Dancing with Death (part I)

Well I survived my first night without Forest (since the hospital six months ago).  I had this raw dough gnawing feeling the whole time, but I made it!  Amidst my silent suffering, Shanti-ma reminded me to feel into FOREST and what HE wants.  He was very happy to be with his Nonnie and Papa.  I can see that it’s my own trip… I notice that I’ve come to rely on my sun’s solid, grounding presence.

Serena was elated to have me all to herself.  She practically became another person.  Cooperative.  Kind.  Sweet.  I mean those qualities are authentic to her nature, but lately amidst all the thrills and spills, the less savory aspects of her personality have been louder than I would prefer.  `I can feel her begging for my unwavering, unconditional acceptance, presence and holding… I try to give it to her… but I’ve been too starved for too long and I often feel desperate to… what is it?… To feel FREE.  Free to be me on my terms.  Haha.  Not really the “life context” of a (single) mother of a two and five year old.  When shit gets bad, I feel this wave of violence overtake me and I literally have to raise my hands to the heavens, as if begging for the Gods to intervene.  It works.  Mostly.  

Anyway, even though I wanted to finish my writing in the morning, Serena was content to be near me, watching cartoons.  Her satisfaction and delight were palpable.  Then as soon as Forest returned home, she flew south for the winter.  Meaning she lost her shit at every turn.  Well that’s clear communication.  Having a little brother has been a wound for her to contend with.  And a gift.  Their love spans the chasm where light and shadow merge.

Later in the morning we went to ecstatic dance.  Rachel, my neighbor, friend and life-line to California, organized it (at my urging).  ‘Member when I told you that I was exploring possibilities of who Serena could live with if I died?  Well Mirabai has first (and only) place at the moment.  But honestly, I am so focused on healing, I have not been paying much attention to that.  I just brought it up because Mirabai is a professional tango dancer.  And as soon as she entered my field, I realized DANCING will save my life.  I’m not kidding. TANGO, people!  The most passionate dance there is.  The message sunk straight into my soul:  Dance or Die, Bitch.

But what I didn’t know is how light and freeee I would feel on the dance floor!  Fuck those words “light” and “freeee” because you have heard them so many times that your mind slid right over them without barely registering the MIRACULOUS nature of lightness and freeness.  It was the REAL easter.  Resurrection at it’s finest.  

Ok, this is where I break a sweat.  Coaxing the english language to do justice to a physical, emotional and spiritual experience….

It was a small group of women (maybe seven?), which made it an entirely safe container for full expression.  There was plenty of space and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Every song on Rachel’s playlist rubbed me the right way (not such a common experience at ecstatic dance).  `I am noticing and affirming ease these days, and there was a delicious feeling of ease about being on the dance floor.  hOMe.  

I was WITH myself.  At a level I have never experienced in this body, in this life.  An unprecedented fullness, peace, kindness.  Eyes closed, a voice inside me whispered “I feel like a STAR”.  I told that voice, “YOU ARE A STAR”.  And in the lucid floodlight of my own self-granted permission, I came alive at a whole nother level.  I resurrected the young one who received the message that it’s not ok to shine.  (Little Dawniecakes spent her “childhood career” being invisible because she didn’t feel safe)  My desire is that my full self expression will liberate others ready to emerge from their self-imposed cage and FLY. 

I haven’t seriously danced since before Serena was born… I’m pretty sure… although committing that to “paper”, it looks absurd.  Pure sin.  “Looks to be”… but in actuality, it was a potent barometer of my growth.  The version of me who existed six years ago, though she gave as much of herself to her dance as she was able, there were many “inner rooms” which were still locked.  This translated as a lot of my energy “going out”- like long, curious fingers groping about the “otherness” in the room.  All this externalized awareness was exhausting.  Don’t get me wrong… I still LOVED dancing… but I could only access a limited amount of my SELF.

A Light-hearted Cancer Confessional

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was THE MOST shocking moment of my life.  

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

I asked if I could call Giordano.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Tale of the Born-Again-Indigenous-Boogie-World

Elegantly gliding through time and space toward the bus stop this morning, my face painted with a faint smile because I was headed to a strain of heaven named hip hop dance class.  My glorious city, The Land of Oaks, shrouded in soft fog.  All of the pavement felt like a hard, crusty shell, firmly embracing a hidden and tender world.  So much motion, this urban existence.  Incessant going.  And coming.  Oh this world…


As my eyes fall awake to the light that lives as all forms, I often well up with such a great love as I did as I breathed in the cold moisture of the said moment, drinking it deep into my lungs.  Wonder Woman, was that a beautiful moment.  But so is this one, now that I mention it… and anyway, go-go-gadget masculine directionality of this blog.  Athena Grace, striding in brisk ecstasy and welling up with unsayable love for this world.  This love whose only longing is to extend itself.  Always.  And then the recurring dream of a dance church slid into my mind, as though it were boldly stealing home.  (Hey, that would make a great book title~ “Boldly Stealing Home”!)


