Swimming Through Deep, Dark Waters… But Sort of Mostly Staying in LOVE.

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I’m not sure if the voice in my head who is hissing for me not to write is my God Self, or a garden variety demon… My guess is that God doesn’t hiss.  So I’m gonna cross the flaming threshold and commit these mostly innocent words to the page. I think it’s just my ego, who is frightened that it doesn’t see a clear stream of softly rushing thoughts to merge with and swim gracefully down the gaping mountain of my Existence.  This is one of those moments when being a writer is quietly terrifying. When telling my story entails the risk of portraying others in unflattering light… and while I’m all for shameless, unsettling honesty…. I really don’t relish throwing others under the psychedelic, second-generation hippy bus.  

So let me just say, it didn’t work out with Giordano.  Period. I hear a mouse in the attic. I hope I move out of this house before the day comes when it climbs down into my wing of Graceland, poops all over everything and requires a cruel and unusual death by peanut butter enticed beheadment.  Ugh. I think I’ve killed five of them in the two and a half years I’ve been here. I guess I have a ways to go before I arrive in the Buddha-Christ wing of Heaven.

Ahem.  Actually it was a train wreck with my beloved Italian Stallion.  The fallout left me raw and trembling on the inside for days. Feeling broken down and humbled, ready to join a twelve step program and get a therapist.  I’m serious. No shame. The experience served to illuminate some of my deepest, darkest wounds. But the good news is, I’m ready to heal. And the other good news is that I’m doing my best not to make it mean that I’m not good enough to step forward and serve women and be a light unto the world.  

I can feel that voice “hissing” (must not be God) inside me.  “Who do I think I AM to step out and be a leader… when I’m so fucked up and imperfect.  But the gorgeous thing is that THIS is precisely my message to women. That we must not hide out in the shadows and cracks, waiting until we’re airbrushed and stick-thin to step out and share our music and magic and medicine.  NOW IS THE TIME. Even and especially if we’re in twelve step programs or…. ahhhhhh the mouse sounds like it’s chewing through something. Fuck.

Another hidden gift laced into this unsayably painful drama, is that our collision of hearts ricocheted me into action around moving.  Moving house I mean. My appetite for a new life has been waxing for too many moon cycles. Living folded anonymously into the “woulds” (I “would” step out and be BOLD… If only I was _______ enough….) was starting to feel like a prison sentence.  But the thought of stepping back into the rushing river of culturally rich madness that is the Bay Area was a terrifying notion. And where else would I go? I am connected in the Bay Area. And the OCEAN…. (insert sparkly, pulsing heart emoji here)  But suddenly my thirst for aliveness and connection and evolution has eclipsed my suffocating grip on the need for comfort and safety. I’m ready to trade my peaceful, charming one bedroom palace for a more expensive nine by twelve bedroom in the enlivening white water flow of roaring urbania.  

But The Merciful Lord doth stationed me in San Raphael (Marin County).  A milder entry into said roaring urbania than the East Bay would have been.  And with the Archangel Karen- a friend of eighteen years. Actually… once upon a time, we were more than friends.  We were The Kourage Family…. Missiz and Missiz Kourage. Then we adopted our son, “Sonala”, who Karen soon married, and eventually created a daughter with.  It was a very artistic, mythic, greek style family unit, which organically grew over time. But we were the nucleus. If I remember correctly, it really fell apart when I left my fiancé, “Moonwalker Kourage” for another man.  Karen adored Moonwalker. Naturally. He was and is “adorable”. And I ran off and rebelled against “comfy” and “safe”… took up mini skirts and wine and sex work! Haha.

Fast forward ten years, and we are commencing a Kourage Family ReUnion of sorts.  But this time, sadly, Sonala is not invited, and we each have a daughter. Kourages yet to be named!!!

I got all swept away on the wings of my epic tale… and I forgot to mention the intense and immense heartache I have been slogging through since the forever untold Legend of Giordano.  It began two days before the scorpio full moon. Doctor Blanco yanked out my infected, root-canaled gold molar, while I sobbed uncontrollably in the reclining, slippery tan chair.

