With my ear to the ground…

I have my ear pressed to the ground.  I am listening for water, as though my life depended on it.  No, not the literal, earthen ground… The ground of my inner-most being.  And the water is the pure, nourishing, musical flow of my essential self.

Every day I face the grating realization that my life is not what I want it to be.  I want a light, spacious, peaceful hOMe nestled in the glorious embrace of nature.  I want spiritually and creatively fulfilling work.  I want a husband to wake up with; to share life with.  I want a child or two.  I want plenty of money.

Instead I’m living with my mom at a spiritual community in the woods.  I’m teaching yoga in trade for credit toward more classes here.  (Saving up for meditation teacher training!)  I’m spiritually married to a man who I can’t be with (in the day to day sense of the words) (Although I s’pose it depends on what you mean by “waking up together”… Grin.).  I’m not pregnant.  Monetarily, I have the twenty dollars my Ma just shelled out so that I could by sprouted raisin bread at Master’s Market after I finish writing this.

See… there’s a seeming discrepancy between what I want and what I have.  And it’s driving me nuts, because I believe I have the power to create what I want in my life… but I feel stuck.  It’s a nauseatingly familiar feeling.

So I’ve been relentlessly stalking a SHIFT IN CONSCIOUSNESS.  Because Einstein was not just blowing smoke up our asses when he said that you can not solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it.  Yeah, so I’ve been flushing my mind with youtube recordings of Abraham Hicks, Wayne Dyer and Marianne Williamson, as well as daily readings from my beloved companion, A Course in Miracles.  Striving to spark remembrance of the Infinite Power within me.  I want it to be that I am dousing myself with figurative gasoline, so that when God decrees it, that destined match gets lit and tossed like a kiss on the wind, by a smirking Mother of Grace, and in a holy instant, my whole world roars in a blazing pyre of simultaneously spiritual and material success.

It really could happen.

But in the mean time, Abraham is drilling it into my thick scull that happiness does NOT come from external circumstances.  No!  Happiness is a permanent inner address.  Ugh!  You’d think that realizing this would be HALLELUJAH news… And really, it IS… but it’s also frustrating… because like, if that is true, and I know it IS, then why am I feeling stuck in “not happiness” so much of the time?

Because I still insist on clinging to ideas of how life SHOULD look, and this idea is forming a gaping Grand Canyon between the life I’m IN, and the life I WISH I was in.  And the only way I can ever hope to traverse it, is by sprouting WINGS, and I can only sprout wings by allowing the innate JOY of my divine essence to rise to the surface of my life and consciousness.

It appears that I’m chasing my tail.

But I’m closer than I think.  Because I am remembering that joy is not something that I have to GENERATE; go out and by at the store and slather all over the surface of myself and my life.  No… joy is the water that I am listening for as I press my ear to the ground of my Being.  It will flow to the surface as I invite it, and then allow.  Sometimes it bubbles up in a soft wash of glee, after sadhana (spiritual practice).  And it’s almost easy to miss… because it’s subtle.  Like the identical twin sister of our beloved friend peace.  It’s not what I formerly knew joy to be… this manic, over-stimulated feeling that comes from a triple late, or a peak experience.  That’s the cheap imitation.  Like the difference between eating a blood-red bing cherry at summer’s zenith, or a cherry flavored blow pop.

Meanwhile, I look in the mirror, and I see a wOMan of pure light gazing back at me.  I see a clarified, indelible soul beauty, that I have worked so hard to become.  Yes.  I have worked so hard to get this far.  I don’t know if this “working hard” is good or bad, right or wrong… but it’s what I know to be true with a small t.  True with a massive T, is that I am always whole, perfect and complete.  I am infinite.  The Truth of me can never change…  But in this relative world, I evolve.  I burn down and rise up, burn down and rise up.  I shed and molt and remodel and incessantly become.

Even though my life is “not what I want”… I suppose it is what I NEED.  Because I am becoming a purified channel for the Light.  From the excruciating heat of this alchemy, the possibility of real wisdom and love are whispering from deep within me.  No journey is EVER wasted.  Even if I am blind and flailing in a mud puddle of my treasured delusions…

The Light will ultimately obliterate all dreams of darkness.  Yes, you can take that statement to the BANK!  And in the mean time, I keep my ear devotionally-obsessively pressed to this inner ground.  Thirsting to learn the hushed, lucid language of Silence.

 

The Journey of Refinement

This morning I’m thinking about the power of words to shape reality. Honestly, I’m feeling tired of telling the same weather-beaten stories and surfing the same tired waves. A deep part of me just wants to take a long, luxurious swim in the gentle waters of silence for a while; only speak when I’m compelled to from the core of my being. The heart of the universe. How can I inhabit these silly, endearing stories of my life from a higher consciousness?

