Outsider Looking In

Tyler, the twenty something year old ex-professional skateboarding champion who lives across the hall from my mom is playing his harmonium as if it were an organ right now.  I feel like I’m in Grace Cathedral, being bathed in benevolently crashing sonic waves.  And the crickets are offering the back-up with their shrill steady sacred syllable.  It’s the perfect cap to the day I’ve had.  Inhale.  Exxxxxhale.  The day I’ve had.

Loneliness crept in today.  Too bad you aren’t aware of the long pause that followed that last sentence.  You will just read these words in one quick, rough tumble helping and then move on with your snack-sized dream of a life.  But here I am, mining my depths so that I can make some good old fashioned intellectual order out of it all.  And I must admit that I did pause to pick my nose, too.  Nose picking… It’s such a soothing and rewarding activity.  A meditative engagement with overt, measurable results.  Sometimes I need that in the midst of wading through all this arduous esotericism.

What can I say about this lonely feeling?  Well… I guess the reality that I just closed up shop on my whole honkin’ construct of a life… and I have nothing to go “home” to… suddenly crept in like wet chills that seep not only through clothing, but clear through skin, bones and souls.  I often think of Michael Franti’s lyrics, “to be surrounded by a million other people, but feeling lonely like a tree in the desert, dried up like the skin of a lizard…”  I find myself feeling that way from time to time… and come on, admit it, so do you… or else the song would not be so popular.  (If you haven’t heard it before, just take my word for it.  It’s popular.)  So here at the ashram, I am certainly surrounded by a million other people.  And yet… everyone seems to be always on the go… and somehow it doesn’t seem appropriate to express my inner most feelings to anyone (not even my mom).  Except YOU, here in Athena GraceLand.  Thank god for this blog.  I’m so acclimatized to a life where I have SOMEone to intimately share with.  But here at Ananada, I feel like an outsider in this fast paced world of ceaseless service, wholesome recreation and bland music.

I still don’t know if the egg came first, or the feathery, squawking layer… But somehow ashram life really got under my skin today.  Was it because I was feeling lonely and emotionally rough around the edges… or was my emotional state exacerbated by all the dogmatic wholesomeness?   Shhhhrug.  Listen, I think its all dandy, really… But today the culture was feeling way too clean for the likes of this dirty soul traveler.  I kept looking around at all the women and thinking that they could all use a good lay.  Sorry mom.  I’m afraid you might find this offensive, but it’s so true for me.  A little sexiness goes a long way on the path to Heaven’s Hot and Heavy Bedroom in the Sky.

I’m not the type of chick who chooses one single path.  (The other day my mom was all thrilled about the possibility of arranging me a ceremony to choose Yogananda as my official lord, savior and sponsor… and though he pretty much IS, I politely declined because I am more of a polyamorist when it comes to gurus in the sky with diamonds.  What would I say to Jesus or Amma, Saint Theresa, Hafiz, Rumi or Krishna when they found out that I had religiously committed to Yogananda?!?!)  So alas, I have stood, passive and observant at the quivering edge of many communities, ways, ideologies, dogmas and flocks of seekers.  And trust me, God not only abides, but dances His All Pervading Ecstatic Ass off in all of them.

A couple of years back, I got coaching on a regular basis from the woman who spearheads OneTaste, the community which embraces orgasm as the nucleus of their spiritual path.  Talk about contrast!  Phew!  That place was raw wilderness compared to Ananda.  At OneTaste, emotional authenticity was feverishly flying left and right.  At Ananda, the collective agreement seems to be that of Polyanna tongue holding and eternally smiling congeniality.  At OneTaste, the women were always flushed and freshly fucked.  Here at Ananda, I imagine most of the pussies are wrought with cobwebs and dust bunnies.  And you know the most amazing part of this… is that everyone is essentially thirsting for the same thing.  Both of these communities are extreme cases.

Athena, what’s your point?  I dunno.  Just that the God I subscribe to is a bit more of a flaming, drunken rebel than the God around here who wears high wasted jeans and penny loafers without socks and get twelve dollar haircuts from Super Cuts.  God bless ‘Im.

Today was Sunday service.  The essence was beautiful.  Trust me, I cried… like I almost always do when my Thirst of God is provoked to the surface.  But boy was it a contrast to my East Bay Church of Religious Science… where everyone dances and claps and calls out spontaneous, popcorn style affirmative praise.  Honestly, I think that it helps that there’s a large contingency of black churchgoers at East Bay.  It seems to me like the black folks know how to let their hair down and praise the Lawd with a capital Celebrate… and that’s more my vibe.  The choir today stood uncannily still as they spilled with sacred song.  But I don’t want to sound critical.  Because I am a sucker for God-Lovers of all shapes, sizes and flavors of song.

For some reason, I felt more inhibited about crying in this church today.  Was it because I was sitting next to my mom?  Maybe.  Or maybe because we were all packed in so close to one another.  Or maybe it was sheerly energetic.  But by the end, I was ready to run into the piney forest and spill salt water all over the hard, dirt path.  Especially when they left us with the final thought, “Go forth in joy today.”  With my hands folded in prayer and my head bowed, the tears came with more severity upon hearing that, since it felt to be so far from my present experience.  Which made me feel for a moment like I was doing something wrong by crying…I prayed to God to help me go forth in joy… then I realized that I am the ever-joyful witness, no matter WHAT emotional climates I slide through.  I tasted joy within my heart-ache.  As my mom and I walked out into the modest heat of the afternoon, I saw a hummingbird zoom right up to the sloshing top of a three-tiered fountain and take unabashed sips from the clear, singing waters!  Guess what hummingbird medicine is?!  JOY!  The moment was sheer poetry and unadulterated Grace.  I knew that God had heard my prayer and joy was as good as mine.