Yes, this vision has been paying me regular visits for over a decade.  It really wants to be born!  But god, it’s a daunting vision… trying to nut and bolt out the practicalities and realities of creating a sanctuary where everyone is equal in the diverse embodied immediacy of hallelujah in motion.  This church is a place where humanity comes together and actively practices seeing and being seen with and through the generous and ever-forgiving eyes of Love.  Awe!  Grin.  Just as I typed that, the church bells outside began to siiiiiiiiiiiiing!


Anyway, back to the sidewalk and the fog and the striking woman bubbling over with a compelling cocktail of child-like hope, pragmatism and conveniently feigned uncertainty… It was then that I realized that I could at least WRITE this vision into existence. As I often love to assert, Athena Graceland IS MY WORLD!  I am a glorious and benevolent and whimsical ruler of this page.  I can bend and twist and straight-up defy the over-starched rules of logic, linearity and even– gasp– SCIENCE!  I see this world!  It is fresh and tender.  Yet, strong enough to be cracking through the sheath of concrete and “progress” we call home.


I thought to jot down this inspiration of a blog topic, but instead I just hustled to the bus stop in front of the ornate, antique Grand Lake Theater and sat upon the green, sheltered bench.  And waited.  And waited.  And waited and my bus was a whopping thirteen minutes late!  But I’ll tell you this much- the more I live, the more I am able to recognize a truly infinite intelligence at work within, through and beyond all things.  So rather than holding my breath and knitting my brow about it all, I silently asked my Self what It wished of me this miraculous, white-washed morning.  And it said WRITE*.  (*As well did it say to first get a few essential groceries at Trader Joe’s, and then stop at the pull-up bar and get my pump on and meet this buff brother with a beautiful and starving heart who would lap up the love flowing through me like a purring kitten… but that’s another story.)


So here I am, obeying the Small, Silent Voice.  Here I am, appointing myself High Priestess of the Land of Oaks as seen through the portal that is Athena Graceland.  You wanna hear something WEIRD???  I’ve NEVER had a yoga boyfriend!  I’d like to try it some day… I know that was off topic, but it lept, panther-style into my head… and it just seems a little wrong.  But not that wrong…


And now back to our previously programmed special edition of Athena Graceland- Sneak Preview of the New World!  We will become “born-again indigenous people”!  Ha!  That’s brilliant!  I mean, I am not any sort of real expert on indigenous people… but in my mind, live some abstract etchings of tribally-woven communities who exist in a paradigm of harmony with, and reverence for the earth and one another; where every person in the village takes active, devotional responsibility for the balance and thrival of the whole.  As my heart wakes up, this seems so obvious… Like DUH, we are NOT separate, and I love you as I love me, and I love me as I love you because we are the Same.  (with a capital S that rhymes with bless that stands for Oneness!) I mean that’s all Jesus was saying… and somehow we managed to invent this whole neurotic religion out of such fundamental purity.  But that’s in the past.  And from the present shines a nobly gruesome, entirely forgivable, dying world.  But shhhhhh.  Listen…





Hear the concrete cracking.  Hear the guttural, rumbling whispers of a glorious new world, reaching up from deep within the belly of the earth, like an infinity-winged angel hatching from a massive egg, spinning like an anonymous whirling dervish through a star-washed sea of vast, deep space.  See us all dancing together.  All sexes, all races, all ages and walks of life.  We gather in presence, in the spirit of play and faith and healing and CELEBRATION… We lay down our rancid and calcified stories of being small, separate and afraid, like arms in a world that has never dreamed the dream of war… simply because they bore us and we’d rather boogie!  And so we boogie!  And suddenly, we are no longer deaf to the heavenly music of our own eternal souls!   So we boogie some more, because the music is so smokin’ and it feels so good to move!


And in this Born Again Indigenous Boogie World, we are planting gardens EVERYWHERE!  Gardens and orchards… communities are overflowing with an abundance of fresh, nourishing, organic food.  And no one is hungry.  And no one is left to suffer alone.  Who tends the gardens, you ask?  We all do.  Not because we have to, or we’re sposta… just cuz we care.  We all genuinely care.




I truly believe that much.  In fact, I’d bet my sweet life on it.  True, we don’t all ACT like we care.  Because we’ve gone to sleep, or built stone walls around our tender, tremulous and holy hearts…. but deep down, and in that endless, beginningless place we all contain, WE SURE DO CARE.  Trust me.  The more you *want* to see that care winking from within every single brother and sister, the more you WILL see it.  I speak from experience.  We always see what we want to see.


What do you want to see?











