The nearly free birth of Forest (part 2)

The facet of freebirthing that was most compelling to me was not being “checked” to see how dilated I was, or being told when to push, or any other externalized reference points along the Journey of Laboring.  Instead, the birthing woman is totally undisturbed and able to experience from the INside-out.  (I’m imagining that some readers will find this perspective audacious.  Like “WHAT??? YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY KNOW HOW TO GIVE BIRTH WITHOUT A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL TELLING YOU WHAT TO DO AND WHEN.”)

Well guess what?  You CAN.

Except here’s where I lost connection with my inner authority:

Expectations…. I imagined that the second baby would be easier.  It was taking waaaay too long.  I was in waaaaaaay too much pain.  When would I feel the fucking urge to PUSH???

Night had swallowed day, candles danced wiggly, golden light about the dim ambiance of my pink bedroom.  I finally felt a mild urge to push.  I guess I texted my doula friend Karen in California… and asked her…. something.  She video called me on fb messenger.  As Grace would have it, she was about to give a chiropractic adjustment to three mamas (two of which I had known for over a decade).  Suddenly I was being supported by FOUR women from across the world.

Mostly this was soothing and helpful.  But in retrospect, the call lingered beyond its expiration date.  I lost touch with the inner authority that had been the coveted treasure of my freebirthing quest.  I was lost in the wilderness of pain… Vulnerable and reaching outside for salvation.

The call sprawled on for over an hour.  Contractions.  Pushing.  Lioness roars.

I asked Karen if breaking my own bag of waters (which was still intact) would accelarate the process (I had heard this in other birth stories…) She said go for it. When I reached inside, I could feel the bulging bag… At first I was tentative about breaking it with my nails. But after three or four tries, it burst. Gusssssssh….

Nothing changed, save the manky bedspread, which was now cold and wet.

I felt inside to see if Forest’s head was at the door yet. I felt SOMEthing…. But it was not very “head-ish”… It felt like two squishy peaks, with a valley in between. WHAAAAAT??? Not a foot. Not a head. Too small for a butt…. Was there REALLY a normal baby-shaped person inside me??? Or just some random, alien scraps, all smashed together….

When my waters broke, Karen said “He’ll be out in two pushes.”

My inner authority flew out the window and I placed the weight of my salvation in this statement. Time bled on…. My concern mounted as my endurance dwindled.

Now, please allow me to pause and comment.

My writing style is especially feminine. Rooted in and informed by feeeeeling. Decorated with poetic metaphors. Striking, abstract imagery. Frivolous, philosophical meanderings. Bursts of unapologetic raw-ness…

And then there is Athena Grace writing about BIRTH.  Exponentially feminine. I notice a voice inside who is critical of my “failure” to walk a straight line of “chronology”. Well, I am going to grab my ovaries and overtly affirm– FUCK THAT SHIT. I am a WOMAN.  I have a woman’s (heartful) mind, and I am sharing my Woman’s Voice. I never really identified as a “feminist”… because I’m not into raging against the machine. But it turns out that at heart, I AM. The world held hostage by our severely crippled systems NEEDS women’s’ voices to resound boldly through the Collective, heal the heart of ALL, and purify the waters.

This story is a wild, bucking spiral montage of images, mOMents, feelings… and of course a juicy climax (or three). By the Power Vested in Me, I declare that this is RIGHT and BEAUTIFUL and perfectly natural. Not to negate straight lines. I reserve the right to ride those tamed beasts as I please.

At the start of this account I forgot to mention that as during my labor with Serena, it was increasingly impossible to pee. I was hoping this condition would not recur with Forest. Frown.  I had to squat or sit on the toilet for a million years of discomfort before a pathetic trickle would dribble out. Not being able to release deterred me from drinking too much. I was hot and sweaty. I needed fluid. I drank sips and tangoed with the terror of bursting my bladder.

I also forgot to mention an essential, terrible (and retrospectively comical) thing about Giordano’s role during my labor. If I had a nickel for every time the man asked me “WHY”…. I’d be one rich bitch.  MEN— Listen. When a laboring woman makes a request, DO NOT ask her WHY.  Fucking never. Each time he did, I told him this. But obviously, it didn’t go IN. Because his WHYs fired off like a machine gun, driving holes in my peace and sanity.  WOMEN— if your man asks you WHY while you are laboring, send him to me and I will personally rip his over-active head off. And for anyone who finds themself asking “WHY not ask WHY?…”

I’ll tell you.

