Life Is But A _______.

Some people say that the meaning of life is to LIVE it.  Others say that being on earth is a school… and everything is a lesson.  Some people just try their best to enjoy themselves.  God, there are so many ideologies to subscribe to.  Me?  Hmmm… what DO I believe, anyway?  I believe life is a dream.  And it’s not even really happening in the first place.  I believe that Totality wanted to experience itself, so it invoked duality, so that it could cop a feel on its own ness.  But golly, lately that seems like a lot more trouble than it’s worth.  “Lately”, Athena?  Oh, okay, you got me… More like in general…

 

But I spose if I knew in my bones and my guts, that I was always held secure in the loving arms of Grace, for REALZ, I’d probably have a consistently better attitude than I do this morning.  I know, WTF, right?  Why should I have anything but reverence and gratitude for the opportunity to be here at Monkey Forest Road (a cafe in my hood), indulgently self-reflecting and streaking my computer screen with my innermost thoughts and feelings?

 

The sun just broke through this morning’s dark sprawl of storm clouds and cracked asphalt is glowing silver.  Quivering bamboo leaves now glow like nature’s own stained glass.  Every time we were together, Dan reminded me that life is only THE MOMENT.  And this basically undeniable isness used to wash me with strife, because my ego doesn’t like the idea of facing obliteration.  And Dan!!… If life is just this moment, then how do I ever GET ANYWHERE?  Not that I necessarily DO want to get anywhere… but say I changed my mind, and realized that I wanted to “make something of my life”… Then I’d hafta like plan for the future and stuff…

 

Ed just texted me and said he hoped that the words are “just flowing onto the screen”, which made me pause and reflect… Are these words just flowing onto the screen?  Hmmmm… Sort of.  But the bitch is the way I’m feeling right now.  Like a wine connoisseur, (what’s the word for a wine expert? … I forgot…) I’m sipping from the cup of my current inner climate, sliding my mind’s fingers about the  textures of my inner landscape so that I can give it a life in language.  It’s elusive.  But I might have to go with angry.  Though it’s not classical, textbook anger.  It’s more of a damp and subtle experience, that could easily be mislabeled or construed as depressed or sad.  But there is a lurking feeling, like a lithe panther, crouched in dusky jungle shadows, poised to pounce; or a stretched rubber band that may just snap.

 

Today’s Course in Miracles lesson is “I do not perceive my best interests”.  God, it’s so true.  What that means, is that all of my desires and grasping at future outcomes are founded in a steaming heap of bullshit.  You know, the dream that we are dreaming that ain’t even real.  Gosh, how do I convey this so that it makes sense to one who has not been thumpin the Course, year in and year out?   Well, it breaks down like this~ there’s God’s mind, which is the oneness of love, which obviously is where our best interests abide… and then there’s a belief that we are separate, and when we live from this insanity, it’s like wandering through a dim, endless maze of smoke and mirrors, hoping that maybe we’ll get lucky and actually stumble on something of value, something that truly brings us happiness.

 

Ya know, like if Ed left his wife and married me.  For example.  Or at least was able to spend the night with me a couple times a week.

 

But I digress.  It’s maddening to sit in this awkward place of realizing that I honestly won’t be any happier or more peaceful once I’m in a “real” relationship with Ed.  For example.  Or once I figure out what to do with my life, or earn more money or have a baby or live in Paris and become completely fluent in french, or… Ugh.  You see???  I know that everything I’m grasping for is hollow at best.  And yet I don’t want to stop grasping.  Jesus, what gives?  If only I could quiet my mind enough to hear Love’s incessant whispers in my ear.

 

Last night I dreamt that I was sneaking around with Ed at his house and his wife came home.  I didn’t want to look at her.  Not head on.  I averted my eyes and just took little calculating peeks.  I guess I knew that I was violating her by being in her space.  She looked old and homely.  Like life had sucked the radiance out of her like a dead sea sponge.  Then I woke up to the sound of running water and I was like, WHY IS THE BATHTUB RUNNING?  But then I realized it was actually a rainstorm!

 

I wonder if I should stop seeing (let alone communicating with) Ed until it’s from a free and clear place… We’ve been entertaining this possibility for a little while now… but neither one of us wants to leggo.  Over the past year, we have become essential fixtures in one another’s daily movement through time and space.  It really seems like letting go would suck.

 

But then, what about my illustrious ally, the Golden Rule?   I often tell people that if I were stranded on a desert island, and I could only bring ONE spiritual teaching with me, it would be that one- Do unto others as you would have others do unto you… I mean really- what more do you need than that?  Well, if the roles were reversed, would I want some hot goddess getting all up in my husband while I quietly slow-simmered myself in denial stew?  NO WAY JOSE.  In my heart of hearts, I believe in honesty.  Integrity.  Full and open communication.  But here I am, being a conspirator in a situation that is everything BUT that.  I guess I can’t expect anything more from others.  Will my husband cheat on ME someday?  Just so that I can feel the inverse textures of this scenario?  I wouldn’t be wildly surprised.

 

What’s more important to me, feeling good in the moment… or standing up and being the very best me I can be?  I wish it was a no-brainer.  But… I like the way Ed and I play and love and meet.  I like sitting in his lap before my altar and chanting mantra together.  I love the feeling of utter perfection that washes through me when I’m wrapped in his arms, nestled into his big, broad chest.  Little moments of fleeting fulfillment… is that as good as it gets?  Maybe.  But those little moments are EVERYWHERE….

