy-hearted police officer, Ed, you WIN. (and if you are new to my blog, or you were just genuinely stumped, you also WIN, because in Athena Graceland, everyone is a winner. How can we *not* be?!… we are all glorious, creatively costumed children of the INFINITE?…)

I’m starting to see a pattern. I yearn to be oh-so-close with Ed. So I will my orbit near to his. And it’s like eating my fill of warm, melty brownies… laced with arsenic. Moments that we are together and holding each other close, or cooking a nourishing meal together in our new PJs, or walking down the street with my arms wrapped around his big, squishy middle… Perfection.

And then he goes back to his family; in a maximum security world, where I am forbidden. At least my body… I know that my heart and my energy pervade that world like a questionable fragrance. Is it sweet? Or is it lethal?… It is both. It is born of flowers grown in the great goddess of destruction, Kali Ma’s own garden. I know my love is felt in Ed’s home… but it is not soft, fluffy, puppy kitten love… it’s the shade of love that demands truing and transformation. Not glamorous. But necessary. And now that I think about it, it isn’t even “my love”. It is God’s love. And it is working me over just the same. And that’s why I’ve been crying all hard and tragic for the last twelve hours.

I’m calmer now. Now, I’m just here. At Pizzaiolo. I cried all the way here on BART, though. And to be honest, crying in public (and I mean REALLY CRYING… not a wussy, withheld trickle…) is a form of my activism. Why should we have to portray ourselves as all neat and tidy all the time? Kids aren’t the only ones with feelings. Cry Laugh Orgasm. Buy the book. It’s the story of my life.

Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes, the perfection of moments shared with Ed. Our connection is POTENT. And as deep as deep is deep. But then he goes back to his family. And he is unwilling to create any kind of timeline as to when he’ll be available. And I think my heart has broken and spilled over the reality of our situation one too many times to continue on as we have been. And he expresses similar sentiments about his jealousy issues and my desire to spend [PLATONIC] time with other men. He doesn’t understand it… My need to connect. To show up for the people that God peoples my life with…

Meanwhile, I was invited to visit OREGON! There is another Ananda community just outside of Portland. And I have a compelling opportunity to go there and serve in the kitchen and lead sadhanas in exchange for food and shelter and classes on spirituality and art taught by an amazing woman artist who is a part of Ananda! Duh. It’s obvious that I need to go. When I turn away from the pain and the drama with Ed… and toward my guru, toward expansion, toward service to humanity, the sun comes out and my tears turn to glitter and crystals and diamonds to rain upon the masses!

Ha. I make it sound so scientific. So simple and easy. But the human heart is a complicated knot of karma and longing. And the feeling that it is time to turn away from Ed kills me. It is a death. And death is not pretty. Well… I suppose it CAN be. Elements of it, anyway. But I know that rebirth and regeneration is inevitable. For the faithless, death is sheer terror. But for the faith-FULL, death is a wondrous mystery, teeming with hidden gifts, laced with grace, and spun from the very threads of The Miraculous.

But here’s the latest breaking news, live from Athena Graceland~ Ready? Here goes: Even the faith-FULL ache and break and spill. But we do it with our hearts lifted and our wings spread.

I believe. I know that everything is unfurling as it must. Whether I fight the current or move with it… It moves just the same. The only difference is how much I suffer. I hate to admit it, but I am choosing suffering. Because I am so attached to Ed. And I don’t understand what the implications of letting go are. I don’t know if Life will bring us back together or not. But I know that Life has a deep and sober intelligence, beyond individual agendas. I still want to fight it. Just enough to FEEL the edges of my life and the shape of my soul.

The heart always knows how to find its way through this dark labyrinth of a human life. I am learning that there are times to pause and wait and listen… and times to act. My Ma told me this. And the natural rhythms of my life affirm it to be true. I have waited and listened… and very soon comes a time of action. I will do my best to act in alignment with the Highest.

I’ve been musing on the implications of karma lately. It’s hard NOT to, when it slaps you the fuck around so much. I’ve been wondering how I can graciously make my bed and LIVE in it, so to speak… You know, like be woman enough to show up, open and willing to meet the sprouting seeds which I have sewn in the soils of time and space… With the presence and artistry to create the most positive and uplifted future impact. We are always acting. That’s just how it words down here. Karma begets karma = action begets action. But I believe that the more I can keep my eyes open and my heart lifted up to God as the whole ecstatic theater unfolds, RESPONDING with divine intelligence, instead of reacting like a horrified, convulsing reptile…. the more I can minimize the damage, and sew seeds of divine grace in the soils of my (and OUR) future.

This is my prayer.
This is the will I share with God.
May it be so.


Time To Get Awesome!

