The nearly free birth of Forest (Part 1)

Forest

The second one is sposta pop out like a ping pong ball… right?

 

That’s what I thought….

 

I was wrong.

 

It took about the same amount of time laboring to get Forest out, as Serena.  Twelve hours.  But this time, I did it at home.  Alone.

 

Well… alone with Giordano.  Was this intentional?  Yes and no.  I wanted to have a woman/women with me… who would just sit quietly in the corner and hold a streaming vigil of prayer and presence.  But apparently God did NOT want this… since both of the women I asked to be with me were cosmically thwarted from attending.

 

“Free Birth” is the term for birthing without a slew of “trained professionals” getting all up in a birthing mama’s grill.  I was intrigued by this idea while pregnant with Serena… but not nearly courageous enough to trust my deepest inner knowing in the boundlessly deep waters of the feminine mystery that is birth.  So I deferred my inner authority, and opted for the hospital route with her.  Which was perfect.  (Marin General is the creme de la creme of hospitals that truly support natural birth.)

 

But this time, I was familiar with the territory. (As familiar as one can be with the cryptic wilderness of the Divine Feminine! Ha!)  Well, lofty philosophy aside, it’s what I FELT TO DO.  So I spent the months of my maternity gathering information and validation, mostly via birth stories told on the “Free Birth Podcast”, and by the time my tiny man was ready to emerge, I felt ready, and even enthusiastic, to do The Thing!

 

Everyone knows that expectations are the devil.  Of course I tried not to have any.  But this was impossible.  I imagined that as with Serena, I would go into labor on my due date, July 14th.   Or at LEAST by the full moon (lunar eclipse), July 16th.  Nope.  Besides the painful fights with Giordano, those days passed without much fanfare. Only a few egoic efforts to get my labor juices “aflow”… long walks, sex, orgasm… the basics.  But as it turns out, all “magic feathers” and lore aside, birth has its own cosmically informed intelligence, which I boldly hypothesize has NOTHING to do with the overlay of “wizardry” many of us get off on professing.

 

For about five nights straight, I went to bed fondling the precious hope that I would awaken in the night to contractions, as I had with Serena.  At two am on July 18th, my hope materialized.  Elated, I opened my eyes to the juicy, round, beam-dripping moon, dancing beyond my bedroom window.  I savored every twinge of deep, delicious ache in my womb.  God those moments live legendary inside me now… I felt totally alone and yet sweetly intimate with ALL.  My heart steeped in transcendent joy.

 

As with Serena, the contractions stopped when I got out of bed.  My labor had a very keen intelligence, and when I was focused on caring for Serena, it would ebb… After I dropped her off at camp, the waves resumed.  When she returned from camp, another pause.  It wasn’t until my saintly friend Benedetta came and picked Serena up (with her own nearly-newborn and four year old sun in tow) at around 4pm, that labor REALLY went full throttle.

 

I had imagined laboring in the little wooden house, nestled in my garden (which I have adopted as a temple…) but by mid afternoon, it was way too hot in there, and the mattress felt like a granite boulder.  After turning a few too many dizzying circles of indecision, I realized there’s no place like bed.

 

Oh dear… This event occurred exactly two weeks ago, and by now, the whole epic event is a goopy smear in my mind’s eye.  I guess I had a butt-ton of contractions in said bed… It didn’t take long for them to start firing off fast… which made me certain that Forest would soon emerge.

 

I was inspired by the birth story of a woman named Jinti Fell… She had an idyllic, peaceful freebirth in water, with only her husband, three year old daughter and sister present.  She said she concentrated on affirmations of opening and surrender.  So with each contraction, I relaxed my yoni and imagined my cervix blossoming open… melting INto the pain, rather than contracting in reaction to it.  I felt powerful and courageous doing this.

