Initiations. Undone, Reshaped… Yay.

I’d better put on lipstick, if I expect to write anything profound and life-changing.  Ok, there. Purple Haze, generously, sensuously slathered. Time to rock and roll.

This morning I peed into a cup and a vial… and then delivered it to the lab, where they would also suck four vials of blood from me.  Right as our little family of three point three, three, three walked through the door, there came a B movie scream, from one of the exam rooms.  At first, it was startling… and then hilarious. I guess the Universe wants me to lighten up.

I struggle with the Italian medical system.  I’m really not a western medicine enthusiast to begin with… but trying to navigate the shit in a foreign language spoken by a generally superstitious crowd makes me uneasy.  But hey, it’s free.

They want to test my blood every forty days.  Pregnancy protocol. To me this is obsessive. While pregnant with Serena, in my forsaken and fabulous California, they tested my blood twice.  Which was plenty. But they fed Giordano a bunch of crap about how “vulnerable” the second trimester is. Ummm okaaaaaay…. They said I am vulnerable to toxoplasmosis (because I have never had it).   Maaaaaybe I’ve never had it not just because I’m “lucky”, but because my body is strong and luminous and knows how to efficiently process what I put into it. I have eaten plenty of raw, dirty, organic vegetables in my life.  And whatever else can cause it.

Almost everything that is said at my doctor visit, I rely on Giordano to translate and regurgitate to me.  This is a pain in his ass, and since communication is not his forte… some things get “lost in translation”.  Sigh. It’s a delicate balance, surrendering to my circumstances, appreciating what is given, AND maintaining the ovaries not to get swept away on other people’s agendas and trips.

On Friday, I’m going to Gubio for an epic ultrasound, where they will look at all my sweet boy’s organs and whatever else they can see with their magic wand.  I’m excited to see my tiny man again! He sure is an active guy. Gulp. Totally different than Serene Serena…. I hope I have it in me to keep up with him.

My badass spiritually connected counselor, Manuela said not to just slap a cool name on him… but to make sure that it is the name he prefers.  With a vibration that matches his essence and life mission. I was gonna name him “Cosmo”, because it was decent as far as generally boring boy names go.  And Giordano and I agreed on it. But upon reflection, I don’t think “Cosmo” is magnificent enough to fit this guy. (No offense to all you Cosmos out there!)

I have this theory that during pregnancy, the soul of the child whom a woman is growing a body for, actively invokes very specific initiations for its mother… Which will cultivate the qualities and strengths this BEing needs, in order to be supported on his/her life journey.  I experienced this with Serena, and I am experiencing it again with “Tiny Man”.

Life is sucking me through the eye of the needle.  I am living mostly on my raw, bloody knees, incessantly digging DEEP, getting still, breathing through my “molten core”, straight into the center of the planet.  I am fierce to realize and awaken the Mighty and Delicate Divinity within me. I am becoming more patient and non-reactive than I ever imagined possible, and surrendering like a Boss.  I am getting right with not being able to fathom WHY.

I’m actually quite proud of myself.  Can you tell?

Mamas out there– Have you experienced this phenomenon of initiation, of which I speak?  

The latest installment of my, ahem, “initiation”, was a minor car accident last week.  Giordano insisted that we needed some “fun”, and wanted to take us to sushi in Perugia.  This aroused elusive fear in my system, but I dismissed it, and submitted to his sweet invitation.  It was the day after Valentine’s Day. We had had a messy fight, followed by a life-giving healing, the night before.  Then right before our ill-fated lunch, a man came to our house to install satellite internet, so that I will be able to reignite my online women’s circles, generate income, passionately serve humanity and build community rooted in authenticity, empowerment and full self expression!  Spring sunlight poured down like benevolent nectar upon the earth. Life felt deliciously “right”.

Until…

Giordano was exiting the motorway in Perugia.  He gazed over at me with visceral devotion, which I eagerly drank.  We both looked back at the road and shared a wave of “oh fuck”, as we realized the cars ahead of us were stopped.  Brake. Smash. Fuck. Haha that’s today’s novella knock-off of “Eat, Pray, Love”.

We were all okay.  Actually, Giordano said his back hurt.  But he says that every day… and with the expanding, unwieldy financial burden he is carrying, it’s no surprise.  To me it felt like a mere bumper car ride. Meets demolition derby. Our car looked ruined. Totally smashed front end.  The mercedes we hit looked pristine. A striking blond woman got out and cursed in Italian. Actually, she turned out to be quite angelic.  I wish I had asked her name. I’m sure it was significant.

