A bridge between hearts

On the outside, summer has melted into the cool breath of autumn.  The gods have ostentatiously announced this turn by hurling copious lightning bolts and savage booms of thunder upon the green heart of Italy, as Umbria is fondly known.  Deluges of rain drench the earth with abandon.  This transforms the suffocatingly humid air to cool, sweet delicacy.  The trees are still green.  (I am dreading their impending shedding and nakedness…)  The days are no longer unbearably hot.  Just warm and friendly.  But winter winks and whispers from not too far off.

 

On the inside though, my hellish walkabout through emotional, spiritual winter is showing signs of thawing.

 

Forest’s arrival was NOT a graceful transition.  Preparing for birth gets so much hype… but often, the postpartum period gets left to the wolves.  This is mostly how it was for me.  I made a few feeble cries for help… and received a bit of blessed support around the ragged, jagged edges… Mostly in the form of a meal here, and a meal there… But my primary experience as a sudden mother of two with a thrashed and bleeding vagina, and a ripped open heart, was a desolate one.  I do NOT recommend this experience.  If you are pregnant, or intending to become pregnant…. ASK FOR HELP.  Demand help.  Feel wildly worthy of help.  Saturate yourself in support, postpartum.

 

I could get lost in the gory details of my searing postpartum experience, but that’s not what my heart longs to share.  I survived.  My body is resilient and strong.  Now Forest is one and a half months earthside.  And spring is breathing light and warmth upon the barren scapes of my heart and soul.

 

Don’t get me wrong… Life is demanding, and my body tense from holding and nursing a baby all day, while perpetually juggling the needs, demands and whims of an almost four year old and maintaining the impossible tidiness of a not-so-small house…

 

During my pregnancy, Giordano often expressed a hope that Forest would bring us all closer and balance the dynamics of our family.  Though deep down I shared this wish with him, I still mostly cringed when he spoke it… because it seemed like way too much responsibility to load onto a nine pound human with a soft, open skull.  (He’s twelve pounds by now…)  From my vantage point in this moment, it appears that Forest’s mighty soul IS actually capable of this superhuman feat.

 

It always comes back to the timeless chicken and egg quandary… Does the inside give rise to the outer?… Or…???  But as I grope about in these invisible realms, my intuition says that what we perceive as “inner” and “outer” are but one sentient, infinite ISness.

 

I always have a figurative finger on the pulse of The Collective.  Recently, I felt an intangible shift that was beyond me and my own paltry circumstances. AND at the same time, my said paltry circumstances began to shift…

 

Witnessing the depth of love and care that Giordano has for his son made it increasingly difficult to abide in my cherished, long-standing fantasy of fleeing with my children to the familiar and now legendary land of California The Beautiful.  I still mostly did not like my husband… but this distaste began to pale in the bright luminosity of his paternal love.

 

I challenged myself to practice approving of him… even in the face of my glaring distaste for his ways.  I really CAN be a critical bitch.  Honestly, I’d hate to be on the receiving end of my curdled criticism.  Simultaneously, Giordano became less aggressive.  He began to apologize faster and touch (and actually FEEL) me more.  You could argue that this was a function of my behavioral shift… but my sense is that there was a larger energetic gale at play.

 

Theories and hypotheses aside… more lightness is dawning upon our home and family.  I still don’t luxuriate in the company of my husband… but nor do I drown in distaste and pain, as I oft did before.  Forest is a bridge between our hearts and minds, where before it was mostly impossible to pass.  With this exotic flavor of newfound affinity, anything is possible for us…

 

Concurrent with my nuptial blossoming, I experienced a delicious, pivotal moment in my relationship with Italy.  I was at the grocery store with my kids…

 

Italian people are wild about pregnant women, and even wilder about babies.  Everywhere I turn, I am serenaded by a chorus of impassioned exclamation, “AMORE!”.  Women, and even a few men, lust for a peek at the angelic face of my slumbering baby snuggled against my bosom in his wrap.

