Romance dawns in Graceland!

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It’s four forty one am.  The refrigerator is singing a resounding rendition of the sacred syllable OM, and my nervous system feels like a potato chip.  (Not the thick, ridged, crinkle cut ones… the thin, irregular, bubbly ones that are translucent with grease.)  I am a refugee, mud-streaked, bleeding and disheveled, stealthily fighting my way back into the honey-dripping throes of Graceland.  I was stollen away and locked in a solitary tower, without my faithful laptop, or even a toilet paper roll, ink and a feather to write my Life into honest, lucid, artistic existence.

Actually, I fell in…. Love?  Lust?  Or have I risen into the aforementioned dynamic duo of L words?  I’d like to think I have risen.  But being so perpetually sleep deprived, unfortunately, it feels more like a fall to the gritty, indifferent ground.  Ohhhhh YES!!!… I am loving being dramatic right now.  But I felt a pang of sadness, talking about the ground that way…. because the ground is Mother Earth’s own sumptuous* body, and she is anything but indifferent.  Indifference is not in any healthy mother’s instinctual palate.

*I just looked up the word “sumptuous”, because I wasn’t certain of it’s precise meaning… and I was surprised to discover that it implies expensiveness!  “Expensive” is not how I would describe this marvelous place we are blessed to call hOMe for now… But I still like the word… Sumptuous.  The sound, the feeling of my mouth and breath forming the word– Feminine.  Round.  Sensual.  Mrs. Earth is definitely all that.

Are you still with me?  Or are you like, “Athena, stop masturbatorily pontificating, and TELL US who in God’s hella holy name you have risen/fallen into this wild and unruly state with!!!”

Yeah, you’re right.  Life is but a flash in the pan, and I really oughta roll up my sleeves and get to it!  But wait!!!  May I please share something frivolous with you first?!  When I wrote the word “oughta” just now, I had a flashback to my hella glamorous childhood… Back in the tragically dull, concrete-heavy, gridded neighborhood in San Leandro.  I must have been a budding pubescent, with a few dwindling, tenuous shreds of innocence still in tact.  My mom drove the fuck out of a silver Dodge Caravan minivan.  Stick shift.  (Actually, I learned to drive on this beast.  The clutch was a total bitch, and the car had a proclivity for lurching forward at the slightest mishandling…)  My Ma had a job delivering phone books!  All the fuck over the vast expanse of the East Bay.  I mean, seriously, sometimes she’d have to drive more than an hour, with said van weighted with phonebooks to get to her route du jour.  Rush Limbaugh was her abiding co-pilot.  Even though I didn’t share her smolderingly impassioned political views, I did find him mildly amusing… Actually, I am still impressed by his marked (though misplaced) intellectual capacity, which enabled him to throw his outrageously opinionated and substantial weight around in a compelling fashion.  Ahhh the good olde days!  Are you scratching your head right about now, and wondering how in the heck I fell into this tangential cul de sac of memory lane?  Well DUH!!  Because his book was entitled, “The Way Things OUGHTA Be”….. Grin.

Ok.  Get this– his name is Giordano, and he shot like an Italian comet, straight into my DRIVEWAY.  I oft wondered how I would ever find a lover while cloistered in the thick, wooded folds of a spiritual community who collectively strives toward sexual renunciation…. Improbable, right?  Well, I flew home from Costa Rica, and this beautiful man was… just here…. My landlord imported him from Italy to….”help him” .  When Ryan introduced me to his quiet Italian buddy, the man didn’t even make eye contact, so naturally, I inadvertently dismissed any possibility of… anything.

The next day, he was loitering in the driveway, as Serena and I were heading out on some mundane mission or another.  Giordano just watched us… the way a child watches.  With passive, unadulterated curiosity.  A couple days later, Ryan told me I should invite him to the River.  This caught me off guard.  “But he didn’t even make eye contact,” I replied.  “Is he capable of connecting?  Is he just shy??”  Ryan assured me he was “just shy”.  Hmmm….

Since it was the rapidly dwindling end of River Season, I didn’t have time to dick around.  I either invited him, or forever held my peace.  So the next morning, when I saw Giordano pacing the gravel driveway, I invited him.  He said yes.

God, why do I endeavor to write my life down on the page in thousand word installments???  It just doesn’t make sense…  I’d be better off writing enchanted, sprawling epic poems that unabashedly draped about Infinity.  But here I am again… aspiring to contain my existence in a meager thousand words.  I guess I dig the challenge.  Akin to how The Lord delights in smashing His archaic prayer onto a measly grain of rice.  Besides, I can always come back for round two.  And three and four and affinity….