Yosemite “Blog”

Wow, it’s almost nine o’clock at night and I feel like the dictionary definition of “brain dead”.  Staying committed to blogging as my whole life crumbles to fairy dust takes some muscle.  But I’m a pretty muscular chick, if you want to know the truth.  (Metaphorically muscular as well as literally, just for the record.)  Thankfully, I “blogged” while I was camping in Yosemite.  Yup, me n Dara stopped at Target (pronounce it “Tar-sjae”, if you please…) and had one last hurrah in the land of fluorescent lights, cheap goods stained with the blood of children, and miles of superfluous, soulless doo-dads.  I splurged on a spiral notebook made with recycled paper, two black, clicky ballpoint pens and some Tom’s of Maine “wicked fresh” (their new flavor) toothpaste.  Dara got ibuprophen, a cheapo headlamp and oh god, I can’t remember what else.  So much for knocking your shoes and socks off with my impeccable recounting of frivolous details.  I guess I’ll have to resort to other tactics to impress your pants off tonight.

Anyway, the POINT is that I found it highly awkward to “blog” in my spiral notebook.  My handwriting was so messy which made me feel like I *must* be writing crap.  But then I read what I wrote to Dara as we huddled around the campfire, the rushing creek singing back-up, and I was pleasantly surprised that even though it LOOKED like chicken scratch, my voice was still my voice and my pride was still intact.  So here’s one of my “blogs”, not so fresh off the press from the once virginal morning that spilled from me two days ago:  (I kinda feel like a mom who is burnt out and opts to feed her kids microwave meals and pop in a video while she flops down like a lifeless marionette on her unmade bed.)

August 18th, 2010

I see a Stellar’s Jay mischievously hopping about the low branches of a pine tree towering over the bear locker.  He has a particularly ratty, punk-rock crest.  Oh.  He flew away.  Now what do I write about?  Ahhh yes, in a notebook, it doesn’t matter.  I suppose in a blog it doesn’t matter either… but it sure does seem to at times… In a notebook it is the sheer bold, courageous act of stepping back onto the page, returning to the unknown.  Standing at the mouth of a mystic well, dropping a bucket down and scooping up a big, wet helping of myself.

A tubby little asian boy just wandered through our campsite to the water’s mirrored edge, carrying an empty plastic jug to fill.  I watched him with curiosity as though he were an exotic though benign wild animal.  Whit is it about fat children that makes them so alluring to me?  I guess it’s their squeezability factor.  They’re like over-sized over-stuffed teddy bears… which of course reminds me of Eric.  We had [yet another] inside joke that we’d adopt a fat little Mexican boy someday… and name him Guillermo.  But what does that have to do with anything?  Well… Eric… He’s been omnipresent for me out here in nature, and when I say “omnipresent”, you’ve gotta understand… I mean omnipresent.  I see/feel him in EVERY towering pine tree (he can talk to trees, you know…), every massive granite boulder.  I hear him in the cool, hushed chant of the creek.  I smell him in the perfumed air.  But you know what???  Screw that… It’s not REALLY Eric that is haunting my mind and heart.  No ma’am.  It’s our Undercover, Beloved-assed Omnipotent Superhero, Almighty Jah!

Honestly, I’ve been through enough yearning streaks to know that if it wasn’t Eric, it would be (and has been) Mykael, Jerry… even dumb old Charlie.  Athena!  Please!  STOP yearning for these hollow cardboard cut-outs of the All Pervading Real Thing, who could NEVER in affinity years ever hope to fill that gorgeous void of Divine Longing inside you.  Wake up and smell the sweet, smoky campfire!

Dara read me a bedtime story in the tent last night! (talk about a quick route to my heart!!!)  Not only that, but it was my quintessentially perfect bedtime story~ the story of the life of my Beloved teacher (and predecessor), Hafiz.  And you know what?  His life was NOT so dissimilar from mine.  At one point, he stumbled hard into lust-laced love with a beautiful woman, who rejected his sorry ass.  (Apparently he was not the most handsome man.)  So he did this perverse ritual in which he sat awake in vigil for forty nights straight in a cemetery.  Supposedly it was supposed to make this ho fall for him.  But at the end of the fortieth night, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and said he would fulfill one single desire for Hafiz.  Upon the utter revelation of seeing this resplendent divine messenger manifest, Hafiz was so smitten that he forgot all about the mere woman and longed to know God, whom he imagined could ONLY be a gazillion times more beautiful.

So it went that Hafiz’s single wish was to know God.  And obviously peeps, the proof is in the damn puddin’.  Every single word I’ve ever read of Hafiz is saturated with unmistakable, authentic ecstatic intoxication.  His words are a result of the Universe consciously making Love to its self.

