Taking Sweet Refuge in Athena Graceland

I’ve been blessed with a stellar opportunity to write six *paid!* articles on motherhood, for a chiropractor friend’s website.  I’ve written four so far, and I have been very satisfied with them.  But then Serena turned four months alive, and suddenly my brain has gone missing!  The fifth one was gonna be about the immense potential of raising a girl, given all that I have gone through on my journey, and can now offer to her as profound empowerment.  And how this empowerment can ultimately heal and transform the world in the way of LOVE.  I am so ignited by this “sermon”… but somehow, despite the well of passion pressing on my heart from inside, I am failing hard!  I have written it FOUR times.  Each flush contains exquisite gems… but…  I feel like I am trying to decant the Ocean in a flimsy crystal champagne flute, which is a massive endeavor… and then my little Buddha-fairy calls to me from the bedroom and my concentration on this task is decimated.  My mind is a freshly shattered mirror, and when you try to behold your own face within it, you have a thousand eyes and a hundred and eight gaping, perplexed mouths.  Which might be interesting for a second, but ultimately, you need a soft, linguistic sanctuary for your mind to rest after bushwhacking through the underbrush of popular culture and wifi signals, concrete and an overpopulation of stiff right angles!  On one hand, it’s wildly frustrating… but it’s also pretty fascinating.  It’s a new experience for me to feel so clumsy with words and ideas.

So Athena Graceland is once again my hallelujah-refugee camp.  A place where I don’t have to make sense, or sound erudite and literarily competent.  (Although I often do…just by accident! 😉  The only requirement here in this psychedelic wilderness, is to BE ME, which thankfully, I can still muster, even as the mother of a four and a half month alive baby saint.  You think I’m kidding… I’m not.  I’m pretty sure all baby saints behaved as Serena does… with so much grace and patience, effulgent joy and serenity.  Yep, Saint Serena is super rad and I’m marinating in thanksgiving.  But this doesn’t make the job of caring for her any less labor intensive.  God, my body feels suddenly OLD!  Creaky and sore and weatherbeaten.  Is this why women are supposed to have babies at twenty, rather than thirty six??  Or is it just because I am doing it 98% alone, while earning a meager living doing physically demanding jobs, such as cooking and cleaning, which a) takes it’s toll, and b) doesn’t leave me excess cash flow to fund such replenishing activities as massage, yoga classes, luxurious laps at the local pool…. I still have hope for these things and more.  They would do me oodles of good.

I wish I was bringing in plentiful dollars via the use of my incredible mind and courageous, infinitely loving heart, versus my poor tin-woods-woman body, which has hopelessly misplaced the oil can right about now.  I have so many gifts and talents of the heart and mind… but I just haven’t quite figured out how to “monetize them”… and honestly, writing that made me puke in my mouth, because I still feel grossed out that I should have to monetize my love.  I just want it to happen for me like it happened for my all-time-hero, Matt Kahn.  He totally “seeked ye first the kingdom of Heaven”…. and all else was added unto him.  He didn’t sit around strategizing who his target audience of wounded SUCKAS was, and how to seduce their imagined weakness.  He tended the garden of his heart with steadfast, meticulous passion and suddenly… POOF!!!  Life demanded that he share all that he found with those who were hungry to Remember.  That’s the only way life makes sense to me.  I will just keep stepping deeper into LOVE… and my life will become what it must, as I die to myself and am ever re-born into the heart of Infinity.  I just can’t stomach all that marketing bullshit.  It’s basically feeding off of peoples’ culturally conditioned myths of brokenness, and capitalizing on it!!!!  That’s not okay with me.  I’d rather make them soup in my Shakti Pot, and just get by….

But I know there’s another way.  I know there’s a way for us all to thrive by communing in our Infinite Light… Celebrating our unique, masterful divinity….

In the mean time, I am chopping the shit out of wood and carrying the F out of water.

