Hella Green Grass, Butterflies in the Wind and Not-So-Soft Knocks

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If you go back seven or eight years in this here bloggie, you will find many-a-reference to “The School of Mostly Soft Knocks”.  This is how I fondly referred to my life.  Ha!  I guess I have since graduated.  Because the knocks ain’t so soft no mo’.  I was tickled remembering this outdated version of me though…

 

But today in honor of the spirit of Soft Knocks, I shall mine my mind for mundane pleasures and glistening fragments of beauty which pave my Path… and put them in one, palatable pile.  Sorta like those birds that build nests out of glitzy, shiny objects.  My most recent garland of blogs have been so heavy and dark… which is fine, because I’m not here to present myself other than I AM.  (Mostly…)

 

But today I’m in the mood for lightness.  Lightness with a tinge of bleeding heart romanticism and wistful longing, of course.  Grin.

 

This morning Karuna said she saw gorgeous butterflies courageously navigating strong wind.  This is exactly what I mean.  Beauty-full… with a hint of tragedy and a splash of shattering paradox.

 

Perhaps I am a stunning butterfly, bravely navigating a violent wind storm.  Maybe we all are.  Exquisite and fragile… mostly invincible in our surrender.

 

It’s laughable that everyone else’s grass seems so much fucking greener than mine… And yet, this region of Italy in the springtime, is the greenest place I’ve ever seen.  Soft, rolling hills that sprawl on infinitely.  I was driving Serena to school this morning and she said, “Mama, do the red poppies remind you of Grandma Sumitra?”

 

I told her that once…  And now she occasionally feeds it back to me, precisely when I need a heaping dose of Mama.  These poppies are insouciant spots of flaming red, bursting from the endless, undulating sea of green.  I imagine driving along these country roads with my Ma sitting shotgun… her singing sincere praises of these occasional, glorious bursts of red.

 

My mom loved to take scenic routes and drive slow.

 

The poppies remind my inner child “Dawnie-cakes” of the cans of fruit cocktail she devoured back in the “good olde days”.   Remember?  Grapes, pineapple, peaches, pears… and occasional RED CHERRY.  Probably only three per can.  The scarcity made them utterly thrilling.

 

(How did I survive my sugar-laden childhood???  My mom bought me bags of chips ahoy and oreo cookies and set NO LIMITS on my consumption!  I could eat them till I was sick.  And I did.  And sometimes Cap’n Crunch cereal.  Which I consumed in the same over-indulgent, carefree spirit.  Kraft Cheese and Macaroni- implemented with real cheddar cheese in addition to the hella tasty, neon orange stuff in the packet…. And speaking of cheddar cheese, there’s no such thing here in Italy.  Which occasionally bums me out.)

 

And speaking of my mom, allow me to delight in the memory of being twenty years old, and taking a “metaphysics” class with her at our beloved Unity Church on upper Filmore Street in San Francisco.  Taught by the charismatic, southern wonder, Revered Maureen.  Ma would pick me up from my cheap, filthy house in Oakland, and drive us in her Volkswagon Rabbit convertible.  Sounds hella stylish, right?

 

Well, the caveat was that the top was broken, and would not go up… so we had to navigate the windy Bay Bridge and the nocturnal, foggy city scapes and sketchy lower Filmore neighborhood, totally exposed.  She kept her semi-trusty steed equipped with a mexican blanket that I desperately swaddled myself in.  She sported a decently warm jacket.  What especially tickles me about this, is that it is SO signature “My Mom”.  There were always breakdowns, challenges and struggles born of financial scarcity.  But it never stopped her from Living Life.  She still took us out to lunch and we luxuriated over many-a-latte.

 

In fact, she drank lattes until the day before she died.  My brother left our camp in her hospital room and went to the awesome coop grocery store just down the street (in Grass Valley), ordered my mom the latte she requested “on her deathbed” and said “Please make it GOOD.  It’s for my mom and she is about to die.”

 

In the words of Kurt Vonnegut, “So it goes.”

 

And speaking of lattes, there’s my Dad, on the opposite end of the spectrum.  He drinks Folger’s Crystals.  Religiously.  Haha and he calls it “coffee”!!!  Two cups in the morning.  Ever since I’ve known him.  Upon reflection, I LOVE THIS.  I’ve never considered him “the perfect dad”… but from the perspective of a writer, GOD YES, he’s a quintessential character in the Story of My Life.

 

Not too long ago, I wrote about how “fucked up” I felt by my relationship with him.  But lately, as I’ve been navigating this multidimensional web of difficulty and heart-ache, he has showed up and totally has my back.  He doesn’t always show up when I “want him”.  But when I “need him”, he is in my corner.

 

His name is Bart.  I always thought that was a funny name… and even a bit embarrassing… you know, because it rhymes with fart.  But since I’ve been pregnant with a boy, I’ve been more curious about name meanings.  So I googled “Bartley name origin”… And I was tickled to discover that a primary origin is Scottish, and means “Birch Meadow”.  I dare anyone to tell me that’s not just fucking LOVELY…

 

And dig THIS about my dad- he’s a CRAPS DEALER.  In the Biggest Little City….  Has been since before I was born.  Which is getting on forty years.  Speaking of being forty, maybe the haunted fun-house I’m lost in is a symptom of midlife crisis!  I never believed in those things… but perhaps they are real after-all.

 

Anyway, don’t you think that’s perfectly poetic for me???  A dad who drinks Folger’s Crystals and deals craps in Reno, is married to a spanish woman named Mercedes, who is twenty years younger than he… Oh, and he LIVES TO GOLF.  When we used to talk on the phone, golf was THE topic that would bring him alive.  I mean how much is there to SAY about GOLF…. But… it didn’t matter, because it was said with raw PASSION.

 

My parents separated before I was two… but I spent summers with my Dad as a kid.  Traumatic summers.  He was emotionally volatile.  And pretty damn narcissistic.  He would totally lose control and yell about dumb shit.  He had a knack for making the most simple things complicated.

 

And then I married him.

