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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Revelation of Wholeness

Wholeness. It’s a concept I have rarely entertained or bestowed with much thrust. Until about two weeks ago. Daiva, the man behind the curtain here, (that is to say, the one at the top of the Ananda Portland/Laurelwood totem pole… though I have a feeling he would be quick to assert that he’s *not* indeed behind a curtain… but for some reason, imagining him as a larger-than-life notion; a massive projection of a head with a booming voice emerging from darkness and flames, tickles my funny bone, and there’s *something* right about it…) Anyway where was I, before I extended the mischievous courtesy of bringing you up to speed on one of the key characters in my current waking dream? Oh yeah, so I think “wholeness” might be Daiva’s official linguistic mascot, and deepest aspiration.

Wholeness. Naturally, the notion has started to gnaw at my consciousness too, insisting on becoming more than a mere word, but an experiential boon. I just looked it up on dictionary dot com. And two aspects of the definition that struck me as pertinent are “complete” and “undivided”.

Allow me to interrupt myself for a moment, before I commence to flail and dig with fervor to convey to you, that which is deeply meaningful to me. I must announce that it is five forty-five am. Still dark. And HARK, the shy orchestra of raindrops is striking up outside my modestly cracked window! This is bound to be a great blog… wink. (BTW, remember, I’m in Oregon, NOT California… and the rain here flows like coffee in Portland. Which is to say with luxurious abandon. But when it goes away for a day or three, I miss the romance, the music and the decadent wetness of the air.)

And now back to our previously scheduled, impending revelation. I don’t want to spend too much time wrestling with the conceptual implications of this potentially weighty word. Doing so is giving me unsightly wrinkles in my forehead. Instead I will dive into the crystalline pool of practical application, and share with you my recent experiential illumination. And you can connect the dots, or color outside the lines, or solve the puzzle as you wish.

If I remember correctly, in my last blog, I touched on the recent strain of suffering I’ve been experiencing in my relentlessly compelling soul tango with Ed. To say it plain, I had been living inside the fierce, continuous immediacy of heart ache for at least a week, in this last round. Yes, think of it like a heavy-weight boxing championship. And see me taking blow after blow, yet not going down for the count… Instead continuing to inhabit the treasure and skeleton-laden sunken pirate ship that was my heart. You can imagine that this made me a very unpleasant girlfriend. Dull. Aloof. Defensive. Critical. Overly sensitive. To name a few.

I was doing my best, I swear. But just feeling pinned and crushed beneath the weight of circumstance, and unable to free myself. Wanting to be with him. Wanting to build our nest and invite Alexandria into my womb. And floundering helplessly in the cold steal reality of impossibility to have what I yearn for. And you might be like, “Well then leave, Athena. Go find a man who is available, and get to making your soft, glittery disco nest!” But it’s not like that. It’s just not.

Have you ever lived for an extended period of time with a bleeding heart? I don’t recommend it. Unless you want to seriously ignite your quest for liberation. So I think it must have been the afternoon after my last blog entry, two days ago… I was on the phone with Ed, and the climate of my heart was still storming, but the clouds were losing their density, and beneficent, golden swirls of sunlight were gently pressing their way through the wet, grey ache. And if lightbulbs really DO flash over peoples heads in moments of epiphany, one screamed on, above me for sure!

I saw/felt/heard this renegade invitation to consider the possibility that the pain that had taken up semi-permanent residence in my heart (more like a persistent squatter), might actually have NOTHING to do with Ed. I know, this is a radical notion. But it really felt like the quintessential wound of my forgetful existence; the pain of being born into a world where I am dreaming I am separate from Source. What could hurt more than that? These might just sound like words to you… unless you’ve ever been willing to really FEEL IT. But imagine Infinity. Imagine an Ocean of Love, so deep and wide and all pervading, that it has no end and no beginning. Imagine being engulfed in that perfection, completely merged with that quintessential WHOLENESS…. and then imagine being squeezed through your mom’s vagina (or sliced out of her abdomen, as was my case) and some sterile dude with a mask on grabbing you and abruptly severing your source of oxygen and nourishment and you GASP and shriek and cry as you’re suddenly immersed in this ominous sense of separation, vulnerability and perpetual threat. Shit. It’s an ugly picture. And that’s how most of us are born into this world. (Except for all of the rad water births I’ve been watching on youtube, but that’s another blog!)

