Tangoing with Skeletons

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Hello from my bed.  It finally rained last night, for the first time in two months.  Today is wet and cold and I feel tired and sensitive and this is the ONLY place to be.  

 

I haven’t blogged in ages because I’ve been too caught up in trying to make money and be Important.  But neither of those aims have materialized. Instead I just exhausted myself. And remembered how essential writing my heart and Life is.  This is my art. And when I don’t make time for my art, I’m nothing but a potato chip. Dry, greasy and unsatisfying.

 

You  might argue that potato chips rule the World.  And I might agree. But not for the sake of this argument.  Mmmm… salt and vinegar….

 

A few weeks ago, I spoke with my friend Joan.  I mention her in my writing sometimes… because she’s one of those BEings who makes an Impact with a capital I.  I had a sense that she had energetically disengaged from me, my world, my Journey… and I felt sad about that. So I asked her if this was an accurate assessment.  YES. Indeed. We scheduled a video chat, and she laid it out. Naked and straight. As only Joan can do.

 

She said if the shoe fits, wear it… and if it doesn’t, send it down the River.  (Or something to that effect.) Mostly the shoe fit…

 

It stung to hear.  But all hail to the Rare Ones who say it straight.  And not for their own edification/aggrandization… But as an act of Generosity.  Badass. Refreshing.

 

One facet of the bad taste I left in her mouth was about my immense drama this summer– remember when I cried out the “A word” on social media and begged money from my community to fly back to California where Serena and I would be safe.  I know that burned a good few bridges for me…

 

She reflected that the WAY I played it was childish.  After I changed my mind about leaving, I told my community “I lost the ticket” (Vague language.  Could have said “I chose not to go home” or something bold and direct.)…  As a way of buffering myself from the shame of taking people’s money and flushing it down the toilet.  And then I said something like, “If you want your money back, let me know.” …which she said was an irresponsible way to go about it.  An adult would be accountable and not put people in the awkward position of having to ASK for their money back.

 

I see that.  Now what do I DO with that information?  Breathe and let it inform the emergence of a better version of myself?  Schlep Serena along to house cleaning jobs so that I can step forward and pay everyone back?   I don’t know. Weeks later, and still digesting. She ALSO said that I’m rockin’ this whole identity of being “so authentic and exposed”… but really, I only expose some of it.  When and how it serves my ego. (my words…)

 

YES.  There are ways that I BARE MY MUTHER FUCKING SOUL through my writing… and ways that I conceal and distort.  I admit it. I am a very sensitive, porous being, and part of me is terrified to reveal it ALL for ANYONE and their Mother to read.  AND I am an exhibitionist. And eternally fascinated by this thing called “Me”, doing this thing called “Life” and I *must* pound it out upon the page.

 

But perhaps it’s better for you to receive this as entertaining fiction… which gives you access to your own hidden world in spontaneous flashes of Grace.  

 

So there’s some of the Skeletons that Athena Grace has been tangoing with since we last spoke.  And now for the weekly forecast of my inner world.

 

Ouch.  It’s been an emotional period.  Significant “scattered showers” otherwise known as “tears”.  

 

Apparently once my sun is born on Italian Soil, Giordano will have the power to block us from leaving the country, should he so choose to wield it.  This fucks with my sense of sovereignty and freedom. Big time. I am facing huge fears of being TRAPPED, far from my hOMe, family and friends. And yet, my inner voice says it’s not time to leave.  (Plus, I have no money and nowhere to land in Cali. But I know if that was what my intuition guided me to do, I would find a Way and do it in a heartbeat.)

 

Giordano is trying so fucking hard.  But we are being eaten alive by the beast called Survival.  He is working ten hour days, breaking his body, crushed by the immense weight of panoply financial obligations.  We mostly don’t see each other. But the little moments we do are softer than they have ever been. Not hella nourishing… but I feel him evolving.  

 

I SO want to get my online women’s circles going… but so far, I have not been able to “force bloom” the project.  And in the meantime, we are running on financial fumes. We have no time to “invest” in our relationship… and not enough support.  And we are just different creatures from vastly different worlds. Worlds that I doubt will ever meet. We both try. But it’s exhausting.  

 

You might be wondering why in the fuck I came to Italy, married this guy and got straight to making a baby with him.  Yeah. That makes a thousand of us. With ME at the center, wondering what in the fuck is driving this Renegade Ship fondly known as Athena Grace…

 

I am TRYING to just receive the love he is capable of giving, and focus on other dimensions of my Life.  Namely work. And always Serena. (Serena is a legend in my heart. Her BEing blows my Everything on a daily basis… I’m on my knees in gratitude for Her.  And also feeling pain for the ways that I fall short as a mother. That’s a blog unto itself.)

 

I can try to bypass the lack of emotional fulfillment that I mostly feel in my marriage…. But it haunts me through the cracks.  And I have this nagging feeling that says “this can’t end well…” But alas, I forge ahead. Because what else can I DO?

 

Last night I dreamt that I was at my friend Shelly’s wedding.  She was a RADIANT, epic bride. Her outer appearance, clearly an expression of her inner fulfillment.  Then I realized that she was ALREADY MARRIED… which confused me for a sec. (In real Life, she is married with two kids.  I attended her wedding like ten years ago.) But she clarified that YES, she WAS already married. AND she still wanted to have another ceremony/celebration, because the communion she and her husband shared was so blissful and extraordinary and worth celebrating anew!  

