Embracing the Endless Desert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I care.

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

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

Serena is awake.

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

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

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Scorpion Medicine and the Life of my Dreams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And therein lies the haunting and mystic face of death.

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

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

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

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

Life, Death and Loving Loneliness

I’m sitting here staring into space, groping to mentally corral the current textures of my life… Spontaneously, I drew in a deep breath, and I was saved.  Overall, it’s beautiful and abundant and wildly blessed.  And also lonely and exhausting.  One inner dimension of me feels threadbare.  Another, soft and bright like the dawn.  God is vast.

One of the things that struck me about giving birth, was that no matter how many loving supportive people were by my side, (which in my case was Ed, Catherine Stone, Deirdre, Dara, Ken, Cindy the nurse, and Brooke the Midwife… HA!  SEVEN!!!  Jesus… way too many 😉 ultimately, it was a journey that I had to make alone.  You could argue that I made it with Serena and with God… In a way that was utterly true… but at a very basic, stripped down level, I was alone.  No one could take away the immense and constant pain.  I had to dive straight into it.  I shared this perspective with Catherine Stone (my doula) after the fact, and she said dying is the same.  No matter who is by your side, you must let go of the body and walk into the Light alone.

Birth.  Death.  And Life… In Life, (like I mentioned in my last blog, I see Life as a synonym for God, so it’s only natural to capitalize it.) I am surrounded by so many bright and loving souls.  SO MANY.  And yet, often I still feel so alone.  Some people seem to delight in their aloneness…. But for me… it feels wrought with polarity.  I spend a lot of time alone… and I’m more of an introvert than an extrovert.  And yet, sometimes I ache in my aloneness.  I long to be as close with another as two “ones” can possibly be.  I guess that’s why Ed and I spent so much time just holding each other, back in the days when our daily lives were a tighter weave.  Our warm, pulsing bodies entwined, sharing breath, my heart pouring open, feeling the ultimate, intimate sense of Belonging.  But the shadow side of this merged perfection is codependence.  Which has been its own unraveling labyrinth in my life.  So here I am, inside the construct of a Life scenario where I don’t have the option to collapse into default codependence.  Woo-hoo.

Ultimately, I WANT to feel so entirely at peace and whole in myself… (sometimes I DO… but those moments tend to slip by in an incognito state of Unity…)   But… there’s a way in which meeting my ache and longing over and over and over and over again feels like slogging through the desert.  Is this why I want a family so bad???  So that I don’t have to feel these arduous feelings of slow burning longing…?  Wow… I thought I wanted a family (“a family”= a husband and two children… and hopefully some furry animals… and I DON’T mean furry spiders, which are abundant around my hOMe and sorta freak me out, even though I mostly love spiders…) because  it was my heart and soul’s Truth.  But what if it was just to avoid these intense feelings??  It’s still inconclusive… but just in case that IS the case, I’m gonna practice saying YES to this experience in it’s subtly excruciating entirety.  I’m sure that the “meaning of my life” is to dare to love everything that arises.  After all, if we are “made in the image and likeness of God”, then this MUST be our highest calling as human beings.  Because God certainly loves the pants off ALL of it.  (Sorta like when I took my jade heart necklace away from Serena the other night at bed time, and her dark, heart-shaped lips spilled into a perfect little frown as a prelude to gloriously impassioned tears… and witnessing this made my heart explode open and I couldn’t help but laaaaugh at the poetic artistry of her self expression.)