 

Like riding to Emily’s bday party the other night, and nestling myself in the center console between the driver’s seat and the passenger seat, between Gabe and Brandon and feeling a cocktail wash of connection, naughtiness (I didn’t ask permission before I slid in!) and contentment.  Or this morning, when John, my crazy and entirely lovable building manager, came over to unclog my sinks, (a job he LOATHES) and he discovered the perverse magnetic poetry on my fridge and suddenly came to life… I was folding laundry and flushed with a stiff shot of embarrassment as he read my words aloud, riveted.  He wanted to change “slow hard fuck” to “quivering hard fuck”.  At first I was like NO WAY… but then… I considered it… and I realized that his word choice was actually superior to mine.  So I let him.  Which delighted him for a single moment before he began bargaining with me to convert his inch into a mile, by making more alterations, and I was like no way, buddy, be glad I let you edit my poem AT ALL.

 

Life.  It’s a meditation.  A waterfall of ever-new being.  A sleepy stumble through darkness which appears to be lit.  I am reaching deep inside to find “IT”.  Yet I’m simultaneously terrified of finding IT… because then none of this will be compelling anymore.  Ugh.  This calls for a deep breath.

 

Live,

A

Do Not Be Attached To The Tomatoes Of Your Actions

I love being inundated with images of Paramahansa Yogananda!  Everywhere I look, he is there, smiling back at me with such heartfelt peace and acceptance.  His expressions all speak that he recognizes the highest in me, the Eternal Truth… AND he loves me unconditionally even as I flounder about in my perverse dreams of death, scarcity and separateness.  God, I wish I could be like him.  I guess someday I will be… If I meditated more, would I get there faster?  Faster… Oh, Athena… Who are you racing against, anyway?  Shrug.  I really want to understand what it is in me that would renounce who and how I am right now and grasp for some “better”, “higher” state.  I guess I’m just fed up with trying to manipulate and control life all the time.  I think I could really get behind the shift into an existence that was comprised only of playfully dancing, luminous perfection.  What stands in the way of that?  I have all these ego based solutions for the pursuit of happiness, peace, fulfillment.  I strive to prove that I am worthy and enough.  I don’t MEAN to… But why else would I get so attached to stupid outcomes?  (A doe just strutted by outside the window.  Talk about peace.  She is in the zone.  Moving slow… just putting one hoof in front of the other.  Then stopping at the gurgling pond for a cool drink.)

(My mom is in the kitchen organizing the CSA vegetables that she just picked up.  She hums as she works.  Did I mention her humming before?  She is a wound up little human music box.  I must have told you this before, but I have to tell you again, because it tickles me so.  I can always hear her approaching before I can see her.  She produces soft hums, like inadvertently giggling water or the occasional swish of breeze-kissed treetops.  I am so thankful to get to be here with her, listening to her own strain of nature song.  I will miss her when she sheds her physicality and dissolves into the Unseen for a while.)

Speaking of attachments and agendas and such ridiculousness… This morning upon waking, my mom reported that she woke up at two am and made herself some toast… and in the kitchen, she noticed that not only had one of her ashram mates picked all the tomatoes that SHE had spent the entire summer nursing and loving, but someone ELSE had used them ALL to make tomato soup last night!  She was horrified.  Her ego plan for salvation (as A Course in Miracles would word it) was to harvest them little by little, savoring them at a modest and consistent pace.  SHE had been the one caring for them, pouring herself out into their blushing, juicy, miraculous little lives.  And now they were obliterated in a sorry-assed soup, never to be whole and free and open for business again.  She sat in the darkness with her toast, gazing at a picture of Yoganada as her ego flushed her with its requisite poisons.  Yogananda told her that they were just tomatoes… and her life is not about tomatoes… her life is about God.  She found some solace and came back to bed.

When she told me this, I immediately thought of the Bhagavad Gita.  Krishna tells Arjuna, “to your actions alone be attached, but not to the tomatoes of your actions.” (He actually says “fruits”, not tomatoes… but as the old adage goes, “if the fruit fits…”)  I love the Bhagavad Gita!  It is such a short, sweet book… but if one takes the essence and lessons to heart… that one will be pretty spiritually buff and unstoppable.  Ahhh, to engage with life purely as an offering to the All Pervading Tomato Consumer!  Please God… help me release all my ego’s silly plans for salvation.  I want only the salvation that comes from choosing Peace… Now and now and NOW.

Even as I write this entry, the critic is standing over my shoulder trying to convince me that my writing is not good enough.  That my readers will be bored, turned off and I will be left alone and unloved to rot in a heap of shame.  Fruits, fruits, I must stuff my greedy imaginary face with sweet fruits… letting them drip down my chin, stain my shirt, engorge my belly.  PLEASE!  TELL ME HOW TALENTED I AM!!!!  Tell me how deeply impacted you are by my wisdom and wit and eloquence.  Sigh.