Honestly, if I had a nickel for every time some new-agey astrology report touted that our deepest wounds were surfacing for illumination and healing…. BUT THIS WAS REAL.  The DEEPEST FUCKING WOUNDS. I’m talkin’ about twelve-step-style wounds. Since this fiercest of ripe, dripping moons, I’ve been living in a state of washed-out, unnamable fear and anxiety.

Of course I have a bazillion philosophies about the nature and origin of this krushing fear, including the upheaval with Giordano, my impending move, my imminent leap into visibility, leadership and soul-satisfying career SUCCESS via my online women’s video circles (www.sourcedcircles.com)….

AND my personal favorite– Being deeply attuned and sensitive to “The Collective”.  Lemme ask YOU– Have YOU been feeling through deep, dark, inexplicable fear lately?  I mean, I don’t pay attention to the news or current events. But I am a profoundly sensitive “feeler”, and the global climate usually broadcasts as waves of energy that move through me.  I’m pretty sure my thankless, freelance side-job is to feel through and LOVE the collective feelings that others are too scared to touch with a crusty stick.

FINALLY!!!!!  The broken systems of the Patriarchy are actually crumbling…. Not just threatening to crumble “one of these days”.  The World As We Know It is coming undone. And we must resist the temptation to over-identify with the Brokenness…

We must step forward as our Perfectly Imperfect Selves…. Be the leaders, change-makers, seed-planters of The New World.  I know you know which one I’m talking about… The one that your heart is incessantly whispering about and entirely believes in.  The world where Unity of All Life is glaringly obvious, and we boldly and passionately live our Light for the wellbeing of ALL.  

Please remind me of this Visionary Proclamation, when I am standing naked in the floodlights of visibility, knees knocking as I call out to women everywhere to join my circles and raise each other UP as we co-create a nourishing, turned-ON culture of authenticity, vulnerability, pleasure and connection which will naturally deliver our World to the Heaven it’s meant to BE.  

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Wrastling Gators in Dripping Dungeons

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I’m scared to touch my fingers to keys this morning, because it has been so long, and I don’t feel like a writer anymore.  Plus, I have been navigating some rugged inner wilderness these days, and I don’t want to spew negativity upon the page.  My friends who Know, oft remind me that words are powerful; words are spells.  I grapple with this… because on one hand, I only want to cast the most palatable spells… and yet, I also have a deep-seated thirst to expose the full spectral complexity of my human experience… rather than carving it up into lovely, horrifyingly perfect topiaries that barely hint at the raw essence of what it really feels like to be me.

Upon the completion of a deep breath, I remembered the years upon years that I’ve given myself to this process of writing out the tangles of my unwieldy Existence… because my life depended on it.  And magically, the process of getting my life, mind and emotions out into single file order heals me.  Heals as in “makes whole”.  Not that I’m ever anything besides whole…. but it feels like it, as the jagged shards of my disparate selves and contradictory motivations whiz around in here.  When they line up in well-behaved rows and march out upon the page, the jaggedness turns smooth and round and almost glamourous.

The oh-so-creamy, featured flavors recently have been “Luscious Loneliness” and “Irresistible Isolation”.  (I was imagining artisan ice cream… just to spell it out for those of you who are not so quick… I didn’t want my cleverness to slip between those those cruel ravines that slice between our minds.)  For a while, I was happily distracted by doing some copy writing (hit me up if you need words to sing your mission and gifts into existence in a professional domain!), which occupied many of the fleeting and sparse moments of my spare time.  When those jobs completed, I poured everything into my new website (!!!) for my “Sourced Circles”– rad online women’s video circles that I have been facilitating for years now, and fine tuning into a gorgeous six week experience of intimacy, community and empowerment for women who hunger to burst free from status quo and embody our wild, wise, liberated, embodied, powerful selves.  I’m passionate about it.

I think the plummet into darkness officially occurred when my beloved Web Master (Ed) published the website… and I imagined women would rush forth in DROVES to sign up for this fabulous six week ride on the alchemical love train.

Nope.  Not a peep.  After all the love and care, passion and creative juice I’ve poured into my new baby.  Somehow the Yoniverse is like, “Uh-uh”.  I dunno what that’s about.  I’m pretty damn certain that these circles are my dharma.  It’s clear that my God(dess)-Given-Gifts are meant to heal and uplift the lives and hearts of women, and hence the Planet.  But…. as of this illusorily linear mOMent in the seemingly stiff squiggle of my Life, there is a hiccup in the full-throttle flow of my said dharma.