I love how easy it is for me to spiral into esoteric, philosophical realms!  I totally meant to talk about super basic dimensions of my life.  Like how Serena is suddenly exploding into so much exponential growth, and she’s becoming more and more of an ecstatic handful, who reaches for and grabs everything.  She (to my surprise) loooooves the water!!  I took her to Cate and Jenny’s pool party on saturday, and I was amazed by her impassioned splashing and kicking.  She became vivacious in the water.  She’s not like that in the bath… When I first put her in the tub, expecting her to be a natural born mermaid like her mama, she looked more like a petrified mouse, about to be seized in the merciless talons of death.  She got all stiff and made prey faces.  But she might have mermaid blood yet!  I also took her for a River quickie yesterday, and was surprised that even though it was COLD, she became ecstatic.  We sat on a rock in the gentle rapids, and she kicked and splashed and explored the nature and essence of the quick, crystalline water.  I remember last September, being nice and pregnant, and going to that same spot, submerging and praying for a smooth, “easy” (ha!) birth… sitting on the smooth, flat rock, as the singing liquid grace poured around me, opening my body to this force of powerful flow.  Time is profound.  Riding the spiral merry-go-round of Life… visiting and revisiting the same locations, emotionally and physically, again and again… yet perceiving them from a constantly evolving consciousness… an aging body, a ripening heart, an unfurling ego.  Reminds me of the book, “The Giving Tree”… Even when she was just a lonesome stump, she was so full of grace.  Ha!  I hope that’s what “they” write on my tombstone…

It’s a new day… and I don’t feel as intimate with the texture of loneliness as I did yesterday… which is a bit of a relief.  But speaking of grace, I really DO aim to be so gracious when that all-too-familiar feeling arises.  Matt Kahn, my “Team Captain”, as Erika refers to him (!!!), says that I can love every feeling that arises like it has NEVER been loved before.  And I know I can!  I have so much love in my heart.  Enough love to saturate this entire world, and watch it be triumphantly restored to the Heaven it has always been.  I’m sure of this.

At six months, Serena is finally growing hair.  It’s in this wildly adorable phase right now, where it is a fine coat of soft fur.  I loooove to pet it.  I love her fat, squishy arms!  (and legs…)  I love the way she gets so still and quiet when I put her facing me in the Ergo carrier… and her serious, inquisitive, wise, (plump, drooping cheeked) and open face just takes in the world.  I have to constantly remind myself that it will not always be like this.  Someday, she’ll be too big to ride in a baby carrier… and maybe someday she’ll even be embarrassed by me.  And yet, we’ll still be on that spiral merry-go-round, circling the same locations, physically, emotionally,  mentally… watching everything change, and yet somehow stay the same.

I don’t feel like I hit the bullseye with this blog.  Like you could read it, and still not fully know me… Though I did offer some rich and true and beautiful morsels… I guess that’s why people write BOOKS instead of just long, sprawling shorties.  I wish I could so graciously empty my innermost self onto this page for you to intimately encounter…  Why?  Because if “Life” is “God”, then “Intimacy” is the experiencing of Life/God.  And all I can offer is ME.  And perhaps this naked me can open you deeper to the raw joy and pain and beauty of your Holy Existence.

Maybe I didn’t hit the bullseye… but I showed up and shared something of myself.  And I will continue to do so, always aspiring to use my Life to illuminate and liberate your courageous, profound and essential heart.  Because I can.

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The Journey of Refinement

This morning I’m thinking about the power of words to shape reality. Honestly, I’m feeling tired of telling the same weather-beaten stories and surfing the same tired waves. A deep part of me just wants to take a long, luxurious swim in the gentle waters of silence for a while; only speak when I’m compelled to from the core of my being. The heart of the universe. How can I inhabit these silly, endearing stories of my life from a higher consciousness?

One of the first lessons in my “Good Book” of choice, (grin), A Course in Miracles, is “I do not know what anything is for.” To practice the lesson, you’re sposta look around your immediate vicinity, and as your eyes fall on each object, say, “I don’t know what this table is for. I don’t know what this computer is for. I don’t know what this husband is for.” Etcetera. The first time I did the exercise, I was not aware of the profound opportunity nestled within those words. The course is designed to undo our habits of perception, so that we can once again be available to recognize the divine light that shines upon the altar of our mind. Note that I wrote “mind”, not “minds”, because the course also teaches that there is only ONE mind, and that is the mind of God. It is our delusive perception that argues for the reality of separation. Separation is but a dream. And as night time dreams, it is benign. When you wake up, you are untouched by the reality of the dream. Ya dig? And this reality we are so freakin RIVETED by, is exactly the same. When we wake, our souls will be untouched by the incessant snarl of agonies and ecstasies in which we imagine to be ecstatically flailing about.