 

She did all the requisite photography and stuff.  Giordano made phone calls, and I climbed the little grassy hill above the off-ramp with Serena.  She discovered legions of sun-bleached, vacated snail shells, which we collected and organized by size.  I marveled at the perfect spiral they each contained, and imagined that this was a timely though cryptic message from Above.  I prayed hard. To feel God’s perfection in this situation. To stay open and TRUST the Journey. I sent a grounding cord from my root, to the center of the planet.  I held a space of calmness and presence, so that Serena would feel safe. She must’ve, because she shone with innoecent delight and wonder. I felt happy to be alive, and even happier to be her mom.

Turns out our car is salvageable!  All we need is to hand over about nine hundred dollars to the mechanic.  (Who’s name happens to be “Mauricio”… which is the same name as the mechanic my Ma took our little shocking green Fiat to, back in 1984!  Ha!) This sounds all peach-dandy on paper… but in practice, it’s quite a searing situation. Giordano was already pulverized by myriad financial obligations “we” are facing.  This was The Straw….

NO!  We will not break!  God is GOOD. We will triumph.  I started a crowdfunding campaign.  Begging for money basically. Part of me feels shame for this.  But a stronger part of me says it doesn’t hurt to ask. Nor to receive.  So far, I have gathered about three hundred and fifty dollars from my sphere of Earth Angels.  I am so grateful.

If YOU are moved to help us resurrect “Penis Ray-Ray” (our car), you can send a PayPal donation to us at:

athenaheavenlybody@gmail.com

Public transportation in our area is nearly non-existent.  I can only bum rides to and from school for so long… My network of connections here is still minimal.  But rich… I cherish the modest bouquet of souls I call “Friend” over here!

 

My glass is hella full today.  I believe in and invoke the unbounded Goodness that is Godness that is ALLness.  I am savoring the feeling of whispered auspiciousness, awakening and co-creation yet to come.

From my heart to yours… May your faith be great and your love be infinite.

~Athena Grace

 

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Savoring my existential knots.

Fever-stricken girl

And dreaming cat beside me

As I ache and type

 

The blog I wrote on this day last year popped up as a facebook memory this morning.  Curious to recall my reality exactly one year ago, I read it. Ingeniously, it began with a “portrait of the moment” haiku.  It was fun to read, so I thought I’d give it another go.

 

Yeah, a shadow has swept across my inner scapes today.  Not unusual. I’ve been in a particularly bipolar experience these days.  One day, deep, dark despair, the next, a respite of inexplicable ecstasy, back to darkness, and then a few consecutive days of muted, lackluster peace.  I’m not bipolar, for the record. Just deeply sensitive. And in some sort of baffling growth period.

 

Serena is sleeping on the couch beside me.  She has a juicy fever. Her first in a long time.  The bug is rampant right now. My immune system is putting up a noble fight.  But I feel wiped out.

 

I didn’t come to the page with a burning agenda…. Other than to get naked and express myself.  Because it has been too long. It is a daily challenge to jam all my priorities and passions into a grain of rice and then thread it through the eye of a needle.  Lately, most mornings I give to toaist energy cultivation practices I am learning in an online course. Given the difficulty of my inner landscapes these days, I need to be reSourced.  Great medicine for me. I have also been meditating more.

 

I gave up meditation after a steady practice for about ten years… because I felt like I was approaching the practice from my spiritual ego, and not getting much out of it anymore.  I just felt hella cool to be a “meditator”. It was a relief to let go of that. Soon after, I got pregnant with Serena, and then I lost the luxury of lavish, lengthy sadhanas in the morning.  Meditation lurked in the shadows of exile. But lately, I can’t deny my need for frequent doses of stillness. Mini vacations from the riveting identification with the endless stream of personalities and circumstances and struggles otherwise known as Life.  Ahhhhh. Nutrient dense shit.

 

Speaking of personalities and circumstances and struggles (OH MY!), here is the current existential knot I am attempting to tease apart:  I have been living in an increasingly constricted state of closure, married to Giordano. I don’t feel emotionally safe to be open. He occurs for me as very inconsistent.  Emotionally unstable. He is living under an insurmountable pile of responsibilities and burdens, and struggles to manage his stress. (God bless him. Seriously.) I rarely feel heard or received by him when I share.  Being heard is a massive need for me and it feels terrible when, all too often, my thoughts and words, desires and feelings are sucked into a black hole. In order to not feel said terrible feeling over and over and over again, I just close up.  Blah.