And I am mostly hella happy.  My body is just a bit stressed.  And I am feeling stretched.  And as aforementioned, my mind is curiously shattered… at least when I put pressure on myself to make sense… cuz this makes sense, right?  It makes perfect sense to ME…

Saint Serena the Benevolent is really allowing me to get into it this morning!!!… which is another ridiculous irony.  When I’m trying to write my articles, she wakes up before I can pull my mind together into a unified field of genius… But when I’m writing for my own cosmic shits and giggles, she snoozes away like Sleeping Beauty!  But I’m just watching the whole insane play unfold… and laughing about it all.  Even when I cry.  Like yesterday evening…

I had just led sadhana… (The two hours a week that I exist as Athena Grace… Not “Serena’s Mama”.)  I was walking along the red dirt path back to my car, who I named “Faith”, but my Ma insists on calling “Hakim”, because the license plate says HKM!!!!!  That woman amazes me in the best way…  Because her gratuitous rebellion simultaneously PISSES ME OFF and CRACKS ME UP.  Like, Mom, can’t you just call the damn car Faith, already???  And also, don’t stop calling her Hakim, because it strikes up a symphony of funny bones in me, that ONLY my Ma is able to….

But, so, (yes, I know it’s not traditionally “literarily masterful” to start a sentence with “But, so,”… but it felt like the appropriate beginning, so I went with it.) the evening is IN-TOX-I-CATING.  It’s not quite twilight…. But the world is beginning to blush in cool, ultra lucid tones.  Flocks of regal pine trees sweep the deepening sky, and the air feels like womb-esque perfection– neither warm nor cold, just deliciously alive.  This unsayable beauty suddenly reminds me of a poem written by my deceased friend and lover Dan… Something about realizing the meaninglessness of all that he once feverishly chased… uniting with the Truth of Existence– to bear ecstatic witness to the Light that fills the world each new day.

I start to feel the Dan shaped hole in my heart, tears sting my eyes, and I release myself into the heart of the emotion, like a white dove, tossed into the air, suddenly liberated in the invisible currents of space.  I reflect on the amazing conversations we shared over amazing food and wine, long, meandering walks on blessed beaches, through holy woods and vibrant green scapes of scintillating springtime.  And also the ways that he annoyed me– sometimes talking for days, as though he’d never been listened to in his whole life, which flooded me with a helpless feeling of energetically drowning in seemingly endless and desperate garlands of (beauty-full) words, worlds, stories.  This twisty, frivolous wander backward caused  me to muse… what WAS it about Dan???…. that compelled me with such immensity…?  His HEART, the immediate knowing flooded in.  His heart was the softest, most gentle, wise, generous compassionate space in all Creation.  Resting in its sanctuary was like being swaddled in chinchilla fur.  I could cry now, just thinking of his heart.  And his voice reflected it perfectly.  So soft, soothing, gentle.  Ok, now I am officially crying.  And his hands…. perfect extensions of his wide, infinite heart.  They spilled with healing love.  They touched to the core, without even trying.

Then I thought about all the hearts that I get to commune with every day of my life…. Legendary hearts.  And I’m not exaggerating.   My Ma.  Ed.  Serena.  Ken.  Dara.  Deirdre.  Karuna.  Gosh, it’s stupid to list them, because the list would never end.  I am lucid dreaming in an explosive eternal spring garden of glorious hearts.  My life is a stream of holy communion (sometimes playfully concealed by silly “problems”, misgivings and futile hopes…)

I am laughing at the one who used to believe that spiritual awakening would be like getting high… Like if I “meditated hard enough”, my third eye would explode into a psychedelic fractal of kaleidoscopic lights, and my body would rush and dissolve in tingling ecstasy.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, that would be pretty damn cool…  But I’m not renouncing my miraculously mundane existence in this Garden of Hearts, in order to stalk that fleeting, unsustainable “peak experience”.  I remember when I heard the spiritual AllStar, Wayne Dyer say, “Man must chop wood and carry water”… I was like hella bummed.  I secretly hoped he might be wrong.  Chopping wood and carrying water seemed a prison sentence to me.

But here I am, chopping the shit out of wood and carrying the F out of water….

And feeling more sustained, mellow ecstasy, contentment and peace than I ever imagined I could.

And maybe SOMEday, somehow, I will find myself delightfully inhabiting a version of my perfectly blessed life, where I am abundantly sustained by the gifts of my heart and mind, as I blissfully serve the bursting hearts of Humanity.  That would be so awesome.

Amen.

The Party Starts Here…

Well… I FINALLY made it!!!  You know… to the land of milk and honey!!!  That sweet, creamy epicenter of creation, where there is no resistance… to life…  Grin.  Will I be able to stay in this inner paradise?  Or will my unabashed telling it on a mountain knock me back on my sparse little fairy ass?  Shrug.  My hypothesis is that life will keep grinding me into exquisite diamond dust… and sometimes I’ll enjoy it more than others…  but for the most part, I have retired from beating myself up, and measuring myself against that despicable pile of beyond the sky spiritual standards.