 

Yeah, I guess I’m workin’ the shit out with Giordano.  He’s too much like my dad.  I should say, like my  Dad USED to be… Dear Bartley has calmed down and smoothed out in his “old age”.  It’s actually moving to recognize my papa’s soul growth.  I feel like a proud parent when I tune in to his noble Becoming.  Yay Dad!

 

Anyway, I hope I pass this rigorous ”class”, and don’t need to repeat it…  In regards to working out my core wounds and karmic… I wanna say “garbage”, because I totally hate it… But I suppose one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.  By the Power vested in me, I declare myself vast enough to swing BOTH WAYS- I can hate my Path, and celebrate it’s nutrient-dense rightness too.

 

Well… how was THAT for a hearty dose of lightness?!  Haha!  I dunno about YOU, but it hit MY spot!

 

Oh Life….

 

You Unwieldy Beast…

 

🙂

 

 

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Breathe. Write. Heal.

I think of this blog as my Life Story.  Sure, there’s a butt-ton (my favorite unit of measure) of mOMents that happen within the massive cracks of time between posts… but if you added these pages up and divided them by themself… you would get a fairly vivid and tonally accurate sketch of my Dense Adventure this time around.

 

With this in mind, what can I say today that will carry you along the shadow-carved carousel continuum that is my Life?

 

I want to make broad strokes, so you can taste the ALL OF IT that I am swimming in.  Broad strokes, intricately engraved with microscopic renditions of The Lord’s Prayer, naturally.

 

I often feel like captain of the Titanic these days.  In charge of a hopelessly sinking ship.  It’s a visceral feeling… the sinking starts in my heart and spreads like fire.  Sometimes it begins upon waking.  Others I am spared till mid-morning.  It’s a stiff cocktail of loneliness, isolation and poverty.  I flush with a sense of desperation and burn for someone to hear me and hold me and be a messy flesh-bag by my side. But my american friends are dancing with Mister Sandman…

 

I almost always find myself alone.  In my house strewn with the at once inspiring and despicable aftermath of the endlessly exploding imagination of a three year old.  Alone with Serena, that is.  Serena who needs so much of me. (Except in those said blessed mOMents of sovereign, bursting imagination.)

 

The haunted rabbit hole of desperation has a distinct gravitational hunger and suckles me forcefully.  I try to breathe deep and stay awake.  But the pain is intoxicating.  I can’t believe THIS is what I was born for.  I start to quietly beat myself up for losing my Way.  For living a life that is waaay less than extraordinary and glorious.

 

While Serena is napping, I scroll down my instagram feed and see Tony Robbins juicing up audiences the size of twelve football stadiums, acknowledging his soulfully gorgeous, supportive wife, recharging his batteries in Fiji… I see healthy, bright beings telling it on a mountain about how they start their day with celery juice, and I feel eternally fucked, because where I live, it’s near impossible to find organic celery.  I see mamas who are raising their littles immersed in nature, without the festering devil that is “screen”.  I see pregnant women who are committed to regular “work-out” routines, promenading around local farmer’s markets with their three year olds and having satisfying intimacy with their husbands.  And so much more.

 

I hate social media.  I never felt like this before.  I guess I should take a break…  But I’m afraid if I unplug, I will be hopelessly alone.

 

In other news, I don’t think I mentioned here that “Misha”, the cat who hangs around our house, had three kittens in our living room on the night of April 10th. (The auspicious birthday of my legendary childhood bestie, Amber…)  One kitten died days later.  Another one died yesterday.  Serena and I loved her to the Other Side.  There is one left…

 

Why do kittens drop like flies around our house?  I’ll tell you why.  They are Giordano’s dad’s cats.  He does not spay/neuter them… and they just breed prolifically and shit everywhere.  Giordano says there are about thirty… but I have no idea how he can know this.  They occur as infinite to me.  They are all inbred my now, and infested with ticks and worms and lord knows what else.  A few of them have set up camp at our house… And it’s impossible not to love them.  But this entails living with a broken heart for the conditions of their existence.  Such a different mindset than “where I come from”.  I grew up with Bob Barker’s relentless, devotional plug at the end of every Price Is Right episode, reminding viewers to spay and neuter their pets.

 

Anyway, the remaining kitten, I named Pleiades… because she has bulging, blue alien eyes.  She seems slightly retarded: scrawny, trembling and weak.  But also adorable.  Now that her siblings are dead, she is always under my feet.  Needing warmth and another heartbeat.  The same things I am needing.

 

When left alone, she pours with incessant, agitating cries.  So I carry her around in my pocket, or hold her close to my heart.  This soothes us both.  I hope she survives.

 

I never thought I’d be one of those moms who lived only for her children…

 

But lately, in moments it feels like Serena is the tread that keeps me going.  However imperfectly. (And.  The deeper me lives for Humanity.  At my core, I know that all I feel through and live is in service of The Collective.  Digesting the energies that few have the courage to encounter and embrace.  The True Me is passionate about this.)  Yesterday was swimming day.  I drove us to the pool at half the speed limit, because I couldn’t find the will to do more.  The ache inside was debilitating…

 

Lately I find myself thinking of Sylvia Plath… imagining that I know the crippling depression that drove her to take her own life.  I’m too spiritually minded/hearted to do such a thing.  But I understand it…  I also think of my recently deceased, schizophrenic maternal grandmother.  I’m not mentally ill.  But these days, I recognize the homeopathic dose of her that lives through me.  I wonder about the burden she carried… A genius with no support in expressing her brilliance.  So instead of playing oboe for the symphony, she married a jolly man, fresh from prison, (grandpa robbed a train station and did… ten years?) made three daughters and a home.  And went crazy.  That is such a simplified version… but suppressing creativity, dreams, desire, brilliance in the name of survival, cultural “appropriateness”, lack of support/validation… I blink in astonishment as these themes live through me now.  I want to hurl them against a wall of stone and fire.