 

Living in this state of closure sucks rotten ass.  It feels so foreign to me. I value openness and expansive, fluid self expression.  It’s so easy to justify my closure. It seems natural in the face of having a husband who struggles with Presence, listening and inner stability.  One who does not know how to interact such that another feels “gotten”, “received”, “heard”. (Poor guy… he was never given the grace of feeling gotten, received, heard as a child.  His parents were too busy fighting with one another. So it’s just not in his wiring. He’s trying. I admire that.)

 

I’m typing all this, and it sounds utterly ridiculous.  Like how in Fuck’s Holy Name did I wind up MARRIED to this dude???  Folks, now we are peering into the belly of the beast. The sheer and utter Mystery of Existence.  Giordano and I are strong magnets that have no choice but to smush together. I’ve never felt anything quite like it; so simultaneously essential and despicable. I can only imagine that this is the freshly sharpened knife of karma.  And I’m learning to stop trying to make “sense” of it… and just be humble and gracious as I live it out.

 

But I want to live OPEN.  I want to be unconditionally free in my heart.  And filled to overflowing with Heaven’s sumptuous love-light, so that I am a benevolent outpouring of it under any and all circumstances.  

 

I’m guessing that my wise and fearless soul set out to cultivate my own inner stability to such a degree, that NOTHING and no ONE on the outside could EVER threaten it.  So I found “Mister Right”- someone who cannot save me (though to his credit, he really WANTS to!), cannot hold me the way I yearn to be held. Someone perfectly flawed. And profusely devoted.  Someone who holds on so fucking tight, that it is impossible for me to pull my all-too-familiar knee-jerk bolt at the first sign of discomfort.

 

Anyway, part of this knot, it seems, is a fear in me of being so fully committed to.  Am I afraid of being deeply loved by a man? Because it’s foreign to my wiring?… Do I obsess over the small stuff as a protection mechanism?  A strategy to hold on to my small self?

 

Probably yes.

 

But it’s a knot, because the “small stuff” gets all smeared in with the “big stuff”, and the relationship becomes this imperceptible soupy blob.  I don’t know what is real, or when to give it the fuck up, and when to hold on as an act of self preservation. Probably better to err on the side of giving it the fuck up.  Like one of my life-long idols, the Landmark Wisdom Course leader, Joan Bordow once said, (when giving advice to a woman friend on the eve of her wedding) “The person who lets go of being right first, wins.”  Sounds so simple.

 

But it doesn’t feel like it from the inside.  Well… in certain, select moments it does… but overall… I feel to be in an unruly tangle.  I guess this is why people have therapists. We are all knotted up in our survival strategies, expectations, fears, projections, blah, blah, blah.  

 

I’m glad to be living inside this question.  And not in a rush to figure it out. Just looking deep within, making myself available to growth and revelation, and acknowledging my deep desire to live as Openness.

 

Ahhh, it feels so good to get this shit out on the page.  Blessed BE the sacred alchemy of the written word.

 

May you savor your tangles and twists like the finest wine….

 

Love,

Athena

The Ecstasy of Crucifixion!

feature-resurrection01

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!)

“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…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stewing In My Own Hella Succulent Broth

My fingers tread light this morning.  For the past few blogs, they have been leaden.  Two days ago, Benedetta, one of my few cherished friends here in Italy, told me that she needed to distance herself from my “situation”, because… I forget exactly why… but basically, it was too much for her.  

 

I don’t blame her.  It’s too much for me too.  She told me I was “stewing in my own broth”.  Which translates to subconsciously choosing to stay in suffering because it’s familiar and safe.  

 

This stirred my (brothy) pot.  On one hand, I felt hurt, because I honestly feel like I’m doing the best I can to keep my nose and mouth (if not my whole head) above water in most moments, while living with a relentlessly heavy, broken heart.  Another part of me felt relieved and loved. Like she cared enough to say what was hard to say, and stay connected, instead of writing me off and moving toward “better feeling” relationships. I felt so fucking vulnerable.  I need Benedetta.