BECAUSE. It engages a part of the brain that should NOT be active while a woman is in such an intense, intuitive, altered state.

And NOW, back to our riveting story.

I didn’t feel that I was progressing. (I WAS… but not in an outwardly measurable way, like I WANTED to be…)  Karen said if Forest wasn’t out in another half an hour, I “should” go to the hospital.  Eeeeeeeeeek. This would be a major MESS. It was after eleven pm. Would they cut me open? Give me a hodge-podge of horrific interventions? Give my baby antibiotics and injections? Burn me at the stake for birthing outside The System? There was nothing bright about this proposed path.

Except the survival of my child and myself.

Giordano became anxious. Ugh. Just what I needed. He did NOT want to go to the hospital…. Which was actually a surprise to me. I thought he would be the first to subscribe to conventional protocols.  But at this point, he was scared of all the same shit as me. Only more so… because dude tends to expect the worst. But actually, I was impressed by his ability to stay grounded and “calm-ish”… given where the current was carrying us.  In the end, he didn’t lose it.

Through brutal contractions and involuntary baring down, I made a phone call to Manuela, who was holding energetic space for us… and told her that I thought we should go to the hospital. She said “Be wise.”

I forgot this part, but apparently I had also texted Benedetta– “HELP”, at some point.  (She reminded me of this a few days ago, and I had a good laugh about it.) She said she awoke to my text and freaked out. She had become a contact point for a slew of people who were eager to be updated about our progress and wellbeing. She said she called me. I vaguely recall trying to speak to her through excruciating contractions and pushing. Haha. It sure is funny now!

Then I pulled on my beloved, well-worn Berkeley Police sweatpants and a WHITE TANK TOP (what was I thinking???) and attempted to walk. I had to stop every couple steps and breathe and puuuuush.

I HAD TO.

How in Fuck’s holy name would I survive a twenty minute car ride???

 

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.

 

Success in the Rubble of the Patriarchy

Recently, I googled “why are Italians so intense”, but I was disappointed by the lack of illumination provided to me by the omniscience of the world wide web.

 

This morning my BFF Anitra sent me an audio message which spoke to this burning curiosity in me.  She said she saw a time-tested latin quote posted somewhere that basically said “go fuck yourself” and mused on how this spoke to the ongoing culture of brutality that is Roman Civilization.  A sprawling history of dominance, beheading, crucifixion, thirst for “power” (as opposed to the real shit, which of coure is L-O-V-E).  Yup.  This feels true inside me.

 

I wonder what sorts of wars and festivals, rites and relations have happened on this very slab of earth, beneath the concrete mass that is now a tragically generic grocery store (at which we frequently shop), massive, double-decker parking lot and cafe (abounding with pretty, seductive morsels fashioned from white flower and white sugar) at which I sit splashing my musings upon the face of a benevolently glowing screen…  I guess the answer to this question could reveal a compelling story no matter which piece of earth one occupies.  Dense paper mache layers of history.  Past, present and FUTURE.  Maybe someday, this little piece of earth will be covered in flowers, gurgling streams and cute, furry animals.   Hopefully it won’t become a nuclear wasteland….

 

That triple paragraph musing didn’t really lead anywhere, as it would have in my “ideal world”… but I DO want it to be recorded in the annals of Herstory that in 2019, Athena Grace struggled (daily) to make amends with an environment which has endured a heavy-handed dose of Patriarchal influence.  A land where she never ceases to be amused and depending on her mood, also repulsed by the dirt-common practice of communication that lives like people shouting at each other.

 

My poor husband… perpetually perplexed by his utterly ordinary way of speaking often making his wife bristle, cower, cry.

 

I reckon no one is exempt from navigating the pitted inner and outer wastelands of Patriarchal damage at this point.  We are so steeped in it, we often don’t even recognize how warped we are.

 

Lately I’ve become too pregnant to “make anything of myself”, careerwise.  I was really giving it a valiant crack.  I intended to get my online women’s circles reignited and pumpin with shakti-sauce.  I feel sad writing that, because I SO want to.  But the reality is, I’m anywhere from tired to exhausted most of the time.  I have a three year old who needs so much of me.  My mom is dead.  My friends and family are an ocean and landmass away.  My husband works all the time.

 

I could suffer about all this… or just lay down my sword and shield and embrace the current weather system of ISness.  Or as Rosymoon perfectly summed it up once upon a time, “Yesness to the ISness is my Business.”  Damn straight Sisterhood.