 

I woke up with such a heavy heart.  As I feel whenever I see couples thriving in Relationship.  Two equals, entwining their hearts and lives, and all the better for it.  I feel like I’ll never have that in this Life. Which makes me remember my Mom.  The myriad mOMents we sat in her mismatched recliners in her cozy, cluttered nest at Ananda Village, sipping tea…. As she spun off on tangents about her two unfulfilling marriages.  I never thought I’d become her. I thought I had too much emotional intelligence and self-worth to nosedive into that pathetic rut. But alas.  Hi Mom.  Do you appreciate the love and devotion I am expressing  by becoming a living tribute to your wounds and pain?

 

Who knows what will happen… My friend Marcella invited me to write a Relationship Vision…. I accepted.  I guess that’s the first step. To enVison what I want. Invite it. Surrender the HOW.  Live in the WOW as it dawns upon me.

 

But honestly, in this mOMent, it feels really…. Good?… to sit in the ache.  I feel real. Maybe it’s even a form of masturbation… It’s so sensational.  The ache.  I can almost touch it.  Experience my Existence in such a palpable way, through the thick, throbbing brokenness in my chest.

 

Life is such a damn Mystery.  The tangles, the WHYs, the HOWs… and the WHAT will happen nexts…  

 

And I breeeathe.

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Wounded Masculine: Making love to my Beautiful Crucible

I was elated that I finally had time and space to write… and now I am here, staring at the blank page like a newborn gazelle.  I’ve written like twelve blogs in my head since I last gushed my heart and life onto the page. Ooooh, but even the sheer experience of typing a single-file stream of letters is singing me back into realized wholeness.  A wounded soldier, sipping broth from a spoon. Am I a wounded soldier? Haha, maybe! I’m not willing to commit to that persona, but I will happily share my pot of mint tea with It, and let it take a load off in the friendly atmosphere of my psyche!

 

I know what I wanted to say!  I listened to Paul Simon’s album, “Graceland” this morning.  And like always, it was a profound experience. That album lives in my bones and my soul.  My dad had the cassette tape when I was a child… like maybe seven years old. And we played the crap out of it.  (Also the U2 album, “The Joshua Tree”.)

 

I’m awestruck by how deeply music can touch The Soul.

 

Anyway, I’ve been grappling with my “Father Wound” at an especially deep level lately.  Which implies to me that I am ready for the next level of healing and Self-integration.

 

My Daddy.  I’ve always had a searing longing to MATTER to him.  Like not just “matter”…. But MATTER. You know? Like in the most indispensable and essential sense of the word.  But that was not the imprint I was *blessed* to receive. I’ve had little crumb-esque moments of feeling that. And I guess that’s why I create relationships with men that are based in the “currency of crumbs”.

 

When I crashed “Penis Ray-Ray”, I asked my Pops for $alvation.  And maaaan, did he deliver. He was so fucking generous. (Between him and the golden net of friends in my life, we were able to resurrect our beloved Fiat, BTW!)  And I should predicate that I AM NOT a trust fund baby. And my Daddy In Shining Armor is not always there to ease the burden of Existing in this capitalist shit show otherwise known as “Modern Life”.  My soul chose the rugged, off-road adventure of being born to financially strapped parents! If I ever find the Emerald City that is Prosperity, I will be an entirely Self-Made Rich Bitch. Which will make it taste all the sweeter.

 

So he gave me money when I neeeeded it.  And that was his best stab at loving me. But concurrently, I was leaving him sincere, soul-bearing. love-filled audio messages… to which he never replied.  I guess this is a new-ish iteration of our relationship. One that has emerged with the advent of smart phones and WhatsApp. I have left him too many audio messages, to which he mostly doesn’t reply.  (To his credit, sometimes I beg him, and then he does.)

 

Intellectually, I know it’s not personal.  Maybe, being a dinosaur, he’s just not a fan of communicating through “modern technology”.  Maybe he’s too busy breaking a sweat in his unrelenting hamster wheel… supporting his wife and twenty year old twins who still live at home.  Et cetera, et cetera.

 

Emotionally… that’s another story.  If I let myself feel the raw truth of it, it’s crushing.  It totally blows. My inner child is cowering in a puddle of her own tears.

 

And then I look at the most relevant men in my life… The two fathers of my children.  

 

Oh wait, time out.  I just experienced a powerful in-the-mOMent wave of grief.  I looked up from this word stew and saw a neighbor woman wheeling a full shopping cart out of the adjacent grocery store.  Her mother is sitting at the table (in the cafe) next to me with the three year old granddaughter. I witnessed this simple play of Life, and was broadsided by sadness that my mom is gone, and will NEVER hang out with Serena, noshing on croissants (my Ma’s favorite), while I perform basic, requisite life tasks.  These emotions seem an indulgent river to swim in. She’s gone and that’s just the way it is. But I’m happy to announce this spontaneous burst of sadness. And to amplify the tragedy, Giordano’s parents, though close in physical proximity, have not proved to be much support in the way of “grandparents”… Maybe when “their own” grandson emerges from the water world of my womb, they will be more… “inspired”.  Or maybe they smoke too much weed to care.