And the moral of my decadent bedtime tale?  Naturally, that as soon as I realize fully that it is ONLY the All Pervading Beloved for whom I incessantly yearn… whose voice I hear in the river’s song, whose scent I gulp in hungry lungfuls from this enchanting, perfumed air~ When I relinquish my false pretenses of shallow human longing~ then will I truly meet my “Maker” so to speak… My Eternal Beloved.  So get crackin’, Athena Grace!  But the trouble is that I would not sit in eager, unwavering vigil for any of these common yet mouthwatering men, let alone God-On-High.  Id rather just keep slogging along, comfortably uncomfortable through this illusion of a dream leaking subtle, perverse nightmarish goo out the sides.

And the macro moral of my own personal mythology?  Athena, do your best to relinquish your fever-dreams of Eric.  And ALL the other great taste, less filling faces of the Infinite.  Find the mouth of the well and bring your own madly thirsty lips to sip from the Source that will NEVER cease to drench and satiate not just the finite mirage you dream yourself to be, but the whole blessed brigade of Ones whose hearts eternally cry out to Remember.


Live From the Jungle Inside

Well… (That reminds me~ I used to have this stuffed monkey named “Montgomery Monkey” when I was a kid.  He said a handful of various things when you pressed on him in specific regions.  One of his tired antics was to tell a joke.  It went like this~ “Have you heard about the three holes in the ground?  …Well, well, well.”  Hahaha.  Not.)  Well… I’m back from Yosemite.  And Jesus H. Xmas (for some reason saying “Xmas” instead of “Christmas” really sets my funny bone a-ticklin’.  Either you’ll totally get it, or you totally won’t…) Jesus H. Xmas, was it a potent excursion.  There is SO much I want to tell you about it!  I don’t know HOW I could ever manage to cram it into a thousand words.  But rumor has it that “they” crammed the Lord ’s Prayer onto a single grain of rice… I think that’s one of the exhibits in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.  Strange the superfluous tidbits that lodge themselves discreetly in fresh, young minds.  I’ve been carrying that one around for at least twenty years, without hardly noticing it once… and then in the swimming pool this morning, I was scheming about my blog and that just sprung to the surface of my consciousness like a buoyant old friend.  You know what I want?  I’m gonna start a whole collection of rice grains etched with bucking, snorting, divinely effervescent prayers… and then you know what I’m gonna DO with them?  I’m gonna cook them and serve them for dinner with some delicious coconut curry like I made tonight!  And YOU’RE invited!

Gosh, I guess I got your appetite all wet and drizzly for a taste of my savorier than thou escapades in Yosemite… as told on the modest yet evocative little body of our beloved olde pal, the rice grain…  But Jesus Xmas, I am the one snorting and bucking under the weight of all that pressure.  I don’t know if you know this about me… but I love to write from an emotional, energetically charged space.  These blogs are actually pilgrimages into the very center of my being and the ensuing spray of artifacts I trip over along the desolate way.  Desolate?  Athena Grace!  Dare you call your path and process “desolate”?  Yeah, I guess that’s pretty much text book blasphemy.  My path is more reminiscent of a jungle, I’d say.

Which reminds me~ on our way home from Yosemite, my soul sister Dara read me an email from a friend of hers who is on a very overt magical mystery tour right now.  She’s an older woman with grown children who had a deep soul calling to go to the jungles of umm… Ecuador?  And there she met her soul mate, a beautiful native shaman.  Her email was so rich, reverent and sensual.  It should be published and read by many.  Dara read it to me as the horizon exploded psychedelic orange with periwinkle and Venus aftermath.  The words bled in rivers of femininity.  Vulnerable power.  She told us how her lover greeted each day by walking out onto the deck, opening his arms wide to the raw jungle and making a full circle, honoring all of the life that miraculously unfurled and wove upon its self everywhere.  She told of his incessant worshiping of the divine in every fond touch of leaf, dirt, stream and creature as he moved through the thick, wet, forested world.  He spoke only Spanish.  She, only English… so much of their relationship exists in rich, non-verbal communication and sacred silence.  I felt pangs of longing and awe… She emblazened such crisp pictures of the jungle inside me~ the occasional thud of ripe fruits falling to the smooth hard dirt of the jungle floor.  Fireflies dancing in the thick, moist black of the night.

Why do I bring this up?  Because her words spread a profuse bed of seeds inside me and given my own fertile inner climate, they are already springing up into a jungle of their own, right here inside.  Hearing her story, I remember the mythology that each of us IS.  Every single One of us is on a hero’s (or heroine’s as the case may be) journey and everything that we live and breathe and taste is a retelling, an unfolding, an embellishment of the mythology of the World.  God’s journey through an elaborate, prismatic dream scape.  I am no more and no less of an epic Athena than the one who sprung out of Zeus’s head back in the good ole days.  And you, with your treasure trove of an inner world stand right along side Shiva, Lakshmi, Hanuman, Persephone and Thor!