One of the first lessons in my “Good Book” of choice, (grin), A Course in Miracles, is “I do not know what anything is for.” To practice the lesson, you’re sposta look around your immediate vicinity, and as your eyes fall on each object, say, “I don’t know what this table is for. I don’t know what this computer is for. I don’t know what this husband is for.” Etcetera. The first time I did the exercise, I was not aware of the profound opportunity nestled within those words. The course is designed to undo our habits of perception, so that we can once again be available to recognize the divine light that shines upon the altar of our mind. Note that I wrote “mind”, not “minds”, because the course also teaches that there is only ONE mind, and that is the mind of God. It is our delusive perception that argues for the reality of separation. Separation is but a dream. And as night time dreams, it is benign. When you wake up, you are untouched by the reality of the dream. Ya dig? And this reality we are so freakin RIVETED by, is exactly the same. When we wake, our souls will be untouched by the incessant snarl of agonies and ecstasies in which we imagine to be ecstatically flailing about.

The course says that there is another way to inhabit this dream. Another meaning that can be assigned to time, and to the “stuff” of this world. That meaning is LOVE. We can use everything as tools and props and opportunities to align with and express the healing light of the Infinite. To guide us back Home, and to shepherd all of our Brothers and Sisters along with us.

Sounds ambitious, huh? Well maybe so, but the alternative is losing its luster. Chasing this wispy cloud of an ego dream, and that… inevitably winding up at the same busted wall of dissatisfaction and longing. Sometimes I catch myself taking gluttonous hits of envy of those who seem to be satisfied by the flavors and colors and textures of this world. You know, the people who believe that the meaning of life is to “have fun”… It *seems* so simple and relaxing.

I believe the meaning of life to be Self realization; Self mastery. Some would argue that you CAN realize the Self through having fun. Deep breath… I agree to an extent. Because in having fun, there IS a quality of absorption… Like the way a child becomes so immersed in their play, that they fall off the space-time continuum entirely, couldn’t care less about eating or sleeping or any of those other rote, mundane activities that us domesticated, caged adults LIVE FOR!!! (Sheesh, where did we take the wrong turn?!) But ultimately, I believe that if we want to come unstuck from our mental and emotional habits, and inhabit a deeper slice of Reality, it requires a willingness to roll up our figurative sleeves and get messy and break a sweat in the name of true inner freedom.

I’m beginning to doubt that I know what real happiness is. Maybe what I thought was happiness, was actually just a cheap form of getting high: “I LOVE my new puppy!” “That was a fantastic orgasm!” “I look so hot in my new lacy yoga pants!” Gosh, that sounds so black and white. That’s not what I meant. A better way of saying it, is that I see the spiritual path as a journey of refinement. As we grow to embody and reflect more of our soul qualities, the experience of such things as love and happiness transform. When I was nine, I was ecstatic when my Ma made me my FAVORITE dinner: macaroni and cheese!!! (She rocked it, too. Real cheese. And butter. Not that fake, neon, packaged bullshit.) But today, at age thirty four, I feel a more subtle joy hearing birdsong, or beholding the majestic artistry of a live oak tree. I feel complete, delicious absorption while I am teaching yoga. And hopefully, someday (not so far off) (though time is an illusion), I will simply turn inward and naturally become drunk on the exquisite bliss of my true nature! Dang, that’s gonna rock!!!

And meanwhile, I pray to be at peace as I live all that I must live, in the imaginary distance between here and there.

OM.

Today’s Good Word

Did you know that I had a siamese fighting fish named Shri Skeletor? Well I did. And he was a miracle. Iridescent red, kissed with blue when the light danced about his elegant slithering body. And I killed him. So slowly. By accident. I didn’t realize that his water needed to stay in the eighty degree range. He seemed to do fine in my old apartment. I guess it was always warm there. But then, once again, Shiva, the god of creative destruction, slashed my world apart in the name of Truth everlasting, and I put him in a mason jar (for the duration of travel) and slung him to the Momshram. Through the sweltering expanse of summer, we were one big happy family, me and Ma and Skellie… But then winter cast her frigid breath upon our lair…

His demise was slow. So slow that it was unnoticeable at first. But after a couple of months, suddenly, he mostly just lounged around on the bottom of the tank like an over-stuffed Roman. Except conversely, he was under-stuffed. He had stopped eating all together. I thought maybe he was just on a diet…

By the time my white knight, Sir Edward got a heater for Skellie’s bowl, he was too far gone. Poor baby, just lay on his side, at the bottom, his little belly heaving as God continued to breathe him with twisted mercy. Every once in a while Skeletor would exert every ounce of his fortitudinous fishy will, and scurry up to the surface… perhaps in hopes of finding the pearly gate to heaven. No such luck. He’d sink back down to the bottom and flop onto his side where he lay like a spoiled piece of sashimi. Finally, on the soulstice, by the mercy of the One, he left this world. I felt nauseous, guilty and bereft as I scooped him out of the tank and put him in a ziplock baggie in the freezer… until our makeshift undertaker, Ed, could haul him away in his big golden truck, and burry our beloved friend in his vegetable garden. I did not realize I could love a fish so dearly.