“A true yogi feels the throb of her heart in all hearts, her mind in all minds, her presence in all motion.”  This is part of a poetic meditation that Yogananda wrote.  Ten years ago, I went through a phase where I read it every single day.  That little sliver of it rose to the surface of my mind as my mom relayed her tomato tragedy to me this morning.  If only she could truly recognize that this localized chattery voice in her head was not truly who she is.  Ahhh… just imagine how beautiful the world would be if we all dared to see ourselves in everyone we met!  In the very earth we treaded upon.  Imagine if she grew those tomatoes with a heart yearning to offer them up to all of her beloveds, because she already felt so FULL in God’s All Pervading Glory, that there was nothing in this world that she could possibly have, take or consume that could compare to the inner fullness that not only dwells inside of her, but also concurrently bursts forth from every single pore of Creation at once and always.

She is me.  And I will settle for nothing less than to live in this Truth.  I surrender.  (Cringe… uh-oh… I bet God’s wondering if I really meant that… Beware of falling tests…)

Amen.

A Rigorous Day In Saint Training

It’s a rigorous day over here in Saint training.  I really wanted to use the f word in that sentence.  An f-ing rigorous day (don’t think of a pink elephant…).  But lemme see… how ‘bout a DANGEROUSLY rigorous day.  Or a poisonously rigorous day.  Or this day slithered across the hardwood floor of my all too familiar bedroom, glaring at me like a hooded cobra snake, venomous and unpredictable.  This is the first time in SEVEN years that I have been without the support of a devoted boyfriend.  Support?  Yeah, like emotional support.  I know I touched on this subject yesterday… but I am utterly broken open and lost in hell today.  I didn’t think I was going to write because I was feeling ashamed of and repulsed by myself.  And that’s not very Saintly.  Or is it?

Besides, today is different from yesterday, because Mykael is actually, physically around… yet we are continents apart… which makes the reality of our separation so much more painful.  To be near one who was once my refuge from the storm… and suddenly, I am in the midst of a downpour and he stands there preoccupied by a million shades of a hidden world, watching my bones get soaked and chilled by torrential gusts of inner turmoil and reckless need.

Today was one of those tigress listlessly pacing her teensy cage days.  I lost my will somewhere in the greasy folds of all this transformative soul discomfort.  God did I just want to get pleasantly drunk or stoned.  Or at least go out into the world and frivolously spend money on the comforting distractions of food and ambiance.  But I’ve done that enough.  All of it.  And today was designed specifically by the All Pervading Maliciousness… oh, that felt like a horrible thing to write… sorry God, it’s just that my heart stings so… this alchemy is so HOT, I can barely stand it.  But that’s alchemy for ya.  Do you even have any idea what I’m talking about?  I wonder… I wonder if I’m just an anomaly to make myself sit here and feel my way through such an uncomfortable experience.  Most “normal” people would just pick up a book and have a read or call up a friend and get together for a walk or dinner.  Or maybe fill the hole by shopping.  I hear that’s a popular one for women.  Or eating… I used to do that.  Doesn’t feel so great.  Neither does drinking margaritas.  Mykael and I used to do that like three times a week, back in the glory days.  I would pick him up from work and we’d go to our favorite restaurant, Fonda.  Usually we’d get in a fight on the way (another good distraction tactic) (am I a feeling junkie?) and then get to the restaurant and order our usual~ margaritas, the best chips in the world~ long, thick, salty *CRUNCHY* strips that make me feel orgasmic just in the telling, guacamole, refried black beans and broccoli.  What a hit-parade of oral sensations!  All played to the smeary tune of mild inebriation.  But was that enough?  No… then it was time to slur and shuffle home to smoke some pot and knock boots.  God I love smoking pot and having sex… Sigh… someday… maybe…

Come to think of it, this frustrated, pacing tigress feeling is not such a new innovation.  Come to think of it, she is an old friend.  But suddenly I refuse to medicate her.  I will let her get so intolerant and fierce that she will find a way out of her diminutive cage no matter WHAT it takes.  There may be bloodshed, friends.  I am trying to listen to this listlessness.  Instead of running from it.  There is nowhere to run.  I can’t even pretend to be interested in DOING anything to tune it out.  All I am moved to do is sit amidst the flames and watch myself disintegrate.  Trust me, it burns.  But there comes a time in the life of every tigress clad in fleshy disguise… when she is destined to break free.  My number must’ve come up because I see no other option.  I want nothing of this world of illusion.

Or do I?  I ached all day in my bed, dreaming of being taken out on the town.  Dreaming dreams of heavily lashed eyelids, swishing like steaming, enchanted forests as I sophisticatedly sip intoxicating elixir, the blood of elated grapes, raped and sequestered to dark, woody barrels and then resurrected solely for these lusty moments of seduction and blind consumption.  Sitting across the table from a date who makes me burn with curiosity and yearning.  I probe this exquisite face of the mystery, wishing I could wrap myself around it’s boundlessness in such a way that I may taste satiation, however brief.  I dreamed of being tossed and twirled about a heaving, breathing dance floor, the sweet music unapologetically devouring my mind, simmering me down to the most essential ingredient of existence~ pure bliss in motion.

Duality.  Sigh.  How will I EVER find my way out of this maze?  My bedroom has once again become my cocoon.  But soon, I will burst forth with new, striking wings.  They will be bent and folded clumsily and I will wonder if I actually know how to fly.  Until I find myself soaring free at the whim of some unseen, loving current, over the thrashing turquoise body of the sea.  And in that liberated instant, I will remember something that I forgot I have Always known.

