Growing a Goddess

One of the most literally miraculous (is there a such thing as “figuratively miraculous”?) aspects of bringing a child into this world, is the way they reunite people.  Even without inhabiting a body, the gravitational force of a yet to be born soul’s love is profound.  Serena’s presence in my life has been an immense catalyst for reuniting and healing.  I bow to her Holy influence.

But that’s not even what this piece of writing is about!  Too bad, huh?… cuz what a wonder-full topic to expound upon!  I get such a charge out of “breaking the rules” of writing.  Because REALLY, who made them up in the first place?… and why are THEY the one who like a smirking jailer, holds the iron key-laden ring to a fractaling multitude of cells, crowded with way too many suckas who think they are “better writers” for anally affixing a “main idea” to their “opening sentence”?  Yes, I DO believe that it is a useful strategy for drawing the reader IN… and giving you an idea of the linguistic river ride that you are invited to glide and bounce along upon.  But not every poem must rhyme the last word in each line.  Sometimes the rhythms and rhymes are slanted and erratic and squiggly.  And sometimes any rhyming would be binding and trite.

Alas, we find the mouth of this rushing mind river, set upon the the bank of a dribbling creek.  Six months pregnant, I am seated upon a white, plastic patio chair, on a pebbly, parched creek bed, reconnecting after a steep twenty-someodd years, with my childhood bestie from first grade, Mary.  We (especially shamelessly ravenous, pregnant me,) feast upon queen-sized bags of Tostito’s lime flavored corn chips, and impossibly addictive, GMO kettle corn, which is entirely climactic unto itself, but inconsequential to this visionary essay.  It is a bright, sweltering afternoon in late july, and I am probably slippery with sweat.

Mary, now having three children of her own, confesses that when she found out her third child was a girl (her first), she cried!  Struck by this confession, I ask why… for I would have cried if I found out I was NOT having a girl, which fortunately was not the case.  (Note to self– write the dismal, cloud-cover story of your ultrasound one of these days…)  She says, because she immediately fretted for all of the painful passages her girl would make, and Mary would hence relive:  struggles with friends, boys, body image, self-esteem…

Golly, those dimensions of the journey had never occurred to me.  At least in the way she portrayed them.  Hearing her perspective magically illuminated my own.  I realized that I had an equal amount of energy as she, but mine equated to enthusiasm, purpose, and vision.  Whereas she felt plagued by all that she had endured as a girl in this world, I felt equipped, and eager to use my [excruciating] trials as a source of empowerment and transcendence for my burgeoning girl, and all girls.  And THAT statement, ladies, gentlemen and the no-so-civilized among us, could be construed as the “main idea” of this writing spree!

I *really* struggled to grow into the goddess that I have become.  You’re probably familiar with the saying, “Not all who wander are lost.”  Well, I was a lost and tortured wanderer.  I was a classic case of “ugly duckling”.  But now look at the elegant and wild swan I have become.  No.  It was not easy.  Yes.  It hurt a lot.  Will Serena have to go through that?  I hope not… But no matter what she must live, I will empower her to encounter it ALL as essential steps on a heroine’s journey through Holy Lands, expanding into ever greater and more masterful embodiment of the Divine I AM that she already, always IS.  So help me God.  Yes, I want to protect her from low self-esteem, severe acne, heartbreak, mean girls, feeling lost… I suppose every parent with a heart must want to protect their child from the pain of Becoming…

Take our homeboy Siddheartha as the prime-est of examples.  His parents wanted to keep him imprisoned behind opulent palace walls for his entire life, so that he would NEVER need to encounter sickness, death or suffering of any flavor.  But ultimately this cush, sheltered life left him hopelessly bathed in malaise.  Out of immense love for their Prince of Perfection, they had to release him to the arduous journey of Becoming, that we are each here to surmount.  Sigh… I guess I will release Serena from the suffocating confines of the palace walls of my narrow and skewed, but wholly well-intended ideas of loving.

