Dark and Exposed

Friday night.  Seven pm.  Quiet rushes in through the open window.  It’s a restless quiet, strewn with distant, random, urban sounds- train whistle (but it’s *not* a whistle… it’s more like a horn… but if I said “train horn”, wouldn’t that sound awkward?), an occasional siren, the continuous swish of flowing freeway, and the most lonely sound of all: the ticking of the clock.  So slow and indifferent, as it devours life as we know it, one fleeting second at a time.

 

I feel depressed tonight.  I just got home from the grocery store… Didn’t run into anyone I knew.  I was hoping I would, because I usually do.  And I need a hug.  I’m sure at least ninety seven percent of the people in Whole Foods would have shared a hug with me, had I asked… but I didn’t.  Instead I listened to dancy, devotional music in my headphones and looked around like an alien tourist, at the myriad human lives; consciousness streaming through a multiplicity of artistically dreamed bodies…. so near to each other, and yet mostly anonymous.  This world doesn’t make sense.

 

I know the only sanity is to go inside and blend with the silence that lives here.  I do.  Every day.  But still, it doesn’t feel like enough.  Because I still feel trapped in the incessant static of a meaningless world.  Inhaaaaale.  Exhaaaaale.

 

I am waiting.  Waiting for something I can not define.  Waiting for something to click into place.  Like some ultimate meaning which will inform my day to day, moment to moment engagement as a human being, living a human life.  I know that I am here to deepen in my knowing of God.  Like DUH, that’s a given.  And I know I’m here to serve, such that others are more able to touch their own core of sacred remembrance.  But the HOW… the how is so fucking elusive I could scream.  But it’s too quiet to scream.  And the slicing sound of soulful desperation would probably frighten my neighbors.  Life is so arduous.  I can’t wait to wake up from this stupid, pointless, benignly excruciating dream.

 

I’m sharing this with you, because it’s the kind of stuff that is tempting for me to keep to myself.  You know… because I just want to be an inspiration.  A source of upliftment.  And I want you to love me.  And who wants to love someone whose mind and heart are sheathed in dense, deep purple storm clouds?  But I also know that there is SOMETHING to be said for having the courage to simply BE HERE.  And be witnessed at that… Because we all cycle through patches of shadow and light.  And when I am in the light, I am so drunk on the endless beauty and goodness whose juice bursts from the heart of everything…

 

Tick.  Tock.  Tick.  Tock.  Yup the clock is still taking little dainty sips of this life.  And I keep taking deep breaths, and even in my darkness, I am able to taste pleasure in the simple act of taking life into this intricate, expendable body, and then letting it flow out again, in a small and subtle death.  Tick.  Tock.  I would want to thrust myself right into the clock’s indifferent mouth of death… If I didn’t intuit that life really never ends…  But alas, in the face of infinity, what is one to do, but love as BIG and BOLD as we can.  Tonight the love is not comfortable or glorified love… It’s love that just looks like being willing to be here, marinating in loneliness and frustrating uncertainty.

 

I bet Ed can not hear any clocks ticking in the raucous dining room of the divvy pizza place where he and his family are celebrating his sister’s birthday as I type these tenderly tortured words.  Does salt really sting wounds?  I’ve never experienced that… lemon juice, yes… But if it does, I will confess that it sucks like a salted gash to imagine him out with his family, eating and drinking, laughing and having the gayest time in the world, while I sit at home in this puddle of heart ache.  I want to be included.  Of all the dudes to fall in love with…  I really don’t understand why life serves up the ever-imaginative and cruel combos that it does… But I believe in an unsayably intricate and loving intelligence, who is calling the shots, while all of us little blind bitches dance around like tiny, endearing munchkins playing dress-up in mommy’s clothes, inventing entire, fantastical worlds from our crafty imaginations.

 

I guess that’s all I have to say today.  I just wanted to feel real.  Writing makes me feel real… And naked.  And vulnerable.  Because the truth is, I know we all encounter our own flavors of darkness.  And beneath the scummy top layer of resistance, I believe its okay.  And necessary.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Tick.  Tock.  And I pray to God… God please help me find the light switch… and by your grace, be *willing* to flip it ON.  And God, please guide my life, such that I find a place to plug in and give away the meaning that I most want to receive.  And God… just let me feel you here in me now.  Inhaling, you fill me.  Exhaling, you wash back out into the invisible mystery in which we swim.

