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 This Heart Keeps Breaking…

Thanks to FaceBook’s new feature, “Memories”, I have recently been revisiting my blogs from twenty eleven.  Five years ago.  I am struck by the audaciousness with which I expose myself.  Every time I read an entry, I fall to my heart’s knees in empathic reverence for the rugged terrain of both Heart and Life (these two dimensions tend to hopelessly bleed together into a vast, sloshy, ecstatic mess) that I not only was willing to traverse, but also to share with such generous abandon.  I feel a sense of awe for what I have survived, where I have arrived… and the whispers that rise up in me and hint of the horizons and summits I will yet Realize.  Over the past few years, I have become a bit more conservative in my sharing.   Because I’m afraid of saying things that will upset others.   Especially Ed, I s’pose.  Self-imposed censorship is one of the most unwieldy demons to contend with as a writer.  Because if a writer is not ripping the “Jesus bandaid” off, and being outrageously naked… well… she’s just another homogenized, factory farmed, word squanderer.

Watch me, as I shove my lovably cowering self back out under the lonesome, prismatic floodlight of center stage… Reluctant, heroic, naked… A beacon in an otherwise blackened domain… cradling my own majestic, pulpy heart in my cupped hands.

Yes, my heart.  Somehow it found its way under the wheels of a big rig this past week.  Thank GOD I invested the model with the lifetime warranty, way back when.

Serena will be three months alive, two days from now.  And so far, since her arrival, most of my writings have been high notes.  Can you blame me?  What could be a higher note than the blessing of finally having an excruciatingly essential prayer answered in technicolor surround sound?  I knew from the the tootsie roll center of my very own address in Infinity that it was my calling to bring a daughter into the world and give my all to assure that she hit the ground DANCING, as she lives out her star-child soul mission… But I did NOT know the holy implications of this sublime calling.  Serena is the joy of my life.  So naturally, I have been exploring these new dimensions of ecstasy on the page.

I thought I was done suffering about her dad, Ed.  The married policeman (hilarious, huh?) who somehow stole into the farthest, deepest and tenderest neighborhoods of my heart.  (As if there are any neighborhoods in Here that are not all that…)  But there’s something about him… That I really… like?  Love?  Need?  Prefer?  Yes, all of that…

We’ve known each other for nearly four years now.  And have been fervently clutching the feeble, rapid-thrashed life-raft of our devoted dream of being together for a solid three.   But Ed’s always been explicitly committed to keeping his family together until his youngest sun graduates from high school.  Ha!  Talk about a scenic tour through the land of breathing cliches!  It’s the new Disneyland river ride!… Not purported to be scary… The colorful boats are structurally sound, and meander along a questionably grimy little manmade stream.  You pass through dim caverns, entering a series of romantic scenes:  a big, solid man and a swooning firecracker of a goddess sharing perfectly delicious moments of electric love-infused adventures… soaking in naked embrace at Harbin Hot Springs, sitting as close as two people can be, at the perfectly dim bar of Pizzaiolo, sipping red wine and sharing succulent smooches, grilling steak on the springtime rooftop of Athena’s beloved Lake Merritt apartment, laying entwined on a blanket on a sunny, wave-slapped beach…. And yet, somehow, all of this candied delight evokes bleeding and screams, as the gentle river carries One merrily along.

God I amuse myself.  I could get perpetually lost in the luxurious, rolling landscapes of memory as simultaneously revealed and concealed by worlds of words… But I came here to expose myself.  I came here to tell you that I thought I was finally free from the sprawling sentence of strenuous heartache that is being in unrelenting love with this married man.  He gave me a daughter because that is what I wanted more than anything.  And maybe he wanted to be the One, because it would mean fusing an undeniable bond for this life and perhaps beyond.  I wanted that with HIM.  Don’t ask me why… Hearts do not speak the language of reason.  And I hesitate to use the “K word” (karma), because it is too easy.  The spiritually persuaded, imaginatively lazy tend to castrate Life’s greatest Mysteries, by rampantly slapping that label on every nuanced curve of Existence, and sleepwalking on with glassy, passive eyes.  It might be accurate… but alas, I wishn’t to suffocate the fluttering, fragile immensity of the Unknown through which we swim.