Is it because I have more work to do on the INside?  Fuck, Universe, if I wait till I’m perfect to share my heart and voice and passion with the world, I will surely be DEAD.  Fuck that.  Is it that I need to market harder?  I am personally repulsed by the current marketing model… of appealing to the pain and suffering of others.  This capitalism in New-Age clothing.  “Healers” who stand up in their expensive goddess clothing and opulent jewels and look all “together” and be like “I used to be fucked up like you… but then I found this thing, and if you give me tons of money, I will give it to you, and then you’ll feel better about yourself.”

I feel embarrassed saying that, because I imagine that all the business savvy peeps who read this are gonna say, “See Athena?!  And you wonder why your business is failing!!!  Put on your most expensive and flowy clothing and shiny jewels and PLAY THE GAME, Bitch!”  And the truth is, part of me wants to.  At least the part about wearing delicious clothing and lovely jewels…

But God…. can’t we play a new game where NOBODY IS BROKEN?  And we don’t need to be motivated by suffering?  Just pure Desire and Passion and Playfulness?  I mean really… are we that remedial as a species?

Sigh… I guess pain and suffering still motivate me.  I’m a visionary with a fierce drive to transform broken systems… and yet there is still unresolved cellular debris and ancestral junk in my body that is working itself out… and there remains an impending resolution in my own being.

And NOW for an entire paragraph dedicated to cool shit!  The “old me” would have given up at the first sign of challenge.  I would have uttered weak and muffled cries of defeat, “Fuck it.  I quit.”  I woulda crumpled my half-painted masterpiece and hurled it in the trash.  I’ve testified to this before, but I must sing it again!  When I gave birth, I gave birth to MYSELF.  It changed me.  I have become someone who doesn’t quit, and knows the Divine Power within me.  So I forge onward, prepared to learn and grow as I go.  I don’t have to be perfect or “get it right”…. I just have to keep calling on Source within me and giving the best I know how in each blessed mOMent.  I think I there was some other cool shit that I wanted to exclaim in this designated paragraph, too… But it slipped my mind when I got up to pee…. maybe it was just a celebration of the extreme pleasure and relief I am feeling as my fingers make love to these singing keys.  At once, I am whole.  I am hOMe.

I have been putting all my creative energy into my “important-assed business”.  But this blog, Athena Graceland, is the exalted queendom of my inner child.  And she does NOT give a fluttering fuck about being “Important”.  She just wants to PLAY.  I have been wandering the desert.  Eat your heart out Mister Christ, cuz I’ve been trudging along WAAAY more than forty days and forty nights.  It’s been over TWO YEARS.  It’s insanely isolating to be a single mom of a baby/toddler.  I’ve heard that even moms with devoted partners feel isolated… but fuck that.  At least they can get out once in a while and go to a yoga class, or a women’s circle or….  I feel tethered to my frigid dungeon.  Shhhhhh….. listen…. can you hear the slowww drip, drip, drip, as rhythmic water sings down upon the slimy, dampened stones?

This avalanche of words, and I didn’t even touch on my Man Troubles.  Partially because I don’t want to create extra conflict, and partially because as my Priestess ally QuynhMa says, it’s a “red herring”… and there is a deeper issue.  My work right now, is to dig to the ROOT of the issues I am encountering.  With men, when I seek the root, it’s a feeling of starvation, desperation… A reaction to the loneliness and isolation I am feeling my way through.  I want to blame Ed, push him away, punish him… and then grasp for him when he is about to slip away… and get high on the rush of relief when we return to connection.  Meanwhile, I want to grasp for Giordano… because he represents some false sense of freedom.  I want RELIEF from the pain inside.  But the deeper me knows it is not to be found in a man.  I am working within to transmute and transcend the need to grasp onto a man for security, safety and survival.  I am (gruelingly slowly) learning to resolve these feelings and urges within myself, to create my own wealth, abundance and nourishing community, so that Partnership is born of freedom, choice and empowerment.  But I’ll tell ya, this initiation into my Priestess Power often feels like being tossed into a muddy pit full of gators and wrastling myself into exhausted submission and elusive victory.