 

Once again, I watch my deepest dreams and soul-full longings elude me; turn to sacred vapor in my pulsing palm.  To be a famous writer.  To be an inspiring leader of Women, trailblazer of global sanity, unapologetic, fluorescent luminary of Unity Consciousness.

 

But many of the sane and brilliant women whom I surround myself with have been echoing a similar message to me recently… they speak of their own inquiry into the notions of “success” and “fulfillment”.  Is our incessant striving for BIGGER-BETTER-MORE merely the deep scarring of a perverted, collective thought system?

 

It feels so true inside me that I want to BE SOMEBODY.  DO SOMETHING.  Create and generate from the raw passion that I AM.  But… is it not monumental to grow a human with my own body?  And not just ANY old human…. But an awake soul who embodies the potential to guide the world back into sacred balance?  My children will pick up where I left off.  And I have made a lot of progress in the Way of Love and Truth.  In the Way of purging Collective bullshit.  And I will do my BEST not to jam them in constricting boxes.  (God HELP ME forgive myself for all the little ways I fuck up every day… and affirm and reaffirm and celebrate the modest though cumulative successes we accrue.)

 

Is it not legendarily stupendous that my heart has opened to my husband?… Haha, after ten months and a nearly ripe baby…

 

I DO!  I finally love him!  Pop the chorus of champagne corks…  Ohhh… I miss that obsolete version of me…. Who wore flashy tights and short mini skirts and boots, and launched champagne corks to the moon before swigging the bubbly with (sweetly controlled) abandon.  Not that I ever want to be any manner of drunk again…. Well, yes, I DO.  I want to be GOD-DRUNK.  “Our Lady of God-Drunk Grace”, to be precise (this is the title I have my amazon orders addressed to actually…).  I want to feel less serious.  I want to cut loose and dance around and play about everything, with the gaily gurgling spirit of an Eternal Child.  But Lord Have Mercy, it sure is hard to “get it up”, when you’re trudging pregnant through a parched, scorching desert.  Cue up the fucking violins….

 

But while the violins moan and croon, I will sing to you of how I found love for Giordano….

 

Last week, the density of my Life crushed me again.  And I came damn fucking close to leaving this harsh land of Roman fall-out.  This time, it was not in reaction to cruel, barbaric behavior on the part of my “ball and chain”.  It was simply… EVERYTHING.  Some days I just hate my life.  I miss having friends.  I miss not being able to talk to “strangers”.  It feels so desolate and barren.  And often I feel just as lonely when I’m with Giordano… to no fault of his.  We just don’t jive.  He lives mostly in his intricate, self-proclaimed-genius (perhaps he really is one…) mind.  But in terms of emotional/relational intelligence, he often sucks ass.  But then sometimes he doesn’t.

 

On the heels of weeks melting into months of drowning depression, I told him I was considering going back to California.  He got scared.   And hence mean.  Like a cobra snake puffing up in defense of his precious little serpentine body.  But at some level I was glad, because his meanness justified my intended exit.  My dad told me he’d give me the money to fly home, if I truly felt this was the right choice.

 

But third time IS a charm.  Instead of taking impulsive action, I told Daddy Dearest that I have fucked up ENOUGH times making emotionally impulsive decisions… I needed some time to sit with the offer.  That night I didn’t sleep.  At 3:30am I came back to bed and Giordano awoke.  He asked me what was going on and I started to cry from the immense pressure and ache inside.  He embraced me with his raw, unguarded heart.  I realized this unconditional, saturated holding was my deepest desire.

 

He said he understood me.  He spoke of his played-the-fuck-out pattern to leave before he is abandoned.   He confessed the part of him that has been tempted to walk away before I do.  But he knows that territory better than his own… dick (Which I refer to as his “Best Friend”) and he’s ready to do something new.  Fucking Courageous.

 

I found respect for him that night.  And the entry point into the possibility of Trust.  We acknowledged that we have struggled to trust one another.  And that we both deeply desire to trust.

 

Since then, everything has felt different.  Something crumbled and fell away.  My heart feels soft and open.  Even when I don’t like him….

 

This MUST be “success”.

 

But life still often feels lonely and frustrating (believe me, I AM making concerted effort to count my blessings and savor the little mOMents of grace…).  This must be what if feels like for an ego to unravel.  Uncomfortable and confusing.  But maybe something good is happening….

 

The Ecstasy of Crucifixion!