How on earth am I going to deliver myself back to the original track of this well-intentioned telling???  As I stated back in paragraph four, Serena is on the precipice of three months alive now.  Ed has still not been here to see us.  He was there for her birth… A solid pillar of masculine strength and love.  And in the hospital, he vowed to come visit within the next few weeks.  But it was the holy-days, and there were already others at his job who had put in for time off… Hence, his supervisor would not bless him to take leave.  And there I was, a new mother, hormone cocktail sloshing, tears splashing, as the rug is pulled out from beneath my feet.  Multiple times, the promise of his presence rebuked at the last minute.  All too familiar, it reeks of daddy’s dutiful defacing of my innocent, hope-full heart.

But meanwhile, every day, Serena awakes with a smile that radiates unsayable purity.  And her brightness calls me home to the holy mOMent at hand.  And all day long, she needs me, and she feeds me with her vulnerable presence and unobstructed soul music… Like I said, I thought I was free from needing Ed.  But a few weeks ago, he put in for time off (again), and his supervisor gave him a radiant, green light.  It shone all the way from Berkeley to Nevada City, lighting up my Temple of Hope with turquoise glowing shadow play of days shared as a momentarily cohesive, loving family.  But shadows, when grasped, just slip like whispers through closed, empty fists.

His boss rebuked his word.  Twice more.  Meanwhile it was Ed’s birthday.  And he was far away in almost every sense of the word.  Then came his thirty three year anniversary with his wife… God, looking backward on the last couple of weeks, I can’t pinpoint the address of the monster who hijacked and vandalized my heart… But I can testify of disturbingly familiar feelings of disappointment, betrayal and aloneness.  Meanwhile, Serena continued to blind me with her lucid, angelic BEing.  And for this glaring paradox, my heart washed with inadvertent sprays of guilt.  I shouldn’t ache like this, while holding her to my nectar-gushing breast.

Gosh, the trouble with my passion for colorful, poetic expression, is that it is nearly impossible to venture from point A to point B.  Is that a problem?  The world is already “Pointy” enough as it is… but… sometimes I want to record my life for posterity’s sake… and I get so dazzled by the scenery along the Way… Feels like navigating a sprawling sea of scintillating sirens.

What must I fuse onto this page for eternal safe keeping?  I want to tell you that the way my heart breaks in love with Ed feels like dying a thousand times over.  Each time is new.  Each time is familiar.  Each time I am more masterful at the Art of Death.  I have come to wonder of the hidden Gifts of these flash-crucifixions… Is the pain essential?  Or is it a result of my stubborn grasp on that which could never be mine?  But I will not let go of him.  Nor he of me… although in many broken mOMents, he has offered to “set me free”.  But I suppose the Freedom I truly seek, can only be realized from behind these bars I have erected in my own heart.  Do you understand?  It reminds me of a book that my old friend and “tantric lover”, Jay had on his nightstand, once upon a time… “The Only Way Out Is IN”.

I will not find the freedom I seek through manipulating circumstances.  Only through breaking until there is nothing left to break… Until all that is left is the pure and unconditional love rushing endlessly from my own whole and Holy heart.  Flowing unobstructed from Everywhere to Nowhere and Beyond.  I will break as many times as this takes.  And I will do it holding Ed’s invisible hand… Because my heart demands this.  And I will sing the preposterous stories of my life upon the page… because they dazzle, enchant and endlessly perplex me.  And I these stories will deliver me…

…to the hOMe I have never really strayed from in the first place.

What a silly game for God to play as US…

But pretty cool, too…IMG_5304

The Party Starts Here…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you ready to REMEMBER?

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

The Journey of Refinement

This morning I’m thinking about the power of words to shape reality. Honestly, I’m feeling tired of telling the same weather-beaten stories and surfing the same tired waves. A deep part of me just wants to take a long, luxurious swim in the gentle waters of silence for a while; only speak when I’m compelled to from the core of my being. The heart of the universe. How can I inhabit these silly, endearing stories of my life from a higher consciousness?

