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.  

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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

To Tell You the Truth…

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Do you wanna know something honest?  I think I let my frustration speak too often with Serena.  Moments of tension and restricted breath, gratuitously spoken with smoke and sparks.  The F-word flies free as a flag at a baseball stadium perched at the edge of the world.  And every time I hear myself express from this agitated state, there is a voice in my head that says, “Athena, you’re gonna be mighty ashamed when SHE starts speaking like this in public domains.”  Yeah.  I’m not proud.  But you know what I AM proud of?  Writing something that makes me squirm.  Risk=Energy=Compelling.  Because let’s be honest– we are ALL a bit crusty and tattered around the edges (but mostly mooshy in the middle).  And it’s thrilling and terrifying to get naked… in a world brimming with people too oft invested in “presenting ourselves”.

But I didn’t bring this up so that I could spin out in philosophical generalities…  I was simply inspired to tell the unflattering truth.  Another dimension of this confession, is that a dominant part of me doesn’t even aspire to be wholesome and clean.  This aspiration seems more like social conditioning than a true read on my internal compass.  Not that I want to be frivolously filthy, either.  I want to be relaxed in my range of expression (while continuing to cultivate patience and a genuinely pure heart).   I don’t want Serena to hear a swear word and fall to her tiny, perfect knees, imagining that the apocalypse is upon us.  Aversion has it’s own malignant sphere of influence.  Still, I could be better.  But it’s a lot to have ZERO breaks from the incessant rigors of parenting.  Listen to me– NOBODY takes my baby off my hands for a goddamn hour (let alone a minute) so that I can go for a sweaty, cardio “prance” (my lax version of jogging), or sink in to a satisfying yoga practice, free from being climbed on, whined at, beseeched for boobie…  It SEEMS like most mothers get SOME relief, SOMEtimes…. Even once a week seems monumental from over here in Athena Graceland.

Sigh.  But I love being with her.  Sometimes my fuse just gets remarkably short and I become a reckless sailor.  Now I’m going to tell you something fabulous about me.  I wonder if it’s actually more risky to speak highly of oneself, than to shine the floodlight on one’s faults.  Self-love might actually be the greatest taboo of all, in a society built on insecurity and perpetual consumption.

For as short as my said fuse can be, I bounce back in a lightening flash.  I am quick to apologize, and quicker to say “I love you.”  My girl will have not a shed of doubt as to how loved, right and good she is.  And if she is anything like her mother, Serena will have no qualms about admitting her mistakes and shortcomings, and compassionately making another choice.  Boo hoo.  She’s awake.  Talk to you tomorrow.

I guess it was kinda good that she woke up… cuz I had the whole day yesterday to observe myself and notice the ratio of impatience to bottomless generosity and nourishing presence.   Though not all days are created equal.  The moment I’m most ashamed of yesterday was when she was having her pre-night-night-time sink bath.  I think she was over tired, since she missed he afternoozie (nap, not tea!).  She kept throwing her “toys” (red plastic tablespoon, cup, rubber ducky) onto the floor, causing gratuitous wetness, and I asked her repeatedly to stop, explaining that I didn’t want water all over the floor.  So THEN, she proceeds to intentionally fling her arm and splash water on the floor!  BRAT!  I ask her to stop.  Nope.  Instead, she does it again.  Making solid, rebellious eye contact all the while.  Wow.  My thermostat soars and bursts.  This is not acceptable.  I grab her squishy little arm and squeeze it.  Hard.  Holding her fierce, brown-eyed gaze, I tell her to STOP.  She pauses.  Before splashing MORE water on the floor.  This repeats a few times before I realize she is just tired and is really telling me she’s done.  Time for some naked pillow diving, honey scented oil on her too-perfect skin, diaper, snowman jammies, and boobie-to-sleep.

It felt horrible to squeeze her little arm.

