Motherhood: The Dawn of Soulful Joy

As I mentioned recently, I am happier than I’ve ever been in my life.  This is truly triumphant, because I am one who has invested a hefty chunk of my life in the coin of getting down, dirty and destroyed by darkness, depression, despair.  Too many a day of my thirtieth year, I shook my fist at God, beseeching this Force of Almighty Love, “I have always turned toward You… WHY have you left me to marinate in this dense puddle of ache and confusion???”  And as was the way, when I cried out to God, I was met with that cursed, spacious aloneness, which was never any consolation to my desperate, bleeding heart.  I may never stop wondering WHY we must live all that we must live.  And trust me, WE MUST LIVE IT.  Or else we wouldn’t live it.

As I look backward, through the unflattering, though honest lens of my nearly eternal Dark Night of the Soul, what I realize, is that through this rigorous course of study, I was able to evolve from a state of numbness in the face of divine duress, to a gorgeous, tantric willingness to feel it all, to embrace the sensational aliveness, the creatively textured lila of my holy existence.  This skill of unconditional embodiment did *not* come easy.  It came hard earned, after thirty some odd years of reticent practice, including, but not limited to an eating disorder in my late teens and early twenties.  Compulsive eating.  Compulsion– A strong, usually irresistible impulse to perform an act, especially one that is irrational or contrary to one’s will.  So you see, compulsion, by nature, implies that I really had no idea why the fuck I was doing what I was doing, while I was doing it.  But in retrospect, it became obvious that it was to shut down my feelings.  What feelings was I shutting down?  Honestly, I have retired from the arduous vocation of inspecting my past under a high power microscope…but I do know that I hovered somewhere between a few feet and a few miles off the ground, until I was about thirty years old.  And even then, I was not fully committed to inhabiting the treacheries of this unforgiving earth plane.  Geesh, that last sentence portrayed this planet to be some sort of inhospitable hell… Is the earth plane truly “unforgiving”?  I’d say that WE are the bringers of forgiveness, in the face of all that it is to be here… And the choice to show up at this cacophonous pot-luck with such a savory, nutrient-dense dish as forgiveness, is a true sign of spiritual maturity.

I love how I began this piece by asserting that I am happier than I’ve ever been, and my surrendered fingers led us into the throes of a shadowy and dismal past… I guess it’s sorta like proudly displaying my battle scars to you, as I stand, exposed and beaming with pride and Heavenly Light.  I want you to know that no matter where you are on the Ride of Your Life, it is the explicitly perfect place to BE.   This is a massive motivation in writing to you!  What good is my journey, if not to share it with you, in service of building a bridge of perfection from here to illusory “there”… The “there” of fulfillment, peace and unconditional joy… We Love Warriors are armed with bottomless willingness and perfect faith, as we navigate the labyrinths of all that we must live.

And now back to the dawn of this grounded, steady, gentle song of happiness, gaily playing through my heart and life.  It was born with Serena.  Though I was not aware of its modest, unobtrusive presence at first, because I was otherwise occupied, contending with acute hormonal fluctuations, reorganizing organs, and the shock of suddenly inhabiting a totally new life, in a totally new place, with a totally new, totally dependent, and totally teensy person.  But praise the Lord, that didn’t last long.  In the Grand Scheme, that is.  Really, what’s a few weeks?  It’s but a skillfully skipped stone across the placid surface of an alpine lake.  And now that smooth, flat stone has sunk and settled in wet oblivion, and I am here, smoldering with hard-earned and sustainable delight.

During my pregnancy, and earliest days of motherhood, I fought a long and exhausting battle with the demons of fear and self-doubt.  Living every day, with this vicious, whispering question, smeared all about the walls of my mind– How on earth would I raise my daughter AND earn enough money to sustain us both???  Actually, I’m still not a hundred and eight percent sure of The Answer… but what has shifted is my belief in my Self.  During the heat of battle, I remember thinking, “I have come to trust God and Grace and Galactic Beneficence… They always reveal the perfect door to walk through, opportunity to seize.  But my will felt weak.  Would I walk through the door, if it meant sweating, or feeling a burn?

But Hail Mary Full of Grace, childbirth restructured my relationship with sweating and burning!  They have become mere child’s play.  Doors are pouring forth like scarves from a magician’s palm.  And I have seen myself courageously step through them, tasted the quenching satisfaction of saying yes, and doing the necessary work, with my daughter strapped to me, or suckling my breast all the while.  Like a treasure-laden pirate ship, washed up on my beachfront property, my will and strength have mystically emerged, and I am mostly confident, and wholly victorious.

I began this piece with the effusive desire to tell you how amazing my daughter is, and how being a mother somehow completes me… which I feel cautious admitting, since over the course of my life, I’ve heard people tout the notion that one oughtn’t lose herself in motherhood, because it’s not healthy or balanced.  But I wonder what is the difference between GIVING myself wholeheartedly to motherhood, and “losing myself” in motherhood?  Honestly, I don’t care, because my current experience is authentic and sourced by a massive love.  And Serena deserves ALL OF ME, my passion, delight and devotion.

