Lucid, Loaded, Explosive mOMent (poem)

Rinsing red lentils,

then jasmine rice.

Milky rivers rush

down the drain.

Red onions hiss and sizzle

in hot

golden 

puddle.

 

Wild female voice and piano keys

bleed tragic fire

and passion, soothing

the invisible open wound 

in my chest.

 

Twelve pounds of baby

strapped to me, 

he begins to cry.

Loud.

 

Peels of thunder gowl 

and burst

with ecstatic flashes

of white light.

Kaleidoscopic sounds

Electric wilderness 

thrash without and

Within.  I stop

to breastfeed.

and cry

extra wet tears.

 

Oblivious husband crumpled 

on adjacent sofa,

he plays chess

with his best friend-

A laptop who gives

no backtalk.  

Spews neither criticism, 

nor demands.

I am

aflood with hunger

for this man’s attention,

Presence.

The more I want, 

the less he gives.

It’s just me and the kids.

And a poetically screaming

sky. 

 

Finally he stops, 

asks me what’s “wrong”.

I hesitate, 

fearing the familiar sting

of his wrath.

But today 

the lid is 

off.  Chaos

Is the effervescent broth

in which the moment

Swims.

 

I’m done, I say

Trying

to communicate, bothering

to care.

It only leaves me pressed

Hard 

against oceanic inner scapes

of ache.

 

Fueled by the storm,

he pours

loud, angry words 

upon the undulating space

between

the US who 

struggle,

rarely succeed

to meet.

 

Exhausted by a year of attack 

and defend games, 

I sing.

With Everything

I AM.

Sing flames rising

from my belly 

they play,

mingle with his rage.

I gaze

into otherworldly, yet

utterly present blue eyes

of the bald tiny man

I embrace.

 

SLAM! 

Goes the front door, 

Rogue wave breaks. 

I snuggle baby 

into his pouch

and finish

cooking dinner.

 

The almost free birth of Forest (part 3)

How in Fuck’s holy name would I survive a twenty minute car ride???

 

Giordano may not have “lost it”… but nor did he have it together…. He asked me if Forest was moving anymore… I reflected on this, and then realized, no, he hasn’t moved for a while.  Still riding the swelling wave of fear that “going to the hospital had catalyzed, now I was paranoid that my baby was in distress.

 

I waddled into the hallway.  I braced myself on the small white desk that abides there (for lack of a better home).  Another vicious contraction and furious push.  Another.  And another.  OMFG.  Rapid fire.  “Good position or NOT, this baby was on his way out.  I took my police pants off again and somehow made it to the living room.

 

I climbed into the ugliest brown armchair you’ve ever seen (I’d been wanting to excommunicate it from our house since the moment it found its way in), braced myself with hands on the wall.  Gave a few more colossal pushes.   COLOSSAL.  I had no other choice.

 

THE RING OF FIRE.

 

The women on video chat had instructed me to “hang out here” for a bit… rather than pushing straight through it… so as not to tear.  Stretch open slowwwwly.

 

I had not met the ring of fire while birthing Serena.  Up until this moment, it was but a dramatic and terrible title.  Well… for those of you who, like me, haven’t a lucid intimacy with this fearsome BEAST…  It truly lives up to its name.  Irreconcilable BURN.  Like a dragon breathing fire on your genitals, burning them to oblivion.

 

I “hung out there” (haha, there was nothing casual or relaxed, as “hanging out” implies…) for maybe two contractions.  Three at most.  And then BAM!  Out popped…. SOMEthing.

 

Giordano was standing behind me, pouring with intensity and panic.

 

He announced it was Forest’s head.  He said Forest looked dead.  Like a damn fool (or maybe just a vulnerable, birthing woman in an altered state), I believed my doom and gloom husband!  Desperate to get his whole body out ASAFP, I pushed again.  And again.  The second time, part of his body slid out.  Third push, VOILA!!  Giordano and I clumsily caught him together.  Blood guuuussssshed out of me, drenching the ugliest chair in the world.  (A dried up, crimson splash still remains on the wall next to the radiator!  I want it to remain forever.)

 

The umbilical cord was wrapped around Forest’s neck one loose time.  I untwisted it.  (I want to “normalize” this occurrence.  Hospital culture would have you believe this is an “emergency situation”.  Rarely.  Many babies get benignly tangled in their cords.  I discovered this on the freebirth podcast, so I was not alarmed in the least.)