Lately I’ve been wondering why in the fuck I chose such a grueling Path…….

But I know deep down it’s because I’m a total Badass and it’s making me INVINCIBLE.  And everything I find in here will ultimately be YOURS.  Because my Life is for Humanity.

And she loved happily ever after.

Slaying Dragons with Toothpicks

Remember back in the late eighties when baby Jessica fell down the well… and a massive search and rescue party spent days or maybe even weeks trying to get her out?  (Yes, I came from one of those mainstream households where the sun rose and set by the light of the television profusely spewing news, and we were all (pathetically) “abreast” of what THEY prescribed we should be…. Talk about a past life within a life.)  Anyway, I was just jogging through the woods (for the third time in the two years Serena has been with me), and I realized that I too, have lost my Best Friend down a cruel, dark well.  Except nobody sent a search and rescue party for my darling, linguistically portrayed dimension of Athena Grace.  Frown.

October first was the date I posted my last blog entry in here Athena Graceland.  Today is December first.  For all you math retards out there, that’s TWO WHOPPING MONTHS.  Ask me if that’s “OK”… Ummm, nope.  It’s really not.  In a way, this free-wheeling, journal-esque blog seems frivolous.  But peel back the cheap plastic wrap of seeming, and you’ll see that I am here making love to myself.  I am here realizing my Existence.  Befriending myself in a way that is healing and even essential.

This morning, Serena is with her beloved, stand-in-grandma-friend for two massive/fleeting hours…. and it’s a rare and hella sacred interlude, where I do not have to be a survival driven hussla, shackled to making a dirty buck.  Two holy hours.  And a gentle, humming desperation as I deliberated on how to spend them.  But I’ll tell you ONE thing– there’s nothing like being the single mom of a two year old to spur a bitch to master time management!  So I opted to jog through the cool, marmalade sunlit forest, and then, yerba mate in hand, slowly explode on this ecstatically empty page.  Although now, it is ecstatically filling with gorgeous fluidity and understated pleasure.

Actually, this is the happiest mOMent of my life.  And just for the record, I WAS gonna write my “article”… for Rebel Priestess Magazine…. about alternative parenting.  It will be about my journey as a single mama.  Entitled, “From Victim to Victory”… I will brazenly share about how goddamn seductive it is to feign victimhood as a single mom… It’s like this dumb card that I get to ostentatiously wave around at the world… so that the masses will take pity on me for all that I have to do by my poor, withered and wasted self.  A masturbatory stigma…. that somehow makes me feel…. like somebody, I guess.

But then…. all I have to do is flip a switch in my mind…. turn on a little “mood lighting” inside my psychedelically persuaded perceptions…. And suddenly my identity flips on her brilliant head.  Like the hottest magic, I am empowered, abundant, triumphant, resourced.  The truth is, without Serena, I would be aimlessly wandering the slums of Graceland.  And with a man up in the mix, I would be dependent and disempowered, perpetually choking myself on the short, cruel leash, as I devoured rotten scraps from his fat, sweaty palm. (C’mon, just let me indulge in superlative drama!!!  This is MY DAY.)   The journey into single motherhood has demanded that I dig fuckin DEEP and claim my power in a way I never would have, had I had a partner holding my helpless little hand.  That’s not to say I don’t want a partner.  I do.  And I will have one.  Serena’s dad.  He’s *finally* separating from his wife.  For real.  We will be together in a year.  But I need(ed) this initiation before I was ready to board the Partner-Ship and cruise the cosmos, family style.  Because of this rigorous initiation, I will do it from true sovereignty.  Not from need.  Not from ancestrally informed autopilot.  I am nobody’s bitch, Bitches!!!!!