Well, our first date was sweet.  His english was decent enough to sort of understand each other… and sparse enough for the experience to feel like the set-up of a cheesy romance novel!  I was struck by his sweet sensitivity.  And his innate proclivity to connect with Serena.  He seemed a little embarrassed when he stripped down to his black, cotton briefs, confessing that he didn’t have more appropriate swimwear.  We laid on a flat, smooth slab of granite and marinated in gentle, delicious, autumnally slanted morning sunlight.  I tried to speak slowly, and with simple, latin based words that might transcend the language barrier.

During the following week, I felt a soft, potent longing to see him… but we were both consumed by work and Life.  He did timidly hover around my front gate a few times… Each time I eagerly sucked him into my music and sunlight drenched lair.  It was comical… the way he loitered awkwardly as I cooked and tended to the masterfully flirtatious Serena.  Our mutual desire was obvious… yet neither of us sure what to do or say.  Is that like SO romance novel, or what?!  One time, as he was preparing to leave, I got super bold and asked, “Would you like a hug?”  I forgot to mention that he flies back to Italy on November 3rd… so we really don’t have time to dick around.  It’s a classic case of shit or get off the pot.  Anyway, naturally his answer was YES.  We moved into an embrace…. And…..

OhMyFuckingGod.  Talk about clothes-on-energy-sex….. Luminous, gushing rivers flowing between us, birthing entire new ecstatically persuaded galaxies.  Neither of us wanted to let go.  Just melt and bleed into differentiated unity and bliss.  Then he departed.

But he left trail of reverberating, energizing lust that fueled me for days.  Jesus. The next weekend, I invited him back to the River.  This time to a nude beach.  I was tickled that he opted to keep his underwear on, regardless!  Not Athena Grace.   Lordy, this story’s end is nowhere in sight… yet I must draw this entry to a close.  More to come.  Literally.  I’ll just say that we had a beauty-full time together that day amidst the sunlight, clear, rushing water, smooth stones and earthen, perfumed air.  Serena loved him from the get-go.  And he, Serena.  Which naturally gets me hot.  If this was not the case, I don’t even think I would bother.

What I am bursting to unpack next, beyond the linear sequence of our hella romantic unfolding… is the deeper cut.  Witnessing the cacophonous choir of selves within me… how they all seem to have disparate motivations and longings… and how I am navigating these deep and murky and compelling waters.  And what about Ed?  So much more to tell!!!

Talk to you soon.

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Sacred Agitation by Moonlight

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For how many revolutions of our dream team of heavenly bodies can one speak to the first haunting whispers of autumn creeping in through my wide-splayed windows while I sleep at night…. or the ever-evocative, luminous, pale-gold ball, swan diving in slomo toward the silhouetted, pre-dawn horizon?  It’s all been said.  Still, it always begs saying.

Autumn’s arrival always draws melancholy to the surface of my heart.  Bidding farewell to my life-long besties, Heat and Light.  So scarce now, are remaining liberated nights of naked, sensuous, blanket-less slumber, or waking to perfectly warm mornings of outdoor, scantily clad yoga practice.  Time to pump up the volume on my anxiety as to how the fuck I will manifest two chords of firewood to heat my hOMe all winter.  Yes, I know anxiety is not the be-all, end-all… but it seems to be an inevitable facet of my wiring…. and I no longer have a mama to tell me to take a chill pill.  Well… maybe she’s calling out to me from the Astral Plane…. I shall pause and listen, because I need a copious dose of her laid-back Libran medicine right about now.  And Ma… since you have boldly proclaimed yourself my Guardian Angel at this stage of the Journey, PLEASE bring me two chords of firewood.  And a tall, quenching, golden challise of Holy Water, with which to swallow said “chill pill”.

I only wrote one lone blog while traveling in Costa Rica last month…. And rather than being a poetic celebration of Mother Nature’s verdant, tropical resplendence, or the gentle ecstasy of marinating in spanish… it was about my daughter’s constipation odyssey, and the devastating havoc it wreaked on my psycho-emotional wellbeing.  What can I say….?  It was a soul-stretching and rigorous month of losing control, coming undone and too much practice holding my own deeply sensitive inner child.  Laced with many beautiful and ordinary moments of this under-cover-divine business of Life-Living.  One of the greatest gifts was my swollen happiness to come home.  A fresh, passionate embrace this sprawling, blessed ordinariness.  Since I’ve been home,I feel like a drunk puppy, ecstatically writhing in a dusty heap of opulent, mundane quietude.

I just looked up the word “mundane”, wondering if it was actually a Cinderella’s glass slipper-fit to what I was aiming to communicate:

adjective

1.

common; ordinary; banal; unimaginative.

2.

of or relating to this world or earth as contrasted with heaven;worldly; earthly:

mundane affairs.