I’ve read and heard a bajillion times that the deepest opportunity of Intimate Relationship (letting someone into your heart and soul as deep as is humanly possible) is to make contact with our core wounds, feel them and heal them. And I’ve always believed it. But I’ve never been ready to get so close to the core as I did two days ago. Suddenly, I found myself considering out lout (Ed as my witness) that maybe the pain I was in had NOTHING to do with ANYTHING outside myself! Maybe everything “outside” was merely a catalyst to touch the center of my deepest being, integrate that which I had at some point renounced, “lost” …and return to a state of implicit wholeness. (A part of me hated to admit this. Because one the ego blows its cover, there’s really no going back into hiding…)

Are you following me? Honestly, I’m not sure if this is sounding way too radical, or completely obvious, like “Duh, Athena…” Strange, huh? In my world, the quest for Truth is the centerpiece, the heavenly body around which all other aspects and nuances of the human dream revolve. I recognize that peeling the onion and living ever-deepening cuts of Truth is not everyone’s cuppa. But walking the yogic path, and studying A Course in Miracles for four years now, I am realizing at continuously deeper levels that happiness really can NOT be found outside. It’s such a gnarly pill to swallow. But in the end, it does not matter what man I’m with, or whether I’m pregnant or not (still fervently bound to those desires though!!!) or…

The TRUTH is that I am WHOLE, perfect and complete. Always. Now. Life is but a dream. And dreams inevitably fade, while Truth eternally remains. There IS another way to live: surrendered to an intelligence and a love far greater than “my own”. God (LOVE), being One, can see the whole picture. I can see but a modest shard, probably smaller than a human sperm; relatively imperceptible to the naked eye. I really do *not* know what my best interests are. Except that all that I am living is exactly what I need to be living… in service of my highest growth. And I have the perpetual option to welcome it all with gratitude and faith and perfect peace. This, of course requires me to let go of my own, slighted agendas. That is the WORK. I am working HARD. I want to want only Truth, only the ever-new joy of God…. but delusion is so thick and persistent. Breath by breath. Moment by moment. Day by day.

How do you encourage a child to let go of her vice grip on that sticky candy she stole from the jar? You can’t rip it out of her hand!!! No way. She will scream and cry and clutch it even harder. Distract her with immense, wiggly, iridescent bubbles! Meaning, I can’t use brute force to tear my delusions from the grip of my sick mind. I must keep luring myself deeper into love’s gentle reality by lifting my gaze into it’s refined spheres of seductive, luminous beauty… and the layers of bullshit will naturally slough off like dead skin.

Om. Peace. Amen.

Violet Flames of Longing

I wish it was raining. I think it would make my writing better. You know, to be nestled in a cozy pocket of dim light and warmth, as wet music sang down and sweet, crisp darkness rushed in through my cracked-open window. It creates a mood that opens entire panoramas of inspiration and longing inside me. Plus, every now and again the large wind chime would add her deep, haunting voice to the evocative, improvisational chorus. But unfortunately, no more rain predicted for nearly a week! Frown. I didn’t think I’d crave it like I do. I thought I’d suffer from “seasonal affect disorder”, or whatever you call that silly diagnosis for people who thrive in light. But I wasn’t accounting for the vast, creative music of incessant storms. Or the ecstatic, erotic feel of the wet air flushing into my thirsting lungs… or the way the deep, dark grey tones of the sky would titillate every nuance of green to speak in stunning tongues. I am only recognizing it retrospectively, but growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have missed the experience of REAL seasons. They actually provide this rhythmic relief that feels so essentially linked to all of the rhythms of the universe within and without. Leave perpetual spring to the cake-worshipping Pollyannas of the world.

Wow. I’m amazed that I could get lost in such an extensive paragraph discussing the weather. Usually, I am a bit cynical of those who rely on discussing the weather as their primary vehicle for connection. Like, of all the topics in this vast multiverse, why be so unimaginative?… but I am seeing that even the weather can be discussed with artistry and nutrient-dense content. In fact, that’s my challenge to you! Next time you find yourself inadvertently sucked into a conversation of this nature, I dare you to take the wheel and drive it to unprecedented levels of creative genius and poetical inspiration! Just because you CAN!