We are each a sacred, mythical epic poem being inscribed on a single grain of rice in a vast ocean of rice, which someday will inevitably (and maybe anticlimactically) be cooked and devoured by All Pervading _________. (Fill in the blank… just be sure that the Pervasive One is only alive AS Love.)  Amen.

The Most Crucial Blog I Have Ever Written!

God must love me.  Because She hired a professional to serenade me all night long as I drifted in and out of sleep.  A mosquito humming love songs after dark in my ear!  Thank you God!!!

But don’t be fooled.  This will NOT be a “light” entry to be shrugged off as linguistic frivolity.  This might be the most crucial blog I have EVER written and will EVER write.  Eeek, that scares me.  Makes me want to just eat [peanut] M&Ms and read about all my distant friends, drifting like pale, winking lights at dawn on the misty ocean.  But I won’t do that.  I will push on.

It’s just that last night my life changed forever.  I mean, really.  Sure, I could assert that statement about ANY moment of my existence and let it be true enough… But last night Destiny pushed me over the edge of the falls with her classy, over the elbow satin gloved hands, and now I am being pounded AWAKE by some seriously holy waters!  Fuck yeah!  What could be BETTER!?!  Nothing.

Thanks to my good friend RosyMoon’s zealous insistence, and then Mykael’s impassioned back-up action, I watched this profound youtube video series, which rearranged the furniture inside me in a way that drowned me to Life in my own inner knowing!  That is worth at least “affinity” times it’s weight in diamonds and pearls.  And I am NOT being figurative here.  I am so dangerously literal right now.

Okay, Miss LMNOP, what WAS this bone rattling, soul shattering video series?  It was a Native American “wisdom keeper” speaking about what is being born through us at this time on the planet.  It all resonated to my core.  I haven’t a single shred of doubt that she speaks Truth.  Shrug.  I just don’t.  Sure, I’m not your average God fearing, news reading, Safeway shopping, International House of Pancake dining, Politician trusting, evidence hungry citizen of the United States of Bloody America.  But stick around.  I dare ya.  You’ll see soon enough, if you are not seeing already.

The foundation concept of which “Little Grandmother” spoke was the collective shift we are making from living in our minds back into our hearts!  Instead of a moment of silence for this auspicious, long awaited Return, let’s have a moment of Macarena!

(I WISH I remembered the Macarena!  I’d be doing it all the time!  Just kidding.  But it was an endearing little dance.  Admit it.  Because people looked like total dorks when we did the Macarena… but enough people did it, that we felt secure being total dorks.  And that’s so healthy.  I say, unleash your inner dork.  DO IT NOW.  Don’t wait for it to be “okay”.  That’s why I love Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job.  Check them out on my Blogroll for some immediate inspiration in the school of freedom to BE.)

So we have all been born into a world where we were taught to live from our minds… and it has made quite a mess of disconnection, confusion, scarcity and needless suffering.  Living from the heart, in tune with Source is not a new innovation.  The indigenous cultures have done it for Goddess knows how long… but in this most recent incarnation of consciousness, we have forgotten and NOW we are remembering and that KICKS ASS.  She said we are some seriously STRONG “I AMs” (aka: humans, aka: gods manifest), to be the ONES here at this time to make the shift back to LOVE. It takes some RIPPED spiritual muscles.  Yes, that means YOU!  And You and You and everyone you pass on the street and everyone living huddled in huts on dirt floors in third world countries… and mansions on the pretentious rolling hills of Oblivion.  Every one of us is the crème de la crème of consciousness.  We are the chosen Rockstars who are birthing the world’s return to LOVE.  I love this!  Suddenly I feel so connected to EVERYONE on the planet in an intimate way… like we were all hand picked for the All Star sports team!  We are *special*.

So the moral of this story, is DON’T worry.  Fear not.  Everything is falling apart, because it MUST come undone in order to make space for a world that will sparkle so hard it will knock the light back into you!  (Figure of speech, silly, the light never left you.)  Raise your hand if you’ve ever given birth, or been present at the time of birth.  Well I haven’t, but I know it’s a pretty messy, intense process.  AND I know that a woman must let go in order to allow the tender little bun to tumble out.  So as this new consciousness is born through all of us, we must LET GO.  The more we try to hold on to the perilous olde familiar, the more painful and frightening the birth experience will be.  Trust me, I know how frightening it can be to release into the unknown.  It can be way worse than a visit to the dentist… but only if we are not trusting in the All Pervading Power of Love.

So I am here to remind you (and myself) that there is nothing worth holding onto right now.  At least not with white knuckles.  Our collective landing will be soft and entirely of Grace.  It will be like free falling into clouds made of down and chinchilla fur and unicorn’s breath!  It will smell like fresh baking croissants, chocolatey birthday cake and night blooming jasmine.  It will sound like galaxies of drunken stars having over the top dance parties and orgiastic OM chanting.