Though Her Holiness did challenge me to a high-rolling game of hide and seek first.  After lunch, I fell into bed with a heavy heart and a noisy head and dreamed of complicated relationships and white lies.  I woke up an hour and a half later repeating in my sleep the mantra that Amma gave me once upon a time.  (I don’t remember ever repeating my mantra in my dreams before!)  When I woke up it was time to start dinner.  It was my mom’s night to cook, and I had been very excited to help her… once upon a time…  I started hacking at the jicama with a heart unbearably saturated with ache… but by the time the soup and salad were ripe for imbibery, I WAS the hummingbird liberally sipping from the singing stream of holy water.  Cooking.  I always find peace and liberation in the kitchen.  Thank God…

Thank you God, for another perfect day.

Amen.

A Fight That Will Live in [Ecstatic] Infamy

What would you do if your doorbell rang, and you surreptitiously peered out the peep hole to find a couple you’d met just briefly, once before, who lived down the block from you, standing on your front porch, hot and heavily engaged in face slapping match?  Well, thankfully, our neighbors were not home yesterday evening, so they were not faced with that imposing conundrum.  Why were Mykael and I standing on our neighbors’ porch taking turns slapping each other’s faces last night?  Well, it all started with our chicken sitting adventure last month.  Member?  We offered those hip, twittering Oakland chicks popsicles as they passed our house, and one of them (the one who looks just like Popeye’s leading lady) turned out to be our neighbors, and she generously invited us to come gather their eggs while they were away for three days…

Last night, Mykael proposed that we pay them a surprise visit, since we hadn’t made contact since they had been home (which must have been a month ago already!).  Good idea, Sweetie… So after dinner, we set sail down the block.  The “trouble” started when Mykael said, “I don’t have keys, do you?”

“We don’t need keys, we’re just going down the block.  Let’s leave the door open.”  I said in a voice undercut with a barely perceptible trace of aggression.  You see, it was not the first time we had encountered this specific strain of combat.  I am a lot more liberal when it comes to taking precautions to ensure the security of physical belongings.  To me, obsessively locking doors equates to living in unnecessary fear.  Now Mykael would probably assert that by using the word “obsessively”, I am linguistically manipulating the picture of what shook down.  Duh.  I am.  Because I think I am right, and to me, it does seem obsessive to lock the door just to skip and fritter down the block for an innocent smatter of minutes to pay a visit to the neighbors.  As above, so below, as far as I’m concerned, meaning if you fear it, you invite it, while if you are truly at ease, then all will be well.

Mykael made his way back inside to fetch his set of keys.  I didn’t like this, and begged him to pause and “talk it out” with me, before making a choice.  I called out to him, but he did not heed my requests, which increasingly become wrought with more and more heat and intensity.  By the time he was standing in the doorway, I was begging with everything I had, that he come back and talk to me, before he take any action.  Nope.  He was resolved.  And I felt POWERLESS.  No, make that powerless cubed… at least.  He humored me, and stood in the threshold, looking at me through the invisible though indestructible wall that now stood between us.  I can’t see myself, since I live inside me, but if I could, I imagine I had steam spouting out my ears and flames on my breath.  Man, do I hate feeling so powerless, out of control, and at his stupid mercy.

So, he locked the door.  We walked the half block to our neighbors’ house and all the while, I was expressing my freshly turned over pain, desperately trying to regain some semblance of control or power.  I can’t remember, but I’m pretty sure I spoke a gratuitous slew of careless, poisoned words in jagged tones, designed to slash him in all the invisible places that COUNT.  Once on the porch, we exchanged a couple more rounds of verbal sparring, and then I rang the doorbell.  I rang the doorbell as yet another attempt to be “on top”.  Ringing the doorbell meant I was in control, right?  Because then he can’t get too many slicing words in before the neighbors come to the door and we are forced to feign some semblance of congeniality.

Unfortunately, ringing the doorbell didn’t shut us up.  We went back and fourth a few more times… which wasn’t really scratching the livid itch for me, so I gave his face a playful though startling slap.  Like lightening, he rebounded.  Naturally, I took another swipe.  Then he did, then I did.  I think we were both a bit surprised at the other’s audacity, not to mention our own.  It was weird… there was this undercurrent of humor.  Part of me wanted to spill out in a deluge of laughter, while another, more commanding facet was single mindedly thirsting for blood (and maybe a side of tears… and heck toss in some sweat, while yer at it!)  In my own personal rulebook, laughing during a fight lobs off major points.  Because then your opponent knows that you are not SERIOUS and come on… fights are SERIOUS.

After a few rounds of slappage, my face was starting to burn.  (Don’t call the authorities, please, we were only slapping at 50% velocity)  At this point, Mykael began to dodge my hand.  Okay, I can play that game.  I dodged his.  That added some spice to our otherwise bland fiesta.  By now, it was clear that our neighbors were not home.  Still standing on their porch, we reverted to talk-fighting again for a few modest exchanges.  Both of us were impermeable.  Writhing in emotional pain, I stormed off the porch, then let him walk ahead of me five paces.  At home, he unlocked the door and the argument continued in the kitchen.

We kept throwing our weight at the other, desperate to be heard and understood.  Which required that ONE of us let go.  No such luck.  (I know it’s not luck… it’s… generosity and surrender that are required at times like these)  God, when I don’t feel heard, when I feel out of control… I become a demon.  No holds barred.  At one point, I remember him wrapping his arms around me and holding me in a tight death grip… in some semblance of hope to calm me down.  But guess what?  NO WAY did that calm me.  It actually had the opposite effect, since it brought me right back to the physical sensation of feeling powerless and out of control.