One of the first lessons in my “Good Book” of choice, (grin), A Course in Miracles, is “I do not know what anything is for.” To practice the lesson, you’re sposta look around your immediate vicinity, and as your eyes fall on each object, say, “I don’t know what this table is for. I don’t know what this computer is for. I don’t know what this husband is for.” Etcetera. The first time I did the exercise, I was not aware of the profound opportunity nestled within those words. The course is designed to undo our habits of perception, so that we can once again be available to recognize the divine light that shines upon the altar of our mind. Note that I wrote “mind”, not “minds”, because the course also teaches that there is only ONE mind, and that is the mind of God. It is our delusive perception that argues for the reality of separation. Separation is but a dream. And as night time dreams, it is benign. When you wake up, you are untouched by the reality of the dream. Ya dig? And this reality we are so freakin RIVETED by, is exactly the same. When we wake, our souls will be untouched by the incessant snarl of agonies and ecstasies in which we imagine to be ecstatically flailing about.

The course says that there is another way to inhabit this dream. Another meaning that can be assigned to time, and to the “stuff” of this world. That meaning is LOVE. We can use everything as tools and props and opportunities to align with and express the healing light of the Infinite. To guide us back Home, and to shepherd all of our Brothers and Sisters along with us.

Sounds ambitious, huh? Well maybe so, but the alternative is losing its luster. Chasing this wispy cloud of an ego dream, and that… inevitably winding up at the same busted wall of dissatisfaction and longing. Sometimes I catch myself taking gluttonous hits of envy of those who seem to be satisfied by the flavors and colors and textures of this world. You know, the people who believe that the meaning of life is to “have fun”… It *seems* so simple and relaxing.

I believe the meaning of life to be Self realization; Self mastery. Some would argue that you CAN realize the Self through having fun. Deep breath… I agree to an extent. Because in having fun, there IS a quality of absorption… Like the way a child becomes so immersed in their play, that they fall off the space-time continuum entirely, couldn’t care less about eating or sleeping or any of those other rote, mundane activities that us domesticated, caged adults LIVE FOR!!! (Sheesh, where did we take the wrong turn?!) But ultimately, I believe that if we want to come unstuck from our mental and emotional habits, and inhabit a deeper slice of Reality, it requires a willingness to roll up our figurative sleeves and get messy and break a sweat in the name of true inner freedom.

I’m beginning to doubt that I know what real happiness is. Maybe what I thought was happiness, was actually just a cheap form of getting high: “I LOVE my new puppy!” “That was a fantastic orgasm!” “I look so hot in my new lacy yoga pants!” Gosh, that sounds so black and white. That’s not what I meant. A better way of saying it, is that I see the spiritual path as a journey of refinement. As we grow to embody and reflect more of our soul qualities, the experience of such things as love and happiness transform. When I was nine, I was ecstatic when my Ma made me my FAVORITE dinner: macaroni and cheese!!! (She rocked it, too. Real cheese. And butter. Not that fake, neon, packaged bullshit.) But today, at age thirty four, I feel a more subtle joy hearing birdsong, or beholding the majestic artistry of a live oak tree. I feel complete, delicious absorption while I am teaching yoga. And hopefully, someday (not so far off) (though time is an illusion), I will simply turn inward and naturally become drunk on the exquisite bliss of my true nature! Dang, that’s gonna rock!!!

And meanwhile, I pray to be at peace as I live all that I must live, in the imaginary distance between here and there.

OM.

Stalked By Destiny

When you read these words, you won’t know that I stared into space for an unusually steep stack of eternities, before I felt compelled to commit words to the page. You’ll just sip them quick, like a tepid, all-too-drinkable latte from the Starbucks drive-thru. But the reality, is that I am siting here (Pizzaiolo), mulling over the shards of my life, like a twelve-dimensional puzzle, trying to fit them together into a sensible portrait of burgeoning reality. Yeah, I’m like smoothing my consciousness with a fine-toothed comb, teasing out the moments and images, longings and thoughts that glow the brightest in here…. Because perhaps my psyche is a treasure map, seducing my awareness to ever greater heights of Ultimacy.

