The Silver Whisper of Mortality

On my thirty third birthday, to my delight, I discovered my first white hair.  It was shorter than the rest, and reached skyward like a little fairy antennae.  Every time I looked at it, I felt a sense of soulful relief that I was finally growing into my Self.  The Self who had toiled and ached in the gaping chasm between the wisdom of my soul and the limitations of my sparse experience as a twenty-something years alive humanoid on planet Earth.  (I still marvel at those who feel that their twenties are the best years of their life!!!  Unfathomable…)  My white hair was a prized trophy.  Actually, Ed told me to call it “silver”.  That does sound more glamorous… so let’s go with that… makes it sound like I could take it to the bank or use it for alchemical wizardry…

After not TOO much time, I got tired of the way it refused to blend with the flock, and I impulsively plucked it, convinced that soon enough, more would come.  They didn’t.  Until a couple weeks ago.  And THIS time, three years later, my response to this burgeoning silvered, wiser version of myself is not nearly as insouciant.  Actually, the contrast is remarkable.  This time I am the mother of a five month alive goddess… And I feel suddenly OLD.  I have felt worn ragged since she came.  I hope it passes.  I have been living in an incessant state of mild to spicy exhaustion.  My yoga practice has spilled between the cracks in my whittled down, practical existence, as I prioritize money making endeavors, basic hygiene and hOMe maintenance.  And when I DO exercise, it’s walking with a seventeen pound sack of Boozle strapped to me.  God, I feel like I leave a trail of foot-shaped craters in my wake!  My knees creak and groan precariously as I crouch up and down while cleaning houses, wearing my daughter.  And best of all is the steady numbness in my thumb, pointer and middle finger, from the sudden flair up of postpartum carpal tunnel!

It actually feels ridiculous to be writing this.  I never imagined that I’d tell it on a mountain about falling apart and “feeling old”.  I’m hoping that it’s a fleeting, short-lived experience resulting from the Xtreme sport of being a new mom.  A SINGLE new mom at that.  And a *relatively* poor one a that.  Actually, I do not consider myself poor.  I feel pretty wealthy.  But not wealthy enough to thrust heaps of cash at a babysitter while I go off and get a nice, deep, luxurious massage, or weekly acupuncture… or even… mmmm… a swim a the local pool.  Now I’m drooling.

Serena is becoming more and more awake and engaged… and I am humbled.  Gone are the days when she’d just sleep like a little dense loaf of heaven, and I could get on with my romanticized existence as a new mother.  Nope.  Welcome to the version of reality where I am mostly busting my butt to earn money while constantly attending to Serena, and keeping myself and my home in a moderate state of loveliness.  Oh… and at least dabbling in staying connected to others.

If my life was a piece of music…. God, there are so many different instruments playing, and weaving together a very eclectic strand of melodies and diverse tones.  Loneliness moans from deep down in my heart like a wailing saxophone.  I thought I was ok with loneliness by now.  I used to be afraid to admit Her presence, for fear of frightening others even further away from me.  But over time, I realized that loneliness is an inevitable guest who visits everyone from time to time… no big deal.  Lately though, I have not been such a gracious hostess… because while She has mostly been a respectful guest who doesn’t overstay her welcome, recently she seems to have set up camp.  I guess She needs a lot of my loving attention.  Sigh.  I often feel frustrated that I am a single mom.  Even though I chose it, I find myself longing to do it with Ed… Imagining a highly glamorous rendition of intimacy, witnessing the child we created out of our potent, devoted love, unfurl and blossom every day… Being kissed and held… Leaving Serena with him while I went to my weekly yoga class… Writing about this is causing the gravitational field in my heart to become crushing.

But back to the symphony singing in me.  There is a brass section, that is crashing triumph!  This experience has catalyzed the lazy, inert dimensions of me to WAKE UP and get groovin!  A deep part of me was yearning to get unstuck… crying out for the grace of something that mattered enough to compel me to bleed and sweat and make shit happen.  Silver hairs or not, if I was babyless, I’d still be draped on the figurative chaise lounge, eating organic bonbons and watching new-age soap operas.  Ha!  Actually, my LIFE is a bit of a new-age soap opera…. I remember one time, about three years ago, I was getting ready to leave my Ma’s house, and return back to my lovely art deco apartment in the Land of Oaks… and my Ma said to her cat, “Jupi, say bye to Athena… She’s going back to her soap opera now.”  This comment simultaneously agitated me and cracked me UP!!!  There was too much truth to it to be casually dismissed.  But thankfully, over time, my Ma graduated my existence to the status of a full on OPERA.  A classier production with bold, heart-wrenching music and exquisite costumes…  I wonder what she’d deem this current incarnation.  Now there’s not enough frivolous time to flop around and squeeze drama from the cracks in my life.  My days are a steady stream of rigorous output.  But somehow still colorful, because come on, it’s Graceland!  Anyway, a deep part of me feels profoundly satisfied to be working so hard, and experiencing myself as boundless and powerful.