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You know what’s funny about Italians?  They say “prego” (you’re welcome) before one has a chance to say “grazie” (thank you).  You know what else is funny about them? They park however the fuck they want. Hella diagonal, taking up two spaces, sticking their asses out into traffic.  When it comes to parking, it’s no holds barred. And here’s little American Athena, ever striving to be even and tidy and respectful (at least behind the wheel…).  Now that I think of it, what’s NOT funny about Italians? It always kills me how they sound like they’re fighting, just having “normal”, everyday conversations about pizza and football and the weather and stuff.  Realizing this helps me reconcile Giordano’s default intensity… but I still don’t handle it very well.

 

Ahhhh…. It feels great to be light for once.  I really must be being given birth to…. Yesterday, I felt utterly squeezed to death.  As only a deep, dark birth canal can possibly squeeze. Then this morning, I awoke before dawn, and felt newborn.  By the Grace of God. I was able to see my husband through compassionate, tender eyes. By the Grace of God. I’m not kidding.  After the crucifixion I endured yesterday, I am sure that today is a blessed resurrection.

 

Yeah, I’ve got crucifixion and resurrection on the brain these days, because I am reading one of those miraculous books that literally reconfigures one’s cells and consciousness.  It’s called “Anna Grandmother of Jesus”. It is channeled by Anna, herself. She tells the relevant stories of her six hundred plus year life on earth, dedicated to paving the way for Jesus’s hella sublime mission.  And every step of the way, she clarifies that her telling is in service of the spiritual empowerment of the reader… Because now we are in a planetary ascension, and life is offering us our own rigorous spiritual initiations so that we may choose to fully awaken and play our roles in the ascension of Humanity.  

 

Reading this book is helping me “get right with” the otherwise inexplicable, confounding and unrelentingly uncomfortable circumstances of my current life.  Boy did I need a context vast and mystical enough to hold the mess of my existence. I often muse that context is everything. Without context, there ain’t no pot to hold the soup.  It’s just brothy, chunky chaos, plummeting through infinite space.

 

Anyway, what I want YOU to understand, or at least consider, regarding Jesus and crucifixion, is that ONCE AND FOR ALL, Jesus did NOT “die for our sins”.  For God’s sake. Crucifixion was his living example of completely surrendering the small self, and then rising AS the light of our glorious, eternal Self. The One who lives in timeless, wakeful communion with infinite, miraculous love that pours from the Heart of All.

 

I sure want to live that love, unimpeded.  I guess I want it more than I am even willing to admit.  Because I sure have created ingenious, masterful life circumstances, in which said Love is the ONLY way to endure the sublimely imperfect and often crushing circumstances of my life.  

 

You might think I’m being dramatic.  And selfish. Maybe you think I should spend more time being grateful and creating what I WANT.  Yes. And yes. I am doing my best to stay lifted in gratitude, and keep moving forward. I am. AND…. it is my passion and perhaps even my obsession to illuminate the otherwise dark anonymity of my existence through the art of words.  I tingle and shimmer with vibrance when I do this. I become buoyant, when I would otherwise drown.

 

When alchemized through intentional language, Life Itself ascends from the status of struggle and tragedy, to the elevated, radiant and comical undulations of Grace and Awe.  And boy do I need that right now.

 

Are YOU getting your guts squeezed out in the birth canal these days?  If you say no, either you’re lying or dissociated. OhmyGod, do you hate me for making such a brash statement?!  But I KNOW that what I am going through is waaay the fuck beyond me. I just happen to be profoundly sensitive. Cuz I don’t numb out like I used to.  (Although, I must confess that since becoming pregnant, I DO eat more sugar than I would in my ideal world. But God, first trimester is so brutal…. feeling repulsed by mostly EVERYTHING… eating ANYTHING is a miracle.  Both pregnancies, I have given myself over to the wild beast of my explicit fancies in the way of food. Which is so not my style in “real life”.)

 

Ahem.  Sensitivity.  Birth pains. Collective consciousness.  Crucifixion. Resurrection. Ascension. The shit is REAL, people!

 

I am meditating more, and luxuriating in the occasional, intentional lapses into holy sanity, between the ferocious rogue waves that are emotionally bitch slapping me about these days.  

The exquisite Gift of suffering is always an undeniable and urgent thirst for Truth.  Honestly, what could be better? (Besides sun-drenched, naked, MDMA pool parties with utterly gorgeous, deep souls, overlooking panoramic ocean cliffs, delighting in the presence of spouting whales and leaping dolphins frolicing below….)  OhmyGODDESS, I still have a sense of humor!!! I totally thought it was MIA forever.