 

Until I hit a point where the contractions were coming so strong and rapid, that I lost access to this enlightened response.  It became a matter of survival.  No holds barred.  I felt that if I gave myself over in melt, I would be eaten alive.  This continued for hours.  I focused on my breath… and alternated between chanting gutterally based AUMs and “blowing through an imaginary straw” with each exhale (Benedetta taught me that technique, touting that when the jaw is relaxed, so is the yoni.  She said her first baby slid right out of her as a result… ummm… I can’t say that was MY experience…)

 

What of my wild card husband?  As I imagined, he was not the Masculine Rock that I wished he could be.  When I looked to him in the heat of intensity, his eyes were perpetually a-wander in far-off lands.  This was no surprise.  A restless, wild mind is his M.O.  Still, I wouldn’t help wishing for his solid, unwavering presence.  But given his nature… he did well.

 

As I had requested, he didn’t impose himself in my space.  He made himself available… but hung back until I made a direct request for support.  I felt the wounded place inside me, where I was tentative to ask for help from him… fearing rejection or disconnect.  (By now, our “track record” is brimming with disappointments and blood-bathed conflict…)  But when one is in enough pain, one must transcend the fear of rejection.  I asked him to rub my sacrum, which by now was screaming with ache.

 

At this task, he succeeded beyond measure.  I felt… profoundly felt.  He touched me as if he were inside me.  And at this point, I didn’t care if he was thinking about all the money we owe, or his perpetual craving for pizza, or whatever runs through that man’s mind… I was journeying through a realm of unceasing pain, and he was minimizing my suffering.

 

Until he got hungry.  And then the salvation of his touch withdrew and wandered to the kitchen.  A while later, he returned to the bedroom with a plastic tupperware full of tuna salad.  The smell ruined my life.  He innocently offered me a bite.  DISGUSTING.  I shunned him from the bedroom.  But the smell saturated the warm, thick atmosphere of late July.

 

When he returned (I had no sense of time by now), I asked him to light an incense to mitigate the terrible stench.

 

Then what happened?  Contractions raced through my body like a freight train with never-ending cars.  The sun crept toward the horizon, and eventually sunk into darkness.

 

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The Poetry of Darkness

My inner perfectionist is ALL UP IN MY BUSINESS as I sit here contemplating what to write about.  I want to write something genius and get drenched in positive attention and validation, because these days, I mostly feel like a mediocre nobody.  If only I could show up here in Athena Graceland like a blazing comet that takes your breath away….  THEN I’d be worth the love and belonging I crave.

 

Ahhhhh feels so good to name that.  It was like taking a giant poop.  It’s the shit that lurks, unacknowledged in the shadows that can really “crush the ball”.  (My favorite Italian phrase.  Referring to testicles, naturally.)  It’s amazing how much stirring of the shadow is occurring in here lately.   I oft wonder “was this stuff always running me from the bowels of my psyche, and I just couldn’t make contact with it?”  This is my hypothesis…

 

Which makes it damn exciting that I am starting to be able to have some real, snuggly intimacy with it.  I guess.  If I give myself permission to digest, release, transcend.  Permission.  It sounds so easy.  But walking through it is like swimming through honey.  Except not nearly as sweet.  Maybe shit flavored honey…

 

I guess I could start by saying really fucking nice things to myself on a regular basis.  The kinds of things that would be glaringly obvious to say to ANYBODY I love and care for, when they are struggling.  The kinds of things I want YOU to say to me upon reading these words.  The kinds of things you HAVE been saying to me.  And for a few sacred mOMents, everything feels ok.

 

Like “Athena, you DON’T always have to be producing something in order to be valuable.  YOU are enough.  If only you could see the exquisite artistry of your BEing as you move through your days.  Even when you feel depressed and hopeless, your magic is contagious and inspiring.”

 

Yep, made myself cry.

 

Been feeling like a mediocre mom a lot lately.  Up until recently, at least I felt like I was succeeding at that.  Serena tells me how much she loooooooves me…. too many times a day too count.  Inside I’m like, “Really???  Even though lose my patience and shout at you too much???”  So much for “conscious parenting”….