But in the mean time… I sobbed in bed today, squeezed by the binding pain of this meticulous, ordained transformation.  I wiped clear snot on my pale blue sheet.  The prism hanging in my window was indifferent to this display of human despair and spat gratuitous rainbows all about my prison walls.  My consciousness took refuge in the intricate spray of vibrant spectral shades. I studied them until we merged.  I was taken by the fluid, graceful transitions from one color to the next.  I took the electrified colors into me like food, letting them fortify my aching mind.  And the bouquet of dahlias on my nightstand… We have a new level of intimacy now.  My vision desperately probed their mandalic folds.  I found a sacred piece of myself in the deep, weighty shade of magenta, so saturated, it was nearly devoured by a vibrant darkness.

So you see… it’s been a rigorous day in Saint training.

Amen.

Father Might Actually Know Best… After All

I am radiant today.  Don’t ask me what the recipe is… if I knew, I’d whip it up and serve it every day.  All I know is that I feel energetic and flirtatious and generous and as a result, I see the world around me ignite in smiles and kindness with a gluttonous side of sass.  One good thing about not being engaged or married= when I flirt, people take me much more seriously.  I like that.  I was so excited to come see Damon at Pizzaiolo today, since I didn’t make it yesterday.  I even put on seductive eye make up just so I could bat my eyelashes with extra feist.  In my mind, all this seemed perfectly natural… but as I confess it on the page, I imagine (Woops, Damon just came and collected my empty little fancy cup and saucer… I hope he didn’t read over my shoulder…Or maybe I hope he did… but a tremor of mortification just rattled my figurative windows.)  Ahem… I suddenly felt immature and afraid you were judging me, thinking, “Crushes are so grade school.  Don’t you have better things to do than seduce?”  But, no… Not really.  Not in this moment.

It felt good to recognize the luminous side of having a ringless left ring finger.  I am on another marriage kick… but… in this moment, I am perfectly content to appear so…uhhh… flirt-with-able.  I just discoverd that Damon knows sign language, which is HOT.  I wrote about sign language in one of my recentish blogs… Watching people communicate through their bodies like that really rings my bells.  It’s better than good poetry to me.  Poetry.  You’d think that I’d be really into poetry, considering I am a poet… but I’m not.  Often, poetry bores me.  I hate having to work so hard to glean any shred of understanding.  Pbbthhht. (You’ll LOVE this~ I learned that last word from Calvin and Hobbes.  Hobbes stuck his tongue out at Calvin and made that sound and spit flew everywhere!  Cool, huh?!)  I like sufi poetry.  Especially Hafiz, because he just comes right out and SAYS it… with the most potent, devotional, beautiful, god drenched words possible… without beating heavily around the over grown weed patches.  But all this erudite, esoteric code that people call poetry?  Save it for the self important academics who need to puff themselves up by sounding smarter than they really are.  No offense if you like that junk… to each her own, right?

Speaking of poetry and clichés, I met this bitchin’ guy named Jamie the other night, and he and Mykael and I were having a hella intellectual conversation about Shakespeare, and Jamie informed us that Shakespeare invented a ton of words and now “cliché” phrases that are common place today.  In fact, I bet a good few of them have rolled off your tongue in the last hour!  (examples~ “good as gold”, “for goodness sake”, “be all, end all”, “blushing”, “aroused”, “dawn”, “champion”… ETC.)  Sounds far fetched?… Look it up, I dare you.  It’s validating to me to know that Shakespeare took such bold liberties.  I invent words all the time, but I have this voice in the back of my head, my dad’s voice… telling me that I can’t just pull words out of my ass like that… My dad… I remember him as a walking, talking, [golfing] dictionary.  He used to correct my usage of the English language all the time.  I remember once asking him, “Do you understand???”  And he said, “No, but I GET it… Understanding implies…” blah blah blah… “But to GET someone…” blah blah blah.  All his academic rigidity just made me roll my eyes. (now I think it’s charming though)

And it seared him when I’d invent words.  But come on, how do you think language came to be in the first place?  It didn’t just fall from the sky in a big alphabetic lump… Language is an ever evolving, moving, breathing entity, just like you and me and our mother earth.  It evolves as innovative, awake people (such as yours truly) stand at the edge of the abyss and yearn to give voice to our experience of being.  Duh.

Speaking of my dad, I just need to express my gratitude for the healing that has occurred in our relationship!  Sometimes I hate Wednesdays… at least when I am not feeling at my strongest… because Mykael works and then goes to his men’s circle, and I am “alone” all day… not that when he’s around we kick it, incessant old skool… but just having nearness is soothing to this little holy hermit.  So yesterday came, another Wednesday [closer to death]… and I was feeling tender hearted in the morning… but what can I say, the beat goes on… At noon, I called my dad, since we usually talk on Wednesdays.  He is such a character, believe me.  A craps dealing (croupier) triple leo with a sociology degree.  Yeah, he’s a weirdo… an adorable weirdo.  I cried on the phone with him, because of the change sweeping through my life… I told him I want to make a sweet living as a writer.  Daddy doesn’t like his little girl to cry.  He searched his mind and heart for words of comfort.  I could feel his desire to soothe me.  And I was pleasantly surprised when he told me that I should do what I love… and trust that my passion will always guide me. (!?!?!?!?!)