The course says that there is another way to inhabit this dream. Another meaning that can be assigned to time, and to the “stuff” of this world. That meaning is LOVE. We can use everything as tools and props and opportunities to align with and express the healing light of the Infinite. To guide us back Home, and to shepherd all of our Brothers and Sisters along with us.

Sounds ambitious, huh? Well maybe so, but the alternative is losing its luster. Chasing this wispy cloud of an ego dream, and that… inevitably winding up at the same busted wall of dissatisfaction and longing. Sometimes I catch myself taking gluttonous hits of envy of those who seem to be satisfied by the flavors and colors and textures of this world. You know, the people who believe that the meaning of life is to “have fun”… It *seems* so simple and relaxing.

I believe the meaning of life to be Self realization; Self mastery. Some would argue that you CAN realize the Self through having fun. Deep breath… I agree to an extent. Because in having fun, there IS a quality of absorption… Like the way a child becomes so immersed in their play, that they fall off the space-time continuum entirely, couldn’t care less about eating or sleeping or any of those other rote, mundane activities that us domesticated, caged adults LIVE FOR!!! (Sheesh, where did we take the wrong turn?!) But ultimately, I believe that if we want to come unstuck from our mental and emotional habits, and inhabit a deeper slice of Reality, it requires a willingness to roll up our figurative sleeves and get messy and break a sweat in the name of true inner freedom.

I’m beginning to doubt that I know what real happiness is. Maybe what I thought was happiness, was actually just a cheap form of getting high: “I LOVE my new puppy!” “That was a fantastic orgasm!” “I look so hot in my new lacy yoga pants!” Gosh, that sounds so black and white. That’s not what I meant. A better way of saying it, is that I see the spiritual path as a journey of refinement. As we grow to embody and reflect more of our soul qualities, the experience of such things as love and happiness transform. When I was nine, I was ecstatic when my Ma made me my FAVORITE dinner: macaroni and cheese!!! (She rocked it, too. Real cheese. And butter. Not that fake, neon, packaged bullshit.) But today, at age thirty four, I feel a more subtle joy hearing birdsong, or beholding the majestic artistry of a live oak tree. I feel complete, delicious absorption while I am teaching yoga. And hopefully, someday (not so far off) (though time is an illusion), I will simply turn inward and naturally become drunk on the exquisite bliss of my true nature! Dang, that’s gonna rock!!!

And meanwhile, I pray to be at peace as I live all that I must live, in the imaginary distance between here and there.

OM.

The Battle of Light and Dark

“Don’t beat the darkness with a stick. Turn on the LIGHT.”

Those were the words of wisdom Devaki graced me with after she rung me up for the overpriced sugary, new-age drink I just bought as a bribe to face myself here on the Athena Gracelandian page, finally. Gosh… it’s been two weeks and some change, since I last sprinkled my musings upon your mind… which isn’t really THAT long. But it feels like eternity, because while two weeks in Heaven flies by, the same span in the Underworld drags on like a bad case of intestinal worms. (I’m almost done with my artisan drink already. I don’t really have much restraint when it comes to sweet liquid. I just keep wanting to pour it into my ever-eager mouth.)

I’ve been at the Momshram since the day after I last posted a written report of my inner world. When I first got here, I felt drunk on springtime. Everything is LUSH and green and abounding with epic vibrancy. A rainbow assortment of exhibitionist wild flowers smile and wink from within the wide-splayed folds of everywhere, and birds sing their evocative songs of seduction and lust. Baby goats are toppling out of their mama’s immense bellies and quickly learning to leap and frolic on rolling carpets of tender spring grasses. The raw milk is flowing like wine in Rome. (or the sweet, expensive drink down my esophagus…)

Meanwhile I have been fighting for the right to wear my sturdy ball and chain in the smelly pits of hell. I guess it hasn’t helped that I’ve been in the pms and menstrual phase of my cycle. And add to that the astrological mess of the grand cross and the lunar and solar eclipse and lord knows what other celestial intensity. It boils down to me being “called forth” …You know, to evolve… to step more fully into my divine power and strength… But as I rise, in rushes a huge backdraft of fear and resistance to transcending my comfort zone, to letting go of limiting beliefs and habits of collapse. Ahhhh!!! It’s been wild!!!