 

I think I’m doing better than I give myself credit for.  It just hurts my heart so bad when I yell at this beautiful, perfect being who is my daughter.  (Tears silently spill down my face as I expose this intimate dimension of myself.  Maybe not “brilliant” writing… but honest.  Which is courageous.  Maybe lots of moms secretly feel like shmucks, but don’t want to admit it…)

 

Exhaaaale.  I just don’t know how to navigate the frequent moments when Serena yells and screams and rebels “for no reason”.  I’m sure in HER world, there IS a reason.  Even if she cannot name it.  She’s probably mirroring my emotional intensity.  Maybe this is glaringly obvious from your kush seat in the overstuffed armchair…. She’s also a scorpio.  I didn’t know exactly what that meant when she was growing inside me.  But it’s no joke, people.  Scorpion energy is emotional masturbation.  So indulgent and intense.

 

But I digress.  Sometimes (often lately), I feel like I just can’t handle my girl’s said intensity and unwavering push-back.  I wonder if it would be different if I was adequately reSourced.  I don’t have fuckin’ ANYBODY who shows up to take Serena out for the afternoon and give me a break.  Not even my husband.  (He’s too busy bacon hunting.)  I chose such a fucking hard Path.  Dianne says to keep going and never give up.

 

I’ve always been a spiritual PollyAnna at heart.  My Ma used to passionately wish that this was her last incarnation on earth.  She was OVER IT.   And I’d feel so damn good about myself, replying that I would come back here as many times as I was needed.  But I guess the ingredients I needed to thrust me into “Camp Over IT” were motherhood and a painfully difficult marriage.  Oh, and a seeming lack of ability to plug into higher Purpose.  That’s really the one that slaughters me.

 

Mom, I get it.

 

Did I ever tell you that when I told my mom I was pregnant with Serena, she stopped talking to me for like three days?  Seriously.  And we were living together in her sweet little one-room loft apartment.  It was INTENSE.  I didn’t get it.  But now I imagine that she foresaw the terrain ahead, and was grieving for me.

 

She WAS seeing through the filter of her own struggles, of course.  And probably I will triumph at some point.  Probably some day I will heal my precious inner child, get my writing off the ground and enjoy a more autonomous, focused and gratifying existence.

 

I guess I can lay the groundwork now.  By being sublimely kind to myself no matter what.  And appreciating the Grace of everything that Life is laying at my feet.

 

I’m grateful that it’s summer.  I might be conflagrating in soul-angst… but I’m no dummy!  I am still able to luxuriate in frequent near-nakedness.  I am still deeply moved by the ambiance of overflowing birdsong that pours upon the warm, bright world each day.  The disarming, supple softness of Serena’s three year old skin.  And the way everything is play for her.  Gorgeous trees dripping with glistening, red cherries, of which we are free to eat as many as we please.  A husband who often falls short… but is a die-hard who stands the fuck up after he falls, and sincerely does his best to learn and grow and evolve.

 

A husband who loves his unborn son more than I do at this point.  Giordano’s love for Forest is palpable.  Sometimes I’m scared that Forest will be too much like Giordano…  Sometimes I feel like Forest is the steel-jawed trap that keeps me bound to a life I hate.

 

OMG.  A monk and a nun exiting the grocery store, pushing a full shopping cart!!!!  One of those monks that looks like Friar Tuck.  And a nun who resembles…. Whoopie Goldberg.  Haha, just kidding.

 

Anyway, I’m looking forward to holding my son in my arms.  It’s still hard for me to believe that a baby is going to come out of me.  Even though I’m giant and exhausted and insanely emotional.  It was like this with Serena too.  But I imagined that the second one would be different, given that I’ve done it before.  Nope.  Still unfathomable to me that in about four weeks, I will have a SON.  A tiny human will emerge through my vagina and depend on me for EVERYTHING.  Whoa.  And he will be oozing with the fresh scent of Heaven.

 

Okay, I guess this is the part where I just breathe.  Dunno what else to do now.  Oh, except to keep being earth-shatteringly sweet to myself.

 

From my heart,

Athena Grace

 

The Ecstasy of Crucifixion!

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You know what’s funny about Italians?  They say “prego” (you’re welcome) before one has a chance to say “grazie” (thank you).  You know what else is funny about them? They park however the fuck they want. Hella diagonal, taking up two spaces, sticking their asses out into traffic.  When it comes to parking, it’s no holds barred. And here’s little American Athena, ever striving to be even and tidy and respectful (at least behind the wheel…).  Now that I think of it, what’s NOT funny about Italians? It always kills me how they sound like they’re fighting, just having “normal”, everyday conversations about pizza and football and the weather and stuff.  Realizing this helps me reconcile Giordano’s default intensity… but I still don’t handle it very well.