THE END.

Wow, that was quite a scenic route. I only meant to tell you that lately, I have been feeling akin to our little finned protagonist. Devastated by exhaustion… All I want to do is lay at the bottom of my little fish tank of a bedroom in a fleshy heap of merciful respiration. I mean, I’ve had a proclivity for exhaustion my whole adult life… I mostly nap every day, when life permits (which it mostly does, because I design it that way…). But since I have been here, it seems to have gotten worse and worse. On saturday, I was in a painting workshop taught by Dana, and instead of being able to sink in and suck the marrow from it, I felt like I was dying. Every time I stood up, I got light-headed. Scary. I feared I was having thyroid failure.

On sunday evening, I visited our resident naturopath… and after asking me ten thousand very deep, probing questions (which really stirred up the sediment in the depths of my soul) he deduced that I am probably anemic. He took my pulses and was shocked that I was almost dead. That was a mild exaggeration. The dead part, but not the shocked part… So now my mission is to find an iron supplement that works with my system, and to eat some bloody cow meat asap.

I went to bed feeling panicked and helpless, like I was stranded on a meatless island, forced to face my untimely demise. It’s kinda weird, being tucked away in this remote little valley in northern oregon, sans car… not being able to earn money… relying on the benevolence of occasional sprinkles of cash that fall from the heavens and flutter down upon me in decorative, love-stained envelopes. (Thanks Ed and Ma!!!)

I want to earn money. And feel self-sufficient. But right now I’m on a spiritual quest. Which, in the eyes of the default world, might not seem as legit… But in the omnipotent eyes of All Pervading Love, it’s a noble and worthy endeavor. For what is life, but a gracious opportunity to realize Truth within and become a perfect channel of love?

I just exhaled for like ten minutes…

Two weeks and two days left. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m counting. Because spiritually redeemed people live in the mOMent. Honestly, I’m getting WAAAAAAY better at living in the mOMent. That has been one of my most fervently pursued elective courses here on Earth University, for quite some time now. And being at Ananda Laurelwood has been a graduation of sorts. I am truly able to relax into all shades and shapes of life here and luxuriate in the sweet, tootsie roll center. And still, I count the days. Because I am in love with a man named Edward. And his body and his life are far away. (His heart is nearer than I can say….)

Yep, I’m still hanging in there with our favorite married police officer boyfriend, like it or not. I like it. I was seriously ready to throw in the blood-stained towel a couple of weeks ago… for real. But instead of reacting like a threatened, starving wolf, he became an unwavering pillar of masculine strength and valor. I told him that if we were to continue onward together, it was time for him to take explicit action and move toward me. He has been. I trust him deeper and deeper with every passing day. And meanwhile I am using my life to move deeper into God (aka: wholeness, inner freedom, love, Self-realization). Which, as far as I’m concerned, is the only thing worth doing, anyway. I just want to unfurl in the light of heaven, and share every drop of divine wealth with this world. THAT MEANS YOU. Yes. I want to pilgrimage to the gurshing Source of Love at the center of Creation, and then serve as a guide; effervescently lighting YOUR way.

A teacher may be responsible for a particular body of knowledge… But ultimately, what they truly have to offer is their state of consciousness; the pure, raw immediacy of their BEING. I will NOT stop short of the mark! This train is bound for the very pulse of Infinity.

Speaking of being short of the mark, though, quite frankly, I feel that I have missed the mark with this blog entry. I spent sOMuch time driveling about my dear little fishie… and from there, I just continued to tease the edges of the reality of my existence. Sigh. Sometimes it happens like this. You push off the bank of the river, and get swept up by a current, and instead of taking you to the day-glow capital of Graceland, you find yourself in a faded, remote suburb.

But A Course in Miracles teaches that the messenger’s job is not to invent the message. Only to be the winged dove, appointed in the name of Grace, carry it safely to Destiny’s dancing doorstep. So perhaps I am being a needlessly hash judge, and these are just the words you thirsted for… I just feel like there is sOMuch left unsaid. And I want to say it all; just open up my figurative mouth like a snake with a hinged jaw, and pour forth an entire universe of flaming pertinence and sacred revelation.

Oh well, maybe next time… “Om Swaha”, as we say in my country…

Live,
A

Illusions Crumble Like Crusted Mud

I guess I’m a natural born yogi… I’m so content in my gloriously sparse, exceedingly simple, gigantic little room in the ex-seventh day adventist boarding school turned spiritual community. Especially at five twenty-four am. Especially with the window open and the music of wind chime-strewn rain whispering in. I almost wish it would stay five twenty-four am all day… or at least for a few more hours… so I could sit here in the brisk, musical anonymity of pre-dawn, sipping chai tea, and hot water with lime, and writing about my life and my spiritual journey, and my fierce longing to perfect the art of LOVING.

