Romance dawns in Graceland!

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It’s four forty one am.  The refrigerator is singing a resounding rendition of the sacred syllable OM, and my nervous system feels like a potato chip.  (Not the thick, ridged, crinkle cut ones… the thin, irregular, bubbly ones that are translucent with grease.)  I am a refugee, mud-streaked, bleeding and disheveled, stealthily fighting my way back into the honey-dripping throes of Graceland.  I was stollen away and locked in a solitary tower, without my faithful laptop, or even a toilet paper roll, ink and a feather to write my Life into honest, lucid, artistic existence.

Actually, I fell in…. Love?  Lust?  Or have I risen into the aforementioned dynamic duo of L words?  I’d like to think I have risen.  But being so perpetually sleep deprived, unfortunately, it feels more like a fall to the gritty, indifferent ground.  Ohhhhh YES!!!… I am loving being dramatic right now.  But I felt a pang of sadness, talking about the ground that way…. because the ground is Mother Earth’s own sumptuous* body, and she is anything but indifferent.  Indifference is not in any healthy mother’s instinctual palate.

*I just looked up the word “sumptuous”, because I wasn’t certain of it’s precise meaning… and I was surprised to discover that it implies expensiveness!  “Expensive” is not how I would describe this marvelous place we are blessed to call hOMe for now… But I still like the word… Sumptuous.  The sound, the feeling of my mouth and breath forming the word– Feminine.  Round.  Sensual.  Mrs. Earth is definitely all that.

Are you still with me?  Or are you like, “Athena, stop masturbatorily pontificating, and TELL US who in God’s hella holy name you have risen/fallen into this wild and unruly state with!!!”

Yeah, you’re right.  Life is but a flash in the pan, and I really oughta roll up my sleeves and get to it!  But wait!!!  May I please share something frivolous with you first?!  When I wrote the word “oughta” just now, I had a flashback to my hella glamorous childhood… Back in the tragically dull, concrete-heavy, gridded neighborhood in San Leandro.  I must have been a budding pubescent, with a few dwindling, tenuous shreds of innocence still in tact.  My mom drove the fuck out of a silver Dodge Caravan minivan.  Stick shift.  (Actually, I learned to drive on this beast.  The clutch was a total bitch, and the car had a proclivity for lurching forward at the slightest mishandling…)  My Ma had a job delivering phone books!  All the fuck over the vast expanse of the East Bay.  I mean, seriously, sometimes she’d have to drive more than an hour, with said van weighted with phonebooks to get to her route du jour.  Rush Limbaugh was her abiding co-pilot.  Even though I didn’t share her smolderingly impassioned political views, I did find him mildly amusing… Actually, I am still impressed by his marked (though misplaced) intellectual capacity, which enabled him to throw his outrageously opinionated and substantial weight around in a compelling fashion.  Ahhh the good olde days!  Are you scratching your head right about now, and wondering how in the heck I fell into this tangential cul de sac of memory lane?  Well DUH!!  Because his book was entitled, “The Way Things OUGHTA Be”….. Grin.

Ok.  Get this– his name is Giordano, and he shot like an Italian comet, straight into my DRIVEWAY.  I oft wondered how I would ever find a lover while cloistered in the thick, wooded folds of a spiritual community who collectively strives toward sexual renunciation…. Improbable, right?  Well, I flew home from Costa Rica, and this beautiful man was… just here…. My landlord imported him from Italy to….”help him” .  When Ryan introduced me to his quiet Italian buddy, the man didn’t even make eye contact, so naturally, I inadvertently dismissed any possibility of… anything.

The next day, he was loitering in the driveway, as Serena and I were heading out on some mundane mission or another.  Giordano just watched us… the way a child watches.  With passive, unadulterated curiosity.  A couple days later, Ryan told me I should invite him to the River.  This caught me off guard.  “But he didn’t even make eye contact,” I replied.  “Is he capable of connecting?  Is he just shy??”  Ryan assured me he was “just shy”.  Hmmm….

Since it was the rapidly dwindling end of River Season, I didn’t have time to dick around.  I either invited him, or forever held my peace.  So the next morning, when I saw Giordano pacing the gravel driveway, I invited him.  He said yes.

God, why do I endeavor to write my life down on the page in thousand word installments???  It just doesn’t make sense…  I’d be better off writing enchanted, sprawling epic poems that unabashedly draped about Infinity.  But here I am again… aspiring to contain my existence in a meager thousand words.  I guess I dig the challenge.  Akin to how The Lord delights in smashing His archaic prayer onto a measly grain of rice.  Besides, I can always come back for round two.  And three and four and affinity….

Well, our first date was sweet.  His english was decent enough to sort of understand each other… and sparse enough for the experience to feel like the set-up of a cheesy romance novel!  I was struck by his sweet sensitivity.  And his innate proclivity to connect with Serena.  He seemed a little embarrassed when he stripped down to his black, cotton briefs, confessing that he didn’t have more appropriate swimwear.  We laid on a flat, smooth slab of granite and marinated in gentle, delicious, autumnally slanted morning sunlight.  I tried to speak slowly, and with simple, latin based words that might transcend the language barrier.