 

Ahhhh…. It feels great to be light for once.  I really must be being given birth to…. Yesterday, I felt utterly squeezed to death.  As only a deep, dark birth canal can possibly squeeze. Then this morning, I awoke before dawn, and felt newborn.  By the Grace of God. I was able to see my husband through compassionate, tender eyes. By the Grace of God. I’m not kidding.  After the crucifixion I endured yesterday, I am sure that today is a blessed resurrection.

 

Yeah, I’ve got crucifixion and resurrection on the brain these days, because I am reading one of those miraculous books that literally reconfigures one’s cells and consciousness.  It’s called “Anna Grandmother of Jesus”. It is channeled by Anna, herself. She tells the relevant stories of her six hundred plus year life on earth, dedicated to paving the way for Jesus’s hella sublime mission.  And every step of the way, she clarifies that her telling is in service of the spiritual empowerment of the reader… Because now we are in a planetary ascension, and life is offering us our own rigorous spiritual initiations so that we may choose to fully awaken and play our roles in the ascension of Humanity.  

 

Reading this book is helping me “get right with” the otherwise inexplicable, confounding and unrelentingly uncomfortable circumstances of my current life.  Boy did I need a context vast and mystical enough to hold the mess of my existence. I often muse that context is everything. Without context, there ain’t no pot to hold the soup.  It’s just brothy, chunky chaos, plummeting through infinite space.

 

Anyway, what I want YOU to understand, or at least consider, regarding Jesus and crucifixion, is that ONCE AND FOR ALL, Jesus did NOT “die for our sins”.  For God’s sake. Crucifixion was his living example of completely surrendering the small self, and then rising AS the light of our glorious, eternal Self. The One who lives in timeless, wakeful communion with infinite, miraculous love that pours from the Heart of All.

 

I sure want to live that love, unimpeded.  I guess I want it more than I am even willing to admit.  Because I sure have created ingenious, masterful life circumstances, in which said Love is the ONLY way to endure the sublimely imperfect and often crushing circumstances of my life.  

 

You might think I’m being dramatic.  And selfish. Maybe you think I should spend more time being grateful and creating what I WANT.  Yes. And yes. I am doing my best to stay lifted in gratitude, and keep moving forward. I am. AND…. it is my passion and perhaps even my obsession to illuminate the otherwise dark anonymity of my existence through the art of words.  I tingle and shimmer with vibrance when I do this. I become buoyant, when I would otherwise drown.

 

When alchemized through intentional language, Life Itself ascends from the status of struggle and tragedy, to the elevated, radiant and comical undulations of Grace and Awe.  And boy do I need that right now.

 

Are YOU getting your guts squeezed out in the birth canal these days?  If you say no, either you’re lying or dissociated. OhmyGod, do you hate me for making such a brash statement?!  But I KNOW that what I am going through is waaay the fuck beyond me. I just happen to be profoundly sensitive. Cuz I don’t numb out like I used to.  (Although, I must confess that since becoming pregnant, I DO eat more sugar than I would in my ideal world. But God, first trimester is so brutal…. feeling repulsed by mostly EVERYTHING… eating ANYTHING is a miracle.  Both pregnancies, I have given myself over to the wild beast of my explicit fancies in the way of food. Which is so not my style in “real life”.)

 

Ahem.  Sensitivity.  Birth pains. Collective consciousness.  Crucifixion. Resurrection. Ascension. The shit is REAL, people!

 

I am meditating more, and luxuriating in the occasional, intentional lapses into holy sanity, between the ferocious rogue waves that are emotionally bitch slapping me about these days.  

The exquisite Gift of suffering is always an undeniable and urgent thirst for Truth.  Honestly, what could be better? (Besides sun-drenched, naked, MDMA pool parties with utterly gorgeous, deep souls, overlooking panoramic ocean cliffs, delighting in the presence of spouting whales and leaping dolphins frolicing below….)  OhmyGODDESS, I still have a sense of humor!!! I totally thought it was MIA forever.