I love the word mundane… It always tickles me, because it possesses a trace of fib.  Here in Athena Graceland, even the most eyeball-gouging ordinariness is laced with Heavenly Sparkle.  It is inescapable.

Like last night, for example.  Some might even classify it a “peak experience”….. Seriously.  I’m takin’ it to the grave.  Well, except I don’t feel the need to be embalmed, boxed and buried…. But I digress.  Darkness was quietly engulfing all the secret, overlooked, in-between spaces, as I gave Serena her final hit of “booba” for the night.  Satiated, she pulled off and began to wander the small expanse of my double bed.  It was getting late, so I offered her the requisite ultimatum, “Booby or bed,” to which she replied “Big Bear,” as she crawled between my legs and snuggled up next to the big, white bear who stowed away with KenPie while he was shopping for rugs for us at IKEA, once upon a time.  At first, I was frustrated, because I was exhausted and wished she would cooperate, so that I could brush and floss and flop into bed myself….

But Serena was so…. serene…. laying between my legs, delightfully snuggled up with Big Bear.  And then, she took hold of my index finger with her tiny, tender hand!  And just held on to me…. looking so peaceful and content.  The windows were wide open, and the air flowing in was extra thick and heavenly.  It carried the scent of dirt, sweet pine, (and a hint of fresh, impending death) as it had just rained a little.  I fought the urge to destroy the perfection of the moment by putting her in bed, reminding myself that it would all end soon enough… My tiny daughter would be a grown woman with her own compelling, urgent and unknowable Life.  Instead, I breathed, allowing my body to slowly melt in relaxation. In this deepened state of presence, I became aware of the sensations in my heart.  I marveled at the intricacies therein!  Seriously people… if my heart were a bottle of red wine, it would’ve been wicked expensive.  I felt notes of pure content and whispering joy… mingling with deep, raw ache for the irreparable break with Serena’s father… laced with heavy notes of grief as my heart bled for the still fresh and jarring absence of my own Mama.  It all felt so right and natural and harmonious, swirling about in my lucid heart space.  Each note so crisp, clear, distinctive.  Seemingly disparate… and yet… simultaneous and whole.  Dusk’s poetic depth settling on Serena’s little, peaceful face.

I continued to sit in this psychedelic puddle of grace-strewn Existence until Serena was well asleep.  Even though I was spent, I felt profoundly wealthy and full.  Then I scooped her up and laid her with sublime care into her pack n play bed, at the foot of my own.  I had the best night’s sleep I have had in too long to mention.

And now, I am here in this freshly autumnal, audacious-moon-lit darkness… feeling torn apart, churning, burning.  On one hand, I am flush with this very compelling strain of content.  But also a hissing whisper of desperation to BECOME.  To make more of my life.  I feel this Immensity… fiercely longing to be fully alive, engaged, expressed through me.  I want my fabulous gift with words to lift the minds and hearts of the masses and generate wealth for me and my daughter.  I want to be a bold, courageous and inspiring leader, inviting wild and wise women to rise up together and return this world to sacred balance.  I want to inhabit the lavish reality of having more than enough money, and the freedom this provides, to make choices from desire, vision and inspiration.

Sitting.  Breathing.  Feeling.  This sacred agitation.  As Light quietly floods the world.  Again.

Poo-poo.

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By now I’m sure you know this… but I’m gonna tell you anyway.  In the beginning, there was the Word.  And the word was “poo-poo”.  If I had a golden Sacagawea dollar for every time I’ve coaxingly uttered those sacred syllables over the recent days….

I feel an urgency-gone-desperation to spew these words out before Serena wakes up, because lately I have had less than nothing for myself, due to her amplified demands on me, combined with the absence of community support.  My Cosmic Dad whisked us away to Costa Rica for the month of August… and everything is foreign and new and unpredictable.  Which basically means that she has taken up permanent residence on my boob.  Yes, I’m exaggerating.  Because I want to convey my feeeeeelings, which primarily consist of overwhelm, isolation, irritation, frustration and even some ferocious, white-hot rage… to name a few.

Actually, (and thank GOD),  those crucifying textures of my current inner-life have been broken up by sporadic expanses of peace, contentment, awe, fascination and other such palatable flavors.   I remember when I used to frequent Chucky Cheese’s as a kid… (In retrospect, what a creepy place!)  I remember this little crawl space under the stage where Mr. Cheese and his robotic band of freaky animals performed their “live show”… Inside was a button you could press, which would set off a strobe light.  I was rapt by the magic of this intense pulsation of light– the way it freeze-framed physical movements into rapid, flip-book successions.  This is how life has felt on our travel odyssey.  Extreme, pulsating vacillations between light and dark.