Ick. I am not enjoying writing about this stuff. Do I HAVE to? No. Of course not. I am the benevolent ruler of Athena Graceland, and hence can write about whatever I fancy. But… I want to share with you the truth of the inner journey I’ve been on. Ya know… just in case you can relate… In case illuminating my inner struggles helps you to realize and transcend your own. So in service of transmutation and healing; shining light into dark crevices, I shall trudge on.

I’ve broken up with Ed at least twice in the past two weeks. And had a baker’s dozen more heart and gut wrenching conversations with him. If you want to avoid responsibility for your own brilliance, I *hightly* recommend falling madly, passionately and soulfully in love with a married (or otherwise unavailable) man!!! It’s a killer strategy for staying stuck!!!

But on the other hand, if you want a loving Relationship founded in deep friendship, mutual support and trust, that is *impossible* to become “too comfortable” and hide out in– so that you have plenty of time and space to do your soul work… I *also* recommend getting involved with a married (or otherwise unavailable) man! It’s amazing how “reality” is a matter of perspective.

I keep waffling back and forth between identification with the light side and the dark side. The contrasts are particularly ACCUTE these days. The dark is f-ing dark. And it becomes more ferocious and rabid as I beat it with my big stick. I beat it until I am exhausted and surrounded by demons… and then I fall to my knees and beg for mercy… gingerly groping for the Light switch, with a trembling hand.

I truly believe that world peace will naturally occur when we emerge ultimately victorious over the inner battle. When we choose once and for all to release illusions and rest blissfully in Eternal Truth. I will bet you EVERYTHING I have and AM, that the world you perceive “outside” is merely the effect of what you choose to believe from the inside; evidence of what you WILL to see. I know, it all seems so REAL. So convincing, is this dream world. But we ARE made in the image of God… meaning that each of us have the innate power to call forth the world. Simply by where we invest our faith. In Love. Or in fear. In Unity, or in separation. (I aspire to recognize God speaking to me in the language of light, from within all things.)

I recently took a few leaps; made commitments that required soul-expansion. I committed to going back to Ananda Laurelwood (Oregon) in June, to teach yoga to the summer interns. I also signed up to give a spiritually inspired speech at “joymasters” (the ananda version of toastmasters!), and I signed up for a month-long video challenge, designed for leaders, coaches, visionaries, teachers to get their message out to the world, by making a three minute video every day for the month of May.

Please hear me when I say that I YEARN to be my best self! To be a source of luminous, vivacious inspiration, and raw, soulful authenticity in this world… I know in my bones and guts that that is why I am here. But I have some deep habits of resistance, hiding and playing itsy-bitsy. (Way more dramatic than merely playing small!) OM KRIM KALI MA!!!! Unleash your merciful devastation upon the suffocating grip of my inner demons! Obliterate them in the destructive force of your INFINITE LOVE!!!

Stepping into commitments that stretched me beyond who I have known myself to be thus far, washed me in the aforementioned “backdraft of fear”. I felt my invisible inner self widen… and then snap shut like a violent rubber band. The voices of inadequacy have been screaming up from my depths. Actually, from a momentary vantage point of neutrality, I must say, it’s actually been quite remarkable… the choir of self denigration and pain singing up from inside me! I even withdrew my participation in joymasters. I decided instead that I must return to the Bay Area. Ananda is feeling way too wholesome and conservative for me (I got reprimanded for wearing a tank top that showed hints of my belly while I was leading sadhana). Plus I need to earn some money. Plus I can’t stand the thought of being apart from Ed for the ENTIRE SUMMER, and I burn to spend quality time with him. Plus I need to be in the company of people who speak my language and inspire my Becoming: the wild, sexy, bad-ass, ignited light warriors.

As for the video challenge, I realize that I need to reach over and grab the wheel; expel that poisonous perfectionist from the driver’s seat. I notice that I’ve got this subtle story that I have no right to stand on the mountain and sing out the message of my heart and soul UNTIL I AM PERFECT. Until I have it ALL FIGURED OUT. But my bullshit-o-meter is screaming at that. Inhale. Exhale. My job is to stand tall, feel my bare feet spread into the warm, fertile spring earth, breathe deep into my womb, allow my heart to relax open, and just let it flow, baby.