 

Need.  It’s not the most flattering facet to bring to a relationship.  But the truth is, I DO need her. She is the mother of a three year old (boy), with another baby on the way.  She is challenged by her marriage. And yet she navigates the challenge from a high spiritual octave, using it as fuel to grow herself and find “It” inside.  This is the kind of company I want to keep

 

Honestly, I’m tired of my song and dance, too.  Tired of hearing that I am unhappy. My stories are starting to chafe me.  So? Where do I go from here? Fake it till you make it, kick your heels up, get your saucy groove on for no reason Delight?

 

I was listening to Matt Kahn’s lastest vid this morning.  Which of course was timely as fuck. He said that Life is dishing up hearty portions of rapid transformation right now.  He said that despicable circumstances are Life’s way of initiating us into the integrated realization that WE DO NOT NEED OUR CIRCUMSTANCES TO CHANGE IN ORDER TO LIVE IN JOY, PASSION, FREEDOM and LOVE UNBOUNDED.  

 

Hearing this, my heart burst into a loosened shower of tears.  It was almost six in the morning. Giordano was fresh out of bed, and lay with me.  He pulled me close as I cried. There was something exquisite about the moment. It was so honest and pure.  I was not blaming him for my pain. He was not in my line of fire. There was no drama. Just me breaking under the weight of my struggle and the gravity of my longing.  He, a warm-bodied and silent witness. I feel closer to him for sharing those wordless moments.

 

I cried for feeling relentlessly uncomfortable.  For the grief of whatever is dying inside. My spectrum seems to span from bland and lifeless, to hurt, to crushed, to furious.  Am I stewing in my savory broth by writing shit like that? No. Just reporting the weather, with the intention of driving the Graceland Starship to revelatory spiraling galaxies infused with deep, surrendered breaths.  

 

I want so badly… I ACHE in fact, to fully embrace the divine rightness of my Path and Choices.  This endeavor has been an opus for me. Giordano might perceive me as lazy… laying in the fetal position on our folded-out couch in the evenings… But if he only knew the blood and sweat and tears flowing on the inside as I press on to digest this unprecedented life experience.  

 

Listening to Matt Kahn, I touched the tight bud of a Possibility inside me.  The possibility of living anchored in unconditional joy and inner freedom. Can you imagine???  It almost seems unfathomable from this dot on the perceived straight-assed line of my life.

 

But I guess, in Reality, my life is anything BUT a straight-assed line.  It’s a blazing, twisting, grinning spiral of sacred stardust. Part of me already lives in this awakened place.  I am just integrating this state of being, as I clear cumbersome, vomitous buckets of cellular debris from my field.  Heck, YOU might be doing this too. Hooray for YOU! Trust me, I know what hard work it is. Hooray for US!

 

I have been heavily flirting with the notion that I was dropped by Grace and God– a state of consciousness I have not abided in for this long… in a long time.  

 

I’m jealous of people who eat croissants.  Fuckers! My digestion is too sensitive to dump such crap in this body.  God it’s not fair.

 

I digress.  As it turns out, I was NOT dropped by Grace and God.  The hella illustrious Manuela Forte agreed to council Giordano and I, on a pay as we can, IF we can basis.  She said God has been so damn good to her (she didn’t say “damn”, because she’s not a spiritual sailor like Athena Grace.), that she can afford to be flexible.  She just feels Called to help us. This is ANOTHER thing I’m more jealous of. Way more than eating croissants, in fact.

 

I’m jealous of Beings who are so spiritually aligned and fully Given to their dharma, that they LIVE in a streaming state of Grace and Abundance.  I wish I was like that. I guess in a way, I am. I always have what I need. But my consciousness still feels headlocked in survival, and too often, I feel like I’m wandering lost in sketchy neighborhoods.

 

Anyway, I spoke with Beautiful Manuela, via facebook video chat, last thursday morning.  It was a turning point. Like listening to Matt Kahn, I found the location INside, where ALL IS WELL.  Where I am love. Where everything that I am living is Holy Perfection.

 

She wanted to meet with me alone first.  I didn’t understand this, but I trust her.  And yup, it felt so right. Giordano and I will speak with her together soon.  I THINK SHE CAN HELP US… to focus our energies and intention on healing ourselves, so that we can truly evolve AND FUCKING COMMUNICATE LIKE ADULTS and love each other.  

I’m on my knees in gratitude.

