Spelunking the Uncanny Quiet

I don’t have anything burning to say… that I’m aware of.  But I am showing up, holding space for my Self.  The truth is that since my cancer diagnosis, I have become more internal than ever before.  I guess because it’s such a strong subject and people have so many opinions and so much fear.  And I want neither.  I am moving along my Path, illuminated from within.  Everything I need is coming to me with ease and grace.  

For example, a couple of weeks ago, Rosa brought me an article that she found wedged in a stack of books that someone recently gave her.  The article was in english, and it was about a man who had colon cancer that metastasized to his liver.  He tried all this natural stuff that didn’t work.  Finally he let the doctors chop out a big chunk of his liver and his body was rocked.  Without missing a beat, the oncologist was pressing him to undergo chemotherapy… but he somehow caught wind of the notion that ayahausca (a strong plant medicine) could heal him.  So he did four ceremonies and at the end, the spirit of the plant told him he was healed.  He went in for a CT scan and it was confirmed- he was cancer free.  The oncologist was so shocked, he requested another scan.  Yup.  All gone.  

Was it any coincidence that this article found its way to me against all odds?  No frickin way.  So I contacted the warm and wild hearted wise woman who facilitates Santo Diame ceremonies in Assisi, to see if she could help me.  To my surprise and delight, she offered to come to my house for a private prayer and medicine ceremony.  People keep telling me  that treatments work if you BELIEVE they will.  That the MIND plays a massive role in healing.   I believe in the power of plants.  And my own body.  And God’s grace.  (and NO, I am not relying SOLELY on this medicine.  It is merely an element of my healing journey.)

On the other side of the coin, the mind also plays a massive role in sickness.  And the universe is giving me a big, juicy opportunity to dig into this demension.  Manuela Forte has been appointed by the Divine Mother to support my journey since I was sent to Italy.  She is an Italian spiritual counselor/meditation teacher/ambassador of Consciousness.  Her heart is pure and kind and she has an impressive following.  She shared my story with her community, and invited people to support me if they felt moved from their heart.  The response was stunning.  So many women of the light stepped forward and shared money, prayers, words of love, art, song and healing resources.  An older woman named Annalisa offered to serve as a guide for me to heal the thoughts, beliefs and emotions that created my illness.  Her modality was developed by Essene doctors in Jesus’s time.  The system is designed to determine and dissolve any illness at the ROOT.  Annalisa said she will walk with me as long as I need her.  We have already begun.  

Witnessing all that is flowing to me in benevolence and grace, I feel quite stunned.  I realize that at a soul level, I have created this as a shocking, undeniable call to DIVE THE FUCK IN and DO THE DEEP WORK.  If the Call was a whisper before, now it is siren screaming down a swanky sunset boulevard, alarming the greasy crackheads and slick billionaires alike.  

God I am willing.  At least willing enough.  Navigating a human ego is certainly like herding a flock of arrogant cats.  I assert this as an acknowledgment of the parts of me that want to hide out and hope Life will safeport me to the other side of this treacherous river.  But there is ENOUGH of me that is not only willing, but also EXCITED to unravel old trauma and pain and beliefs in sickness…. May God’s Grace fuel this part of me, that it may move with strength, swiftness and precision.  

And what of my marriage, you ask?  Gosh… this topic might be officially nominated the Ultimate Buzz Kill of 2021.  Giordano is terrified.  And enraged.  Thankfully, he is doing his best to keep his overwhelming feelings to himself.  But this causes him to pop into our reality in brief sparks, fleeting moments of buttery sunlight amidst a purple black storm. (Wait, that was super poetic… but being with him is actually not buttery sunlight.  It’s black and purple like storms and bruises and uncharted neighborhoods of the Underworld.) At first, I felt very upset about this erratic behavior.  But I noticed that feeling upset was antithetical to healing.  So I’ve been working to get right with how it IS.  Byron Katie says that “Reality is God”.  If you want to love God, you gotta love what IS.  So I’m in the active practice of letting it be.  I was hoping for a lot more support and connection from him.  But if it’s support and connection I crave… I can find it elsewhere.  And hence be a helluva lot happier.  Sounds tempting, eh?  