But I know that if I knew I was condemned to a world where the clock was stuck on five twenty-four am for an entire day, I’d feel emprisoned, rather than graced. Sigh. It’s all such a mind fuck. Yes. I said fuck. Being in a spiritual environment, I have really curbed my potty mouth. But like crispy, fatty, salty bacon, every once in a while, ya just gotta get on it.

Anyway, I want to tell you that I am finding something real and deeply meaningful as I glide like a serviceful swan, across the placid lake of my days here at Ananda Laurelwood. “Glide like a serviceful swan”… Really Athena? Ummm… well… at least from an ariel view. Up close it might not occur so smooth. And from the inside, it’s more like a grimy, Harlem alley on garbage day. Well. Last week it was. But this week… Well… I can feel “old stuff” falling off naturally like the dry-caked mud that forms on my shoes after one of our weekly intern hikes, on which it inevitably is raining. No, it doesn’t rain every day… But always on thursdays. Yeah, like sad-eyed pound puppies, Miriam and Lewis take us off campus and let us frolic about in the mud, and drink in fresh air and nature once a week… Yes, I realize that last sentence didn’t have the most ergonomic flow to it. Miriam and Lewis are not the pathetic pound puppies! We, the interns are! They are the benevolent masters. Benevolent indeed… to enable us to romp in the wet, mossy forests of northern Oregon.

But before I got diverted by the need to offer you a few crumbs of the delicious, isness of my current rhythms, I was saying that the mud on my figurative shoes fell off. Even since two days ago when I last took you on a guided tour of Athena Graceland. I remember, I was whimpering about how my Relationship with Ed was bludgeoning my heart to death…. and about how people on the spiritual path rubbed my raw nerves. But, like alchemical magic, as soon as I wrote it all down, it dissolved. There is a process occurring here, that is intelligent and intricate beyond my comprehension. It is informed by the longing of my soul to live truth, and be free.

I mean, on the surface, it SEEMS like I am just here washing dishes, vacuuming and leading sadhanas; eating ingeniously crafted, love drenched vegetarian meals (I even have the love handles to prove it!) and dabbling in insomnia in the wee hours of the morning. Not so! Just beneath the surface, there is a heat that is turning me from lead into gold. I found the willingness to let go of Ed. And Alexandria (our unborn baby girl). And in that willingness, came a wash of unprecedented freedom. It wasn’t like I was pushing him away… It was more like I released that consuming, neurotic grasp on an unrealized and out of reach, imaginary future. But after the psychedelic flames and deep purple smoke of surrender cleared, surprise, surprise, he is still standing by my side. And our invincible love is more obvious than ever. Some things you just can’t fight. But after the mud crumbled off, I feel more deeply committed to and focused on my Relationship with God, and my slowly unfurling path of sacred service.

And now for the real miracle!… Yes, I mean besides the mere fact (or lucid fiction) of existence… The miracle is that after writing out my babyish complaints about the relational ineptitude of some “spiritually inclined people”, something released… I actually felt sad to have committed my clenched-hearted-judgements to the page. Sad for looking through critical eyes. Unforgiving eyes. All people are children of God. CHILDREN. We really are young and stupid as we play out these amnesiac, idiosyncratic rolls of intricate, ridiculous and educational earth drama. But so what? Does that make us any less lovable? NO! It makes us all the more endearing.

The birds outside are singing that urgent, impassioned, pre-dawn song. Hark! The light doth cometh…

But yeah. I’m learning something new about love… like I might not choose these people to hang out with, of my own volition. But that choosing stems from a personality level. And the personality is a shallow cut of who I am. I am INFINITE. And as I spread like sweet butter on a piping hot corn cob, into ever more conscious realization of my true nature, I realize that loving my fellow humans can really have very little, if anything to do with the level of personality. There is just something implicitly lovable about human beings. Our blindness and our longing, our unique creative genius and our crafty strategies to gain acceptance and a long abandoned sense worth and wholeness. It’s precious. And endlessly entertaining.

Studying A Course in Miracles, I am of the school that EVERYTHING is forgivable. Every thing. And that forgiveness is kinda like the friendly bacteria that lives in your gut. It breaks down ALL the material of life in duality, and makes it assimilable… so that our deepest being can take in all in as the love that it always was and always will be, beyond appearances.

Boo-YA! What more can I say after that?! That is EVERTHING; the only thing. I am so blessed to be on this silly and masterfully crafted path of awakening to the Reality of Love that cuts, like a subterranean river through the heart of all that is and beyond.