When I first landed here at Ananda Laurelwood, people would ask me how long I was staying. My instant reply, “Nine weeks and three days.” You see, I had counted it out in my day planner before I left… as I found myself wondering how in heaven’s name I’d be able to survive that long without Ed. We have not been apart that long since we met, almost two years ago. (Is that ALL??? God, so much life can happen in two years! Good lord!) Until this current separation, our record was the six weeks I spent at the Momshram this summer when I did yoga teacher training there. That was hard. Now I’ve been here for four weeks and one day. Yep, that means I have five weeks and two days left. I know, I sound sorta neurotic. But if you’ve ever had the luscious experience of being so close to someone… and your whole body simultaneously relaxes and melts, surges and swells with peace and passion and swirls of dynamic contentment… then you’ll understand. And if not, take my “world” for it, (that was a typo, but I like it!) it’s not something that’s easy to walk away from.

But the pain of loving a tangled up, married man IS. So I did. And every day, I feel like a zealous puppy, tied to a pole, dancing about in the undeniable tugs of desire and longing, and meanwhile getting hopelessly tangled. Wondering WHERE ON EARTH HAS MY MASTER GONE?? To translate that metaphor into plain english, it’s like this: I want to be with Ed like crazy. And when I say “be with him, I mean stand behind him while he does the dishes, pressing my (PREGNANT) body lovingly into his, reaching under his plain old t-shirt 😉 and squeezing his belly squish and caressing his massive heart… Sitting on his big, comfy lap and feeding him intentionally crafted bites of vibrant, rainbow-colored salads and organic meat… Or even just peeking out the window at him as he purposefully pushes the lawn mower… or bring him a cup of coffee and a kiss as he scrupulously dissects a gun in his man cave. Oh, the romance of that which is not so… sigh.

I know… I “should” be talking about the world I’m IN… there’s so much intricate grace and nuanced wonder and gorgeously flawed perfection all around me. But part of the world I’m in is that tangled leash that is my mind and heart clawing for a world that burns to be born. And it’s not just Ed I long for. It’s Alexandria too. Our daughter. She told me her name in a dream. Like the lighthouse. My longing to LOVE this extraordinary, luminous treasure of a soul into the world is like living every day in scorching, violet-gold flames. They rise from the bottom of my being and dance up in incessant swells that often consume my consciousness. And hence, inevitably, comes the ensuing mind-fuck of trying to figure out how to claw my way out of this hap-hazard scramble of reality, into the waking dream scene where I am gloriously pregnant in my sacred, cushy nest beside my King… it’s like some kamikaze rubix cube that the more I try to untwist, the more cryptic it becomes! These swells of longing and fixation gather like ocean waves of desire that surge and crash, humbling me back into the simplicity and perfection of each arduous and glorious moment of life.

At sunday service, Daiva told us that if we turn and face our lives without trying to change or manipulate circumstances and other people, we will realize that it is the sublime intelligence of God at work, conspiring for our inner freedom, perfect peace and ever-new joy. I know this to be true, in the silent Isness, that witnesses my unfurling life like a perfectly soft, all-embracing blanket of mother love. Somehow I AM living the right life! Even though it wobbles and it wants and it whimpers. Umm, actually, Athena, your LIFE does *not* whimper… YOU do. But you don’t have to… It’s a choice. Sigh. All I know, is that life feels mostly like a strenuous uphill climb. Like Olympic strength training that might not “make sense” in the sobering sting of the moment… but perhaps someday when I burst forth from my cacoon of destiny, and spread my heaven-spun, vivid wings, it will ALL MAKE SENSE.

Maybe. Or maybe only LOVING makes sense… Yeah. That might actually be the case. But somehow, we must live it all. Loving it all is optional. But probably a smart choice.

Om. Peace. Amen.

What I love about being female…

Last night I got a text from my beautiful friend Claire. She posed this question:

What do I love about being female?…

Wow. What a great question. And as I sit in it, and allow the whispery impressions, feelings, and lurking truths to rise and reveal, I must admit that I am present to a jumbled cocktail of complexity from which I must tease forth the element of that which I love…

Amidst the tangle, are self-judgement and comparison and striving (to be an even BETTER, more fully expressed and powerful rendition of my femininity…). I have this feeling of reaching in and wanting to reach in further and further and embrace my boundlessness, my own unique portal into the infinite Mystery.

I just needed to give voice to that. Because it was standing guard at the gate beyond which are the dancing gales of all that I love about this experience of femininity. Perhaps I will circle back and address that stuff later… or not. But for now, I wish to dive in and experience that which I love about this lucid dream of being woman.

