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 Romantic Love and Partnership

Who needs earthquakes, when the tectonic plates in my very BEing are making their own dramatic shifts?!

Back in January, I remember the feeling of self-satisfaction as I unabashedly spoke my birthday wish aloud to my circle of luminous-hearted women– to “create my own wealth and success and never need a man to save me again”…

Or something like that.

And now, six more moons of sand in the hour glass, and I don’t even recognize the woman who sang such a wish.  The world inside me has been destroyed and reborn… a few times over.

As I mentioned before, when I got to the Bay Area, I was *lovingly* pummeled by the reality that this is NOT a place for a single mom of a two year old.  At least if she actually wants to BE with her two year old.

A couple of weeks ago, I stood still at an OVERT fork in the road.  One Path was sensual massage– this was the way of the woman who “does not need a man”.  A woman who is fiercely committed to doing it alone. An activism against the engulfing swampish mess of fairytale fantasies she was indoctrinated with, since forever.  

The other Path was a winged leap of faith to the romantic land of Italy, where lives a man who deeply loves said woman and her daughter and wishes to help and support Her as she builds her dreams and lives her LOVE for the wellbeing of ALL.  

The best choice seems obvious from here.

But from the perspective of the woman who made a birthday wish for sovereignty and independence… turning to a man for support appeared weak.  

I chose that “weak” Path.

In a flash came a call from the goddess Dianne- diehard Athena Grace fan from Australia- to tell me that my choice was POWERFUL.  That opening my heart to the love and devotion of a Partner is something I deeply deserve.

All the ingredients that Life has tossed in my pot, has incited some serious soul searching and reconfiguring.  Pure Alchemy.

From my vantage point in THIS now, I see that my fierce stand for independence was a reaction to my early wounding.  Abandonment by my father. And especially the ensuing *crippling* experience of codependency in Relationship. Anybody who is working to untangle from codependency KNOWS how fuckin sucky the shit is.  

And yet… the longing for Partnership still sings from the depths of my soul.  

I want you to hear and feel the powerful experience that it was for me to sit with these choices in the silence and stillness of my very own soul.  And the healing of feeling my deepest desires and knowing emerge from my guts… beyond the concepts that I had cocooned myself in to protect me from the pain of not being chosen.  Not being fully met. Being seared in the fires of sacred disappointment.

No.  I do not want to sell my sexual energy for hella pretty pennies and call it “empowerment”.  I want to plug it into a contained space of boundless intimacy and devotion. I want to die and be born in the fire of sacred surrender and intimate communion with ONE entirely committed, delicious Man.  

AND I don’t want to get pulled out by a riptide of unconscious, habitual behavior, into the violent waters of codependence.  

Enough drowning.  This bitch can SWIM.

So I sit in the question of “How do I do this differently?”

Life has shown me that the nuclear family model is a booby trap unto itself.  At least for a Visionary Trailblazing System Buster such as Yours Truly.

And yet, I long for the intimate containment of One Beloved.

My dear friend Quynh has helped me to realize the possibility of abiding in a more porous container.  Where Partnership is able to breathe and swirl with a “village of Lovers”. (and when I say “lovers”, I do not mean “people that I have sex with”… I mean people with whom I share love and intimacy.  And when I say “intimacy”, I mean SEEING and BEING SEEN in and as The Depths.)

I WANT TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY THAN I HAVE IN THE PAST.

In the past, in my Relationships with a capital R, I have been lay-zay.  I have opiated myself with the insulated comfort of having a built-in source of connection… at the expense of my other friendships.  I have used our little nesting box as a place to hide. In time, I become so stifled by the confines of my self-imposed cage, that the *seeming* only solution is to smash it and walk away.  

What will it take to generate the deep fulfillment that I long for in Relationship?

Two things light up inside me when I ask this essential question:

#1~ Keeping the relationship porous to community.  ONE PERSON CAN NOT BE EVERYTHING FOR ANOTHER. It takes a village to nourish an individual.  This eliminates the crippling, mountainous load of half-blind expectations that we tend to pile on our Partner.  (Should I speak for myself??? Nah. I am speaking to the Collective. This is some deep programming, and although it is deeply personal to my Path, it is NOT “MINE”.  I am only experiencing it in order to help bust the system.)

#2~ Higher Purpose/Co-creation.  Devoting a Relationship to a higher purpose gives the immensity of love cultivated somewhere to plug in and FLOW.  Otherwise it gets pent up and stagnant. And BORING. I am here to invoke and awaken Heaven on Earth. A world infused and informed by/with Unity Consciousness.  This separation, scarcity, survival, fear, isolation shit is overrated.