 

So there we were, civilizedly foraging for food at the aesthetically mediocre Coop, which is nestled in the archaic heart of Gualdo Tadino, being fawned over by the masses.  An almost young, blue-eyed man offered me front cuts in the intimidatingly long checkout line.  But there was another couple between me and him.  Flustered, I looked to them for a read on the situation.  I was shocked when they both smiled and waved me in front of them, as though it was sheerly autonomic.  A red carpet sprawled open beneath my astonished feet.

 

I attempted and mostly failed to share a friendly conversation with the kind man who instigated the front cuts, but despite the lack of intellectual understanding, my heart and the entire mOMent overflowed with warmth.

 

Pushing the shopping cart into the warm, sunny morning, I had the warm, fuzzy thought, “I like it here in Italy.”  Followed by the stunned realization that I had never had that thought before.  I fondled and reflected upon this new awareness for a bit… and concluded that it was probably a fleeting fluke.  After all, my emotional waves tend to be drastic and dramatic and watery.

 

To my surprise, the feeling has lasted.  I realize that I have adjusted to life over here.  For the first year, I was painfully aware of what was missing.  Foods, friends, family, comfy swings that cradle your butt at the playground, the ability to have a damn conversation….

 

But I’m starting to develop a taste for pizza… I make my own peanut butter.  I found pickles that don’t totally blow.  I brew my own water kefir.  The list goes on… but the moral of the story is that I am synching up with my new environment and life.  I am not devastated by the often silence between Giordano and I when we drive places together.  Sure, in my ideal world it would be swell to love to talk with my husband… but silence is kinda okay too… He DOES put his hand on my leg mostly always…

 

I love our land, abounding with fruits and foragables… I love how safe I feel here.  Serena can wander about freely.  (Not that she does, mostly.  She tends to cling.)  I am able to understand quite a bit of Italian, even if my speaking is butt-ass remedial…

 

Reflecting on my suffering, my dear friend Dara invited me to reflect on my original Desire/intention for coming to Italy.  I had to dig a bit to get back there… but it was FAMILY.  I ached for family.  And now I have it.  Gloriously imperfect, as Life mostly is… but nutritious and beautiful too… if I’m open to it.

 

Given the incessant imperfection of life in/as duality, may I embrace the grace that is always here.  What a shame it would be to awaken to this ever-flawed goodness as I am blinking out of this existence.

 

The Ultimate Soul Workout

wonderwoman

Life begins the day you realize it’s meant to be hard.

At least for ME, that’s how it went down.

Being an etherial new-age baby, I struggled a bunch, clutching a dazzling-law-of-attraction-belief that Life was supposed to be easy… and then meeting so many unwieldy mOMents, and intense feelings, and not knowing what to do or be to make my Life submit and behave in the way of ease.  God, it is such an uphill climb.

The crucial point lurking in this hypothesis though, is that at a soul level, this sloppy, unwieldy struggle one of the Heavenly Lord’s all-time greatest boons.  To incarnate in this arduous dimension is heavyweight strength training!  Who wants to be a gorgeous, sparkling, winged mirage, fluttering insouciantly about in a revealed rendition of Heaven… when you could be attending the BEST costume party in the galaxy… suiting up in a nice dense meat sack and pushing figurative boulders up custom-fashioned metaphorical mountains, developing sweet, spiritual six-packs and bulging biceps of the soul?  We really have our priorities dialed in, down here on earth.

Plus, we get to drink tea and coffee!!!  I bet that is the tipping point for many incarnate angels.

Lately, I’ve been having a hot and heavy wonder what it would be like to inhabit my Life with a relaxed internal poise… a *genuine* and full bodied acceptance of the reality in which I marinate.  Because mostly, there’s this whole consuming layer of experience that occurs like agitation.  Like the cursed grain of sand inside the holy oyster shell of my existence.  A destructive, gnawing idea that I’m partially living the WRONG life.  Just partially.  There are SOME elements that are oh-so-right… Really key ones~ like that I’m Athena Grace… and that I have the *most* awesome baby girl.  Now that I’m endeavoring to articulate it, I realize that I LOOOOVE who I AM… I’m just struggling with the process of ACTUALIZING the raw blueprint of my soul.  And searching for that deep sense of Belonging, of hOMe.  God, I hope there’s a phat pink pearl in the works…

And hence, we come full circle to the opening statement of this gloriously enlightened stream of words~ this is the resistance training that I enthusiastically came to partake in.  How to be this AWESOME, luminous heavenly body IN A MEAT SUIT, and masterfully sculpt Infinite Light into a soul-satisfying, consciousness-liberating, Love-revealing, integrity-infused, breath-giving work of sacred art.  I mean think about it… doesn’t that sound like the BEST vacation for God to take???  Yeah.  Totally.