 

I held my jumbo, blood-bathed son!  He gasped for breath.  He sputtered, still full of amniotic fluid.  I sucked his nose and mouth.  This didn’t seem to help.  He cried.  (Giordano says he cried immediately… but as I had just pushed a nine pound human through my vagina, my chronology is not quite as crisp.)  Little Forest looked like a “fish out of water”… Alienated by this lickety-split miracle of moving from  spirit to form.  Breath, body, blood, otherness…  Ugh.  (We all must be NUTS to come here and subject our Selves to all this hoopla!)

 

I asked Giordano to hand me a towel.  Of course it was white! Speaking of white, my white tank top was now mostly RED.  The towel too.  I cradled my slimy baby in the rough, line-dried towel.   He was alive!  After he cried for a minute, he quieted and looked around.

 

Watching my newborn son register his arrival on planet earth was perhaps the most incredible moment of my entire life.  (With Serena, the nurse wiped her off with objectionable wet wipes from a package, which caused her to scream her head off for a few solid minutes before passing out on my chest.)  Forest was calm and wide awake.  His open gaze slowed time and silenced mind.  He abided in this sober, wakeful presence for at least an hour.

 

Meanwhile, I cradled him and waddled around the house in a wide-eyed stupor, his umbilical cord still plugged into the depths of my womb.  Blood gratuitously spilled from between my legs, leaving an artistically rendered trail of my haphazard course.

 

Giordano had called his Mama back in the “we are going to the hospital” chapter, asking her to accompany us.  (Apparently the Italian stereotype about men being super attached to their mamas is no joke.  I tease him that she is his first wife.)  Within minutes of Forest’s arrival, in came “Nona”.  This was a plot twist, but it felt right.  Forest called in Family.

 

Hubby-Dearest and his Mama tag-teamed with the mop, cleaning up endless puddles, streams, rivers, dribbles of blood.  (One “pro” of birthing in the hospital, is that the family can just chill and swoon while the “hired help” does the dirty work.  And trust me, it was a lot of dirty work…)  I remember standing at the bathroom sink, cradling Forest, and marveling at my two smeared, bloody footprints.

 

Blood continued to flow like wine rivers after I found my way to bed.  We had been so good about covering the bed with a shower curtain and a janky old duvet cover… I forgot to account for the messy aftermath.  Our *one* pair of summer sheets now shall sing the story of Forest’s birth forever more.

 

Oh.  And Forest’s HEAD.  Whoa, people.  When he first came out, he looked like an asymetrical UNICORN.  His head went on a magical mystery tour to pass through my vag.  Good gracious.  I think I texted or called Karen back and asked her if this was “normal”.  To my profound relief, she affirmed normalcy, and reassured me that it would quickly reshape.  It did.  But Lordy, I wish I had snapped a photo.  It was remarkable.  (I wish I had photos and video of the whole birth…. But there was no one I wanted to invite into my sacred space to play the roll of photographer.  This is a minor tragedy.)  I took a selfie when I got into bed.  Then I asked G to snap a couple more.  The rest must live in the mythic distortion of my and Giordano’s memory.

 

When got back in bed, my body shook violently.  This continued for at least half an hour.  Completely involuntary.

 

I offered Forest my breast and waited for the urge to birth the placenta.  Nearly two hours later, I was still waiting.  I consulted Karen, and she told me to get the thing OUT… so I lightly tugged on the cord, as I pushed.  My placenta was not so jazzed to part ways with my womb, but finally blubbered out into  the plastic, orange bowl.  What a fucking relief.  Now Forest was not attached to the inside of my body any longer, but to a bowl hosting a blob of bloody meat.

 

Next on the thrilling itinerary, Giordano and I burned the umbilical cord.  (This coterizes it, so a clamp is unnecessary.  I also preferred this means of release, for its ceremonial and elemental aspects).  I wanted  to give Forest plenty of time to reabsorb all the goodness the placenta had to offer… and yet, after two and a half hours, I was done with the large-scale production of cords and bowls and bloody organs.

 

The cord burning was the quintessential scene for a movie… though living through it was traumatizing.  Giordano, who by this time was crabby and way less than generous, was holding the candle.  I held the baby and the cord?  G kept scolding me for holding the cord too close to the flame.  He had the patience of a piranha.  Thanks dude.  I guess he forgot that I had just pushed a human out of my vagina, and was still in the process of losing gallons of blood.  I kept asking him to be nice.  But apparently he didn’t have access to this particular virtue at this particular moment.  It probably took eleven minutes.  The longest eleven minutes of my life….

 

Our bedroom now smelled like a barbecue.  The three inches of remaining cord protruded from Forest’s little belly like a white worm. I ate a ripe banana and went to sleep.  It was a little after 4am.