My whole body, especially my belly, felt tight and aflame.  But with each round of sparring, the intensity faded a smidgeon of a hair.  (You’d only notice if you viewed the spat under a microscope, though.)  Finally, I told him to leave me the fuck alone.  I had this brilliant plan brewing to sulk all night by myself and continue to fester in the hurt.  I might even wander to the rose garden, just so on the outside, it would seem like I was having a great time and I didn’t need him anyway.  Or maybe it was so that I could find some solace in the luminous, sweet blooms and the echoing songs of evening birds.  “Is that really what you want?” he asked me, with bristled fur.

Touche!  He’s good!  Clearly, that’s NOT what I really wanted.  I really wanted Love to be restored.  But I didn’t want to admit that.  I wasn’t about to back down.  Not in the face of all the rage that was surging through my body.  So I said yes, that’s what I wanted.  He was slowly calming down.  “Is that REALLY what you want?” he demanded.  Suddenly, there was an overt fork in the road.  He knocked the ball square into my court, and how I swung (or relinquished swinging altogether) would determine the fate of the rest of our evening.  Would I choose the high road of the Saint in training, or the LOW road of the wounded, impulsive child?

At this point, he began to move slowly toward me, closing the physical distance between us.  This felt wonderful… but… I still didn’t want to let on that I was opening in spite of myself.  I suggested that he go get in the shower, and I take some time in my bedroom alone and THEN we come back together after some of our respective steam had a chance to dissipate.  NOPE.  He wanted to get to the bottom first.  So we argued about that for a while, my stance being that it was a waste of our energy to do so, because we were basically repeating ourselves, both still mildly desperate to be heard, felt and understood.

As we continued exhausting ourselves in our respective egoic wheels, (softened thought they were), he began to kiss my face gently all over.  This did it for me.  I stabbed the ground of my territory with a flag of surrender, and relaxed my body into his embrace as he continued to kiss me softly.  A man that can stand up to me with such an expert combination of force and generosity is worth surrendering to.  I felt amazed, relieved and more attracted to him than ever.

MOM~ WARNING.  I’m gonna talk about sex now.  Enter at your own risk!

“I think you should suck my dick now.” He stated bluntly.  It was obvious to me that I should.  (I’d been horny all day anyway)  It was hot… right there in the kitchen.  Then he bent me over the counter and *&%#$@*%ed me hard, before hitting the shower. (IS that all I’d really wanted in the first place???) Later, we made such beautiful, epic love and I felt felter than I knew was possible.

Relationships…

Not only that, but my space bar went on strike during the execution of this blog entry… and my white, though shadow stained knight came to the rescue and fixed the problem without even breaking a sweat!  I think I’ll keep ‘im.

Dabbling in the Deep End

If you had to have one word tattooed on your body, what would it be, and where would you tattoo it?  I am looking at a woman with the word “steel” tattooed on the back of her neck.  At first I thought it said “feel”, and I got excited because I took it as a divine message to drop into feeling.  Then I started contemplating the cornucopia of evocative, opulent words I could adorn myself with… And then I thought what a great way to get to know someone… like at a party or other social extravaganza.  (If you already have a word, or more than one word (Dan), you can still play the game… Wipe the slate clean and feel into ONE single word that would be most apropos to express you in this very moment)

Today I have my permission to be a total spazzy, off the wall nut.  I have to.  Can you dig it?  I HAVE TO.  Life can be way too serious.  Last night I was just going about my modest business and the simplest thing suddenly tripped a landmine in my heart.  Suddenly I was projectile sobbing.  But not for too long.  Soon I was faced with the inward invitation to forgive this whole sloppy dream and get on with things.  I think that’s the key for me.  I can express whatever wants to move through, but then let it go.  No need to wallow or hold on.  So I feel pain… fear… and then what?  Then I do a little dance.  Bake a loaf of braided challah.

Then I snuggle up with my sick boyfriend and watch some bitchin comedy.  Have you heard of Zach Galifianakis: Live?  See it. (We watched it on Netflix watch instantly)  He is a brutally honest, perfectly screwed up, entirely lovable comedian.  I discovered him on the Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job.  (I put the link to their website on my blogroll.  Check them out if you need some seriously irreverent medicine. (that would be most of us…)  As I see it, Tim and Eric are two liberated Buddhas, who say a boisterous and irreverent YES to life, to their messy, wretched, tangled, human state of bliss, and in doing so, invite us all to exercise the same playful freedom of self.  They exhibit my favorite kind of intelligence.  The kind that is off the charts, yet sneaks in through the back door, so that you might miss it if you are attached to a more classical, erudite, academic template of intelligence manifest.  In which case, I say, you need to loosen your necktie, let your hair down and play the fool way more often.  And now, please take a moment of silence in honor of these two exceptional men.                            Thank you.)

Zach Galifiankis.  He’s just as funny as Tim and Eric.  Watching his (Whoa, I just got distracted, because this woman just came through the door (Pizzaiolo’s door, that is) wearing DEEP, red lipstick.  Her hair natural, mousy auburn, cropped in a modest though sassy bob.  Her lips are sheer seduction!  Otherwise, she looks pretty plain. But her lips scream whisperish songs of lust.  Yum.)  Watching Zach’s comedy validated my intention for this blog.  He was unabashedly transparent in his expression of his particular, insane strain of humanity.  But through his brutal honesty, light was made out of what would certainly otherwise drive him entirely nuts and honestly, I imagine he would have killed himself a long time ago… he has that much inside him.  Since we are all more or less the same, with varying degrees of ability to contain ourselves and lead “normal” lives, it is healing to witness others giving voice to the facets of ourselves that we have become habituated to manraging and hiding out of homage to our heroic slave drivers named Shame and Appropriteness.