The first thing that comes to mind… although I’m not talking about the mind in my HEAD… Is being PENETRATED. The dance of the masculine and feminine. Mmm yeah. When I feel into my woman-ness, it is in relation to other-ness; to man-ness! I love experiencing myself as woman in contrast to strong male energy. Just thinking about it, about the big, strong man whom I love… and my pussy sings with ache, my heart melts and my body flutters. Being in the presence of my man calls forth the depths and power of the woman that I am.

But there goes my mind, judging now. Like, Athena, does that make you codependent? What about just being a whole and complete woman unto yourself? What about being a woman among women? Yeah, sure… all that is cool too. Really. And certainly an imperative facet of this human journey… but…

I’m just telling you what turns me ON the most. And it’s not just men in general… it’s MY MAN. It’s the experience of polarity… combined with deep friendship… combined with the mutually tended container of trust, transparency, respect, sharing. It is the opportunity to open, and open and open. And to discover hidden resistances to opening and allow them to dissolve in the light of awareness and love.

I love the innate longing within me to MERGE. To experience the oneness within twoness. To be closer with another human being than humanly possible. And that is really the desire to know God. To be God. We ARE that. We are God… But to finally have a full, cellular remembrance of this eternal Truth through communion with another… I love that.

But how is this a feminine experience? I mean don’t men have the same longing to touch that core of cosmic intimacy with a partner? I’d say yes! But the masculine is an inverse expression of this urge… which I can’t honestly write about… because I am not a man at this time (though I believe I have been… plenty of times…) The feminine is the innate longing to be penetrated, while the masculine naturally penetrates. I relish in this sacred receptivity and dark, mysterious unfolding.

And that is just the beginning. I began there, because it was the immediate response of my body and heart. This beautiful, awakened yearning, singing from everywhere that I know myself to be. But the beautiful experience of femininity unfolds from that potent core of desire…

I also love the deep, innate ache to give birth, to give life, to be a mother. This too lives through my body and the depths of my heart. So immediate and instinctual. And within this implicit longing, is a knowing that woven into the mystery of birth, is the pure power of Creation. The essence of the mystery of the manifest. As a woman, I am able to be intimate with Source in a way that a man cannot. God, I yearn to be impregnated, to give birth, and to allow the experience of motherhood grow and transform my capacity to be fully given as a vessel for divine love.

The feminine is also the ambassador for beauty, for compassion, for love, for intuition. I love the grace that it is to be alive in service to these essential facets of life as we know it. What would this being human BE, without sacred servants of beauty, compassion and love? An impossible question, really. But the essence of it, is that it is a divine privilege to amplify beauty and to offer my boundless heart of compassion to this world; to grow in the practice of honoring and trusting my intuition, and watching this heal my life.

And now I sweep my mind for the unexpressed remnants of this inquiry… And what remains to be acknowledged, is…. well… I’m seeing an image of verdant springtime erupting from beneath a stern, cold world of concrete. There is so much talk about the re-emergence of the divine feminine. And as a result, it tends to sound cliche. But it’s true, that as a result of social programming, I have had to sweat and bleed and cry quite a bit, to remember how to be a woman from WITHIN, rather than from without. There is NO POWER in the experience of being a woman from without; from comparison, and imitation, and massive pile of crippling shoulds, imposed by a world of brittle, mindless striving. The power of woman, of the feminine comes from BEING, from going within and opening to Source. From being willing to shamelessly inhabit and trust this body, the energy and intuition that flows through it.

How much of my life have I wasted looking in mirrors and harshly assessing my reflection? …COMPARING myself, my body, my life, my desires to others’… Learning what is SUPPOSED to be sexy, erotic, desirable through the media, through high-budget hollywood trash… and porn… through an objectified and soul-less lens, rather than learning and practicing faith in my own experience of soulful, nutrient-dense pleasure.

What is sexy is the truth, the immediacy, the rawness of ME. And I am still discovering and revealing this mystery called “me”. I always will be. Until the river that I AM flows back to the Ocean.

Those are a few of Athena Grace’s thoughts on what I love about being female…

Blessed BE.

PS~ This is such a deep question. And a very important one, at this time. I invite you to explore it for yourself… And I would LOVE it if you would share any thoughts on this topic as a comment! SPEAK YOUR HEART! Share your mind.

It’s Time To Rise!!