And now back to poo-poo.  Since we landed nine days ago, Serena has been a continuous, willful refusal to let it go.  With the help of gritty, watermelon flavored chewable kid’s laxatives, she pooped once, early on…. And then held on for six, anxiety-laden days.  Encouraging her bowels to move has become my neurotic raison d’être.  I gave her prunes, magnesium, probiotics… with no success… so I graduated to more saline laxative.  Getting her to eat them was the battle of the century.  Which I initially lost.  (She is cultivating a gorgeous will, at nearly twenty-one months earth side.)  But I made a triumphant KO in the second round, when I crushed them up and mixed them with watery orange juice.

God, sometimes I hate moving stories forward.  It can feel so restrictive.  Like, I have been living through copious amounts of miraculous, jagged experience that I long to share with you.  I wish I could write like one of those snakes that unhinges it’s jaw in order to swallow it’s massive prey.  I would unhinge my mind and my fingertips would explode with unobstructed, simultaneous worlds of imagery and feelings that at once harmonized and clashed in a highly compelling fashion, which transformed your consciousness in such a way that it trumped visions of a renowned Holy Virgin.

I’m not quite sure how to do that… so I’ll just keep plugging away at my story with as much honesty and creativity as I can muster.   But if my world WAS spilling simultaneously into your mind, you would see an impressive gaggle of young, hottie surfers (men and women) behind me, speaking myriad languages, waxing their boards with notable focus and a dash of passion.  It’s six fifteen am.  Oh, they just set out for the beach, which is a modest block down the gravel road from our “home” for a whopping ten days, “Casa Zen”.  I can hear Her mighty, crashing roar from my station on the patio downstairs.

Serena has never gone so long without pooping.  Oh, I guess I got derailed before I finished recounting the laundry list of laxatives and suppositories I imposed upon my poor little goddess.  Well, let’s just say it was a “butt load”.  Literally. (the list includes two rounds of glycerine suppositories).  Meanwhile, she refused to sit on the potty at all.  She’d stiffen and yell and put up an impressive fight.  Which of course stirred and stoked the hell fires inside me to unbearable degrees.

Do I have to do a play by play of this bone-crushing saga?

What I want you to know, is that I have felt extremely isolated on this trip… Riding a continuum of Unknown has increased Serena’s demands on me.  And here I am, attempting to hold MYSELF as I navigate the deep waters of losing *the illusion* of control… while constantly being required to hold Serena… through the intensity of crumbling nap schedules and bedtimes, restaurant food that doesn’t appeal to her, pooplessness… to name a few.  I have had too many moments where I want to hurt myself, in response to the excruciating internal pressure.  I keep asking myself why the fuck I was called to this journey to Costa Rica.  The truth is, it was a very clear calling.  The compass of my heart read an unmistakable YES when I tuned in.  Hence, I know I am straight-up dirty dancing with my Destiny.  I just don’t get it.  I thought Destiny was supposed to be laden with glitter and falling balloons and jet streams of happily-ever-after euphoria.

So yesterday, awash with mild jewish neurosis, I opted to take Serena to a clinic down the road, in hopes they’d be able to coax the poop out of her.  The hella young, moderately handsome medic consulted his iPhone, listened to her heartbeat, took her pulse and stuck his white, latex-gloved, pinky finger up her butt to see if there was any obstruction.  Nope.  She was a heart-crushingly willing patient.  I held her and chanted Ganesha’s mantra close to her ear as he performed the invasive procedure.  I shattered when she feebly repeated it, “Om gam ganapatayai namaha”.  OMG.  I love her.

Then, to my disgust, Doctor Boy gave her a watermelon lollipop.  I didn’t know what the fuck to do.  She’s twenty months old for god’s sake.  That’s the last thing she needs, is to curdle her blood chemistry and rot out her teeth.  I let her hold it.  She didn’t know what to make of it, thank God.  (Later, after she’d had as much innocent amusement as one possibly can have with a colorful, crinkly, plastic-adorned ball on a stick, I covertly tossed it in the trash.)  Doctor Boy said I should nurse her less and give her more fruits and watery, fibrous foods, including jars of Gerber mush.  Ummm yeah… no thanks Dude.  I cried out of helplessness and guilt that Ken had to pay fifty bucks for that nonsense.  Serena kissed my heart.

And now for the ending that indeed reads like a sweet, red cherry.

