Yearning For the Earth

You know what I yearn for right now?  I yearn for the words that you see on this page have been funneled straight from Heaven.  I yearn for you to devour them as though they were your favorite food and they were so mouthwatering that you LICK the page clean.  And even when it’s clean, you lick it some more in a lofty hope that your mind’s tongue might stumble upon something that you missed the first time around.

Of course that’s a tall order… especially since I want to say frivolous things… like I am thoroughly enjoying the aftertaste of black tea in my mouth.  It’s so sweet, it must be angel’s breath.  Much better than janky old coffee breath.  It reminds me of this baby strawberry shortcake doll I used to have when I was a kid.  When you squeezed her around the middle, she would expel strawberry scented air from her permanently parted baby doll lips.  I couldn’t get enough of it.  Baby Strawberry shortcake withstood a lot of squeezing.

Do I want to say frivolous things?  No.  Today I have put too much pressure on myself to be impactful.  I was reading a blog by “Soul Dipper” ( souldipper.wordpress.com/)  I really admire her intentionality.  She uses her blog to channel information bestowed upon her cosmically connected mind by her spirit guides to those who are receptive to her timely and potent spiritual messages.  After reading a post or two of hers, I [naturally] started to compare myself to her.  I felt inadequate, because I merely say yes to the unruly, child-like meanderings of my wild mind, while SHE says hella spiritual things that fall into her mind from wiser and more omniscient planes of existence.  Listen, I know that comparing myself to others is only useful if it inspires me to be more fully myself, to more fully embody my destiny-stained role in the glorious unfolding of Life and Love.  I refuse to get stuck in the eddy of self denigration.

AND… I want to cultivate a deeper, more conscious relationship with my nonphysical guides.  I feel like I can almost hear them cheering and beating their wings against the eager vastness inside me.  It is possible they ache to be heard and received in fullness just as much as I do… What would they have me say right now?

I dunno, but I want to tell you how much I miss being on the farm.  Coming back to this urban web of chaos was comparable to going in for an extended visit to the dentist… (Truth be told, I actually LIKE going to the dentist, mostly… I mean it’s awesome to have someone taking such great care of me, supporting me in keeping my teeth forever.  And if pain is involved, it is an opportunity to meditate on the sensation.  I just used that as a metaphor because there is a general collective consensus that going to the dentist blows) But the essence of it is that my experience of the bay area is that of a large pool of extraneous psychic clutter.  I crave nature.  I crave simplicity.  I took unfathomable delight in just feeling the soft, country breeze, intermingled with ephemerally forceful heat from the sun. My skin is still tasting this delicious cocktail.  I didn’t used to be able to appreciate such simple gifts from god.  I thought revelation would certainly be more of an earth shattering, bone rattling, mind scattering main event (and I still reserve the right to experience it that way, “someday”).  But the more that I heal and remember how to savor being present, I realize that tasting grace can be so ordinary and simple that it can easily be missed if I’m always holding out for the second coming of the Big Bang.

My minds eye is ecstatically haunted by the image of vibrant green walnut leaves against a blazing blue sky.  The contrast of the colors not only lured me into the heart of that perfectly rapturous moment, but it also carried me away to a place of inexplicable soul that somehow transcends one single moment.  Ahhh, the vibrancy of color.  Flowers carry me there… on a daily basis.  Drinking the fluorescent vibration of flowers, I am at once swallowed by the seductive, hungry mouth of the Mystery and spit out in the silent core of Creation.  I rode my bike (whose name is Black Beauty, btw) past some outrageous rose-filled gardens on my way to Pizzaiolo this morning. Oooh-la-la!  And I’m embarrassed to admit this, but geraniums really whistle my kettle too.  I was raised to believe that geraniums were gaudy plants that only little old ladies dared entertain.  If I were to offer a simple equation expressing my conditioned response to this hearty, vibrant, wily creature, it would be~ CHEEP+TACKY+SMELLY= GERANIUM.  But who loses in the face of this narrow, binding, habitual dismissal of a perfectly marvelous face of God?  Athena.  But no longer!  I am going to plant some of these neon beauties and display them proudly in my front yard!

