The Ecstasy of Crucifixion!

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You know what’s funny about Italians?  They say “prego” (you’re welcome) before one has a chance to say “grazie” (thank you).  You know what else is funny about them? They park however the fuck they want. Hella diagonal, taking up two spaces, sticking their asses out into traffic.  When it comes to parking, it’s no holds barred. And here’s little American Athena, ever striving to be even and tidy and respectful (at least behind the wheel…).  Now that I think of it, what’s NOT funny about Italians? It always kills me how they sound like they’re fighting, just having “normal”, everyday conversations about pizza and football and the weather and stuff.  Realizing this helps me reconcile Giordano’s default intensity… but I still don’t handle it very well.

 

Ahhhh…. It feels great to be light for once.  I really must be being given birth to…. Yesterday, I felt utterly squeezed to death.  As only a deep, dark birth canal can possibly squeeze. Then this morning, I awoke before dawn, and felt newborn.  By the Grace of God. I was able to see my husband through compassionate, tender eyes. By the Grace of God. I’m not kidding.  After the crucifixion I endured yesterday, I am sure that today is a blessed resurrection.

 

Yeah, I’ve got crucifixion and resurrection on the brain these days, because I am reading one of those miraculous books that literally reconfigures one’s cells and consciousness.  It’s called “Anna Grandmother of Jesus”. It is channeled by Anna, herself. She tells the relevant stories of her six hundred plus year life on earth, dedicated to paving the way for Jesus’s hella sublime mission.  And every step of the way, she clarifies that her telling is in service of the spiritual empowerment of the reader… Because now we are in a planetary ascension, and life is offering us our own rigorous spiritual initiations so that we may choose to fully awaken and play our roles in the ascension of Humanity.  

 

Reading this book is helping me “get right with” the otherwise inexplicable, confounding and unrelentingly uncomfortable circumstances of my current life.  Boy did I need a context vast and mystical enough to hold the mess of my existence. I often muse that context is everything. Without context, there ain’t no pot to hold the soup.  It’s just brothy, chunky chaos, plummeting through infinite space.

 

Anyway, what I want YOU to understand, or at least consider, regarding Jesus and crucifixion, is that ONCE AND FOR ALL, Jesus did NOT “die for our sins”.  For God’s sake. Crucifixion was his living example of completely surrendering the small self, and then rising AS the light of our glorious, eternal Self. The One who lives in timeless, wakeful communion with infinite, miraculous love that pours from the Heart of All.

 

I sure want to live that love, unimpeded.  I guess I want it more than I am even willing to admit.  Because I sure have created ingenious, masterful life circumstances, in which said Love is the ONLY way to endure the sublimely imperfect and often crushing circumstances of my life.  

 

You might think I’m being dramatic.  And selfish. Maybe you think I should spend more time being grateful and creating what I WANT.  Yes. And yes. I am doing my best to stay lifted in gratitude, and keep moving forward. I am. AND…. it is my passion and perhaps even my obsession to illuminate the otherwise dark anonymity of my existence through the art of words.  I tingle and shimmer with vibrance when I do this. I become buoyant, when I would otherwise drown.

 

When alchemized through intentional language, Life Itself ascends from the status of struggle and tragedy, to the elevated, radiant and comical undulations of Grace and Awe.  And boy do I need that right now.

 

Are YOU getting your guts squeezed out in the birth canal these days?  If you say no, either you’re lying or dissociated. OhmyGod, do you hate me for making such a brash statement?!  But I KNOW that what I am going through is waaay the fuck beyond me. I just happen to be profoundly sensitive. Cuz I don’t numb out like I used to.  (Although, I must confess that since becoming pregnant, I DO eat more sugar than I would in my ideal world. But God, first trimester is so brutal…. feeling repulsed by mostly EVERYTHING… eating ANYTHING is a miracle.  Both pregnancies, I have given myself over to the wild beast of my explicit fancies in the way of food. Which is so not my style in “real life”.)

 

Ahem.  Sensitivity.  Birth pains. Collective consciousness.  Crucifixion. Resurrection. Ascension. The shit is REAL, people!

 

I am meditating more, and luxuriating in the occasional, intentional lapses into holy sanity, between the ferocious rogue waves that are emotionally bitch slapping me about these days.  