I have been carrying around a WAY less empowering story about my dad, and relishing telling it over and over and over again (beating it to a bloody pulp, in other words).  It goes like this~ When I was three years old, I fell into ecstatic, awe-struck love with the trapeze artists at Circus Circus (the casino in Reno), and I was sure that I would be a trapeze artist when I grew up.  To me they were sexy angel goddesses, and to a three year old girl, there is nothing more compelling than that spicy cocktail of femininity.  When I gushed my fresh aspiration to daddy, I remember him telling me that that was NOT practical.  You can’t make a living as a trapeze artist… Discouraged, I trudged my deflated three year old self back to the drawing board and within a couple of years, I settled on veterinarian.  Shrug.  Not a bad choice…

But I’ve blamed my dad for murdering my helpless, innocent dream(s) ever since.  Harsh of me, I suppose.  But at least I got to be SO FUCKING RIGHT.  (On the phone yesterday, my dad also told me not to use the word “fuck” in my writing, because there are a thousand million more innovative ways to say fuck, than stiff, exhausted old F-U-C-K… I argued for the poesis of the f word.  I told him I am a “both and” type chick.  Sometimes, I just wanna come in for the clean-up round and I know that a good old fashioned fuck will be a solid, reliable base hit.  Like anything, when over used, fuck becomes as weak and boring as watery gruel served for every meal at Oliver Twist’s orphanage… but… It also has a powerful resonance as words go… and should be milked every once in a while, if you ask ME… but you didn’t…)

So once upon a time, my dad squished his pooooor little baby’s heaven sent dreams.  And for that she has bled and condemned for decades.  Until yesterday… When he reached through the phone to dry my sugary, cup cake, strawberry short cake tears and told me to keep following my heart.  The moral of the story?  Obvious~ don’t condemn anybody for a single, frozen moment in time.  People are harbors of consciousness.  It flows into us, and it sucks back out into the greater sea.  We are dynamic and evolving.  Even the most primitive boneheads among us are tomorrow’s prophets and saints.  Trust me, I have living proof.

PS~ There is a guy sharing the table with me.  He is munching toast as he spends “quality time” absorbed in his Iphone.  I just got present to the fantastic musical orchestra of mouth sounds he is producing… The initial brazen crunch of the toast, followed my more mushy, wet, smacking of his doughy mouthfuls.  It is my new favorite song!

Athena Wonders Aloud

I’m back at Pizziaolo.  As much as I relish discovering a new café that rocks my myopic little world, of course there is a modest back draft of consequence for branching out and trying something new:  the challenge of discovering which drink to order.   In this day in age, one woman’s latte is another woman’s cappuccino.  Every café has a different take on this matter of extreme importance (at least to this privileged American chick with too much life on her hands).  I am very picky when it comes to the ratio of milk to coffee.  Too much and it tastes like a glutinous bathtub full of sweet cow juice, which I find slightly disgusting.  Too little and A) it doesn’t last long enough and B) the drink tastes too bitter for a refined lady such as myself.  And navigating these waters is tenuous because I don’t want to be too annoyingly high maintenance and cause the barista to roll his or her eyes and dissociate every time I come to the café.  No barista bridge burning for Athena.  One of the main reasons that I like to write in cafes is so that I can have my crucial, whopping two minutes of social interaction before I dive into the solitary world that exists in my mind and in the alphabet garlands I string along for your viewing pleasure.

Is it pleasurable for you to read these words?  Sometimes I trip out on how we humans get off on sniffing about in the lives and minds of our fellow homo sapiens.  I just read this book by Huraki Murakami called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.  And I still don’t understand why I dug it so much.  It was a memoir-ish book by a Japanese author, exploring his thoughts about his relationship to long distance running and writing.  His voice was very frank and unadorned.  Reminiscent of overcooked turkey.  No, that doesn’t sound appetizing enough… maybe like a sandwich with no mayonnaise or mustard… But the other stuff in the sandwich is compelling enough to make you keep coming back for more.  I can’t say what else is in your sandwich, of course.  It totally depends on your taste.  But what ever ingredients you dig on, you have to chew this mystery sandwich with extra zeal and commitment to make it moist.  And then it is entirely worth your while.  But listen, I totally dug the book, because I am such a curious human being, and I yearn to understand in the utmost fullness what’s up with this whole human trip.  I was spellbound, reading about his long, arduous runs, his day in and day out devotion to the craft of writing.  And enough other people give a shit apparently, because it is a published book available in the Oakland public library.  My writing on the other hand… hmmmm… it is possible that it is a goop fest with mayonnaise and other miscellaneous condiments splooging out the sides with every bite.  Very frivolous condiments at that… cranberry sauce, wasabi mayonnaise, Sierra Nevada Ale mustard, sun dried tomato tapenade… Shrug.  What can I say, I am a condiment whore.

I have something very exciting to tell you now!!!  You know that “Italian looking man”, whom I exchanged a cold, awkward glance with yesterday?  Well, he’s here again, sitting at the table right next to me.  He just got here, and I noticed that he was stirring a new born cappuccino.  So I leaned over and asked him how the ratio of milk to coffee was.  I realize this is a very subjective topic… but I thought maybe he’d let me behold the color of the drink, once he sipped it down beneath the sensuous shroud of thick foam.  I didn’t come right out and ask that of this handsome stranger, though.  I had to build trust first, get him to nibble out of the palm of my hand and THEN go in for the wildly intimate kill; ask him to sneak a peak at the liquid in his cup.