 

The nearly free birth of Forest (part 2)

The facet of freebirthing that was most compelling to me was not being “checked” to see how dilated I was, or being told when to push, or any other externalized reference points along the Journey of Laboring.  Instead, the birthing woman is totally undisturbed and able to experience from the INside-out.  (I’m imagining that some readers will find this perspective audacious.  Like “WHAT??? YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY KNOW HOW TO GIVE BIRTH WITHOUT A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL TELLING YOU WHAT TO DO AND WHEN.”)

Well guess what?  You CAN.

Except here’s where I lost connection with my inner authority:

Expectations…. I imagined that the second baby would be easier.  It was taking waaaay too long.  I was in waaaaaaay too much pain.  When would I feel the fucking urge to PUSH???

Night had swallowed day, candles danced wiggly, golden light about the dim ambiance of my pink bedroom.  I finally felt a mild urge to push.  I guess I texted my doula friend Karen in California… and asked her…. something.  She video called me on fb messenger.  As Grace would have it, she was about to give a chiropractic adjustment to three mamas (two of which I had known for over a decade).  Suddenly I was being supported by FOUR women from across the world.

Mostly this was soothing and helpful.  But in retrospect, the call lingered beyond its expiration date.  I lost touch with the inner authority that had been the coveted treasure of my freebirthing quest.  I was lost in the wilderness of pain… Vulnerable and reaching outside for salvation.

The call sprawled on for over an hour.  Contractions.  Pushing.  Lioness roars.

I asked Karen if breaking my own bag of waters (which was still intact) would accelarate the process (I had heard this in other birth stories…) She said go for it. When I reached inside, I could feel the bulging bag… At first I was tentative about breaking it with my nails. But after three or four tries, it burst. Gusssssssh….

Nothing changed, save the manky bedspread, which was now cold and wet.

I felt inside to see if Forest’s head was at the door yet. I felt SOMEthing…. But it was not very “head-ish”… It felt like two squishy peaks, with a valley in between. WHAAAAAT??? Not a foot. Not a head. Too small for a butt…. Was there REALLY a normal baby-shaped person inside me??? Or just some random, alien scraps, all smashed together….

When my waters broke, Karen said “He’ll be out in two pushes.”

My inner authority flew out the window and I placed the weight of my salvation in this statement. Time bled on…. My concern mounted as my endurance dwindled.

Now, please allow me to pause and comment.

My writing style is especially feminine. Rooted in and informed by feeeeeling. Decorated with poetic metaphors. Striking, abstract imagery. Frivolous, philosophical meanderings. Bursts of unapologetic raw-ness…

And then there is Athena Grace writing about BIRTH.  Exponentially feminine. I notice a voice inside who is critical of my “failure” to walk a straight line of “chronology”. Well, I am going to grab my ovaries and overtly affirm– FUCK THAT SHIT. I am a WOMAN.  I have a woman’s (heartful) mind, and I am sharing my Woman’s Voice. I never really identified as a “feminist”… because I’m not into raging against the machine. But it turns out that at heart, I AM. The world held hostage by our severely crippled systems NEEDS women’s’ voices to resound boldly through the Collective, heal the heart of ALL, and purify the waters.

This story is a wild, bucking spiral montage of images, mOMents, feelings… and of course a juicy climax (or three). By the Power Vested in Me, I declare that this is RIGHT and BEAUTIFUL and perfectly natural. Not to negate straight lines. I reserve the right to ride those tamed beasts as I please.

At the start of this account I forgot to mention that as during my labor with Serena, it was increasingly impossible to pee. I was hoping this condition would not recur with Forest. Frown.  I had to squat or sit on the toilet for a million years of discomfort before a pathetic trickle would dribble out. Not being able to release deterred me from drinking too much. I was hot and sweaty. I needed fluid. I drank sips and tangoed with the terror of bursting my bladder.

I also forgot to mention an essential, terrible (and retrospectively comical) thing about Giordano’s role during my labor. If I had a nickel for every time the man asked me “WHY”…. I’d be one rich bitch.  MEN— Listen. When a laboring woman makes a request, DO NOT ask her WHY.  Fucking never. Each time he did, I told him this. But obviously, it didn’t go IN. Because his WHYs fired off like a machine gun, driving holes in my peace and sanity.  WOMEN— if your man asks you WHY while you are laboring, send him to me and I will personally rip his over-active head off. And for anyone who finds themself asking “WHY not ask WHY?…”

I’ll tell you.

BECAUSE. It engages a part of the brain that should NOT be active while a woman is in such an intense, intuitive, altered state.