The exquisite Gift of suffering is always an undeniable and urgent thirst for Truth.  Honestly, what could be better? (Besides sun-drenched, naked, MDMA pool parties with utterly gorgeous, deep souls, overlooking panoramic ocean cliffs, delighting in the presence of spouting whales and leaping dolphins frolicing below….)  OhmyGODDESS, I still have a sense of humor!!! I totally thought it was MIA forever.

 

My heart.  I wish you could feel the consuming longing inside me, to live fully surrendered to God’s Will.  And fuck, if the word “God” still frightens you, and triggers your gnarly, religious scars, let me put it another way…  I ache to be fully given, entirely consumed, and gloriously LIVED by the Oceanic Love that lives as ALL and Lights the World.  

 

Our Lady of God-Drunk Grace.

 

I always put that as my “company name”, when I order shit online.  My packages are delivered to:

 

Luminous Athena Grace

Our Lady of God-Drunk Grace

 

A few more gruesome and necessary crucifixions and I will mutha fucking ARRIVE!!!!

 

Hahahaha.  

 

May Liberated Infinite Love blaze within you today and always, my Beloved.  (Yes, YOU!)

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“Emotionally Retarded Children” ;)

It feels like cheating to tell something that happened more than weeks ago.  I mean that’s how most writers roll. But here in Athena Graceland, my jam is to write what is emotionally alive.  Hot, steaming and still writhing around like a twisted pile of freshly spilled entrails. But the beauty of being not only an Artist, but also the Resident Matriarch of Athena Graceland, is that it’s my prerogative to dance barefoot upon my rules and protocols, as Kali Ma upon her bed of skulls.  Besides, I can be too rhythmic and habitual for my own good. Just as Giordano 😉

 

Even if by now, the Life material I inhabited two weeks ago is but the dead tail of a snuffed out comet, this installment of my story MUST be told.  But only in a whisper, and NOT from a mountaintop. Haha. (And certainly not on Facebook, where my “friends” feel they have infinite license to stand in as armchair asses-ers of my most intimate life material.  Often I enjoy reflection… but this is too vulnerable, and being pregnant, I am a thousand times more sensitive than the empty-wombed version of me.)

 

I did it again.

 

On Christmas Eve, I asked my Cosmic Dad to buy me and Serena one way tickets back to beloved California (which I paid for from the modest funds I received from selling my car).  I was sure I was DONE with the emotional turmoil that semi-rhythmically slaps me down like aggressive waves amidst a winter storm.

 

I must be ultra awake and sensitive as I tread the delicate territory of coloring my stories with poetic, dramatic language, while also managing not to portray Giordano or any of the details in a needlessly crushing slant of light.  It’s for the best that I’m not currently emotionally charged.

 

Cosmic Dad asked me AT LEAST FIVE TIMES if I was SURE.  I understood why. I am a fucking intensely emotional being, who is ever-rocked by passing swells.  I had my eye on this too. Because I’ve already played out the expensive and shameful mistake of buying tickets and then balking once, and it was an excruciating lesson.  To ensure that I was moving from Center, from Clarity, I requested to talk with our counselor, Manuela, before I took any binding actions.

 

We spoke for a good forty minutes.  And my FUCK YES to leaving this alien land where you can’t get a decent fucking dill pickle, a jar of tasty, crunchy peanut butter, a kombucha, or fresh, indonesian coffee beans was full sail, full steam, full throttle, full as a fucking blue harvest moon.  And of course it was not really about food at all. I just needed to convey to you my frustration around this stark, pickle-less existence.

 

It was a searing ache to see my brother.  To return to a world abounding with nourishing friendships and an abundance of transformation-based communities.  A world where I can speak (and LISTEN) with anyone and everyone freely, of all things heart and soul and beyond The Beyond.  Shmooze with the checkers at the grocery store and the seemingly random “extras” in my miraculous movie. EVERY ONE. This is one of my passions, and I feel like a defective, tongue-less lump, here in the pickle-less Land of Amore.  