See?  I told you it was good news!!!! I will NEVER be the same again.  How can fear seem real in relation to what is just up ahead for Team Humanity?  Another thing she said that was Ephiphanic for me was that we humans have been relying on one another as primary energy sources, and this is crippling and exhausting.  She said our true energy source is Nature.  Plants.  Sky.  Earth.  If we need energy, we can simply go sit under a tree and take some deep breaths for a while.  I am someone who has felt exhausted for a lot of my life, so this reminder is HUGE for me.  I haven’t been able to imagine my life without caffeine.  But I have spent my whole life in urban environments… Who knew it would be so simple to recharge?  (As I wrote that, an emphatic gust of cool breeze blew into my bedroom, and I drank it in deep.  Life always Speaks.)

But back to relying on one another for energy.  What that means in “lay terms” is that having forgotten ourselves as GOD~GODDESS, “the Great I AM”, we are constantly seeking validation from those around us.  We rely on the [sorely limited] projections of others for our sense of self.  If people see us as “good”, then we feel good [for a while].  If people see us as “bad”, we feel bad.  I have been so “guilty” of that.  What a sublime waste of energy… to be constantly seeking out the validation of others… instead of claiming our true essence as Divine Creators, connected to Source and proactively, Lovingly dreaming forth the world that we envision in our Hearts.

I have had a habit of constant doubt around my writing.  Someone tells me they read my work and were opened, moved and that I have a gift… and for a few crack-ish instants, I feel GOOD and WORTHY… but then I have fallen back into my default mode of self doubt… waiting until the next time someone “out there” throws me a modestly meat strewn bone of validation.  And then I know for another few nanoseconds that I am great.  But screw that game.  I AM God-Goddess. (As are You and You and You and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US.)  I am ready to live unapologetically connected to Source.  I am ready to accept the sweet responsibility of staying Connected, humbly and willingly speaking, being, serving as an ambassador of the ONE!!!  Not such a bad gig, eh?  Who’s on board?  Who’s ready to renounce the perpetually draining practice of sucking and spitting our energy from one another and instead drinking deep of the Earth?  Come on!  All ABOARD!!!  LET’S DO THIS THING, PEOPLE!


Oh, here’s the link to the profound video series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK5OOfEmut4

This Is What Love Looks Like (Today)

Fear.  It feels crippling today.  But I don’t really feel like hanging out in it for too long, so I’m just gonna pick myself up by the… hmmm, I don’t have boot straps.  I don’t even know what boot straps ARE.  Pick myself up by the heart strings.  Pick myself up by the angel wings.  Pick myself up by the truth of me who sings even now, when I seem to have forgotten the words to my own song.  Maybe that’s because there aren’t any words to my soul song… But I couldn’t tell you for sure, because nobody ever told me I had a song, so I quickly learned to forget this crucial tidbit of my selfhood.  Song?  Yeah, haven’t you heard those wondrous tales of indigenous cultures, where when a woman conceives a child, she goes off alone into nature and listens intently for the song of her unborn child?  They know… that every human has our own unique song.

But I have forgotten my song, so instead, I am listening to the Full Lotus Kirtan Show (one of my favorite podcasts).  On this week’s show, the host, [Saint] Blake Tedder is playing all Maha Mantras… you know, the Hare Krishna mantra. (an oldie but goodie, if you ask me…)  He says that this mantra is a straight shot, one way ticket to the kind of profound oneness you thought could only exist on TV and in the movies.  No, it’s real, and I’m on my way, baby, because in my ears, its all Maha Mantra, all the time.  Maha means “Great God”.

I just watched the barista empty three small jars of raspberry jam into one larger jar.  Thick, red slime.  And the chime of big metal spoon on glass, set against my maha-mantric Indian tablas and those clinky, kirtan chimes.  At times like this, when my usual constructs of safety, security and continuity are bursting like faulty dams and the mystery surges through like reckless, liquid, high-speed trains, it’s the little things I cling to with frivolous glee (stained with passive desperation).  God, I don’t know what to say at all today.  I just can’t shake this quiver.  It feels like I’m on the precipice of falling apart completely… but not fully letting go.  Oh!  Well in that case, Athena, just let go.  Fall apart.  Free fall through this moment.  Seems so simple.  As I wrote that, I realized that my heart was clenching, so I relaxed it, and now I feel like I could sob enough to fill an entire kiddie pool at a flea circus.