But in the mean time, here I am… wishing I had the utterly fabulous Partner by my side.  A loving, devoted father for Serena.  I am haunted by visions of being a powerful, spiritual leader and a beloved and widely read writer of grace-stained words that liberate ALL HEARTS.  Feeling stuck in this cloistered spiritual community in the woods, that though wrought with kindness, safety and even friendship… isn’t the path that ignites passion in my heart, or pure resonance in my soul.  I feel guilty typing that… because God… people here have embraced me beyond what I could have hoped for.  Typing that made my eyes sting.  Lemme take a deepie (breath)… and really let this Grace sink in.

Lately, I’ve been asking myself how I’d define Grace… Because it’s my last name, for God’s sake!  And it’s like the air we breathe… invisible, and something we don’t even have to think about… because it’s always nearer to us than our own selves… But… it’s still handy to have a distinguished notion of this essential and beneficent ISness.

Grace…

It’s the Invisible Oceanic Goodness in which we ARE.  We don’t have to earn it… and we couldn’t escape it if we tried.  The tricky part, is that Grace is responsible not only for that which we deem “good” in our lives, but the “bad” stuff too. Under the inescapable, psychedelic umbrella of Grace, EVERYTHING we live is Divinity in action, and is conspiring for the outrageous and triumphant unfurling revelation of the sublime heavenly light within us.

I guess that’s why Hafiz wrote this poem:

Running

Through the streets

Screaming,

Throwing rocks through windows,

Using my own head to ring

Great bells,

Pulling out my hair,

Tearing off my clothes,

Tying everything I own

To a stick,

And setting it on

Fire.

What else can Hafiz do tonight

To celebrate the madness,

The joy,

Of seeing God

Everywhere!

Sigh… Grace is God.  And God is ALL… And yet, knowing all this, I am still perched cozily on my couch in the pale light of dawn, wondering how in the heck to make my life what I want it… digging so deep to crack the code of the mystifying dynamism between effort and surrender.  Is my Destiny inevitable???  Or is it true what Tori Amos told my ex-fiance, the night we met her, shining like a riveting Goddess Mirage?  He asked her, “Do you believe in Destiny?”

Her reply~ “She needs your help.”

I want to help Her…

I want to bench press the World in the name of Love.  In the name of giving EVERYTHING to liberate the flame of passion that burns inside me, such that it ignites the World in holy celebration.

This is the “meaning of Life”.  And it is supposed to be hard!

But it is the most gratifying workout in Existence.

Someday VS. Now- A Bloody “Dual”

4-up on 3-26-16 at 10.13 AM

Committing words to this glowing slab of emptiness feels torturous as when I was nine and my mom would make me to clean my [atrociously messy] room.  But it’s been so long… and if I don’t give myself the opportunity to open up pour out the golden-chained codes of my Existence, they will tarnish and atrophy in the dungeons of my self-negating Silence.  So I push myself out from behind the curtain, shy and blinking in the bright spotlight.  I reach In.

Maybe the resistance is because my life feels so Saturnian these days.  Tethered.  Stable. Predictable, even.  As it should with a seven and a half month alive baby.  But the hallowed “secret” of being a writer with a poet’s heart (different than being a straight-up “poet”… because I don’t love to write “poetry” these days.  I like to LIVE poetry, and then write long-winded prose about it!!!  Haha, that’s hilarious….) is that when you take the time and care to give ANYTHING your full attention, its Divinity gently blooms.  And actually, this phenomena makes writing as essential as breathing… because it is no longer tolerable for the  Divinity of the World to remain clenched and trembling, as we all desperately limp toward our own illusory finish line.