This is mostly thanks to Matt Kahn.  (check him out on youtube or truedivinenature.com.  seriously.) People, I’m telling you… this dude is the sanest of the sane among us!!! He has reminded me that I can take an EPIC shortcut to everything that I have ever wanted, just by loving my own heart.  Yes.  Like physically putting my sentient, slender, E.T. hands over that warm, pulsing center of the universe, and saying aloud, “I LOVE YOU,” as I feel it reverberate like music through the land beneath my sternum.  As many times as I can stand it… and then a baker’s dozen more… at least.   Because like… the time has come to stop being a beggar, pleading for others to give me that which I refuse to give myself.  Insanity at its finest!…

In response to EVERYTHING that arises… I LOVE YOU.  I love you… I love you.  Try it!  I DARE YOU.

So I’ve found the gleaming, antique key to the Pearly Gates of the Queendom of Heaven.  Now what?  Like Jack Kornfield said, “after ecstasy, the laundry”.  Yep.  I’m still here at the Momshram, aka Ananda Village.  Early last week, I was shopping in “Master’s Market” and the woman who rang me up asked me if I was “looking for a job”.  It hadn’t occurred to me that I was… but when I gave it some thought… I realized that I just might be, after all!!!!  She said they  needed a new produce manager.  Twenty hours a week.  Someone to love on the veggies and fruities.  I felt kinda excited.  It was one of those cases of MC Omniscience on the mic, singing out divine order loud and clear.  So I leaned into the invitation and the next thing I knew, I was unloading a truck of organic veggies and blinking with astonishment at the light speed progression of my unfolding!

Actually, I panicked.  Like what in the heck had I just committed to???  What were the implications of saying YES to this opportunity?  Suddenly I was married to a life inside of this conservative, rigorous spiritual utopia in the middle of the woods, to which I do not officially belong… nor aspire to belong, to be honest.

Yeah, lemme interject a word about that- This place is medicine.  Many people come here to heal.  Whatever it is they have to heal…  Myself included.  Over the past year and some months, I have become unrecognizable to myself.  I have given up alcohol and pot and the excessive stimulation of urban existence.  I have been emerging as a teacher and a leader; one who courageously lives what she knows in her heart, without holding back.  But not in an ostentatious way… just inhabiting a quiet faith in the all-pervading power of love.  Gosh, I suppose that’s nothing new for me… But just updating my systems, and purging some seriously heavy, useless junk.

That said, I’m certainly as flawed as the rest of you suckas!!!  I still act like a jerk sometimes.  Especially to the people who matter most to me.  And I still shook in my hip and versatile, water-resistant boots after I committed to being the Produce Goddess at Master’s Market.  I told the manager (multiple times) that I wasn’t sure that the job was for me… that he should keep looking for someone “permanent” (whatever THAT is!), but I would GIVE MY BEST while I was there.  He looked into and straight through me and with an omniscient smirk, said, “That’s perfect.  That’s all I ask.”

And then I was free.  Not locked into living out a begraggled eternity at Ananda Village, doing a part-time, minimum-wage job… but just free… to fully inhabit THE MOMENT.  Giving my heart and my sweat to the task at hand, and the people who grace my presence.  It’s been like a week and a half.  And I am surprised by how much I love it.  It feels like family there.  A family of bright lights, under-cover agents of LOVE.  It’s kind and peaceful and SHRI.  My life feels balanced and blessed.

Oh, I forgot to tell you the most significant piece!!!  Ahem.  So I am practicing trusting my HEART to guide my life, right?  I am.  And it tells me what to do.  Sometimes.  And then sometimes there are spans of great quiet.  Where I guess I am just meant to BE in life for a while… But She told me to take this job.  And AHHHHHHHH my ego went BERZERK!!!!  It was like freaking out because it didn’t understand what I had just done!!!  It didn’t seem to jive with all the plans that it had made… For me to have a baby… and lead the LOVE REVOLUTION… and be a leader of women and a wealthy spiritual teacher with my own hOMe… and… on and on. (which is mostly all happening through me anyway, but that’s beside the point.)

All I knew is that I was told to say YES.

PEOPLE… I’m telling you… this kind of engaged, surrendered willingness is a serious exercise in TRUST.  A divinely ordained test I passed by a baby angel’s hair!!!! (there’s no such thing as failure, buy the way!) All I know is that life is NOT what we think… It’s this miraculous trust walk through perpetually blossoming gardens of endless magnificence that we can only recognize when we stop thinking we know how it should go and projecting into the illusory future… just simply relax as the current of divine grace carries us along this riveting river of predestined “surprises”, which are ALL conspiring to unfold us as ever-perfect expressions of LOVE in motion.