Member how I told you that the other day I heavily procrastinated writing my blog by searching for high school friends on facebook?  Well, I did, and one of them got back to me within a modest smatter of cosmic hot flashes!  She was ELATED to hear from me.  In the two messages she wrote me, I could feel her leaping up out of every single word and grabbing me by the collar, shaking me with a zesty strain of hallelujah.  She said she had been searching for me for YEARS… but by my old, busted name, Dawn Horwitz.  “Athena Grace!?!?!  What the *&%^$#@???” she spat.  I swear, what a gift to be so revelatorily received!  I wish EVERYONE was that excited to hear from me!  Briana is her name.  I met her when I was a “soft-more” and she was a senior.  She fell from the sky, into my drama class, a fresh transfer from Hayward High.  I never had any fond feelings for Hayward, and quite frankly, I was astonished that such a holy morsel could come from such a trashy neck of the woods.  (No offense if you are a Hayward Native or ardent supporter.)  My first impression of Briana was that she was always smiling.  But not some corny cheerleader smile… A soul smile.  She wore a depth, a wisdom, a style that dripped with authenticity, creativity and freedom.  I wanted to know her immediately.

I was amazed by Briana’s self awareness, her graceful ability to be herself in an environment that did not exactly foster such authenticity.  Briana’s presence in my life was like stumbling, parched and broken, upon a desert oasis.  When I wrote to her the other day, I told her in my brief synopsis of my life that writing is the backbone of my existence, my number one passion.  In her reply, she told me that she got her masters in creative writing, but she hasn’t written a word since, because she’s afraid she’ll find out she’s a sucky writer.  Can you believe that?  I can.  But I think it totally blows, with a capital B, that rhymes with P, that stands for POOOOL!  (I need to watch the Music Man soon.  I want to belt every song and maybe even stick thumb tacks in the bottom of my shoes and pretend I know how to tapdance!!!)  Writing.  It’s one of the FEW places in my life where I feel free from my own self criticism.  I mean, not that I don’t experience the self critical voices… But on the page, I just allow them, and glean freshly squeezed amusement from the ridiculousness therein.  To my self critical voices’ dismay, they actually fuel my writing in a positive way.  I’ll count that as a blessing.  Oh, woops, that reminds me… I was supposed to be locked away in my corner of condemnation, counting my ass off till beyond the end of time when the blessings are finally all accounted for, once and for all.  Whoops.  I’m here, instead, talking in concentric linguistic circles, like the ones that lovingly scream messages of impermanence in the faces of rain puddles.

Why do I put so much pressure on myself to be something, somehow, someway?  What am I trying to achieve beneath all this petty, unconscious expectation?  Survival.  That’s a big one, of course.  Being loved.  That’s the other Maha motivation.  But fuck.  I am loved, because I AM LOVE.  I wish I could live as though I knew this.  I can.  I can live as LOVE.  I DO live as love.  I just have some mental habits that have managed to convince me otherwise.  Simple.  But they can’t pull the wool over this LOVE-drenched bitch’s eyes no mo’.  I’m going on strike.

Okay, I’m gonna go retreat to my bedroom and cry my flea circus pool now.  Oh wait, speaking of crying… last night, I was walking alone to the grocery store and I saw this man standing in the dirt in his front yard.  He looked like a grubby, dirty man who you might encounter on mission street, or operating heavy machinery while nursing a Budweiser.  But instead, he bent over and cast little handfuls of seeds in shallow holes he had just dug in the soil.  Can I be candid with you now?  THIS WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I’D EVER SEEN!  This man, who according to my narrow, binding stereo type, should have been parked like a lump in his favorite armchair watching sports was out connecting with his modest, urban patch of earth.  Creating life.  Creating beauty.  Seeing this holy vision turned the contents of my heart upside down and I cried the rest of the way to the store.


Yearning For the Earth

You know what I yearn for right now?  I yearn for the words that you see on this page have been funneled straight from Heaven.  I yearn for you to devour them as though they were your favorite food and they were so mouthwatering that you LICK the page clean.  And even when it’s clean, you lick it some more in a lofty hope that your mind’s tongue might stumble upon something that you missed the first time around.

Of course that’s a tall order… especially since I want to say frivolous things… like I am thoroughly enjoying the aftertaste of black tea in my mouth.  It’s so sweet, it must be angel’s breath.  Much better than janky old coffee breath.  It reminds me of this baby strawberry shortcake doll I used to have when I was a kid.  When you squeezed her around the middle, she would expel strawberry scented air from her permanently parted baby doll lips.  I couldn’t get enough of it.  Baby Strawberry shortcake withstood a lot of squeezing.

Do I want to say frivolous things?  No.  Today I have put too much pressure on myself to be impactful.  I was reading a blog by “Soul Dipper” ( souldipper.wordpress.com/)  I really admire her intentionality.  She uses her blog to channel information bestowed upon her cosmically connected mind by her spirit guides to those who are receptive to her timely and potent spiritual messages.  After reading a post or two of hers, I [naturally] started to compare myself to her.  I felt inadequate, because I merely say yes to the unruly, child-like meanderings of my wild mind, while SHE says hella spiritual things that fall into her mind from wiser and more omniscient planes of existence.  Listen, I know that comparing myself to others is only useful if it inspires me to be more fully myself, to more fully embody my destiny-stained role in the glorious unfolding of Life and Love.  I refuse to get stuck in the eddy of self denigration.