 

Thank you for being with me…

 

Live,

A

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Outsider Looking In

Tyler, the twenty something year old ex-professional skateboarding champion who lives across the hall from my mom is playing his harmonium as if it were an organ right now.  I feel like I’m in Grace Cathedral, being bathed in benevolently crashing sonic waves.  And the crickets are offering the back-up with their shrill steady sacred syllable.  It’s the perfect cap to the day I’ve had.  Inhale.  Exxxxxhale.  The day I’ve had.

Loneliness crept in today.  Too bad you aren’t aware of the long pause that followed that last sentence.  You will just read these words in one quick, rough tumble helping and then move on with your snack-sized dream of a life.  But here I am, mining my depths so that I can make some good old fashioned intellectual order out of it all.  And I must admit that I did pause to pick my nose, too.  Nose picking… It’s such a soothing and rewarding activity.  A meditative engagement with overt, measurable results.  Sometimes I need that in the midst of wading through all this arduous esotericism.

What can I say about this lonely feeling?  Well… I guess the reality that I just closed up shop on my whole honkin’ construct of a life… and I have nothing to go “home” to… suddenly crept in like wet chills that seep not only through clothing, but clear through skin, bones and souls.  I often think of Michael Franti’s lyrics, “to be surrounded by a million other people, but feeling lonely like a tree in the desert, dried up like the skin of a lizard…”  I find myself feeling that way from time to time… and come on, admit it, so do you… or else the song would not be so popular.  (If you haven’t heard it before, just take my word for it.  It’s popular.)  So here at the ashram, I am certainly surrounded by a million other people.  And yet… everyone seems to be always on the go… and somehow it doesn’t seem appropriate to express my inner most feelings to anyone (not even my mom).  Except YOU, here in Athena GraceLand.  Thank god for this blog.  I’m so acclimatized to a life where I have SOMEone to intimately share with.  But here at Ananada, I feel like an outsider in this fast paced world of ceaseless service, wholesome recreation and bland music.

I still don’t know if the egg came first, or the feathery, squawking layer… But somehow ashram life really got under my skin today.  Was it because I was feeling lonely and emotionally rough around the edges… or was my emotional state exacerbated by all the dogmatic wholesomeness?   Shhhhrug.  Listen, I think its all dandy, really… But today the culture was feeling way too clean for the likes of this dirty soul traveler.  I kept looking around at all the women and thinking that they could all use a good lay.  Sorry mom.  I’m afraid you might find this offensive, but it’s so true for me.  A little sexiness goes a long way on the path to Heaven’s Hot and Heavy Bedroom in the Sky.

I’m not the type of chick who chooses one single path.  (The other day my mom was all thrilled about the possibility of arranging me a ceremony to choose Yogananda as my official lord, savior and sponsor… and though he pretty much IS, I politely declined because I am more of a polyamorist when it comes to gurus in the sky with diamonds.  What would I say to Jesus or Amma, Saint Theresa, Hafiz, Rumi or Krishna when they found out that I had religiously committed to Yogananda?!?!)  So alas, I have stood, passive and observant at the quivering edge of many communities, ways, ideologies, dogmas and flocks of seekers.  And trust me, God not only abides, but dances His All Pervading Ecstatic Ass off in all of them.

A couple of years back, I got coaching on a regular basis from the woman who spearheads OneTaste, the community which embraces orgasm as the nucleus of their spiritual path.  Talk about contrast!  Phew!  That place was raw wilderness compared to Ananda.  At OneTaste, emotional authenticity was feverishly flying left and right.  At Ananda, the collective agreement seems to be that of Polyanna tongue holding and eternally smiling congeniality.  At OneTaste, the women were always flushed and freshly fucked.  Here at Ananda, I imagine most of the pussies are wrought with cobwebs and dust bunnies.  And you know the most amazing part of this… is that everyone is essentially thirsting for the same thing.  Both of these communities are extreme cases.

Athena, what’s your point?  I dunno.  Just that the God I subscribe to is a bit more of a flaming, drunken rebel than the God around here who wears high wasted jeans and penny loafers without socks and get twelve dollar haircuts from Super Cuts.  God bless ‘Im.

Today was Sunday service.  The essence was beautiful.  Trust me, I cried… like I almost always do when my Thirst of God is provoked to the surface.  But boy was it a contrast to my East Bay Church of Religious Science… where everyone dances and claps and calls out spontaneous, popcorn style affirmative praise.  Honestly, I think that it helps that there’s a large contingency of black churchgoers at East Bay.  It seems to me like the black folks know how to let their hair down and praise the Lawd with a capital Celebrate… and that’s more my vibe.  The choir today stood uncannily still as they spilled with sacred song.  But I don’t want to sound critical.  Because I am a sucker for God-Lovers of all shapes, sizes and flavors of song.