I often doubt myself… I can’t stop blogging.  But I wonder if it is it a sheerly masterbatory, frivolous waste of my time.  It can’t be, because it makes me feel more joy and fulfillment than anything (except good sex and church… and good coffee and satisfying, deep connections with friends, swimming, rock climbing, hip hop dancing, listening to the birds, sipping red wine while I cook nourishing meals alone in my kitchen… Athena, slow down, you’re knocking the wind out of the point you were just driving at.  Honestly, this blog is one of the MOST important facets of my existence right now.)  But is it in vain, I sometimes wonder?… And when I witness other humans, like Zach G. bearing the unsightly [metaphorical] lumps and rolls and pussy infections of their humanity, I remember the value of courageously sharing the less flattering angles of my cumbersome human existence.  Zach is so easy to LOVE in all his mess.  Which of course makes me that much easier for me to love AS I AM.  And you too are as lovable as all of your wacky, flawed and deliciously alive reflections in this mystic hall of fun house mirrors otherwise known as Life.

Tim, Eric and Zach would all fall on the below average end of the studly spectrum.  They are all overweight… Not obese or anything… they just look like bachelors who eat at In and Out Burgers too often, drink too much beer and haven’t exercised a day in their lives.  I bet they even get winded boning their bitches after like two minutes… but you know what?  I am so attracted to Eric and Zach, because they are so FUNNY, SMART, COURAGEOUS and ALIVE.  (Tim is all that too, but I find him less hot for some reason)  My point?  Don’t discount the potency of SOUL.

But then there’s my barista.  He is hot AND soulful.  He told me his name today, Damon.  He said it’s Greek, too.  I said maybe we’re related.  He said HE’S not Greek.  I smiled and said neither am I.  Meow!!!  I just felt my face as I was writing this paragraph.  I can only imagine what it must look like… I have this strange, soft smile, distant, dreamish eyes probing the billowing fabrics of far off, sensual universes, cocked head…  I love having crushes.

Oh, BTW, I coined a new term for my relationship status!  “Monogamous Polyamorist”.  What in Jehovah’s name does this mean?  Duh, it means that Mykael and I are in agreement that we both want our relationship to be a source and expression of our freedom, truth and wholeness as people, and if that means that we want to share intimacy with another, that is perfectly acceptable… at least in theory… (When Mykael found a dame he wanted to play with (he’s so finicky), I freaked out… but that’s another story) Ahem… theory… I find it very relaxing that I am not bound by Mykael’s fears and insecurities, nor is he bound by mine.  Honestly, I’m not interested in having sex with anyone else right now (Mykael is MORE than enough man for me)… but there is something deeply relaxing about knowing that that door is not bolted and nailed shut forever.   Monogamous Polyamory… It’s the way of the rock star future!

The last thing I’ll say, is a public service announcement:  Body language!  Have fun with it.  More movement, less needless blabbering.  I just switched seats because two chatterboxy women parked next to me and I couldn’t think straight over their birdish banter.  So I wandered over to this massive table and asked the white haired hipster with thick, black nerd glasses if I could park across from him.  Except he has his headphones on, so I simply did a modest little interpretive dance indicating, “may I sit here”… He danced back an unabashed, inviting “YES!”  FUN.

How Do You Truly Know Another?

This is just a quick entry before I run off into the hills to play kickball.  Mykael is sitting next to me on the black pleather love seat at Hudson Bay, carving his stones, of course.  The music playing in here is 80s pop hits… probably a satellite radio station. (Zzzzzz, boring)  Mykael turned to me and enthusiastically informed me that he used to love the song playing.  He said it turned him on.  I guess the lyrics are about having a centerfold girlfriend… (I’m a little too young for it, I guess.) But he said that used to be his dream.  He said he was all naïve and hormonal and he would beat off to centerfolds.  (I guess a lot of what I say could be construed as TMI.  Sorry if I tell you more than you want to hear, but to me, that’s where life REALLY happens~ in the smelly nooks and crannies, just south of the Isle of Appropriateness.)  Besides, I have a specific purpose in telling you this.

Our friend came for a visit last night.  He said he didn’t feel known as a man, or just as a person, by his partner.  His confession had a pretty massive impact on me.  I wish I had have asked him more in depth questions about this.  But it had me look at myself and my relationships; with Mykael especially, but also with anybody.  What is it to really KNOW another?  That’s the age old, vastly unanswerable question.  It may be unanswerable, but CERTAINLY worth considering at length, if you ask me.  I’m afraid that sometimes my own endless cascade of needs keeps me from really listening to another, feeling another with the fullness of my attention.  So when Mykael just shared a little intimate snipit (say that fast five times!!!  No, really, try it…) of his past, I paused for an extra few heartbeats to really consider this pubescent boy feeling turned on by a cheesy pop song about a dude with a centerfold girlfriend.  I imagined freshly teen-aged Mykael longing for a hot model to call his own.

Does this qualify as getting to know him better?  Just because I slurp up an image from his past and let it filter into the reservoir of “facts” and images that he purports to be the truth about his past?  It’s one piece of a puzzle that will never be finished.  STOP TRYING TO COMPLETE THE DAMN PUZZLE ATHENA.

NEVER.

I could probably say a lot more about the inquiry of knowing another… And eventually I will, but not today.  The last thing I really want to say about it is that I felt sad hearing that our friend didn’t feel known by his partner, and it inspired me to explore and practice really being a space for others to be revealed.  And as well to be someone who courageously reveals myself.  I invite you to consider what it is to know another… Who knows you best?  Who do you know best?  Are they the same person, or different people?  Is there a part of you that you wish someone else knew that still feels hidden?  When do you really feel known?  In your stories?  In the silence?  In sexual intimacy, tears, laughter, fights…

This leads me to the other thing that I wanted to say.  I had a very humbling experience with Mykael yesterday.  I was carrying on some more about him not wanting to have sex with me and something inside of him snapped and he poured out all these emotion soaked words which clarified the truth of his experience.  He said it’s not true that he doesn’t want to have sex with me.  He said that he’s just under a ton of stress right now about not making money, needing to pass his nursing exam, etc, and that he is physically in pain and full of shame that he isn’t showing up as the man he wants to be for himself, for me, for the world.  Now this might just sound like a lot of hollow words on the page to you, but yesterday as we drove home from the gym, cruising down the 80 freeway from Berkeley to Oakland, his words were way more than words.  They were words steeped in deep emotion, which stopped me in my immature, complaining tracks.  I felt him.  In pain.  In shame.  In desperation to be understood, loved, accepted, forgiven.  His desperation, his radical sincerity broke me open.

