Happiness Flew In… And then…

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I left the door wide open, and my beloved visitor finally flew away.  I knew it was inevitable.  Even if I bolted the door, this quiet, pervasive happiness would have slipped as liquid gold, through the bars of my pretty little cage at Her leisure and whim.  You can’t capture an electrically fresh, bud-bursting spring day in a jar.  But I was amazed and delighted at how long She chose to stay and warm me from deep within.  I should have recorded the days with little tick marks on the wall adjacent to the end of the couch that has a gaping (mostly figurative) indentation from where the heavyweight tag team of my butt and gravity work it over, day upon day.  (I should really consider changing it up and sitting on the other side of the couch, or at the table or on the floor so that I am less of a buzzed zombie… maybe when spring comes.) (Zoiks!, I’m not even through the first paragraph, and I have uttered the forbidden word “should” TWICE!… Honestly, I like to say “should” even more, since it has gone so far out of fashion.  It’s the rebel in me.  Otherwise, what is the alternative?  You just spend way too much time and energy groping about inside, like some new-age dork, to find shiner, more socially acceptable words to say the same damn thing– like– “It would be potentially life-affirming and transformationally potent to whisk my little ass on a romantic getaway to the other end of the couch.”  I mean, sure it’s fun to talk that way.  But sometimes I just wanna get the raw, plain idea out and move on with life.)

And now back to happiness.  And lack thereof.  Actually, I’m not lacking happiness this morning.  But maaaan– the flavor of those days upon days (I think it must have been about a week straight) was soooo delicious.  It was seemingly unconditional… I imagine, the unimpeded flavor of my soul.  It was bright and ecstatically tremulous… a wide open canvas upon which God painted the colorful masterpiece of my days.  And then I got a sore throat and the rain came back and Serena refused her afternoon nap, instead opting to play with the burner nobs on the stove while repeating “no, no, no” and making solid eye contact with me as I chopped delicata squash and collard greens for our soup.  I’m not unhappy now…. But I don’t feel invincible and larger than Life, like I did for that scrumptious honey-moon-lit week.

A highly alluring byproduct of said happiness, is that I had literally NO expectations of Ed (the perpetually unshakable Married-Baby-Daddy-Love-of-my-Life, for those of you new to Athena Graceland), but instead was an unconditional outpouring of generosity, support, appreciation and romance.  Haha, that must have been a nice little heart-spa vacation for him!  I felt so damn whole in this happiness…. that I really didn’t give a hoot about the terms and conditions of my existence.  I just wanted to give love.  I’m pretty sure this inner climate is the natural state of the soul.  I’m pretty sure that I peered through a sacred window into an impending inevitability.  I’m pretty sure this is what we are all stalking, beneath the glitzy veneer of every ambition and hope and choice.  This glorious wholeness.  A profound, profuse generosity sourced by an unending, overflowing sense of fullness.  An unconditional inner brightness that shines on Everything.

Lucky me.  I saw it.  I tasted it.  It is real.  Or at least it WAS.  And now I am on the brink of sick and I wish I could stay in bed and sad Hemingway all day.  Speaking of bed, I just had a flash of a dream from last night.  It involved me trying to get into the swimming pool (to swim succulent laps), but being obstructed by circumstances.  I’ve had a few of these lately.  Which is not surprising.  Because that’s my life.  The swimming pool is a place where I am free, whole, happy, nourished.  I want to swim sooooo bad.  So good?  But…. I am incessantly tethered to my most beloved fourteen month old daughter.  Which is pure grace.  But fuck.  I want to swim.