For some reason, I felt more inhibited about crying in this church today.  Was it because I was sitting next to my mom?  Maybe.  Or maybe because we were all packed in so close to one another.  Or maybe it was sheerly energetic.  But by the end, I was ready to run into the piney forest and spill salt water all over the hard, dirt path.  Especially when they left us with the final thought, “Go forth in joy today.”  With my hands folded in prayer and my head bowed, the tears came with more severity upon hearing that, since it felt to be so far from my present experience.  Which made me feel for a moment like I was doing something wrong by crying…I prayed to God to help me go forth in joy… then I realized that I am the ever-joyful witness, no matter WHAT emotional climates I slide through.  I tasted joy within my heart-ache.  As my mom and I walked out into the modest heat of the afternoon, I saw a hummingbird zoom right up to the sloshing top of a three-tiered fountain and take unabashed sips from the clear, singing waters!  Guess what hummingbird medicine is?!  JOY!  The moment was sheer poetry and unadulterated Grace.  I knew that God had heard my prayer and joy was as good as mine.

Though Her Holiness did challenge me to a high-rolling game of hide and seek first.  After lunch, I fell into bed with a heavy heart and a noisy head and dreamed of complicated relationships and white lies.  I woke up an hour and a half later repeating in my sleep the mantra that Amma gave me once upon a time.  (I don’t remember ever repeating my mantra in my dreams before!)  When I woke up it was time to start dinner.  It was my mom’s night to cook, and I had been very excited to help her… once upon a time…  I started hacking at the jicama with a heart unbearably saturated with ache… but by the time the soup and salad were ripe for imbibery, I WAS the hummingbird liberally sipping from the singing stream of holy water.  Cooking.  I always find peace and liberation in the kitchen.  Thank God…

Thank you God, for another perfect day.

Amen.

Sleep-Blogging (First Cousin to Sleepwalking)

It’s late and the space inside me feels like reverently humming twilight sky: enchanting emptiness.  I wasn’t going to blog.  I approached the blank, glowing screen about a half an hour ago and lost my appetite.  I just couldn’t find anything in here that seemed worth sharing.  But Mykael coaxed me to at least step onto the page and announce that.  So… attention everyone~ (trumpet thunder and drum squeals) I don’t have it in me to blog tonight!  (It’s a song!)  I… don’t… have… IT… IN…meeeee… to blog… Toooo niiiight.  (And a dance!)  I bled heavily today… and my mind has flown away… I just wanna go pa-lay with the Sandman.  It’s so quiet in Athena GraceLand.  (A cabaret dance with feathers, flower petals, cobra snakes and ridiculously high heels!)

God, now that I’ve stepped onto the page, I feel so seduced by this sacred practice of uncorking and pouring myself into the virtual chalice that seems to exist outside you… but does it REALLY?  Or are these words but a dazzling dream scape smokey, mirrorish trick?  Perhaps everything that is falling out of me is *really* falling out of Your very vast and vivid imagination… Honestly friends, the bottom of this is whole reality construct might actually be the ceiling, or better yet the sky!  Don’t be so satiated by quick answers spewed by archaic experts. (Unless of course they have a respectable LMNOP after their sacred name.)

And while I’m on the subject, I just want to report that I woke up feeling so heavy with despair.  Like a baby waking up with a soaked diaper.  My figurative diaper was brimming with heartache and loneliness.  I didn’t know how I would survive this day.  So I reread an email that Souldipper wrote me the previous day, because it was chalk-full of soul fortifying words.  That jumpstarted a blessed mental shift.  Then in my meditation I asked my spirit guides to help me release my anxiety around managing the plethora of logistics that need to be handled sooner or later.  I asked them too to help me release the chill of loneliness reverberating through my cavernous inner reaches.  Then I asked them to help me feel God’s potent, nourishing, All Pervading Love.

God bless their non-physical hearts, they hooked a sistah UP!

Then after breakfast, I had the inclination to walk to Whole Foods and get Mykael some coconut milk so that it would be here for him when he arose.  (He seemed really bummed not to have any.  It would have been easy for me to take the path of criticism and think to myself, “Well if you really wanted it, you should have paid attention to the fact that you ran out and got yourself some more before now.”)  I used to do go out of my way for him all the time, with enthusiasm and passion.  But then I got sick of it.  Somehow caring for him turned from liberated, joyful choice to begrudging, self-imposed obligation.