And now, for the effulgent flash of our beloved cliche symbol, the lightbulb (aka: a moment of clarity). What it boils down to, is that I’m coming to a place inside, where I am longing to create something deeply satisfying, and wildly impactful in the world (in addition to my dear little Alexandria Shri…). I want to use all my God-given gifts and talents to light up the world. The alternative is hella bogus. Life without passionate, creative risk is like crawling across a parched desert with no kombucha or raw milk (okay, or even WATER) to drink, and no sexy, fierce, wise, compassionate, unruly playmates to sweeten up otherwise generic moments.

Okay, sometimes I nail the metaphors… but that time I didn’t. You must mine for the FEELING beneath the words. My writing stems from liquidy depths of raw feeling. The immediacy of these energies guide me like a trail of breadcrumbs to the CANDY HOUSE.

Now, more than ever before, I am stalking my destiny. There was a lunar eclipse last night. And we’re approaching a “grand cross”. Supposedly all this current astrological intensity is serving as a raucous seduction into deeper attunement to our soul’s path and purpose.

Last July, I let go of my apartment and my job and the constricting, razor blade-laced comfort of a life that was becoming too small for me… I followed the oh-so-gentle whisper of my heart to the Momshram, where I stayed for six weeks, and imbibed my fourth yoga teacher training. Entirely apropos for year of the snake, this kicked off a hard core skin-shedding. Or maybe I was in a straight up cocoon… because I really became a puddle of tender nothing. And since then, I have been ambling with mostly patient, mostly blind faith down the path of my heart. My priority has been spiritual nourishment… which you’d think would be rather joyful. But it’s actually been sorta dark and unsettling. Like all the bright colors of my soul have been cut with sludgy, grey paint.

I’m getting tired of drifting on wily tides. I want to unzip my chest and let the colors of my heart run and bleed and stain the undisciplined, dreaming minds of the hopeless. Today I am inclined to believe that the God I adore can be tasted in the delicate sweetness of beauty and pleasure and delight.

Just before seven this morning, I was riding BART to the enchanted lagoon (Temescal Pool), and I scanned the train to see who the “people in my neighborhood” were… Friends, it was fucking tragic. Without exception, they all looked eleven-twelfths dead!! I even have the stealthily snapped photo to prove it. My hypothesis is that these people were all heading to jobs they despise, living juiceless, autopilot lives, because they have been asleep so long, they forgot they had another option. And yes, I inhabit my own pathetic version of that. And it’s pissing me off. I’M ATHENA GRACE!!!! I was NOT born to partake in this trending strain of self-imposed bondage!!!

I want to unearth Heaven Within, and spread it around like a hopelessly contagious virus!!! I want flowers to bloom where I have walked and frowns to melt into undeniable evidence of all-pervading ecstasy!

Now I’m staring at the page again… Because like, honestly… where do you go from there?

I’m hopping a train to the Momshram this afternoon. Up until this morning, I was resisting going. I felt attached to all this concrete and noise. Just kidding. More like my Man, the creative, conscious, exuberent vibe of my Bay Brea peeps, sweating out my demons (and perhaps a few token angels) in bikram yoga, and gliding like a mermaid through liquid, aqua love at dawn. But today I say yes. I’m ready to re-enter the Sacred Forest. Hug my PRECIOUS mother, and sing the meal blessing song with her before we feast on delicious, rainbow colored salads, designed by yours truly (you gotta wonder where the silly phrase, “yours truly” came from… and moreover, you gotta wonder about the goofballs who keep it alive…), unleash my wild heart on the endearing, half-awake masses who show up for my sadhanas!!… Breathe in the love of the trees and perch next to Ma and sing my heart out at sunday service!

Gosh… That all sounds pretty God. Where do I sign up? Oh wait, this is MY LIFE. Sweet! What was it I was clawing for at the beginning of this blog? Purpose. Meaning. Sacred engagement. Focus. Service. Sigh. Trust the path, Mrs. Grace. You might imagine you are stalking your destiny…

But actually, your destiny is stalking YOU.