Yesterday, on our late afternoon wander (to a bookstore, where a book on how to create a compelling, widely read and lucrative blog leapt off the shelf a tackled me, insisting to be mine), when the outrageous thunder, lightening and deluge struck.  We ducked into a charming burger shack and ate a delicious meal, after which Serena began to fuss.  I had a sense that she needed to poop.  She hadn’t peed for hours either.  So I took her to a gravel area at the edge of the restaurant, and encouraged her to squat and pee.  She resisted, but finally succumbed, and proceeded to produce a soft-serve pile of poop… which she sat in and smeared all over her little butt.  This horrified her.  She cried and writhed and got it all over her dress.  I did my best to remain cucumber calm, totally approving and celebratory, as I undressed her, placed her poopy dress in a wad on the wet gravel and procured a clump of wet paper towels to clean her off.  Then, with more paper towels, I picked up the warm, stinky pile of poop and chucked it in some jungly underbrush nearby.

Ken scrambled to pay the check and we made our way back to our room, me carrying naked, stinky Serena on my back, and holding her poopified dress between my thumb and forefinger.

And now for the all-too-obvious and corny punchline:

The story is just as Genesis doth spake…. In the beginning there was the Word.  And the Word was “poo-poo”…………..(insert the creation of the World here)………… And on the sixth day—-

She pooped.

EPILOGUE:

So I successfully banged out the first draft of this blog while she slept this morning.  (A measurable accomplishment which flushed me with grounded euphoria…)  When she woke, she was unusually fussy.  I felt her body shudder, as I held her close.  I asked her if she wanted to sit on the “pot-pot”, to which she slung a bold, stubborn, “NO.”  But her body disagreed.  More firm, soft-serve poop leaked out onto my tank top.  Again I endeavored to remain calm as I carried her to the bathroom and straddled the toilet with her in my arms in the poop position.  I encouraged her to drop Bunny, but she refused and he got smeared with feces.  At this point, her body was hopelessly in charge, to the dismay of her *impressive* will.  Multiverses of poop spewed from her tiny, helpless body.  In multiple rounds.  I couldn’t believe she had THAT MUCH to poop out.  HOLY SHIT indeed.  At a certain point, as I held her on the potty, I noticed her eyes were closed, and her awareness was completely internalized.  Something I’ve never witnessed.  Afterward, I could tell that she was deeply impacted by the experience.  A layer of her innocence seemed to have sloughed off.  For quite some time, she was quiet and just wanted to be held.  Talk about INTENSE.  Now, hours later, she is back to her curious, vivacious self.  And I am soooooo relieved.

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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

The Naked Truth of Me.

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I cut off my hair.  I don’t love it.  I did it because my Innermost Self told me to.  When my Desert Island Friend (the friend I’d choose to be stranded on a desert island with), Anitra asked me if I liked it, I replied, “I don’t know.  But I liked the courage it took to trust my inner voice.”  Now, you might think I’m exaggerating or embellishing… but I’m not.  I’ve felt this deep, acute irritation regarding my hair, for a while now.  I kept having mental images and accompanying feelings of shaving it all off… This was totally freakin’ my ego.  I tried to bargain with myself… like, “Oh, Athena… you don’t want to lose your femininity.  Why don’t you keep it long in the front, and shorter in the back….?”  I imagined a cascade of annoying hair, spilling in my face all the time, and it literally seemed like an incessant tussle with the devil.

Then, yesterday, the day of my haircut spread in full bloom.  I sat outside on the uncharacteristically lush (for Nevada City), flower laden deck of the house where Magdelena (the Priestess appointed to do the sacred deed) was housesitting.  My heart wandered an endless desert of grief.  I had cried most of the morning.  Because I longed for closeness with friends… but they all seemed concurrently distant.  And in this desolate inner space, I realized a quintessential role of Mother, is to be your unconditional friend in the face of everything that life is and isn’t.  My heart groped for her and instead drew fistfuls of cold, slippery vastness.  It’s been three months since she disappeared from this dimension, and finally the grief is really hitting me.  My mom is gone for good.  And don’t you DARE get all transcendentally savvy on me, and tell me that she is always with me, or that our souls will find each other a bazillion times over… Because, honestly, like SO THE FUCK WHAT?  I didn’t come into this Athenian Earth Dream to float above it in cushy conceptual realms.

I came here to get down in it.  And feel to the gritty bottom.  And talk about it with at once disturbing and relieving honesty.

And these days, the bottom sure is fuckin gritty.  The poles of my experience are carving me with the technological precision of laser surgery.  On one hand (and I am totally NOT exaggerating), everywhere I turn, I see angels, whose love pours toward and through me with the force of a burst dam.  Seriously, I bear witness to outrageous kindness, sincerity, generosity and sparkling eyes at every turn.  You’d think I was wandering through Heaven or some’m.  (And then Athena winked, and in the lightning flash before logic could strike, you flooded with undeniable knowing.)  I mean, if I was the fall to my knees type, I would probably be living so close to the ground… for the goodness that oozes through every pore of Creation As I Know It.