Oh, I’m too tired to write.  But I just want you to know that I decided to stand in the space of my offering to him being an offering to myself.  Whole and free and purified by Love.  I let his happiness and fulfillment be my happiness and fulfillment.  I set about my task joyfully.  And because I set out in that spirit, naturally, I begot exponentially more joy and abundance.  This simple act of service was my life raft this morning.  And the day just kept climbing up Heaven’s lofty ladder.  I bled heavily.  I moved slow.  I didn’t get much done.  But I was happy.  And for that I give copious thanks!!!

Amen.

Q: What Did The Chickpea Say To the Pacific Ocean?

A: Warning. This is a test. This is ONLY a test. If this were a real blog… ummm… I wouldn’t tell you it was only a test. But otherwise it would be about the same. Rest assured, though, it is just a test. My bedroom is sweltering and stuffy. I feel like I’m swimming in a big pot of Boeuf Bourguignon*. (I just watched the movie “Julia and Julie” about the woman who cooks every single recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook in the span of a year and blogs about it! I loved it! I’d even go so far as to say I was swept off my feet, the way I have been yearning for Hollywood to sweep me recently! Thank GOD!) The Now feels thick, sticky and… stick-to-your-ribs-y. It was a scorcher today. (At least for us pansy-assed Bay Areans. For you who live in “normal” summer conditions, (as opposed to existing in a sea of fog that might burn of for a few hours in the afternoon and give way to a half-assed afternoon of sixty-something degree sunshine before it rolls back in to haunt the evening once again) you’d probably look at me cross-eyed as you languidly popped the top of your Mexican Coke and swigged it hard, fast and unappologetic. Well I’m hot. And sunburned. And freshly bleeding. And feeling pretty depressed as I watch my life as I knew it disintegrate before my innocent, blinking peepers. Yesir, every day more stuff disappears from the brown shingle structure formerly known as my “home”. I came “home” from Stinson Beach (!!!!!!!) this afternoon to discover all of Mykael’s kitchen stuff~ mugs, plates, bowls, etc. had migrated from their roosts in the cupboard to litter the counter top. My heart sunk. Again. Lately practically every moment seems to be laden with a fresh opportunity to choose happiness or despair. Sure, you could argue that that is no different than every single moment of life. But trust me, it is different. It’s like getting naked and laying on a glacier and saying to your self, “I can either choose to suffer or just merely experience these extreme sensations.” I keep finding myself sad, lonely, afraid, overwhelmed… and then just trying to remember to pray. To feel the sensations in my body. To lift my mind up in gratitude (thank you Souldipper!!!! Your reminder is worth its exponential weight in Love!). To see this friendly mayhem as an expression of the Great Love. Trust me, this is a new way for me and I feel clumsy. See, this is why I didn’t want to write. I was feeling blah… but the more I write, the more tears are welling and spilling, welling and spilling, welling and spilling. Time out. I’m gonna go take a cold shower. We’ll see if that will snap me out of this despair. Time in. Shazam! That was… er… bracing. Cold shower, then a generous full body slathering of coconut oil. Then I burned some cedar. That sloughed off the top layer of despair. But there’s still more layers underneath. Though fresh, newborn despair is far superior to that scaly, worn-out stuff. It’s right up there with sacrificial virgins, waking up to a shimmering coat of new-fallen snow, the sweet, human scent of baby head, a steaming, buttered slice of fresh baked bread. Despair. Actually I read an excerpt of a Rumi poem in the forward of the book I just started (Secrets of the Talking Jaguar by Martin Prechtel) about a chickpea crying out from the stew, “Why are you doing this to me?” and Rumi’s reply is: Don’t you try to jump out. You think I’m torturing you I’m giving you flavor, So you can mix with spices and rice And be the lovely vitality of a human being. If that is the context for the discomfort that I feel as I shed, shape shift, transform and become, then BRING IT ON, GOD!!! Open the sky inside me and let it RIP! I want to be flavorful! And more so, do I yearn to be the lovely vitality of Humanity. But wait… I already have been the lovely vitality of so many others in so many dissolved Now Moments of the past… but have I let these simple, fleeting moments, these sincere offerings of Love slide right through the imaginary cracks in me, so that I have remained empty, because I have imagined there to be more to life than the simplicity of kindness, generosity and connection. “So it goes”, as Kurt Vonegut would say… Ambition. First I must become a famous writer. First I must make a steady income and act like all the proper adults [covertly flailing in confusion] all around me. First I must get married. First I must have a baby. FIRST I MUST FIRST I MUST FIRST I MUST. And then this distinguished graduate of the School of Mostly Soft Knocks took a greedy swig of water. Then a greedy swig of air. Here I am… again. All striving aside… here I am. It’s a hot night in the end of august. My skin is pouring off radiant heat. I recall laying on the beach all afternoon, cooking under a relentless, beaming sun. Then striding right into the glittering, icy surf, reaching deep inside me for a prayer that would arouse the sleeping courage in me to wake and upon finding it, letting the endlessly vast body of the Pacific Ocean devour my flesh and bones and of course my inconspicuous *guts* so that for a single ecstatic moment of union I was One. Tingling, vibrant, elated, satiated ONE. Prayerfully dipping in frigid ocean… Is that what it will be like when God finally comes to pick me up from my long, hard, seemingly endless day at the School of Mostly Soft Knocks, once and for all? God will say, “How was school, Athena?” And all breath, ecstasy and gratitude, I will exclaim, “Amazing!” Amen.