 

And to be done with the Epic Struggle otherwise known as My Marriage.  Haha. It really IS such a phenomena. Giordano and I have a baffling array of dynamics.  I don’t think I ever “fell in love” with him. He showed up when I needed him. And we “fell” quickly into rolls that resembled family.  I often muse that Life put me into an “arranged marriage”. I will love to expound on this in a future blog.

 

Need.  I hate that word.  But it serves. I was hardened by the arduous path of single motherhood.  On our first date (to the Yuba River), he took Serena from her car seat, as though he had done it a thousand times.  He had the heart of a dad. And the dick of a God. Which I “needed” also.

 

But I digress.  On Christmas eve, Cosmic Dad bought the tickets.  Serena and I stayed at our friend Dhuti’s house. I barely slept.  And not because I was anticipating the clip-clop of mystical hoofs on the rooftop and a belly that shakes when He laughs like a bowl full of jelly.  

 

On Christmas morning, Giordano asked if we would love to spend the day together.  I said YES, as long as he could accept that we were really leaving, and was able to be unconditional,  present and share love. An ambitiously steep invitation, considering I was planning to abandon him, abort his baby, and shatter his dreams of family, leaving him figuratively bleeding profusely from everywhere at once.

 

Leaving was a very hard choice for me to make.  But so was having a baby with a man I don’t often trust, in a country where I don’t speak the language and have only three friends.  I imagined not being able to fully surrender to the love of my new baby, because it represented being trapped and confined to a life of suffering and dysfunction.  

 

Giordano rose to the challenge, but naturally was not able to keep his commitment to simply share love and be present.  He became quickly angry and pouring with poisonous words. I asked him to leave. He did. For a few minutes. Not long enough for my body to recover from the emotional intensity.  He came back. With more. He left again. He came back again.

 

This time he dropped to his knees behind the chair in which I sat in silent overwhelm, wrapped his arms around my waist, held my womb and sobbed sobs of the deepest grief I’ve ever witnessed.  I did my best to stay in my body and be with it. Without adding or subtracting. His expression was entirely pure.

My heart began a slow, continuous tear, straight down the middle.  We went home to see what Santa had brought. A Hello Kitty bicycle with training wheels, for Serena.  We drove to the park so she could ride it. Despite freezing temperatures, the sun was shining. It warmed my face.  Was I really going to leave the new, tiny bike and this budding life behind?

Giordano begged me to stay.  He said he would do anything to support me to go to California in the spring.  He said his family would help us financially. (Which in retrospect was a crock of hope-full bullshit….)  He said all kinds of beautiful and persuasive things. And the ripping feeling inside me increased intolerably.  

As you can see, I chose to flush another eight hundred dollars down the toilet and stay.  I was terrified to tell my Cosmic Dad. Which was an entirely founded fear. He was enraged and lectured us like out-of-line children.  Which honestly felt refreshing. He was unfiltered. A rare gift in a sugar coated world. It was a long lecture, so I won’t give you a play-by-play, but the essence was GROW THE FUCK UP.  (Actually the finest moment was when he called us “Emotionally Retarded Children”!)

And my own “special” message from Cosmic Dad was that he has known me for almost twenty years, and he has never seen me fully commit to ANYTHING.  This hit hOMe. And I wondered… how will I EVER make my dreams come true, if I leave as soon as shit doesn’t feel good? I NEED to realize my dreams.  Need.

Cosmic Dad said if we are really gonna do this, we must surrender to the US of marriage.  Any marriage formed by two MEs will dissolve relatively quickly. (And this gospel was delivered by a man who has been married three times.)

I find this invitation to fully surrender myself to the US both terrifying and thrilling.   

After this recent riveting, shattering, masterbatorily fabricated “peak experience”, we shared four whole days of affinity and understated bliss.  On the fifth day, returned the all-too-familiar feelings of fight or flight that arise when I don’t feel heard or respected. Whoopee.

But we continue to receive support from our personally assigned angel and guide, Manuela.  She is helping us dig to roots of our arguments, to uncover the fears that spawn the aggression.  Powerful. We both have so much fear inside. Naming it is revelatory and transformative.

Yesterday was Sunday.  We went for a walk in the sparking snow together.  We did some heavy lifting and transformed our living room.  We shared our hearts deeply while Serena napped. We made transcendent love.  All day long, I had a glimpse of the possibility of actually liking my husband.  And building and creating a beautiful life together.