The weird part is that he alternates between begging me to come home, and then dousing me in fires of rage and attack for having left.  He doesn’t seem to understand that the only thing that will entice me “home” is kindness, joy and love.  But when we are together, he is mostly distracted and miserable, and I feel so thankful to have a peaceful, energetically light space to come home to after our heavy interactions.  We tried therapy for a minute. The first session sucked ass, because it came on the heals of a string of cruel, emotionally violent audio texts from him and I felt scared, hurt, angry and unsafe as fuck.  That session ended with me exclaiming “FUCK YOU” and then storming out.  (But the beautiful thing is that G spoke with the counselor for another two hours!)

Then Giordano stepped through a pane of glass and spent the night in the emergency room and somehow this softened him.  Soon following, we went to speak with a different counselor, and it went markedly better.  But this had nothing to do with the counselor… only the erratic emotional climate dictated by the quicksilver gales of my wounded husband.  I am aware as I write this, that I am putting it all on him.  I’m asking myself if this is a) accurate and b) useful.  It truly seems like he is the one who is flailing and floundering.  And I don’t feel safe.  I’m willing to dig in and search for that which has been hidden from my view….  And these words represent my view at present time.  

Yesterday Giordano took Forest for the afternoon.  When he brought our beloved child home, he loitered in the entry for some time, neither wanting to stay or go.  It felt sweet and welcome… to have him lingering at my threshold.  Forest showed off his recent bubble blowing skills to his impressed Papa.  Forest has been in a self-appointed full bubble blowing immersion.  He can be fully absorbed in the act of blowing bubbles and then catching them on the wand for a half an hour or more, punctuating our streaming Now Moment with eratic strands of short, tight-lipped exhales.  

Speaking of lips, Giordano kissed me before he left.  It was an urgent, rushed tongue kiss. Neither of our mouths were particularly wet… It felt as if his mind had already made it to the truck and sped away, while his body was simultaneously eager to express its desire and love, and also to catch up with aforementioned mind.  Part of me enjoyed it.  Part of me was bewildered.  And then he was gone and I was blinking in the sputtering exhaust of his figurative roaring tailpipe.  

I feel grief for the sexual self in me who is currently in forced exile.  My erotic energy flows in quiet swells within me… denied a source in which to pour forth.  She carves tick marks into her corroded cell wall, dreaming of a day when She will melt and bleed as sunlight unbounded.  But for today, she’s all unrequited love songs and half hearted suicide notes.  And to Her, I cry out, “Hang in there Lover… I will come back for you.  I will pull you out of the rubble and nurse you with sweet flower nectar from my very own lips.”

A Light-hearted Cancer Confessional

Ok, now that I’ve let off the first layer of existential-literary steam… what do I have to say?  

There are so many things I long to tell you….

Like what a terrible word “cancer” seems to be.  I don’t like telling people “I have cancer”, because I think in most minds, people interpret that as “I am storming Death’s Door”.  And really, that is NOT the idea that I’m hot on planting in the minds of the masses.  But maybe cancer came to visit me so that I could help clear its Name.  Maybe cancer is ready to be collectively imbued with more empowered impressions.  Like “my check engine light just flashed on, and I’m gonna have a good look under the hood”.  (Unfortunately, I did not invent that cleverness, the oncological nutritionist I am working with used that analogy in her video this morning.  But it’s good, huh?)  

So yes, they confirmed tumors in my lungs.  Four.  The largest was 3cm.  But I am imagining them SHRINKING.  

I don’t believe that I have a death sentence.  I believe that I am lucky enough to have the searing motivation to do a complete overhaul of my life and wellbeing.  And I am willing.  I am supported beyond my wildest dreams.  

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!…. to the droves of people, both who know me and who do not know me personally, but have heard my story and showered me in money, prayers and love… Thank you for letting my life and the lives of my children matter so deeply to you.  The truth is that it has not mattered to me as much as it does NOW.  Since my teens, I have entertained suicidal notions, because IT’S HARD DOWN HERE.  But number one, MY KIDS NEED ME.  And number two, I *MUST* become KNOWN as a writer whose words touch the hearts and minds of the masses, and liberate the unsightly though wholly lovable humanity we all share.

But I don’t want to waste my whole free hour talking about dumb old cancer.  Ooops, sorry cancer, you’re my new best friend!  Maybe even my torrid Lover.  You will unleash unprecedented wisdom that is now ripening within my soul and I will humbly decant it for ALL.