And NOW, back to our riveting story.

I didn’t feel that I was progressing. (I WAS… but not in an outwardly measurable way, like I WANTED to be…)  Karen said if Forest wasn’t out in another half an hour, I “should” go to the hospital.  Eeeeeeeeeek. This would be a major MESS. It was after eleven pm. Would they cut me open? Give me a hodge-podge of horrific interventions? Give my baby antibiotics and injections? Burn me at the stake for birthing outside The System? There was nothing bright about this proposed path.

Except the survival of my child and myself.

Giordano became anxious. Ugh. Just what I needed. He did NOT want to go to the hospital…. Which was actually a surprise to me. I thought he would be the first to subscribe to conventional protocols.  But at this point, he was scared of all the same shit as me. Only more so… because dude tends to expect the worst. But actually, I was impressed by his ability to stay grounded and “calm-ish”… given where the current was carrying us.  In the end, he didn’t lose it.

Through brutal contractions and involuntary baring down, I made a phone call to Manuela, who was holding energetic space for us… and told her that I thought we should go to the hospital. She said “Be wise.”

I forgot this part, but apparently I had also texted Benedetta– “HELP”, at some point.  (She reminded me of this a few days ago, and I had a good laugh about it.) She said she awoke to my text and freaked out. She had become a contact point for a slew of people who were eager to be updated about our progress and wellbeing. She said she called me. I vaguely recall trying to speak to her through excruciating contractions and pushing. Haha. It sure is funny now!

Then I pulled on my beloved, well-worn Berkeley Police sweatpants and a WHITE TANK TOP (what was I thinking???) and attempted to walk. I had to stop every couple steps and breathe and puuuuush.

I HAD TO.

How in Fuck’s holy name would I survive a twenty minute car ride???

 

Wedding Day part I: What We Wore

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On the eve of our Big Day, Giordano ravaged his closet for the most groomish combination he could muster.  In the way of pants, all he had (that was clean) was a profoundly casual pair of blue “trousers”. (Haha… Europeans!)  He sulked as he announced that they were “ruined”. I never figured out what he meant by that… but my hypothesis is that he was having some pre-game jitters, and eager to indulge in a steaming plate of saucy, Italian-style drama.  He put on a white button-down shirt that was suave enough (though he did toss in a token whimper about not having a flower to pin to his breast). It was the JACKET portion of the outfit that really krushed the ball.

 

All his sport coats looked laughable with his “ruined blue trousers”.  Two disparate worlds colliding. He was miserable as he tore through his entire, dusty wardrobe in search of the winning combination.  A tickled spectator, I sat on the couch marveling at this previously hidden facet of my darling Ball and Chain (wink). I had zero emotional investment in this scene of the Play.  Which infuriated him! He SO wanted me to care. He began to lash out. At one point he told me he hated me.

 

Some might argue for the undeniable wrongness of such an extreme, poisonous statement…

 

But I totally got it.  This unsightly voice of the wounded feminine has struck out in pain through me too many times to mention.  Awash with empathy, I made a concerted effort to shift gears from “being entertained” to “giving a shit”. When he discovered his navy blue wool sailor jacket* in the closet, peace fell upon us like a blanket of snow from the Heavens.  He ended up looking pretty damn sexy.

 

*A quintessential note on the jacket- Giordano bought it with me in Nevada City last year, from a super hip used clothing store called “Solstice”.  He fussed for a solid three minutes because the arms were too short, before finally committing to it. He donned it the foggy, early November morning, as he traipsed with a grave face and broken heart across my gravel driveway, laden with suitcases… toward the airport, and then home to Italy, doubting that we’d ever see each other again.  

 

I didn’t show Giordano my wedding outfit until we dressed that morning.  He called me “Rockstar”. Guilty as charged;) But the deeper cut, is that I was adorned in bittersweet memories of a life of love lost.  Not that love can ever be lost. But I sure have lost some lovers along this messy, fuckin impermanent Journey.

 

From my ears, hung gigantic, glittering black lightning bolts that my Ma bought me on one of our last outings “to Town”, before her death.  I wear them when I want to remember my true identity as an Unstoppable Cosmically Sourced Superheroine.

 

My dress, a teensy, white and black, form-fitting number that I found in a bag of used clothing passed along to me by the chic teachers at Serena’s school, days before.  I guess nothing too bitter about this… but certainly the sweentess of always being given what I need, in the mOMent that I need it. Oh and the sweetness of feeling fabulous in such a miniscule dress!