 

That’s why I am here writing, even as my life seems to be sinking and I come undone.  I might not have “IT” figured out.  I might be failing in the eyes many of the peanut gallery who live inside me.  But I can still write about it.  I can always write about it.  This is my sanity and salvation.

 

And speaking of sanity and salvation, back to my swim.  We made it to the pool, and miraculously, I found my way into my neon, sport bikini, my massive belly bulging like this burgeoning full moon.  We set up camp on the (indoor) tile pool deck.  I opened Giordano’s laptop and put the Peppa Pig DVD inside.  It wouldn’t play.  I tried ten times.  It got stuck on the FBI Warning.  A man came and took “my lane” while I was wrastling with unwieldy technology.  Desperation filled me to overflowing and tears poured forth.

 

Getting my ass in the pool had seemed like a dose of disgusting medicine, moments ago… But suddenly the threat of having this life-line robbed from me was a cosmic injustice that I could not endure.  “Luigi”, the kind-hearted man at the front desk came and asked (in Italian, of course) what was the matter.  We mutually grappled with the language barrier in attempt to right this Royal Wrong.  He offered for Serena to watch a program in the office, where there was WIFI.  Serena refused to be that far from me.  I told her she could sit at the edge of the pool and watch me do laps.  Nope.  Not gonna happen.  All I could do was sit there, stupefied by IT ALL.

 

After eternal moments of glazed desperation, I prepared to close the computer… and got a hunch to try restarting it.  So I did.  And then Peppa Pig played like a Boss.  The cool water swirled and swaddled me in love.  Buoyant movement and breath, I floated through an interdimensional world beyond time.  Alchemy.  Life didn’t get any easier when I emerged forty-five minutes later… but I was tenderized and able to keep going.

 

My wise and luminous friend Elizabeth told me to keep breathing deep into my heart.  To stay in my heart no matter what.  She said that hitting rock bottom is “auspicious”.  She said “A light will go on if I can stay in my heart and embrace my pain.”

 

Yes.

 

Breathe.  Write.  Heal.

 

For the well-being of ALL.

 

Amen.

 

Wounded Masculine: Making love to my Beautiful Crucible

I was elated that I finally had time and space to write… and now I am here, staring at the blank page like a newborn gazelle.  I’ve written like twelve blogs in my head since I last gushed my heart and life onto the page. Ooooh, but even the sheer experience of typing a single-file stream of letters is singing me back into realized wholeness.  A wounded soldier, sipping broth from a spoon. Am I a wounded soldier? Haha, maybe! I’m not willing to commit to that persona, but I will happily share my pot of mint tea with It, and let it take a load off in the friendly atmosphere of my psyche!

 

I know what I wanted to say!  I listened to Paul Simon’s album, “Graceland” this morning.  And like always, it was a profound experience. That album lives in my bones and my soul.  My dad had the cassette tape when I was a child… like maybe seven years old. And we played the crap out of it.  (Also the U2 album, “The Joshua Tree”.)

 

I’m awestruck by how deeply music can touch The Soul.

 

Anyway, I’ve been grappling with my “Father Wound” at an especially deep level lately.  Which implies to me that I am ready for the next level of healing and Self-integration.

 

My Daddy.  I’ve always had a searing longing to MATTER to him.  Like not just “matter”…. But MATTER. You know? Like in the most indispensable and essential sense of the word.  But that was not the imprint I was *blessed* to receive. I’ve had little crumb-esque moments of feeling that. And I guess that’s why I create relationships with men that are based in the “currency of crumbs”.

 

When I crashed “Penis Ray-Ray”, I asked my Pops for $alvation.  And maaaan, did he deliver. He was so fucking generous. (Between him and the golden net of friends in my life, we were able to resurrect our beloved Fiat, BTW!)  And I should predicate that I AM NOT a trust fund baby. And my Daddy In Shining Armor is not always there to ease the burden of Existing in this capitalist shit show otherwise known as “Modern Life”.  My soul chose the rugged, off-road adventure of being born to financially strapped parents! If I ever find the Emerald City that is Prosperity, I will be an entirely Self-Made Rich Bitch. Which will make it taste all the sweeter.

 

So he gave me money when I neeeeded it.  And that was his best stab at loving me. But concurrently, I was leaving him sincere, soul-bearing. love-filled audio messages… to which he never replied.  I guess this is a new-ish iteration of our relationship. One that has emerged with the advent of smart phones and WhatsApp. I have left him too many audio messages, to which he mostly doesn’t reply.  (To his credit, sometimes I beg him, and then he does.)

 

Intellectually, I know it’s not personal.  Maybe, being a dinosaur, he’s just not a fan of communicating through “modern technology”.  Maybe he’s too busy breaking a sweat in his unrelenting hamster wheel… supporting his wife and twenty year old twins who still live at home.  Et cetera, et cetera.

 

Emotionally… that’s another story.  If I let myself feel the raw truth of it, it’s crushing.  It totally blows. My inner child is cowering in a puddle of her own tears.

 

And then I look at the most relevant men in my life… The two fathers of my children.  

 

Oh wait, time out.  I just experienced a powerful in-the-mOMent wave of grief.  I looked up from this word stew and saw a neighbor woman wheeling a full shopping cart out of the adjacent grocery store.  Her mother is sitting at the table (in the cafe) next to me with the three year old granddaughter. I witnessed this simple play of Life, and was broadsided by sadness that my mom is gone, and will NEVER hang out with Serena, noshing on croissants (my Ma’s favorite), while I perform basic, requisite life tasks.  These emotions seem an indulgent river to swim in. She’s gone and that’s just the way it is. But I’m happy to announce this spontaneous burst of sadness. And to amplify the tragedy, Giordano’s parents, though close in physical proximity, have not proved to be much support in the way of “grandparents”… Maybe when “their own” grandson emerges from the water world of my womb, they will be more… “inspired”.  Or maybe they smoke too much weed to care.