I remember doing tree pose during our yoga sessions in the hallowed walnut orchard, and feeling the decadent texture of the earth under my eager bare feet.  It was firm, yet squishy.  So moist and awake, like the body of my own lover.  It met my feet with an unmistakable tenderness and overt fertility.

On Sunday afternoon, when it came time for our yoga practice, I was zonkered.  I had to dig deep to summon the energy and will to move at all.  I guess we all must have felt that way… because beautiful, divine Kimber felt us and responded accordingly.  She guided us through a very gentle, nourishing, restorative practice, woven with many mini savasanas.  Then, during the final savasana, I had this miraculous experience of transcending the time-space continuum.  Did I fall asleep?  Sort of… but… when I came back from this formless place of peace and rest, I had this feeling that I could have been gone for eons, for eternity, for an entire incarnation of our beloved universe.  When I opened my eyes, I realized I had so many assumptions about the world that my eyes shone upon… and that none of those assumptions were necessarily accurate.  I suppose I traveled to the Great Beyond.  As it turns out, the other yogis shared this transcendent experience… at least on SOME level, because after we offered our closing OM, we all just remained still, stupefied, lulled by a great silence.  Normally we mostly can not get up fast enough, because after yoga comes FOOOOOD!!!!  Artful and lovingly prepared, farm fresh vegetarian meals.  But this time, literally NOBODY moved.  We all just sat on our mats, under a secret blanket of aqueous, exquisite peace.

It would be so easy to dismiss this experience through logical, masculine, literal means.  “Oh, we were all just tired from a day out in the raw elements.”  Yeah, what EVER.  My hypothesis is that we all embarked on a collective inner journey and came out on the other side, in a whole new dimension of existence.  Kimber served as our guide, our flight attendant, if you will, and she was a mere willing vessel of the Divine Mother, manifest as Missus Earth, Herself.  I know this much~ I am not the same woman as I was before this Great Sleep… and this is a mystic blessing, yet to be integrated and revealed.  Stay tuned.

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The Empress’s New Bikini

It’s startlingly quiet here in the walnut orchard.  I mean relative to cafes teeming with urban sounds.  I see a large hawk standing on the ground, stretching his rusty brown wings on the other end of the orchard.  Oh, it just took flight, sailing gracefully low, along the grassy, earthen floor.  No, I’m not being fictional.  I am on a yoga retreat at Full Belly Organic farm in Guinda, California.  And actually, it’s not quiet at all.  The birds are doing some serious vocal celebration.  In stereo.  It’s pretty cliché for writers to seek out quiet places, retreats if you will, to go pound out their latest literary masterpieces… but I find being in this strange, down-tempo quietude a bit daunting.  I am so used to bushwhacking my way through urban chaos to find my voice and my inspiration… When I first sat down in the grass with my back against the sturdy walnut trunk, I felt a wave of panic.  What can I possibly think of to say amidst this pristine, leafy grove of peace?  But now that I have put my fingers to the familiar silver keys of my trusty laptop (whose name, by the way is Hanuman), the spell is broken and I am just as much a writer on Full Belly Farm as I was back at Pizzaiolo in Oakland.  Phew.

And it’s a bloody good thing, because I want to share with you some of the relentlessly spilling beauty that I have been bathing in since I got here yesterday afternoon.  My tiny tent (which collapses on me while I sleep due to a broken, crucial pole) is pitched right on the bank of Cache Creek.  Cache Creek looks much more like a full on river, than a creek to me.  It is so wide and majestic.  Its current is strong, but you wouldn’t know, because it moves almost soundlessly, as though it is stalking something in the distance, taking great care not to be noticed.  When I just sit and watch it, it looks like an ever shifty mirror, reflecting the blue, cloud smeared sky and the distant, rolling golden hills, dappled with gnarled oak trees (which look more like miniature broccoli forests under the optical spell cast by distance).  The creek is a transfixing liquid mirror, more luminous than life its self, whispering subtle prophecies only to those with enough quiet space inside to receive Her covert though incessant whispers.