There is definitely more to it than this… like cultivating trust, consistent deep sex as a spiritual practice, daily truth telling and deeep listening…

God I want to to succeed and master the art of Intimate Partnership.  It is a lifelong endeavor. I am alight with dancing passion as I embark on this next chapter of learning, sharing and sacred exploration.  

Stay tuned.

And please share~ What are your secrets of success in the realm of Relationship?  Where do you get stuck? What are your deepest Desires? Don’t be stingy with your Wisdom and your Longing.  That’s so nineteen eighty nine.

Living A Riveting Opera

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On this virginal, dawning day, it is not the first words that I commit to the empty page that matter the most, it is the deeep, slow breath which precedes them.  Said breath was essential, because the World inside me is so thick with vines, intricate root systems and underbrush…. My breath is my machete. Slicing to the heart of the jungle within.

 

Life never ceases to blow my mind… with its genius capacity to direct, orchestrate, inspire.  Doors swinging open and slamming shut.

 

Ten days ago,  I wrote you a love letter from  hell…. Since then, I have been desperately groping at the cryptic, mystic contours of infinite space, where inner and outer environment swirl, bleed, blur… endeavoring to make “sense” of it…. find Due North… Discover a secret moonlit path that sings against my bare, sentient feet.  

 

I have scattered fist-fulls of seeds into the wind… eager to discover which ones will, by God’s Grace-laden intelligence, nestle their way into fertile earth, and sprout into a new and clear direction.  I made a profile on a dog walking/sitting website. Refreshed my profile on urbansitter (the local nanny-placement site). Offered my services of copy writing to heart-centered women entrepreneurs.

 

Almost nothing has come back to me.  Except for a full time nanny gig next week, which pays less than I vowed I would give my time for.  But I took it, because at this point, earning any money trumps making none. Look out ten hour days with Serena AND an energetic two and a half year old boy…. Here come the Graces!… God help us.

 

Something I need you to understand about me…. Is that this is how I grew up.  At Serena’s age, my mom was “doing it alone” amidst the unsaybly expensive Bay Area hustle.   For way too long, I hated her for making that choice. I thought it was totally dumb for her to choose the most expensive spot in California to settle and struggle daily to survive with a young child.  This often involved leaving me in sketchy daycares and with babysitters who frightened me…. And sometimes leaving me alone too. Yes, even at age three, or maybe even two. (I forgive you Mom.)

 

Now Life has guided me back here to soften me with compassion and a deeper cut of insight regarding her choices.  There is no place like the Bay Area. Marin in particular. So much creativity, consciousness, stunning natural beauty.  My friend Samantha took us to the San Francisco zoo on thursday, and my soul *exploded* as we crossed the mythic Golden Gate Bridge, and then traversed the breath-giving coastline that led us to the literal edge of the World.  Endless, white-waving ocean. Unlimited cool, vivifying air to drink deep of and seduce titillated skin. I could lose myself in descriptions of the specialness of this place that I was blessed to spend the weighty majority of my thirty eight years on planet earth.  But I have too much more to say. Guess you’ll have to wait for the ebook. Haha.

 

My  naive surface mind imagined that I was coming back to The Bay to step into deeper relationship/family with Ed.   And that gave me enough solace and courage to leap as my Inner Being directed. But upon landing, I quickly (crushingly) realized this was not the case.  Ed is still fiercely committed to his Other Life. We have only seen him twice in three weeks. I’m sure he would wish that I offered you his extremely valid justifications for this.  But since Athena Graceland is MY domain, I shant. Instead, I will testify that I am delighted to be free this time, for what deeply feels to be “for realz”.

 

Back in January, I made a super-duper-neo-feminist birthday wish- to rise phoenix-goddess-style- in my own Dreams and Life- in abundance and success- and NEVER NEED/WANT A MAN TO SAVE ME AGAIN.

 

But now here I am flailing in the crushingly expensive and perversely indifferent currents of Bay Area economy… Desperately sewing seeds in the way of survival… and unflattering truth be told…. I could REALLY go for a Savior right about now.

 

Giordano.

 

I was sure that we were finished.

 

But HE wasn’t.

 

He has been unrelenting in his communication with me.  Unwavering in his love and desire to be a family with me and Serena.  And little by little, my defenses have eroded. Truth is, I mostly, I kept them intact for Ed.  But the days of “for Ed” are dead.

 

On thursday, Giordano told me he was concerned for me.  My flippant reply was “Haha you wanna save me?”….