The time is NOW. The place is Earth. The meaning is Love. The word is…

OM!

Revelation of Wholeness

Wholeness. It’s a concept I have rarely entertained or bestowed with much thrust. Until about two weeks ago. Daiva, the man behind the curtain here, (that is to say, the one at the top of the Ananda Portland/Laurelwood totem pole… though I have a feeling he would be quick to assert that he’s *not* indeed behind a curtain… but for some reason, imagining him as a larger-than-life notion; a massive projection of a head with a booming voice emerging from darkness and flames, tickles my funny bone, and there’s *something* right about it…) Anyway where was I, before I extended the mischievous courtesy of bringing you up to speed on one of the key characters in my current waking dream? Oh yeah, so I think “wholeness” might be Daiva’s official linguistic mascot, and deepest aspiration.

Wholeness. Naturally, the notion has started to gnaw at my consciousness too, insisting on becoming more than a mere word, but an experiential boon. I just looked it up on dictionary dot com. And two aspects of the definition that struck me as pertinent are “complete” and “undivided”.

Allow me to interrupt myself for a moment, before I commence to flail and dig with fervor to convey to you, that which is deeply meaningful to me. I must announce that it is five forty-five am. Still dark. And HARK, the shy orchestra of raindrops is striking up outside my modestly cracked window! This is bound to be a great blog… wink. (BTW, remember, I’m in Oregon, NOT California… and the rain here flows like coffee in Portland. Which is to say with luxurious abandon. But when it goes away for a day or three, I miss the romance, the music and the decadent wetness of the air.)

And now back to our previously scheduled, impending revelation. I don’t want to spend too much time wrestling with the conceptual implications of this potentially weighty word. Doing so is giving me unsightly wrinkles in my forehead. Instead I will dive into the crystalline pool of practical application, and share with you my recent experiential illumination. And you can connect the dots, or color outside the lines, or solve the puzzle as you wish.

If I remember correctly, in my last blog, I touched on the recent strain of suffering I’ve been experiencing in my relentlessly compelling soul tango with Ed. To say it plain, I had been living inside the fierce, continuous immediacy of heart ache for at least a week, in this last round. Yes, think of it like a heavy-weight boxing championship. And see me taking blow after blow, yet not going down for the count… Instead continuing to inhabit the treasure and skeleton-laden sunken pirate ship that was my heart. You can imagine that this made me a very unpleasant girlfriend. Dull. Aloof. Defensive. Critical. Overly sensitive. To name a few.

I was doing my best, I swear. But just feeling pinned and crushed beneath the weight of circumstance, and unable to free myself. Wanting to be with him. Wanting to build our nest and invite Alexandria into my womb. And floundering helplessly in the cold steal reality of impossibility to have what I yearn for. And you might be like, “Well then leave, Athena. Go find a man who is available, and get to making your soft, glittery disco nest!” But it’s not like that. It’s just not.

Have you ever lived for an extended period of time with a bleeding heart? I don’t recommend it. Unless you want to seriously ignite your quest for liberation. So I think it must have been the afternoon after my last blog entry, two days ago… I was on the phone with Ed, and the climate of my heart was still storming, but the clouds were losing their density, and beneficent, golden swirls of sunlight were gently pressing their way through the wet, grey ache. And if lightbulbs really DO flash over peoples heads in moments of epiphany, one screamed on, above me for sure!

I saw/felt/heard this renegade invitation to consider the possibility that the pain that had taken up semi-permanent residence in my heart (more like a persistent squatter), might actually have NOTHING to do with Ed. I know, this is a radical notion. But it really felt like the quintessential wound of my forgetful existence; the pain of being born into a world where I am dreaming I am separate from Source. What could hurt more than that? These might just sound like words to you… unless you’ve ever been willing to really FEEL IT. But imagine Infinity. Imagine an Ocean of Love, so deep and wide and all pervading, that it has no end and no beginning. Imagine being engulfed in that perfection, completely merged with that quintessential WHOLENESS…. and then imagine being squeezed through your mom’s vagina (or sliced out of her abdomen, as was my case) and some sterile dude with a mask on grabbing you and abruptly severing your source of oxygen and nourishment and you GASP and shriek and cry as you’re suddenly immersed in this ominous sense of separation, vulnerability and perpetual threat. Shit. It’s an ugly picture. And that’s how most of us are born into this world. (Except for all of the rad water births I’ve been watching on youtube, but that’s another blog!)