During the following week, I felt a soft, potent longing to see him… but we were both consumed by work and Life.  He did timidly hover around my front gate a few times… Each time I eagerly sucked him into my music and sunlight drenched lair.  It was comical… the way he loitered awkwardly as I cooked and tended to the masterfully flirtatious Serena.  Our mutual desire was obvious… yet neither of us sure what to do or say.  Is that like SO romance novel, or what?!  One time, as he was preparing to leave, I got super bold and asked, “Would you like a hug?”  I forgot to mention that he flies back to Italy on November 3rd… so we really don’t have time to dick around.  It’s a classic case of shit or get off the pot.  Anyway, naturally his answer was YES.  We moved into an embrace…. And…..

OhMyFuckingGod.  Talk about clothes-on-energy-sex….. Luminous, gushing rivers flowing between us, birthing entire new ecstatically persuaded galaxies.  Neither of us wanted to let go.  Just melt and bleed into differentiated unity and bliss.  Then he departed.

But he left trail of reverberating, energizing lust that fueled me for days.  Jesus. The next weekend, I invited him back to the River.  This time to a nude beach.  I was tickled that he opted to keep his underwear on, regardless!  Not Athena Grace.   Lordy, this story’s end is nowhere in sight… yet I must draw this entry to a close.  More to come.  Literally.  I’ll just say that we had a beauty-full time together that day amidst the sunlight, clear, rushing water, smooth stones and earthen, perfumed air.  Serena loved him from the get-go.  And he, Serena.  Which naturally gets me hot.  If this was not the case, I don’t even think I would bother.

What I am bursting to unpack next, beyond the linear sequence of our hella romantic unfolding… is the deeper cut.  Witnessing the cacophonous choir of selves within me… how they all seem to have disparate motivations and longings… and how I am navigating these deep and murky and compelling waters.  And what about Ed?  So much more to tell!!!

Talk to you soon.

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The Fight to Write.

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The unicorn is galloping across sprawling, poofy, marshmallow cloudscapes, and still…. I am gonna thrust myself up on the bitch.  Yes.  I’m talking about my writing life… which has slithered like whispering water through my slender fingers as I incessantly pour into my life as a single mother.  Actually, I feel some relief in the X-treme scarcity of Time.  Because before Serena, there was too much of the stuff.  I damn near drowned in the strange ocean of excruciatingly slow, linear, third dimensional existence.  I guess Time is a beast that I came here to wrastle (and K the fuck O).  What better way to restructure said relationship, than to dream forth a demanding little goddess who hoards every precious second, formerly known as “mine”.

I hear a mouse gnawing at the inside of my bathroom wall.

Is it legal to write a one sentence paragraph?  I remember in high school, when “they” taught me about the “essential” components of a paragraph– An opening sentence with a main idea.  Then a few supporting sentences.  And finally a conclusion.  I like considering the possibility that ONE single sentence can contain ALL OF IT.  Like the universe in a grain of rice.  Like how much blessed meaning can you squeeze out of one modest strand of words.  What worlds secretly breathe and pulsate therein?  It’s like those pivotal moments following the news that your mother “wishes to be made comfortable” (apparently code for “is about to die”)… and suddenly the slow drip of the kitchen faucet becomes the heartbeat of Creation.  Your mind sprinting through stiff, sludgy oatmeal.

Ah, yes, it’s wonderful to be back in Athena Graceland.  Fuck.  Serena just called out to me from the bedroom, her voice a sharp arrow.  It’s only 5:49am.  Girl, go back to sleep.  God!!!!!!  Throw down some freakin’ mercy.  Let a bitch express some damn philosophical frivolity (and an impending deeper cut) to the privileged few amongst the masses, who have, by your Grace, stumbled upon the treasure-laden, zany worlds that stream from within me.  Silence again…. And a slow breath, pregnant with Hope with a hella capital H.

Ok, better get to the excruciatingly sharp POINT.  Life.  That is always the point, I think.  Telling the raw, naked truth about Life. So watch me bust out a “Hemingway Simple” topic sentence on this urgent subject…

In so many mOMents lately, I find myself threadbare and just celebrating the rudimentary fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.  She’s crying again and I can’t muster much explosive intelligence and cleverness as I endure her increasingly desperate call.  I was hoping she’d self soothe and sink back into slumber.  Dream on Athena.  Well there you have it.  Athena Grace, squeezing a goddamn drop of creative juice out of a huge ugly rock, imperviously lodged in a cruel and hard place.  Bye.   

It’s a new day.  My body thirsts to practice yoga.  But an invisible force inside me demands that I finish this piece of writing.  This is my Life now… Squeezing single glistening drops of “me time” out of huge boulders of obligation and duty as I trudge through a panoramic mOMent of humble service and profound ordinariness.  But that makes mothering sound like a chore… It is.  And it’s not.  It’s actually the best thing I’ve ever done…. And one of the hidden gifts of its fierce rigor is that being in twenty-four-seven service to Little Missiz Grace stokes the fuck out of the fire of my longing to be, do, have, and fully LIVE the other facets of my intricate, dynamic Self.  Which is good.  Because back in that other life, (now a microscopic speck in my figurative rearview mirror) the unwieldy ocean of perceived time drowned out my fire to engage and create.