My favorite definition of the ever-elusive word, tantra, is “to weave”.  By tantra, I mean the spiritual path of embracing all that it is to BE HERE; perpetually diving IN and THROUGH.  Transcendence through intimacy with, rather than avoidance of… And in this immaculately woven tapestry of existence, giving myself wholeheartedly to motherhood also means giving myself wholeheartedly to my Life.  Emerging in this vital role has incited an arousal of deep knowing and trust in my artistic gift as a writer, and a newly ignited passion to claim my essential place in this world, and share what bursts at my seams, in the name of Service and Salvation.  Just like pulling a stray thread in a sweater, it all comes unraveled… if you tugged with any conviction at the thread of my impassioned motherhood, you would suddenly find yourself holding a long strand of unified power, purpose, passion, pleasure, play… And if you continued to unravel this intricate and sacred weave, you would be standing alone at the edge of emptiness, holding the infinite thread of Creation in your trembling hand.

Every morning, I wake at five am, into this saturated sense of purposeful eagerness.  I feel Serena’s warmth beside me.  I listen for a few fleeting, hallowed moments to her softly dancing breath, before delicately exiting the bed we share, and making my way to the kitchen to fill my red, whistling kettle with enough water to make a cup of coffee.  Drip by drip, I pour the perfect cup, and sip by sip, I pour my unbridled heart and mind and life across the page so that YOU may remember your Self.  So that your courage may emerge to say YES to the incessant whispers of your soul.  So that you may love all that you have lived, and live all that you love.

Around six thirty, a soft festival of coos and grunts emerge from the still dark bedroom.  Serena is so graciously alerting me of her readiness to share another blessed day together upon this earth.  I finish up the sentence that is lingering in my tingly, singing fingers, and then make my way to the bedroom to scoop up my well-rested, perpetually joyful, Tiny Goddess.  Every day, I am again astonished by her exquisite, soulful beauty, and fresh, tender perfection.  I’m serious.  There is poetic license, and then there is straight up honesty.  I cradle her portable little body in my arms, and study her face, bearing riveted witness, as she lands back in this lucid, waking dream, after a long, luxurious night of rendezvousing with the Luminous Lords and Ladies of that Lighter dimension of heaven… you know, the one most of us wistfully pine for as we trudge across the rigorous scapes of grace we must face to know this *temporary*, denser heavenly hOMe.

Haha, listen to THIS– I just took a little break from writing, to change Serena’s diaper, bring some more firewood inside before it got too soaked by the rain, make some tea… And all this talk of heaven roused Eric Clapton’s song to rise to the surface of my mind.  You know, the one he wrote after his sun died… I started singing it to Serena.  “Would you know my name, if I saw you in Heaven…”  Such a lovely melody… I was compelled to find it on Youtube and play it for us.  I did, and began to give my all to singing along with the tender-hearted angel, Mister Clapton.  But I didn’t even make it through the first verse, before I burst into tears, my choked up voice turning to quaver and strain.  I feel weird crying like that in front of my girl… “On paper”, I strive to model healthy emotional expression, still some part of me wants to hold on… fearing that it might frighten her, or stress her out… But even so, I let go; let my heart break open at the notion of losing my child, and serenading her as she flies back to the Other Side.  I explained to my perfectly alert, gurgling daughter through tears, what the song was about.  She gazed at me with unfiltered light spilling from her eyes.  All these little, frivolous moments… strung in garlands like cranberries and popcorn… adorning the spiraling mind of God.  This is the gift we each live.  And it’s easy to miss, if we are caught in that wretched trap of striving…

But back to the urgent matter of my testimony of grounded joy.  Serena is a slow motion shooting starburst of smiles and indecipherable, enlightened baby music.  How could I NOT be a purring stream of ecstasy?  Well, I’ll TELL you how– and actually, this confession will smoothly unify the round-about route I took to get to this very sentence I am typing– all of that afore mentioned darkness that I faced, befriended and transmuted… I am certain that living through all of that with patience and presence and faith, has carved this wide-open, sacred space, in which I can fully taste and savor the slow-paced, earthy delight of motherhood.  I’m so glad I waited till I was on the brink of thirty six trips around the sun to become Mother.  My nervous system has unraveled substantially.  And being with a baby is a mellow, crawling roll.  It would be hard to inhabit the center of it if I was wound tight and yanking at my own leash.

It was a gratifying surprise that bringing Serena into the world would deliver me so deeply into the crystalized center of my impassioned gifts.  This miraculous synthesis is the sober source of my happiness.  A particularly wild, passionate and visionary soul brother, Damien, used to say, “Your dreams are waiting for you to come true.”  Indeed they were… but their days of waiting are done.  Athena Grace has Risen.  And will rise a thousand times more. And then, rise again… Because, my friends, there really IS no end to this exquisite trip of Love exploratorily caressing its own infinite body.

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