I Know Your Secret

I think I’m too lonely and exhausted to write.  But… lemme at least write a “pilot” paragraph just to see if it gets my engine lubed.  Look, I won’t beat around the psycho-active bush here… I am just wondering how it is possible that I have been hearing God speak to me from so many lips and wink at me from behind the façade of so many unsuspecting, ordinary moments… and yet I still feel to be starving.  HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?  If I had to guess, I’d say it’s just a mental-emotional habit.

Last night Mykael invited me out to a gallery opening and then to hear his friendly acquaintance play music at a local tavern… A beer garden, if you will.  (I love that term, “beer garden”.  In my minds eye, I always see thick, twisty, shiny, fairyland foliage sprouting an ostentatious collection of decorative, microbrewery beer bottles lieu of flowers.  Ornate wrought iron tables nestle amidst the plant life and you simply pluck the beer of your choice straight from the vine and settle with good company and a waxing gruff attitude.)  Where was I?  Oh yes, I declined his invite, though it warmed me to be included.  (Our “way parting” (the new pc term for “break-up”) is going really well this week!  The love, kindness, respect and cooperation are everything I hoped for, but thought might be too good to be true.)  I felt so quiet inside yesterday.  And sensitive.  And I couldn’t imagine wandering into the abrasive outside world.  It was as if I had no skin on.  So he left right after dinner and my aloneness immediately surged in, laden with a tangible heft.  Oh well.  I blogged and then crashed out.  Big deal.  But then I heard the porch light click off and was startled from a sweaty, fitful sleep at a quarter till three am.

Hearing my partner come home late at night while I am nestled alone in my bed… is a trigger for me.  I guess because as a child sometimes my babysitters would leave before my mom got home and I spent time awake in bed marinating in the suffocating sensation of aloneness… Shrug.  I forgive, I forgive, I forgive.  Yes, it sucked… but BFD, so what?  Forgive I may, but the triggers remain… and when Mykael came home, I was not thirty years old, I was seven.  (Hey look!  I made it past the first paragraph!  I guess my engine is officially lubed.)  So there I was, suddenly wide awake, adrenaline coursing through my veins.  I prayed to God, as I am remembering to do more and more these days when I encounter moments laced with seemingly insurmountable bouquets of threatening feelings and or thoughts.

Time out!  I just have to say that I have been getting so many acknowledgements lately about the beauty and grace others behold in me.  (Souldipper, I just read your comment and it tipped me over the edge, into a soft splash of tears.)  What a mystery… Must beauty and ache be so interwoven?  From the inside, I feel like I am working overtime trying to hold myself together, stay poised, clear, strong, spiritually elevated… I feel a quiet, steady pulsing of strength and despair.  Amazing how from the outside, this experience occurs as “beauty”.  This is me falling to my knees and BEGGING God for mercy.  God!  Please bust these chains from my mind.  Free me from my need to control and understand.  May I have the courage to be empty, to be nothing, to simply be breathing peace.  God?  Do you hear me???

Time in… So I prayed to God.  Yet from the shackles of my perception, I remained alone, in the dark, in my bed.  This is the closest to Holiness that I can muster at this time.  It’s just such an impressive paradox… to know that human love belly flops in pools of hot lava and hissing acid compared to Divine Love.  I know this.  Without a shred of doubt.  And yet I have misplaced the door, or the key, or the… Yes, we’ve discussed this one before.  Rumi told me that I will soon find that I have been knocking from the INSIDE.  Great, thanks Rumi.  Now pardon me while take my bloody knuckles and get back to work a-knockin’.