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Well I’m gonna give you the GOOD news, because it is so good.
The messiah has returned to earth!!!

And now for the bad news:
Haha tricked you, there IS no bad news. But the news that could be construed as “bad”, by the lazy and the cynics among us, is that the messiah is YOU. And I’m not just saying that because my poetic license is glamorously up to date. I am saying it because this is becoming so blatantly obvious to me. We are each capable of manifesting the unlimited stream of goodness that is always flowing through us right NOW. We are not victims of circumstance or the past. And if we think we are, it is simply because we have not forgiven.

Do not be fooled. Forgiveness is NOT for the “fallible” he or she who has done you wrong. Who suffers for the burdensome grievances you choose to slog along as you trudge down the road of Life? Yep. You.

Listen to me. EVERYTHING is forgivable. Everything. You would not begrudge a tiny child for the myriad times she falls as she learns to walk… so why begrudge any of your brothers or sisters… for we are all but amnesiac divine children stumbling in the dark, that we may find our way Home. When you hold onto an image of another, based on their past behavior, you are confining both your own consciousness and theirs to a prison fabricated by your own misguided imagination.

Of course you can argue with me. And surely you can find ample evidence to illuminate any and every view point you could possibly choose. But honestly, would you rather be right, separate, miserable, alone… or at peace? Will you now choose to know yourself as the Source of Love? I come to Athena Graceland today with fire in my belly and a vision of peace for all wo(man)kind.

I don’t follow politics. Nor do I aspire to. But I know that some bullshitty stuff is going down in Syria. And I know that the U.S. is starting to bear our fangs and thrust war cries in that direction. On Sunday, I was at Stinson Beach with my most excellent girlfriend Deirdre, and we saw a dismal-spirited man standing on the corner with a wilted american flag and a sloppily scrawled sign that begged us to stop behaving like tyrannical infants, and WAKE UP. (Yes, those were my words. I have a proclivity to vivify and summarize.) And YES, I think waking up and collectively choosing something other than war is a fantastic idea!!! I am so enrolled. But here’s what I noticed- that man looked pretty unhappy himself. How is one slumped and scowling man, standing on a street corner in a breath-giving northern california beach town going to save the world? The answer is that he’s not. Nor are any of us who rage against the machine, angrily marching with signs. Because, duh, what you resist, persists. Where attention goes, energy flows. Do you really want peace? Then BE it.

I would bet EVERYTHING that if YOU offered your whole-hearted commitment to the purification of your mind, heart and body, such that when you closed your eyes and looked within, you saw an exquisite, endless expanse of softly smiling stillness and perfect, limitless love…

I’m not exactly sure how to finish that sentence. Because I have NOT perfected myself as such. So I can not speak from experience, but only from keen intuition. It is time to stop festering with all the horrifying symptoms of our collective forgetfulness, and dive straight to the ROOT. The root is within YOU. You are a mainline straight to Source. Choose to forgive all. Choose to recognize your small, calcified, limited, separate self as the colossal sham that it it is. Come on. Let’s not waste another second!!!

This morning, on the phone with Ed, he told me that tonight he is having a ride-along with a reporter from the Oakland Tribune. He did not sound too thrilled for this. On the contrary, I bet that if I had’ve checked his diaper in the moment, it would have been filled with warm, sloppy poop! Haha!! But this is no slander on my Sweetheart’s character. It is a useful caricature of an aspect of your own consciousness. And mine. You see, he told me that he wasn’t sure WHO this person was, or what they wanted… hence he didn’t know if it would be a “good” experience, or a “bad” one. And in that moment, I saw my own small, self-serving reflection. And I saw that when my consciousness is surfing that channel… living inside the question of “what can I GET from this other, and from life, itself,”… I am condemning myself to unhappiness.

So I invited him to stop waiting for the world to show up according to his narrow slab of conditions, hopes and expectations, and BE THE GIFT. Be the one to declare unconditional love, to offer sacred, penetrating presence and bottomless kindness FOR ITS OWN SAKE. If we wait for others to bend over backwards and break in order to convey a fabricated demonstration of worthiness, we might be waiting for a loooooooong time. And WE suffer for this.

To put it in the most remedial terms, it feels awesome to be nice.

And I’m not talking about pink-Betty-Crocker-frosting-out-of-the-can, nice. I’m talking about rooted-into-the-center-of-the-planet-and-the-blazing-core-of-the-galaxy-powerful-beyond-measure nice. Nice because you are acting from deep, unobscured alignment with that which you ARE at your core.