 

“Sure.  I will.”

 

At first, I only snickered.  

 

But he was evocatively sincere.  

 

So I put the option of taking Serena and flying to his pristine, sprawling, olive tree laden land in the hills above Assisi into the hopper and let it simmer with the rest of my sacred, illuminated mess.  

 

My body still reverberates with sparkling desire when I think of him.  As flawed as he is, his love and desire to be with me and Serena has NEVER wavered since we met in September of last year.   Even after I locked him out of my house and left him high and not-so-dry in driving spring rain… Coldly endured the heart-bludgeoning music of him crying outside my door.

 

My Ma loved to imagine my life as an Opera.  No, not a cheap-assed Soap Opera! A genuine, bonafide OPERA.  And the artistic, elegant, heart-wrenching musical saga weaves ON.  

 

I fear that Ed might throw daggers for me choosing to fly to Italy in August…. But… Fuck him.  If he doesn’t want to create safety and sanctuary for “the love of his life” and his own daughter… Onwards and upwards.

 

I thought I was coming to the Bay Area to follow my dreams.  To grow a business and BE SOMEBODY. But upon cruel meeting of rubber and road… suddenly it looks way more alluring to be held and supported as I care for my daughter with presenc and devotion.  To ditch the concrete and wifi and chemically treated water and return to the pristine vibrance and bounty of Mother Earth. Night sky pulsing with unbounded spray of stars.

 

To go where Orgasmic Meditation and deep sex flow like wine and rivers.

 

And perhaps fulfill my dream of raising a bilingual child.  

 

We’ll see.  I’m getting us one way tickets.  I could be back faster than a blink… or perhaps I’ll never leave.  Life is a Goddamn Mystery, people!!!!

 

I find it utterly hilarious that I’m opting to be saved… after my bold birthday wish….

 

But #1~ Single parenting in this broken world is crushing.  Plain and simple.

 

And #2~ Nothing is black and white.  I will continue to walk my Path no matter what I choose.  Continue to drench you with my heart-stained words… and offer my light and love to this world.  But my daughter comes first.

 

Oh, and #3~ Giordano keeps invoking his dream of co-creating magic.  Working together to build something of value for others in the way of Light.  

 

It’s definitely worth a shot!

 

With ever-scorching honesty and huge LOVE from Graceland,

Athena LMONP

Hey God…

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Hey God, I need to talk to you.  I know you’re listening… even if my own BEing is too much of a perpetual chaotic swirl to hear or feel you listening, let alone responding.  But just knowing that you are listening is ENOUGH.

 

I’m scared today, God.  Can you refresh my memory as to WHY you are sending me and Serena back into the expensiver than Thou, outrageously chaotic, painfully paved, relentless traffic, screaming wifi lands of the Bay Area?

 

Because I wanted to go?  Is it THAT simple? Never.  And Who infused me with said want, anyway?  Maybe we should have waited until October. When the first hints of chill creep back into the air, and the Enchanted Yuba River no longer lures with the same siren song….  Shouldn’t we have spent one more summer nestled in the verdant, jungly folds of Balarama’s “Prana Gardens”, plucking sun-warmed, candy-sweet cherry tomatoes from their vine? And what about those shiny, black, bursting berries that Serena and I have been dreaming of with every rain…. Imagining the blessed water soaking into the earth, being voraciously slurped by aggressively purposeful roots who prepare in secret to bust out the sweetes, most resplendent little jewels.

 

Am I going to feel MORE ALONE amidst the urban sprawl…. Surrounded by infinitudes of “important people”, ceaselessly doing “important” things….?  I think that’s my greatest fear.

 

No, actually being able to earn enough money to survive (but God, I’d waaay rather THRIVE) there is my greatest fear.  And yes, I know it’s not “spiritually hip” to run on and on about fears. But I’m over being spiritually hip. I just want you to hear me and LOVE me, God.  And reassure me that you won’t drop me. Ever. And if I fall, you’ll pick me up and hold me closer than ever. That’s what a Mother does for her child.

 

I want community.  I have plenty of friends, all the fuck over the Bay Area…. But good Lord… how much expensive fossil fuel will I have to burn in my ancient, twenty-two-miles-to-the-gallon little Subaru, “Venus Ray”, if I want to bask and bathe in the grace of everyone’s luminous company?  

 

Will you help me make friends in my neighborhood?  Not that I’m tossing the oldies but goodies aside… just seeking calm, rejuvenative balance in my Life.