I am praying, deep and sincerely to have many more days like this.

  

 

First Visit to the “Consultorio”

I finally got it together to see a doctor yesterday.  You know, for the baby.  Actually, here in Italy, it was called the “consultorio”.  This tickles me.  But not as much as the moment two nights ago, when Giordano came into the house with the clothing from the line outside (he was convinced it would rain, despite the forecast’s declaration otherwise), and he said, “The pantaloni, they was rrrigid.”  I am STILL laughing about that one!

 

Anyway, they don’t speak English at the cosultorio, so darling Giordano had to take the morning off of work to accompany us.  We fought a brutal battle in the car on the way, because I was not acting in accordance with his unstated timeline and he thought this was ludicrous.  He felt this gave him license to go on an emotionally charged ridiculing bender.  I did not agree.

 

I explained to him with calm, direct language that when he has an expectation around timelines, it’s best to articulate it with crisp, uncharged lucidity, because even though in HIS mind, his ideas are obvious, I inhabit a different universe.  And vica versa.  My words didn’t make it past the thick armor adorning his aura.  They rolled off like superfluous beads of (olive) oil.

 

This happens with us.  I communicate in what feels to me to be a very mature, generous, responsible fashion, and it gets lost in some sort of nether-worldly cosmic wasteland.  Then I lose it.  FAST.  Suddenly, “Go fuck yourself”s and “Shove it up your ass”es are whizzing and ricocheting about the dense atmosphere of the tiny Fiat, and Serena is innocently marinating in a soupy broth of verbal violence.  I hate confessing this.  I feel disappointed in myself.

 

I had mixed feelings about sharing THAT piece of the “doctor visit”.  But it was an integral part of the “consultorio” experience,  the ecstatic experience that is my marriage, and my soul’s current labyrinthian alchemy.  So I had to give you an honest depth of field.

 

But really I imagined starting off by conveying to you the alarm and desperation I felt when I walked into the minimal examination room, and discovered that my doctor was a man.  And not just ANY man, but an remarkably round man in a skin-tight, long-sleeve shirt that unabashedly flaunted his impressively voluptuous man boobs.  Seriously, I’ve never seen such full, perky boobs on a dude before.

 

I was already in a foul mood.  Now I was ready to turn around and run.  I stood frozen in the doorway for a timeless flash.  He gestured for us to enter, and I made my way to one of the blue chairs adjacent to his desk.  Giordano and Serena opted to stand.

 

As soon as he began to speak, my fear dissolved in his generous warmth and light.  He asked in Italian if this was our first visit.  I could understand, but even so, he quickly surmised that I spoke English, and he addressed me directly.  His bright brown eyes smiled through large-lensed glasses as he spoke. “Yes,” I replied.  And what had been fear, turned to innocent fascination in the gracious presence of this unique specimen of a fellow human being.

 

He looked at my belly and said “Five months?”  I flushed with self-consciousness, as I replied “thirteen weeks”.  Then I stood up, and he acknowledged that yeah, I really wasn’t so big… but my stomach was full of gas.  He asked if my digestion was slow.  “Yeah,” I frowned.

 

Before any more of the story slips by, I will testify that while we sat out in the hall waiting for our turn, “Giordano’s Best” returned from behind dense cloud cover.  He kneeled down in front of me, gave me his full attention and actually LISTENED to all that was still writhing and howling inside me.  He always comes around.  But the fanfare that inevitably precedes The Return sucks royal ass.  Juvenile.  Righteous.  Emotionally charged. (All elements which I am adept at hurling too, when my pain is roused, by the way…) But I’m learning how to accept the whole fucking emotional arc.  And bask in the perplexing rightness of the man and the circumstances that I have been given by Amazing Grace, Herself.

 

The next part is exciting!  I didn’t know WHAT was in store for my first visit to the consultorio… But it turned out to be an ultrasound.  Something I have mixed feelings about over all… because it seems a bit invasive and potentially damaging… but suddenly, BAM!  There I was, laying back on the examination table and getting slathered in translucent, blue goop.  And in a blink, there was “Baby Sister” on the little screen!

I felt like we had walked in on a private party.  There he was—the tiniest little person I have ever seen, just grooving to his own celestial beat.  He looked perfectly content, wiggling around without a care in the world.