My personal illusory finish line and I have been in quite a bloody tussle of late.  God, it’s so hard to relax into the implicit enoughness of this chapter of my Holy Existence.  Dissatisfaction is a smelly disease.  But the world who shimmers and taunts my drooling inner vision is masterfully seductive.  And I bet in actuality, it is just a benign and even “friendly” preview of coming attractions.  If only I would just relax and be the poster child of patience and satiation….

In this parallel dimension of my life, I am a Teacher and a Leader and a Writer, whose audience is broad.  I am THRIVING financially for the Gifts she offers.  I am boldly assured as Babe Ruth…. I step up to the plate; a gloriously empty conduit of the Universe, point to the exact address of Oblivion, where I intend to SMACK that small, hard ball.  I am a seamless ballerina, dancing to, with, AS the orchestra of Infinity.

SEE???  This is why I write!  Because just when I thought my existence was all tumbleweeds and endless, sandy cracks…. I take flight on invisible wings, and fill the sky with humming, neon shades of grace-full, booty-shakin grooves that would give Michael Jackson a run for his money.  (Yeah right, Athena…. MJ is Untouchable!…)(Well… so am I in my own right… Which is what I was saying, before I wandered off into the enchanted land of flashy, vivid metaphors.  I was saying that I keep getting seduced by a dazzling mirage of my Becoming, and it makes this slice of life pie that I’m currently breathing and bleeding and sweating and loving in seem insufficient.  And I know that’s bogus.

The frustrating thing is I can’t quite see how to get from “here” to “there”… other than to LOVE HERE.  To fully inhabit here.  To give my Holy ALL to here.  And while that’s actually more than enough…. it’s still cryptic to a slobbering, desperate ego.  I want to trust God with every fiber of my being.  Once and for all.  Wouldn’t that be so cool?  To be entirely relaxed and peaceful… Forever…?!  Now THAT’S a glamorous aspiration.

Someday I will be Great.  I am already Great.  Now on with the softly whispering song of my Real Life….

I finally hung my two hummingbird feeders yesterday.  Ed made me a gallon of magical, red elixir to feed them, and he put hooks in the overhang outside my kitchen window… months ago.  So it was a monumental occasion to finally get them up.  When the first hummingbird arrived, my life became more complete, and Heaven on Earth burst from her incognito confines, like an unopened can of bubbly beverage, shaken and released in sudden wet explosion.

A tiny frog has taken up residence in the corner of my toilet room…. which has a door that leads to my teensy, caterpillar-ransacked garden/tragically concrete “patio”.  I oft leave this door cracked in the name of sunlight and fresh air… and darling Mrs. Froggie seems to love this safe, cool, bug-laden corner of my hOMe.  I just peed, and noticed that she climbed the wall, and is now snuggled in the angular crevice, two feet above the floor!!!  I love her.  I really love her.

According to the Medicine Cards, frog represents the water element, and cleansing.  Replenishing.  Frog is the bringer of rain.  Yes, it’s true that my life feels dried out… doing the same things every day.  Frog is a reminder to take time for one’s self…. to replenish.  But how on earth do I do that, when I am single-handedly caring for a Tiny Goddess?  I can count the hours I’ve had help with Serena so that I could give to myself on one hand… (and still have two fingers left over!!)  I guess these quiet morning hours count for something.  I guess diving into my heart and filtering it through my mystical mind is worth at least a million Graceland-Bucks…. AND I am open to more.  More help.  More support.  AND I am so happy to spend my life caring for such a Radiant Goddess.  Serena becomes brighter by the second.  Everything captures her attention and seduces her fierce curiosity.

In other news, I went to the dentist a week and a half ago and they told me that I had TWELVE cavities, and a tooth that needs extraction.  As you can imagine, this news wrecked me.  So I gave up sugar and grains, and am consuming nutrient dense foods to heal my teeth.  We are suckas to believe in the legend that teeth can not heal.  They are just like bones.  We just need to support our bodies’ capacity to heal via diet.  I *never* thought I could give up sugar.  But faced with the reality of losing my teeth, the choice was suddenly a no-brainer.  Pretty awesome.  As an added bonus, I am beginning to feel like pure Light.  Sugar tastes good… But being an embodied superheroine tastes even better.  As does grass-fed butter, which is one of the primary recommended foods to consume for healing teeth!!!!!

I’m proud of myself.