Om. Peace. Amen.

Revelation of Wholeness

Wholeness. It’s a concept I have rarely entertained or bestowed with much thrust. Until about two weeks ago. Daiva, the man behind the curtain here, (that is to say, the one at the top of the Ananda Portland/Laurelwood totem pole… though I have a feeling he would be quick to assert that he’s *not* indeed behind a curtain… but for some reason, imagining him as a larger-than-life notion; a massive projection of a head with a booming voice emerging from darkness and flames, tickles my funny bone, and there’s *something* right about it…) Anyway where was I, before I extended the mischievous courtesy of bringing you up to speed on one of the key characters in my current waking dream? Oh yeah, so I think “wholeness” might be Daiva’s official linguistic mascot, and deepest aspiration.

Wholeness. Naturally, the notion has started to gnaw at my consciousness too, insisting on becoming more than a mere word, but an experiential boon. I just looked it up on dictionary dot com. And two aspects of the definition that struck me as pertinent are “complete” and “undivided”.

Allow me to interrupt myself for a moment, before I commence to flail and dig with fervor to convey to you, that which is deeply meaningful to me. I must announce that it is five forty-five am. Still dark. And HARK, the shy orchestra of raindrops is striking up outside my modestly cracked window! This is bound to be a great blog… wink. (BTW, remember, I’m in Oregon, NOT California… and the rain here flows like coffee in Portland. Which is to say with luxurious abandon. But when it goes away for a day or three, I miss the romance, the music and the decadent wetness of the air.)

And now back to our previously scheduled, impending revelation. I don’t want to spend too much time wrestling with the conceptual implications of this potentially weighty word. Doing so is giving me unsightly wrinkles in my forehead. Instead I will dive into the crystalline pool of practical application, and share with you my recent experiential illumination. And you can connect the dots, or color outside the lines, or solve the puzzle as you wish.

If I remember correctly, in my last blog, I touched on the recent strain of suffering I’ve been experiencing in my relentlessly compelling soul tango with Ed. To say it plain, I had been living inside the fierce, continuous immediacy of heart ache for at least a week, in this last round. Yes, think of it like a heavy-weight boxing championship. And see me taking blow after blow, yet not going down for the count… Instead continuing to inhabit the treasure and skeleton-laden sunken pirate ship that was my heart. You can imagine that this made me a very unpleasant girlfriend. Dull. Aloof. Defensive. Critical. Overly sensitive. To name a few.

I was doing my best, I swear. But just feeling pinned and crushed beneath the weight of circumstance, and unable to free myself. Wanting to be with him. Wanting to build our nest and invite Alexandria into my womb. And floundering helplessly in the cold steal reality of impossibility to have what I yearn for. And you might be like, “Well then leave, Athena. Go find a man who is available, and get to making your soft, glittery disco nest!” But it’s not like that. It’s just not.

Have you ever lived for an extended period of time with a bleeding heart? I don’t recommend it. Unless you want to seriously ignite your quest for liberation. So I think it must have been the afternoon after my last blog entry, two days ago… I was on the phone with Ed, and the climate of my heart was still storming, but the clouds were losing their density, and beneficent, golden swirls of sunlight were gently pressing their way through the wet, grey ache. And if lightbulbs really DO flash over peoples heads in moments of epiphany, one screamed on, above me for sure!

I saw/felt/heard this renegade invitation to consider the possibility that the pain that had taken up semi-permanent residence in my heart (more like a persistent squatter), might actually have NOTHING to do with Ed. I know, this is a radical notion. But it really felt like the quintessential wound of my forgetful existence; the pain of being born into a world where I am dreaming I am separate from Source. What could hurt more than that? These might just sound like words to you… unless you’ve ever been willing to really FEEL IT. But imagine Infinity. Imagine an Ocean of Love, so deep and wide and all pervading, that it has no end and no beginning. Imagine being engulfed in that perfection, completely merged with that quintessential WHOLENESS…. and then imagine being squeezed through your mom’s vagina (or sliced out of her abdomen, as was my case) and some sterile dude with a mask on grabbing you and abruptly severing your source of oxygen and nourishment and you GASP and shriek and cry as you’re suddenly immersed in this ominous sense of separation, vulnerability and perpetual threat. Shit. It’s an ugly picture. And that’s how most of us are born into this world. (Except for all of the rad water births I’ve been watching on youtube, but that’s another blog!)