 

My slender, strong legs were adorned with my remaining pair of “Dead Dan Tights”.  Maybe you’ve been with me since 2012, and peered through the shattered window of Athena Graceland as I navigated the death of my Beloved Dan.  My first initiation in the realm of loss. Dan was my lover, best friend and number one fan. In april of 2012, he was kayaking alone near his home in Costa Rica.  Navigating especially wild waters, he was thrown from his kayak, smashed his head on rocks, clambered to shore, and inscribed a message to me in the dirt with his final breaths:

 

“LIVE A”.

 

Yes, Dan!…  Living I AM!

 

To soothe my thrashed heart, my friend Marty took me to a hip sock shop on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley and treated me to two exciting pairs of tights and two rad pairs of knee-high socks.  My leopard tights deteriorated… but the vibrant, blue lace pair are still going strong, and they made my wedding day cut!

 

What really made the outfit POP, was my Wonder Woman cowgirl boots.  I found them in a Western shop in Livermore, of all places. Ed (Serena’s Dad), took me there in the glorious spring of our romance, to buy me a pink cowgirl hat.   I swear, these boots pounced on me, and did not let me alone until they were MINE. All three hundred dollars of them. (Ed bought one, and I bought the other.) Like the earrings, they transport me to an elevated state of consciousness.  I become a version of myself that towers above the stratosphere and clearly rules the Yoniverse.

 

Recounting the sacred origins of my wedding day regalia, the tenderest rooms of my heart are flung wide open and I could easily crumple in an emotional heap and grieve the loss of Ones who mattered THE MOST and now seem so far.  The hella friendly ghosts of my crushingly blessed past. Ed is not dead yet. But I have not fully digested the agonies and the ecstasies he sparked in my soul. In fact, you should know that I just afforded myself the luxury of resting my face in my hands and letting loose deep, tearful cries.  I’m in a busy cafe. There’s a good chance nobody even noticed. People, myself included, are too busy being the center of their own damn universes. It’s incredible to be here… on this hella crowded dance floor, otherwise known as Earth.

 

Hella Holy Matrimony

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On moonday morning, Giordano, Serena and I drove into the Italian-er-than-Thou little town down the hill from our home, to submit our paperwork, in hopes of being awarded a date for marriage.  Legions of butterflies messed about inside me for myriad reasons. Reading bureaucratically persuaded websites is *not* my forte, so I wondered if we had all the documents required. One thing they HAD clarified at the US Consulate in Rome, when we visited a couple weeks ago (to obtain my sworn statement of single status), was that we must marry before my visa expires.  Which happens at the end of this month. Zoiks!

 

Our pilgrimage to the Wizard of Holy Matrimony required Giordano to miss a morning of work.  These days he is in hot and heavy preparation for a massive olive harvest. His head is nowhere above water in the way of tasks he must accomplish.  Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered someone with so many dangling, disperate obligations. My mom at the end of her life, perhaps…

 

But the point is, the unwieldy pile of my Husband-To-Be’s searing tasks sure brings out some brassy notes in the man.  He already tends toward the anxious shades of the rainbow. As I drove our little white Fiat, “Penis Ray-Ray” along the twisty, one way streets into the center of the village, he spit aggressive, critical directions at me.   I don’t have much tolerance for this facet of him. As an empath, I too quickly get inflamed and agitated, and perfectly awesome moments are spoiled by excessive heat and unkindness.

 

We parked down a hill from the “Common”, and I held Serena’s hand as she made her way up the steep, cobblestone road.  Apparently we were not fast enough for Giordano and in his broken five year old fashion, he let us know (nagging, crabby mumbling, slicing insults).  In my world, we had plenty of time, as it wasn’t even nine o’clock (when the office opened). I was jazzed that Serena wanted to walk alone, as she often prefers, like a lazy, cumbrous Pygmy Queen, to be carried.

 

I have a lot to say still, so I’m gonna pick up the pace.  But what you must know, is that by the time we arrived in the stale-cigarette-scented foyer outside the matrimonial office, Giordano and I were not on speaking terms.  When the disarmingly kind and casual italian lady opened her pearly gate for us, we were like two repelled magnets. I wouldn’t even look at him.

 

We shelled out our paperwork and I was half surprised, half relieved, half mortified to discover that we had all we needed, and would be able to secure a wedding day.  Whoa. We asked for October 28th. Two days before my visa expires. According to my astrologically savvy friend Anitra, that is the smoothest, most palatable day available to us, given our restricted timeline.  They were reticent to work on a Sunday. But a hundred euros and a relaxed sphincter later, they agreed.

 

We stepped back out onto the street transformed.  