 

Now, can I just tell you how desperately I WISH that I had kept my Mom’s recipe for minestrone soup???  (I mean the *actual*, neater-than-Thou, handwritten on an index card recipe that she busted out on those cold nights, when she felt a burst of inspiration to feed everyone in her group house, her favorite, simple, nourishing meal.)  Regret-stained longing is burning me on the inside. I didn’t LOVE her minestrone soup. It seemed pretty plain to me. And it had pasta, which I usually picked out, which was a pain in the ass. But being in the first trimester of pregnancy, and being disgusted my almost everything… Oh her soup sounds fucking heavenly.  Sure, I could freestyle something in the ballpark. But I want to measure shit in cups and teaspoons, according to her gorgeous script. (Which is totally NOT my style, by the way.)

 

If I let myself, I could cry about this.  But I need to pay for my tea, and get my ass to the swimming pool.  I miss my mom so much. Manuela said my Ma is working so hard from The Other Side to help me get free.  I could cry about THIS too. In fact, I AM!

 

What an Epic Fucking Journey this Life is turning out to be.

 

Sending you ALL MY LOVE.  Seriously. Because if your blessed life is anywhere near as messy and challenging as mine these days, YOU NEED IT.  

Write or Die.

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Write or die.

 

It’s like that this morning.  Write or die. I’m marveling at how displeasurable life can be!  Even in a cafe brimming with the cutest little pastries and cakes in the world.  

 

The heating in our house is broken.  We just have an impotent wood stove in the living room that nips at the heels of hypothermia.  My body is always tense and shivering. Giordano says there’s something wrong with me, because he and Serena do not suffer as I do.  This really isn’t helpful. He’s gonna fix the heating someday. If he ever makes it back from the all-consuming Epic of The Olive Harvest.  And if we can ever come up with a thousand euros to buy the used stove he found.

 

I could get deep into the horrid nuances of my current psycho-emotional existence.  But I think it would make me feel even worse. Plus, I’m not sure if it would add value to your life.  Which I aim to do. I’ll just encapsulate it by saying that my heart and soul feel sick. And my body feels perpetually nauseated.  

 

But I’m trying really hard to be strong and triumphant.  And to connect with community. Yesterday morning, Benedetta invited Serena and I to her house for a late “American Breakfast”.  You know, pancakes. And eggs. She has a sun who is six months older than Serena, plus, like me, she’s growing another. She’s married to an american man.  She also invited another family who has a three year old boy and a brand spankin new baby.

 

An older version of me might not have gotten off hard on the event.  I was never a fan of the intense chaos that is little boy energy. Or lite, surface conversations.  But yesterday, it hit my spot. I guess when you are starving, any food is champagne and caviar. (Not that champagne and caviar are even good….)  It just felt so damn nice to be with people. And to see Serena being with small people. To sit around a table and share food. Strange, exotic food, that I would never feed myself.  

 

PEOPLE!  I love them.  

 

It must suck for Giordano to feel me destroyed every day.  I’m sorry Giordano. I really am. I just don’t know what to do differently.  I’m doing my best to maintain my yoga practice. And have sex with you in the middle of the night once in a while.  I’m gonna brave the freezing cold weather, strip down to a now unflattering, sporty bikini and immerse in not quite warm enough water, so that I can do laps and hopefully enlighten my cells.  I eat damn healthy, even though I find food mostly repulsive. I am reaching out to friends near and far for connection and support. On paper, I’m doing everything right.

 

But in real time, I still feel hopeless and broken and disgusted.  

 

Maybe this is the stuff Revelation is made of.  All I can do is fall to my knees and beg God to breathe with me.  Atheists, hold your blasphemous tongues!!! This is Athena Graceland.  A land informed and inspired by the Greatest Love Imaginable That Pervades and Transcends All. Ha!  Such Unsayably Magnificent Being hardly flies in the face of my excruciating inner life right now.

 

But somehow, what I’m living HAS to be right.  HAS to be good.

 

I totally don’t understand.  

 

All I understand is my love for and devotion to Serena.

 

All I understand is that I must go on.  

 

All I understand is that despite how shitty life feels, I am deeply, profoundly loved.  

 

All I understand is that I have to go to the grocery store now and get seventeen euros worth of disgusting food, because even though I find food repulsive, I am a housewife and I must fulfill my duties.  

 

Thanks for listening.  May my honesty set you free.  

 

XOXO,

Athena

 

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