I’ve read and heard a bajillion times that the deepest opportunity of Intimate Relationship (letting someone into your heart and soul as deep as is humanly possible) is to make contact with our core wounds, feel them and heal them. And I’ve always believed it. But I’ve never been ready to get so close to the core as I did two days ago. Suddenly, I found myself considering out lout (Ed as my witness) that maybe the pain I was in had NOTHING to do with ANYTHING outside myself! Maybe everything “outside” was merely a catalyst to touch the center of my deepest being, integrate that which I had at some point renounced, “lost” …and return to a state of implicit wholeness. (A part of me hated to admit this. Because one the ego blows its cover, there’s really no going back into hiding…)

Are you following me? Honestly, I’m not sure if this is sounding way too radical, or completely obvious, like “Duh, Athena…” Strange, huh? In my world, the quest for Truth is the centerpiece, the heavenly body around which all other aspects and nuances of the human dream revolve. I recognize that peeling the onion and living ever-deepening cuts of Truth is not everyone’s cuppa. But walking the yogic path, and studying A Course in Miracles for four years now, I am realizing at continuously deeper levels that happiness really can NOT be found outside. It’s such a gnarly pill to swallow. But in the end, it does not matter what man I’m with, or whether I’m pregnant or not (still fervently bound to those desires though!!!) or…

The TRUTH is that I am WHOLE, perfect and complete. Always. Now. Life is but a dream. And dreams inevitably fade, while Truth eternally remains. There IS another way to live: surrendered to an intelligence and a love far greater than “my own”. God (LOVE), being One, can see the whole picture. I can see but a modest shard, probably smaller than a human sperm; relatively imperceptible to the naked eye. I really do *not* know what my best interests are. Except that all that I am living is exactly what I need to be living… in service of my highest growth. And I have the perpetual option to welcome it all with gratitude and faith and perfect peace. This, of course requires me to let go of my own, slighted agendas. That is the WORK. I am working HARD. I want to want only Truth, only the ever-new joy of God…. but delusion is so thick and persistent. Breath by breath. Moment by moment. Day by day.

How do you encourage a child to let go of her vice grip on that sticky candy she stole from the jar? You can’t rip it out of her hand!!! No way. She will scream and cry and clutch it even harder. Distract her with immense, wiggly, iridescent bubbles! Meaning, I can’t use brute force to tear my delusions from the grip of my sick mind. I must keep luring myself deeper into love’s gentle reality by lifting my gaze into it’s refined spheres of seductive, luminous beauty… and the layers of bullshit will naturally slough off like dead skin.

Om. Peace. Amen.

Awakened In Graceland

Twenty thirteen was the year of tears, soul angst and self-inflicted torture. Gosh, on paper, it sounds awful… but on the field it was actually pretty sweet. God bless the nightmare, that has thrust me into an elevated state of wakeful determination and clarity. Come on, let’s not get haughty. This is planet earth… and we learn through contrast. Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT condoning suffering. I’m condoning growth, expansion and learning. Which does NOT necessarily equate to tears, soul angst and self-inflicted torture. In fact, if I keep that up, I just might actually instigate the apocalypse.

Twenty fourteen has been whispering, with spring-sweet breath, in my ear for a while now. But as she waxes, her message comes into more lucid focus. In fact, it is focus she speaks of. Twenty thirteen was a violent and beautiful year in the rock tumbler. And now we are polished, and it is time to step forth and offer our baby-smooth shine. I feel clarity, focus and service dawning in me.

You heard me~ I’m done suffering about Ed. I have work to do! God YES, I want him to come along and love at my side. But that’s HIS choice. It’s between him and God. I’ll be over here sharing my light with the world. Find me when you’re free. Jeesh, that sounds so harsh. That’s the severe version. A caricature of the truth. What really happened, is that one day, recently, I woke up, half drowned in a pool of my own tears and pain, and I said to myself FUCK THIS. This sucks. I’m ready to do something else with my time and energy besides suffer over an unsatisfying Relationship with a married dude. So I told him that I either needed him to commit to coming to me in a year’s time (or less), or it was time to let go.

Does a year seem long to you? Well, trust me, I have work of my own to do… it would not be another flaccid year of waiting and aching. Nope. I’m committed to growing myself as a teacher and a spiritual leader! What you want to learn, TEACH… There is so much I want to learn. Like how to totally let go and let God. How to offer myself as a channel of the Light, and trust what comes through. A Course in Miracles teaches that God will tell us in every moment, where to GO, what to DO, what to SAY and to whom. It’s just a matter of LISTENING. And TRUSTING. I also want to learn to see everyone in the light. And I mean everyone. I want to master forgiveness. I want to live in perfect faith in the power of love, and the goodness of my Self. I want to learn that giving IS receiving, in the coin of Heaven. I want to learn that the more I pour myself out in joyous Self-offering, the more I will know true wealth, and be provided for. I want to learn to stand in unwavering recognition (and reflection) of the infinite glory of every single human being. I want to learn to choose joy and celebrate the blessing of every single day. I want to trust that when I shine, I will inspire others to come out of hiding and burst forth into the blazing grace of their unique soul song…