 

My heart.  I wish you could feel the consuming longing inside me, to live fully surrendered to God’s Will.  And fuck, if the word “God” still frightens you, and triggers your gnarly, religious scars, let me put it another way…  I ache to be fully given, entirely consumed, and gloriously LIVED by the Oceanic Love that lives as ALL and Lights the World.  

 

Our Lady of God-Drunk Grace.

 

I always put that as my “company name”, when I order shit online.  My packages are delivered to:

 

Luminous Athena Grace

Our Lady of God-Drunk Grace

 

A few more gruesome and necessary crucifixions and I will mutha fucking ARRIVE!!!!

 

Hahahaha.  

 

May Liberated Infinite Love blaze within you today and always, my Beloved.  (Yes, YOU!)

Feeling for a new alignment

I lust to be a famous writer.  I do!!! But in reality, my drive to write is deeper than outcome.  I show up here because the fire Inside gives me no other option.  Without putting my heart, mind and BEing into words, life feels like racing tigers, melting into butter, sliding through my stupefied fingers.  And I can’t live with that.

I’m pregnant.  Sorry if I haven’t told you personally.  It’s really friggin early to go around singing it from the mountain tops.  I only conceived twenty three days ago. If I had any “sense”, I’d be quiet about it for a while, and just let my poppy seed-sized fetus gestate in blissful anonymity.  But gosh… then what would I write about? I have a burning need to cut to the heart of It All… And right now, this is the heart.

Was this a conscious choice?

Yes!  And… I was still broadsided by “The Call”.  (The soul whispered loud in me.)  My ego had other plans. Like always… Back in September, during our trip to the seaside, I was overtaken by deep and sudden urge to bring this strangely familiar, yet concealed by the veil, BEing into the world.  This strong feeling left me blinking and seeing neon, dancing stars. I was just getting “my life back”. Serena would start school in a matter of weeks. I would start a solid exercise routine.  And write my utterly fabulous memoir. Getting knocked up would be the Setback of the Century!

But my soul’s drive to create family body-slammed my career ambitions.  I guess that’s how the human race has made it this far… Imagining Serena as a big sister, I felt this to be essential for her.  Strange, because not too long ago, I couldn’t even fathom loving another human being as much as I love her. It didn’t compute. But by the Grace of God… now it does.  I was just minding my business… and suddenly my heart expanded. Neat!

Giordano and I both had “trauma” (Haha that word is so popular these days….) around bringing in our first child.  He separated with baby mama during her pregnancy, and she didn’t even tell him when she gave birth. He found out three days later.  This aches his heart… not to have been able to love his sun into the world. And now, the boy is mostly raised by the mama and her boyfriend.  Who have completely different lifestyle and values than Giordano does. Which is often painful for him….

For me, I can’t even believe I survived the heartache I went through during my pregnancy with Serena.  Her dad consciously impregnated me…. But then when she took root in my womb, he freaked and asked me if I was sure I wanted to keep her.  (Like, “Duh, Stupid!”) Then he had one foot out the door for the whole pregnancy. I barely saw him. I loved being pregnant. It was the most magical and beautiful nine months of my entire life perhaps.  Still, my heart bled profusely on a daily basis. Ed showed up for the birth. He held and exquisite masculine space for me. But then at 6am, he left us alone in the hospital, like a party that was over. It was just me and her.  For nearly three years.

I consider this a great blessing… mostly.  What fortune to have such an INTIMATE experience with a soul who is so cosmically dear to me.  Talk about some deeep karma. And it was hard as fuck. To be the breadwinner, the one always holding.  Rarely held. I still remember the epic-sized teardrops that spilled from my eyes in the first weeks after she was born.  Seriously. They were straight from a monsoon.

I’m digesting this painful life material at a deeper level as I enter this new pregnancy.  It sucks to carry it in my heart. I just want it all to burn off like sweet rose petals falling into the sun.  

When I shared with Giordano my sudden desire to conceive our child, he was an unwavering yes.  Like me, he had surface concerns and questions… but those paled in the light of raw desire and soul-knowing inside him.  And when we conceived, his joy was pure and naked as a child’s. This in itself was deeply healing for me.