 

My heart.  I wish you could feel the consuming longing inside me, to live fully surrendered to God’s Will.  And fuck, if the word “God” still frightens you, and triggers your gnarly, religious scars, let me put it another way…  I ache to be fully given, entirely consumed, and gloriously LIVED by the Oceanic Love that lives as ALL and Lights the World.  

 

Our Lady of God-Drunk Grace.

 

I always put that as my “company name”, when I order shit online.  My packages are delivered to:

 

Luminous Athena Grace

Our Lady of God-Drunk Grace

 

A few more gruesome and necessary crucifixions and I will mutha fucking ARRIVE!!!!

 

Hahahaha.  

 

May Liberated Infinite Love blaze within you today and always, my Beloved.  (Yes, YOU!)

Field Tripping Through Darkness

Whoa.  Is it just me?…. Or is some Collective shit going down?  Maaaaan, I’ve been field tripping in some of the darkest reaches of my Being.  It’s been horrid. Thankfully, groping along the darkened walls inside me, I finally happened upon a Light switch.  Phew.

 

I’m not exaggerating when I confess that I was on the brink of intentionally miscarrying.  And perhaps fleeing to California. Which, come to think of it, I can’t even do right now, since my visa is expired and I haven’t been to the Police yet to request an extension for “family reasons” (being married).  But the more burning agenda item was to not be pregnant. Isn’t that atrocious? That’s the shit nobody admits. Except Athena Grace.

 

What had me lurch to such X-treme measures?  A combination of always being cold, having one-the-fuck-too-many crushingly unpleasant exchanges with my stressed-out, unevolved husband, and an intolerable lack of community.  Oh, and let’s not forget, a full moon and early pregnancy hormones, which are oft reminiscent of Bad Acid.

 

All these factors were eating away at my insides, as though the Devil had gratuitously sloshed a fresh batch of battery acid all up in me.  Meanwhile, beloved California is burning down, my best friend got a double mastectomy, another dear friend is fending off child protective services, thanks to an A-hole ex-husband…. What the fuck is going ON on this glorious planet?  

 

Have you ever sat in the messy middle of your Life, blinking and shaking and wondering how on earth it managed to turn out like THIS???  It’s wild. To feel repulsion at that which I called into being. Flirting with an aggressive urge to hate. But then I turn towards my Self… and despite my perplexion at the hand that me and God Almighty have co-dealt… Miracle of miracles, I still love myself.  Nothing makes sense. To be so angry and confused by my choices… yet… to still feel my own tender pulse of fallible lovability.

 

I’ve been haunted by the skipping record thought of wishing I left Italy back in August, when I had two fat, juicy tickets.  But I didn’t. I chose this Family. Nuclear family. Honestly, I want to hurl the nuclear model against a wall and watch it smash and hopelessly shatter.  It’s a broken system. MY broken system, for now….

 

But the grace wrapped in the rotten cheese of my circumstances, is that this desperation has compelled me to be fierce about seeking community.  On saturday, Serena and I went to Benedetta’s for dinner. After that, I felt a pinhole of light wash into my cell. On sunday, I took my girl to Sunday Service at Ananda.  Something I’d been resisting since I got here. Honestly, it was a little dull…. But my thirst was so dire that I didn’t care.

 

Actually, the holiest of holy moments, “The Revelation” was when Ishani, after hearing my troubled heart, holding my gaze with deep, compassionate, sparkling brown eyes offered, “and by the way, EVERYONE’S husband is annoying.”  HAAAAAAA!!!!!! I totally forgot this quintessential, ageless wisdom.

 

After service, we hung around with Benedetta and her boy, Eliseo, who is Serena’s age.  They climbed all over the place and goofed about. Benedetta fed my girl bites of yummy food from her plate.  My heart smiled bright beams. This is how it is “supposed to be”. The Village, I mean.

 

When Giordano showed up, I actually felt I could love him.  And receive his love. Which, by the way, (though flawed as fuck) has been damn steady.  Even though he rarely behaves the way I wish he would, he continues to stand in unwavering love and devotion to me (and Serena).  Sometimes I actually wonder if he’s retarded for this! I mean I can be a total cunt when I’m upset.