 

And now back to our previously scheduled program.  Men. Serena’s dad. Remains a legend in my heart. Despite how half-assed his participation in our lives has been.  Fuck. What can I say? People are disappointing. AND. Love is love. Especially Soul Love. That’s the shit that’s invincible to circumstances.  Even from across the world, he makes and breaks my heart on a semi-regular basis. And yet…. All I can do is keep giving of my Self. The other day, I told him how much it sucked ass… to give him my heart, again and again, and get met with silence (deja vous).  He said something to the effect of, “Yeah, but it’s your Path to give love… and maybe someday I’ll show up in the fullness you crave.”

 

My gut response was FUCK YOU.

 

But.

 

He is right.  Giving love, without the guarantee of return IS my Path, and my Nature.  Unconditional. And meanwhile, to remember and embody the Truth, that I am one with Source.  I do not need to rely on external sources for love. This Path of Mastery might suck in moments from the view of my flailing ego… but for my deep, badass Soul, it is hella satisfying.  What I find inside is MINE forever. Divine forever. So BRING ON THE TRANSFORMATIONAL FIRE, Bitches.

 

Then there’s my husband*.  Who is laughably flawed. Searingly unsatisfying in his narrow capacity to meet me with any depth of presence, or emotional intelligence.  He is sooo perpetually enraptured by the incessant, swirling eddies of his own “hella compelling” thoughts, that it appears virtually IMPOSSIBLE for him to truly listen to me most of the time.  But… He’s a total wild card. Damn unpredictable. So one out of ten times, I am pleasantly surprised by the felt experience of being heard.

 

*And even if in so many moments, he occurs as emotionally retarded, HE IS SO FUCKING SINCERE IN HIS DESIRE TO GROW, TO IMPROVE, TO LEARN.  And to Love…

 

All that to say that I’m really making love to my own crucible these days.  My surface mind cannot grasp the full implication of the healing that is taking place, as I live through this emotionally stained material with an open, courageous heart.  The deeper me keeps saying “Athena, have FAITH. Faith in the profound Intelligence of Life. Faith that what is rising to the surface, is setting you free. Faith in the strength and power of the LOVE that flows through you from The Beyond.”

 

I believe that it is also mega noteworthy that I am on the precipice of becoming mother to a boy.  It seems that this profound soul is catalyzing deeeep healing of my wounds around The Masculine. I have no fucking idea what “Inner Marriage” actually feels like inside… or how to embrace and integrate my own “inner masculine”.  Or who the fuck “Heavenly Father” actually IS for me. Though I want to know all of this. But I DO know that love is always the Answer and the Way. And I know that I gotta “feel it to heal it.”

 

So I breathe humility into inner discomfort and confusion.  And affirm the Divine Perfection and Grace of all that is arising Inside.

 

While my Journey is deeeply personal… I acknowledge the collective nature of what I am experiencing.  The Patriarchy (God bless it) has really fucked us up, collectively speaking. I have not witnessed too many fabulously healthy fathers along my earthly walk-about.  Not to say they don’t exist. THEY DO!!!! They MUST!!! But most men are hurled into adulthood, uninitiated, blind and battered. Taught that it is shameful to feel.  Taught to be tough and do it alone. Taught to work HARD for their piece of the pie, and deny their own needs (except in acts of guilt-ridden secrecy.

 

And now, let’s bareback ride this spiraling story back to Graceland.  That album opens a world inside me where my Dad is Immortal and Perfect.  I realized that this morning as I danced ecstatically around the house. This was a huge victory.  To know that no matter how broken my heart may feel, in relation to my Dad, there lives a place inside of me where he abides in Innocence and Perfect Love.  And I have found the address and the map. Naturally, it is Graceland.

 

That’s enough for now.  Just know I’m over here “doin’ the Work.  Clearing Inner Space for true sovereignty and wholeness to live through me and heal and bless the World.  Invoking a thriving, balanced World, founded on a “happy marriage”. Hella holy matrimony of healthy, integrated Masculine and Feminine.  It’s not an easy job, but it satisfies my Soul.

 

I trust that YOU, too, are toiling gloriously in your own rite.  Bringing your uniquely flavored soul music to the current climate of transformation, death and rebirth rocking planet Earth.  THANK YOU. I appreciate your blood and sweat and salty, devoted love.

 

With Epic Love from Athena Graceland,

Athena Grace

Initiations. Undone, Reshaped… Yay.

I’d better put on lipstick, if I expect to write anything profound and life-changing.  Ok, there. Purple Haze, generously, sensuously slathered. Time to rock and roll.

This morning I peed into a cup and a vial… and then delivered it to the lab, where they would also suck four vials of blood from me.  Right as our little family of three point three, three, three walked through the door, there came a B movie scream, from one of the exam rooms.  At first, it was startling… and then hilarious. I guess the Universe wants me to lighten up.

I struggle with the Italian medical system.  I’m really not a western medicine enthusiast to begin with… but trying to navigate the shit in a foreign language spoken by a generally superstitious crowd makes me uneasy.  But hey, it’s free.

They want to test my blood every forty days.  Pregnancy protocol. To me this is obsessive. While pregnant with Serena, in my forsaken and fabulous California, they tested my blood twice.  Which was plenty. But they fed Giordano a bunch of crap about how “vulnerable” the second trimester is. Ummm okaaaaaay…. They said I am vulnerable to toxoplasmosis (because I have never had it).   Maaaaaybe I’ve never had it not just because I’m “lucky”, but because my body is strong and luminous and knows how to efficiently process what I put into it. I have eaten plenty of raw, dirty, organic vegetables in my life.  And whatever else can cause it.