All hale checks and balances!!!  Because I equally contain a mature strain of brave, awakened love.  And a knowing of all-pervading, unescapable divine perfection.  My daughter will never live ANYTHING that is not in service of her eternally expanding journey of sacred illumination.  Nor will any of us.  This idea requires a bottomless well of faith… which is a tall order, in a world where so many suffer.  Sometimes I go to my well, send the bucket down, and only come up with a few modest drops of liquid faith.  Just enough to wet my lips… so that I may keep whistling Amazing Grace, as I trudge up steep hills, in pursuit of unknown, though purely compelling, elevated states of Realization and Service.

Are you still there?  Yes, YOU, whose eyes wander in wonder, word by word, through the world revealed through vision-driven finger tips… Please… Give me your hand!… Like a negligent child’s stray balloon, I have floated up, up, up into the gay stratospheres of beatific idealism.  Pull me dowwwwn.  To the ground, where I have a noble and life-long job to accomplish.  Raising my daughter with intention, attention and devotion, such that the Goddess is free to reign on earth once again, and Love explodes in harmonious, healing rays from EVERY HEART.  And I mean Every Heart.

I’ve witnessed enough young children to know that it really isn’t what we SAY, as parents and trusted guides, but what we DO.  With riveted attention, our littles watch our every move, drink in every word (except when we are preaching exhausted, disembodied gospels to their time-dulled, wisened ears).  This is a call to slow down, drop IN and rise to new heights of integrity.  No pressure. Grin.  Yes, it’s a tall order; an invitation to fail many times over.  But I am willing to flail, fall and simply get up again, aspiring to be bright beacon of intentional love and sacred responsibility for my Tiny Goddess to emulate.

I don’t have it all figured out (like duh…). But after clambering around in the dark for the first thirty years of this life, grasping for something REAL, substantial, fundamental… I found it.  Seriously, I BEGGED God to tell me the meaning of Life.  And God said it is Love.  This pure, potent and totally knowable Force, around which to order, organize, inspire and inform all choices, actions, words, relationships.  I may make mistakes… but Serena will bear witness to a woman who loves her own heart with fierce, unrelenting and tender persistence.  Yes, come what may, I will always be one to pause, put my hand over my warm, pulsing, deep feeling heart, breathe deep and say to the tremulous and pure One in there, “I love you.”  ALL OF IT is worthy of my unconditional love:  fear, anger, disappointment, hope, desire, peace, passion, insecurity…  I may not be able to shelter my daughter from the essential storms of life, but I WILL give her the tools to weather them with Love’s immensity.  After all, she IS a little Mrs. Grace.

My dear friends, David and Rosy have a daughter who turned thirteen last year.  Reviving the entirely necessary, and recently misplaced Rite of Passage, they created a women’s circle to celebrate and initiate their budding goddess into the delicious (though totally overwhelming at times) Ocean of Womanhood.  I was blessed to be invited to co-create this powerful cauldron of holding, wisdom, love and sharing.  God, I wish for every girl to have such an intentional and blessed emergence…

Witnessing this no-longer-girl-child, yet not-quite-woman, I was flooded with aching and bitter memories of the confusion and pain of my own listless, unanchored, sprawling drift into womanhood.  As was each of the women who sat in circle, sharing pertinent morsels of their own grueling tale of Becoming, in service of empowering young Eva’s unfurling story, and implicitly, all of HerStory.  What struck me, is that we were all left to grope, alone, in a dark and stark world, until somehow, through the grace of the goddess, we managed to find something of true value and substance Inside.  It was the exception to the rule that someone wise, loving and steadfast took our hand and powerfully guided us into the vast, undulating world of womanhood… let alone a circle, a village, or an entire choir, sung from the radiant feminine hearts of a sane, healthy and connected world.

We were all taught to loathe our bodies and our blood, and hence, never touch the latent miraculous power therein.  Over the course of my own single-serving-struggle, I have come to love the blood that flows from my womb with every moon.  And too, I realized that my body IS the temple through which I worship the GodLove in Everything.  Granted, we each may need to struggle, ache and break, as we make the brave pilgrimage through the earthly lands of our Destiny… but WE DO NOT NEED TO FEAR OUR BODIES, OUR BLOOD, OR OUR SISTERS.