But all this goodness does not take away the pain.  If I was not such a goddamn heavyweight warrior goddess, I’d probably double over at the pain of my Ma’s absence, cut with the rigorous path of single motherhood and the confusion and searing longing I feel as I await a deeper cut of knowing around my soul-quenching work in the world.  And the continuous blood-letting of having a child with a man who is committed to another family.  A family that wants NOTHING to do with me and Serena.  My cosmic dad said I’m an extraordinary writer EXCEPT when I talk about God or my Baby Daddy.  Now this claim may indeed be valid.  Even though I really DO feel that God is the total shiznit… But I get it, KenPie… If my writing hovers twelve feet off the ground, it runs the risk of turning to dissociative vapor that leaves you  pondering your to-do list, as your eyes wander the forsaken breadcrumb trail of words.  I guess the God issue boils down to the rudimentary, literary gospel of “show not tell”.  My words can drip with divinity without me once mentioning HeSheIt’s hallowed name.  I was not born to regurgitate flashy, etherial nonsense.  I came to get MESSY, bitches!!!!  Just so you could feel less alone, and maybe have a laugh about this whole delicious tangle of imperfection.

And in terms of Baby Daddy…. I can imagine that it gets fuckin stale from over there (actually from in here, too!)…. my skipping record of heartbreak and disappointment… But I come to the page to heal myself.  Digest the pain of this human odyssey. (I like to imagine that someday, I’ll write for YOU… but for now, honestly, I am here out of a raw and driving, selfish need.  Love me or leave me!) I’m getting free… More and more, focusing on what feels nourishing and life-giving and even JAZZY!!!  But still, I am slow cookin’ in the juices of heart-ache and disappointment, like the tastiest, blue ribbon stew.  My soul delights in entering rooms (of experience) with no exit.  Then, the only way “out”, is to completely transform.  What could be better?

So I cut off my hair, because I am quintessentially broken down.  Magdelena said it was not just a haircut.  It was a ritual.  She invited me to pray.  And to strip down to the honest core of my current experience.  Which is not glamorous.  She invited me to let myself be seen as I am.  And especially to see myself.  This face, this soul, this grief, this naked humanity.

But hair is feminine…  Do I look like a boy?  Will men want to fuck me?  Will I be less lovable?  Less magnetic?

These are the fears and concerns I had to step beyond in order to let go.

I move deeper into the experience of dissolution.  This is true alchemy.  Ultimately I trust the process, even though I don’t understand it, and I can’t see what’s on the other side.  This is true power.

I love you, Athena Grace.IMG_6851

The Fight to Write.

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The unicorn is galloping across sprawling, poofy, marshmallow cloudscapes, and still…. I am gonna thrust myself up on the bitch.  Yes.  I’m talking about my writing life… which has slithered like whispering water through my slender fingers as I incessantly pour into my life as a single mother.  Actually, I feel some relief in the X-treme scarcity of Time.  Because before Serena, there was too much of the stuff.  I damn near drowned in the strange ocean of excruciatingly slow, linear, third dimensional existence.  I guess Time is a beast that I came here to wrastle (and K the fuck O).  What better way to restructure said relationship, than to dream forth a demanding little goddess who hoards every precious second, formerly known as “mine”.

I hear a mouse gnawing at the inside of my bathroom wall.

Is it legal to write a one sentence paragraph?  I remember in high school, when “they” taught me about the “essential” components of a paragraph– An opening sentence with a main idea.  Then a few supporting sentences.  And finally a conclusion.  I like considering the possibility that ONE single sentence can contain ALL OF IT.  Like the universe in a grain of rice.  Like how much blessed meaning can you squeeze out of one modest strand of words.  What worlds secretly breathe and pulsate therein?  It’s like those pivotal moments following the news that your mother “wishes to be made comfortable” (apparently code for “is about to die”)… and suddenly the slow drip of the kitchen faucet becomes the heartbeat of Creation.  Your mind sprinting through stiff, sludgy oatmeal.

Ah, yes, it’s wonderful to be back in Athena Graceland.  Fuck.  Serena just called out to me from the bedroom, her voice a sharp arrow.  It’s only 5:49am.  Girl, go back to sleep.  God!!!!!!  Throw down some freakin’ mercy.  Let a bitch express some damn philosophical frivolity (and an impending deeper cut) to the privileged few amongst the masses, who have, by your Grace, stumbled upon the treasure-laden, zany worlds that stream from within me.  Silence again…. And a slow breath, pregnant with Hope with a hella capital H.