 

That sentence gets to be its own paragraph, because it definitely stands alone.  I am not quite sure of the “behind the scenes” energetics of the matter…. But it was a palpable shift to have a wedding date and time.  Thankfully, we were both softened. We stepped into an adjacent bar, and Giordano ordered us cappuccinos. I can’t get right with the culture of drinking such heavenliness standing up, in less that three seconds.  I savored spoonfuls of thick, decadent foam, while Giordano teased me for taking my time.

 

And for my next splendid, death-defying act, ladies and gentlemen, I shall bare my messy insides for you all to gawk at and secretly relate to.  

 

I never imagined that getting married would be strewn with such a wild swizzle of unruly emotions.  Repulsion, excitement, love, powerlessness, curiosity, fear, turn-on…

 

From my insider’s view, I can clearly see how much collective meaning “We” place on marriage.  It means “forever”. It means “so in love”. “Happily ever after”. “The One”.

 

It means none of that for me.  It’s more like, I am just doing what needs to be done to move forward on my cryptic Path through the billowing fields of Enlightenment.  I have been groping to come to terms with it all.

 

Would I marry Giordano if I was financially free?  Probably not. I am marrying him as a single mom who needs help, and he is the flawed Angel that God sent me.  I feel a primal fear in telling it so straight. But as a writer, slicing straight into unflattering truths is the verdant river valley of good writing.  

 

And honestly, no matter how flawed my Angel is, my bottom line is that he supports me in showing up on the page and singing out the unfiltered mess of my Existence.  Which is what I live for. And I guess that’s the heart of the matter for me. My soon-to-be-Husband understands and supports my dharma. Even if it means that he occasionally gets chewed up and spit out on the page.  He may act like a wounded little boy too often. But holding space for me to be my fullest expression as a writer, even at his occasional “expense”, is a powerful stand to take.

 

The density of my Life Material these days often feels unbearable.  Okaaay, that was dramatic. I have it great, in so many ways. But as a woman who aspires to sovereignty and full-throttle empowerment, this is a very confronting life to be living.  I struggle to find a powerful place to stand. I feel small in so many ways these days. Living in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language… Having few friends to commune with.  Marrying a man who I am constantly having to teach and train and tolerate.

 

I can never say that last bit without following it up by how loving he is.  Giordano is so genuinely invested in my (and Serena’s) happiness, delight and wellbeing.  For example, he went way the fuck out of his way yesterday to ask his Baby Mama if we could stay in her rental apartment in Assisi next weekend, so that I could partake in a yoga festival happening right across the street.  While he sweats and bleeds and cries, picking thousands of olives to press into oil…

 

I guess the moral of this story is that on the INside, it occurs like all I can do is surrender to my Path.  I have written recently about my perceived lack of choice in the matter of my life. Like I’m just stepping into what splays open before me, with as much dignity, joy and willingness as I can muster.  Squeeze as much Trust out of my nearly-empty toothpaste tube as humanly possible.

 

Trusting that all this is right.  Trusting that this is all Grace. Trusting that this is exactly what I need to evolve.  Trusting that these are the perfect conditions for me to blossom open AS LOVE and embody the Master that I AM.  Living in said trust is a tall order, as my life is NOT unfolding as I imagined it would. Not that I ever fully imagined my unfolding… But life as I know it has bled way outside the lines of Collective Conditioning.  It’s not the stuff that “Happily Ever After” is made of.

 

Thankfully, I AM the stuff that Happily Ever After is made of… If only I allow myself to relax into this unassailable ISness.  I suppose this is the hidden cheese, wrapped in the bitter pill of my life. Haha!

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A jog at the bottom of the sea

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Last night, to celebrate the full moon, we had a fire outside.  Like the citizens of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, Giordano heisted “massive boulders” he found down the hill from our house and fashioned an impressive fire pit in our yard.  I gathered my crystals from around the house and brought them outside to soak up the lucid lunar rays.

 

I’m wild about men with primal skillz.  When the apocalypse is upon us, like who cares if dude can install the latest version of iPhoto on my computer.  (Though I SORELY need some help with that NOW… haha.) But Giordano is one of those men who can build and fix anything.  He made a mean fire.

 

Sharp autumn wind gusted in dramatic spirals, taunting and provoking our fire, sending its smoke and flames every which way.  At one point, the force of the wind was so fierce and constant, the fire growled like a blowtorch, and blazed florescent yellow like a newborn sun.  This was the moment that I poured my grief, confusion and heartache into the purifying flames. I had much to offer up.