 

And by the way, if you’re wondering how this blog will sit with my darling hubby…. I AM TOO!  Haha. Seriously, this is all such risky shit to say. But I’ve told him from day ONE– writing is my first LOVE.  I have a NEED to be transparent on the page, and I need his support. He totally gets it. And supports me. It is never my intention to portray him as a Villain, or douse him in ugly light.  My aim is to unpack my innermost self, for the purpose of finding relief from the pressure of my inner chaos, to discover insights and perspectives previously concealed, and hopefully, to illuminate your Journey and the deepest, perhaps hidden reaches of your BEing.  Because after all, we may be living out a vast panoply of scenarios, yet we are still One. We are breathed by the same Breath.

 

All this hellish suffering and grievance really put a damper on my sexual openness.  After Sunday Service, I put Serena down for a nap, and Giordano wanted to give me pleasure.  I felt my body closed to a degree I have never experienced with Giordano. But who can say no to Orgasmic Meditation?  Not this bitch. Fifteen minutes of attentive strokes to my clit and I was reborn. After that we shared more… ahem… “Love”… and I was touched by his serviceful attitude.  My body melted open to the flow of love, and the day was Saved.

 

Sex.  It’s one of the strongest aspects of our connection.   For better and for worse. When it’s missing, shit is warped.  But in order for nourishing sex to occur, the emotional piece has to be relatively solid.  It’s such a damn delicate equation.

 

I have reflected a butt-ton since all this excruciating discomfort began.  You know, like on the quintessential meaning of my life, my relationship with God, my priorities…. That’s the beauty of suffering.  It can be such a clarifying Force.

 

I’ve remembered that Ultimately, the meaning of my life is summed up in Rumi’s quote:  “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

 

I have been crushingly intimate with the barriers inside me.  And so happy that I have a husband who helps me grind against myself in such terrible (and exquisitely helpful) dimensions.  Even though I often hate it, I think it might somehow be good…

 

Oh.  And then there is Serena.  Through all of this, my love for her has kept me functional and sane.  It calls me forth. She is an endless stream of blazing innocence, imagination, curiosity, love, creativity, presence.  I can only step forward in Service of her Magnificence.

 

And my Friends.  Most of you are oceans and land masses away in the 3D…. But you are Golden Angels in the flesh.  You hold me and shine a light when it gets frighteningly dark in here. You are my wealth. You are my Salvation.   I love you, I love you, I love you…

 

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!

This must be Italy….

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Yesterday was day 8 here in Italy, and it finally sunk in that we are here.  Before that, it was more like being at “Giordano’s house”… where the “extras” just happened to speak in mostly indecipherable, robust, ticklingly rhythmic tongues.  As soon as we dressed and ate breakfast, we piled into our little Fiat for an extended pilgrimage through the countryside, in pursuit of fresh, raw milk and cheese. While he was at work yesterday  his mamma blew up his phone (five times, to be precise), to report a source of organic raw milk at the farm just below her home, in the hills above Assisi.

 

My moon blood had just begun to flow- a sacred day I designate for rest and introspection (if such a thing is possible with a two and a half year old…).  I was not expecting the exxxtended amusement park ride along narrow, rutted gravel roads overlooking stunning, steep green and golden hillsides rolling across all space.  Turns out, he didn’t really know “the way”. All he knew is that the farm was “below the house of his mother”. My breath became involuntarily shallow, my body tense, after the gazillionth dramatic twist about the infinite span of ruined road.  I tried to let go and surrender to Giordano’s questionable leadership. But at some point, I lost it, and venomously begged to turn the fuck around and forget it. Nope. Driven by raw instinct (as he mostly is), he kept driving. Within a minute we pulled into the driveway of a massive stone house.  The kind you see in movies- sturdy rectangular boxes, with small, precise windows framed by wooden shutters. The surrounding land, lush, green and laden with friendly trees, spilling offerings of fruit and shade. Three happy country dogs greeted us, and called to their Master.

 

He emerged from the fairytale house, unkempt brown hair and overgrown beard flying everywhichway.  He was slender, with a hint of pot belly and posture that whispered the tale of a life of hard-assed, though gratifying labor.  Giordano got out of the car and greeted him. I could pick out a few Italian words… I think he said that he was the son of Raphaella, and she had told him they had raw milk for sale?  Eventually, he gestured for me to get out of the car. I unbuckled Serena from her carseat, and greeted the warm-hearted farmer. A voluptuous woman with pale, maudlin blue eyes, wide awake baby on her hip emerged from the house.