The first thing he said when I asked him if the cappuccino was good was… that he is from ITALY!  I was right!  And he said it, of course, in a very sexy accent.  He told me that all American cappuccinos taste burnt to him, compared to the sweet, delicate Italian versions.  It’s true.  I have experienced them and they are delicious… but they never get me high enough.  Italian cappuccinos are pussy cappuccinos, you have to drink like four of them to every one American cappuccino.  No offense to pussies.  Pussies are awesome… they just don put hair on your chest.  Figurative hair, duh.  That’s the ONLY kind of hair I invite on my chest.  Anyway, as he was telling me about his relationship to cappuccinos, I was busy falling in love with him, imagining him barbarically throwing me over his shoulder and carrying me back to his impressively rustic, romantic villa in the Italian countryside where he has an olive orchard from which he makes his own olive oil, raises chickens and harvests the freshest eggs and has a mama goat and her fluffy little baby, whom he is so bonded with, he allows them to prance about the house, making cloven hoofed music on the hard wood, and considers them intimate members of his family.  Okay, I didn’t really think it through THAT far… but I was loving the intrinsic sizzle that it is to share very innocent shavings of conversation with a [moderately] hot Italian man.  (Even if he’s just moderately hot, his Italianness automatically grants him the bonus points required to go from mere smoke to fire.  I know, men, it doesn’t seem fair… but what can I say?  Maybe you’ll be Italian in your next life.  But Italian men IN Italy are a different story.  Too doggishly aggressive.  They have to be foreigners.)  (He just sneezed.  I blessed him!)

Another thing that rules about today is that there is a little group speaking in sign language here at Pizzaiolo!  Seeing sign language “spoken” always gets me hot.  It’s so expressive, mystifying, captivating.  I always feel tempted to stare… but I restrict myself to a few brief moments of staring, because of the seventeenth commandment, “thou shalt not get all up in other people’s shit, especially if you don’t know them”.  Mostly, getting all up in other people’s shit is my favorite thing to do… Reading books about their thoughts on running, gazing into their cappuccinos as though they were prophetic wishing wells… speaking of which, I forgot to tell you that my Italian boyfriend DID let me gaze upon his drink.  But there was too much foam on top, and I wanted to see the actual liquid, so I could judge it by color.  I like mine to be smooth caramel.  He hastily spooned some foam off into his mouth for me so I could see below it!  And LO!  His cup was a modest caramel ocean.  At least it was oceanic from the vantage point of someone the size of a human sperm…

Why is it so thrilling for me to spend my days discussing such nonsense?  I don’t know, but it is.  When I am writing, it is a brief respite from the worries and fears and worldly concerns that so naturally flood in to my idle mind.  Is the world as ridiculous and fascinating and tripp-a-delic to you?  I wonder.  And then I wonder some more.  This morning I felt sad.  Lonely.  Lost.  But I knew that as soon as I sat down to spin my aliveness into golden, linguistic relics I would feel priceless, sweet relief.  And I do.  And for that, I give thanks.

I thought I was done with this entry.  I was proof reading it when some hub-bub stirred up at the table on the other side of my Italian man.  A very old man suddenly uh… went on a magical mystery tour of sorts, meaning he checked out of this world for a minute and the young man he was with panicked and made a spontaneous, emergency phone call.  My Italian stood up and put his hands on the old man.  (What a good Samaritan)  I suddenly felt like throwing up as I confronted my own mortality.  Then the old man “came back”.  Everyone in the general area is still trembling with the aftermath of a threat of a visit from the angel of death.  Wow.  Life is so life-like… And I am afraid to die, after all.

My Updated Thoughts on Marriage Circa 2010

Marriage.  I just read an essay that I wrote almost exactly four years ago, back in 2006, the year of our lord, on the topic of marriage.  Here is what I learned~ I can be very convincing when I want something.  I’m gonna publish it on my blog, so you can see what a simultaneously naïve and wise twenty six year old I was.  I think it can be problematic when we try to convince ourselves of the illusory permanence of life.  This just in~ Life is everything BUT permanent.  Everything.  But.  Permanent.  I gushed on about this fantastical phenomenon called forever with a man named Eric who is now but a wistful wake of light in my grasping mind and my nostalgic heart.

Marriage.  It’s on my mind because of the book I’m reading, Commitment, by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Not because I care heavily one way or the other about marriage right now.  I suppose I do… but not with any immediacy.  My life is too tremulous and delicate right now to indulge in such binding future concepts as marriage.  With any seriousness, I mean… I am allowed to talk about it and turn it over and over and over in my mind, as I fancy to do…  But urgency and desire are not burning a hole in my female self, as they once did in the name of this glistening mirage of a topic.

I have an embarrassing confession to make.  (What is it about embarrassing confessions that I simultaneously relish and detest?)  Last august, that naïve little would be Disney princess in me was expelling her requisite song and dance about “when are you gonna ask me to marry you?!!???”… to my new (and improved?) partner.  She started up her relentless din not too long after we got together, and after we completed the first year together, she felt justified to let her voice out at full volume.  Yes, “she” is me… but also she is not me.  This is why I refer to her in the third person.  Because as I sit here on a Monday morning in Gaylord’s Café on Piedmont Avenue, rocking out to Michael Jackson, Thriller, and expunging the bottomless recesses of my brilliant, churning, ever-hungry mind, this fantasy worshipping little girl must be off playing Barbies in the sandbox, because she is certainly not driving this conversation.