So now, here I am, in my hella greeeeen pasture…. And still I ache!  Oh, blessed hormones. They are profound. And gorgeous in some way.  My bodhichitta heart is throbbing, full tilt. Anything and everything moves me to the core.  

I feel lonely a lot.  Except now… I’m never lonely when I write, because I love hanging out with myself in such a deep, intimate space. Communicating is orgasmic!  But just existing day to day… Gosh, it gets old not to have people around me physically, who feel like hOMe (Thank GOD for my smart-assed phone… My connection to some of the most exquisite people on the planet!).  But this has been the story of my life since I gave birth… I guess my soul is practicing some sort of potent, rigorous austerity. Like Saint Francis. I think about him, when I’m out walking sometimes… The mountains and bright, fluffy hillsides of Umbria have such a majestic Presence.  Which teases my majestic Presence to the surface. They speak. I feel awed to silence and riveted stillness.

Mamas out there?  I have a question for you… How do you integrate motherhood with all your other Selves, Dreams, Desires?   I see so many women “doing it all”… with such grace and mastery. Over here it looks like such a daunting journey.  To be and hold ALL OF IT. I don’t know what elements of my Self and Life to hold onto, fight for… and what to release into the honeyed sky of pure BEing.  Not that this inquiry is anything new for me. Haha. It just gets louder as I stand at the precipice of early motherhood once more.

I want to be so much more than just a Mom.  I want to be a Source of inspiration and endless faith in Love, for all the world.  I want to be a role model of courageous, unbridled authenticity. I want to dream new dreams and build new systems, informed by Unity Consciousness to evolve and transform this World.  I guess a huge part of my Desire can live through how I raise and educate my children (and how I hold and care for myself, as their mother). I feel fierce to hold space for them to develop and blossom in alignment with their essence and purpose, rather than sleeping at the wheel while society mashes and grinds them in confining boxes, just because I’m too lazy to take initiative.  This calling lives as a daunting responsibility in me. What I need to feel empowered in this domain is to be in conversation and co-creation with other parents who share this mission. The Lone Wolf archetype is a total ball krusher!

Anyway, I’m here inside myself, feeling for a new alignment.  And longing for masculine holding. And wondering if it’s just my lot in life to learn how to hold my own damn self.  Couldn’t hurt I guess.

But I’m happy.

Premarital Bliss.

Immagine correlata

Gosh, I was so scared to publish my last blog.  Though I poured my heart out in a comprehensive fashion, ONE single facet stuck me like a poison dart: The confession that I probably wouldn’t marry Giordano if I had money.  I felt so vulnerable offering that shard of my inner life up.

 

Then came the near-erotic thrill, the loss of control that is clicking “publish”.  Then Giordano’s eyes imbibing said confession.  He made his way deeper into this heart when he replied, smirking,  “So you’re marrying me for money?… I don’t have money!  Just one house from my family, who crush the ball every day.”

 

We both had a good laugh.

 

It’s true… If I was marrying a man “for money”, I made the worst possible choice.  Money has been so scarce lately, since Giordano has started engaging in the all-consuming task of picking olives.  It wasn’t until a few days ago that he found the time and money to purchase a cheap silver wedding band.  My adventures at the grocery store have been to the tune of “how much nutrient dense juice can I squeeze out of a twenty euro bill?”….

 

I am marveling at the power of raw, unfiltered honesty.  Saying the stuff that I am most scared to say… and POOF!, I am free. (Sometimes.  Other times I just get myself into relational trouble…)  It no longer festers inside me.  Like a thick fog, it silently screams as it sucks, hopeless, into the blazing Source of light.  I swear, after I posted my last blog, I softened deeper in love with Giordano.

 

Listen to this!….