 

And now back to our previously scheduled program.  Men. Serena’s dad. Remains a legend in my heart. Despite how half-assed his participation in our lives has been.  Fuck. What can I say? People are disappointing. AND. Love is love. Especially Soul Love. That’s the shit that’s invincible to circumstances.  Even from across the world, he makes and breaks my heart on a semi-regular basis. And yet…. All I can do is keep giving of my Self. The other day, I told him how much it sucked ass… to give him my heart, again and again, and get met with silence (deja vous).  He said something to the effect of, “Yeah, but it’s your Path to give love… and maybe someday I’ll show up in the fullness you crave.”

 

My gut response was FUCK YOU.

 

But.

 

He is right.  Giving love, without the guarantee of return IS my Path, and my Nature.  Unconditional. And meanwhile, to remember and embody the Truth, that I am one with Source.  I do not need to rely on external sources for love. This Path of Mastery might suck in moments from the view of my flailing ego… but for my deep, badass Soul, it is hella satisfying.  What I find inside is MINE forever. Divine forever. So BRING ON THE TRANSFORMATIONAL FIRE, Bitches.

 

Then there’s my husband*.  Who is laughably flawed. Searingly unsatisfying in his narrow capacity to meet me with any depth of presence, or emotional intelligence.  He is sooo perpetually enraptured by the incessant, swirling eddies of his own “hella compelling” thoughts, that it appears virtually IMPOSSIBLE for him to truly listen to me most of the time.  But… He’s a total wild card. Damn unpredictable. So one out of ten times, I am pleasantly surprised by the felt experience of being heard.

 

*And even if in so many moments, he occurs as emotionally retarded, HE IS SO FUCKING SINCERE IN HIS DESIRE TO GROW, TO IMPROVE, TO LEARN.  And to Love…

 

All that to say that I’m really making love to my own crucible these days.  My surface mind cannot grasp the full implication of the healing that is taking place, as I live through this emotionally stained material with an open, courageous heart.  The deeper me keeps saying “Athena, have FAITH. Faith in the profound Intelligence of Life. Faith that what is rising to the surface, is setting you free. Faith in the strength and power of the LOVE that flows through you from The Beyond.”

 

I believe that it is also mega noteworthy that I am on the precipice of becoming mother to a boy.  It seems that this profound soul is catalyzing deeeep healing of my wounds around The Masculine. I have no fucking idea what “Inner Marriage” actually feels like inside… or how to embrace and integrate my own “inner masculine”.  Or who the fuck “Heavenly Father” actually IS for me. Though I want to know all of this. But I DO know that love is always the Answer and the Way. And I know that I gotta “feel it to heal it.”

 

So I breathe humility into inner discomfort and confusion.  And affirm the Divine Perfection and Grace of all that is arising Inside.

 

While my Journey is deeeply personal… I acknowledge the collective nature of what I am experiencing.  The Patriarchy (God bless it) has really fucked us up, collectively speaking. I have not witnessed too many fabulously healthy fathers along my earthly walk-about.  Not to say they don’t exist. THEY DO!!!! They MUST!!! But most men are hurled into adulthood, uninitiated, blind and battered. Taught that it is shameful to feel.  Taught to be tough and do it alone. Taught to work HARD for their piece of the pie, and deny their own needs (except in acts of guilt-ridden secrecy.

 

And now, let’s bareback ride this spiraling story back to Graceland.  That album opens a world inside me where my Dad is Immortal and Perfect.  I realized that this morning as I danced ecstatically around the house. This was a huge victory.  To know that no matter how broken my heart may feel, in relation to my Dad, there lives a place inside of me where he abides in Innocence and Perfect Love.  And I have found the address and the map. Naturally, it is Graceland.

 

That’s enough for now.  Just know I’m over here “doin’ the Work.  Clearing Inner Space for true sovereignty and wholeness to live through me and heal and bless the World.  Invoking a thriving, balanced World, founded on a “happy marriage”. Hella holy matrimony of healthy, integrated Masculine and Feminine.  It’s not an easy job, but it satisfies my Soul.

 

I trust that YOU, too, are toiling gloriously in your own rite.  Bringing your uniquely flavored soul music to the current climate of transformation, death and rebirth rocking planet Earth.  THANK YOU. I appreciate your blood and sweat and salty, devoted love.

 

With Epic Love from Athena Graceland,

Athena Grace

Swimming Through Deep, Dark Waters… But Sort of Mostly Staying in LOVE.

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I’m not sure if the voice in my head who is hissing for me not to write is my God Self, or a garden variety demon… My guess is that God doesn’t hiss.  So I’m gonna cross the flaming threshold and commit these mostly innocent words to the page. I think it’s just my ego, who is frightened that it doesn’t see a clear stream of softly rushing thoughts to merge with and swim gracefully down the gaping mountain of my Existence.  This is one of those moments when being a writer is quietly terrifying. When telling my story entails the risk of portraying others in unflattering light… and while I’m all for shameless, unsettling honesty…. I really don’t relish throwing others under the psychedelic, second-generation hippy bus.  

So let me just say, it didn’t work out with Giordano.  Period. I hear a mouse in the attic. I hope I move out of this house before the day comes when it climbs down into my wing of Graceland, poops all over everything and requires a cruel and unusual death by peanut butter enticed beheadment.  Ugh. I think I’ve killed five of them in the two and a half years I’ve been here. I guess I have a ways to go before I arrive in the Buddha-Christ wing of Heaven.

Ahem.  Actually it was a train wreck with my beloved Italian Stallion.  The fallout left me raw and trembling on the inside for days. Feeling broken down and humbled, ready to join a twelve step program and get a therapist.  I’m serious. No shame. The experience served to illuminate some of my deepest, darkest wounds. But the good news is, I’m ready to heal. And the other good news is that I’m doing my best not to make it mean that I’m not good enough to step forward and serve women and be a light unto the world.  

I can feel that voice “hissing” (must not be God) inside me.  “Who do I think I AM to step out and be a leader… when I’m so fucked up and imperfect.  But the gorgeous thing is that THIS is precisely my message to women. That we must not hide out in the shadows and cracks, waiting until we’re airbrushed and stick-thin to step out and share our music and magic and medicine.  NOW IS THE TIME. Even and especially if we’re in twelve step programs or…. ahhhhhh the mouse sounds like it’s chewing through something. Fuck.