But mostly I’d nominate myself for Mother of the Millennia.  I give her tons of room to explore the world.  I continuously aspire to see through her eyes of perpetually fresh wonder.  I speak to her as a highly capable and intelligent being.  I listen to her deeply.  I tell her how exquisitely beautiful she is.   Oh, and this one feels especially crucial– I don’t make her behave a certain way in social situations.  I hate it when parents force their kids to respond with the right script… just so they “look good” and avoid awkward moments and uncomfortable feelings.  Yuck.  I pick her up and dance around like a God-drunk earth angel.  I take her outside and let her sit on the earth as much as possible.  (That’s her favorite!)  I encourage her to explore.  I read to her a ton.  I feed her high quality, nutritious food.  And on and on blah, blah, blah.

It really DOES go on and on.  I’m great.  And I’m human.  And sometimes my fuse gets teensy.  Just like my mom’s did.  Back then I thought she was so mean!  Her jaw would clench and she’d say, “God dammit Dawn!” as I cowered.  But here’s what I didn’t know back then– she was way more than just my mother.  She had a whole world of emotions and hopes and dreams and needs and a mountainous heap of responsibilities… in addition to the simple though incessant invitation to be present and loving with her precious little Dawnie-cakes.

People say that you come to understand and forgive your own mother at ever-deepening levels as you walk the path of motherhood yourself.  Yep.  It’s true.  It’s like doubling back and delving into the veins of your very own being and  Life again from an even richer vantage point.  Surfing and mining your own blood and stories from a wiser, more compassionate, loving and clear vantage point.  It is ancestral healing backward and forward.  Building a bridge of Love to a better world for ALL.  I know this is why I am here.

I could be better.  And I WILL be.  As I continue to love my own innocent heart through all that Life is and isn’t.  As I learn and grow and relax into this miraculous, blessed path that unfolds through, as and beyond me.  And I might say a few too many fucks along the way.

The Ultimate Soul Workout

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Life begins the day you realize it’s meant to be hard.

At least for ME, that’s how it went down.

Being an etherial new-age baby, I struggled a bunch, clutching a dazzling-law-of-attraction-belief that Life was supposed to be easy… and then meeting so many unwieldy mOMents, and intense feelings, and not knowing what to do or be to make my Life submit and behave in the way of ease.  God, it is such an uphill climb.

The crucial point lurking in this hypothesis though, is that at a soul level, this sloppy, unwieldy struggle one of the Heavenly Lord’s all-time greatest boons.  To incarnate in this arduous dimension is heavyweight strength training!  Who wants to be a gorgeous, sparkling, winged mirage, fluttering insouciantly about in a revealed rendition of Heaven… when you could be attending the BEST costume party in the galaxy… suiting up in a nice dense meat sack and pushing figurative boulders up custom-fashioned metaphorical mountains, developing sweet, spiritual six-packs and bulging biceps of the soul?  We really have our priorities dialed in, down here on earth.

Plus, we get to drink tea and coffee!!!  I bet that is the tipping point for many incarnate angels.

Lately, I’ve been having a hot and heavy wonder what it would be like to inhabit my Life with a relaxed internal poise… a *genuine* and full bodied acceptance of the reality in which I marinate.  Because mostly, there’s this whole consuming layer of experience that occurs like agitation.  Like the cursed grain of sand inside the holy oyster shell of my existence.  A destructive, gnawing idea that I’m partially living the WRONG life.  Just partially.  There are SOME elements that are oh-so-right… Really key ones~ like that I’m Athena Grace… and that I have the *most* awesome baby girl.  Now that I’m endeavoring to articulate it, I realize that I LOOOOVE who I AM… I’m just struggling with the process of ACTUALIZING the raw blueprint of my soul.  And searching for that deep sense of Belonging, of hOMe.  God, I hope there’s a phat pink pearl in the works…

And hence, we come full circle to the opening statement of this gloriously enlightened stream of words~ this is the resistance training that I enthusiastically came to partake in.  How to be this AWESOME, luminous heavenly body IN A MEAT SUIT, and masterfully sculpt Infinite Light into a soul-satisfying, consciousness-liberating, Love-revealing, integrity-infused, breath-giving work of sacred art.  I mean think about it… doesn’t that sound like the BEST vacation for God to take???  Yeah.  Totally.