Ok, better get to the excruciatingly sharp POINT.  Life.  That is always the point, I think.  Telling the raw, naked truth about Life. So watch me bust out a “Hemingway Simple” topic sentence on this urgent subject…

In so many mOMents lately, I find myself threadbare and just celebrating the rudimentary fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.  She’s crying again and I can’t muster much explosive intelligence and cleverness as I endure her increasingly desperate call.  I was hoping she’d self soothe and sink back into slumber.  Dream on Athena.  Well there you have it.  Athena Grace, squeezing a goddamn drop of creative juice out of a huge ugly rock, imperviously lodged in a cruel and hard place.  Bye.   

It’s a new day.  My body thirsts to practice yoga.  But an invisible force inside me demands that I finish this piece of writing.  This is my Life now… Squeezing single glistening drops of “me time” out of huge boulders of obligation and duty as I trudge through a panoramic mOMent of humble service and profound ordinariness.  But that makes mothering sound like a chore… It is.  And it’s not.  It’s actually the best thing I’ve ever done…. And one of the hidden gifts of its fierce rigor is that being in twenty-four-seven service to Little Missiz Grace stokes the fuck out of the fire of my longing to be, do, have, and fully LIVE the other facets of my intricate, dynamic Self.  Which is good.  Because back in that other life, (now a microscopic speck in my figurative rearview mirror) the unwieldy ocean of perceived time drowned out my fire to engage and create.

Now that I have experienced conception, pregnancy, birth and sustenance of the object of my all-consuming Desire, I have a felt-sense of this sacred, feminine territory.  And I can feel a new life gestating in my womb.  It is my work in the world.  A hunger is welling up inside me to play huge.  And WIN.  Which of course encompasses plenty of glorious failures along the way…. But winning looks like staying in the game.  No matter what.  Full contact.  No holds barred.  Stretching into domains of creative actualization and impassioned service beyond my wildest dreams.  (And beyond the crippling social programming of my fore-mothers.)

In 2011, I did a two hundred hour yoga teacher training with Psalm Isodora, the renowned tantra yoga teacher who recently took her own resplendent and gritty life.  Her training felt like flushing a couple thousand dollars down the toilet.  In my experience, the bitch did not have it together.  (But I give her goddess props for not letting that stop her.  To live into huge vision, it’s mandatory to fuck up and make messes along the way.)  The one gold nugget that emerged, gleaming from the sludgy chaos and bullshit, was the moment she said to me, “If you want something, you have to become obsessed with it.”   

It’s true.  I felt this all-consuming obsession with creating a child.  And now it is building a soul-satisfying career that inspires, ignites and liberates the hearts of the masses.

FUCK.  The mother fucking dog barked and woke Serena up.  I could kill him.  It’s only six twenty and I was sure I was gonna finish this goddamn thing today.  FUCK EVERYTHING.

And now for the ultimate zen koan.  It’s wild how victory feels simultaneously impossible and inevitable.  Life is grinding me down.  S L O W .  So that in God’s Time, the spacious nothing that I am will ripen, rise and conquer.  I really do want to take over the world.  But not for my own gain.  For the benefit of ALL.  I yearn to be a vast, consuming source of neon spectrum, God-drunk, turned-the-fuck-ON liberation that doesn’t quit.

Life feels grueling.  Wrought with unsayably deep, emotional complexity.  It is requiring EVERYTHING.  I am watching myself break the fuck down.  I am starving for touch and deep, sexual loving.  I have to bust out some serious kung fu just to claim a few moments to paint my damn nails.  Yet… I feel a silken ribbon of holy whisper inside.  And it assures me that I am Destiny’s bitch, whether I like it or not.  And She IS this unquenchable, creative thirsting, bursting, swollen River ever gushing from within me.

PS–  I finished this blog with my “Big Girl” suckling my breast.  Whatever it fucking takes….

Good News. Bad News. Life. Death. And Always LOVE.

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I’ll start with the good news– I am madly in love with Serena lately.  She’s so damn cute and smart and… good.  Within the last week, she’s started walking!  She does gratuitous laps around the house, just for practice, wobbling like a drunken sailor.  I’m amazed by her tireless, perpetual motion.  I can tell she’s so proud of herself.  What a feat!  And God, she’s just such a happy person.  Happy and innocent and willing.  My heart feels marvelously crushed.  We made a pilgrimage to Auburn (an hour drive each way) yesterday to apply for passports.  (God willing, we are going to Bali this summer with Cosmic Dad!!!)  The whole drive, she was content and peaceful.  She held her new little stuffed bunny, and she kept saying “Soft.  Soft.  Soft.”  And “Eye.  Eye.  Eye.” (pointing to his eye)   And “Lap.  Lap.  Lap.” (She had him on her lap…)  Such a stimulating conversationalist!