Another hidden gift laced into this unsayably painful drama, is that our collision of hearts ricocheted me into action around moving.  Moving house I mean. My appetite for a new life has been waxing for too many moon cycles. Living folded anonymously into the “woulds” (I “would” step out and be BOLD… If only I was _______ enough….) was starting to feel like a prison sentence.  But the thought of stepping back into the rushing river of culturally rich madness that is the Bay Area was a terrifying notion. And where else would I go? I am connected in the Bay Area. And the OCEAN…. (insert sparkly, pulsing heart emoji here)  But suddenly my thirst for aliveness and connection and evolution has eclipsed my suffocating grip on the need for comfort and safety. I’m ready to trade my peaceful, charming one bedroom palace for a more expensive nine by twelve bedroom in the enlivening white water flow of roaring urbania.  

But The Merciful Lord doth stationed me in San Raphael (Marin County).  A milder entry into said roaring urbania than the East Bay would have been.  And with the Archangel Karen- a friend of eighteen years. Actually… once upon a time, we were more than friends.  We were The Kourage Family…. Missiz and Missiz Kourage. Then we adopted our son, “Sonala”, who Karen soon married, and eventually created a daughter with.  It was a very artistic, mythic, greek style family unit, which organically grew over time. But we were the nucleus. If I remember correctly, it really fell apart when I left my fiancé, “Moonwalker Kourage” for another man.  Karen adored Moonwalker. Naturally. He was and is “adorable”. And I ran off and rebelled against “comfy” and “safe”… took up mini skirts and wine and sex work! Haha.

Fast forward ten years, and we are commencing a Kourage Family ReUnion of sorts.  But this time, sadly, Sonala is not invited, and we each have a daughter. Kourages yet to be named!!!

I got all swept away on the wings of my epic tale… and I forgot to mention the intense and immense heartache I have been slogging through since the forever untold Legend of Giordano.  It began two days before the scorpio full moon. Doctor Blanco yanked out my infected, root-canaled gold molar, while I sobbed uncontrollably in the reclining, slippery tan chair.

Honestly, if I had a nickel for every time some new-agey astrology report touted that our deepest wounds were surfacing for illumination and healing…. BUT THIS WAS REAL.  The DEEPEST FUCKING WOUNDS. I’m talkin’ about twelve-step-style wounds. Since this fiercest of ripe, dripping moons, I’ve been living in a state of washed-out, unnamable fear and anxiety.

Of course I have a bazillion philosophies about the nature and origin of this krushing fear, including the upheaval with Giordano, my impending move, my imminent leap into visibility, leadership and soul-satisfying career SUCCESS via my online women’s video circles (www.sourcedcircles.com)….

AND my personal favorite– Being deeply attuned and sensitive to “The Collective”.  Lemme ask YOU– Have YOU been feeling through deep, dark, inexplicable fear lately?  I mean, I don’t pay attention to the news or current events. But I am a profoundly sensitive “feeler”, and the global climate usually broadcasts as waves of energy that move through me.  I’m pretty sure my thankless, freelance side-job is to feel through and LOVE the collective feelings that others are too scared to touch with a crusty stick.

FINALLY!!!!!  The broken systems of the Patriarchy are actually crumbling…. Not just threatening to crumble “one of these days”.  The World As We Know It is coming undone. And we must resist the temptation to over-identify with the Brokenness…

We must step forward as our Perfectly Imperfect Selves…. Be the leaders, change-makers, seed-planters of The New World.  I know you know which one I’m talking about… The one that your heart is incessantly whispering about and entirely believes in.  The world where Unity of All Life is glaringly obvious, and we boldly and passionately live our Light for the wellbeing of ALL.  

Please remind me of this Visionary Proclamation, when I am standing naked in the floodlights of visibility, knees knocking as I call out to women everywhere to join my circles and raise each other UP as we co-create a nourishing, turned-ON culture of authenticity, vulnerability, pleasure and connection which will naturally deliver our World to the Heaven it’s meant to BE.  

Saturating Painful Days with Love

Yesterday I found a package addressed to “The Glistening Goddess Athena Grace” awaiting my discovery on a shelf in the mail room.  Serena thirsted to rip into it immediately… but my own inner child must have been trapped in a haunted attic or lost in a psychedelic funhouse somewhere…. Because I uncharacteristically displayed the restraint to wait until we returned to our humble love nest.

 

Serena’s zeal to discover the goods was unwavering though, and the mOMent we crossed the threshold into Graceland, she importuned me to rip the thing open.  (Do you think “importune” was an unnecessarily large and unwieldy word choice? I grappled with that possibility, but opted to go for it anyway. I could have just said “urged”… but it might not have conveyed the flames of passion rising up from the verb…)

 

Anywayz, all this cool shit tumbled from the box:  a little baggie of wild harvested, dried nettles (my favorite), a box of spiral chickpea noodles, a bulging envelope of yerba mate and guyusa tea….

 

AND.  A binder.  Which was brimming with collage style art and words.  Many of which were MY WORDS. Back in November of 2016, I spearheaded a poetry adventure challenge…  In a *secret* facebook group, five of us committed to writing and posting a poem a day for the entire month.  Karuna had compiled my poems, along with relevant images and occasional words into a book.

 

THE LOVE WAS PALPABLE.  It knocked me backwards as I leafed through the pages.  The urge not just to cry, but to be sweapt by deep emotion welled up in me.  But Serena derailed the depth of my experience as she insisted on turning pages and taking charge of the experience.  Plus I was hungry and in the process of making deviled eggs and unloading groceries… Hence I bypassed the full blown emotionality latent within me, the mOMent and the book.  But even as I dissolved in mundane doingness, inside, I trembled.