Almost everything that is said at my doctor visit, I rely on Giordano to translate and regurgitate to me.  This is a pain in his ass, and since communication is not his forte… some things get “lost in translation”.  Sigh. It’s a delicate balance, surrendering to my circumstances, appreciating what is given, AND maintaining the ovaries not to get swept away on other people’s agendas and trips.

On Friday, I’m going to Gubio for an epic ultrasound, where they will look at all my sweet boy’s organs and whatever else they can see with their magic wand.  I’m excited to see my tiny man again! He sure is an active guy. Gulp. Totally different than Serene Serena…. I hope I have it in me to keep up with him.

My badass spiritually connected counselor, Manuela said not to just slap a cool name on him… but to make sure that it is the name he prefers.  With a vibration that matches his essence and life mission. I was gonna name him “Cosmo”, because it was decent as far as generally boring boy names go.  And Giordano and I agreed on it. But upon reflection, I don’t think “Cosmo” is magnificent enough to fit this guy. (No offense to all you Cosmos out there!)

I have this theory that during pregnancy, the soul of the child whom a woman is growing a body for, actively invokes very specific initiations for its mother… Which will cultivate the qualities and strengths this BEing needs, in order to be supported on his/her life journey.  I experienced this with Serena, and I am experiencing it again with “Tiny Man”.

Life is sucking me through the eye of the needle.  I am living mostly on my raw, bloody knees, incessantly digging DEEP, getting still, breathing through my “molten core”, straight into the center of the planet.  I am fierce to realize and awaken the Mighty and Delicate Divinity within me. I am becoming more patient and non-reactive than I ever imagined possible, and surrendering like a Boss.  I am getting right with not being able to fathom WHY.

I’m actually quite proud of myself.  Can you tell?

Mamas out there– Have you experienced this phenomenon of initiation, of which I speak?  

The latest installment of my, ahem, “initiation”, was a minor car accident last week.  Giordano insisted that we needed some “fun”, and wanted to take us to sushi in Perugia.  This aroused elusive fear in my system, but I dismissed it, and submitted to his sweet invitation.  It was the day after Valentine’s Day. We had had a messy fight, followed by a life-giving healing, the night before.  Then right before our ill-fated lunch, a man came to our house to install satellite internet, so that I will be able to reignite my online women’s circles, generate income, passionately serve humanity and build community rooted in authenticity, empowerment and full self expression!  Spring sunlight poured down like benevolent nectar upon the earth. Life felt deliciously “right”.

Until…

Giordano was exiting the motorway in Perugia.  He gazed over at me with visceral devotion, which I eagerly drank.  We both looked back at the road and shared a wave of “oh fuck”, as we realized the cars ahead of us were stopped.  Brake. Smash. Fuck. Haha that’s today’s novella knock-off of “Eat, Pray, Love”.

We were all okay.  Actually, Giordano said his back hurt.  But he says that every day… and with the expanding, unwieldy financial burden he is carrying, it’s no surprise.  To me it felt like a mere bumper car ride. Meets demolition derby. Our car looked ruined. Totally smashed front end.  The mercedes we hit looked pristine. A striking blond woman got out and cursed in Italian. Actually, she turned out to be quite angelic.  I wish I had asked her name. I’m sure it was significant.

 

She did all the requisite photography and stuff.  Giordano made phone calls, and I climbed the little grassy hill above the off-ramp with Serena.  She discovered legions of sun-bleached, vacated snail shells, which we collected and organized by size.  I marveled at the perfect spiral they each contained, and imagined that this was a timely though cryptic message from Above.  I prayed hard. To feel God’s perfection in this situation. To stay open and TRUST the Journey. I sent a grounding cord from my root, to the center of the planet.  I held a space of calmness and presence, so that Serena would feel safe. She must’ve, because she shone with innoecent delight and wonder. I felt happy to be alive, and even happier to be her mom.

Turns out our car is salvageable!  All we need is to hand over about nine hundred dollars to the mechanic.  (Who’s name happens to be “Mauricio”… which is the same name as the mechanic my Ma took our little shocking green Fiat to, back in 1984!  Ha!) This sounds all peach-dandy on paper… but in practice, it’s quite a searing situation. Giordano was already pulverized by myriad financial obligations “we” are facing.  This was The Straw….

NO!  We will not break!  God is GOOD. We will triumph.  I started a crowdfunding campaign.  Begging for money basically. Part of me feels shame for this.  But a stronger part of me says it doesn’t hurt to ask. Nor to receive.  So far, I have gathered about three hundred and fifty dollars from my sphere of Earth Angels.  I am so grateful.

If YOU are moved to help us resurrect “Penis Ray-Ray” (our car), you can send a PayPal donation to us at:

athenaheavenlybody@gmail.com

Public transportation in our area is nearly non-existent.  I can only bum rides to and from school for so long… My network of connections here is still minimal.  But rich… I cherish the modest bouquet of souls I call “Friend” over here!

 

My glass is hella full today.  I believe in and invoke the unbounded Goodness that is Godness that is ALLness.  I am savoring the feeling of whispered auspiciousness, awakening and co-creation yet to come.

From my heart to yours… May your faith be great and your love be infinite.