So I want to set the record straight.  I want to confess that I have been self absorbed and immature.  See what I mean about knowing another person?  I had so much attention on myself, my needs… and it prevented me from being fully available to witness him, fully recognize his experience.  I sat with the sting of his pain for the rest of the afternoon.  My heart felt saturated with sorrow.  Relationship.  I’ve heard more than a few people say that the purpose of relationship is to find someone who triggers your deepest wounding, so that you have a blessed opportunity to heal it.  This is a very viable idea in my experience.  I can NOT deny that my wounds are not constantly being manhandled (I’m exaggerating), salted, lemon juiced… Another day, another opportunity to love that which seems unlovable, to forgive that which seems unforgivable.  And perhaps to know that which is unknowable…

Scattering Seeds of Peace and Happiness in the Soil of an Aching Heart

For a lightening second, I thought I didn’t have anything to say this morning.  But then I realized it wasn’t that… it’s just that I feel very depressed and I feel ashamed to admit it on the page.  You know how human beings get… we always want to appear like we have it together and all that junk.  Why is that?  So others will love us?  I think what it is, at least my version… I have a deep seated belief that if people witnessed me in a state of need, desperation, helplessness, lonliness, they would all feel deeply repulsed and leave me wildly, ridiculously alone.  Which, of course I don’t want…

I’ve been left alone like that.  Not because I exhibited any of the aforementioned undesirable qualities, just cuz that’s how it worked out… but still, a two year old mind doesn’t quite comprehend that.  So it’s taken me about a quarter century to unfurl enough to once again find access to the ability to open my valve of “less attractive emotions”, such as sorrow, anger, loneliness, etc.  But now that it’s open, Jesus, it doesn’t seem to want to close.  Yes, that’s a bit of an exaggeration… but not a vast, chasmatic one.  Lately, it seems, I am on the verge of tears every single day.  Why did I bother putting on eye make-up this morning?  Maybe just for the dramatics of letting it run wild down my face in black and copper rivers?

Anyway, I feel the dull ache of tragedy perched like a weighty, rabid elephant in the center of my chest.  What’s a seniorita to do?  The divine message from A Course in Miracles invited me this morning to pray to God, asking for happiness and peace this day.  I thought to myself, “Heck, why not?!  You only live once… I’ll give it a shot.”  So I did.  And here I am, at ten oh eight on a sunny morning, aching, turning life over and over and over in my mind, examining it from a [limited] multiplicity of angles and I can’t say that I’m not happy and peaceful… but it’s not the down home, stereo typical happiness and peace they teach you about in Hollywood movies, woman’s magazines, or even in public school.  It’s a happiness born of honesty, humility and acceptance.  It also helps that it’s a sunny day, and I had a good bike ride to Hudson Bay Café.

Last night was date night.  Usually, on Thursday mornings, I ooze enthusiam about impending date night.  I wake up feeling like a kid whose destiny is to visit Disney Land on this very day.  (Time out, because Karen just texted me and asked me if I fancied having lunch with her, since she’s in Oakland… That’s music to my heart.  I guess there IS a God, and this God character truly DOES support my happiness and peace.  Not that happiness and peace are contingent upon external circumstances… but the company of good friends is some sort of soothing balm, any way you slice it.)

Time in.  I am always excited about date night in the morning… but by the time it arrives, around six pm, I am usually short on inspiration and wishing that we could spend ma-ma-money, $$$, cha-ching!  It was my turn to choose last night.  Earlier in the week, I had been sincerely thrilled and inspired by this.  I imagined us spending the evening working on the huge, joint painting we started near the beginning of our relationship and haven’t touched in at least a year and a half.  I imagined giving attention to our long forgotten relationship altar on the hearth, sharing a luxurious, extended love making session, maybe going outside and drawing on our sidewalk in chalk pastels, riding bikes to the cemetery in time to soak up the sunset…

But six o’clock rolled around and we were two mildly pathetic messes.  I could hardly move, but I suggested trying out this seductive looking taqueria on Grand Avenue, across the street from Lake Merrit.  Mykael seemed pretty enthused about this.  Personally, the thought of getting on my bike and pedaling through the clear early evening seemed almost impossible.  But what’s that saying from Alice in Wonderland?  Do six impossible things before breakfast?  Well, if breakfast comes and goes, you can still do one or two impossible things before dinner.  Hey, don’t knock it, it’s better than doing ZERO impossible things before you hit the hay…

I just changed seats here at the cafe.  I traded my autonomous little table for a big, uncomfortable chair with a concaved back.  But now I am sitting next to a priest.  He’s pouring over his bible.  I bet he’s writing a sermon!  I find that thrilling.  Even if he’s gonna preach bullshit, I don’t care. I’d bet my own mixed bag of a life that he has at least a single, sincere bone in his body… if not twelve or a hundred… Because something in his heart is tickled by the Holy Spirit.  Tickled enough that he’s giving himself over to the feeling and offering it back out to like-minded, hungry souls.  Even if he’s clogged with dogma, he’s doing his best to reach inside and find that which is greater than himself and give it away!  I want to do this.  Oops, now my eyes sting.  Prepare for the impending black and copper rivers…