And speaking of water… now the rain is smashing down from a saturated, pre-dawn sky and singing me a dramatic serenade.  Suddenly all those notions of happiness and other-than-happiness and moments besides right now seem like a foreign language in which I have lost fluency.  Not to mention the heavenly bite of paleo banana bread slathered in chunky peanut butter and salty, grass fed butter that is currently dissolving in my profusely salivating mouth.  This sudden uprising of undeniable nowness doesn’t leave room for much else.  But I must press ON with this gay parade of mind and meaning.  Because writing is my passion.  I simply must squeeze the juice from the simplicity of ISness, and drizzle it into the stiff shot of complexity that is a human life and mind and heart…. stir… and serve you up a cocktail sure to jolt you into a heightened state of God-drunk presence.

Gosh, Serena has been sleeping for twelve hours now… which means that she is due to wake up any second.  I really wanna get these words out into the naked, sprawling corridors of the internet, where a handful of shimmering others might read, enjoy and benefit from them.

But allow me to splash first in the deep, vast waters of microcosmic awareness first.  Ribboned into this swirl of recent happiness, there has been a felt sense of deep peace.  I still feel it, like a full moon reflecting on a softly rippling, nocturnal lake.  I believe these gifts of happiness and peace are a contribution to The World.  I am not an “activist” in the classical sense of the word… nor do I aspire to be one.  But I am pretty sure that the energies that move through me uplift the collective.  Through untrained eyes, my passive stance of raising a tender, bright goddess in the woods, while doing humble, labor intensive jobs and investing in a sprawling bouquet of heart-full relationships might seem like a steaming heap of whoopdie-do.  But it’s NOT.  It’s a lavish slather of uplifting love up in the one heart we all share beneath the wondrous adventure of otherness in which we dance.  Listen– I’m all for Otherness.  A celebratory recognition of Oneness does not impede or negate the glorious play of duality that we are all exploring now.

I’m simply reminding myself and YOU that our lives and especially our LOVE, no matter how seemingly inconsequential and humble, MAKES A DIFFERENCE.  So won’t you please join me, and gaily fling open that cage door at the edge of your identity…. take delight in all of the intricate and fascinating winged visitors who fly in and out at their whim and leisure in the name of Destiny, in the name of Grace…

In the name of Heaven dawning withIN.

Please Come In…!!!

Warning: My mind and emotions are *especially* rambunctious today.  Enter Athena Graceland at your own risk.

 

No!!!!  Waaaait… PLEASE COME IN.  I yearn to be witnessed.  And unconditionally accepted.  I want you to be with me.  As I am.

 

I hafta laugh, because what just came through is such a quintessential part of my me-ness.  And I would be so bold as to imagine it may be familiar to YOU and your you-ness, too.  The part of me who pretends she is indifferent.  Like, “I don’t need  you.  I’m cool.  Whatever.  Stay or go… it’s up to you…”  But really, inside, I’m screaming, “DON’T GO!!!!!!!  LOVE ME!!!!!!  HOLD ME!!!!!”

 

That’s real.  I want to feel connected and accepted.  I want to be heard, and I want to make a difference.  Just for being so fully, unapologetically ME.

 

Ahhhh… Now that we’ve got THAT out of the way… I can tell you that I’m at the Momshram.  And for those of you who don’t know what that is, allow me to illuminate with a simple, mathematical equation:  Mom + ashram = Momshram.  My mom lives in a spiritual community, over the river and through the woods.

 

Pbthhhhhtt!!!!  That was the Athena Graceland back-up accompaniment- the distant tremulous croon of a whoopee cushion.  Actually, now that I mention it, the orchestra of life is blaring right now!  I am sitting at a  shaded table on the moist, lush lawn outside Master’s Market.  And the surrounding area is littered with children and the myriad voices of lusty birds.  If I wasn’t having so many intense feelings, I’d certainly be drunker than thou on springtime!!  Ten twenty five am, and even in the shade, I’m perfectly warm.  The especially kind voices of spiritually persuaded children warm my heart as a cool breeze whispers compassionate and generous about my bare arms. I am drowning the stereophonic vivacity of all these young whipper-snappers with harp music… It smooths out the jagged edged intensity of their unfiltered expression.  Binds the moment into sonic smear of subdued, diverse perfection, that allows me to focus and relax into the invocation of this new-born world within a world that is the world of Athena Graceland… much like eggs bind the ingredients of a cake, such that it RISES UP in sweet, moist perfection when exposed to the alchemy born of intense heat.