And yet… simultaneously, there is a part of me who is really getting off on feeling like a victim!  I don’t know what instruments would sound for this section of my inner musical landscape….?  Oh duh!  VIOLINS.  Tons of them!!  Pooooor Athena.  She has to do it all by herself.  There is nobody to hold her baby.  Her body aches and she’s exhausted and it never stops.  It’s weird, but I can actually feel myself ENJOYING feeling sorry for myself in some moments!  Even as I am concurrently feeling empowered and strong.  I tell you this, because I feel a passionate call to bust through the collectively constructed myth that a person must be all streamline and tidy on the inside.  NO WAY.  We each have so many dimensions singing up from within us, all at once.  And they don’t have to agree or make any semblance of sense.  And yet, even inside this miraculous cacophony, we can still be graceful and at peace.

If you don’t know this about me yet, I love my stories to have “morals”.  Not the kind of morals that measure your worthiness or acceptability… but the kind that invite you to look inside and touch your own humanity and divinity in an intimate and meaningful way.  Modern day parables!  I’m a messy, modern day Jesus!  Haha!!!  But seriously, Jesus taught the masses to love everyone.  And I am suggesting that the precursor to that illuminated stance, is to love everyone who lives inside of YOU.  I believe in the dawning of a world of peace and harmony… because it is rising soft and radiant in my own heart and life.  And it is highly contagious.

Amen.

Time Keeps A-Sweepin’

Realizing it’s now July.  Noticing I get so excited about the passage of time, but why?  It’s like I’m sprinting down the echoing breezeway of Life, my little worn out moccasins making explosive shouts as they slap and slap and slap the concrete beneath me.  Where am I running to with such urgency?  Back to God, I suppose, but in that case, the joke is definitely on me… because… running to the “end” will not get me any closer to the All Pervading Yard Duty.  Being still might.  Letting my intense yearning split me down the middle might… But certainly not fast forwarding in a single bolt of lightening strife to the illusory ego-fever-dreamish end of Life.

I wrote that first paragraph fresh out of bed.  But that’s all that revealed its self, so I cut myself some slack and took a chill pill instead of squeezing out the entire blog by six am.  Fed, watered and clean as a squeaking, queenly Disney heroine on ice, I am now nestled just south of peaceful at Pizzaiolo.  Still trying to carve out my safe nook in the chaos.  Today’s Course in Miracles lesson made me shake and combust in my sleek space boots.  It was about becoming consumed, devoured, swallowed by God’s name, and therefore my name, your name, OUR sacred name.  Letting my thirst for the One drive me over the edge of illusion’s steep ravine into the oceanic, All Pervading Void.  I think that’s a splendid idea!  I accept!  And now I sit in witness of this ceaseless swish of activity and I burn to see only All Pervading Holy Me… in every single face.  And in the faceless space between heavenly bodies.  This mission requires frequent breathing.

The energy feels so agitating.

Ahhhh, blessed be.  A luminous man from Mykael’s men’s circle just came in and sat across from me!  I offered him a poem.  He accepted.  I asked him to spill the contents of his heart and mind out onto the table between us and he generously poured out a story that went like this~ tomorrow he is flinging himself bold and brave into the unknown folds of Life.  He’s subletting his home for the summer and journeying to Eselen to do work trade.  He feels the blissful sting of change, the inevitable fear-stained tickle of letting go into the unknown.  As he talked, I began to see images of verdant, beautifully tended gardens at dawn.  A bead of dew sliding helplessly graceful down a virile green leaf.  I’ll tell ya WHAT~ writing poetry on the fly is the ultimate exercise in trusting my mind, my imagination.  It always shows me things.  My only job is to tune in, listen, look inside and say YES.  I find it sorta unbelievable.  Entirely miraculous. Risky.  So alive.

As I smacked out the poem, my own heart unfolded, petal by meticulous petal into full bloom.  By the time I finished, I was ecstatic.  This is alchemy at its finest!  Remember, I was choking on the chaos, struggling to find my place.  Then in the next instant, I was blessed by the holy opportunity to let the All Pervading Poet bestow a sacred blessing through me.  I want to leap into the sky and give God a violent high five!  Win for the team!!!  Hmmm… I don’t really know what else to say after that.  I guess I’ll just toss out RosyMoon’s poem request about aging and mortality and call it a day.

She gazed at what legend had it

was her own face,

curious, blinking and flat

upon the reflective glass

she came to know as

“herself”.

Myopic, scrutinous she drank

modest sips of an image breathing

as it shot,

slow and soft

through Time’s winding mind.

Judging eyes

scoured the deepening story lines

upon her tale of skin,

vacillating in a ceaseless pulse

of approval

and disdain passed down

from mothers upon mothers

upon sisters and brothers

in this epic dream

of embodied God long forgotten

in the folds of endless division.