 

I imagined the emotion was a temporal phenomena.  A time-sensitive buddhist sand mandala, dissolved in the oblivion of needless busy-ness; a wave rising, smashing and dissolving incognito back into Totality.  Nope. Later in the afternoon, accompanied by a steaming cup of tulsi tea, I sat on the pink and black ikea rug outside my house. The spring sun smiled on me as I leafed through the book once again.  Tears streamed easy and my heart broke as I witnessed my own unbounded soul beauty and the arduous, desolate, painful journey of early single motherhood and watching my own mother die, I had survived.

 

It was like some sort of accidental archaeological discovery.  Even though it was only a year and a half buried in my bones and cells, the memories seemed at once ancient and immediate.  I remembered how my untouched body ached every day as I gave what I must to nurture and nourish my beloved one year old daughter… and survive… and keep my home tidy enough.  I revisited the depth of loneliness and isolation that plunged me deep into the dark belly of the earth and my own unsayable Self.

 

I read and cried and remembered and cried and read.  

 

On my knees, forehead to the ground, sobbing…. Serena said “Mama, your back is bouncing up and down.”  And my sobs turned to laughter at the juxtaposition of the complexity of my emotions swirling with the innocence of her observation.  

 

Oh Life.

Later, during dinner, I read more.  And cried more. Giordano hugged me.  After the wave of emotion zenithed, I tried to explain what was moving inside me…

 

“Do you ever see something SO beautiful… like a sunset, or light on the water… and you are flooded with awe…. But you also feel lonely…. Because nobody else saw it… and you feel this crushing depth of holy aloneness…

 

“That’s how I feel reading my poetry.”  

 

Another heavy wave of emotion crashed inside me, and I continued speaking through thick tears, “Reading my words, I feel so beautiful… But like nobody else sees what I see.  Like I’ll die hidden and vanish forever…”

 

He held me as I cried.  And offered that HE sees me.

 

I know… so many people who love me see my raw soul beauty.  Kaleidoscopically. Because it morphs and dances, depending on the One who is seeing.  It’s the undulating energy sex of Creation… So dynamic. And I am an exquisite ingredient in the cosmic swirl.

 

But fuck philosophy.

 

I want to be seen.

I want to be known.

I want to be LOVED…

I want to be savored.

Engulfed in appreciation

of the exquisitry of my soul.

 

Yes, duh.  I know that ultimately this circuit of longing must be fused solely within my Self.  It’s not about anyone else. It’s not about fame or fortune. (But it sure fucking feels that way!…)  People, this is IT. Seriously, I found the tootsie roll center. This sweet, chewy core of impassioned, artistic Aloneness that aches to obliterate in the infinity of sentient belonging.  Ecstatic differentiation, submerged in oceanic expanse of Intimacy with ALL.

 

Haha.  What in Fuck’s Name does One say after an existential rant like THAT?  

 

I’ll close with one of the poems I wrote during my said poetry challenge.  It speaks to this quintessential ache to be known that ever cries up from inside of me.

 

Cooking and cleaning.

Part of me can hardly

Believe,

that these

are my livelihood,

Here,

snuggled, incognito

in the woods, alone

with a luminous, Tiny Buddha.

On the Inside, I am

Famous. Gravitationally weighty.

A Teacher of Faith,

a winged General

in the Army of Hearts.

A flowing font of liberating,

linguistic streams.

I am Wonder Woman, masquerading

as a modern day Goddess

of Wisdom

and War.

I am crying

with frustration,

afraid this Epic, gratifying me

will miscarry,

never come to BE.

Wondering every day…

what will it take???

To make of my Life

what I know Inside

I can.

I AM.

Lack of confidence.

Perfectionism.

Fear of failure.

Fear of being seen

and rejected.

I need to leap

across this ravine,

into a waking dream

of pure, inspired Service.

Forget myself and offer

this bottomless well

of Heavenly wealth, poured forth

through me, by God HerSelf.

In the coin of Light,

the currency of Grace.

I PRAY

to courageously ACT-i-vate.

 

Wrastling Gators in Dripping Dungeons

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I’m scared to touch my fingers to keys this morning, because it has been so long, and I don’t feel like a writer anymore.  Plus, I have been navigating some rugged inner wilderness these days, and I don’t want to spew negativity upon the page.  My friends who Know, oft remind me that words are powerful; words are spells.  I grapple with this… because on one hand, I only want to cast the most palatable spells… and yet, I also have a deep-seated thirst to expose the full spectral complexity of my human experience… rather than carving it up into lovely, horrifyingly perfect topiaries that barely hint at the raw essence of what it really feels like to be me.

Upon the completion of a deep breath, I remembered the years upon years that I’ve given myself to this process of writing out the tangles of my unwieldy Existence… because my life depended on it.  And magically, the process of getting my life, mind and emotions out into single file order heals me.  Heals as in “makes whole”.  Not that I’m ever anything besides whole…. but it feels like it, as the jagged shards of my disparate selves and contradictory motivations whiz around in here.  When they line up in well-behaved rows and march out upon the page, the jaggedness turns smooth and round and almost glamourous.

The oh-so-creamy, featured flavors recently have been “Luscious Loneliness” and “Irresistible Isolation”.  (I was imagining artisan ice cream… just to spell it out for those of you who are not so quick… I didn’t want my cleverness to slip between those those cruel ravines that slice between our minds.)  For a while, I was happily distracted by doing some copy writing (hit me up if you need words to sing your mission and gifts into existence in a professional domain!), which occupied many of the fleeting and sparse moments of my spare time.  When those jobs completed, I poured everything into my new website (!!!) for my “Sourced Circles”– rad online women’s video circles that I have been facilitating for years now, and fine tuning into a gorgeous six week experience of intimacy, community and empowerment for women who hunger to burst free from status quo and embody our wild, wise, liberated, embodied, powerful selves.  I’m passionate about it.

I think the plummet into darkness officially occurred when my beloved Web Master (Ed) published the website… and I imagined women would rush forth in DROVES to sign up for this fabulous six week ride on the alchemical love train.