 

I take it back.  I’m not having intense feelings anymore.  I have finally arrived in the perfect peace of this moment.  I wish you were here with me.  It is really quite extraordinary.  In the most ordinary sense of the word.  I often blink awake for a split second and realize just how much time and energy I spend trying to “get somewhere”… somewhere “better”… Namely the version of reality where I am thriving in my full throttle creative expression, living in my own sweet, spacious, light penthouse apartment overlooking lake merritt, on my own terms.  The rendition of reality where I am free to be with Ed as we wish, without the consideration of his *other life*.  And God… my heart and body long to have a child… (and don’t bother telling me that having a baby is a *huge* responsibility and I will basically be handing my life over to an unrelenting stream of selfless service.  I know that.  It’s not an intellectual desire.  So as much as I try to reason with myself… it doesn’t change the depth of my longing in my heart and body.)

 

Patience, Athena.

 

Desire… it’s such a beautiful beast.  And a powerful force to become deeply intimate with.  She is why we are here.  And She can either be a source of raw power, or perpetual discord and disappointment.  Do you see what I’m saying?  If we allow ourselves to be tossed about by Her like sorry little bitches, we will suffer.  But if we can cultivate deep presence and openness, we can know Her in a way that informs and empowers every single moment of this spiritual mind-fuck we call Life.

 

Desire will never cease.  I will not necessarily be any happier when I find myself suddenly living within the sensuous textures and shades of my unborn dreams.  No… the peace, the joy, the profound love that I seek at the heart of all my wishes has nothing to do with circumstance or shifting sands.  They are a world unto themselves.  Eternal and unbroken by the illusions I project upon the vast canvas of time and space.

 

Wow!  Suddenly, I smell the bright, evocative essence of oranges.  Sweet, tart, fresh… drifting on the breeze, invisibly pressing into my senses, causing my mouth to flood with juice.  How do I open even *more* fully to this quietly sensuous heaven I am currently perched in?  That is a question worth living inside of, if you ask me.  And ultimately, it all comes down to breath. Inviting the breath to wash tidally, all the way into and through me, to the very bottom of my belly.  And softening.  Relaxing my jaw, my face, my shoulders, my belly.  Receiving this beautiful moment and all of the nuanced textures of nourishment it has to offer.  I WANT IT!!!!  I want to invite heaven here.  By just allowing it.

 

This is why I meditate.  Because I am determined to discover heaven INSIDE me.  And not *just* on warm spring days drenched in harp music and orange slices, children at play and birds singing rapturous praises of new life.

 

Athena Grace LMNOP on meditation: There are is such a daunting plethora of ideologies on the purpose and practice of meditation.  But the more I give myself to my daily practice, the more my own motivations, the understanding of the WHY and the HOW dawn within me.   Morning meditation has become an essential respite for me.  It is the most sacred and essential half an hour of my day, because it is a time when I have officially declared that NOTHING that I think means ANYTHING.  That’s huge.  Because for the other twenty three and a half hours, I am mostly perpetually tempted to invest my faith this alluring, vivid wash of dualistic hocus pocus.  But sitting erect, before my altar, I simply keep returning to breath and praying for Grace to inundate my mind and carry me the rest of the way Home (Home = integrated embodied realization of the Truth that ALL IS LOVE)  I used to feel pretty discouraged by the incessant noise in my mind, the thick, sticky veil of maya.  But then I heard an angel whisper in my ear that we don’t call it “Amazing Grace” for naught.  We do OUR part- showing up, being available.  And in the perfection of divinely ordained time, Grace will do HER part and carry us the rest of the way.  It is inevitable.

 

LIVE,

A