It wasn’t too long ago that I was pulling my hair out and shaking my fist at the sky and wondering why in Grace’s good name I chose to be a mama.  I think because we were both stretching together, and let’s face it– sometimes stretching is uncomfortable.  Sometimes it can even make you tear and bleed and require copious amounts of stitches and a two night and three day “vacation” at the hospital.  (Yes, I’m talking about Serena’s birth.)  But now we have stretched into a space of heavenly resonance and relative ease.  Of course it is fleeting.  But all the more reason to enJOY it.

And speaking of stretching, now for the “bad news”.  While we were waiting for our turn to apply for passports, we “bipped” over to Target because I had a gift card and wanted to try on denim shorts.  Holy Lord in Heaven.  I looked AWFUL  in the dressing room mirrors.  And this is *not* something that I would normally say… because I have worked so hard to heal my self image and love my body.  But fuck.  My skin looked loose and lumpy and squished in gross places.  How in fuck’s name do they expect anyone to BUY anything when the glaring lights and soul-sucking ambiance make you look and feel so UGLY?    

Whoa.  This calls for a massive deep breath.  Because what a terrible thing to commit to a blank page.  Especially as a goddess and leader of the Love Revolution.  But sometimes a goddess just gotsta be honest!  It was traumatizing.  And confusing, too… because I’m almost back to the weight that I was before I got pregnant.  I was one twenty five… and now I’m one twenty eight or nine, depending on the time of day, size of my last meal and amount of exercise I’ve had.  Maybe that mirror was a government conspiracy in action.  Yeah, that’s probably it.  And listen, don’t misinterpret my share.  I’m not suffering about any of it.  It’s more of a fascination with the kaleidoscopic, psychedelic nature of perception.

And then there’s my dear, sweet mama… Her body is now a modest pile of ashes stowed away in the ornately carved, wooden chest I inherited from her when she ditched this crazy planet last month.  Ok, you’re right, the PLANET is not crazy.  She’s actually very sane.  It’s us damn HUMANS that are the nuts!  When I was doing mountains of paperwork at Chapel of the Angels, the mortuary where my Ma’s body was cremated, one form stated that they perform a separate process beyond burning, to pulverize the big chunks of bone that are left… Ha!  And I had to inscribe my initials alongside said statement to indicate that this was permissible by me!  Like, “Yes, I am aware that you will be pulverizing my mom’s bones after you burn her, and it’s totally groovy.”  SILLY!!!

In retrospect, I wish that I had’ve said NO!  I would’ve loved for her ashes to be laced with bone chunks… I could make jewelry out of them.  And arrange them with the crystals and river stones on my panoply of altars.  Am I being serious, or kidding?  Yeah… I’m not quite sure either.

But one thing I KNOW is that my Ma is laughing with me about her hopelessly pulverized bones.

And since we’re on the subject… how am I doing with the whole losing my Ma thang?  Not too bad.  When she was still alive, I used to imagine what it would be like when she was gone, and whimper to her about how much I’d miss her, and how it would suck ass not to be able to talk with her and laugh with her (and even get irritated with her!), daily.  Her immediate response was always, “I’ll still be with you.”  I hated this!  Like, easy for YOU to say, Woman, YOU’RE not the one who will be left behind!  The last thing you need to hear when facing the crushing reality of impermanence, is some woo-woo, conceptual, spiritual band-aid.

But she was right. (Did you hear that Ma???!!!)  She is still right here.  And her oh-so-elegant swan dive into the seductive pool of Infinity has transformed my perception of life and death and God and my Self.  I remember this particularly cray-zay angel I once knew, Hal… He used to say “the cat is alive AND dead”… or some sort of hippy, acid-head koan like that.  I never had any idea what the fuck he was talking about.  Until my mom left.  And now I feel that she is here.  And I am “there”.  And Time is a strange dream that *seems* to divide our limitless Self into a finite notion for a fleeting mOMent.  I know some part of you knows what the hell I’m saying.  Because we are all so immense.  But we must feign smallness as we wander this oddball dreamscape.  Or must we?…

I appreciate the spiritual expansion that my Ma gifted me in her passing.  It’s a relief.  To feel so intimate with Infinity… (while still completely riveted in and by this human dream)…

The day before she died, she reminisced about being at my dad’s dad (my grandpa)’s deathbed… His parting words were, “It’s all a mystery to me…”  She said he appeared truly befuddled.  I LOVE this!!!  I mean, his words sure do sum it up!!!… I have finally arrived at a vista of my existence, where I feel crystalline relief at the Mystery of it all.  I’ve exhausted myself enough times, trying to muscle through and do it (Life) MY way… Only to be disappointed, devastated, destroyed.  I finally get it.  Life/God is waaay more qualified to captain this ship.  Athena Grace just gets to be First Mate, whose primary task is TO LOVE.

…And to write it all down!  With eloquence, honesty, poetic persuasion and humor.  It’s actually a pretty cool arrangement.

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