Now that I have experienced conception, pregnancy, birth and sustenance of the object of my all-consuming Desire, I have a felt-sense of this sacred, feminine territory.  And I can feel a new life gestating in my womb.  It is my work in the world.  A hunger is welling up inside me to play huge.  And WIN.  Which of course encompasses plenty of glorious failures along the way…. But winning looks like staying in the game.  No matter what.  Full contact.  No holds barred.  Stretching into domains of creative actualization and impassioned service beyond my wildest dreams.  (And beyond the crippling social programming of my fore-mothers.)

In 2011, I did a two hundred hour yoga teacher training with Psalm Isodora, the renowned tantra yoga teacher who recently took her own resplendent and gritty life.  Her training felt like flushing a couple thousand dollars down the toilet.  In my experience, the bitch did not have it together.  (But I give her goddess props for not letting that stop her.  To live into huge vision, it’s mandatory to fuck up and make messes along the way.)  The one gold nugget that emerged, gleaming from the sludgy chaos and bullshit, was the moment she said to me, “If you want something, you have to become obsessed with it.”   

It’s true.  I felt this all-consuming obsession with creating a child.  And now it is building a soul-satisfying career that inspires, ignites and liberates the hearts of the masses.

FUCK.  The mother fucking dog barked and woke Serena up.  I could kill him.  It’s only six twenty and I was sure I was gonna finish this goddamn thing today.  FUCK EVERYTHING.

And now for the ultimate zen koan.  It’s wild how victory feels simultaneously impossible and inevitable.  Life is grinding me down.  S L O W .  So that in God’s Time, the spacious nothing that I am will ripen, rise and conquer.  I really do want to take over the world.  But not for my own gain.  For the benefit of ALL.  I yearn to be a vast, consuming source of neon spectrum, God-drunk, turned-the-fuck-ON liberation that doesn’t quit.

Life feels grueling.  Wrought with unsayably deep, emotional complexity.  It is requiring EVERYTHING.  I am watching myself break the fuck down.  I am starving for touch and deep, sexual loving.  I have to bust out some serious kung fu just to claim a few moments to paint my damn nails.  Yet… I feel a silken ribbon of holy whisper inside.  And it assures me that I am Destiny’s bitch, whether I like it or not.  And She IS this unquenchable, creative thirsting, bursting, swollen River ever gushing from within me.

PS–  I finished this blog with my “Big Girl” suckling my breast.  Whatever it fucking takes….

Embracing the Endless Desert

Any guesses as to how many luscious, indulgent words my fingers will be privileged to pump out before my Luminous Shrimp cries out from the bedroom and sucks me into the roaring machine of single motherhood?  My guess is not enough to scratch the itch or feel outrageously coherent.  I have seemingly abandoned my post here in Athena Graceland, because Serena has been on an early-waking-bender.  For weeks now.  And the lone shred of something for “myself” has blinked out like a kamikaze star.  Sigh.  The heat is ON.  And the longer I go without writing, the less I know what to even say.  I mean… what does one say when they are being broken down???

Well in THIS moment, it seems almost obvious… One describes the process of being broken down.  Such that it becomes poetry and salvation and wholeness.  Such that when one looks backward at the wilderness of her Unfolding, she might have a deeper understanding of Divinity and Perfection, Healing and Grace and Destiny.

But God… There is so much.  And it feels like chinese water torture to imagine going play by play, ounce for ounce.  So where does that leave me?  In the epicenter of my heart, I s’pose.

I have not had any communication with Ed (Serena’s dada, and the married man I have fought for for four years now) for days.  Today I am pretty damn sure I have given up the fight.  For real.  I know that I am a classic case of the girl who cried wolf, when it comes to the topic of “breaking through” with Ed… And I don’t expect you to believe me.  But I will testify that we have never gone more than a few hours without communicating at least a little bit.  Except for once a few years ago…. and that time, it was painful and dramatic.  But this time, I feel relieved and more whole… Like finally, my life doesn’t feel like it’s got a flat tire or a sinkhole.  I’m not syphoning my life-force into this fantasy world that detracts from the immediate and glorious world I marinate in.  I never imagined this day would come.  Detaching from Ed seemed beyond impossible.  And actually, I guess it IS, since we have a child together.  I guess it’s not ED I’ve detached from… but from the fantasy of someday playing house with him.

Letting go of that rotten fantasy, I land with a sobering thud in the reality that I am an over-stretched and stressed single mama.  Yes, I have been that the whole time…. But I refused to fully admit it.  Part of me was fiercely clutching this other frustratingly intangible life.  No longer.  Now I am here.  Shmoozing with all of my nearest and dearest– Loneliness, Exhaustion, Longing, Confusion, Regret and my all time favorite– DISAPPOINTMENT.  Yeah me and disappointment can’t seem to get enough of each other.