~Athena Grace

 

Savoring my existential knots.

Fever-stricken girl

And dreaming cat beside me

As I ache and type

 

The blog I wrote on this day last year popped up as a facebook memory this morning.  Curious to recall my reality exactly one year ago, I read it. Ingeniously, it began with a “portrait of the moment” haiku.  It was fun to read, so I thought I’d give it another go.

 

Yeah, a shadow has swept across my inner scapes today.  Not unusual. I’ve been in a particularly bipolar experience these days.  One day, deep, dark despair, the next, a respite of inexplicable ecstasy, back to darkness, and then a few consecutive days of muted, lackluster peace.  I’m not bipolar, for the record. Just deeply sensitive. And in some sort of baffling growth period.

 

Serena is sleeping on the couch beside me.  She has a juicy fever. Her first in a long time.  The bug is rampant right now. My immune system is putting up a noble fight.  But I feel wiped out.

 

I didn’t come to the page with a burning agenda…. Other than to get naked and express myself.  Because it has been too long. It is a daily challenge to jam all my priorities and passions into a grain of rice and then thread it through the eye of a needle.  Lately, most mornings I give to toaist energy cultivation practices I am learning in an online course. Given the difficulty of my inner landscapes these days, I need to be reSourced.  Great medicine for me. I have also been meditating more.

 

I gave up meditation after a steady practice for about ten years… because I felt like I was approaching the practice from my spiritual ego, and not getting much out of it anymore.  I just felt hella cool to be a “meditator”. It was a relief to let go of that. Soon after, I got pregnant with Serena, and then I lost the luxury of lavish, lengthy sadhanas in the morning.  Meditation lurked in the shadows of exile. But lately, I can’t deny my need for frequent doses of stillness. Mini vacations from the riveting identification with the endless stream of personalities and circumstances and struggles otherwise known as Life.  Ahhhhh. Nutrient dense shit.

 

Speaking of personalities and circumstances and struggles (OH MY!), here is the current existential knot I am attempting to tease apart:  I have been living in an increasingly constricted state of closure, married to Giordano. I don’t feel emotionally safe to be open. He occurs for me as very inconsistent.  Emotionally unstable. He is living under an insurmountable pile of responsibilities and burdens, and struggles to manage his stress. (God bless him. Seriously.) I rarely feel heard or received by him when I share.  Being heard is a massive need for me and it feels terrible when, all too often, my thoughts and words, desires and feelings are sucked into a black hole. In order to not feel said terrible feeling over and over and over again, I just close up.  Blah.

 

Living in this state of closure sucks rotten ass.  It feels so foreign to me. I value openness and expansive, fluid self expression.  It’s so easy to justify my closure. It seems natural in the face of having a husband who struggles with Presence, listening and inner stability.  One who does not know how to interact such that another feels “gotten”, “received”, “heard”. (Poor guy… he was never given the grace of feeling gotten, received, heard as a child.  His parents were too busy fighting with one another. So it’s just not in his wiring. He’s trying. I admire that.)

 

I’m typing all this, and it sounds utterly ridiculous.  Like how in Fuck’s Holy Name did I wind up MARRIED to this dude???  Folks, now we are peering into the belly of the beast. The sheer and utter Mystery of Existence.  Giordano and I are strong magnets that have no choice but to smush together. I’ve never felt anything quite like it; so simultaneously essential and despicable. I can only imagine that this is the freshly sharpened knife of karma.  And I’m learning to stop trying to make “sense” of it… and just be humble and gracious as I live it out.

 

But I want to live OPEN.  I want to be unconditionally free in my heart.  And filled to overflowing with Heaven’s sumptuous love-light, so that I am a benevolent outpouring of it under any and all circumstances.  

 

I’m guessing that my wise and fearless soul set out to cultivate my own inner stability to such a degree, that NOTHING and no ONE on the outside could EVER threaten it.  So I found “Mister Right”- someone who cannot save me (though to his credit, he really WANTS to!), cannot hold me the way I yearn to be held. Someone perfectly flawed. And profusely devoted.  Someone who holds on so fucking tight, that it is impossible for me to pull my all-too-familiar knee-jerk bolt at the first sign of discomfort.

 

Anyway, part of this knot, it seems, is a fear in me of being so fully committed to.  Am I afraid of being deeply loved by a man? Because it’s foreign to my wiring?… Do I obsess over the small stuff as a protection mechanism?  A strategy to hold on to my small self?

 

Probably yes.

 

But it’s a knot, because the “small stuff” gets all smeared in with the “big stuff”, and the relationship becomes this imperceptible soupy blob.  I don’t know what is real, or when to give it the fuck up, and when to hold on as an act of self preservation. Probably better to err on the side of giving it the fuck up.  Like one of my life-long idols, the Landmark Wisdom Course leader, Joan Bordow once said, (when giving advice to a woman friend on the eve of her wedding) “The person who lets go of being right first, wins.”  Sounds so simple.

 

But it doesn’t feel like it from the inside.  Well… in certain, select moments it does… but overall… I feel to be in an unruly tangle.  I guess this is why people have therapists. We are all knotted up in our survival strategies, expectations, fears, projections, blah, blah, blah.  

 

I’m glad to be living inside this question.  And not in a rush to figure it out. Just looking deep within, making myself available to growth and revelation, and acknowledging my deep desire to live as Openness.