Whoa.  I didn’t know I was gonna write all that.  What I was intending to say, is that I was planning to invest my few, fleeting moments of Me Time writing said article.  For which I’d feel so damn important.  Like, “Look at me!  I’m sooo cool… I know what the hell I’m talking about and I write ARTICLES.”  The notion of being “Important” makes me salivate, honestly.  And it cracks me up at the same time.  But as I was jogging through the forest, breathing heavy and carving through forsaken layers of my own mostly delicious thoughts, I realized that blogging is how I befriend myself.  And at once, I knew that this was way more crucial than being “Important”.  At least for today…

Day after day, as I pour my whole self into raising Serena alone, I feel mostly crushed by the excruciating weight of my dreams.  Yes, people, FINALLY, at the age of thirty seven and eleven months, my Dharma, my Destiny, my Dreams are coming into crisp, lucid focus!  But the irony, is that I could contain the amount of spare time I have in a crystal thimble!  Every day, I aim to move forward and get my women’s circles way the fuck OUT into the world– clarify my Vision statement, work on my website, write relevant articles and blog posts….  But mostly I FAIL!!!!!!  Mostly my life revolves around an artistic weave of bacon scavenging and meeting Serena’s gorgeous needs, which I should NOT be whining about.  She is a fountain of joy-full, creative, awe-struck, unfiltered Existence!!!!  But sans adequate self-care (a concept I once upon a time took frivolous delight in snubbing and snarking at….),  I find myself all too often, a depleted pile of anxiety, anger and sprawling frustration.

I mean it would seem “logical” that maaaaybe if I can’t even do an uninterrupted half-a-blessed-hour of yoga, take a hot bath or WRITE A FRIGGIN BLOG, that it might be INSANE to believe that I can take over the world and generate a prolific culture of empowered, deliciously embodied women leaders who stand up together in authenticity, vulnerability, unleashed and spiritually aligned Desire…. and collectively call forth a fucking fabulous, harmonious, peaceful, turned-ON, co-creative world.   Yeah.   Mostly it feels like trying to slay a dragon with a toothpick.  Dumb, right?  WRONG.  Because I’m gonna slay the flame-breathing beast.  I am.  And then I’ll stand atop the mountain, gloriously penetrating the heavens with my blood-stained toothpick…. and rightfully feeling like a badass Master of the Yoniverse.

And then I’ll take a decadent bow, and keep right on dreaming and doing in the name of LOVE.

Potent Reflections by a Heavyweight Goddess

By now you must be aware that smoking pot leads to “harder stuff”… Well, it naturally follows that the same is true for head shaving.  Yes.  Later this morning, Athena-the-Saucy will have one of her precious teeth extracted.   Heck, why not lighten my load?  Anybody want a kidney?  This heart is pretty awesome too….

This is my stab at making light of something that I honestly feel pretty sucky about.  And yet, there IS truth in that letting go of my hair did serve as a useful “warm-up” for this more permanent and tragic exercise in non-attachment.  Naturally, as I type this, my mind leaps to the box of dust nestled in the carved wooden chest in the corner, formerly known as “my Ma”.  The few gaping blackheads on her cheek that used to seduce and taunt me (I wish I had’ve asked her to squeeze them!)…. The hand(s) that poured forth the most perfect handwriting ever and clutched the steering wheel of her little red Mazda Protege, as she sped around The Village…. Dust.

And here’s little Athena Grace, breaking a sweat over a single, paltry tooth.  But teeth are so meaningful.  For most of my life, I have had recurring dreams (or shall I call them “nightmares”, because I certainly wake up with a pounding heart…) of losing my adult teeth…. and now they are real.  Let’s just cut to the heart of it.  I’m afraid I will be less lovable, lacking a tooth.  Less attractive.  Less….

But perhaps this is a secret recipe for Liberation with a capital L.  Because if you possess any intelligence at all, you know those fears are exactly that.  My body parts (or lack thereof) do not determine my worth.  Deeeep breath.  I’m honestly jazzed to finally not have a pus volcano living in my mouth anymore.  (Plus, it’s on the bottom… so not quite as screaming as it would be if it was on the top.)  I gave my best effort to healing the infection naturally:  changing my diet, taking massive doses of vitamin c, taking a cocktail of the badass, fat soluble vitamin trio– A, D, K2, acupuncture and chinese herbs… But the damn tooth just wanted to come the fuck out.  And seriously, releasing my hair was a gateway.  I let it go, and I realized that I am still the same potent, regal essence of indestructible love that I always have been and always will be…. so take my fuckin tooth, bitches!!!  In your face!!!!