I’ve always considered myself a wimp when it comes to submerging in cold water.  I think I learned that from my mom.  As a kid, I have a collection of images of my mom in various bathing suits, standing sheepishly at the edges of rivers, lakes, oceans and pools, dipping a toe or three in and shuddering.  As I recall, she was mostly always content to stand at the water’s edge and wet her feet.  Now don’t go making any vaster metaphors about my mom’s character out of that slew of snapshots.  I would not say that that is how she lived her life as a whole… (would you, Mom?)  But I had a breakthrough in this area a few years ago.  I used to always be that girl standing at the edge and WISHING I was the courageous type, who just threw her little some’m to that Greater Some’m and dove on in.  I would see others partaking in such unbounded behavior and feel that part of me aching to be liberated.  So one day upon a time, I had the idea to endow my submersion with inspired meaning.  I made it into a prayer.  Since I am such a spiritually ambitious creature, not to mention competitive, this got me wet real fast.

What did I pray for?  Oh, probably to release soul pain and be a more purified and full expression of my divine self… honestly, what else IS there to pray for?  Global peace and healing?  I would argue that beyond the semantics, it’s really the same thing… What’s inside is outside and what’s outside is inside.

Today after breakfast was my first chance to plunge into the healing current of watery prayer.  I stood naked* on the bank, contemplating what to pray for and feeling much like those childhood images of my mother on the shore.  I stepped in and startling, sensuous shocks raced through the souls of my feet, up my spine.  Eeeek.  I stood, calf-deep in the frigid water, searching my interior for the prayer that would compel me to break through the stifling density of my comfort zone.  It felt elusive and slippery, so I just stood there timidly as the water swept effortlessly around my legs.  Something was crystallizing in the space that is both of my heart and mind.  God… God… God… Serving God.  Serving the Highest. Gahhh-ahhhh-ahhh-d. Something beckoned my gaze, and I looked skyward.  A balled eagle gracefully swept the vast blue.  It must have been pretty high up because it looked tiny, but I could clearly make out its white fan of a tail, its white head and nearly black body.

In the medicine cards, eagle represents spirit.  I had just been extending my mind in the direction of All Pervading Awesomeness, and LO!  Without haste, a messenger hath cometh!!!  Inside, I melted into a puddle of elated revelation and then my prayer became a simple, concise mantra, THY WILL BE DONE.  Thy will be done.  Thy will be done, I chanted inwardly as I unabashedly dove into the subtle, strong current.  And then it was all shooting stars and bucking unicorns inside me!  WOW, was it cold and beautiful!  Everything I am tingled and sang with immediacy!  Thy will be done.

*Then I got out and dried off, and soon all the other retreatees flocked to the shore in bikinis and made their way into the brisk, holy waters.  Bikinis?!?!  Kimber instructed us to bring bathing suits, but come ON… Who wantsta wear a dumb old bathing suit in a cool, sacred creek slicing taoishly through an organic farm?  I didn’t bring one.  But because everyone else did, I began to feel awkward being naked and free.  I hate that.  Maybe I’ll play The Empress’s New Bikini, and pretend that I’m wearing one made of such regal, expensive fabrics that you can’t even see it!  OMG, that old story, The Emperor’s New Clothes is a HOOT!  I mean come ON… imagine if George W. commissioned some really posh tailor to make him a hella fancy suit to wear as he made an important speech to the nation… and he showed up like a naked fool!  We woulda loved that!  At least I would have.  It wouldn’t be quite as amusing if Obama did it… But still worth a chuckle, I guess.

The birds are still chirping away, full throttle.  All the walnut trees are standing so still, windlessly silent and sturdy.  Yesterday during her yoga class (we practiced here in the orchard), Kimber reached up and took a fist full of smooth, bright green, almond shaped leaves in her hand, letting them slide through her fingers so lovingly, as though the tree were her own child.  It was a quick moment that rose and fell in the space of a single exhale… but the deep, rich, love in her heart stained my mind.  She loves this farm so dearly.  She has been coming here for over ten years and yesterday she told us this is her Hawaii.  I liked that… since I want to go to Hawaii.  Little did I know that I was already here.  In Kimber’s Hawaii.