But in the mean time, here I am… wishing I had the utterly fabulous Partner by my side.  A loving, devoted father for Serena.  I am haunted by visions of being a powerful, spiritual leader and a beloved and widely read writer of grace-stained words that liberate ALL HEARTS.  Feeling stuck in this cloistered spiritual community in the woods, that though wrought with kindness, safety and even friendship… isn’t the path that ignites passion in my heart, or pure resonance in my soul.  I feel guilty typing that… because God… people here have embraced me beyond what I could have hoped for.  Typing that made my eyes sting.  Lemme take a deepie (breath)… and really let this Grace sink in.

Lately, I’ve been asking myself how I’d define Grace… Because it’s my last name, for God’s sake!  And it’s like the air we breathe… invisible, and something we don’t even have to think about… because it’s always nearer to us than our own selves… But… it’s still handy to have a distinguished notion of this essential and beneficent ISness.

Grace…

It’s the Invisible Oceanic Goodness in which we ARE.  We don’t have to earn it… and we couldn’t escape it if we tried.  The tricky part, is that Grace is responsible not only for that which we deem “good” in our lives, but the “bad” stuff too. Under the inescapable, psychedelic umbrella of Grace, EVERYTHING we live is Divinity in action, and is conspiring for the outrageous and triumphant unfurling revelation of the sublime heavenly light within us.

I guess that’s why Hafiz wrote this poem:

Running

Through the streets

Screaming,

Throwing rocks through windows,

Using my own head to ring

Great bells,

Pulling out my hair,

Tearing off my clothes,

Tying everything I own

To a stick,

And setting it on

Fire.

What else can Hafiz do tonight

To celebrate the madness,

The joy,

Of seeing God

Everywhere!

Sigh… Grace is God.  And God is ALL… And yet, knowing all this, I am still perched cozily on my couch in the pale light of dawn, wondering how in the heck to make my life what I want it… digging so deep to crack the code of the mystifying dynamism between effort and surrender.  Is my Destiny inevitable???  Or is it true what Tori Amos told my ex-fiance, the night we met her, shining like a riveting Goddess Mirage?  He asked her, “Do you believe in Destiny?”

Her reply~ “She needs your help.”

I want to help Her…

I want to bench press the World in the name of Love.  In the name of giving EVERYTHING to liberate the flame of passion that burns inside me, such that it ignites the World in holy celebration.

This is the “meaning of Life”.  And it is supposed to be hard!

But it is the most gratifying workout in Existence.

Scorpion Medicine and the Life of my Dreams

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Late friday night, I was shocked awake by a hot, electric sting on my inner right forearm.  It took my brain a minute to land back in the reality of my bed… but when I did, I realized something must have bit me.  I flicked on red-bulbed bedside lamp and was horrified to discover a small black scorpion on my pink pillowcase!  For real.  Gingerly, I picked up my pillow and carried it to the bathroom sink, flicked the fierce little creature into the sink and ran the water until I was sure he was well on his way back to the Underworld.  Crawling into bed again was terrifying, because I was sure that it must be teeming with feisty scorpions, whose sole aim was to take greedy bites out of me.  But I was exhausted, so I braved the warm, cozy scorpion pit.  I texted Ed, because I was rattled and needed immediate support.  I also googled scorpion stings, and discovered, to my relief that there are more than fifteen hundred varieties of scorpions, and only twenty five of them are lethal.  Somehow I knew that this little guy was more machismo than anything else.  It took a while, but I fell back asleep and live happily ever after.

In the morning, it occurred to me that he might have been a humble Divine Messenger, so I googled “scorpion medicine”.  Yes, he came with the message of death and rebirth; letting go of what is no longer serving.  Just before I had fallen asleep, my heart was flooded with pain, and I had texted Ed, “You know you have caused a lot of pain”… referring to myself and his wife.  He made no reply, and I drifted into slumber with those words reverberating in the underworld of my consciousness.  Then I had been shocked awake by a sharp pain in my arm.

Realizing his sacred, selfless intent, I flooded with guilt that I had drowned him.  He was only trying to get my attention, and confirm that indeed it was time to release all hope of happily ever after with Ed.