Anyway, the bike ride to the taqueria was way less impossible than I imagined it would be.  We flew downhill the whole way, and I got drunk off my ass on cool, spring air.  Unfortunately, the food blew.  But I was such a good sport about it, which is far from something I can count on about myself.  Hooray for me!  The highlight of the journey was seeing a grown man sucking on a dum-dum lollypop and reading the paper while he waited for his take-out order.  What is it about adults licking lollypops in public?  It just seems so… so… so overtly sexual.  So telling and vulnerable and innocent.  Plus, his existence looked wicked simple, something I wish I felt more often.  (I wonder what the priest next to me is thinking about.  I keep trying to peek over his shoulder and read the scrawl of notes he is jotting down on his white legal pad.  Yeah, a priest would NEVER use a YELLOW legal pad for Mother Mary’s Holy Sake… only virginal white…)

Another highlight was a very ROUND, fierce, punk rock woman in skin tight black leggings, tattooed arms and stiletto heals!  Yeah, the taqueria was getting tons of traffic.  Every time I pass it, it seems to be buzzing with happy face stuffers.  Usually that’s a sure fire way to know if a place is good… But I have to say that though eclectic and highly interesting, the contingency of Oakland folk who walked through the door in enthusiastic pursuit of dinner have very LOW standards and poor taste.  Surprise!  But I tried to be nourished by the fascinating company more than the stupid, flavor and soul-less veggie tacos I inflicted upon myself.

Mykael ordered two fish tacos, rice and refried beans.  Is it just me who is turned off by his lack of interest in making veggies an integral part of his meals?  He ordered and I flooded with disapproval.  But I’m sick of making a stink about his choices, so I shut the hell up.  He was disgusted by the fishiness of his deep fried tacos, but he devoured them, regardless. (Though he drowned them in ketchup to try and disguise the raunchy flavor.  God, I feel like barfing just thinking about it.)  Then at home, he confessed that he felt uncomfortably full and wanted my sympathy.  Really?  How on earth did he expect me to muster sympathy?!  What the hell did he expect???  I am the totally wrong person to offer sympathy for overeating garbage and feeling bad about it.  If you don’t want to feel that way, don’t eat a pile of heavy crap.  Being someone who has a history of overeating, I now execute much self discipline and inspired mindfulness around my eating habits and I expect others to do the same… but they don’t.  As far as I’m concerned, his choices suck and I feel agony about it, not sympathy.

Especially because again he had no interest in sex.  I guess I wasn’t that inviting either… But I feel so heartbroken about this.  The more he doesn’t want to have sex, the more rejected and disappointed I feel, which compels me to close and brood, which creates less invitation for intimacy.  It’s a vicious cycle.  How can I be happy without being well fucked?

I know, I know I can… but… I still feel like crying about it.

Woops, let me end this on a note of happiness and peace… A Course in Miracles teaches that in extending blessings to others, we make them available to ourselves.  That ain’t really so far fetched… So I wish YOU the kind of happiness and peace unbounded by the craggy circumstances of this world.  The kind of happiness and peace that are carried like tiny, hopeful seeds on a divine breeze that wafts right into your heart, right this instant!  There they land and take root, drawing nourishment from the goodness and beauty that lives in you.  And before you know it, they are flowering, fruiting trees, stretching their leafy arms all about your holy consciousness providing sweet shade and juicy fruits to the masses.  Amen.

Sorrow, Impermanence and Yearning

I’m still kinda disoriented from all the crying I did this morning.  I guess because I’m still not even quite sure exactly why I am so sad today.  There’s something so freeing about crying without such a concrete story about WHY.  And with that, Athena proceeded to launch into reasons… mostly in an attempt to find something previously unseen within herself.

It was Mykael’s birthday yesterday, remember?  Well, he spent the day with a broken heart (I guess mostly because he isn’t where he wants to be in his life).  The birthday boy had been dreaming of an afternoon mushroom trip at Tennessee Valley beach in Marin… but a large, unsightly monster began to nibble voraciously at the afternoon.  We planned to leave at two.  Two came and went.  Then three slipped inconspicuously through the cracks…  People often say that Mykael is the perfect man for me.  Sometimes I agree.  But sometimes I think it’s fucking nuts to be with a man who tends to be as emotionally volatile as me.  We both embody the quintessential artistic temperament.  It can be intense.  I often find myself wishing that one of us was more “normal”… you know, stable, balanced… in our next lives he can be an accountant and I’ll be the milkmaid!  HA!  Needless to say we drowned together in indecision and heart ache and ended up just going to Whole Foods for a loaf of bread, six cans of coconut milk, a jar of crunchy, unsalted almond butter, and Mykael got himself this cute little chocolate chip cookie sandwich with chocolate ganashe in the middle. (Why is sugar such a compelling substitute for love and happiness???)

By then it was four thirty pm… What in the heck to do?  Since we were close to the gym in down town Oakland, we decided to go for a quickie rock climb.  Life according to Athena= when in doubt, move your body.  Felt good.  At least in my world, the invisible, heavy weight became slightly less debilitating.  Then we went to dinner at our new favorite restaurant.  I’m gonna let you guess… That’s one way he and I are compatible~ We both have the creature of habit gene, and like to really get intimate with a certain place, the people, the food… we mostly order the exact same thing every time.  And strangely, we most always agree on what we fancy to put in our mouths.

When we landed at Boot and Shoe Service, our fragile psyches seemed to be spreading their wings, poised to take flight.  How could they not?  Even in the still vibrant six thirty pm light, the candles flickered, promising romance and enchantment.  The restaurant bustled with beautiful humans, both the servers and patrons.  At the time, I didn’t realize it, but the overflowing basket of fresh, shiny spring onions impressed themselves heavily upon my mind.  I can see them so clearly right now.  I’ve noticed this new trend in the super hip, shi-shi restaurants… you know, the ones that use local, organic ingredients… where the wealthy-ish, self proclaimed “foodies” go to get their munch on… I’ve noticed that the trend is to display the fruits and vegetables du jour in showy baskets and bowls right out on the counter that divides the cooking area from the dining area.  It’s like a little altar to the food.  I like it.  Boot and Shoe does it.  Brilliant idea to let people behold the innate artistry of the food they are about to consume!