 

This is why I have pilgrimaged to Athena Graceland on my hands and knees this morning… To write myself back into a state of wholeness and peace.  A feeling of deep discomfort has been taking increasingly articulated form and contour for the past week, as the moon has swollen.

 

I hope it’s a spiritual boon to break down like this… rather than a mild crisis.  Before leaving Ananda, I felt like I was going Somewhere: Building a business leading women’s circles, gestating an extraordinary podcast… and then I transported my and Serena’s life to a foreign land, where I can’t even indulge in the simple ecstasy of intimate, philosophically persuaded small talk with “strangers”…  or leave the house to go for a leisurely walk (The road outside is narrow, trafficy and dangerous to walk on. Plus, I left Serena’s fabulous, all-terrain stroller in California.) I feel like a Grimms Brother Princess, locked away in a tower.

 

Obviously, writing a book is my only salvation.  

 

As I move closer to the Realization of this extremely relevant and meaningful dream, I watch it turn to vapor and slip through my long, slender fingers.  I am perplexed as I search inside for a cohesive vision that equals a Book. I imagine this confusion is a form of self sabotage. A genius strategy for the unhealed dimensions of me to stay hidden and SAFE.  

 

Bah-humbug.  Seriously. Like whatever happened to the version of reality where I could simply merge with my computer, gush forth and pound out the inspired and integral streams of my Existence.  This is what I do. And have always done.

 

My “block” is the departure from simply “writing”, to developing a STRUCTURE, and then using my profound literary talent to fill it with FORM.  

 

In the words of the beloved little Engine That Could, “I think I can, I think I can, I THINK I CAN.”  

 

(OMG, I totally have to get that book for Serena…  An aside: It’s so depressing to have only a handful of books for my book-devouring Serena.  We left her collection in Cali. Frown. Plus there ain’t no libraries in these parts with books in english to imbibe…  If any of you are inspired, you could bless us with a rad children’s book by way of Amazon!…)

 

Did I adequately portray my existential angst to you?  I don’t think I did. But it’s been thick and filmy and arduous to endure.  Like going for a jog at the bottom of the sea.

 

At least things are improving with Giordano.  He still triggers the shit out of me pretty regularly… but it doesn’t feel like the end of the world.  We both bounce back from our fiery disputes impressively quick… and when we do, there is a deep love awaiting our return.  I imagine if I had other people around to meet my deep need for Quality Time (my primary Love Language), I probably wouldn’t get so swept away in the masturbatory eddies of hating his guts.  

 

Yesterday morning at the zenith of my suffering, I took Serena outside to forage nettles and red clover.  Misha the cat graciously tagged along. Like good old fashioned magic, the grief vanished. I dissolved in Presence, delighting in the aliveness of Nature all around.  Note to self~ when the discomfort becomes unbearable, (maybe even BEFORE), GO OUTSIDE. Go outside A LOT. Revel in the majesty of the sky. Sink into the soothing, rooted ISness of the earth.  Ugh. Except our harsh and cruel friend, Winter doth approacheth. BLAH. I never wanted to see Her color-drained face again. Jesus deliver me to the tropics.

 

Inside I feel a call to surrender my Life.  My dreams. My need to be “Somebody”… Be sincerely cool with the notion of stripping down to a state of unadulterated BEingNess.  This is subtly terrifying for me. Like if I relax my tremulous body in the uncharted waters of “Nobodyness”, I will die invisible and untethered from the execution of my Dharma.  This could be my deepest fear. One that ebs and breaks like a familiar wave on the sea of my Life Journey.

 

This surrender is not resignation.  It is a surrender woven with golden threads of faith.  Faith that it is impossible to outrun my Destiny. She is hunting me, and will inevitably devour me.  This achingly slow, no-woman’s-land is somehow essential preparation for my Glorious Becoming….

 

Life always moves along Her own mysterious and perfect spirals of Time.

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I never dreamed it would be like this….

Today I’m wading thigh deep in feelings and questions that I’d rather not share.  I feel vulnerable and out of control, and I’d rather not make waves. I don’t want to be misunderstood or condemned.  But isn’t this tender place where writing actually comes Alive? Maybe. Or maybe I should just roll out my yoga mat, and keep with the private process of silent digestion…

 

Nah.  That feels like hiding.  My inner life is pressing on me from the inside.  The pressure is begging for creative release. But just know that my words are PROCESS.  Not Ultimacy.

 

I’ve been sitting in the YES to marrying Giordano for a few days straight.  I’m still learning how to operate as a highly emotional being in this world.  The best way seems to be to roll through waves of feeling across time, without reacting.  Just being curious and observing. Then, after the wave has made what feels to be a complete arc, I am “qualified” to make a choice, or take an action.  (The antithesis of my knee jerk facebook campaign to get the fuck out of Italy a moon ago.)