 

A recurring image flashes in my mind’s eye when I’m reflecting on my Path…. I see myself blindfolded, in total darkness… groping about the contours of my environment… feeling for doors and windows… seeking one that opens when I exert focused will.  

 

And when I find an opening, I know it is my Destiny to be brave and step across the Threshold, into the mysterious world therein.

 

The door into my new Life* in the Bay Area flung the fuck open for me.  No questions asked. Within less than a week of declaring my intention to leap… it was like “Yeah Bitch*, walk on through!”  So…

 

This Royal Bitch is walking on through.  Trust-walking. But not without a shadowed underbelly of apprehension.

 

And now for a few words on Bitch* and Life*.  

 

I like the word “Bitch”, because it is evocative.  Too often, it gets a bad rap. It is construed as a wicked insult to women.  But that’s so thoughtlessly mainstream, if you ask me. Deep within every woman, lives a bitch.  Fierce, venomous and unapologetic. But we have been domesticated to the point of near apocalypse.  We have been programmed to dull our own swords, walk in straight lines and keep our legs pressed together.  We have been hypnotized to fear and reject our own dimensionally vivifying, evocative and intelligent shadows.  Fuck that.

 

And LIFE.  To me, “Life” and “God” are synonyms.  Life is God’s profound, undulating body.  Life is how we touch, feel, know God. And therefore, our Selves.  Sure, God’s Queendom of Infinity extends Beyond all that which is that which we know as Life.  But if you think about it, LIFE itself stretches Beyond that which we “know” as Life….

 

Can I truly REST inside the God-ness that IS this Life I AM?  

 

As I posed that fluorescent, flame-dancing question, I became immediately present to tension in my body.  The tension of bracing myself against the Unknown. Bracing myself against the inevitability of the death of my body.  And in a flash was the knowing that trust emerges in a single mOMent, as the willingness to RELAX, surrender all tension.  

 

Oh, I’m celebrating this Revelation with a deeeeep breath!!!

 

God, thank you for Being Here.  For Listening. For breathing me.  For filling me with just enough wisdom and insight to navigate THIS MOMENT.  That’s plenty.

 

Sincerely,

Athena Grace

The Riveting Glory of Impermanence and Failure!

You know how “They” say to live each mOMent like it’s your last… It’s a totally cool idea.  But mostly it doesn’t work. (Haha, unless I need an excuse to be super impulsive with money!)  In my default mode, I imagine the Journeys I am inside of will sprawl on forever. (Oh, except for the PTSD I’ve developed around sudden loss of people who matter the most in my heart…)

But suddenly, the taste of Impermanence dances on my tongue.   

I have eleven days left here at Ananda.  On the twelfth day, me and the two most important men in my life (little bro and baby daddy) will caravan outa this spiritual utopia, cars and truck brimming with “stuff”.  (As a cosmic gypsy, “stuff” mostly occurs like a boulder in my Ugg boot. But I’ve ditched my art supplies and then suddenly been accosted by the NEED to make art.. And then had no choice but to blow my cash wad on a fresh set of eyeball burning colors of acrylic paint… enough times to feel slightly more sober about what I choose to slog along on my semi-intentional Walk About on Planet Earth.)

Ahem, so in twelve days, mine and Serena’s entire World will change.  I’ll probably hear traffic through my bedroom window, and I won’t be able to see every calmly seductive star in the multiverse, when I step outside in the deep, dark morning.  

For two and a half years, I’ve cried myself to sleep, missing the vast, wild, melodically roaring Ocean.  But yesterday at the Yuba River, I realized that in twelve days, I will have no fewer (figurative) tears. The River had pervaded my soul and I will ache in Her absence.  If you’ve never met Mama Yuba, She is evocatively bracing, steadily singing, rushing crystaline aqua Love. Endlessly generous, she tirelessly resets your cells to their natural state of reverberating Hallelujah.  She suckles your worries, concerns and delusions, as if they were the sweetest milk, ecstatically sweeping them to the winking heart of Oblivion.

I want to run to Her and throw myself IN.  Merge with her wild beauty and stay Forever.  I can see why my Dan chose to die at the streaming hands of a River….

But now salt and sand and crashing waves will be my Salvation.  Negative ions drenching my aura and making me drunk and Restored.  

I confess that I groped for the EXIT the entire time I was here at Ananda.  Feeling confined and isolated. Wait, am I speaking of my time at Ananda, or my whole entire Life?  (It’s interesting to exist in the time of smartphones, because emojis have pervaded my alphabet. I think not only in letters, but also goofy little faces.  I had an urge to insert the smiling face with squinted eyes, squirting tears.)