And the last thing I’ll share, is that I finally washed Serena’s cloth diapers for the first time in a week and a half.  I WAS washing them every two-three days… but she’s mostly potty trained now!  At seven and a half months.  OmMyGod, you should see her sitting on her little pink potty.  She looks so tiny and precious… it would destroy you.  It destroys me every time.  She loves to look at books as she perches there.  Little cardboard books with pictures of animals in them.  Seeing puppies and polar “boozles”, she squeaks with refined delight and smiles the smile that I’m sure God smiled to create the World.  Pure, electric effulgence.

Not long before Serena landed in my womb, I declared on Facebook that I aspired to be a “HouseWife”.  Many of the Housewives out there chortled at my dream, informing me that it was grueling, unglamorous work, for which you rarely get acknowledged.  I didn’t care.  It called me forth.  Now, here I am, inhabiting this profoundly mundane, though somehow alluring vocation from the Inside.  And it’s true.  It’s really not glamorous.  But it is rudimentarily satisfying… simmering bone broth on the stove for twenty-four hours, sweeping and vacuuming the incessantly dirty floors, scrubbing the toilet with baking soda, vinegar and essential oils, devotionally making baby food from scratch, and being married to washing dishes.

I guess it’s inevitable that that which calls me forth will dawn in it’s perfectly divine time.  This is the nature Life.  This is the Play of God.

And this is the Queen of Graceland pouring love on your exquisite heart….

Talk to you soon Beloved.

And the Winner is… Athena!!!!!

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Do you know why it’s been three weeks since I last exploded into linguistic existence here in Athena Graceland?  Because…. Serena turned four months alive.  Now she’s not just this tender and mild little suckling lump who lays in my lap while I hurl inspired words, like lightning (look Mom, I spelled it right just for YOU!!!) bolts across a wide splayed, glowing page.  If she was in my lap right now, she’d be doing these adorable little baby crunches– lurching her head and shoulders forward, like she was trying with all her blessed might to sit up.  Over and over again.

Baby work.  It is actually very inspiring to watch… Because it reminds me that even though we “grown ups” imagine ourselves to be so much more civilized and complex, we really are spiritual babies, executing similarly remedial, repetitive exercises… but we clothe them in grandiosity so that we can feel important.  Oh gosh, now’s the moment when giving an example would really thrust me into the domain of a “better writer”… It would give your mind some concrete cud to munch.  Gosh, I want to be the best writer in the world.  Honestly, I think I am.  I read old blogs of mine and my eyes turn to electric pink, throbbing hearts.  If I wasn’t me, I would obsess over me.  I would dream of meeting and befriending me… I’d imagine going to a book release event of mine, where I would do everything in my power to get my attention… and hope that I would notice me and realize that we were kindred spirits, and even though I didn’t have the miraculous linguistic gift that I did… that my heart and mind shared the same audacious, psychedelic heart vision… and we should be bffs who have pillow fights and whipped cream wars and stay up all night playing Truth or Dare and Dance Dance Revolution.

Actually, I hate staying up all night.  I don’t play video games, and I don’t even know what a whipped cream war IS… but it sounds like moderately inappropriate, over the top fun.  And furthermore, I’m NOT gonna give you that stupid example of how humans are like undercover babies, because it’s not pleasurable enough for me, and I am here to ENJOY myself, even at the expense of coming across as a SPAZzz.    Because this enchanted place ain’t called “Athena Graceland” for nuttin’.  It’s a matriarchal society of One.  And I guess even if I remain my number One-and-Only fan for the rest of eternity, that’s okay.  Actually, writing that made my heart sad.  I want lots of people to recognize my genius as I do.  Well, my mom does too… And Dan did.  And maybe a couple of other people.

Arg.  Five fifty two am, and I hear Serena making the most adorable patient baby sounds from the bedroom.  She was supposed to sleep until at least six thirty.  Welcome to my new life: an incessant land-sliding game of catch-up, at which I am guaranteed to lose, but even though it’s mildly frustrating, I really don’t ultimately care, because I have the most sublime, buddha-full daughter, and deep down I know that loving and caring for her is all that matters.  The rest is just hollow details that I chase because they are part of inhabiting fifth dimensional space-time.