Suddenly, I realized, uh-oh… we are about to eat pizza and drink wine (only a dinky glass, but still…) and then, since when it comes to eating, Mykael can be such a dog, he’ll eat whatever is in front of him… he’ll fill himself to the brim with carby, doughy ness.  Then we’ll get home and he’ll be an immobilized lump and be too comatosed to make love.  I tried to be tactful and gracious and even inviting as I expressed this concern.  I was delighted when he said I could delve out his portion of pizza!  Chicka-chicka-bowm-bow!  The night just got even better.  I was in the mood for lllllove!  Yeah!  But then came dessert.  Boooo.  We ordered the chocolate cake (come on, you can skip dessert any other night, but…) and then, since it was his bday, they gave us a bowl of Strauss vanilla soft serve with olive oil and sea salt on the hiz-ouse.  Damn, it was SO delicious!  Would you ever think of eating [vanilla] ice cream with olive oil and sea salt?!  You should, because it was heaven on a stick!  Anyway, I totally lost interest in the boring, dry cake as a result, so Mykael polished off the whole slice plus a bunch of ice cream and my heart winced and crinkled.  I thought if the pizza didn’t sink his ship, all this dessert sure would.  Enter pouty Athena, stage left.  The littlest thing can flip my switch.  I’m not quite proud of it, but more fascinated.

We walked home the scenic route through the rose garden. (Maybe we could burn a little of that excess sugar and make some room for sweet lovin’)  Exploding rainbow blossoms, recklessly full, patiently wide open as twilight began to lure their petaled innocence into her dark belly.  Birds sang a melancholy dirge to the inward folding of this day, which will never be lived again.  Already slipping back into the pit of disappointment, once home, I got an e-mail from E*.  He told me that he felt himself closing off to me.  That sitting down to write to me, he mostly found himself staring blankly at the glowing screen.  Reading this, my already heavy heart sunk below my inner horizon.  Then Mykael and I climbed into his bed and he confessed that he felt energized enough, but he felt all this pressure to perform, which sucked for him.  Yeah.  I can see how he would feel that.  And honestly, I’m sure that if I was feeling strong and generous and unattached, I probably could have opened my heart and my body and spilled gratuitous lusciousness all over him and inevitably gotten boned immaculate, like I yearned to be… but instead I opted to respond to his confession by remaining pouty and disapproving and distant.  Ladies, learn from my mistakes.  This behavior might feel satisfying in the short term, because you get to be indulgent, impulsive and gloriously RIGHT… but in the longer than seven seconds term, this addiction to pouting and punishing and staying closed SUCKS.

I fell into a downward spiraling trap, imagining that our sex drives are sorely mismatched and if we stay together forever, I am destined to a life of perpetual sexual unfulfillment.  Sure seems like it these days.  In the beginning of our relationship, he wanted to have so much more sex.  Now he mostly wants to cuddle.  I haven’t even hit my sexual peak yet.  This thought sent me to hell.  How on earth will that work?  I can’t stand feeling disappointed and sexually rejected so often.  It fucking blows.  But certainly not even remotely biblically… unfortunately.  Did they have such a thing as blow jobs back in biblical times?  The Christians would say no, but the pagans would put their hands in the air and say “whoop-whoop!”

Anyway, we fell asleep together in half baked openness, but with a thick, filmy residue of bummer.  I hate going to bed aching.  Because inevitably, I wake up aching.  I felt so sad that he was so disheartened on his birthday, and even more sad that I couldn’t just make myself, my desires, attachments, needs disappear for the day and just be for HIM only.  On top of that, I’m reading this book, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, by Huraki Murakami, and he describes some very graphic world war II brutality in it, such as a man witnessing another man be skinned alive, and soldiers being ordered to kill all the carnivores in the zoo.  I read it first thing in the morning and I probably shouldn’t because I feel it all way too deeply, which only exacerbates all the other aching I partake in.  Woops.

It just seems like there is no way to reckon with the perpetual imperfection of human life.  No matter what, seasons keep sweeping us along.  Not just the biblical seasons, I mean life and death on every level, in every moment.  Impermanence.  Hope.  Tragedy.  Revelation.  Yearning.  Today in A Course in Miracles, the lesson instructs us to marinate in gratitude.  Sigh.  It’s a good day for that.  There is so much to love in this life.  ESPECIALLY in the face of such startling impermanence and imperfection.

Dumping Diamonds Down the Well and Let’s Cut Jesus Some Holy Slack

As I rode my bike through the driving rain to get to café 504, I marveled at the lengths I will go to for that which I love.  Coffee and writing.  Two of my most favorite parts of being a human being named Athena Grace.  Any other mission or chore could be so easily swept beneath the rug of endless excuses on a blustery day like today.  But I would walk a gazillion miles through a blizzard to arrive in the paradise that is writing and cappuccino.  Hallelujah!!!

Speaking of Hallelujah, I’m gonna dive right in and say what’s on my mind about everybody’s favorite lord and savoir, Jesus H. Christ.  (Where does the H come from anyway???)  Now that I am an official blogger, I’ve been doing a little research, testing the waters of the blogging world.  What are people saying?  What’s the linguistic climate “out there”?  So I searched wordpress on my favorite subject, GOD!  And I found this guy who was talking Styrofoam trash about my buddy Jesus.  Apparently this dude was raised catholic, which rumor has it can be a pretty damaging experience… but now he’s out there cleaning toilets in a catholic church and writing satirically hateful letters to the holy savior, J-ditty.  Reading it made my heart ache.  Thanks to organized religion, Jesus is so wickedly misunderstood!  The masses seem to think that he was this holier than thou, elitist condemning judge whose farts smelled like lilacs and jasmine.  WRONG.