How come it takes me so fucking long to get to the Meat of my heart and thoughts?  I guess because I must pierce their Skin first. The Meat is that I cried at family kirtan on Friday, because it finally hit me what I was about to lose.  A few years ago, a bunch of souls decided to incarnate together and meet up at Ananda. Serena was one of them. They’ve been together since day one. And even though I have felt to be an Outsider, the Ananda families have embraced and cared for us through very challenging times.

Even though I don’t feel free to spit and swear and talk about sex with *most* of the other moms, I love them and they love me.  

And now I shall burst your bubble of endearing naivety with sobering news:

LIFE IS TOTALLY IMPERFECT.  

Can I just totally jump tracks?  YES, Athena, this is YOUR Queendom of Concealed Heaven, and you are free to express anything and everything!!!  Oh cool, because I really need to confess and digest my recent webinar! Overall, I’m totally proud of myself. It was my first EVER and I gave it my ALL.  

At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about…

Giving it ALL.  

Even though tragedy struck and Zoom suddenly demanded money, right the fuck NOW and then cut me off twenty minutes before the scheduled hour was complete, I still came away with a feeling of exhilaration and healthy pride, that stayed with me the rest of the day.  I was SURE that I had made it into the territory of Light That Possesses No Shadow.

But then, when the webinar guests didn’t show up in the secret facebook group that I created as a space for everyone to share a three minute video revealing where they have been hiding…. My party bus crashed into a glistening desert mirage.  I posted a vid first, to open the way, and model the culture of raw, joyful authenticity. Only my dear friend watched and commented. The other three women blinked out of existence, and I was left to sit alone and feel through the underbelly of my pride and invulnerability.  

In my video I shared how “up until now” (insert mocking emoji face), I had been easily stopped by Perfectionism.  But stepping into leadership, webinars and circle facilitation had opened a portal into newfound freedom to be a beginner, fuck up, and be at the bottom of a massive, mountainous learning curve.  

Interesting to watch myself.  As soon as I realized that (almost) nobody gave a fuck what I had to say, my inner Perfectionist swooped in to “save the day”.  Meaning shut me down, so that I wouldn’t have to feel through unsavory emotions such as shame, humiliation and the deep vulnerability of being accountable for my Passion.

Juicy, right?!

At first, I was EN FUEGO to schedule and plan my next webinar… but then, said dark emotions and thoughts swooped in…. old familiar voices began to resound in my head… The militant dictator, fondly known as “Royal Fuck It”, started to take charge and bark orders.

Oh.  My. Goodness.

Naturally, the only option is to KEEP MOVING FORWARD.  Though it certainly IS mighty gracious of Her Holiness, Royal Fuck It, to be so invested in protecting me from unsavory feelings. (insert batting eyelash emoji)

Maybe it’s time to hit the Tony Robbins channel.  Awaken the damn Giant within.

I’m growing.

It’s actually quite pleasant.

I’ve gotta wrap up for now… but maybe next time I can share with you the strange, simultaneously unsettling and relieving, cumulative disappearance of my spiritual identity.  

With Abundant Love from Graceland,

Athena

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

A2ShadowOfaGoddess

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturating Painful Days with Love

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I read and cried and remembered and cried and read.  

 

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

 

Oh Life.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

But fuck philosophy.

 

I want to be seen.

I want to be known.

I want to be LOVED…

I want to be savored.

Engulfed in appreciation

of the exquisitry of my soul.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Cooking and cleaning.

Part of me can hardly

Believe,

that these

are my livelihood,

Here,

snuggled, incognito

in the woods, alone

with a luminous, Tiny Buddha.

On the Inside, I am

Famous. Gravitationally weighty.

A Teacher of Faith,

a winged General

in the Army of Hearts.

A flowing font of liberating,

linguistic streams.

I am Wonder Woman, masquerading

as a modern day Goddess

of Wisdom

and War.

I am crying

with frustration,

afraid this Epic, gratifying me

will miscarry,

never come to BE.

Wondering every day…

what will it take???

To make of my Life

what I know Inside

I can.

I AM.

Lack of confidence.

Perfectionism.

Fear of failure.

Fear of being seen

and rejected.

I need to leap

across this ravine,

into a waking dream

of pure, inspired Service.

Forget myself and offer

this bottomless well

of Heavenly wealth, poured forth

through me, by God HerSelf.

In the coin of Light,

the currency of Grace.

I PRAY

to courageously ACT-i-vate.

 

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