But anyway, back to my confession.  Last august, I was harassing Mykael for not having proposed to me yet… My favorite thing to say was, “If ya like it then ya shoulda puta ring on it”… you know, the Beyonce song.  Damn, I got a lot of mileage out of that stupid song… which is ironic, because I can’t even listen to the actual song all the way through, I find it so abrasive.  During one of these high pressure sales moments, I managed to get Mykael to commit to proposing to me within six months.  That meant by the end of February, 2010!  I was thrilled, although six months felt like eternity manifest.  Within those six months, our lives really came undone, and I schizophrenically bounced all around in my desires and life vision.  (Saturn will do that to ya…)  One night, I even begged him NOT to ask me to marry him, because I was feeling so cynical of the institution.  But nonetheless (my favorite word!) when February rolled around, I couldn’t help but let myself be swept away by another current of fantasy and romance.  He had given his word, after all.  And in the face of all the chaos we were wading through together, what BETTER to divert and distract and make right than the epically romantic act of engagement.

On February twenty sixth, I began to flood with doubt, disappointment and even panic.  Have you ever noticed that when the hour glass is nearly empty, the sand begins to move at warp speed?  What a magnificent excuse to feel one of my all time favorite emotions, devastation!   I pouted a bunch before confronting him with a tremulous voice and an even more tremulous bottom lip.  All hands on deck!  Storm the gates!  This calls for broken heart inspired attack on the man called Mykael!  He was confused.  “Just last month, you were begging me not to ask you…”  He could not keep up with my female brain, my nomadic tidal waves of desire.  Jerk.  (Just kidding… although I’m sure I called him worse in the hot moments of confrontation.)  Turns out he wasn’t feeling nearly solid enough as a man to even consider proposing to me.  I hated to hear this, to feel this.  I fell into a pitch black pit of disappointment over this for about a week.  After that, the disappointment lightened and sobered up slowly, over time.  Since then, I have pilgrimaged all over the blessed map, from a staunch conviction to exit the relationship, to moments of eternal, gushing devotion and back again.  But today, and most days recently, there is something very sober who is driving the vision of my life.

It’s about time, sheesh!  Thank God.  Do I want to get married?  Sort of… Maybe.  Sometimes.  I do want a child.  Does that mean we should get married?  Shrug.  On one hand marriage seems like binding yourself to this appendage, and then having to exert a lot of extra energy dragging it around for the rest of your life, despite the fact that your growth patterns will inevitably not always match.  But on the flip side, since evidence sings that in essence, all men are retarded assholes, there’s really no point in wasting my life trying to find a “better” one.  So it could be a profound experience to commit to digging the worlds deepest well with another human being.  Think of how well you could get to know someone, sharing the same little jail cell with them for your entire life.  Just kidding.  Life is not a jail cell.  It just feels like it to me sometimes.   What I am coming to realize after thirty trips around the sun, is that you just never know about life.  It is such a long, mercurial, mysterious journey.  Only God knows who I will be at forty, fifty, ninety years old.  The only thing that doesn’t change is the essence of the essence of the essence of the essence of it all, which I fancy calling “God”… but please, by all means, call it Spirit, Creator, Jah, All Pervading Light, the Mystery, Love… Call it what you like, but it still don’t change.

Will marriage bring me closer to God?  I wish I could just slap a quick yes on that question, toss it on the shelf to pickle and get on with my affairs… but that would be lazy and wishful at best.  What is this part of me that won’t let go of the shimmering concept of marriage?  Maybe I just want to be like every-fuckin-body else… Can’t I just lead a “normal” life and be done with it?  But fortunately, the immediate answer is NO.

Sorrow, Impermanence and Yearning

I’m still kinda disoriented from all the crying I did this morning.  I guess because I’m still not even quite sure exactly why I am so sad today.  There’s something so freeing about crying without such a concrete story about WHY.  And with that, Athena proceeded to launch into reasons… mostly in an attempt to find something previously unseen within herself.

It was Mykael’s birthday yesterday, remember?  Well, he spent the day with a broken heart (I guess mostly because he isn’t where he wants to be in his life).  The birthday boy had been dreaming of an afternoon mushroom trip at Tennessee Valley beach in Marin… but a large, unsightly monster began to nibble voraciously at the afternoon.  We planned to leave at two.  Two came and went.  Then three slipped inconspicuously through the cracks…  People often say that Mykael is the perfect man for me.  Sometimes I agree.  But sometimes I think it’s fucking nuts to be with a man who tends to be as emotionally volatile as me.  We both embody the quintessential artistic temperament.  It can be intense.  I often find myself wishing that one of us was more “normal”… you know, stable, balanced… in our next lives he can be an accountant and I’ll be the milkmaid!  HA!  Needless to say we drowned together in indecision and heart ache and ended up just going to Whole Foods for a loaf of bread, six cans of coconut milk, a jar of crunchy, unsalted almond butter, and Mykael got himself this cute little chocolate chip cookie sandwich with chocolate ganashe in the middle. (Why is sugar such a compelling substitute for love and happiness???)

By then it was four thirty pm… What in the heck to do?  Since we were close to the gym in down town Oakland, we decided to go for a quickie rock climb.  Life according to Athena= when in doubt, move your body.  Felt good.  At least in my world, the invisible, heavy weight became slightly less debilitating.  Then we went to dinner at our new favorite restaurant.  I’m gonna let you guess… That’s one way he and I are compatible~ We both have the creature of habit gene, and like to really get intimate with a certain place, the people, the food… we mostly order the exact same thing every time.  And strangely, we most always agree on what we fancy to put in our mouths.