Here I am.  Here I am.  My bedroom is being slowly swallowed by twilight, my screen glows bright and the house is flooded with silence.  Here I am.  Beautiful me.  My heart cries out for its implicit bliss.  As if it could ever be found beyond this oppressively precious Now moment.

When I woke up this morning, I tried to shift gears, burn through the emotions still lingering from 3am.  I almost could.  Almost.  I kept trying to stand up and report for duty on the front lines (it was farmer’s market day), but the oppressive gray sky kept knocking me back on my ass.  My soul weighted as much as an elephant who accidentally swallowed a sassy chain of spiral galaxies.  So I resorted to waking my hung-over soon to be ex-boyfriend up and falling apart in sobs.  He held me.  I thought, how can I possibly show up at the farmer’s market to sell poems when my eyes are puffy and my confidence took flight in the night?  Who will want a poem from one who is such a flailing pile of fear and loneliness?

But a steady, quiet voice in me whispered that I am just like you.  I believe that it is ONLY God’s Love for which we all ceaselessly thirst.  We just wrap it in a myriad of fancy packages.  We think we want a partner, a new car, a sweet vacation, a better job, a pedicure, a bouquet of flowers, an inspired rendezvous with a friend, even.  But any desire we dangle out in front of ourselves and then exhaust ourselves chasing after… is only the pursuit of… Yep, you guessed it, the All Pervading Love-gasm.  So I got dressed (mostly in black, because I am dying to everything I once dreamed I was) and marched my typewriter down the hill to report for duty, carrying in my breast pocket the most tender and universal secret~ Everyone aches, consciously or not, to be reunited once and for all with our Eternal Beloved.

Amen.

A Rigorous Day In Saint Training

It’s a rigorous day over here in Saint training.  I really wanted to use the f word in that sentence.  An f-ing rigorous day (don’t think of a pink elephant…).  But lemme see… how ‘bout a DANGEROUSLY rigorous day.  Or a poisonously rigorous day.  Or this day slithered across the hardwood floor of my all too familiar bedroom, glaring at me like a hooded cobra snake, venomous and unpredictable.  This is the first time in SEVEN years that I have been without the support of a devoted boyfriend.  Support?  Yeah, like emotional support.  I know I touched on this subject yesterday… but I am utterly broken open and lost in hell today.  I didn’t think I was going to write because I was feeling ashamed of and repulsed by myself.  And that’s not very Saintly.  Or is it?

Besides, today is different from yesterday, because Mykael is actually, physically around… yet we are continents apart… which makes the reality of our separation so much more painful.  To be near one who was once my refuge from the storm… and suddenly, I am in the midst of a downpour and he stands there preoccupied by a million shades of a hidden world, watching my bones get soaked and chilled by torrential gusts of inner turmoil and reckless need.

Today was one of those tigress listlessly pacing her teensy cage days.  I lost my will somewhere in the greasy folds of all this transformative soul discomfort.  God did I just want to get pleasantly drunk or stoned.  Or at least go out into the world and frivolously spend money on the comforting distractions of food and ambiance.  But I’ve done that enough.  All of it.  And today was designed specifically by the All Pervading Maliciousness… oh, that felt like a horrible thing to write… sorry God, it’s just that my heart stings so… this alchemy is so HOT, I can barely stand it.  But that’s alchemy for ya.  Do you even have any idea what I’m talking about?  I wonder… I wonder if I’m just an anomaly to make myself sit here and feel my way through such an uncomfortable experience.  Most “normal” people would just pick up a book and have a read or call up a friend and get together for a walk or dinner.  Or maybe fill the hole by shopping.  I hear that’s a popular one for women.  Or eating… I used to do that.  Doesn’t feel so great.  Neither does drinking margaritas.  Mykael and I used to do that like three times a week, back in the glory days.  I would pick him up from work and we’d go to our favorite restaurant, Fonda.  Usually we’d get in a fight on the way (another good distraction tactic) (am I a feeling junkie?) and then get to the restaurant and order our usual~ margaritas, the best chips in the world~ long, thick, salty *CRUNCHY* strips that make me feel orgasmic just in the telling, guacamole, refried black beans and broccoli.  What a hit-parade of oral sensations!  All played to the smeary tune of mild inebriation.  But was that enough?  No… then it was time to slur and shuffle home to smoke some pot and knock boots.  God I love smoking pot and having sex… Sigh… someday… maybe…