Are you ready to REMEMBER?

“The party starts here,” she said with a coy smile, pointing with gentle confidence to her blazing heart.

Rising in LOVE

Finally, I have remembered why we’re here!!!  Good lord, that *seemed* to take FOREVER…  But rumor has it, time is a big, fat illusion, so who who cares?  And what better do I have to do ANYWAY, than fumble my way into the heart of Truth?

Do YOU remember why we are here???

We are here to bring heaven to earth!!!  And if that sounds to airy-fairy for you, then a more Hemingway-simple way to say it, is that we are here to awaken as love.  And when we awaken as love, EVERYONE ELSE DOES TOO.  Because everyone IS you.  I’m serious.  Light heartedly serious.  It’s not just spiritualized wishful thinking.  I’ll even bet you my first born on this!!  And if you know me at all, you KNOW the world that she means to me…

It’s been a month since I touched down in the enchanted garden of Graceland… and good goddamn, it’s been the single most powerful month of my entire life.  In my last entry, I was feeling all battered and bruised because the gap between what I wanted and what I had seemed so irreconcilable and unsavory.  But today, I am living surrender.  Today I know that life IS God.  And God is Love.  Hence there’s absolutely no reason to rage against the machine of supreme intelligence that cradles me to it’s bosom of infinite, ever-expanding, creative form!

This awakening is infusing every area of my life with a soft wash of gratitude and wonder, so I could really use any facet of my life as an entry point to shed  tangible illumination on this subject of blessed transformation.  But since Relationship is really my favorite subject, I’ll start there.  Because you’ve been with me on this whole ridiculous twist of a ride with Dear Edward.

One of my fave yoga teachers, Pedro Franco prefers to use the term “break through”, over the stale, worn-out term, “break-up”.  When he first shared that, I didn’t quite get it.  It just sounded like fluffy, new-age semantics.  But Ed and I have “broken through” twice in the past few “rounds” (think boxing… we are definitely two noble, bloodied, heavy-weight champs).  The first time was after I asked him for a time commitment to when he’d be free from his marriage and he said when his little genius-angel-son graduates from high school.  TWO YEARS.  This instantly sent my heart spelunking through the depths of hell.  I sobbed for at least an hour straight, from the bottom of my guts, and gave him back his grandma’s ring.  In retrospect, I’m sure I was exorcising demons from the collective unconscious, on behalf of Humanity.

The second time was after I rediscovered the distinction of “entanglements” versus real, pure intimacy between two whole people.  Entanglements are the result of two people who are yet unwilling to love themselves fully and completely, instead coming together and desperately manipulating the other to give them what they are unwilling to give themselves.  Which, of course is impossible.  I realized that what we were participating in was indeed an entanglement, and I had some WORK to do in my own precious heart, before I was ready to get all up in another person’s.  Makes a cornucopia of sense, right?!

The miracle, is that on both occasions, Ed felt through the shards of soul pain that surfaced and purged, and remained standing, brighter and stronger than ever before in the open sky of unconditional love and rarefied willingness.  He always does.  And this makes him the supreme god of my heart.  And thus, impossible to let go of.  So you see, we didn’t really break-up.  We broke through veils of delusion.

So where does that leave us standing today?  Our Relationship has been sublimely intelligent shock treatment that has disabled my capacity to linger in the beglittered fantasy of false future hopes.  I LOVE HIM.  Like no other.  That’s real.  And TODAY I choose to stand by his side.  Today I bow to him as an imperative teacher, celebrate him as a world-class friend, and dance with him as a delicious divine lover.

Will we be together in the classical sense, SOMEDAY?  Possibly!!!!  But here’s what I know for SURE~  I am committed to loving myself entirely, and with ecstatic abandon.  I am ALIVE FOR LOVE.  And a magnificent byproduct of this sacred alignment, is that I KNOW that my future is beyond bright, no matter how the story plays out.

HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!?!?!?