Om. Peace. Amen.

Keys to the Queendom of Heaven

Eeeee… Here we go! Off-roading in Athena Graceland. I feel extra pre-game jitters today, because I’m not quite sure where we’re going, and how we’re gonna get there. And if the route will be “scenic enough” for you… But actually, I have been known to consider that EVERY route is a scenic route, if you are looking through wakeful, artistic eyes… The path you’ve traversed ten thousand times is bursting at the “seems” with hidden wonders, aching to be revealed in your receptive, inquisitive gaze. Neighborhoods fashioned from industrial warehouses, cyclone fence-encased, abandoned parking lots with cracked pavement contain the whispering triumph of mother nature reaching up tenaciously from beneath, with her svelte, weedy fingers, and the graffiti on the walls are the cryptic longings of weary wandering souls. Open your eyes!!! Don’t miss this strangely shaded zoo of misinterpreted bliss.

It’s tempting. To race to the illusory, self-inflicted finish lines. Like me, counting the days: three weeks and two days… until I depart this enchanted forest valley… and fly back into Ed’s arms for a few all too fleeting moments… feeling into the shape of my freshly transformed self against the rajasic backdrop of the Bay Area… I’m looking forward to that. The way a warrior might inexplicably, subliminally salivate moments before stepping onto a battlefield laden with dancing, airborne arrows and casually strewn puddles of warm, steaming blood. That was dramatic, but fun to write. What I mean, for those of you who only speak “plain english”, is that I feel so sensitive these days. Like I’ve told you before, my urban calluses have worn down and I am a tender babe. But I’m eager to explore my new shape against a backdrop of jagged contrast, so that I can more deeply recognize who I am becoming. And then after that brave and brief brush with becoming, I shall kiss Ed goodbye once again, and run for the benevolent, woodsy refuge that is “The Momshram”. Another homecoming. Another backdrop against which to ascertain the flowers, fruits and foliage of this current alchemical transformation.

And then and then and then and then and…. So what? I watch myself erect all these future events to “look forward to”… And I believe in their implicit rewards, as a child believes in Santa Clause. “Some day”… It’s like that song… YOU GOTTA WATCH THIS!!!:

Seriously! That says it ALL. I just watched it, and realized NO FLIPPING WONDER that I turned out this way!!!! Hahahaha!!! If you only KNEW how REAL that exiled, tender-hearted princes archetype lives inside me!!!! Children are such preciously malleable little sponges… soaking up criminal thresholds of toxic bullshit in this plastic, corporate empire, otherwise known as the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Someday Ed and I will be together. Someday I will be PREGNANT… and give birth to beautiful, luminous Alexandria. Someday I will publish my book(s). Someday I will be a spiritual leader… And THEN… Wink. Sigh… All I am racing toward, when I am in refusal to realize the grace and glory of this under-cover scenic route of a human life, is DEATH. And rebirth. And death and rebirth and death. And if you don’t believe in reincarnation… then fine, just stop the train at death, and that’s pathetic enough… (But when we brush elbows in the next life, you’ll scratch your head and wonder why there’s something disconcertingly familiar about this wild place called Athena Graceland!)

Hey, It’s a miracle! Because when I dropped anchor and set sail onto the dark, mysterious swells of philosophically charged language and thought this morning, I had just a faint notion that what I wanted to talk about was happiness… In fact and fallacy. But I quickly relinquished it, allowing myself to be swept away by a powerful wave of inspiration, into the journey… and suddenly we are here, and all there is to address is the meaning of life!… and I didn’t even break a sweat or grind a gear in order to land here! Something BIG and hella ALMIGHTY is clearly at play. Something still, and small and secret…

In my raja yoga class, Daiva passionately “throws down” the potent, rudimentary principals of life as we know it. He reminds us week after week that it is always happiness that we seek. No matter how we skin the dinosaur. And embarrassingly, even that assertion was a surprise to me at first. Like, REALLY? All I want is happiness? I have dressed it in SO many ostentatious and clever costumes…. But upon further reflection, I have come to recognize that this is true. Are you with me so far?