 

Ahhh, it feels so good to get this shit out on the page.  Blessed BE the sacred alchemy of the written word.

 

May you savor your tangles and twists like the finest wine….

 

Love,

Athena

The Ecstasy of Crucifixion!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Our Lady of God-Drunk Grace.

 

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

 

Luminous Athena Grace

Our Lady of God-Drunk Grace

 

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

 

Hahahaha.  

 

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

“Emotionally Retarded Children” ;)

It feels like cheating to tell something that happened more than weeks ago.  I mean that’s how most writers roll. But here in Athena Graceland, my jam is to write what is emotionally alive.  Hot, steaming and still writhing around like a twisted pile of freshly spilled entrails. But the beauty of being not only an Artist, but also the Resident Matriarch of Athena Graceland, is that it’s my prerogative to dance barefoot upon my rules and protocols, as Kali Ma upon her bed of skulls.  Besides, I can be too rhythmic and habitual for my own good. Just as Giordano 😉

 

Even if by now, the Life material I inhabited two weeks ago is but the dead tail of a snuffed out comet, this installment of my story MUST be told.  But only in a whisper, and NOT from a mountaintop. Haha. (And certainly not on Facebook, where my “friends” feel they have infinite license to stand in as armchair asses-ers of my most intimate life material.  Often I enjoy reflection… but this is too vulnerable, and being pregnant, I am a thousand times more sensitive than the empty-wombed version of me.)

 

I did it again.

 

On Christmas Eve, I asked my Cosmic Dad to buy me and Serena one way tickets back to beloved California (which I paid for from the modest funds I received from selling my car).  I was sure I was DONE with the emotional turmoil that semi-rhythmically slaps me down like aggressive waves amidst a winter storm.

 

I must be ultra awake and sensitive as I tread the delicate territory of coloring my stories with poetic, dramatic language, while also managing not to portray Giordano or any of the details in a needlessly crushing slant of light.  It’s for the best that I’m not currently emotionally charged.

 

Cosmic Dad asked me AT LEAST FIVE TIMES if I was SURE.  I understood why. I am a fucking intensely emotional being, who is ever-rocked by passing swells.  I had my eye on this too. Because I’ve already played out the expensive and shameful mistake of buying tickets and then balking once, and it was an excruciating lesson.  To ensure that I was moving from Center, from Clarity, I requested to talk with our counselor, Manuela, before I took any binding actions.

 

We spoke for a good forty minutes.  And my FUCK YES to leaving this alien land where you can’t get a decent fucking dill pickle, a jar of tasty, crunchy peanut butter, a kombucha, or fresh, indonesian coffee beans was full sail, full steam, full throttle, full as a fucking blue harvest moon.  And of course it was not really about food at all. I just needed to convey to you my frustration around this stark, pickle-less existence.

 

It was a searing ache to see my brother.  To return to a world abounding with nourishing friendships and an abundance of transformation-based communities.  A world where I can speak (and LISTEN) with anyone and everyone freely, of all things heart and soul and beyond The Beyond.  Shmooze with the checkers at the grocery store and the seemingly random “extras” in my miraculous movie. EVERY ONE. This is one of my passions, and I feel like a defective, tongue-less lump, here in the pickle-less Land of Amore.  

 

And to be done with the Epic Struggle otherwise known as My Marriage.  Haha. It really IS such a phenomena. Giordano and I have a baffling array of dynamics.  I don’t think I ever “fell in love” with him. He showed up when I needed him. And we “fell” quickly into rolls that resembled family.  I often muse that Life put me into an “arranged marriage”. I will love to expound on this in a future blog.

 

Need.  I hate that word.  But it serves. I was hardened by the arduous path of single motherhood.  On our first date (to the Yuba River), he took Serena from her car seat, as though he had done it a thousand times.  He had the heart of a dad. And the dick of a God. Which I “needed” also.

 

But I digress.  On Christmas eve, Cosmic Dad bought the tickets.  Serena and I stayed at our friend Dhuti’s house. I barely slept.  And not because I was anticipating the clip-clop of mystical hoofs on the rooftop and a belly that shakes when He laughs like a bowl full of jelly.  

 

On Christmas morning, Giordano asked if we would love to spend the day together.  I said YES, as long as he could accept that we were really leaving, and was able to be unconditional,  present and share love. An ambitiously steep invitation, considering I was planning to abandon him, abort his baby, and shatter his dreams of family, leaving him figuratively bleeding profusely from everywhere at once.

 

Leaving was a very hard choice for me to make.  But so was having a baby with a man I don’t often trust, in a country where I don’t speak the language and have only three friends.  I imagined not being able to fully surrender to the love of my new baby, because it represented being trapped and confined to a life of suffering and dysfunction.  

 

Giordano rose to the challenge, but naturally was not able to keep his commitment to simply share love and be present.  He became quickly angry and pouring with poisonous words. I asked him to leave. He did. For a few minutes. Not long enough for my body to recover from the emotional intensity.  He came back. With more. He left again. He came back again.

 

This time he dropped to his knees behind the chair in which I sat in silent overwhelm, wrapped his arms around my waist, held my womb and sobbed sobs of the deepest grief I’ve ever witnessed.  I did my best to stay in my body and be with it. Without adding or subtracting. His expression was entirely pure.