This takes practice. Lots of practice. But the good news is that you have an entire human life; an incessant stream of opulent opportunities to practice. Every single day. Right NOW.

Live,
A

And What Of King Edward?

I bet you’re wondering how it’s going with my married boyfriend, King Edward. It felt so tenuous, packing up my life and heading to the Momshram to dissolve and then become a butterfly. I think that’s the true test of every Relationship- Is it spacious enough; clear and solid in its foundation, such that both parties have room to grow at their own pace, without appearing as a threat to the other or the whole.

I was afraid. Afraid to let go of what Ed and I had shared up until my departure ( and also relieved to let go of it). Afraid of losing him. Afraid of becoming too powerful. Afraid that if I tuned deeper into God, God would tell me to ditch him. And all of these fears were not so subtle by the time I arrived at Ananda. Like hooded cobra snakes, they slithered right up into my excessively serious face and bared their venomous fangs. Every day while I was in the training, I felt myself stretching, shedding, becoming… And every day, I would call Ed and share. Some days, the sharing was expansive and harmonious. Some days, the sharing created distance and dissonance.

With Ed, I *know* I am in trouble when a grave silence falls upon the line. It didn’t take me long at all to learn that. Silence means that I have tripped a land mine inside him, and he’s in the implosion process. But he’s not ready to talk about it yet. He has to take some space and sort himself out… and return to me after some time, to share his murky depths.

But it’s kinda beautiful, right? That I’ve come to know (AND ACCEPT) him well enough to recognize and make peace with his process. Believe me, it takes immense patience to navigate these realms. But when “they” said “patience is a virtue”, “they” were *not* just blowing smoke out of their booty holes. And if you ask me, true wealth is found in the coin of virtues. I want to be RICH!!! And I AM, by now. Thanks to Ed, and all the practice he gives me!!!!

I think it’s a very key point that I just stumbled on, when I told you that I was afraid that as I became more intimate with God, God would tell me that I should leave Ed. My soul yearns to live fully surrendered to God, that I may be a willing and humble channel for the Light. And too, I yearn to join my life with Ed’s, because our hearts are already joined. But given that he’s already married and still has a fifteen year old prince living at home, it just seems way too complicated some days.

But every time we hit a bump in the road, we both kept showing up. Though I am embarrassed to tell you how many times I went to class with a mangled, bleeding heart… Some might say too many. I say, it is ALL God’s will. And plus, as soon as I shifted my focus to learning, and relaxed into the presence of my classmates- twenty of the most open, loving, kind, supportive, luminous human beings on the planet (!!!!!), plus a slew of brilliant, devoted teachers, the seething wound in my heart would seal up and I would receive a miraculous transfusion of peace and freshly oxygenated surrender. Then later, I’d return to Ed with renewed patience, compassion and commitment to being my best and receiving his best. (And ask me how many times he would astound me by showing up with a rendition of his BEST that was unprecedented and managed to bring me to my humbled and well-lubricated knees!)

I don’t want to get lost in the details of our stumbles through the jungles of intimacy… but I will share that I had a potent victory around surrender. You know those moments with your partner where you disagree on something that *seems* fundamental, and you find yourself in a heated and unpleasant game of offense/defense… and in order to move forward, ONE of you must back down, soften, compromise, let go of the need to be right…. (INSERT ominous music and SCREAM HERE) God… when we rouse each other’s edges in this realm, it can feel so scary. Like I might lose myself, my freedom. Like I might DIE.

A couple of weeks ago, we were *blessed* with one of these situations. Because we have been through it enough times now, and I know how much it blows to butt heads, I decided to *play* a new game… JUST THIS ONCE. I handed Ed the reigns; let him have total control in a realm where in the past, he has felt powerless. I’ll tell you WHAT- It was the smartest thing I ever did. As soon as I let go, he felt heard, honored, respected, considered. And HE let go too. At once the battleground became strewn with flower petals, beneficent sunlight stabbed through the clouds, and the music turned to gushing string quartets. I recommend being the first one to let go. Rather than incurring death (except of that which is unreal in the first place), it vivifies and brightens life and love. At least it has the potential to do this, when offered with pure and loving intent.