Come to think of it, this frustrated, pacing tigress feeling is not such a new innovation.  Come to think of it, she is an old friend.  But suddenly I refuse to medicate her.  I will let her get so intolerant and fierce that she will find a way out of her diminutive cage no matter WHAT it takes.  There may be bloodshed, friends.  I am trying to listen to this listlessness.  Instead of running from it.  There is nowhere to run.  I can’t even pretend to be interested in DOING anything to tune it out.  All I am moved to do is sit amidst the flames and watch myself disintegrate.  Trust me, it burns.  But there comes a time in the life of every tigress clad in fleshy disguise… when she is destined to break free.  My number must’ve come up because I see no other option.  I want nothing of this world of illusion.

Or do I?  I ached all day in my bed, dreaming of being taken out on the town.  Dreaming dreams of heavily lashed eyelids, swishing like steaming, enchanted forests as I sophisticatedly sip intoxicating elixir, the blood of elated grapes, raped and sequestered to dark, woody barrels and then resurrected solely for these lusty moments of seduction and blind consumption.  Sitting across the table from a date who makes me burn with curiosity and yearning.  I probe this exquisite face of the mystery, wishing I could wrap myself around it’s boundlessness in such a way that I may taste satiation, however brief.  I dreamed of being tossed and twirled about a heaving, breathing dance floor, the sweet music unapologetically devouring my mind, simmering me down to the most essential ingredient of existence~ pure bliss in motion.

Duality.  Sigh.  How will I EVER find my way out of this maze?  My bedroom has once again become my cocoon.  But soon, I will burst forth with new, striking wings.  They will be bent and folded clumsily and I will wonder if I actually know how to fly.  Until I find myself soaring free at the whim of some unseen, loving current, over the thrashing turquoise body of the sea.  And in that liberated instant, I will remember something that I forgot I have Always known.

But in the mean time… I sobbed in bed today, squeezed by the binding pain of this meticulous, ordained transformation.  I wiped clear snot on my pale blue sheet.  The prism hanging in my window was indifferent to this display of human despair and spat gratuitous rainbows all about my prison walls.  My consciousness took refuge in the intricate spray of vibrant spectral shades. I studied them until we merged.  I was taken by the fluid, graceful transitions from one color to the next.  I took the electrified colors into me like food, letting them fortify my aching mind.  And the bouquet of dahlias on my nightstand… We have a new level of intimacy now.  My vision desperately probed their mandalic folds.  I found a sacred piece of myself in the deep, weighty shade of magenta, so saturated, it was nearly devoured by a vibrant darkness.

So you see… it’s been a rigorous day in Saint training.

Amen.

Letting Lonliness Slice Me into One

I was going to write about jury duty… I still might.  But I must start where I am.  It is a familiar place, though one that I try to avoid.  Fear and loneliness have seeped into me like wet, cold wind that sneaks right through winter clothes.  Three thirty in the afternoon and the sky is gray and unforgiving.  The air blowing through my open window chases me deeper under the covers of my bed.  I feel so lonely.  I was released from the courthouse by eleven am… and then my yoga student canceled our appointment for this evening.  So my whole day has become one long whisper of unstructured time and space.

Part of me wants to scramble and reach out to *some*one and make a plan.  My mind desperately tries to structure the rest of my waking day.  It is terrifying to be here, devoured by the most starkly ordinary moments, wrought with silence.  Silence!  The very thing that I have been yearning for.  Yes, the thirst for silence has been tickling my palate, pressing relentlessly against the bottom of my mind for some time now.  Then I read one of Souldipper’s most recent blogs, which exalted the virtuousness of silence, adding weighty validation to the increasingly amplified inner beckoning to submit to sacred quietude.  I have become hyper sensitive to words shared between myself and others and honestly, most of them are on par with light beer.

So here I am.  Silent.  And terrified.  Terrified by the threat of meaninglessness, aloneness, emptiness (The “nasty nesses”… Grin.).  Yearning to be diverted, yet digging my heals in and refusing to move.  I must face this.  I thought about taking myself on a date to the movies.  But I’m too stubborn.  I feel challenged by this state of panic. Seduced right to my edge.  I don’t want to be a typical American, stuffing in MORE of anything that I can get my smarmy mitts on…  I don’t want to reach in desperation for a hollow something to shove into this intimidating chasm.  I want to claim liberation.  I want to lean on God.  But God is so blessed quiet and that frightens me.  What if I spend the whole rest of the day trying to feel God’s presence… and I fail?  Then the joke’s on me, because here I was, reaching all of my hands out to this God character and all I wind up with are infinite fistfuls of Nothing.  (Wink.)