My heart began a slow, continuous tear, straight down the middle.  We went home to see what Santa had brought. A Hello Kitty bicycle with training wheels, for Serena.  We drove to the park so she could ride it. Despite freezing temperatures, the sun was shining. It warmed my face.  Was I really going to leave the new, tiny bike and this budding life behind?

Giordano begged me to stay.  He said he would do anything to support me to go to California in the spring.  He said his family would help us financially. (Which in retrospect was a crock of hope-full bullshit….)  He said all kinds of beautiful and persuasive things. And the ripping feeling inside me increased intolerably.  

As you can see, I chose to flush another eight hundred dollars down the toilet and stay.  I was terrified to tell my Cosmic Dad. Which was an entirely founded fear. He was enraged and lectured us like out-of-line children.  Which honestly felt refreshing. He was unfiltered. A rare gift in a sugar coated world. It was a long lecture, so I won’t give you a play-by-play, but the essence was GROW THE FUCK UP.  (Actually the finest moment was when he called us “Emotionally Retarded Children”!)

And my own “special” message from Cosmic Dad was that he has known me for almost twenty years, and he has never seen me fully commit to ANYTHING.  This hit hOMe. And I wondered… how will I EVER make my dreams come true, if I leave as soon as shit doesn’t feel good? I NEED to realize my dreams.  Need.

Cosmic Dad said if we are really gonna do this, we must surrender to the US of marriage.  Any marriage formed by two MEs will dissolve relatively quickly. (And this gospel was delivered by a man who has been married three times.)

I find this invitation to fully surrender myself to the US both terrifying and thrilling.   

After this recent riveting, shattering, masterbatorily fabricated “peak experience”, we shared four whole days of affinity and understated bliss.  On the fifth day, returned the all-too-familiar feelings of fight or flight that arise when I don’t feel heard or respected. Whoopee.

But we continue to receive support from our personally assigned angel and guide, Manuela.  She is helping us dig to roots of our arguments, to uncover the fears that spawn the aggression.  Powerful. We both have so much fear inside. Naming it is revelatory and transformative.

Yesterday was Sunday.  We went for a walk in the sparking snow together.  We did some heavy lifting and transformed our living room.  We shared our hearts deeply while Serena napped. We made transcendent love.  All day long, I had a glimpse of the possibility of actually liking my husband.  And building and creating a beautiful life together.

I am praying, deep and sincerely to have many more days like this.

  

 

First Visit to the “Consultorio”

I finally got it together to see a doctor yesterday.  You know, for the baby.  Actually, here in Italy, it was called the “consultorio”.  This tickles me.  But not as much as the moment two nights ago, when Giordano came into the house with the clothing from the line outside (he was convinced it would rain, despite the forecast’s declaration otherwise), and he said, “The pantaloni, they was rrrigid.”  I am STILL laughing about that one!

 

Anyway, they don’t speak English at the cosultorio, so darling Giordano had to take the morning off of work to accompany us.  We fought a brutal battle in the car on the way, because I was not acting in accordance with his unstated timeline and he thought this was ludicrous.  He felt this gave him license to go on an emotionally charged ridiculing bender.  I did not agree.

 

I explained to him with calm, direct language that when he has an expectation around timelines, it’s best to articulate it with crisp, uncharged lucidity, because even though in HIS mind, his ideas are obvious, I inhabit a different universe.  And vica versa.  My words didn’t make it past the thick armor adorning his aura.  They rolled off like superfluous beads of (olive) oil.

 

This happens with us.  I communicate in what feels to me to be a very mature, generous, responsible fashion, and it gets lost in some sort of nether-worldly cosmic wasteland.  Then I lose it.  FAST.  Suddenly, “Go fuck yourself”s and “Shove it up your ass”es are whizzing and ricocheting about the dense atmosphere of the tiny Fiat, and Serena is innocently marinating in a soupy broth of verbal violence.  I hate confessing this.  I feel disappointed in myself.

 

I had mixed feelings about sharing THAT piece of the “doctor visit”.  But it was an integral part of the “consultorio” experience,  the ecstatic experience that is my marriage, and my soul’s current labyrinthian alchemy.  So I had to give you an honest depth of field.

 

But really I imagined starting off by conveying to you the alarm and desperation I felt when I walked into the minimal examination room, and discovered that my doctor was a man.  And not just ANY man, but an remarkably round man in a skin-tight, long-sleeve shirt that unabashedly flaunted his impressively voluptuous man boobs.  Seriously, I’ve never seen such full, perky boobs on a dude before.

 

I was already in a foul mood.  Now I was ready to turn around and run.  I stood frozen in the doorway for a timeless flash.  He gestured for us to enter, and I made my way to one of the blue chairs adjacent to his desk.  Giordano and Serena opted to stand.

 

As soon as he began to speak, my fear dissolved in his generous warmth and light.  He asked in Italian if this was our first visit.  I could understand, but even so, he quickly surmised that I spoke English, and he addressed me directly.  His bright brown eyes smiled through large-lensed glasses as he spoke. “Yes,” I replied.  And what had been fear, turned to innocent fascination in the gracious presence of this unique specimen of a fellow human being.

 

He looked at my belly and said “Five months?”  I flushed with self-consciousness, as I replied “thirteen weeks”.  Then I stood up, and he acknowledged that yeah, I really wasn’t so big… but my stomach was full of gas.  He asked if my digestion was slow.  “Yeah,” I frowned.