I will teach Serena to revere and devotionally care for her heavenly body, and to trust its innate wisdom.  I will teach her that her sexuality is a sacred portal to endless dimensions of divine communion, not to be squandered, diminuated or bartered for a cheap, hollow imitation of love and acceptance from an external, and hence perpetually unsatisfying source.  May she know, that SHE IS THE SOURCE.  And Sorceress…  I will invite her to honor and learn from the power and mystery of her goddess blood.  I will allow her to retreat Within during that sacred moon time– to meditate, journal, rest, pray, dream… And to invest her Self in the coin of indestructible Sister Love.  Competition among women must be a contemporary capitalist plot.  Our power awakens in our Joining.  Alone, we are false, and therefore weakened.  As women, we are the keepers of Mother Love on this planet.  Mother Love, by nature joins, for it IS the luminous, intelligent, compassionate and beautiful web of Creation.  Though to our divine delight, we seem individuated on the surface, if you close your earthly eyes, and look through the Eye Within, you will surely see that beneath the ever-creative, intricate lila of dancing surface waves, there is One united force of pulsing, creative love, giving rise to all our lives.

It is one thing to “know” of these ideals… And quite another matter to LIVE them.  But this is what I strive to do and BE… for myself, for my daughter, for all women and men, for our selflessly, endlessly generous Mother Earth and all Her miraculous, essential inhabitants.  God, please bless my every step on this life-long, essential mission.  In the name of Love.

 

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No One Told Me It Would Be Like This

What is it about a freshly blossoming female?  She is neither girl nor woman, but a sumptuous entity all her own.  I think it is okay for me to broach this subject…as a woman… if a man were to describe his fascination with the pubescent girl he sees regularly at the climbing gym, he would surely be condemned as a pervert.  But me?  I’m a woman.  A good, honest, God thumping citizen, who has even paid taxes once or twice!  So I for some reason have a little more permission to say that this girl makes herself into quite an enticing little morsel.  (If I were her parent, I imagine I’d feel into some jagged edges around setting my little baby free to express herself versus not wanting to set her free on the streets looking like a freshly hatched sexual invitation…)

She is tiny.  No trace of woman curves.  Except she has these darling new born boobies that rock!  Seriously.  She wears bras that push them up into little understated mounds of ivory cleavage.  Over that, she wears a very minimal, low cut tank top. (usually a red one)  On the bottom, she wears skin tight jeans with a hole in the knee.  Her hair is long and blond and a little tangly.  Around her wide, child’s eyes, she wears a tasteful rim of black.  I bet she’s thirteen.  Whenever she is in my vicinity, I find myself studying her.  Honestly, I can see why men would be involuntarily, biologically excited by a little girl like this.  Sheesh, even I am.  She is a strange cocktail of freshness and danger, innocence and wildness.  She’s so small, but with such promise of impending fullness.  Beholding her is looking at a masterfully crafted poem.

Thanks to this modestly spicy little creature, I can almost understand why my step dad freaked out when I painted my fingernails a bold, mauvy-pink color for the first time.  I was either thirteen or fourteen.  I sat down at the dinner table and he exclaimed that it was a color that a prostitute would wear.  I had been so thrilled to take a preliminary dive into the pool of sensual, feminine play, and in an instant I was thrown on the defense and wondering somewhere inside, if I had done something quintessentially wrong.  Did I really look like a prostitute with my shiny, pink nails?  I had only meant to be beautiful and express myself.  But I suppose it is an odd thing for a man to suddenly perceive his daughter as attractive.

This brings me to another topic… Becoming a woman.  In my experience, it was a journey as arduous and lonely as inventing the wheel.  Nobody told me it would take thirty years.  And neither did anyone tell me that once I was a woman, I would still feel like the same child inside.  Seriously, I look out my eyes, I feel through my heart, and it is the same ageless, being of perpetual innocence, wonder and heavy wisdom that has always taken up residency here.  The only thing that has changed is that I have more responsibility.  I can’t just hang out at my best friend’s desk drawing cartoons of older boy next door, who simultaneously grossed me out and turned me on.  I suppose I could do that after the bills have been paid and the children fed… Grin.