The surface “me” wishes things were different.  And I mean almost EVERYthing.  But the deeper me is actually relieved, because I can’t even get a grip on my identity, and I know it’s because I am dissolving.  And how can one EVER hope to know their Infinite-God-Self, if they are all twisted up around the shards and husks of something less.  Social conditioning and past experiences and self-imposed limitations.  “On paper” (or on the screen, to be more accurate), it looks pretty glamorous– the Opportunity to know my Self…. But in real time, it has been barren and excruciating.  Lonely and hopeless.  Like Jesus wandering the desert for forty days and forty nights.  Except from Athena Graceland, forty days and forty nights seems like a recreational cake-walk.  Over here, it’s more like a paltry stone’s throw from Forever.  I long for some PG-13 man-love.  Just a strong and beautiful and clear soul to hold me and rub my shoulders and smell my hair and cook me dinner and delight in my (dwindling) radiance.  But then I wonder if inviting that in would actually be like tying my own shoelaces together and making me trip all over myself, when what I really need to do is MOVE FORWARD.  I’m afraid that even the most simple and pure intentioned connection could quickly turn complex and haunted.  Because I’m someone who can’t NOT go deep.  And relationships are complex and twisty and jagged… because they arouse our deepest vulnerabilities.

Well there’s a lot I want.  And then there’s my rigorous moment to moment existence.  And the two don’t seem to have too much overlap, so who cares?

I care.

But even still, all I can do is breathe and do my best to hold my own heart as the Infinite Treasure and “do what it takes to feed the children”.

Thank GOD for my friends.  Even though I am navigating such profoundly uncomfortable terrain these days (as many of us are, I must acknowledge… and I pray that sharing MY journey will offer healing to yours.  That my Ultimate Faith may illuminate your own.  That my honesty and willingness will inspire you to face yourself with kindness, curiosity and humor.), I cherish my morning walks with Teri and her little Phoenix.  The healing, honest and spiritually nutritious exchange of voice memos with QuynhyMama.  The ever-irreverent, easy and no-holds-barred, spiritual gangsta sisterhood with Anitra.  The “Cheers-esque communion with the warm-hearted staff at Mother Truckers– the tiny and amazing grocery store a hop and a skip down the road from Ananda.  The hallowed daily check-ins and gift of Listening bestowed my my dear Mother.  God bless her!  Even as she navigates the brambly forest of Cancer and ChimoTherapy, she is still my rock.

Serena is awake.

But I’m satisfied with this cut of sharing.  And I aspire to a more steady linguistic outpouring of this Wild and Enchanted Journey through God’s very creative and ruthless Imagination.

Bless you, for we are all in this together.  And I’m certain you are rockin it over there!

Happiness Flew In… And then…

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I left the door wide open, and my beloved visitor finally flew away.  I knew it was inevitable.  Even if I bolted the door, this quiet, pervasive happiness would have slipped as liquid gold, through the bars of my pretty little cage at Her leisure and whim.  You can’t capture an electrically fresh, bud-bursting spring day in a jar.  But I was amazed and delighted at how long She chose to stay and warm me from deep within.  I should have recorded the days with little tick marks on the wall adjacent to the end of the couch that has a gaping (mostly figurative) indentation from where the heavyweight tag team of my butt and gravity work it over, day upon day.  (I should really consider changing it up and sitting on the other side of the couch, or at the table or on the floor so that I am less of a buzzed zombie… maybe when spring comes.) (Zoiks!, I’m not even through the first paragraph, and I have uttered the forbidden word “should” TWICE!… Honestly, I like to say “should” even more, since it has gone so far out of fashion.  It’s the rebel in me.  Otherwise, what is the alternative?  You just spend way too much time and energy groping about inside, like some new-age dork, to find shiner, more socially acceptable words to say the same damn thing– like– “It would be potentially life-affirming and transformationally potent to whisk my little ass on a romantic getaway to the other end of the couch.”  I mean, sure it’s fun to talk that way.  But sometimes I just wanna get the raw, plain idea out and move on with life.)

And now back to happiness.  And lack thereof.  Actually, I’m not lacking happiness this morning.  But maaaan– the flavor of those days upon days (I think it must have been about a week straight) was soooo delicious.  It was seemingly unconditional… I imagine, the unimpeded flavor of my soul.  It was bright and ecstatically tremulous… a wide open canvas upon which God painted the colorful masterpiece of my days.  And then I got a sore throat and the rain came back and Serena refused her afternoon nap, instead opting to play with the burner nobs on the stove while repeating “no, no, no” and making solid eye contact with me as I chopped delicata squash and collard greens for our soup.  I’m not unhappy now…. But I don’t feel invincible and larger than Life, like I did for that scrumptious honey-moon-lit week.

A highly alluring byproduct of said happiness, is that I had literally NO expectations of Ed (the perpetually unshakable Married-Baby-Daddy-Love-of-my-Life, for those of you new to Athena Graceland), but instead was an unconditional outpouring of generosity, support, appreciation and romance.  Haha, that must have been a nice little heart-spa vacation for him!  I felt so damn whole in this happiness…. that I really didn’t give a hoot about the terms and conditions of my existence.  I just wanted to give love.  I’m pretty sure this inner climate is the natural state of the soul.  I’m pretty sure that I peered through a sacred window into an impending inevitability.  I’m pretty sure this is what we are all stalking, beneath the glitzy veneer of every ambition and hope and choice.  This glorious wholeness.  A profound, profuse generosity sourced by an unending, overflowing sense of fullness.  An unconditional inner brightness that shines on Everything.

Lucky me.  I saw it.  I tasted it.  It is real.  Or at least it WAS.  And now I am on the brink of sick and I wish I could stay in bed and sad Hemingway all day.  Speaking of bed, I just had a flash of a dream from last night.  It involved me trying to get into the swimming pool (to swim succulent laps), but being obstructed by circumstances.  I’ve had a few of these lately.  Which is not surprising.  Because that’s my life.  The swimming pool is a place where I am free, whole, happy, nourished.  I want to swim sooooo bad.  So good?  But…. I am incessantly tethered to my most beloved fourteen month old daughter.  Which is pure grace.  But fuck.  I want to swim.