 

I actually feel delighted to be marrying him.  Marriage feels like an unprecedented adventure.  One of those passages that must be lived through, fully felt and tasted.  Not just read about in a book, or heard tell of around a campfire.  (Or sipping coffee in mismatched reclining chairs with my Ma, as she recounted snippets of her two emotionally unsatisfying marriages, during what I didn’t realize then was the tail-end of her life…)

 

Am I just hella in love with him because I barely see him these days?… I have so much time to miss him..  And then he comes home like a sunkissed war hero, smelling of utterly tantalizing incense.  Seriously.  He’s the most deliciously scented creature I’ve ever encountered.  From the heat of his strong, active body, wafts a hypnotic synthesis of pheromones, pine and earth, fire and pristine alpine spring water, spilling from the heart of creation.

 

It always tickles when he says, “I can’t wait to hug in the bed.”  An american man would never say anything so charming.  It’s totally not an innuendo.  He just cherishes the simple pleasure of our warm, naked bodies entwined at bedtime.  I don’t think I’ll ever tire of his adorable italian translations.  Nor his innocent relishing of fundamental existence.

 

Giordano’s unwavering, rarefied, devotional love is healing me.  I didn’t realize how war-ravaged I was, after a five year affair with a married man, to whom I gave my whole self… and had a child with. (Three cheers for raw, unfiltered Life Experience!) The trauma of settling for Ed’s pathetic crumbs became a normalized experience in me.  Which of course stemmed from the glories of a having an emotionally immature father who prioritized world travel and eventually another family, over precious little me.  I am still discovering forsaken and shy territories of my heart I boarded shut in order to endure the pain of it all.  Slowly, they melt open in the sunlight of Giordano’s wildly imperfect, though incredibly sincere and miraculously steady love.

 

I’m also becoming a whiz at navigating his wounded little boy, (It is still hard work though!!!) which would indicate that I am loving myself pretty well…. Plus, learning/practicing emotional restraint.  I still go up in flames on the inside when he goes off the deep end emotionally, over what occurs for me as the pettiest shit.  I’m learning to breathe more and speak less.  And attune to his deeper needs and more subtle communication.  Hooray for me.  Seriously.  Though it will be heavenly when he graduates to the level of being able to advocate for himself with maturity and consciousness…. The fuckin Italians…. So damn emotional… and not a lot of personal growth courses over here….

 

One of Giordano’s strengths is bringing humor and lightness to otherwise suffocatingly dense moments.  My work is to soften into his invitation to laugh and let go.  Of course I reserve the right to hold on, punish and drive my point home when I feel like he hasn’t gotten the message or the medicine…. But mostly this hurts me more than him.  We ARE pretty comical in our heated moments.  Two giant babies flailing our fat little arms and stomping our squishy little feet.  Utterly riveted by our emotions and points of view.

 

Yeah, I’m really jazzed to be married!  I wanna see what this wife business is all about.

 

“GETTING” married on the other hand…. This is not such a thrilling facet of the jewel for me.  The Big Event goes down in three days.  I don’t have a dress.  I might just pull some halfway decent garment from my closet.  Giordano’s story is the same.  It’s supposed to rain.  We haven’t had the luxury of time to synch up and create meaningful vows together.  99.999% of my friends are far, far away.  I mean I managed to shake loose from the fever dream of my perfect fairytale wedding years ago… but THIS… my wedding day is shaping up to be the polar opposite.  Hopefully the event will make for a good story.  This is what matters most to me deep down.

 

I dedicated that last paragraph to self-pity!  It felt awesome.  But I DO want you to know that of ALL people in my world, my Cosmic Dad will be in attendance.  He will “give me away”.  An insatiable Sagittarius type, he just happened to be traveling through Europe, and swung our way to imbibe in the Hella Holy Matrimony. So I guess in reality, my glass is actually half full.  The man who has seen me through the course of my entire “adulthood” will be with me for this substantial rite of passage.  Whoopie.

 

I can’t wait to report back to you and divulge the dirty deets of my hella special day.  May it be an ecstatic, messy, perfectly imperfect Unfolding, colored by outrageous characters, intriguing nuance and mind-blowing realness.  Yee-haw!

 

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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On HAVING (all over the place!)

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Lately, my life has been about robust goodbyes.  Leaving for Italy with one-way tickets really underscores the nature of impermanence in which we are always swimming in this stunning, infinity pool of Life.  

 

Suzanne’s parting words to me were so potent, they knocked me backwards, “You’ve been wanting for a long time.  Now HAVE.”