 

Together we ascended the stone stairs and crossed the threshold into a darkish, cozy kitchen.  It felt intimate and brimming with life. Serena immediately spotted the baby’s bouncy seat, and brazenly demanded to climb in and press all the musical buttons.  Into the kitchen wandered a little boy, not too much bigger than Serena, wearing only a t-shirt. Rippling streams of Italian conversation filled the small kitchen as I stood receptive and shy.

 

They gave us tiny cups of their homemade yogurt to sample.  Then the man and his pants-less boy escorted us through the charming, wild garden to a dark barn, guarded by a silver horse.  Giordano fed the majestic guardian one of the fallen apples he had foraged for the cows on our walk through the garden. In the barn, five cows eagerly licked the remnants of their breakfast from the feeding trough.  Giordano offered them the remaining apples, which they gladly devoured. Their udders were small and freshly emptied. I petted each of their wide, soft faces, marveled at their massive strong bodies and wondered how I can eat beef and live with myself.  

 

We left the barn and meandered around the back side of the house, into a basement room, where giant slabs of dead pig hung from the ceiling.  Our kind host showed us a hutch filled with rounds of homemade cheese. But not enough to sell, they said.

 

Back in the house, our host offered us coffee, “strong enough for Mexicans”.  As I was neither Mexican, nor in need of excessive jacking up, I declined. Giordano accepted.  The ample, lactating queen of the castle brought us a large plastic water bottle filled with that morning’s milk, which they insisted was a “gift”.  We schmoozed a bit more before exchanging friendly goodbyes. “Ciaos”, actually.

 

The drive back to the main road didn’t seem nearly as long and daunting.  

 

Not too far down the main road, we arrived at a (relatively) more commercial  farm, where Giordano bought some fresh mozzarella and ricotta. Serena was thrilled to see long lines of holstein cows fiercely committed to munching massive piles of hay.  The smell of cow shit filled the warm, humid air.

 

We hopped back in our little Fiat (who runs on propane) and traversed more windy roads, in pursuit of MORE CHEESE.  Haha. This time it was another family home. A friendly man with a full, grey beard, shining eyes and strikingly short denim shorts greeted us, along with two small, eager dogs.   He and Giordano exchanged some friendly words and then the man led us into his kitchen, which was flooded with sweet, buttery aroma. A woman with short, grey hair, joyful eyes and a german accent greeted us.  Monica. Though she wasn’t “fat”, her “extra” suggested her love of baking and partaking. She was rolling out greasy cookie dough. Her teenage daughter, exuding a modest presence, sat at the far corner of the table, spreading some kind of chocolate goo on toast, making intermittent crunching music.  

 

Serena was dying for a cookie.  To my relief, they weren’t ready yet.  Poor thing. I wish I’d never let her eat a cookie… or even watch a show in which they ate cookies.  Because Pandora’s box is officially OPEN.

 

I felt my aura tucked close to my body as I spoke with effulgent Monica (in english) about simple things like her love of baking, her grandchildren in Germany, her daughter’s longing to get a nose piercing.  She pulled a small, homemade calendar from the wall and beamed as she showed us photos of her children and grandchildren. She promised Serena a raincheck on cookies, which she even threatened to deliver to our doorstep on her way to town one day.  

 

We eventually left with a huge round of sharply scented sheep cheese.  

 

The heat of the day was now upon us.  Our meandering morning outside of time suddenly came to a jarring halt.  We still had an errand to run in the town of Assisi. I felt hungry and aware  that Serena’s nap time was approaching faster than was convenient.

 

Hence we embarked on another epic leg of our day’s journey, which included driving through the stunning center of Assisi (OMG, I can’t believe I live a stone’s throw from such an ancient, mythic “destination”), spending “hours” in a massive store, in (fruitless) search of a mosquito net to protect us as we sleep (Serena is getting devoured every night and my heart aches each time I look at her sweet face, dappled with inflamed, red bumps.)  Exiting the belly of said store, ravenous. Resigning to eating lunch out, even though money is feeling uncomfortably scarce. Climbing to the highest hill in Assisi, to a restaurant overlooking the Whole World, owned by two brothers who press Giordano’s olive oil. Everything in their restaurant is organic, and mostly grown and made by them. Even the flower in the hearty, country bread and pungent, buttery blue cheese.

 

I could write a whole story about lunch.  But I don’t feel like it. My body craves yoga.  And the moral of this story, is that in Italy, “going to get milk and cheese” is not a minimal, colorless endeavor.   It is a weighty, relational Happening, which requires half a day and fully awakened senses.

Let it be noted.