But for now, I need to tell you what it was like to go into the hospital in unbearable pain, my stomach a tight balloon.  I had NO idea what was in store for me.  Thank GOD.  After a panoply of tests, a semi-circle of surgeons informed me that my colon was completely blocked and they were going to remove a huge chunk of it and then reattach it, so that it was sticking out the side of my belly and I would henceforth poop into a bag.  At least for a few months until I healed enough for them to reunite it with my butthole.

This was THE MOST shocking moment of my life.  

In fact as I tell you about it, my pulse is rising and it’s hard to breathe.  But I want to tell you!  Guess what I did after they dropped that bomb on me….

I asked if I could call Giordano.  

I needed some kind of reality check because the ground had just dropped out from under me.

Surprisingly, he was a bit reassuring (that’s usually not his forte) and he told me to go ahead and surrender to their protocol.  (I had doubts about this!  I still believed that there must be a mistake…)

So they strapped me to a long, hard table, doped me up and sliced me apart.  When I came to again, my body was literally thrashing like a wild animal, against my restraints.  Slowly, I was able to see out of my own eyes again and my understanding washed back in in little spurts.  I thought I must be dreaming.  The circumstances were way too obscure to believe in.  Nurses busied themselves around me, but none provided the emotional support I was desperate for.  They told me (in Italian) to sleep.  This seemed ludicrous.  But then I guess the morphine kicked in.

When I awoke again, it was to a new life.

And here’s the most outrageous detail… the moment I first saw my colon peeping out at me from the left side of my belly.  Are there even any words for such a moment???  Being wide awake… and seeing your insides on the outside.  I guess I was terrified.  This terror slowly dissipated… at an impressive rate.  And now I feel pretty damn cool about my colon sticking out.  It’s a really exquisite organ… deeep red and full of shy, succulent folds.  It doesn’t have a lot of sensation.  It bleeds easily when I clean it.  Does that creep you out?  Yeah, our mortality is such a discombobulating topic.  These vulnerable bodies.  Tender armor of legions of angelic warriors come to realize themSelves amidst a crushingly rugged backdrop.  

Speaking of mortality, I need to confide in you what it’s like to face mine.  That’s no frivolous small talk, eh?  Have you ever sat still in the center of THAT one?  

During the days, my energy is high.  I am eating such a clean and nutritious diet at this point, that I feel amazing.  I am also riding on a luminous magic carpet of prayers and spiritual protection, which is palpable and precious.  I am busy with my children, appointments, research, making the most of delicious nibbles of down-time…

And then comes night.  In the solitary, silent darkness, my own shadows and hidden fears slither in and dance mockingly about me.  I wake frequently in the night.  I feel strange, foreign pangs in my lungs.  I hear my children breathing beside me in the bed.  There is nowhere to run.  I wonder if I will die.  I reach for God and feel Nothing.  Only me.  Forest stirs occasionally and calls out “Mama, Mama…” in his sleep and I tell God that I MUST STAY WITH HIM.  And with Serena.  God I am ENTIRELY WILLING to do what I must to save my precious life.  

It’s really such a Gift.  To fondle this forbidden, mostly forsaken edge of life.  With courage and curiosity.  With tremulous flinching desperation.  It will only make me more Real.  More tender.  More awake to what I AM.  

Groping for The Rock

Remember when I didn’t have kids and all I knew to do with this unwieldy life was pour it onto the page?  Every day the question I awoke to is “which cafe do I want to write in today?”  I wrote because it was all I knew to do.  Nothing else made sense.  I felt lost and purposeless.  So I made a baby.  And then another one.  And they unhinged their baby jaw and devoured my life. 

Just for the record, I felt a bit of “pre-game jitters” about my long-awaited Return to Athena Graceland.  Back in those aforementioned “good olde days”, I had to reach super deep into my ass to find stuff to write about, because my practice was so profuse and I said it “ALL” a thousand times over.  But now there is an insurmountable backlog~ an emergency surgery in which 40 centimeters of my colon, including a malignant tumor was removed, an episode of physical violence on the part of my darling husband, which culminated in me and the kids moving out of his house, a meeting with an oncologist who announced that a spot in my lung showed up on my CT scan which could be more cancer, or just a benign irregularity… another CT scan… waiting… 

I don’t even want to talk about that stuff.  While it is significant, it is also water under my epic, tremulous bridge.  Today is impregnated with it’s own remarkable heft of innermost feelings, thoughts, aspirations…

God it feels heavenly to be reunited with my literary Throne.  This is the only dimension of my world where I truly feel to be Queen.  Here my inner authority flows like rain gutters after a monsoon.  There is no question.  I feel what I feel.  I claim my thoughts, my longings, my struggle, my passion.  The rest of my life is a nebulous smear.  A tragic falling short.  