Seriously.  I have worked so fucking hard to drop anchor in this sacred center of BEing.  And maybe I didn’t have to be working hard… because awakening is inevitable.  But oh well.  I did.  (Or was I done by infinite intelligence?)  And I’m all the better for it!!!  And so are YOU.  This is not MY story.  This is OUR story.  The world is waking up.  Look into your heart, and you will see that there is an unborn, but entirely formed and miraculously pure world in there.  A beautiful, peaceful, love-drenched world.  And YOU are the One who has been blessed with the divine mission of bringing it into physical form, through the focused beam of your holy faith, tireless devotion and FULL PARTICIPATION in this wild game of love masquerading as physical form!!!   YES!!!  Now go out there and WIN IT FOR THE TEAM!!!!

From my heart to yours… All love and blessings!!!!

With my ear to the ground…

I have my ear pressed to the ground.  I am listening for water, as though my life depended on it.  No, not the literal, earthen ground… The ground of my inner-most being.  And the water is the pure, nourishing, musical flow of my essential self.

Every day I face the grating realization that my life is not what I want it to be.  I want a light, spacious, peaceful hOMe nestled in the glorious embrace of nature.  I want spiritually and creatively fulfilling work.  I want a husband to wake up with; to share life with.  I want a child or two.  I want plenty of money.

Instead I’m living with my mom at a spiritual community in the woods.  I’m teaching yoga in trade for credit toward more classes here.  (Saving up for meditation teacher training!)  I’m spiritually married to a man who I can’t be with (in the day to day sense of the words) (Although I s’pose it depends on what you mean by “waking up together”… Grin.).  I’m not pregnant.  Monetarily, I have the twenty dollars my Ma just shelled out so that I could by sprouted raisin bread at Master’s Market after I finish writing this.

See… there’s a seeming discrepancy between what I want and what I have.  And it’s driving me nuts, because I believe I have the power to create what I want in my life… but I feel stuck.  It’s a nauseatingly familiar feeling.

So I’ve been relentlessly stalking a SHIFT IN CONSCIOUSNESS.  Because Einstein was not just blowing smoke up our asses when he said that you can not solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it.  Yeah, so I’ve been flushing my mind with youtube recordings of Abraham Hicks, Wayne Dyer and Marianne Williamson, as well as daily readings from my beloved companion, A Course in Miracles.  Striving to spark remembrance of the Infinite Power within me.  I want it to be that I am dousing myself with figurative gasoline, so that when God decrees it, that destined match gets lit and tossed like a kiss on the wind, by a smirking Mother of Grace, and in a holy instant, my whole world roars in a blazing pyre of simultaneously spiritual and material success.

It really could happen.

But in the mean time, Abraham is drilling it into my thick scull that happiness does NOT come from external circumstances.  No!  Happiness is a permanent inner address.  Ugh!  You’d think that realizing this would be HALLELUJAH news… And really, it IS… but it’s also frustrating… because like, if that is true, and I know it IS, then why am I feeling stuck in “not happiness” so much of the time?

Because I still insist on clinging to ideas of how life SHOULD look, and this idea is forming a gaping Grand Canyon between the life I’m IN, and the life I WISH I was in.  And the only way I can ever hope to traverse it, is by sprouting WINGS, and I can only sprout wings by allowing the innate JOY of my divine essence to rise to the surface of my life and consciousness.

It appears that I’m chasing my tail.

But I’m closer than I think.  Because I am remembering that joy is not something that I have to GENERATE; go out and by at the store and slather all over the surface of myself and my life.  No… joy is the water that I am listening for as I press my ear to the ground of my Being.  It will flow to the surface as I invite it, and then allow.  Sometimes it bubbles up in a soft wash of glee, after sadhana (spiritual practice).  And it’s almost easy to miss… because it’s subtle.  Like the identical twin sister of our beloved friend peace.  It’s not what I formerly knew joy to be… this manic, over-stimulated feeling that comes from a triple late, or a peak experience.  That’s the cheap imitation.  Like the difference between eating a blood-red bing cherry at summer’s zenith, or a cherry flavored blow pop.

Meanwhile, I look in the mirror, and I see a wOMan of pure light gazing back at me.  I see a clarified, indelible soul beauty, that I have worked so hard to become.  Yes.  I have worked so hard to get this far.  I don’t know if this “working hard” is good or bad, right or wrong… but it’s what I know to be true with a small t.  True with a massive T, is that I am always whole, perfect and complete.  I am infinite.  The Truth of me can never change…  But in this relative world, I evolve.  I burn down and rise up, burn down and rise up.  I shed and molt and remodel and incessantly become.