AND… I want to cultivate a deeper, more conscious relationship with my nonphysical guides.  I feel like I can almost hear them cheering and beating their wings against the eager vastness inside me.  It is possible they ache to be heard and received in fullness just as much as I do… What would they have me say right now?

I dunno, but I want to tell you how much I miss being on the farm.  Coming back to this urban web of chaos was comparable to going in for an extended visit to the dentist… (Truth be told, I actually LIKE going to the dentist, mostly… I mean it’s awesome to have someone taking such great care of me, supporting me in keeping my teeth forever.  And if pain is involved, it is an opportunity to meditate on the sensation.  I just used that as a metaphor because there is a general collective consensus that going to the dentist blows) But the essence of it is that my experience of the bay area is that of a large pool of extraneous psychic clutter.  I crave nature.  I crave simplicity.  I took unfathomable delight in just feeling the soft, country breeze, intermingled with ephemerally forceful heat from the sun. My skin is still tasting this delicious cocktail.  I didn’t used to be able to appreciate such simple gifts from god.  I thought revelation would certainly be more of an earth shattering, bone rattling, mind scattering main event (and I still reserve the right to experience it that way, “someday”).  But the more that I heal and remember how to savor being present, I realize that tasting grace can be so ordinary and simple that it can easily be missed if I’m always holding out for the second coming of the Big Bang.

My minds eye is ecstatically haunted by the image of vibrant green walnut leaves against a blazing blue sky.  The contrast of the colors not only lured me into the heart of that perfectly rapturous moment, but it also carried me away to a place of inexplicable soul that somehow transcends one single moment.  Ahhh, the vibrancy of color.  Flowers carry me there… on a daily basis.  Drinking the fluorescent vibration of flowers, I am at once swallowed by the seductive, hungry mouth of the Mystery and spit out in the silent core of Creation.  I rode my bike (whose name is Black Beauty, btw) past some outrageous rose-filled gardens on my way to Pizzaiolo this morning. Oooh-la-la!  And I’m embarrassed to admit this, but geraniums really whistle my kettle too.  I was raised to believe that geraniums were gaudy plants that only little old ladies dared entertain.  If I were to offer a simple equation expressing my conditioned response to this hearty, vibrant, wily creature, it would be~ CHEEP+TACKY+SMELLY= GERANIUM.  But who loses in the face of this narrow, binding, habitual dismissal of a perfectly marvelous face of God?  Athena.  But no longer!  I am going to plant some of these neon beauties and display them proudly in my front yard!

I remember doing tree pose during our yoga sessions in the hallowed walnut orchard, and feeling the decadent texture of the earth under my eager bare feet.  It was firm, yet squishy.  So moist and awake, like the body of my own lover.  It met my feet with an unmistakable tenderness and overt fertility.

On Sunday afternoon, when it came time for our yoga practice, I was zonkered.  I had to dig deep to summon the energy and will to move at all.  I guess we all must have felt that way… because beautiful, divine Kimber felt us and responded accordingly.  She guided us through a very gentle, nourishing, restorative practice, woven with many mini savasanas.  Then, during the final savasana, I had this miraculous experience of transcending the time-space continuum.  Did I fall asleep?  Sort of… but… when I came back from this formless place of peace and rest, I had this feeling that I could have been gone for eons, for eternity, for an entire incarnation of our beloved universe.  When I opened my eyes, I realized I had so many assumptions about the world that my eyes shone upon… and that none of those assumptions were necessarily accurate.  I suppose I traveled to the Great Beyond.  As it turns out, the other yogis shared this transcendent experience… at least on SOME level, because after we offered our closing OM, we all just remained still, stupefied, lulled by a great silence.  Normally we mostly can not get up fast enough, because after yoga comes FOOOOOD!!!!  Artful and lovingly prepared, farm fresh vegetarian meals.  But this time, literally NOBODY moved.  We all just sat on our mats, under a secret blanket of aqueous, exquisite peace.

It would be so easy to dismiss this experience through logical, masculine, literal means.  “Oh, we were all just tired from a day out in the raw elements.”  Yeah, what EVER.  My hypothesis is that we all embarked on a collective inner journey and came out on the other side, in a whole new dimension of existence.  Kimber served as our guide, our flight attendant, if you will, and she was a mere willing vessel of the Divine Mother, manifest as Missus Earth, Herself.  I know this much~ I am not the same woman as I was before this Great Sleep… and this is a mystic blessing, yet to be integrated and revealed.  Stay tuned.