 

They rained upon my ears five days ago, and they are still going to work on me.  

 

Who would I BE if I relaxed into my Life and allowed myself to HAVE?  

 

It *seems* that I am wired to want.  And of course this orientation to Life reaches much farther back than the crushing, five plus year relationship with my married baby daddy….

 

When I was engaged to my fiance (twelve years ago), I sat in an unbearable fire of lusty want for someone else.  Another married someone else. (Who, for the record, I eventually HAD in many ways and it was often wonderful…) But still… Looking backward, this quality of excruciating want is a prevalent ingredient in the soupy swirl of my inner landscape.

 

I recently wrote a piece on the father wound.  And the gaping, oozing want for HIM to choose me.  To make me feel like THE essential treasure of his heart.  

 

So now what?  

 

I am again engaged.  To a wildly passionate italian man, who leaves me with no trace of doubt that he chooses me (and Serena).  A man who was ready and willing to leave his country, move across the world from his family, change his Life completely to be with me.  A man who I kicked out of my house (he slept in a leaky tent in the rain), stopped speaking to… returning two times over, to the unavailable-but-all-too-familiar arms of my baby daddy.

 

Oh the unwieldy odyssey of Athena Grace.  (I’ve GOT to write the damn book already!)

 

People must think Giordano and I are CRAY-ZAY for giving it a third go.  But I trust that third time IS a charm. Listen, when you live Life right, it changes you.  

 

Whoa, I started to get sucked down a wayward rabbit hole… but I am here to talk about HAVING.  I don’t know that I have answers. I guess I’ve gotta pull a Rilke, and LIVE the answers. And the questions.  

 

How do I change my wiring?… Give myself wet, juicy, overflowing, RADICAL PERMISSION to HAVE….!!!  

 

I guess part of this luscious inner shift, is to embrace my lust for wanting.  I don’t have to “get rid” of wanting in order to have. Just widen. And savor.  And love.

 

It really does come around to self-love, doesn’t it?  And self-worth. I reckon these are siamese twins, self-love and self-worth…. or the serpent eating its own tantalizing tail….

 

Another noteworthy piece to share with you, is that in this same “robust goodbye” visit, I shared a delicious dinner with two long-time women friends.  Women whom I deeply love and respect. And we each had a womb-wrenching story of a recent relationship where we gave ourselves away… ground ourselves down in the mill of self-negating compromise and sacrifice.  And I could name at least another half dozen women in my immediate circles who are riding the same exhausted crucible carousel.

 

WHAT THE FUCK????

 

Sisters, what are we DOING????

 

The time has come to live into a new and utterly vivifying myth.

 

And now, bitches and fuckers (Being “ladies and gentlemen” is definitely part of the problem, NOT the solution.  Embrace it. Haha.), Athena Grace is going to go MACRO.

 

Women~ this same tolerance for mediocrity (and less) in our relationships, is part of the root system of destruction of the PLANET.  Resigning ourselves to crumbs, silencing our powerful voices, suppressing our OCEANIC Desire.

 

WE ARE NOT VICTIMS.  

 

Unless we want to be.

 

But come on.  Victimhood is so 2016.

 

This is our mOMent to join hands and hearts and RISE THE FUCK UP as the Luminaries of Succulent HAVING.  

 

How do we DO this?

 

We’ll make it up as we go.  But first is the full throttle commitment to ourselves, to our worth, to our sisters, to the Earth.  

 

When a sister mounts her dead, bleeding unicorn and kicks it in the sides, attempting to ride a few centimeters (backwards)… Call her out!  (and *demand* she do the same for YOU.) Let’s generate NEW CONVERSATIONS.

 

Conversations woven with the silken threads of pleasure, ecstasy, joy, celebration, success, plenty, satiation, vision, turn-on, YES.  

 

HAVING.

 

I, Athena Grace, give myself Radical Permission to HAVE all over the place.  And I dedicate my having to YOU. May my infinitely expanding capacity to HAVE inspire and reSource ALL.  May my HAVING always be aligned with Infinite Divine Love. May my HAVING always generate wellbeing, balance and peace.  

 

Amen.

 

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