Even though my life is “not what I want”… I suppose it is what I NEED.  Because I am becoming a purified channel for the Light.  From the excruciating heat of this alchemy, the possibility of real wisdom and love are whispering from deep within me.  No journey is EVER wasted.  Even if I am blind and flailing in a mud puddle of my treasured delusions…

The Light will ultimately obliterate all dreams of darkness.  Yes, you can take that statement to the BANK!  And in the mean time, I keep my ear devotionally-obsessively pressed to this inner ground.  Thirsting to learn the hushed, lucid language of Silence.

 

Athena Graceland is morphing into new dimensions of HALLELUJAH!!!
Yeah, I’m in love with video now.  My intention is to raise YOU up!!!!!

Are you ready to explore new frontiers of ecstasy, delight, gratitude and wonder?

If so, you have come to the right place!!!

Let the SHRI resound through your sweet slice of infinity within!!

 

Watch my vid!!!

Hello Friends!  I know that Athena Graceland has been a ghost town as of late… I have been exploring the medium of video, and finding so much delight in this mode of expression.  This is just the beginning… I am taking the world by storm.  I want to remind you all of the Truth.  That you are INFINITE.  You are WHOLE.  You are a powerful creator, and your thoughts and feelings CREATE YOUR REALITY.  The mind can get so lazy…. and fall asleep as you tumble through well worn grooves in your mind.  But time to WAKE UP.  Together… Come on!!!!  You and me.  Let’s dare to LOVE like we were BORN TO LOVE.  And shape our lives and the world from inspired vision and delight!!!!

 

Check out my first video here:

 

 

Blessed BE,

Athena Grace

 

 

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!

Ecstasy: The Return

Wow. If this isn’t a classic case of the hero(ine)’s journey, I don’t know WHAT is!… Here I am, the lone little hobbit, descending back down the treacherous mountain, into the lush and innocent valley that is my home… worn, weather beaten, triumphant, and pulsing with inner strength. Yep, I’m back in the bay area, after my nine week and three day quest. And by the grace of my nature, here I am, trying to add it all up (and divide by ONE!)…

I’m actually surprised by how glad I am to be back in the Bay Area. Honestly, I thought I was like so over this chaotic, polluted, yet somehow sublime meca … Not so. Laurelwood was awesome and necessary. But it was also rugged in many ways. Sorta like backpacking for years in the wilderness. I didn’t realize how hard it was on me to spend so much time indoors. Or to do without my daily dose of “ecsta-ser-cise”. That’s a combination of “ecstasy” and “exercise” incase you didn’t gather that on your own. Because I have noticed that those two words are almost synonymous for me. I swear, I hit up my old lover, bikram yoga, the first chance I got, and as I formed my body into still and sacred shapes, breathed, poured tangy sweat, and felt wild unsayable things bursting and dancing inside me, I realized I was making love with myself.

Imbibe= to absorb or soak up, as water, light or heat.

Yes, I was imbibing embodied, transcendent ecstasy. Same thing in the pool this morning! Holy JESUS. I LOOOOVE temescal pool! Salt water. Outdoor. Sensually stroking through liquid bliss. Flying through a cool and shimmering slice of gentle, wet, sky. Love becomes nearly tangible as it shushes across my naked, singing skin.

After Laurelwood, EVERYTHING TASTES BETTER!!! (Except Ed. He always tastes better.) I went to ecstatic dance on sunday morning, and good lord, it was the first time in too many forevers, that I’d landed in that wild, frenetic, strain of heaven, and felt “at home”! (Over the last nine or so months, as I’ve been in this deeply transformative and vulnerable shedding process, my experience of ecstatic dance has mostly been one of landing in that sphere of high energy in motion and feeling overwhelmed and way too tender and eighty-sixing it outa there.) Now I’m squealing and shrieking with delight about how god it felt to be there.

I’ve been trippin’ on this whole notion of “spiritual” a lot lately. That over-stuffed word can be as much of a fuck, as religion itself. “I’m spiritual, he’s not.” “That’s spiritual, this isn’t.” Reminds me of that poem by Hafiz where he’s all sympathetic and tender towards us human folk, because we MUST be exhausted, spending all day “dividing God”. Yeah. Dividing God sure IS a full-time occupation. It’s so weird that we have SO far to go, considering we are already here!

But what I was driving at, is that it annoys me how people at Ananda sometimes display this elitist attitude… like “Over HERE, on THIS path, we’re so tra-la-la…” Us and them. Sigh. It’s a reflection of my own deluded consciousness. Who am I kidding… I am hella quick to draw lines in the sand and rank my nebulous dream of my “self” above and below “others”. Probably as soon as I knock it off, the “outside world” will realign with my refreshed inner reality.