So you see I really DO have work to do! Ed was unwilling to commit to being free in a year. But I still have faith. He is so good. And when he puts his mind to something, he is a tank. (I really could write a whole entire blog about what is so f-ing AWESOME about him, that I would keep standing by him in the face of such “distasteful” circumstances…) He DID affirm that he is committed to growth and expansion this year. He’s gonna do the landmark forum, AND the Mankind Project!! (Right Baby?!?!) And here’s the thing~ Einstein was *really* on to something when he said, “You can’t solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it.” So Ed’s gonna keep raising his consciousness. I have been his primary teacher for the past year and ten months. Explicitly. He enrolled as the first and only student at “The Academy of Higher Loving”, of which I am the “Heart Mistress” (as opposed to Head Mistress). This is a TRUE STORY. And one that needs to be told. And since only two people in the entire world KNOW the story so far… At least ONE of us is *obligated* to tell it. It has the magic of a fairy tale, the tragedy of the ancient Greece, the masterful craft and wit of Shakespeare, the scandal of Hollywood… And the Love (and sex) of Heaven. (I debated as to whether to pair sex with scandal in hollywood, or with Love in Heaven. It really could have gone either way. But I opted for Heaven, because I want to clear sex’s name. Spending so much time in a spiritual community where the “lower chakras” get such a bad rap, not to mention living in a world where sex is stripped down to its cheapest elements and then sold at a high price, it is up to me to preserve sex’s sanctity and its esteemed place amongst the angels.)

So Ed and I are going to let go. Let go of what has been. Let go of what might be. And we will each step fully into LIVING OUR HIGHEST. And GOD YES, I pray that the divine law of the Highest First, will bring us back together. From a place of total integrity and freedom… But if God has a better plan for us, I’m WILLING. Because God always only wants my perfect happiness and peace. And I want that too! And God, having an omniscient, omnipresent eye, can see a much more comprehensive picture of reality than I can, as this little drop of Ocean called Athena Grace.

Meanwhile, I’m LOVING leading sadhanas here at Ananda!!! I just get to LOVE as big as I love. Or as God loves through me, really. I get to share everything that I have been gathering for years, if not lifetimes. I get to play! I get to imagine and create. I get to shine. I get to remind others of their infinite AWESOMENESS… and where to find it… (Inside.) I am still gearing up to go to Ananda Laurelwood (Another Ananda Community outside of Portland, Oregon) for the months of February and March. Blessed BE, I will continue to lead sadhanas there, as well as serve in the kitchen and take spiritual art classes with Dana Anderson.

I used to think I needed to see the ENTIRE route before I embarked on the journey. But all that did was make me perplexed, terrified and paralyzed. So I’ve traded that strategy for the one where I simply take the next step as it is revealed to me, by my own divinely attuned heart, and GIVE MY BEST; do it with joy and care and quality. Trust me, it works out much better this way.

So here’s to a ROCKIN YEAR of unadulterated service and soul shine!!!!!

With ALL MY LOVE,
Athena Grace LMNOP

Life Is But A _______.

Some people say that the meaning of life is to LIVE it.  Others say that being on earth is a school… and everything is a lesson.  Some people just try their best to enjoy themselves.  God, there are so many ideologies to subscribe to.  Me?  Hmmm… what DO I believe, anyway?  I believe life is a dream.  And it’s not even really happening in the first place.  I believe that Totality wanted to experience itself, so it invoked duality, so that it could cop a feel on its own ness.  But golly, lately that seems like a lot more trouble than it’s worth.  “Lately”, Athena?  Oh, okay, you got me… More like in general…

 

But I spose if I knew in my bones and my guts, that I was always held secure in the loving arms of Grace, for REALZ, I’d probably have a consistently better attitude than I do this morning.  I know, WTF, right?  Why should I have anything but reverence and gratitude for the opportunity to be here at Monkey Forest Road (a cafe in my hood), indulgently self-reflecting and streaking my computer screen with my innermost thoughts and feelings?

 

The sun just broke through this morning’s dark sprawl of storm clouds and cracked asphalt is glowing silver.  Quivering bamboo leaves now glow like nature’s own stained glass.  Every time we were together, Dan reminded me that life is only THE MOMENT.  And this basically undeniable isness used to wash me with strife, because my ego doesn’t like the idea of facing obliteration.  And Dan!!… If life is just this moment, then how do I ever GET ANYWHERE?  Not that I necessarily DO want to get anywhere… but say I changed my mind, and realized that I wanted to “make something of my life”… Then I’d hafta like plan for the future and stuff…

 

Ed just texted me and said he hoped that the words are “just flowing onto the screen”, which made me pause and reflect… Are these words just flowing onto the screen?  Hmmmm… Sort of.  But the bitch is the way I’m feeling right now.  Like a wine connoisseur, (what’s the word for a wine expert? … I forgot…) I’m sipping from the cup of my current inner climate, sliding my mind’s fingers about the  textures of my inner landscape so that I can give it a life in language.  It’s elusive.  But I might have to go with angry.  Though it’s not classical, textbook anger.  It’s more of a damp and subtle experience, that could easily be mislabeled or construed as depressed or sad.  But there is a lurking feeling, like a lithe panther, crouched in dusky jungle shadows, poised to pounce; or a stretched rubber band that may just snap.