I’ve read and heard a bajillion times that the deepest opportunity of Intimate Relationship (letting someone into your heart and soul as deep as is humanly possible) is to make contact with our core wounds, feel them and heal them. And I’ve always believed it. But I’ve never been ready to get so close to the core as I did two days ago. Suddenly, I found myself considering out lout (Ed as my witness) that maybe the pain I was in had NOTHING to do with ANYTHING outside myself! Maybe everything “outside” was merely a catalyst to touch the center of my deepest being, integrate that which I had at some point renounced, “lost” …and return to a state of implicit wholeness. (A part of me hated to admit this. Because one the ego blows its cover, there’s really no going back into hiding…)

Are you following me? Honestly, I’m not sure if this is sounding way too radical, or completely obvious, like “Duh, Athena…” Strange, huh? In my world, the quest for Truth is the centerpiece, the heavenly body around which all other aspects and nuances of the human dream revolve. I recognize that peeling the onion and living ever-deepening cuts of Truth is not everyone’s cuppa. But walking the yogic path, and studying A Course in Miracles for four years now, I am realizing at continuously deeper levels that happiness really can NOT be found outside. It’s such a gnarly pill to swallow. But in the end, it does not matter what man I’m with, or whether I’m pregnant or not (still fervently bound to those desires though!!!) or…

The TRUTH is that I am WHOLE, perfect and complete. Always. Now. Life is but a dream. And dreams inevitably fade, while Truth eternally remains. There IS another way to live: surrendered to an intelligence and a love far greater than “my own”. God (LOVE), being One, can see the whole picture. I can see but a modest shard, probably smaller than a human sperm; relatively imperceptible to the naked eye. I really do *not* know what my best interests are. Except that all that I am living is exactly what I need to be living… in service of my highest growth. And I have the perpetual option to welcome it all with gratitude and faith and perfect peace. This, of course requires me to let go of my own, slighted agendas. That is the WORK. I am working HARD. I want to want only Truth, only the ever-new joy of God…. but delusion is so thick and persistent. Breath by breath. Moment by moment. Day by day.

How do you encourage a child to let go of her vice grip on that sticky candy she stole from the jar? You can’t rip it out of her hand!!! No way. She will scream and cry and clutch it even harder. Distract her with immense, wiggly, iridescent bubbles! Meaning, I can’t use brute force to tear my delusions from the grip of my sick mind. I must keep luring myself deeper into love’s gentle reality by lifting my gaze into it’s refined spheres of seductive, luminous beauty… and the layers of bullshit will naturally slough off like dead skin.

Om. Peace. Amen.

Violet Flames of Longing

I wish it was raining. I think it would make my writing better. You know, to be nestled in a cozy pocket of dim light and warmth, as wet music sang down and sweet, crisp darkness rushed in through my cracked-open window. It creates a mood that opens entire panoramas of inspiration and longing inside me. Plus, every now and again the large wind chime would add her deep, haunting voice to the evocative, improvisational chorus. But unfortunately, no more rain predicted for nearly a week! Frown. I didn’t think I’d crave it like I do. I thought I’d suffer from “seasonal affect disorder”, or whatever you call that silly diagnosis for people who thrive in light. But I wasn’t accounting for the vast, creative music of incessant storms. Or the ecstatic, erotic feel of the wet air flushing into my thirsting lungs… or the way the deep, dark grey tones of the sky would titillate every nuance of green to speak in stunning tongues. I am only recognizing it retrospectively, but growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have missed the experience of REAL seasons. They actually provide this rhythmic relief that feels so essentially linked to all of the rhythms of the universe within and without. Leave perpetual spring to the cake-worshipping Pollyannas of the world.