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On HAVING (all over the place!)

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Lately, my life has been about robust goodbyes.  Leaving for Italy with one-way tickets really underscores the nature of impermanence in which we are always swimming in this stunning, infinity pool of Life.  

 

Suzanne’s parting words to me were so potent, they knocked me backwards, “You’ve been wanting for a long time.  Now HAVE.”

 

They rained upon my ears five days ago, and they are still going to work on me.  

 

Who would I BE if I relaxed into my Life and allowed myself to HAVE?  

 

It *seems* that I am wired to want.  And of course this orientation to Life reaches much farther back than the crushing, five plus year relationship with my married baby daddy….

 

When I was engaged to my fiance (twelve years ago), I sat in an unbearable fire of lusty want for someone else.  Another married someone else. (Who, for the record, I eventually HAD in many ways and it was often wonderful…) But still… Looking backward, this quality of excruciating want is a prevalent ingredient in the soupy swirl of my inner landscape.

 

I recently wrote a piece on the father wound.  And the gaping, oozing want for HIM to choose me.  To make me feel like THE essential treasure of his heart.  

 

So now what?  

 

I am again engaged.  To a wildly passionate italian man, who leaves me with no trace of doubt that he chooses me (and Serena).  A man who was ready and willing to leave his country, move across the world from his family, change his Life completely to be with me.  A man who I kicked out of my house (he slept in a leaky tent in the rain), stopped speaking to… returning two times over, to the unavailable-but-all-too-familiar arms of my baby daddy.

 

Oh the unwieldy odyssey of Athena Grace.  (I’ve GOT to write the damn book already!)

 

People must think Giordano and I are CRAY-ZAY for giving it a third go.  But I trust that third time IS a charm. Listen, when you live Life right, it changes you.  

 

Whoa, I started to get sucked down a wayward rabbit hole… but I am here to talk about HAVING.  I don’t know that I have answers. I guess I’ve gotta pull a Rilke, and LIVE the answers. And the questions.  

 

How do I change my wiring?… Give myself wet, juicy, overflowing, RADICAL PERMISSION to HAVE….!!!  

 

I guess part of this luscious inner shift, is to embrace my lust for wanting.  I don’t have to “get rid” of wanting in order to have. Just widen. And savor.  And love.

 

It really does come around to self-love, doesn’t it?  And self-worth. I reckon these are siamese twins, self-love and self-worth…. or the serpent eating its own tantalizing tail….

 

Another noteworthy piece to share with you, is that in this same “robust goodbye” visit, I shared a delicious dinner with two long-time women friends.  Women whom I deeply love and respect. And we each had a womb-wrenching story of a recent relationship where we gave ourselves away… ground ourselves down in the mill of self-negating compromise and sacrifice.  And I could name at least another half dozen women in my immediate circles who are riding the same exhausted crucible carousel.

 

WHAT THE FUCK????

 

Sisters, what are we DOING????

 

The time has come to live into a new and utterly vivifying myth.

 

And now, bitches and fuckers (Being “ladies and gentlemen” is definitely part of the problem, NOT the solution.  Embrace it. Haha.), Athena Grace is going to go MACRO.

 

Women~ this same tolerance for mediocrity (and less) in our relationships, is part of the root system of destruction of the PLANET.  Resigning ourselves to crumbs, silencing our powerful voices, suppressing our OCEANIC Desire.

 

WE ARE NOT VICTIMS.  

 

Unless we want to be.

 

But come on.  Victimhood is so 2016.

 

This is our mOMent to join hands and hearts and RISE THE FUCK UP as the Luminaries of Succulent HAVING.  

 

How do we DO this?

 

We’ll make it up as we go.  But first is the full throttle commitment to ourselves, to our worth, to our sisters, to the Earth.  

 

When a sister mounts her dead, bleeding unicorn and kicks it in the sides, attempting to ride a few centimeters (backwards)… Call her out!  (and *demand* she do the same for YOU.) Let’s generate NEW CONVERSATIONS.

 

Conversations woven with the silken threads of pleasure, ecstasy, joy, celebration, success, plenty, satiation, vision, turn-on, YES.  

 

HAVING.

 

I, Athena Grace, give myself Radical Permission to HAVE all over the place.  And I dedicate my having to YOU. May my infinitely expanding capacity to HAVE inspire and reSource ALL.  May my HAVING always be aligned with Infinite Divine Love. May my HAVING always generate wellbeing, balance and peace.  

 

Amen.

 

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