When we landed at Boot and Shoe Service, our fragile psyches seemed to be spreading their wings, poised to take flight.  How could they not?  Even in the still vibrant six thirty pm light, the candles flickered, promising romance and enchantment.  The restaurant bustled with beautiful humans, both the servers and patrons.  At the time, I didn’t realize it, but the overflowing basket of fresh, shiny spring onions impressed themselves heavily upon my mind.  I can see them so clearly right now.  I’ve noticed this new trend in the super hip, shi-shi restaurants… you know, the ones that use local, organic ingredients… where the wealthy-ish, self proclaimed “foodies” go to get their munch on… I’ve noticed that the trend is to display the fruits and vegetables du jour in showy baskets and bowls right out on the counter that divides the cooking area from the dining area.  It’s like a little altar to the food.  I like it.  Boot and Shoe does it.  Brilliant idea to let people behold the innate artistry of the food they are about to consume!

Suddenly, I realized, uh-oh… we are about to eat pizza and drink wine (only a dinky glass, but still…) and then, since when it comes to eating, Mykael can be such a dog, he’ll eat whatever is in front of him… he’ll fill himself to the brim with carby, doughy ness.  Then we’ll get home and he’ll be an immobilized lump and be too comatosed to make love.  I tried to be tactful and gracious and even inviting as I expressed this concern.  I was delighted when he said I could delve out his portion of pizza!  Chicka-chicka-bowm-bow!  The night just got even better.  I was in the mood for lllllove!  Yeah!  But then came dessert.  Boooo.  We ordered the chocolate cake (come on, you can skip dessert any other night, but…) and then, since it was his bday, they gave us a bowl of Strauss vanilla soft serve with olive oil and sea salt on the hiz-ouse.  Damn, it was SO delicious!  Would you ever think of eating [vanilla] ice cream with olive oil and sea salt?!  You should, because it was heaven on a stick!  Anyway, I totally lost interest in the boring, dry cake as a result, so Mykael polished off the whole slice plus a bunch of ice cream and my heart winced and crinkled.  I thought if the pizza didn’t sink his ship, all this dessert sure would.  Enter pouty Athena, stage left.  The littlest thing can flip my switch.  I’m not quite proud of it, but more fascinated.

We walked home the scenic route through the rose garden. (Maybe we could burn a little of that excess sugar and make some room for sweet lovin’)  Exploding rainbow blossoms, recklessly full, patiently wide open as twilight began to lure their petaled innocence into her dark belly.  Birds sang a melancholy dirge to the inward folding of this day, which will never be lived again.  Already slipping back into the pit of disappointment, once home, I got an e-mail from E*.  He told me that he felt himself closing off to me.  That sitting down to write to me, he mostly found himself staring blankly at the glowing screen.  Reading this, my already heavy heart sunk below my inner horizon.  Then Mykael and I climbed into his bed and he confessed that he felt energized enough, but he felt all this pressure to perform, which sucked for him.  Yeah.  I can see how he would feel that.  And honestly, I’m sure that if I was feeling strong and generous and unattached, I probably could have opened my heart and my body and spilled gratuitous lusciousness all over him and inevitably gotten boned immaculate, like I yearned to be… but instead I opted to respond to his confession by remaining pouty and disapproving and distant.  Ladies, learn from my mistakes.  This behavior might feel satisfying in the short term, because you get to be indulgent, impulsive and gloriously RIGHT… but in the longer than seven seconds term, this addiction to pouting and punishing and staying closed SUCKS.

I fell into a downward spiraling trap, imagining that our sex drives are sorely mismatched and if we stay together forever, I am destined to a life of perpetual sexual unfulfillment.  Sure seems like it these days.  In the beginning of our relationship, he wanted to have so much more sex.  Now he mostly wants to cuddle.  I haven’t even hit my sexual peak yet.  This thought sent me to hell.  How on earth will that work?  I can’t stand feeling disappointed and sexually rejected so often.  It fucking blows.  But certainly not even remotely biblically… unfortunately.  Did they have such a thing as blow jobs back in biblical times?  The Christians would say no, but the pagans would put their hands in the air and say “whoop-whoop!”

Anyway, we fell asleep together in half baked openness, but with a thick, filmy residue of bummer.  I hate going to bed aching.  Because inevitably, I wake up aching.  I felt so sad that he was so disheartened on his birthday, and even more sad that I couldn’t just make myself, my desires, attachments, needs disappear for the day and just be for HIM only.  On top of that, I’m reading this book, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, by Huraki Murakami, and he describes some very graphic world war II brutality in it, such as a man witnessing another man be skinned alive, and soldiers being ordered to kill all the carnivores in the zoo.  I read it first thing in the morning and I probably shouldn’t because I feel it all way too deeply, which only exacerbates all the other aching I partake in.  Woops.

It just seems like there is no way to reckon with the perpetual imperfection of human life.  No matter what, seasons keep sweeping us along.  Not just the biblical seasons, I mean life and death on every level, in every moment.  Impermanence.  Hope.  Tragedy.  Revelation.  Yearning.  Today in A Course in Miracles, the lesson instructs us to marinate in gratitude.  Sigh.  It’s a good day for that.  There is so much to love in this life.  ESPECIALLY in the face of such startling impermanence and imperfection.

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