I wonder if it is like that for all women… I suppose if my mom was more open and communicative about all topics woman, it could have been different.  But she didn’t say much to me on the subject.  Slowly, over much time, I just found myself inhabiting a woman’s body.  No, scratch that, I was far from inhabiting my “woman’s body”.  I think that’s really what becoming a woman has meant for me, is learning to actually INHABIT my body.  I didn’t begin to feel glimmers of hope in that arena until I was twenty seven or twenty eight years old.  Before that?  My body did NOT feel like a comfortable, safe or inspiring place to hang out.  Remember, I had an eating disorder (over eating) in my late teens and early twenties, which meant that my body was a place of S-H-A-M-E, hiding, repulsion… and my mind was perpetually fixated on what I would eat next… until I ate and felt repulsed and then I would scheme my plot for impending starvation.  Man, talk about prison.  Talk about hell.  And it was all in staunch secrecy.  When I say that shame is an emotion meant to guard the fortress of imagined separation, I am not kidding.  What an ingenious mechanism to perpetuate the campaign for separation!  It was impossible for me to just be with others, with myself, with the moment.  Then, add to that chronic constipation, scoliosis, shoulder pain, difficulty drawing a full breath.  Yeah, there was no way I was gonna drop down and feel all the unwieldy sensations and emotions that were festering in my tortured human form.

What shifted?  Years of yoga practice, healing (and self discipline) around my relationship to food, a commitment to exploring and unfolding my sexuality, and a willingness to feel my belly.  A willingness to feel my belly.  Seriously, I think that might be the key to the Queendom.

When Mykael and I were at dinner the other night, (remember, the “date night” from hell?) we were seated at the community table, which I wanted to report actually saved our lives, because we ended up making friends with the women next to us, and that diffused some of the immense pressure we had built up between us… (the moral of that story is that we need to get out and socialize more.)  Before we officially invited our brooding selves into the sunshine party next door, I overheard the woman next to me talking about dieting.  So many women incessantly diet, don’t we?  I forget that sometimes, because many of my friends are not dieters… that I know of.  So mostly the topic is off my radar.  (My neurosis around food these days are more in the vein of “is eating this going to make me constipated or exhausted?”)

But you know what?  Fuck dieting.  Dieting is an obsession.  Once the diet is over, then what?  Then you whiplash to the other end of the spectrum as a natural function of depriving yourself for so long.  I used to be terrified that I’d inevitably be fat one day.  But somewhere along the line, that fear vanished.  Now I just focus on eating nourishing, balanced meals, and actually feeling my body as I do so.  I exercise regularly, not because I “SHOULD”, but because my mind and body function with more lucidity and vitality when I do.  Many times a day, I remember to release my awareness down into my belly and I realize that I have been holding it in.  Sometimes letting go feels like work… Something in me is so habituated to holding on.  I remember when I wore my first bikini. I think it was around the same time that I painted my nails like a prostitute.  I was a little bit squishy around the middle, and when I wore it in front of my step dad’s family, one of his sisters poked at my squish and told me to suck it in.  That was a pivotal moment in losing my innocence, a moment I became painfully aware of how I looked.  Not that I didn’t have any body issues before that moment… I did.  But that was the beginning of a committed practice of shamefully sucking my belly in.

As women, we are trained to do this.  It makes perfect sense.  When I just let myself FEEL my belly, there is so much energy in there.  I feel alive, turned on, creative, powerful, intuitive.  It’s been a popular topic to discuss the return of the Divine Feminine these days.  Collectively, we are aware of the nearing of the end of this destructive, imbalanced cycle of patriarchy…you know what I’m talking about… all the recent Goddess buzz… The domination of the patriarchy never would have gotten away with it if women were at home in our bodies.  Our bodies are sanctuaries of wisdom, temples of boundless pleasure and intuitive magic.  And if we all knew this, the world would be quite a different place.  Not to say that we DON’T know… Slowly, we are waking up.  But I wonder how quickly dieting would become obsolete if we all just let go of our bellies and made ourselves at Home, from the INSIDE out.