Wow. I’m amazed that I could get lost in such an extensive paragraph discussing the weather. Usually, I am a bit cynical of those who rely on discussing the weather as their primary vehicle for connection. Like, of all the topics in this vast multiverse, why be so unimaginative?… but I am seeing that even the weather can be discussed with artistry and nutrient-dense content. In fact, that’s my challenge to you! Next time you find yourself inadvertently sucked into a conversation of this nature, I dare you to take the wheel and drive it to unprecedented levels of creative genius and poetical inspiration! Just because you CAN!

When I first landed here at Ananda Laurelwood, people would ask me how long I was staying. My instant reply, “Nine weeks and three days.” You see, I had counted it out in my day planner before I left… as I found myself wondering how in heaven’s name I’d be able to survive that long without Ed. We have not been apart that long since we met, almost two years ago. (Is that ALL??? God, so much life can happen in two years! Good lord!) Until this current separation, our record was the six weeks I spent at the Momshram this summer when I did yoga teacher training there. That was hard. Now I’ve been here for four weeks and one day. Yep, that means I have five weeks and two days left. I know, I sound sorta neurotic. But if you’ve ever had the luscious experience of being so close to someone… and your whole body simultaneously relaxes and melts, surges and swells with peace and passion and swirls of dynamic contentment… then you’ll understand. And if not, take my “world” for it, (that was a typo, but I like it!) it’s not something that’s easy to walk away from.

But the pain of loving a tangled up, married man IS. So I did. And every day, I feel like a zealous puppy, tied to a pole, dancing about in the undeniable tugs of desire and longing, and meanwhile getting hopelessly tangled. Wondering WHERE ON EARTH HAS MY MASTER GONE?? To translate that metaphor into plain english, it’s like this: I want to be with Ed like crazy. And when I say “be with him, I mean stand behind him while he does the dishes, pressing my (PREGNANT) body lovingly into his, reaching under his plain old t-shirt 😉 and squeezing his belly squish and caressing his massive heart… Sitting on his big, comfy lap and feeding him intentionally crafted bites of vibrant, rainbow-colored salads and organic meat… Or even just peeking out the window at him as he purposefully pushes the lawn mower… or bring him a cup of coffee and a kiss as he scrupulously dissects a gun in his man cave. Oh, the romance of that which is not so… sigh.

I know… I “should” be talking about the world I’m IN… there’s so much intricate grace and nuanced wonder and gorgeously flawed perfection all around me. But part of the world I’m in is that tangled leash that is my mind and heart clawing for a world that burns to be born. And it’s not just Ed I long for. It’s Alexandria too. Our daughter. She told me her name in a dream. Like the lighthouse. My longing to LOVE this extraordinary, luminous treasure of a soul into the world is like living every day in scorching, violet-gold flames. They rise from the bottom of my being and dance up in incessant swells that often consume my consciousness. And hence, inevitably, comes the ensuing mind-fuck of trying to figure out how to claw my way out of this hap-hazard scramble of reality, into the waking dream scene where I am gloriously pregnant in my sacred, cushy nest beside my King… it’s like some kamikaze rubix cube that the more I try to untwist, the more cryptic it becomes! These swells of longing and fixation gather like ocean waves of desire that surge and crash, humbling me back into the simplicity and perfection of each arduous and glorious moment of life.

At sunday service, Daiva told us that if we turn and face our lives without trying to change or manipulate circumstances and other people, we will realize that it is the sublime intelligence of God at work, conspiring for our inner freedom, perfect peace and ever-new joy. I know this to be true, in the silent Isness, that witnesses my unfurling life like a perfectly soft, all-embracing blanket of mother love. Somehow I AM living the right life! Even though it wobbles and it wants and it whimpers. Umm, actually, Athena, your LIFE does *not* whimper… YOU do. But you don’t have to… It’s a choice. Sigh. All I know, is that life feels mostly like a strenuous uphill climb. Like Olympic strength training that might not “make sense” in the sobering sting of the moment… but perhaps someday when I burst forth from my cacoon of destiny, and spread my heaven-spun, vivid wings, it will ALL MAKE SENSE.

Maybe. Or maybe only LOVING makes sense… Yeah. That might actually be the case. But somehow, we must live it all. Loving it all is optional. But probably a smart choice.

Om. Peace. Amen.

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