Just don’t take anymore, ok?…… I’m only thirty seven years old for goddess sake.  Let a woman enjoy her goddamn body parts for a while, willya???

Do you think I’d be a better writer if I didn’t allow myself to jump from topic to topic, like a strung out monkey in a bouncy house?  But if I did exercise such discipline, I wouldn’t have gotten to birth that awesome sentence….  And I think this world is already saturated with tidy, well-behaved, modestly contained essays, anyway.  I’m here with you now, so I might as well make the best use of your illustrious and intoxicating attention.

As I was *devotionally* making my coffee this morning, my mind skidded gracefully into the groove of the pervasive patriarchal paradigm…. Explicitly, how most women take on their husbands’ last name.  Often without even a question of like “why does this practice smell like dead, rotting fish?”….

Names are divinity, powerfully called into form.  Women!?!?  Why do you allow yourselves (and even aspire) to be called into form as your husband’s property?  It’s a subtle relinquishment of your sovereignty, in the name of feeling secure, chosen, loved.  Yes, I recognize that was a totally brash statement to make.  But come ON.  Let’s be done beating around the damn burning bush already!  We are queens, selling ourselves into slavery!!!!  But I suppose we are born into the chains of our fathers’ names, to begin with… so it seems like a welcome relief to flee to the initially erotic clutches of our husbands’ lineage.

It’s super fun to be so extreme and opinionated.  Liberating, even.  Being an empath, I used to try not to rub anyone too wrong…. because I took responsibility for their experience and feelings and I wanted everyone to like me.  But I’m learning to have a damn backbone.  I gave my energetically sensitive friend Chandra a mantra, recently.  It goes, “That’s YOUR shit, bitch!”  Haha, it’s totally funny BECAUSE it’s real.  But as a writer, it’s a little different.  I aim to say stuff that’s profoundly relevant to your journey…  But I know this is relevant.  I’ve gotta trust myself on this.  My deep calling is to gloriously inhabit Woman in service to ALL WOMEN and this gorgeous, generous planet, Herself.

So just think about it.  Why do you choose to become a limp rag doll who wears your man’s lineage… inadvertently abandoning your own?  And when I say, “your own”, I’m not talking about your daddy’s.  I mean your lineage as a Goddess.  A Priestess.  A magical, winged, enchantress, ever-rooted in the rhythmic, pulsing, oceanic infinity of LOVE.

I always felt burdened carrying my dad’s name.  “Horwitz”.  It never felt like the truth of me.  More like an anvil I was tethered to.  It took a goddess rooting in my womb to thrust me into the willingness to break a sweat and leap through the sprawling chain of bureaucratic hoops, and officially cut myself loose from that burdensome weight.  Now, she and I are full fledged founding mothers of the Matriarchal Society of Graceland!!!!  I feel great about that.  Like I stood for my Self.  And please spare me the arguement that my “True Self” is beyond name and form… and all that spiritually enlightened mumbo jumbo.  Like, yeah, DUH.  But I am here to inhabit this body and this world as the divine fullness that I AM.  I am here to play the Game in Love’s name, and WIN.  For the Team.  That means mastering this rigorous curriculum of career and money and relationships and all the shit that spiritually inclined types are tempted to bypass.  I’ve spent enough lives, enlightened on mountaintops.  This is the championship round.

And I own this fucker.

The Naked Truth of Me.

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I cut off my hair.  I don’t love it.  I did it because my Innermost Self told me to.  When my Desert Island Friend (the friend I’d choose to be stranded on a desert island with), Anitra asked me if I liked it, I replied, “I don’t know.  But I liked the courage it took to trust my inner voice.”  Now, you might think I’m exaggerating or embellishing… but I’m not.  I’ve felt this deep, acute irritation regarding my hair, for a while now.  I kept having mental images and accompanying feelings of shaving it all off… This was totally freakin’ my ego.  I tried to bargain with myself… like, “Oh, Athena… you don’t want to lose your femininity.  Why don’t you keep it long in the front, and shorter in the back….?”  I imagined a cascade of annoying hair, spilling in my face all the time, and it literally seemed like an incessant tussle with the devil.