Good. Then take my hand, and let’s proceed to the next lilly pad of illumined revelation… We have put the cart before the horse, people!!! We are conditioned to believe that we must figure out WHAT will make us happy… and we all grope around in pitch dark, like selfish little baby monkeys, trying to get our greedy fingers and opposable thumbs around our heavily frosted, perfectly moist slice of unbirthday cake….

I just took a shower break a few minutes ago, and I laughed out loud in the dim stall, under the stream of deliciously warm water, as I continued to mull on this topic, and I thought of how long I have cried and lost sleep over the fact that I can’t seem to figure out WHAT COLOR MY CURSED PARACHUTE IS!!!!! Hahaha!!!! Listen~ it doesn’t MATTER what color it is!!!! That’s just another gimmick lodged in-between me, and the ever-present CHOICE to BE happy. Right now.

I know it can SEEM way more complicated that that. Because we are carrying the heavy burden of THE PAST along with us… which makes it hard to recognize WHAT WE ARE. You see, we don’t need to SEEK joy… because we ARE joy. That’s what it is to be made in God’s image. We are the joy, the love, the peace that we seek.

It is such fertile ground for learning here at Ananada Laurelwood. Because I can truly see that no matter whether I am scrubbing moldy shower stalls, or dressing massive cakes in painfully sweet frosting, or sponging tomato-stained grease off of a heaping mountain of lunch plates… It’s really all the same. It’s only my attitude, and willingness to surrender myself into the voluptuous grace of the moment, that governs how I experience IT. Every once in a while, at the end of a kitchen clean-up shift, I hear myself triumphantly utter something equivalent to, “We’re almost outa here!”… Then my words echo, as if through a massive canyon, flailing like bouncy balls, about the expanse of my awareness… and I ask myself where I imagine that I’m going, that’s going to be any better than where I am… and I realize that I am like TOTALLY deluded. It’s only the tension I’m holding in my body… that resistance to fully inhabiting the space of now, that makes me wish I was elsewhere. So I am practicing softening my belly and my shoulders and my thoughts; breathing all the way into and through each perfect and whole, lucidly gooey slice of Now Pie.

Do you hear what I am saying? I spent so many years suffering, because I couldn’t figure out what to DO with my life. Finally, I am coming to realize that that is NOT the issue. The issue is what barriers am I placing in the way of my moment to moment acceptance of what I AM? Like a shy bud emerging from the world’s longest winter, into the bright kindness of spring, I peek my head out into the rainbow-strewn, crystalline halls of eternal Truth. Sometimes it’s a tough pill to swallow. Ya know… that in the face of this flawed and fleeting world, it is permissible to allow my heart to sing out in perpetual, prismatic shades of divine joy…. Do you GET IT?? Life is not about FINDING your passion. It is about BEING your passion.

Meditation is very helpful in this process of undoing from the chains of misunderstanding. Think about it. If happiness lies within, where must we GO to find it? Yep. Exactly.

There. Now you have the keys to queendom of heaven. What ever shall you do with them?

Om. Peace. Amen.

Illusions Crumble Like Crusted Mud

I guess I’m a natural born yogi… I’m so content in my gloriously sparse, exceedingly simple, gigantic little room in the ex-seventh day adventist boarding school turned spiritual community. Especially at five twenty-four am. Especially with the window open and the music of wind chime-strewn rain whispering in. I almost wish it would stay five twenty-four am all day… or at least for a few more hours… so I could sit here in the brisk, musical anonymity of pre-dawn, sipping chai tea, and hot water with lime, and writing about my life and my spiritual journey, and my fierce longing to perfect the art of LOVING.

But I know that if I knew I was condemned to a world where the clock was stuck on five twenty-four am for an entire day, I’d feel emprisoned, rather than graced. Sigh. It’s all such a mind fuck. Yes. I said fuck. Being in a spiritual environment, I have really curbed my potty mouth. But like crispy, fatty, salty bacon, every once in a while, ya just gotta get on it.