So now, five weeks and two days after kissing goodbye, I will testify that Ed and I are more in love than EVER before. I am so pleased to say and feel and know that rather than eroding our connection, my surrender to this calling to greater heights of my Self has brought us deeper, and higher; into new realms of trust, intimacy and partnership.

Ed is everything I could ask for in a partner. I started to list all the qualities I love about him just now… But I got shy and deleted them. Because I realized that I could gush on forever, and it sounded like propaganda. Plus, all these things mean so much to ME… but to YOU, the reader… you might just roll your eyes, or fall asleep all together. So suffice to say, he is the one I choose. I feel met on every level, beyond my wildest dreams (Which is not to say that we don’t struggle. Obviously we DO. It’s how we both choose to SHOW UP in the struggles). We can communicate without saying a word, and he feels every little micro movement of my heart and soul. I will stand by him pure devotion as he slowly, lovingly frees himself from his glorious, karmic tangle. And I will do it JOYFULLY.

Amen.

On the Precipice of Something God

Today I know why Athena is the goddess of war AND wisdom (and weaving, for that matter).

 

The battle inside of me is full on.  And beyond mere womanly muscle power, it takes some serious tact to outsmart this army of unruly and malfeasant demons who have staked their illusory claim in the dream scene domain named “me”.

 

I’m at the Momshram.  Yup.  I successfully purged and boxed my modest first world existence, and then my light and dark knight, Sir Edward transported me here, lovingly and safe on wednesday afternoon.  And I’ll tell you what- there is not a single shred of doubt or regret about my choice to let go of “that life” and step boldly into “this” one.  God bless Oakland… But I am relieved to be here in the sacred forest, where the urban sounds of sirens, trains, car alarms, the scuttle of tiny dog toenails on the hardwood floor upstairs from me, have morphed into crickets, saccades, a gurgling fountain and the repetitive thud of soccer ball colliding with human foot.  Oh and let me not leave out the gentle hush of breeze teasing well-attended choirs of leaves.

 

I am once again daunted by the task of finding accurate language to convey the plunging, prismatic depths of my experience.  I want to be eloquent, succinct, lucid, evocative.  But I mustn’t let this lofty aspiration close me in on myself.  My job is to show up and open the channel so that God can say what must be said.

 

I feel myself on the precipice of radical transformation.  I will be starting a four week yoga teacher training on moonday.  Does that mean I want to be a yoga teacher?  Shrug.  Dunno.  But I DO know that I want to deepen my Relationship with God; purify my mind, heart and being.  Of this, I am clear.  But today I am aware of the gap between where I perceive myself to be, and where I wish to go.  And it is requiring so much patience, self acceptance and compassion to just hover my awareness above and within this distasteful, imaginary void.

 

I’ve been doing my precursory reading assignments for the training… and the material is shining a floodlight on aspects of my smalls self, that up until now have been concealed within the crafty and elusive veneer of my identity.  I love the yogic path!!!  Incase you were  not aware of this, it has nothing to do with stretching.  Unless you’re speaking strictly in the figurative sense (which I love to do).  I realize that if one offers one’s whole self, with discipline, focus and devotion to the timeless and comprehensive teachings of the yogic path, one WILL discover complete inner freedom, and be able to live grounded in Truth with a capital T. (that rhymes with P that stands for pool!)

 

Here I perch, on patio furniture on the lawn outside of Master’s Market wearing a sullen, excessively sober face.  In this moment, I am deeply questioning who I am, who I most want to become, and what I have dreamed to be meaningful.  I like this.  I have a feeling that much good will come of this unfurling.

 

And then there’s Ed.  He’s the main ingredient in the recipe of this alchemical purification process.  I have never loved anyone with such unwieldy magnitude.  But is it really “love”?  I mean… absolutely it is.  AND…

 

I am deeply studying the nature of my own heart as it pours forth blood curdling screams of devotion to this divine other.  Experiencing my heart in this moment, it feels open so wide, that what I am present to is *not* the openness, but the EDGES that are being radically stretched.  Ed evokes feelings so immense in me, that though our communion is clearly an experience of opening (except when it’s not), in this moment, I am not experiencing blissful, boundless space, but the pressure of confines.  What IS this?  It can’t be divine love, can it?  For divine love is INFINITE and unbounded.  And this love… has me fallen to my knees and begging for mercy.  Perhaps this is the paradoxical experience of being simultaneously human and divine.  Perhaps boundaries are the access point to the unbounded.