But gracious me, I can’t seem to walk a straight line of thought for the life of me! I must be drunk! Drunk on ecsta-cer-cise. And spring time sunshine. And delicate cappuccino aftermath. And the passionate kiss that my Man just leaned over and shared with me. Yeah. Ed’s working on his [grown-up] biz right next to me. We’re at Pizzaiolo. The wood oven is blazing with sacred, translucent orange flames, glasses are filling the lusty spring morning with clink, and people are doing whatever it is that people do at hip urban cafes. Shrug. “Important stuff.”

Okay, lemme make the point I was trying to make three paragraphs ago, before I blurred into tangential, non-sequiturian ecstasy-induced blathering. I’m saying that from my galactic vantage point, I don’t recognize a true division between the spirituality expressed in a spiritual community, and the spirituality that innately oozes from the creative, conscious, connected, open-hearted friends at ecstatic dance. I believe it can be a “pitfall” on the spiritual path to start asserting who and what is “spiritual”, and who and what isn’t. I believe God is LOVE, and love is everywhere, mischievously smirking; just waiting to burst out and be revealed.

Seriously, this is the most profound and spiritual moment of my life. Right NOW.

Being at Ananda Laurelwood was a rough ride in many ways. Being indoors, being in perpetual rain and cold, being away from my delicious lover and best friend. (I missed you too, Mom… but it’s different…) Not getting enough exercise. Not getting enough animal flesh. Not touching or being touched enough. Being mostly surrounded by people who had a way lower threshold of authenticity, openness and willingness to reveal and be revealed in the most raw and rudimentary fashion….

And yet…. something happened while I was there. I was not just scrubbing toilets, I was scrubbing the dingy crannies of my soul. Not always a glamorous endeavor. But SO worthwhile. Do you know what I mean? Like sometimes the heart calls us forth on a journey that the conscious mind can NOT make sense of. But still, the heart quietly requests us to let go of what we “know”, and step out beyond the edge of the mystery. I am learning to say yes to the omniscient wisdom of my heart. It never leads me astray.

A lot of the training I have been undergoing recently has been about reclaiming connection with my Self; remembering that truly, the joy is within me. (Which naturally implies that THE JOY IS WITHIN YOU, TOO. Pause a moment, and let that sink in. I mean it. Close your eyes and say to yourself, “All the joy I could ever want is within me RIGHT NOW!”)

********PAUSE. BREATHE. OPEN. ALLOW.***********

I was so curious to see how this new version of me would experience its ISness, in “old familiar” settings, beyond the seventh day adventist boarding school turned ashram. And I am not so surprised, yet completely delighted to discover that I am the same as I have ever been… and yet completely new. More available to refract the vivacious rays of Infinity. More evidence as to why I ought to trust my exquisite heart for the rest of forever.

Om. Shri. Om.

Today’s Good Word

Did you know that I had a siamese fighting fish named Shri Skeletor? Well I did. And he was a miracle. Iridescent red, kissed with blue when the light danced about his elegant slithering body. And I killed him. So slowly. By accident. I didn’t realize that his water needed to stay in the eighty degree range. He seemed to do fine in my old apartment. I guess it was always warm there. But then, once again, Shiva, the god of creative destruction, slashed my world apart in the name of Truth everlasting, and I put him in a mason jar (for the duration of travel) and slung him to the Momshram. Through the sweltering expanse of summer, we were one big happy family, me and Ma and Skellie… But then winter cast her frigid breath upon our lair…

His demise was slow. So slow that it was unnoticeable at first. But after a couple of months, suddenly, he mostly just lounged around on the bottom of the tank like an over-stuffed Roman. Except conversely, he was under-stuffed. He had stopped eating all together. I thought maybe he was just on a diet…

By the time my white knight, Sir Edward got a heater for Skellie’s bowl, he was too far gone. Poor baby, just lay on his side, at the bottom, his little belly heaving as God continued to breathe him with twisted mercy. Every once in a while Skeletor would exert every ounce of his fortitudinous fishy will, and scurry up to the surface… perhaps in hopes of finding the pearly gate to heaven. No such luck. He’d sink back down to the bottom and flop onto his side where he lay like a spoiled piece of sashimi. Finally, on the soulstice, by the mercy of the One, he left this world. I felt nauseous, guilty and bereft as I scooped him out of the tank and put him in a ziplock baggie in the freezer… until our makeshift undertaker, Ed, could haul him away in his big golden truck, and burry our beloved friend in his vegetable garden. I did not realize I could love a fish so dearly.