I just went into the bedroom to round up the said bundle of delight.  My surface waves were grumpy, because it was too early, and I needed more time to myself.  But then (and this happens every time I turn toward her blazing Light) I opened the bedroom door and found her gracefully flailing and beaming beneath the soft, thick covers.  When I haven’t beheld her for an entire cluster of moments and then I do, I feel re-amazed and wholly rapt by her exquisite luminosity.  And as if that was not enough, she reached out and touched my face.  This is a new thing.  She really loves to touch my face.  And she extra loves when I kiss her tiny, devastatingly soft, expectant hand.  Or gobble it up.  Sometimes that makes her laugh, and she wants me to do it again and again and again and again and…. Haha, that’s the exhausting beauty of children.  They never seem to tire of that which thrills them.

She’s sucking on my boob now.  My right hand is prickly and half asleep as I type– a new condition I’ve acquired since the commencement of “side-lying nursing” at night.  Frown.  The things “they” don’t tell you about motherhood.  And if they DID, it wouldn’t even matter, because raising a beaming buddha that grew from Miraculous Nothing inside my very own womb, is the best thing in all of Creation.  Hands down.

Oh dear, I think my little goose is going to fall back asleep on my lap.  She just needed a BIG snack.  And to be close to mama.  Ok… well that’ll work out swell until the coffee in my system demands that I get up and pee.  Yes, I drink coffee some mornings.  I’m not the perfect, crunchy, new-age mama.  But Serena doesn’t seem to get whacked out, or spit up or anything that would indicate that it sucks for her…And like Jesus says, “don’t bother hurling no stones unless you are entirely flawless”.

I want to tell you that I’m… I was gonna say “happy”… but I guess that’s not entirely accurate.  Sometimes I feel anxious or lonely or slightly bored.  Maybe “content”, or “at peace”, or… “saturated in gratitude”… would sum it up better.  Mostly I am a blazing YES to my life.  I’m surprised at how satisfied I am, making soup in my “Shakti Pot” for a living.  Yes, one day a week, I make a big pot of delicious, nourishing vegan soup, and deliver it to the homes of delighted “re-soup-iants”.  This is the primary way I am “making ends meet”, as a single mama at this time.  It really feels good to offer a service that people appreciate.  I honestly love being domestic.  And creative.  But then I get scared that my “contentment” will stagnate, like lucid spring pools that become slimy, mosquito lava-laden, summer puddles, and I will remain anonymously snoogled in the woods with my daughter, making soup for a meager living FOREVER!  But then I remember one of Dan’s primary gospels– that living fully in the mOMent will always carry one gracefully along the sacred River of Life.  I won’t get caught in an eddy for too long.  Although I HAVE been caught in an Eddie for four years now!  Haha!  But I even feel free from the Eddie eddy by now.  Being a mother, I don’t have the time or energy to invest in fashioning a world of woven hopes and wispy “someday”s… It’s perfect.  I neither push him away, nor pull him to me.  I just love him.  Really that’s all there ever is to do.

God?  Please make sure that I don’t get stuck or stagnant while I’m busy over here practicing the advanced art of contentment, as well as meeting the demands of day to day existence.  Seriously… I’m putting myself in your hands.  Don’t drop me!

Gosh, I don’t thing this was my most “knock you backwards with my profound genius” blog… but I showed up.  And kept the pipes clear.  Now Serena is doing her aforementioned “baby sit-ups”, and I’ve got to organize my existence around her needs and desires.  Plus today is Shakti Pot, so I’ve gotta get my “African Peanut Soup” on pretty soon.  So I guess this is ciao for now.  I really hope there is a prestigious award for showing up today… Because I’d really love to be a winner this morning, even though I don’t feel like I nailed it like I love to nail it.  I guess I’m a winner for loving my daughter with my whole heart.  And the innocence in me, as well… And paying the rent on time.  And keeping my house tidy and mostly shri.  And maintaining a relatively consistent yoga practice.  I hope I can get it together to plant a little spring garden…

Being a single mama is the perfect life for me right now.  I am evolving so profoundly.  Oops, gotta go, I hear them singing out my name at the award ceremony…!!!

Love to your precious heart….