Then, yesterday, the day of my haircut spread in full bloom.  I sat outside on the uncharacteristically lush (for Nevada City), flower laden deck of the house where Magdelena (the Priestess appointed to do the sacred deed) was housesitting.  My heart wandered an endless desert of grief.  I had cried most of the morning.  Because I longed for closeness with friends… but they all seemed concurrently distant.  And in this desolate inner space, I realized a quintessential role of Mother, is to be your unconditional friend in the face of everything that life is and isn’t.  My heart groped for her and instead drew fistfuls of cold, slippery vastness.  It’s been three months since she disappeared from this dimension, and finally the grief is really hitting me.  My mom is gone for good.  And don’t you DARE get all transcendentally savvy on me, and tell me that she is always with me, or that our souls will find each other a bazillion times over… Because, honestly, like SO THE FUCK WHAT?  I didn’t come into this Athenian Earth Dream to float above it in cushy conceptual realms.

I came here to get down in it.  And feel to the gritty bottom.  And talk about it with at once disturbing and relieving honesty.

And these days, the bottom sure is fuckin gritty.  The poles of my experience are carving me with the technological precision of laser surgery.  On one hand (and I am totally NOT exaggerating), everywhere I turn, I see angels, whose love pours toward and through me with the force of a burst dam.  Seriously, I bear witness to outrageous kindness, sincerity, generosity and sparkling eyes at every turn.  You’d think I was wandering through Heaven or some’m.  (And then Athena winked, and in the lightning flash before logic could strike, you flooded with undeniable knowing.)  I mean, if I was the fall to my knees type, I would probably be living so close to the ground… for the goodness that oozes through every pore of Creation As I Know It.

But all this goodness does not take away the pain.  If I was not such a goddamn heavyweight warrior goddess, I’d probably double over at the pain of my Ma’s absence, cut with the rigorous path of single motherhood and the confusion and searing longing I feel as I await a deeper cut of knowing around my soul-quenching work in the world.  And the continuous blood-letting of having a child with a man who is committed to another family.  A family that wants NOTHING to do with me and Serena.  My cosmic dad said I’m an extraordinary writer EXCEPT when I talk about God or my Baby Daddy.  Now this claim may indeed be valid.  Even though I really DO feel that God is the total shiznit… But I get it, KenPie… If my writing hovers twelve feet off the ground, it runs the risk of turning to dissociative vapor that leaves you  pondering your to-do list, as your eyes wander the forsaken breadcrumb trail of words.  I guess the God issue boils down to the rudimentary, literary gospel of “show not tell”.  My words can drip with divinity without me once mentioning HeSheIt’s hallowed name.  I was not born to regurgitate flashy, etherial nonsense.  I came to get MESSY, bitches!!!!  Just so you could feel less alone, and maybe have a laugh about this whole delicious tangle of imperfection.

And in terms of Baby Daddy…. I can imagine that it gets fuckin stale from over there (actually from in here, too!)…. my skipping record of heartbreak and disappointment… But I come to the page to heal myself.  Digest the pain of this human odyssey. (I like to imagine that someday, I’ll write for YOU… but for now, honestly, I am here out of a raw and driving, selfish need.  Love me or leave me!) I’m getting free… More and more, focusing on what feels nourishing and life-giving and even JAZZY!!!  But still, I am slow cookin’ in the juices of heart-ache and disappointment, like the tastiest, blue ribbon stew.  My soul delights in entering rooms (of experience) with no exit.  Then, the only way “out”, is to completely transform.  What could be better?

So I cut off my hair, because I am quintessentially broken down.  Magdelena said it was not just a haircut.  It was a ritual.  She invited me to pray.  And to strip down to the honest core of my current experience.  Which is not glamorous.  She invited me to let myself be seen as I am.  And especially to see myself.  This face, this soul, this grief, this naked humanity.

But hair is feminine…  Do I look like a boy?  Will men want to fuck me?  Will I be less lovable?  Less magnetic?

These are the fears and concerns I had to step beyond in order to let go.

I move deeper into the experience of dissolution.  This is true alchemy.  Ultimately I trust the process, even though I don’t understand it, and I can’t see what’s on the other side.  This is true power.

I love you, Athena Grace.IMG_6851

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.   

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