Anyway, I want to tell you that I am finding something real and deeply meaningful as I glide like a serviceful swan, across the placid lake of my days here at Ananda Laurelwood. “Glide like a serviceful swan”… Really Athena? Ummm… well… at least from an ariel view. Up close it might not occur so smooth. And from the inside, it’s more like a grimy, Harlem alley on garbage day. Well. Last week it was. But this week… Well… I can feel “old stuff” falling off naturally like the dry-caked mud that forms on my shoes after one of our weekly intern hikes, on which it inevitably is raining. No, it doesn’t rain every day… But always on thursdays. Yeah, like sad-eyed pound puppies, Miriam and Lewis take us off campus and let us frolic about in the mud, and drink in fresh air and nature once a week… Yes, I realize that last sentence didn’t have the most ergonomic flow to it. Miriam and Lewis are not the pathetic pound puppies! We, the interns are! They are the benevolent masters. Benevolent indeed… to enable us to romp in the wet, mossy forests of northern Oregon.

But before I got diverted by the need to offer you a few crumbs of the delicious, isness of my current rhythms, I was saying that the mud on my figurative shoes fell off. Even since two days ago when I last took you on a guided tour of Athena Graceland. I remember, I was whimpering about how my Relationship with Ed was bludgeoning my heart to death…. and about how people on the spiritual path rubbed my raw nerves. But, like alchemical magic, as soon as I wrote it all down, it dissolved. There is a process occurring here, that is intelligent and intricate beyond my comprehension. It is informed by the longing of my soul to live truth, and be free.

I mean, on the surface, it SEEMS like I am just here washing dishes, vacuuming and leading sadhanas; eating ingeniously crafted, love drenched vegetarian meals (I even have the love handles to prove it!) and dabbling in insomnia in the wee hours of the morning. Not so! Just beneath the surface, there is a heat that is turning me from lead into gold. I found the willingness to let go of Ed. And Alexandria (our unborn baby girl). And in that willingness, came a wash of unprecedented freedom. It wasn’t like I was pushing him away… It was more like I released that consuming, neurotic grasp on an unrealized and out of reach, imaginary future. But after the psychedelic flames and deep purple smoke of surrender cleared, surprise, surprise, he is still standing by my side. And our invincible love is more obvious than ever. Some things you just can’t fight. But after the mud crumbled off, I feel more deeply committed to and focused on my Relationship with God, and my slowly unfurling path of sacred service.

And now for the real miracle!… Yes, I mean besides the mere fact (or lucid fiction) of existence… The miracle is that after writing out my babyish complaints about the relational ineptitude of some “spiritually inclined people”, something released… I actually felt sad to have committed my clenched-hearted-judgements to the page. Sad for looking through critical eyes. Unforgiving eyes. All people are children of God. CHILDREN. We really are young and stupid as we play out these amnesiac, idiosyncratic rolls of intricate, ridiculous and educational earth drama. But so what? Does that make us any less lovable? NO! It makes us all the more endearing.

The birds outside are singing that urgent, impassioned, pre-dawn song. Hark! The light doth cometh…

But yeah. I’m learning something new about love… like I might not choose these people to hang out with, of my own volition. But that choosing stems from a personality level. And the personality is a shallow cut of who I am. I am INFINITE. And as I spread like sweet butter on a piping hot corn cob, into ever more conscious realization of my true nature, I realize that loving my fellow humans can really have very little, if anything to do with the level of personality. There is just something implicitly lovable about human beings. Our blindness and our longing, our unique creative genius and our crafty strategies to gain acceptance and a long abandoned sense worth and wholeness. It’s precious. And endlessly entertaining.

Studying A Course in Miracles, I am of the school that EVERYTHING is forgivable. Every thing. And that forgiveness is kinda like the friendly bacteria that lives in your gut. It breaks down ALL the material of life in duality, and makes it assimilable… so that our deepest being can take in all in as the love that it always was and always will be, beyond appearances.

Boo-YA! What more can I say after that?! That is EVERTHING; the only thing. I am so blessed to be on this silly and masterfully crafted path of awakening to the Reality of Love that cuts, like a subterranean river through the heart of all that is and beyond.

Om. Peace. Amen.

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