Last night I awoke every two hours… preoccupied because Giordano didn’t reply to my texts after 10am.  I feel ashamed that I care so much.  But since I’ve moved out, he’s barely showed up.  I’ve been a single mom of two.  (I pretty much felt like one before… but… this is a whole new level.)  I had a hope that our separation could be a catalyst for deeper intimacy, intentionality, clear communication, healing…. Everything I have been starving for since I’ve been with him.  But things have actually unfolded to the contrary.  He has drifted like a rudderless boat, out into the dark, churning, boundless sea.  It takes him hours, if not days to reply to my texts, he doesn’t answer his phone… and meanwhile, I am left to care for the children.  Oh, and every once in a while he casts a fistfull of beautiful though empty sentiments in my direction… just to keep me hooked.  

I am hooked now.  Waiting for my phone to sing the solo chime that could be words from Him.  Why can’t I just let go?  I am grieving the death of what could have been… a loving, happy, united family.  Grieving the loss of an often magical sex life.  Grieving that I left my home and came across the world to “give love a chance”… and now I am locked here… with two children and no man to share love and life with.  

It all sounds so tragic.  And pathetic.  And it doesn’t really cut to the depth of my experience.  It is always my aim to dig deeeep.  To mine the plethora of hidden jewels in the material of my life.  But I must confess that I’ve never been in such a vast, shark-laden “deep end” as this.  The truth is that I feel completely lost.  Hopeless.  Defeated.  

Words are failing me.  

Because there is more.  

There is the I AM beaming just beyond those feelings.  There MUST be an Intelligence driving this savage confluence of circumstances.  

Walking down our pitted gravel road at the snail’s pace that having two one and a half year olds in tow entails, Benedetta asked me what brings me joy… and I was surprised to note how genuinely stumped I was.  I have swerved so far from the rushing neon pink river of my passions.  Though after some hot and heavy excavating, I realized I love reading books these days.  Imbibing words imbued with various shades of genius is decadence for my mind.  I encounter sentences laden with such heavy wisdom, truth and beauty that my bells reverberate through the invisible corridors of Infinity.  And I’m not just being poetic.  Listen.  You will hear them mingling flirtatiously with the thunderous, rolling, primal OM.  

Now I’m reading Byron Katie, “Who Would You Be Without Your Story”.  If you are not familiar with Byron Katie, she went through a sprawling Dark Night of the Soul and came out on the other side awake, and imbued with this inquiry technique called “The Work”.  The Work assists anyone seeking true freedom by examining the thoughts that cause stress; revealing that disease never comes from outside, as it appears to… but from within our very own minds.  ALWAYS. 

This is quite a horse pill for me to swallow because I just looooove the blame game.  I looooove to be a victim and a pathetic damsel in distress.  Sucky but true.

At least I used to love it….

But the fire is getting too hot and I can’t tolerate the suffering… so I am considering trying something else.

One of the fundamental pillars of her Work is getting right with what IS.  Ohhhh all those notions that it SHOULD BE DIFFERENT.  Turns out they are the Devil.  

Through witnessing her intensive dialogues with people who have attended her international workshops, I am repeatedly seeing how I create my own bondage by believing my thoughts.  And superimposing my skewed agenda on top of Reality.  I see that I am faaar from unconditionally loving.  My behaviors are manipulative, conditional and self interested.  

I want Giordano to make me feel less lonely.  Happier.  Loved.

And mostly he doesn’t.  

And my response is cruelty.  Disapproval.  Judgement up the wazoo.  

In the piece that I was reading today, Byron Katie said that the whole world “out there” is “for me”.  It’s all conspiring to bring me Home.  To my Self.

I want that so bad.  To dive deeper than the kaleidoscopic swirl of externalized perspectives that inundate me.  To find that Home which is the Rock that Jesus spoke of.  These shifting sands are kicking my self-righteous,  small-minded ass.  

My need is screaming.  My search is dizzying.  My life is benevolently falling apart.  My Self patiently awaits my Home Coming.