And speaking of water… now the rain is smashing down from a saturated, pre-dawn sky and singing me a dramatic serenade.  Suddenly all those notions of happiness and other-than-happiness and moments besides right now seem like a foreign language in which I have lost fluency.  Not to mention the heavenly bite of paleo banana bread slathered in chunky peanut butter and salty, grass fed butter that is currently dissolving in my profusely salivating mouth.  This sudden uprising of undeniable nowness doesn’t leave room for much else.  But I must press ON with this gay parade of mind and meaning.  Because writing is my passion.  I simply must squeeze the juice from the simplicity of ISness, and drizzle it into the stiff shot of complexity that is a human life and mind and heart…. stir… and serve you up a cocktail sure to jolt you into a heightened state of God-drunk presence.

Gosh, Serena has been sleeping for twelve hours now… which means that she is due to wake up any second.  I really wanna get these words out into the naked, sprawling corridors of the internet, where a handful of shimmering others might read, enjoy and benefit from them.

But allow me to splash first in the deep, vast waters of microcosmic awareness first.  Ribboned into this swirl of recent happiness, there has been a felt sense of deep peace.  I still feel it, like a full moon reflecting on a softly rippling, nocturnal lake.  I believe these gifts of happiness and peace are a contribution to The World.  I am not an “activist” in the classical sense of the word… nor do I aspire to be one.  But I am pretty sure that the energies that move through me uplift the collective.  Through untrained eyes, my passive stance of raising a tender, bright goddess in the woods, while doing humble, labor intensive jobs and investing in a sprawling bouquet of heart-full relationships might seem like a steaming heap of whoopdie-do.  But it’s NOT.  It’s a lavish slather of uplifting love up in the one heart we all share beneath the wondrous adventure of otherness in which we dance.  Listen– I’m all for Otherness.  A celebratory recognition of Oneness does not impede or negate the glorious play of duality that we are all exploring now.

I’m simply reminding myself and YOU that our lives and especially our LOVE, no matter how seemingly inconsequential and humble, MAKES A DIFFERENCE.  So won’t you please join me, and gaily fling open that cage door at the edge of your identity…. take delight in all of the intricate and fascinating winged visitors who fly in and out at their whim and leisure in the name of Destiny, in the name of Grace…

In the name of Heaven dawning withIN.

I’m Back. With a Heart Freshly Shattered.

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But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?

T’is the east, and Athena Grace LMNOP is the sun.

Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,

Who is already sick and pale with grief

That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she. . . .

The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars

As daylight doth a lamp; her eye in heaven

Would through the airy region stream so bright

That birds would sing and think it were not night.

Yes my Beloveds, I, Athena Grace LMNOP am back… Mainlining Heavenly brightness to your heart and mind with renewed, impassioned, whitewater currents!!!  I didn’t mean to be away this long… but for the month of November, I spearheaded a small online group committed to writing a poem a day for the entire month (which also entailed the grace of reading each others poems). This endeavor, to which I was fiercely committed, gobbled up every single spare second of my incessantly demanding existence.  And then some.  But the good news, is that I rocked it.  And I mean smoking’ gun style.  I wasn’t sure if I could still write poetry… it had been so damn long.  But I guess a poet is just what I am… cuz when I touched pen to naked page, it just poured out like pee and poop.  An essential byproduct of living with an open, ever-curious and hungry heart.  (I dare you to demand that I share some of my latest poems here in Athena Graceland!!!)

Then came December.  Then came Athena Grace drawing in a hella deep breath.  And releasing said breath.  As it turns out, the day that will live in infamy is actually DECEMBER SECOND, not the seventh.   That was the day my blood turned to cold, white lightening.  The day that contained the precise, lucid moment when I faced the possibility of losing my Ma way sooner than I ever imagined.  

Actually, for the past few years, I have imagined losing her on a semi-regular basis, so that I never take her warm, luminous presence in my life for granted.  Despite my “impermanence exercise”, parents still occurred as immortal… probably because they are the ones who have been a constant since before the beginning…  Anyway, I give myself an A+ for savoring time with my Ma.  But that didn’t  make the semi-sudden threat of losing her any more gentle and delicious.  

Last week, she asked me not to blog about it.  I think she might have changed her mind by now… but just in case, I shall remain vague and elusive.  This *could* be considered poor form… to evade the jugular, ignore the bling-clad, neon pink elephant on the page.  But, as the self-proclaimed Picasso of the literary domain, it is my prerogative to break rules.  Especially if it is the only way that I am able to show up for my self-ascribed literary duty at this time.  So let’s explore how I can olympic figure skate around this enticing elephant in mother’s clothing, and still win the GOLD.  And when she’s ready, I have unpublished blogs waiting in the wings… so you can taste the recent rainbow of my heart as destroyed by Kali Ma herself.  