 

Before any more of the story slips by, I will testify that while we sat out in the hall waiting for our turn, “Giordano’s Best” returned from behind dense cloud cover.  He kneeled down in front of me, gave me his full attention and actually LISTENED to all that was still writhing and howling inside me.  He always comes around.  But the fanfare that inevitably precedes The Return sucks royal ass.  Juvenile.  Righteous.  Emotionally charged. (All elements which I am adept at hurling too, when my pain is roused, by the way…) But I’m learning how to accept the whole fucking emotional arc.  And bask in the perplexing rightness of the man and the circumstances that I have been given by Amazing Grace, Herself.

 

The next part is exciting!  I didn’t know WHAT was in store for my first visit to the consultorio… But it turned out to be an ultrasound.  Something I have mixed feelings about over all… because it seems a bit invasive and potentially damaging… but suddenly, BAM!  There I was, laying back on the examination table and getting slathered in translucent, blue goop.  And in a blink, there was “Baby Sister” on the little screen!

I felt like we had walked in on a private party.  There he was—the tiniest little person I have ever seen, just grooving to his own celestial beat.  He looked perfectly content, wiggling around without a care in the world.

 

Yes, “HE”.

 

The voluptuous and sweet-hearted doctor was amused that we were referring to this tiny wonder as “Baby Sister” (Serena was convinced she was getting a girl), and I think this spurned his drive to uncover the truth.  He prodded my baby with his “magic wand”, until the teensy creature uncrossed his legs and exposed his adorable little penis.  At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what it was.  It did NOT look like the tidy little crack that Serena displayed during her first (and only) ultrasound. (Doc said we can’t be totally sure until at least five months… but regardless, he was pretty convinced.)

 

I was not surprised.  I had intuited his boy-ness since the beginning, and have been emotionally preparing myself ever since.  But not Giordano and Serena.  Serena almost cried.  Literally.  And Giordano’s heart sank.  Sorry guys.  I was just tickled.  I’m having a little BOY!  What the hell am I gonna do with one???  I guess that’s the fun of it.  Discovering exactly that.  Loving a boy will teach me a lot.  I just hope he’s not a little terror.  I’m not designed to handle that shit.

 

Thankfully, God never fucks up.  Even when it seems sure that HeSheIt must have been hitting the crack pipe.  (Which lately seems like a frequent habit.  But really, I am enrolled in a rigorous, Heavy Weight strength training, and will surely emerge a Champion.)

 

We saw his little hands and feet, his brain, his spine… heard his perfect little heartbeat.  Eternally incinerated are any straggling fantasies of abortion.  This boy is MINE.

 

I must speak to the contrast between this ultrasound, and the one where I first saw beloved Serena.  That was an unbearably heavy day in my heart.  Ed took me.  We had barely been on speaking terms.  I think I was six months along by then.  It was summertime.  He stood at my side with somberness fit for a funeral.  My joy and delight was suffocated in the airless atmosphere of irreconcilable heartbreak.  I needed him by my side.  And yet his presence destroyed me.  After the appointment, we drove to Stinson Beach.  Ed grilled us a steak in the picnic area.  The day was unusually cold and overcast.  Then we walked the beach.  We barely spoke.  I experienced a surprisingly boyish side of Ed, as he delighted in picking up pretty rocks.

 

This time, I was with my family.  My totally imperfect, but wholly devoted and loving family.  And we were all sharing in a pretty damn PEAK experience.  Each swimming in our own sea of heightened, diverse emotions.  But still, together.

 

I was actually surprised by the magnitude of my quiet joy.  It melted from my center and spread softly across my day, in concentric circles, like a raindrop splashing upon a lake.

 

It was a wham-bam-thank you-ma’am sort of appointment.  The doctor set down his magic wand and walked to his desk.  He said some stuff to Giordano in Italian, as I wiped the blue goop from my belly with the paper towel that he had previously tucked in my pants.  He said to come back next Thursday (which as it goes, is my thirty-ninth birthday), for blood tests.

 

Then we went to another room where a woman informed us of the burocratic hoops we’d have to jump through in order to get full medical coverage for this pregnancy, given that I don’t yet have a family visa.  We would need to go obtain fiscal codes from a different office.

 

All this was transmitted in Italian, of course, and I had only the vaguest notion of what was being said.  Then as soon as we left her office, Giordano was on the phone.  I gathered with his mother.

 

I felt dropped.  Totally alone.  We had just shared a very deep and emotional experience… and then he had received information that I did not understand, pertaining to me… and… he chose to call his MOM???  It would have felt better if he connected with me first and said something like, “Oh my GOD, I’m so excited, I want to call my mom and tell her we are having a boy!  Will you excuse me for a moment?”

I didn’t feel like his partner.  In that moment, I felt like his MOM was his partner.  The one his heart was with.  This weighed on me for the rest of the afternoon… until I found the right moment to share my feelings with him.  To his credit, he received me so generously.  No defense.  Pure empathy and presence.  My husband… He may be an unpolished mother fucker, but he is truly giving his ALL to becoming better.  A better version of HIMSELF.  Not some random schmuck.  He isn’t evolving at my preferred rate.  But I suppose this is for the better too.  Because not being in control of any of it is certainly polishing the fuck out of me.

 

Just think how strong and shiny I will be…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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