 

I’ve ridden this most recent maverick marriage wave across a few days.  I’ve sat with the panoply splash of opinions and perspectives of friends.  And God, let me tell you… this is damn challenging- the work of receiving perceptions, projections, advice of those whom I love and trust… while maintaining a clear connection and knowing of my inner voice/Self.

 

Despite my dumbfounded mind, I feel a sustained YES inside to “tying the knot” with Giordano.  Haha it really might BE a knot. Two lives (plus children and innocent bystanders) all hopelessly kinked up…  

 

Listening to Matt Kahn’s latest youtube video last week, was a turning point for me.  It was called “The Apathy of Options”. The essence was that our notion of myriad choices is actually a function of capitalism and consumer consciousness.  When we are “in the flow”, aligned with Truth, purely relaxed into the moment, the illusion of choices dissolves, and what remains is Destiny’s continuously opening Way.  

 

I can see this being a very controversial perspective.  Choice is such a popular notion amongst the transformational circles I have run with for my entire adult life.  “I choose chocolate because I choose chocolate. Bitches!”

 

Does this possibility of simply riding Destiny’s pre-paved roller coaster track ruffle your feathers???  Good.

 

When I look backwards at the Life that has lived me, it has always been this way-  I have lived a miraculous epic that I could never have imagined or invoked of my own paltry volition.  Something waaaay more immense has called the shots, moved the pieces, conducted the superlative orchestra of Existence.  

 

Moving to Italy and marrying Giordano is no exception.

 

The part that I am struggling to come to terms with, is that I never imagined getting married would be like this.  I thought I’d be “so in love”… Certain that I was with the “man of my dreams”.

 

But as a writer and an ultra-sensitive “experiencer”, I kinda like that it’s not this way.  I come to the table with wildly mixed emotions. A hopeless collision of thoughts. It was epiphanic when I realized that this echoing choir of inner voices and resistances are all trying to save me from future pain and hardship.

 

And yet the track of Destiny continues to smirk as she lures me forward.  In the name of spiritual evolution. In the name of undeniably intimate with my true nature.  In the name of a damn good story.

 

This might sound lame to you, but it’s real for me.  And please don’t thrust your “enlightened council” upon me.  My hopper is already brimming with input. I’m just giving up my raw self for you.  Here goes:

 

I don’t feel like I have any other REAL options right now.  And this comes as a relief. More empowered than victimized.  I’ve relished imagining I could fly back “hOMe”, to California, and get on with my life.  But the truth is that I have no life there. That life is but a flattened flipbook of memories now…. Conflagrated in the mystical act of BEing Alive.

 

What would I do in the Bay Area?  Couch surf (with my almost three year old) for a month at best?  Get a nanny job? Or become a checker at an over-priced health food store and put Serena into preschool full time, so that I could almost afford to pay an exorbitant amount of rent… meanwhile squeezing my creative dreams like juiceless limes, praying for a few tangy drops to splash forth, first thing in the morning or last thing at night?  Continue to grind myself down in hope-stained disappointment that my relentlessly beloved baby daddy is still not available to be the Partner, family and support that I ache for? Wishing that my friends were not so busy in their own survival-based hussle, so that they could be there for me in mine???

 

No thanks.

 

So I’m here with my irritating but entirely devoted Italian Man.  Swimming in a wild, enlivening swirl of mixed feelings. And despite this chaotic and reticent inner climate, the God in me is shining a Green Light.  Italy has claimed me as Her own. The dramatic, psychedelically persuaded, Maxfield Parish clouded, thunder-sprayed skies have seduced me. The pale, crumbly earth drinks my bare feet, as She pours forth her bounty in the name of blessed sustenance.

 

In this shadow-strewn, blessed iteration of my life, I have the support necessary to write a book.  Serena has a dad who truly loves her as his own. Once married, we can apply for government assistance because we have a child.  And this will pay for Serena’s preschool. Ananda preschool. She is so ripe for this developmental leap. Friends, creativity, expansion.

 

During my recent, knee-jerk, fear stained, dramatic upheaval, my friend Joan illuminated in me, a proclivity for living in “fantasy land”.  Well… I feel pretty damn sober now. My priorities are: creating stability for my girl, who is EVERYTHING to me, and writing a fucking awesome book.   When given a life that is richer and more riveting than the best fiction… writing it down is really the only option.

 

And of course, through all of this, I yearn to learn something real and enduring about the nature of love.  

 

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