Now this is my version of faith= I have faith in my unwavering intuition as to who this man really was.  First off, yes, Jesus was a man as much as you are a man or a woman.  Jesus was just like you and me. Only He happened to have an unquenchable thirst for truth, driving him to spend copious amounts of time in the Great Silence.  And ANYONE who makes the effort to spend time cultivating intimacy with the silence inside is guaranteed to find what he found.  And once you find it, you inevitably dedicate your life to helping others find this, because nothing compares to bathing in the holy light that is the truth of who we are.  None of our ego ambitions could ever DARE to stand up to the light inside.  I just know.

Jesus was a yogi.  He practiced meditation, followed the path of Self Mastery.  This is nothing outrageous, only inspiring.  So why are so many wars fought in his name?  Why are so many condemned in his name?  Unfortunately, many churches use God Realization as a hollow pretense, when their true agenda is gaining power and control of the masses.  This has very little to do with Jesus.  When I am president, I shall forbid any religious observance that condemns another.  There is no excuse for that.  If spiritual teachings and practice are not founded on the truth and celebration of our Oneness, then we have outgrown them by now.  Please people, no more infantile ideas about this beyond marvelous truth of the All Pervading Light.  Haven’t we suffered enough?

Am I trying to twist your arm off until you accept Jesus as our Lord and savior?  No way, Jose.  I could care less where, what, whom your source of inspiration is.  All that concerns me is that you have a source of inspiration that connects you with “the Highest”.  The highest meaning your heart.  The heart of the world.  Your own, personal oasis of joy and peace.  The simpler it is, the better.  Maybe it’s your dog, your Sweetie, your children, the ocean, the song of birds.  For me, it is all this and more.  It is the common denominator in all that, that moves me.  You could call it All Pervading Light.  The light dwells at the core of all that we love.  And all that we will come to love (everything!) as we open to the realization of what we are truly made of.

I know this is not the most poetic writing… I love being poetic.  Today I feel more like a preacher… but only hear these words as words of expansion, liberation.  I mean really, if I was stuck on a desert island, and I could only bring one spiritual teaching, do you know what it would BE?!

THE GOLDEN RULE.

Simple.  Do un to others as you would have others do un to you.  In modern speak, treat people the way you want to be treated.  Now, I suppose that would be pretty easy on a desert island, since traditionally, the hypothetical world of desert islands do not include the concurrent luxury and burden of other people.  But I could practice with the furry little animals, the large, iridescent, tropical bugs and the birds whose voices are portals to heaven, whose wings covertly remind us of our own, long forgotten.  Anyway, I guess now is a good time to digress… Please consider that Jesus is not out to get you or your people.  Consider that Jesus is a dude who had the unrelenting conviction to see beyond the divisions and limits born of this world of illusion… and consider that it is your Destiny to do the same… but your unfolding is a gentle, patient one.  You are blooming in your own sweet rhythm.  And regardless of the imaginary constraints of time and space, we are all the same, and just beneath the dream we simultaneously come from and remerge with the same unbounded, wholly holy enchanting placeless place.

Thank you for considering this expansive view.  And now for an orgasm report.  But first, a word from our sponsor~ the rain.  My sight keeps being seduced out the window to the saturated sidewalk.  I let my gaze soften and drink in the concentric circles doing their temporal dance about the wet pavement.  They rise and then disappear so quickly, it’s hard to believe that any single one ever existed.  Is that what a human life is?  Just a drop of ocean water, splashing on a temporary surface of individuation, only to lose its bound little self back into the universal wetness that is creation its self?  It sure seems that way.  It’s Wednesday…  Wasn’t it just Wednesday?  Wednesdays come and go quicker than each fleeting circular expression born of a single spring rainstorm.  I am thirty.  I do not know how long I will live.  I do not know when I will be blessed with Holy Sight.  I want to do my BEST at Loving.  Loving feels so challenging sometimes.

Now back to our previously programmed presentation.  Orgasm.  I feel sad to announce that it was a very anticlimactic occurrence.  Mykael and I chose to take some mushrooms in the early evening.  If I had it all to do over again, I would not have done that.  I would rather have just snuggled and bonded and made love all afternoon and into the evening.  We didn’t take enough to come unhinged from the confines of linear reality… just enough to feel sorta introspective and weird.  We both wanted to make love, but we were mildly preoccupied with the haunted whispers of non-ordinary reality.  Frown.  Plus he was experiencing some familiar though frightening aches and pains and fears (ohmy!)… so he had a lot of attention on himself.  All that said, we managed to have pretty sweet communion.  And when he finally came, it was just like I imagined.  I was totally surrendered and received his energetic offering as pure grace.  I felt like a sacred well, filled with holy water… A well of infinite depths.  When he came, it was like he poured a bucket sized chalice of diamonds into my well.  I felt them plummet through my crystalline depths, whistling with soft ecstasy as they fell into me.  But they fell up.  Imagine an upside down well, whose mouth is on earth and its bejeweled bottom could be construed as heaven.

When the diamonds rose up beyond my heart, merging with my voice, I opened my throat and sang a pure, ecstatic tone.  I didn’t sing it, it sang me.  I’m not kidding.  It was like a tsunami.  And after the maha wave broke, smaller waves lapped rapturously at my insides.  Holy fullness.  But then it was over.  And I was just me again.  And then what?  Then I took my electric, insatiable self to bed and masturbated again, because my tunnel of love was open for some serious business last night.  Hmmm, I guess it was a pretty decent night of release… but the journey of yearning far outshone the petty destination of fulfillment.

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