Does all of this sound crazy?  Ridiculous?  I’m just sharing my experience with you, because it is what is true right now.  I feel vulnerable, very vulnerable inviting you in to this weird crevice of my existence.  It doesn’t seem very normal.  I think most people would just go to the damn movies, or call up a friend, or put on some music and clean out their closet or paint a water color rendition of their orchid colony.  But not Athena… She’s got something to work out in this echoing realm of solitude.  I feel better putting words around it, transforming the experience from gaping infinite to defined, articulated, translated.

This unresolved relationship to aloneness as articulated by time and space is something I have used my intimate relationships to avoid facing.  I have cast my boyfriends as my saviors, my entertainers, my continuous distractions.  I am curious and excited to navigate the world alone for a while and heal this wounded neighborhood of my soul.  (Are Mykael and I breaking up?  Dunno… but we are certainly separating for a while.  I am going to spend some months in Kauai and he will go stay with his parents while he passes his nursing exams and finds a job.  I will be Athena’s Athena.  I will be All Pervading Love’s Athena.  That is as far as I can see right now.)

Yesterday, Sir John of the Land of Unicorn Milk and Frivolously Spilling Coins (Reno) drove our chariot back to foggy, dismal Oakland.  We drove on highway fifty, through South Lake Tahoe and we were both engulfed by silence for almost the entire drive.  Are there ANY words that can transport you into the sea of awe that I splashed in as we wound along those mountain roads?  Clunky-assed words…  I am digging.

Lucid.  Imagine massive mountainsides composed of gray stone, interspersed with magestic, towering pine trees.  Imagine the vibrant play of lucid, tremulous blue, screaming green, entire intricate worlds of brown and this almost silvery, immovable sea of stone.  Imagine all of this set to the sweet scented music of hot mountain air rushing at your face through an open window.  Enchanted.  Mystical.  I would not have been at all surprised to see gnomes out gathering mushrooms and medicinal barks at twilight, or unicorns frolicking in the occasional waterfall that tumbled down the long, hard, timeless faces of the breath giving rocks.  Rocks.  I was taken by their mostly smoothed contour and definition.  In some places, the mountain peaks appeared to be composed of precariously stacked boulders.  In other places, the same face of stone would stretch unbroken for long spells.  And how do trees grow so virile from ancient, impenetrable stone?

Shrug.  I did my best.  But the wonders of this world are not to be clumsily told.  They are made exactly to fit into the wide-open chasms of peace that reside at the center of each one of us, as lock incites penetration by key.

That epic scenery is a tough act to follow in the way of conversation… so even as we descended into the relentless heat of the sprawling suburbs of unsavory Sacramento, we kept quiet, each nursing the mysterious nectar of our own private world.  Then I got a text from Mykael updating me on his plans upon moving out of our home at the end of August.  In that moment, the curtain of serenity tumbled up and fear, loneliness and alienation swept down in me.  Suddenly I was looking change in right in the cold, reptilian eyes and all my heart could do was stammer and squeeze in on its self.  I felt inundated by cold and shadows.  As if receiving his cue from the All Pervading Cinematic Director, Sir John popped his CD of Coleman Barks reciting Rumi poems into the player.  My paralyzed heart shuddered with a strange cocktail of heavy relief and boundless woe.  The poems were set to delicate, evocative music.  I released myself into the hidden worlds that spilled from them.  Every single poem spoke to my heart.  Or spoke FROM my heart… My eyes became the mouths of raging rivers.  I clung to this sane and sacred poetry like one lost in a violent sea, clinging to a benevolent, bleached piece of driftwood.

Poem upon poem, lavish with timeless truth, ageless wisdom, transcendent beauty and I let each one break my heart wider.  Soft, silent sobs.  I let my soul feed and release.  Outside, Sacramento streamed by in a series of perplexingly meaningless images and sweltering heat.  A couple of times I noticed Sir John wipe tears from his own face and I knew that he too was allowing his heart to be forever changed by this slicing strand of moments.  It was poetry at it’s finest, living through us.  It hurt.  This Love so big trying to squeeze its way through two ordinary humans in a big, silver diesel pick-up truck, speeding through a mundane, baking afternoon in Sacramento.

God, keep all these worldly distractions, I want them not.  I choose this awkward aloneness.  Help me dive in and be quenched in the oasis of Peace that is always here to nourish me in this dream of thirst.  Amen.

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