Well… that’s not quite accurate.  I believe that Ed and I CAN live happily ever after… but not as husband and wife, Lady and Lord of Graceland.  I PRAY that we can sustain our love and friendship…FOR SERENA.  We will always be her parents.  Deep down, I wanted an “Always Connection” with Ed, because the love we share is powerful and I never wanted to let it go.  I pray from the depths of my soul that we may redefine happily ever after, in a way that suits the needs of the highest evolution of each of our souls.

But I’m sick of being smashed to pieces by disappointment.  It’s been nearly four years of such obliterating sport.  Now, a new calling is dawning in the deep, dark, Unmanifest within me.  I am called to my Dharma.  My sacred work in the World.  And I must liberate the energy that has been tied up in the exhausting cycle of hope, longing and devastation.  It’s weird.  We have tried to “break through” more times than I have fingers and toes… but there has been this invisible forcefield that has kept us together.  I guess God flipped the switch on this electric fence, because suddenly it is… almost easy.  I say “almost”, just because I am still navigating that outrageously delicious grief cycle:  anger and bargaining and blah blah blah.  I sure know how to have a blast down here on Earth.

It’s ridiculous being a spiritually inclined person (to state it mildly), spilling with a wealth of wise and practical teachings… and yet…in some scorching moments, NONE OF THEM can lift me above the very remedial human slop of clutching my delusions.  There is something gorgeous and refreshing about this.  There is no escape hatch.  I must brave the thorny, emotional underbrush and be humbled by the Journey that is mine to make.

This is so profound, that I will start a new paragraph, just to reiterate.  This paragraph stands as a monument erected for the profundity of the sacred necessity to submit to one’s Life.  It’s like when you’re out for a fabulous swim in the ocean… just frolicking like a carefree and even slightly cocky mermaid, and suddenly a huge wave pummels your azz, and all you can do is submit to the undertow, relax, and wait for it to deliver you to the surface again, according to its own, unified, mystic rhythm.

And therein lies the haunting and mystic face of death.

The ocean could easily take one’s Life (She DID swallow our Beloved Brian Baker…)  Now I must forfeit the Life that the little me has been clutching.  Trust me, I have held on as long as I possibly could (and I have the battle scars to prove it).  This is the essence of spiritual awakening.  But it is one thing to “know it”… and another thing to live it.  Knowing is not enough.  I want to be ground to holy fairy dust, that I may rise victorious rarefied, realized Light, and truly be of Service to this World.  Of course there are other agendas that want to have a say… so I must not be glittery dust yet.  Sigh.  But I AM getting there!  People, hear me when I testify that I am working so damn hard to figure out how to navigate this Life with Divine Intelligence.  Toiling to discover when it’s right to surrender, and when to bleed and sweat and fight.

It’s such a ridiculous journey… knowing deep down that God’s Plan for my Life is fashioned from a pattern of infinitely intelligent LOVE… and that MY plan is only crafted from scrappy impressions of my past… God’s imagination is Unlimited and Wild and Ultimately Benevolent (yes, even and *especially* when, to the ego, it “hurts”).  Mine is endearingly crippled.

I type these words with an aching heart, tears burning my eyes and gingerly streaming down my cheeks.  My guiding light, Matt Kahn said that someone once asked him, “It seems like you feel good all the time”, to which he replied, “I feel LIFE all the time.”  He said he has come to a sincere place Inside where no emotion is better or worse than another.  It is all God.  As a result of this sincere, awakened surrender, he no longer experiences highs and lows.  He is a pure stream of healing Divine Love.  So… Let me practice this wholehearted willingness to live as profound openness.  God, if you want to caress your own Body of Infinity through me as this deep pool of sorrow, I offer myself completely.  I boldly declare that there is ONLY LOVE, masquerading as every feeling and form and nuance of Life.  And so I offer myself completely to be played by your Holy Music… whether I like it or not.  I trust you God.  And I offer myself to the Life you are Destined to Live through me.  I am sure it will just keep getting more amazing and miraculous.

I used to want an “easy Life”.  Not anymore.  I want transformative Life that serves and inspires ALL HEARTS, and lifts the consciousness of the World.

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