Do you reckon Jesus relished wandering the desert for forty days (and forty nights)? Cuz I sure didn’t. But my field trip to the desert of the soul lasted WAAAY longer than a measly assed forty days! But I think the main difference between Big J and I is that He was in constant communication with You Know Who… and Little Mrs. Grace… well… sure, my soul is always chattin’ it up with All Pervading Hallelujah… but so often, it’s too noisy in here for me to hear the steady stream of Great News.

But allow me redirect this alpine stream of language, because I am veering away from my point, which is actually triumphant. I am not in the desert anymore! The rains have come, and flowers are bursting forth from the wet, slippery cracks. Suddenly, my inner vision is coming into increasingly lucid focus and I feel a sleek and fierce tigress rousing inside of me, who will kill in the name of Truth. No, dummy, not LITERALLY kill! Ahimsa!… Kill apathy and bullshit that keep me stuck and comfortable. More and more, everything seems possible. And I’ve gotta toss some heavy-handed credit to my Ma for this… because she has adopted a “do it NOW” policy, which completely obliterates complacency. And it has rubbed on me. Thanks mom!

I’m trying to retrace my steps… to see what happened… that brought me here… to this threshold of inspiration, passion and willingness… but I know that life is way too massive and unwieldy too be reduced to a set of strategically placed stepping stones across a surging river of Unknown. That said, I want to tell you that there IS something to be said for letting go, surrendering and hibernating. I felt afraid to stop producing. To take tons of naps and read books and meditate and practice yoga and “have nothing to show for my existence”. But nothing was welling up in me and creating a pressure that requires release through creative expression. And I want to share because I have something to say. Not merely because I’m too chicken to face the great emptiness inside me.

Do you want to remember what is true? Then look at nature. I watched fierce winds rip the dead, brown oak leaves from the trees and scatter them in droves upon hard packed earth and forest floor this autumn at Ananda. From my warm, safe nest, I watched, transfixed as the few remaining leaves trembled incessantly on their branches. That tremble… it spoke to me. Perhaps, because it mirrored my own inner tremble. The tremble of that which silently awaits inevitable surrender, demise, dissolution, regeneration.

Meanwhile, I began to lead sadhanas at Ananda. Sadhana = spiritual practice. This one consists of energization exercises, yoga postures, prayer and meditation. I’d say that was a turning point for me. Standing at the front of the room and enthusiastically guiding a practice, sharing all that I have gathered… I realize there are somethings in life, you can only know through DOING. Sure, I can feel the SEEDS of inspiration singing up from the dark soil of my soul… But they remain seeds until I am willing to risk; expose them to the light of day; step out to the edge of the abyss and share what silently demands to be shared in me. Good lord I have so much to share.

Another key element in the alchemy of my current flush of rebirth has been reading the book my amazing friend Kimber just wrote and published!!!! It’s called “Full”, and it’s about her alchemical, healing journey through anorexia, incessant hunger and self-loathing; learning to LOVE her body and honor her divine Self. God. I am truly amazed by her courage. This woman straight up EXPOSED HERSELF. In the places that most of us (understandably) hide out like wimps! In the places where shame abides and keeps us in the prison of “looking good” and “acting acceptable”. And she pulled it off with a profound lightness, which is sheer magic, given the “heavy” nature of the topics she was navigating. God… she is a good writer! Wise, witty, playful, articulate, raw. Not only did this book illuminate my own healing journey with my body and relationship with food (I was a compulsive eater in my late teens and early twenties… and doubted that I would EVER make peace this essential facet of my existence: food… but by the grace of God, I DID…), but I also experienced the POWER of one life, one voice, one journey~ shared in written word for the benefit of ALL. Her words made me feel more human; inspired to fully inhabit MY JOURNEY, and love it ALL. Especially the uncomfortable, confusing, “ugly”, weird, awkward bits, as they make me wise and strong and compassionate! And to offer every last drop of it up for the benefit of ALL. All that I am, all that I live… all that I know deep in my heart truly matters. If she can do it, so can I! (and so can you!!) And not only CAN I… I MUST.

Lately I’ve been contemplating the whole “be the change you want to see in the world” notion… because, while it is a truly powerful invitation… the real question is like, okay, WHEN? Tomorrow? Forty days and forty nights from now? No, sleepyheads! NOW. When you wake up in the morning, what moves you to get out of bed? How do you WISH others would behave and treat you and this exquisite planet on which we dance? Well… stop waiting for THEM…. and LEAD THE WAY. Slash an exquisite path for many to tread. Look around… tons of people are lazily waiting to be told the rules! And if you speak with conviction, they will believe you! So speak from your heart, and on behalf of the Heart of the World… and LET’S TAKE CHARGE of this wild and wondrous circus that is life on earth! What time is it? It’s time to get AWESOME. It’s time to stand for nothing less that TOTAL FORGIVENESS, and birth a world of peace, within and without.