 

Yes, “HE”.

 

The voluptuous and sweet-hearted doctor was amused that we were referring to this tiny wonder as “Baby Sister” (Serena was convinced she was getting a girl), and I think this spurned his drive to uncover the truth.  He prodded my baby with his “magic wand”, until the teensy creature uncrossed his legs and exposed his adorable little penis.  At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what it was.  It did NOT look like the tidy little crack that Serena displayed during her first (and only) ultrasound. (Doc said we can’t be totally sure until at least five months… but regardless, he was pretty convinced.)

 

I was not surprised.  I had intuited his boy-ness since the beginning, and have been emotionally preparing myself ever since.  But not Giordano and Serena.  Serena almost cried.  Literally.  And Giordano’s heart sank.  Sorry guys.  I was just tickled.  I’m having a little BOY!  What the hell am I gonna do with one???  I guess that’s the fun of it.  Discovering exactly that.  Loving a boy will teach me a lot.  I just hope he’s not a little terror.  I’m not designed to handle that shit.

 

Thankfully, God never fucks up.  Even when it seems sure that HeSheIt must have been hitting the crack pipe.  (Which lately seems like a frequent habit.  But really, I am enrolled in a rigorous, Heavy Weight strength training, and will surely emerge a Champion.)

 

We saw his little hands and feet, his brain, his spine… heard his perfect little heartbeat.  Eternally incinerated are any straggling fantasies of abortion.  This boy is MINE.

 

I must speak to the contrast between this ultrasound, and the one where I first saw beloved Serena.  That was an unbearably heavy day in my heart.  Ed took me.  We had barely been on speaking terms.  I think I was six months along by then.  It was summertime.  He stood at my side with somberness fit for a funeral.  My joy and delight was suffocated in the airless atmosphere of irreconcilable heartbreak.  I needed him by my side.  And yet his presence destroyed me.  After the appointment, we drove to Stinson Beach.  Ed grilled us a steak in the picnic area.  The day was unusually cold and overcast.  Then we walked the beach.  We barely spoke.  I experienced a surprisingly boyish side of Ed, as he delighted in picking up pretty rocks.

 

This time, I was with my family.  My totally imperfect, but wholly devoted and loving family.  And we were all sharing in a pretty damn PEAK experience.  Each swimming in our own sea of heightened, diverse emotions.  But still, together.

 

I was actually surprised by the magnitude of my quiet joy.  It melted from my center and spread softly across my day, in concentric circles, like a raindrop splashing upon a lake.

 

It was a wham-bam-thank you-ma’am sort of appointment.  The doctor set down his magic wand and walked to his desk.  He said some stuff to Giordano in Italian, as I wiped the blue goop from my belly with the paper towel that he had previously tucked in my pants.  He said to come back next Thursday (which as it goes, is my thirty-ninth birthday), for blood tests.

 

Then we went to another room where a woman informed us of the burocratic hoops we’d have to jump through in order to get full medical coverage for this pregnancy, given that I don’t yet have a family visa.  We would need to go obtain fiscal codes from a different office.

 

All this was transmitted in Italian, of course, and I had only the vaguest notion of what was being said.  Then as soon as we left her office, Giordano was on the phone.  I gathered with his mother.

 

I felt dropped.  Totally alone.  We had just shared a very deep and emotional experience… and then he had received information that I did not understand, pertaining to me… and… he chose to call his MOM???  It would have felt better if he connected with me first and said something like, “Oh my GOD, I’m so excited, I want to call my mom and tell her we are having a boy!  Will you excuse me for a moment?”

I didn’t feel like his partner.  In that moment, I felt like his MOM was his partner.  The one his heart was with.  This weighed on me for the rest of the afternoon… until I found the right moment to share my feelings with him.  To his credit, he received me so generously.  No defense.  Pure empathy and presence.  My husband… He may be an unpolished mother fucker, but he is truly giving his ALL to becoming better.  A better version of HIMSELF.  Not some random schmuck.  He isn’t evolving at my preferred rate.  But I suppose this is for the better too.  Because not being in control of any of it is certainly polishing the fuck out of me.

 

Just think how strong and shiny I will be…..