 

Honestly, I’m not quite sure.  But I am sure that I can’t ignore this experience, put it to the side, sweep it under the sprawling heirloom carpet, which furnishes the eternality of my magnificent soul.  Something is calling out from within me.  Demanding to be integrated.  Assimilated.  Forgiven.  Embraced.

 

Today’s Course in Miracles review lesson is: “God’s will for me is perfect happiness.” and “I accept God’s will for perfect happiness for me.”  This was the perfect lesson for me today.  Of course.  Though I believe that every facet of life is infused with the perfect medicine, the perfect formula for each of our liberation from this dream of suffering and separation… still, there are some lessons that shout, while others merely whisper.

 

This morning I awoke from frustrated dreams of Ed being with his family… and me not being welcome or included; a painful experience that I grapple with most days.  Mulling over today’s lesson, I became acutely aware and then repulsed by  my own resistance to letting go of my suffering around this topic, and instead choosing to be happy and at peace.  I SAY I want to be happy… but when, in a moment, I am faced with the choice of holding on, or letting go… I often notice my resistance to letting go!  Why IS this???

 

Well…  I at least want to take a preliminary stab at answering this wily, elusive and quintessential question.  I mean… if I WAS to choose happiness in every moment, regardless of the circumstances of my life… then WHY would I bother living?  If I was totally content without Ed by my side, then why would I go on desiring his sacred partnership?  Would I?  I’m not sure…  But I don’t want to risk that.  I WANT to want him.  I LOVE to love him.  Losing that feels like losing so much meaning and richness in my life.  But so often my desire to live life beside him feels like bondage.  And I want to be FREE!  Or do I?

 

I am using my Relationship with Ed as an example, because it has the most forceful gravitational pull within me.  But really, I could illuminate many circumstantial cesspools of paradoxical suspension within me- all of the myriad ways I imagine happiness and peace are “out there”, “some day”…

 

I want to find freedom within me.  I am terrified to find freedom within me.

 

This is the perfect place to be as I embark on this transformational journey of dissolution, purification and rebirth.

 

God, that would have been such a potent place to end this pilgrimage through Athena Graceland… but I have a couple of practical announcements to make.  It’s kinda like at the end of a yoga class… this is one of my pet peeves- after we’ve just finished our final relaxation, and we’re all melty and quiet, preparing to roll up our mats and slowly integrate back into the frenzied river of modern, urban life… and instead, the teacher feels compelled to spout off all these superfluous announcements about upcoming workshops and retreats and junk.  Come ON- there is a time and place for propaganda.  And it’s not post sivasana, when I am new born and tender.)

 

And now for my announcements (wink):  I want to tell you that where “it” stands with Ed.  I told him I am no longer willing to have a secret, (his wife knows… and yet he has still been tiptoeing) secondary relationship with him on selective weekdays between 9am and 2:30pm.  And no, that does not equate to, “leave your family and come to me right this minute.”  It just means that I need to be integrated into his current construct of reality, such that our relationship has the light and space it requires to grow and flourish.  Such that he can come to church with me once in a while… or be my date to a rad event in my(our) community… or sleep over once in a while.  God it hurts my heart that NOBODY in his life knows who I am, let alone what I MEAN to him.  I could really get into suffering about THAT ONE.  But I won’t.  Because he said he would rise to meet this request for evolving openness.  I don’t require the all or nothing paradigm.  I just need clear, intentional movement in the direction of integrity and togetherness.  And the beauty of it, is that I trust him to do what he says he will do.  Not that he can’t be an avoidant worm like the rest of us, at times… but when he says he’s gonna do something, HE DOES IT.  I find this quality in him very sexy and compelling.  So that’s where we stand.  I am so committed to this man.  The depth of our love and connection makes it well worth the struggle.  All I need is movement in the direction we both desire to go.  Incase it is not obvious to you by now: I LOVE THIS MAN SOOOO DEEEEEEP.

 

And the last announcement is that I probably won’t be writing much at all for the next month, because I will be hella occupied with my sacred transformation (teacher training).  Though naturally, I always reserve the right to visit Athena Graceland any time I am called.

 

So bless me as I step off the cliff of the familiar, once more, and offer my false self to the loving sword of Kali Ma.  And say goodbye to the woman who just wrote this blog, because she is already dead and reborn.

 

OM NAMAH SHIVAYA.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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