 

Today’s Course in Miracles lesson is “I do not perceive my best interests”.  God, it’s so true.  What that means, is that all of my desires and grasping at future outcomes are founded in a steaming heap of bullshit.  You know, the dream that we are dreaming that ain’t even real.  Gosh, how do I convey this so that it makes sense to one who has not been thumpin the Course, year in and year out?   Well, it breaks down like this~ there’s God’s mind, which is the oneness of love, which obviously is where our best interests abide… and then there’s a belief that we are separate, and when we live from this insanity, it’s like wandering through a dim, endless maze of smoke and mirrors, hoping that maybe we’ll get lucky and actually stumble on something of value, something that truly brings us happiness.

 

Ya know, like if Ed left his wife and married me.  For example.  Or at least was able to spend the night with me a couple times a week.

 

But I digress.  It’s maddening to sit in this awkward place of realizing that I honestly won’t be any happier or more peaceful once I’m in a “real” relationship with Ed.  For example.  Or once I figure out what to do with my life, or earn more money or have a baby or live in Paris and become completely fluent in french, or… Ugh.  You see???  I know that everything I’m grasping for is hollow at best.  And yet I don’t want to stop grasping.  Jesus, what gives?  If only I could quiet my mind enough to hear Love’s incessant whispers in my ear.

 

Last night I dreamt that I was sneaking around with Ed at his house and his wife came home.  I didn’t want to look at her.  Not head on.  I averted my eyes and just took little calculating peeks.  I guess I knew that I was violating her by being in her space.  She looked old and homely.  Like life had sucked the radiance out of her like a dead sea sponge.  Then I woke up to the sound of running water and I was like, WHY IS THE BATHTUB RUNNING?  But then I realized it was actually a rainstorm!

 

I wonder if I should stop seeing (let alone communicating with) Ed until it’s from a free and clear place… We’ve been entertaining this possibility for a little while now… but neither one of us wants to leggo.  Over the past year, we have become essential fixtures in one another’s daily movement through time and space.  It really seems like letting go would suck.

 

But then, what about my illustrious ally, the Golden Rule?   I often tell people that if I were stranded on a desert island, and I could only bring ONE spiritual teaching with me, it would be that one- Do unto others as you would have others do unto you… I mean really- what more do you need than that?  Well, if the roles were reversed, would I want some hot goddess getting all up in my husband while I quietly slow-simmered myself in denial stew?  NO WAY JOSE.  In my heart of hearts, I believe in honesty.  Integrity.  Full and open communication.  But here I am, being a conspirator in a situation that is everything BUT that.  I guess I can’t expect anything more from others.  Will my husband cheat on ME someday?  Just so that I can feel the inverse textures of this scenario?  I wouldn’t be wildly surprised.

 

What’s more important to me, feeling good in the moment… or standing up and being the very best me I can be?  I wish it was a no-brainer.  But… I like the way Ed and I play and love and meet.  I like sitting in his lap before my altar and chanting mantra together.  I love the feeling of utter perfection that washes through me when I’m wrapped in his arms, nestled into his big, broad chest.  Little moments of fleeting fulfillment… is that as good as it gets?  Maybe.  But those little moments are EVERYWHERE….

 

Like riding to Emily’s bday party the other night, and nestling myself in the center console between the driver’s seat and the passenger seat, between Gabe and Brandon and feeling a cocktail wash of connection, naughtiness (I didn’t ask permission before I slid in!) and contentment.  Or this morning, when John, my crazy and entirely lovable building manager, came over to unclog my sinks, (a job he LOATHES) and he discovered the perverse magnetic poetry on my fridge and suddenly came to life… I was folding laundry and flushed with a stiff shot of embarrassment as he read my words aloud, riveted.  He wanted to change “slow hard fuck” to “quivering hard fuck”.  At first I was like NO WAY… but then… I considered it… and I realized that his word choice was actually superior to mine.  So I let him.  Which delighted him for a single moment before he began bargaining with me to convert his inch into a mile, by making more alterations, and I was like no way, buddy, be glad I let you edit my poem AT ALL.

 

Life.  It’s a meditation.  A waterfall of ever-new being.  A sleepy stumble through darkness which appears to be lit.  I am reaching deep inside to find “IT”.  Yet I’m simultaneously terrified of finding IT… because then none of this will be compelling anymore.  Ugh.  This calls for a deep breath.

 

Live,

A

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