Distracted by a fresh

though not so fragrant spray

of thoughts,

she reached for a the hairbrush

to her left and swept

it through a tangled mane.

It sang crunching songs

as it tamed her external wilderness.

Blinking, she slicked

a colored stain across lips familiar

as her own name.

Grasping for an unchanging taste

of her beauty she stood

in wait.

Another moment, another day

half asleep, oblivious to

the truth hidden within

the ambiguous, eternal something lurking

just beyond her hungry

slow

decaying reflection.

God, thank you for another beautiful day to remember you, to serve you, to spin time and space into Love on the loom of Forgiveness.  Amen.

Living the Life of My Dreams: Yes I Dare!

I finally received the sign that I was asking for last week!?!?!  How do I know?  Obvious, I FELT it.  Honestly, we humans have a tendency to make shit so complicated… when REALLY our feelings will tell us the truth every time.  As I sat in church listening to Terry McBride passionately remind each of us of our divine MAGNIFICENCE, my body reverberated with unmistakable aliveness.  My attention was single pointed.  Presence was effortless.  (I felt the same as the choir SANG!  Fuck can they SING!!!  I swear, they make me cry every time.  And I love looking at their diverse, shining, holy faces.  So many stories, emotions, experiences, hopes and dreams.  So many colors and shapes and expressions of light!  You would be AMAZED!!!)  He told us that we are each the living Christ, NOW(meaning we are divine children, fashioned from the very potent fabric of the All Pervading Light that is this Universe).  There’s nothing we must do in order to earn this innate privilege.  Yes, my mind shook and trembled under the weight of his bold stance.  He said he’s not a proponent of the school of “go with the flow”.  Nope… Unless the flow happens to be going where HE wants to go.  Otherwise he will change it.

I have been toiling in this very inquiry of how much is my life is up to God, circumstance, destiny, fate, flow… and how much is it my right, responsibility, privilege to engage my individual will and CAUSE my life?  Believe me, this inquiry fucks my mind every single time… and not in an even remotely erotic sense.  I have been plenty tumbled and pummeled by the waves of life, victimishly billowing in breezes that seem to be but a ceaseless stream of miraculous, haphazard chaos, in my thirty years this time around.  And frankly, it BLOWS.  But hearing this unabashed, vital, bold, sixty six year old man who survived a spinal infection that was “supposed to” be fatal, who survived more than twenty surgeries throughout his twenties, doctors telling him to “be realistic”… this man standing before me, fully present, alive, HEALTHY and adamantly conveying a message of personal power to every single human being who has the interest in waking up to our innate, divine power…

What?  Well, his stand certainly stirred up some dis-ease in me.  These teachings of infinite personal power demand a high-assed level of responsibility for one’s dreams, beliefs and actions.  Damn.  Wow.  Yes.  But beneath all the waves of mental conflict caused by the clash of limiting beliefs grating on an invitation to step into a life of liberated choice, passion and vision, the bottom line?  I FELT WIDE ALIVE as he spoke.  And that is how I ALWAYS want to feel.  And I don’t see why I can’t. (As soon as I wrote that, the all too familiar voices of social conditioning flooded in to convince me that that is WAY too much to ask, who do I think I am, life is suffering, I must tolerate… blah, blah, blah… WHO DO I THINK I AM????  I AM GOD.  And so are YOU.)  There are so many thought forms floating around trying to convince us that we have to settle for less… that we must acquiesce to being victims of circumstance much of the time… Nope.  We don’t.  Stay tuned, because I’m rolling up my sleeves and walking the walk.

You know what I’m fucking sick of?  All the collective beliefs we hold in this culture about aging.  We anticipate all the creaks and groans of our withering bones before they even hit.  As soon as they wink their first traces of arrival, we righteously affirm them as our birthright and destiny.  Terry McBride proudly announced that he is sixty six years alive, and all vitality.  Reverend Elouise is like eighty two…  And she too refuses to succumb to these stupid ideas about being physically and mentally limited by the number of times her human vehicle has circumnavigated our resplendent olde friend the sun.  Hell YES!  Let’s dare to flourish till we drop!!!  I have always been so enthused about aging… I imagine that I’ll just get deeper, richer, tastier, like high quality wine or cheese.  But now I see that there is even some bullshit lurking in THAT idea… because it wreaks of a subtle message that I am not DEEP, RICH and TASTY [enough] right NOW!!!  Funk that!  I am done with not being enough right here and now.

I am through with my extended holiday on the isle of existential crisis.  There is too much life to celebrate, NOW.  There are far too many blessings to bestow, NOW.  And certainly there are a pant load too many miracles to bear witness to, NOW!!!  I am ready to love my life.  I am ready to stand in and as the infinite power of a hella fresh, generous, all pervading God in the face of ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.