Nope.  Not a peep.  After all the love and care, passion and creative juice I’ve poured into my new baby.  Somehow the Yoniverse is like, “Uh-uh”.  I dunno what that’s about.  I’m pretty damn certain that these circles are my dharma.  It’s clear that my God(dess)-Given-Gifts are meant to heal and uplift the lives and hearts of women, and hence the Planet.  But…. as of this illusorily linear mOMent in the seemingly stiff squiggle of my Life, there is a hiccup in the full-throttle flow of my said dharma.

Is it because I have more work to do on the INside?  Fuck, Universe, if I wait till I’m perfect to share my heart and voice and passion with the world, I will surely be DEAD.  Fuck that.  Is it that I need to market harder?  I am personally repulsed by the current marketing model… of appealing to the pain and suffering of others.  This capitalism in New-Age clothing.  “Healers” who stand up in their expensive goddess clothing and opulent jewels and look all “together” and be like “I used to be fucked up like you… but then I found this thing, and if you give me tons of money, I will give it to you, and then you’ll feel better about yourself.”

I feel embarrassed saying that, because I imagine that all the business savvy peeps who read this are gonna say, “See Athena?!  And you wonder why your business is failing!!!  Put on your most expensive and flowy clothing and shiny jewels and PLAY THE GAME, Bitch!”  And the truth is, part of me wants to.  At least the part about wearing delicious clothing and lovely jewels…

But God…. can’t we play a new game where NOBODY IS BROKEN?  And we don’t need to be motivated by suffering?  Just pure Desire and Passion and Playfulness?  I mean really… are we that remedial as a species?

Sigh… I guess pain and suffering still motivate me.  I’m a visionary with a fierce drive to transform broken systems… and yet there is still unresolved cellular debris and ancestral junk in my body that is working itself out… and there remains an impending resolution in my own being.

And NOW for an entire paragraph dedicated to cool shit!  The “old me” would have given up at the first sign of challenge.  I would have uttered weak and muffled cries of defeat, “Fuck it.  I quit.”  I woulda crumpled my half-painted masterpiece and hurled it in the trash.  I’ve testified to this before, but I must sing it again!  When I gave birth, I gave birth to MYSELF.  It changed me.  I have become someone who doesn’t quit, and knows the Divine Power within me.  So I forge onward, prepared to learn and grow as I go.  I don’t have to be perfect or “get it right”…. I just have to keep calling on Source within me and giving the best I know how in each blessed mOMent.  I think I there was some other cool shit that I wanted to exclaim in this designated paragraph, too… But it slipped my mind when I got up to pee…. maybe it was just a celebration of the extreme pleasure and relief I am feeling as my fingers make love to these singing keys.  At once, I am whole.  I am hOMe.

I have been putting all my creative energy into my “important-assed business”.  But this blog, Athena Graceland, is the exalted queendom of my inner child.  And she does NOT give a fluttering fuck about being “Important”.  She just wants to PLAY.  I have been wandering the desert.  Eat your heart out Mister Christ, cuz I’ve been trudging along WAAAY more than forty days and forty nights.  It’s been over TWO YEARS.  It’s insanely isolating to be a single mom of a baby/toddler.  I’ve heard that even moms with devoted partners feel isolated… but fuck that.  At least they can get out once in a while and go to a yoga class, or a women’s circle or….  I feel tethered to my frigid dungeon.  Shhhhhh….. listen…. can you hear the slowww drip, drip, drip, as rhythmic water sings down upon the slimy, dampened stones?

This avalanche of words, and I didn’t even touch on my Man Troubles.  Partially because I don’t want to create extra conflict, and partially because as my Priestess ally QuynhMa says, it’s a “red herring”… and there is a deeper issue.  My work right now, is to dig to the ROOT of the issues I am encountering.  With men, when I seek the root, it’s a feeling of starvation, desperation… A reaction to the loneliness and isolation I am feeling my way through.  I want to blame Ed, push him away, punish him… and then grasp for him when he is about to slip away… and get high on the rush of relief when we return to connection.  Meanwhile, I want to grasp for Giordano… because he represents some false sense of freedom.  I want RELIEF from the pain inside.  But the deeper me knows it is not to be found in a man.  I am working within to transmute and transcend the need to grasp onto a man for security, safety and survival.  I am (gruelingly slowly) learning to resolve these feelings and urges within myself, to create my own wealth, abundance and nourishing community, so that Partnership is born of freedom, choice and empowerment.  But I’ll tell ya, this initiation into my Priestess Power often feels like being tossed into a muddy pit full of gators and wrastling myself into exhausted submission and elusive victory.

Lately I’ve been wondering why in the fuck I chose such a grueling Path…….

But I know deep down it’s because I’m a total Badass and it’s making me INVINCIBLE.  And everything I find in here will ultimately be YOURS.  Because my Life is for Humanity.

And she loved happily ever after.

Everyone Dies. And a Funny Ending…

God, I haven’t felt the temptation to exit this earth drama for ages.  But yesterday I did.  Totally self-indulgent, I know.  No way would I leave my baby alone in this cock-eyed, drunken love circus.  But I felt like my seams were all busted and my stuffing ripped out, and no one was here to lovingly pack and patch me back together.  I felt hopeless.

I have never died like this before.  Or maybe I have… but not dared to be entirely sober and in my body?  But listen– I’m like *really* dying, while alive.  This paragraph goes out to all of you who have been there, or are here now… but have never had the words to articulate the experience.  I have watched myself kick and buck and struggle against this dissolution for a while…. rather than simply slipping in and relaxing every muscle, as though this sacred undoing were a hot, fragrant petal-laden bath.  I’ve fought to maintain a crusty, crumbling sense of who and what I have known myself to be.  For example, before surrendered to the Voice inside and cut off my hair, I desperately clutched at this husk of socially acceptable beauty, femininity, sexiness.  Finally I became too weary to fight.  I gave in to my inner impulse and became free.  Gloriously empty and true.  Now I want even more hair off.  I want it buzzed down to like a half or quarter inch.  As it is, it still feels like too much of a style, a persona, another thing to manage.  I want to simply be this exposed face.  These deep seeing eyes.  This naked heart.