Ok, so which burning bush shall I beat around?  Do you want to hear about “Toot”?… A book I recently checked out of the library “for Serena”.  It’s about farts, and I was SO excited to read it to her the second we got home.  I could barely get the words out, I was laughing so damn hard.  She had no clue what was going on.  Or I could tell you that Serena’s new favorite food is spirulina!  Yes, it has taken the lead, over sauerkraut, beef and dill pickles!  Or that I was planning to cut down my own christmas tree.  The first tree of my adult life.  Yes, I’m thirty six and I haven’t had a christmas tree since I was a disgruntled seventeen year old, living “at home”.  Whoa.  I felt conflicted about taking the life of an innocent tree… I was gonna try to ASK the tree permission.  But I doubted my ability to talk to trees… and my heart clenched when I thought about executing this indulgent murder.  Then on sunday evening, Serena and I were out walking and stumbled upon a PERFECT tree that had already been slaughtered, and was just laying in the mud, dying a slow, tragic death.  A tenacious, modern-day pioneer woman, I hoisted her up on top of Serena’s stroller and she wafted piney perfume all the way home.  How’s THAT for amazing grace?!  For my next modest miracle, I shall pull innovative decorations out of my ass!… I could tell you that I’ve always had a mental block against Shakespeare… but reading the snippet of Romeo and Juliet at the opening of this blog has tickled my poetic sensibilities.  I can see myself diving into the oceanic depths of his literary genius and being born again.

Nah.  I’m gonna stick with the enticing meat and potatoes on my heart’s plate. I still dunno if my Ma will stay or go.  I guess we never know, even when we imagine we do.  And this, my friends is a gorgeous crucible of human existence.  But touching the possibility of life without her, I have turned back toward Ed (my married baby daddy), and am clinging with renewed fervor.  I had made such strides in letting go… I have mixed feelings about this “regression”.  There is such a stubborn fighter in me.  I have loved my fight for Ed.  I have fought hard for “The Dream of US” (That’s the perfect tittle for my book about falling hopelessly in love and making a baby with a married man as a ruthless, spiritual crucifixion!… (and Resurrection, I hope…) for four years.  And some essential and deep part of me is… fulfilled?… by engaging in this impossible battle.  If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been on my knees, blood and tear soaked, asking myself if I might want to consider choosing a more intelligent fight….

But… It means something to me that we have a child together.  And I *wanted* to create that “forever” bond with Ed, because our love is boundless and eternally compelling.  We are able to merge and taste a rare, pure unity.  This has kept us going in the face of our excruciating circumstances and inexcusable humanness.  Relationships oughtn’t be so disposable as they have become in our contemporary, strip mall, ravenously consuming society.  Oh Virtuous Athena… where does that leave his marriage then?  Fuck, I don’t know.  I got myself in a hopeless tangle.  If I had a shiny, gold Sacajawea dollar for every time I felt suffocated by the claustrophobic trap of my choices in Love… scrambled desperately to find the glowing Exit sign… only to discover there AIN’T one… 

The only thing even resembling an Exit sign is stopping dead in my desperate tracks, putting my hand on my heart and speaking “I LOVE YOU.”  Over and over and over and OVER again.  In the face of Life’s panoply of tragedies, colossal disappointments and triumphs alike.  This morning, as I was leafing through my precious (100% recycled!) notebook, I revisited a few potent nibbles of the notes I took when I heard Matt Kahn (my spiritual teacher) speak in Berkeley last month.  This one leapt off the page: 

“When the ego unravels, you will always feel alone.”

I became wildly jazzed…. Something fabulous might actually be occurring beneath the surface of this opulent buffet of tragedy and ache.  Like maybe I actually have a chance to realize a deeper cut of the God (Love) within me, and within ALL.  Like maybe the greatest blessing of my Existence, is that I can’t find the infernally blazing Exit sign… and that the pain can be excruciating.  That there is no one to catch me when I fall…. and instead I land with a clumsy, shattering thud, right in the stark and holy center of my Self.  Maybe it is fantastic that I can’t reassemble the broken shards of my heart and life.  

I must be saying something true, because suddenly I could cry.

It’s six fifty am.  I hear Serena stirring in the bedroom.  

Well, I’m glad to be hOMe.  I’ve missed you.   

Things that go “Fuck” in the Night

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Things that go FUCK in the night.  An essay by Athena Grace LMNOP.  Yes, lately I have been going “fuck” in the night… and I feel slightly ashamed to admit it.  Serena goes through cycles where she sleeps amazing– I put her to bed around 7:30, in her pack n play.  She sleeps soundly until 2 or 3am.  Then she calls to me, and I scoop her up and nestle her into my bed, where she nurses and we both drift back into cozy slumber… for about two hours… Then I nurse her some more, imbibe one more delicious wave of sleep, and then get up, make tea and have the most (potentially) delicious, lucid “Me Time” for an hour or two if I’m lucky (half an hour or less, if I’m fleetingly damned).

But for the last couple of weeks, she’s been having her first wake up somewhere between ten and eleven pm.  And then waking every two hours (ish) after that.  I thought she might be teething… or at least having a juicy brain growth spurt… So I coached myself to have a generous attitude.  But no new teeth yet… and my arms are going uncomfortably numb again from the excessive side-lying nursing.  I’m tired.  And yes, flooded with helplessness and frustration, I find myself going “fuck” in the night.