THE END.

Wow, that was quite a scenic route. I only meant to tell you that lately, I have been feeling akin to our little finned protagonist. Devastated by exhaustion… All I want to do is lay at the bottom of my little fish tank of a bedroom in a fleshy heap of merciful respiration. I mean, I’ve had a proclivity for exhaustion my whole adult life… I mostly nap every day, when life permits (which it mostly does, because I design it that way…). But since I have been here, it seems to have gotten worse and worse. On saturday, I was in a painting workshop taught by Dana, and instead of being able to sink in and suck the marrow from it, I felt like I was dying. Every time I stood up, I got light-headed. Scary. I feared I was having thyroid failure.

On sunday evening, I visited our resident naturopath… and after asking me ten thousand very deep, probing questions (which really stirred up the sediment in the depths of my soul) he deduced that I am probably anemic. He took my pulses and was shocked that I was almost dead. That was a mild exaggeration. The dead part, but not the shocked part… So now my mission is to find an iron supplement that works with my system, and to eat some bloody cow meat asap.

I went to bed feeling panicked and helpless, like I was stranded on a meatless island, forced to face my untimely demise. It’s kinda weird, being tucked away in this remote little valley in northern oregon, sans car… not being able to earn money… relying on the benevolence of occasional sprinkles of cash that fall from the heavens and flutter down upon me in decorative, love-stained envelopes. (Thanks Ed and Ma!!!)

I want to earn money. And feel self-sufficient. But right now I’m on a spiritual quest. Which, in the eyes of the default world, might not seem as legit… But in the omnipotent eyes of All Pervading Love, it’s a noble and worthy endeavor. For what is life, but a gracious opportunity to realize Truth within and become a perfect channel of love?

I just exhaled for like ten minutes…

Two weeks and two days left. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m counting. Because spiritually redeemed people live in the mOMent. Honestly, I’m getting WAAAAAAY better at living in the mOMent. That has been one of my most fervently pursued elective courses here on Earth University, for quite some time now. And being at Ananda Laurelwood has been a graduation of sorts. I am truly able to relax into all shades and shapes of life here and luxuriate in the sweet, tootsie roll center. And still, I count the days. Because I am in love with a man named Edward. And his body and his life are far away. (His heart is nearer than I can say….)

Yep, I’m still hanging in there with our favorite married police officer boyfriend, like it or not. I like it. I was seriously ready to throw in the blood-stained towel a couple of weeks ago… for real. But instead of reacting like a threatened, starving wolf, he became an unwavering pillar of masculine strength and valor. I told him that if we were to continue onward together, it was time for him to take explicit action and move toward me. He has been. I trust him deeper and deeper with every passing day. And meanwhile I am using my life to move deeper into God (aka: wholeness, inner freedom, love, Self-realization). Which, as far as I’m concerned, is the only thing worth doing, anyway. I just want to unfurl in the light of heaven, and share every drop of divine wealth with this world. THAT MEANS YOU. Yes. I want to pilgrimage to the gurshing Source of Love at the center of Creation, and then serve as a guide; effervescently lighting YOUR way.

A teacher may be responsible for a particular body of knowledge… But ultimately, what they truly have to offer is their state of consciousness; the pure, raw immediacy of their BEING. I will NOT stop short of the mark! This train is bound for the very pulse of Infinity.

Speaking of being short of the mark, though, quite frankly, I feel that I have missed the mark with this blog entry. I spent sOMuch time driveling about my dear little fishie… and from there, I just continued to tease the edges of the reality of my existence. Sigh. Sometimes it happens like this. You push off the bank of the river, and get swept up by a current, and instead of taking you to the day-glow capital of Graceland, you find yourself in a faded, remote suburb.

But A Course in Miracles teaches that the messenger’s job is not to invent the message. Only to be the winged dove, appointed in the name of Grace, carry it safely to Destiny’s dancing doorstep. So perhaps I am being a needlessly hash judge, and these are just the words you thirsted for… I just feel like there is sOMuch left unsaid. And I want to say it all; just open up my figurative mouth like a snake with a hinged jaw, and pour forth an entire universe of flaming pertinence and sacred revelation.

Oh well, maybe next time… “Om Swaha”, as we say in my country…

Live,
A

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