Recently, I’ve been feeling waves of pain that rattle the core of my being.  Ed (Serena’s dad) is choosing to stay married to his wife.  Just because she is holding on tight.  From what he shares with me, it “seems” (though who really knows what worlds and truths lurk beneath all the gleaming seemings of life….) there is no intimacy between them, and hasn’t been for years.  I wonder if that can be restored…?  It’s not that I want to be with him in the conventional sense….  But being locked into that family constellation, consumes him, so that he is not able to show up for Serena (his daughter) or me, much at all.  And we are faaaar from welcome over there.  This situation aches my soul, deep, deep down.  Betrayal.  Abandonment.  A sprawling chain of crushing disappointments.  I often wish I’d never met Ed. (And… I love him so deep.  Sometimes it’s just hard to feel beneath the consuming pain.)  But then I look at Serena’s perfectly gorgeous face… And I can’t imagine her being made of any other cells and DNA.  She’s essential and right and exquisite.

Life is the weirdest.

Another quintessential element of my oh-so-dark mood of late, is that I have been beyond tired.  I bled with the new moon last week, and it really sapped me.  So I took a nap with Serena yesterday.  I went deep enough to have a dream flash that I saw my Ma, walking up the dusty driveway to my house!  My mind fritzed, because I was like, wait… how can this be???  This surge of confusion struck me awake.  I was crushed, because she was coming toward me, and I felt so much joy and relief to see her and then in a flash, she vanished.  I lay in bed, still exhausted, and began to quietly cry.  I know she was coming to be with me in a time of need…. I know she is so close.  Even now… but I’m damn frustrated that I can’t get still enough to experience satisfying communion with her.  But even that fleeting mOMent was gold.

Gold…

I’m feeling a deep affinity for gold these days.  I yearn to bathe and melt and merge in warm streams of golden light.  In a flash, the “still, small voice” inside informed me that I actually AM being showered in this Mighty, healing light, as I come undone.  Shazam!!!  A lightning (my Ma told schooled me on how to spell “lightning”, after I wrote a blog about the black “lightening” bolt earrings she bought me in town last summer!  Thank GOD she set me straight before she ditched me.) flash struck me when I got up to pee just now.  I realized that dying is really not bad at all.  What it IS, is that our crippled, capitalist society has not designated space and value for this holy and wholly essential and inevitable dimension of Life.  It is a deep, dark, fertile space of rebirth and cultivation of wisdom.  But instead we are prescribed pharmaceutical drugs and collectively pressured to hold it together and pretend that everything is……………………. FINE.

Haha!!!!!  Fine.  Why does that tickle me so?  “How are you?”…….. “Fine.”  It’s just such a flaccid thing we say to each other and ourselves.  Fine…..

Suddenly I’m all lit up inside about this matter of dying.  Like it’s my activism to give a publicity plug for dying.  While I was stirring my hot rice cereal just now, I though bout writing a children’s book, akin to the classic, “Everyone Poops”.  Entitled, naturally, “Everyone Dies”.  It will talk about how we all die many times over as we navigate this life thing.  And of course there’s the “grand finale”, when we leave these cute little meat suits, too.  And while not necessarily comfortable, all of it can be graceful and maaaaaybe… even a little bit fabulous.  Gosh, I want to master the ART of dying.  I want to get really good at it and inspire you to lean into your deaths, and trust the rightness and necessity of these dark and barren passages.  I want to stop digging my desperate, dirty nails into the walls of the pit, and just let it swallow me whole, and TRUST that I will certainly rise when the time is ripe.    

I’m exhausted from trying to fast-forward this goddamn movie and be in a scene other than the one I am in.  I want to play my role so fully and beautifully that it liberates all hearts, purifies the waters and heals the planet.

What if I entirely trusted that my career aspirations and deepest, soul-full desires were inevitable….  and I didn’t have to fight the current to fulfill my Destiny?  What if this delicious undoing was ESSENTIAL to my being and doing and offering all that I am here to share?

By the Light vested in me, I declare this to be SO.

Three cheers for getting swept up by a linguistic river of impassioned conviction….

Oh!  I remembered something crucial that I need to tell you.  In the face of wanting to die yesterday, the only natural thing to do was go to the River.  Like duh.

Being there… the miracle that I AM, gazing through these eyes beheld the satiny, musical rush of wet, crystalline aqua, dappled with dancing diamond light… a precise half moon, smiling unconditionally amidst deep, blue space. I flooded my lungs with the incense-esque scent wafting softly from the heated, piney earth.  I hafta laugh, because I know that even this linguistically gifted mystic could never find words to touch the epic divinity of the world quietly gushing alive before my very blessed eyes.

But here’s the funniest part EVER:  It was a clothing optional beach, and Serena, who has been clambering around at the water’s edge, notices two naked men standing near.  Her eyes are fixed on one of the dudes’ You Know What… Good Lord… Is she?…  Reaching for it???  Yes.  And repeating a word that at first, I can’t make out.  Then it clicks in my brain.  “Candle”.   I repeat it… “candle?”  Nodding affirmative, gaze fixed, she continues to speak this random man’s shlong into enchanted, interpretive existence.  I look at the two men, to get a deeper read on the situation.  Their eyes are soft and friendly… yet I feel contracted in a wave of embarrassment.  I relax, and realize that it’s all okay.  My daughter’s precious innocence is not something to take personally, manage (in this case), or be ashamed of.  Relaxing open, I crack up.  Hard.  They laugh too.  Serena keeps repeating her mantra.  I guess she hasn’t been exposed to too many “candles”….

I HAD to tell someone.  It’s a classic case of “If the Pope shits in the woods, and there’s no one there to hear it….”  So thanks for allowing that gorgeous mOMent of pure and perfect innocence to take root and fully LIVE.

Here’s to fully living

and fully dying.

With inspiring grace.

Total faith.

And as much love

as One can muster

from amidst the flames

and purging pain.

xoxo,

Athena Grace

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