But that is the end of that essay.  Short and sweet.  A flame-trailing line drive down the third base line.  I’m taking the turn…. sliding into second… SAFE!!!!

Tragically, I was never a great softball player… I’m too much of a pansy.  But God, I can feel the latent satisfaction in being a skillful and aggressive player.  *Smacking* the ball solid with my bat (I have recurring dreams about this), owning the bases, fearlessly fielding smokin’ grounders, hurling the ball with fierce warrioresse accuracy… I guess I’ll have to express these edifying energies in other (diamond shaped) domains of my life.

I haven’t been writing much about motherhood here in Athena Graceland… I felt like I should be… Until I (just now) did.  Then I realized why I don’t…. I am mom every second of every day… except for two hours on tuesdays when I am “yoga teacher”.  “Awesome yoga teacher”, at that!  And for an hour in the morning, I am “writer”.  And I don’t really feel to blather on and on about my (AMAZING) baby, because she will soon enough awaken and require EVERYTHING.  Which I mostly relish giving.

I’d rather blather about my stupid relationship!!!  Is that dumb or WHAT???  I vote YES on measure D for Dumb.  But that doesn’t stop me from expressing what there is to express.  I write from FEELING.  It heals me.  And helps me make the treacherous climb from my sniveling small self, into my soaring, winged, triumphant Being of Light Self.

I’m not officially in a Relationship anymore… we have mutually opted out.  But it’s such an excruciating process to starve the ravenous, slobbery beast inside me, who subsists on energetic ties to Ed.  She is so fierce, and really causes a stir when she is not fed.  Time and again, I reach out for him… hoping to surge with decadent feelings of affinity and fullness…. and… they just aren’t available anymore.  It’s more like me sprinting into the electric fence, getting knocked backward onto my scrawny ass, and then copping a massive, childish attitude because I’m not getting what I want.

I FEEL SO “ENDARKENED”!!!  So immature.  I love this experience of “breaking through” (the flashy, new-age verbiage for “breaking up”)… because it is revealing remarkably unflattering angles of me!  In the past, I would have beat myself up over not being “perfect”.  No longer.  I am DONE believing that there is anything but God, disguised in all characters, scenarios, feelings… EVERYWHERE.  Let’s get Real.  Is HeSheIt Omnipresent, or NOT???

Yeah, that’s right.  Omnipresent doesn’t leave room for much else.  Even if it must encompass darkness, childish behavior and global atrocities.  Shrug.  It’s a zany lila.  But declaring the all-pervading presence of the Good Lord WILL DELIVER US.  And I am playing my essential part in this impending Ascension.  But Jesus… My role entails so many uncomfortable feelings.  Thirty six and three quarter years into this Athena Grace thang, I’m getting good at recognizing the “Still Small Voice” (the voice of Infinite Wisdom) within me.  It tells me that Ed and I were so powerfully attracted, because we were Destined to give Serena life.  Mission accomplished.  And now my infinite stream of happily ever after is flowing elsewhere, and there’s no need to suffer about this.

But I am suffering about this.  Because I had lucid fever dreams of US playing house and being together forever.  A stubborn-as-fuck piece of me insists on clutching to a few lousy, stale crumbs of fulfillment.  Moldy crumbs that make me sick.  Yet I cherish them.  And even though I know I deserve WAY BETTER, I still love the one in me who fights to the death for these toxic, jagged crumbs!!!  And I honor the Divine in her.

Day by arduous day, freedom quietly unravels in my clenched, frightened heart.  I have little (ecstatic) tastes of full surrender.  I feel washes of soul-fulfillment as I inhabit the Life that lives through me.  So many moments of crushingly beautiful music and dancing, evocative light and resplendent friendship… Moments upon blessed moments of delight as Serena’s Lila Graces me. (That was a play on words.  Her full name is “Serena Lila Grace”.  I’m clever.)

I have this perpetual gnawing conflict as I write…. I thirst to become a “famous writer”.  But I imagine that I will have to edit, refine, distill, direct my expression in order to do so.  And I don’t want to!!  I want to be FREE.  I want to show up here in Athena Graceland with no holds barred.  I want to say it all.  Without concern for if it is good enough, or refined enough or ENOUGH enough… I want to be as goddamn superlative and excessively expressive as I feel to.  Even if it means that I have to get paid minimum wage to bake goddamn (delicious) quiches, make (epic) soup and clean houses for the rest of eternity.  God, I’m stubborn.

Maybe someday I’ll change.

But today, I am me.  Today I am free.  I type what I must… and I breathe.

I remember that this is as God as it gets.

And yet…

There truly is no end to how brightly we can shine.

The best is yet to come.

Love is the Way.

I am willing to die (a gazillion times) to all other notions.

And be birthed into Love Itself, a gazillion more…

Inhale.  Exhaaaale.

Amen.

Scorpion Medicine and the Life of my Dreams

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Late friday night, I was shocked awake by a hot, electric sting on my inner right forearm.  It took my brain a minute to land back in the reality of my bed… but when I did, I realized something must have bit me.  I flicked on red-bulbed bedside lamp and was horrified to discover a small black scorpion on my pink pillowcase!  For real.  Gingerly, I picked up my pillow and carried it to the bathroom sink, flicked the fierce little creature into the sink and ran the water until I was sure he was well on his way back to the Underworld.  Crawling into bed again was terrifying, because I was sure that it must be teeming with feisty scorpions, whose sole aim was to take greedy bites out of me.  But I was exhausted, so I braved the warm, cozy scorpion pit.  I texted Ed, because I was rattled and needed immediate support.  I also googled scorpion stings, and discovered, to my relief that there are more than fifteen hundred varieties of scorpions, and only twenty five of them are lethal.  Somehow I knew that this little guy was more machismo than anything else.  It took a while, but I fell back asleep and live happily ever after.

In the morning, it occurred to me that he might have been a humble Divine Messenger, so I googled “scorpion medicine”.  Yes, he came with the message of death and rebirth; letting go of what is no longer serving.  Just before I had fallen asleep, my heart was flooded with pain, and I had texted Ed, “You know you have caused a lot of pain”… referring to myself and his wife.  He made no reply, and I drifted into slumber with those words reverberating in the underworld of my consciousness.  Then I had been shocked awake by a sharp pain in my arm.

Realizing his sacred, selfless intent, I flooded with guilt that I had drowned him.  He was only trying to get my attention, and confirm that indeed it was time to release all hope of happily ever after with Ed.

Well… that’s not quite accurate.  I believe that Ed and I CAN live happily ever after… but not as husband and wife, Lady and Lord of Graceland.  I PRAY that we can sustain our love and friendship…FOR SERENA.  We will always be her parents.  Deep down, I wanted an “Always Connection” with Ed, because the love we share is powerful and I never wanted to let it go.  I pray from the depths of my soul that we may redefine happily ever after, in a way that suits the needs of the highest evolution of each of our souls.

But I’m sick of being smashed to pieces by disappointment.  It’s been nearly four years of such obliterating sport.  Now, a new calling is dawning in the deep, dark, Unmanifest within me.  I am called to my Dharma.  My sacred work in the World.  And I must liberate the energy that has been tied up in the exhausting cycle of hope, longing and devastation.  It’s weird.  We have tried to “break through” more times than I have fingers and toes… but there has been this invisible forcefield that has kept us together.  I guess God flipped the switch on this electric fence, because suddenly it is… almost easy.  I say “almost”, just because I am still navigating that outrageously delicious grief cycle:  anger and bargaining and blah blah blah.  I sure know how to have a blast down here on Earth.

It’s ridiculous being a spiritually inclined person (to state it mildly), spilling with a wealth of wise and practical teachings… and yet…in some scorching moments, NONE OF THEM can lift me above the very remedial human slop of clutching my delusions.  There is something gorgeous and refreshing about this.  There is no escape hatch.  I must brave the thorny, emotional underbrush and be humbled by the Journey that is mine to make.

This is so profound, that I will start a new paragraph, just to reiterate.  This paragraph stands as a monument erected for the profundity of the sacred necessity to submit to one’s Life.  It’s like when you’re out for a fabulous swim in the ocean… just frolicking like a carefree and even slightly cocky mermaid, and suddenly a huge wave pummels your azz, and all you can do is submit to the undertow, relax, and wait for it to deliver you to the surface again, according to its own, unified, mystic rhythm.

And therein lies the haunting and mystic face of death.

The ocean could easily take one’s Life (She DID swallow our Beloved Brian Baker…)  Now I must forfeit the Life that the little me has been clutching.  Trust me, I have held on as long as I possibly could (and I have the battle scars to prove it).  This is the essence of spiritual awakening.  But it is one thing to “know it”… and another thing to live it.  Knowing is not enough.  I want to be ground to holy fairy dust, that I may rise victorious rarefied, realized Light, and truly be of Service to this World.  Of course there are other agendas that want to have a say… so I must not be glittery dust yet.  Sigh.  But I AM getting there!  People, hear me when I testify that I am working so damn hard to figure out how to navigate this Life with Divine Intelligence.  Toiling to discover when it’s right to surrender, and when to bleed and sweat and fight.

It’s such a ridiculous journey… knowing deep down that God’s Plan for my Life is fashioned from a pattern of infinitely intelligent LOVE… and that MY plan is only crafted from scrappy impressions of my past… God’s imagination is Unlimited and Wild and Ultimately Benevolent (yes, even and *especially* when, to the ego, it “hurts”).  Mine is endearingly crippled.

I type these words with an aching heart, tears burning my eyes and gingerly streaming down my cheeks.  My guiding light, Matt Kahn said that someone once asked him, “It seems like you feel good all the time”, to which he replied, “I feel LIFE all the time.”  He said he has come to a sincere place Inside where no emotion is better or worse than another.  It is all God.  As a result of this sincere, awakened surrender, he no longer experiences highs and lows.  He is a pure stream of healing Divine Love.  So… Let me practice this wholehearted willingness to live as profound openness.  God, if you want to caress your own Body of Infinity through me as this deep pool of sorrow, I offer myself completely.  I boldly declare that there is ONLY LOVE, masquerading as every feeling and form and nuance of Life.  And so I offer myself completely to be played by your Holy Music… whether I like it or not.  I trust you God.  And I offer myself to the Life you are Destined to Live through me.  I am sure it will just keep getting more amazing and miraculous.

I used to want an “easy Life”.  Not anymore.  I want transformative Life that serves and inspires ALL HEARTS, and lifts the consciousness of the World.

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