Menstrual Blood and Sacred Sylables at Three AM

And Athena Grace LMNOP said, “Let there be hella books!”  And guess what?  There WERE hella books!  I am surrounded by titled spines and it is as if I can feel all the minds and eyes that have traversed the papery fields of words over years and days and moments.  Can you guess where I am?  If you guessed the library, you WIN!  I am a woman who requires fresh stimulation on a regular basis; otherwise I stagnate and start to gnaw at my own fleshy bondage.  It gets ugly.  So I thought I’d give the library a try.

I adore books.  But not in the biblical sense. (Grin)  I have been a reader lately, but I have had many literary droughts throughout my life.  You see, I’m kinda ADD, so it takes a lot for me to hunker down and FOCUS.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally worth it.  But the amusing thing to me is that even when I’m not in a reading phase, I still get off on books.  I take them off my shelf and set them on my nightstand with the best intentions… until my nightstand becomes a mountainous stack of ocularly untouched wonders which eventually becomes unbearably tall and unruly and I am compelled to reorganize them lovingly upon the book shelf.  When I travel, my backpack is HEAVY with books, because who knows what I will be in the mood for… Fiction?  Spirituality?  Poetry?  Journal?

Books.  They’re not just for reading, you know… I believe they have osmotic powers.  Like even just being near them is enough to slurp up their stimulating, rich, creative vibrations.  That said, it’s a little overwhelming being surrounded by them on all sides right now.  In the best way.  Libraries might SOUND ungodly quiet, but that’s only if you can’t hear each and every book silently screaming its entire story all in an instant, from its patient place on the shelf.

Last night I was awakened at 3am by a deluge of menstrual blood splashing out from my womb.  Time out.  I want to say that I realize that menstrual blood is one of those taboo topics, which befuddles me, since it is one of the most natural and UNIVERSAL experiences of woman.  Culturally, women are conditioned to feel shame about this powerful expression of our femininity, our capacity to create life and attune to the cycles of nature, namely our one and only holy missus moon.  My mom never told me much about bleeding.  I knew she bled…  I knew I would some day… but that’s about it.  I didn’t ask, since I felt intuitively that it was a source of embarrassment.  Over the years, I have formed a new relationship with my moon time, my blood.  I find it beautiful and fascinating and powerful in a way that I can not even fully grasp.  I like to let it be messy.  I don’t just shove an endless barrage of tampons up my pussy. (No offense to tampons… they’re plenty useful given the right circumstances.)  No.  I like to FEEL the flow, see it, smell it even.  Sometimes I make a sacred blood offering to my beloved plants.

Time in.  So I wasn’t wearing a tampon or a pad at night.  (My flow is mild.  It stops and starts, has a life of its own, independent of convenience or predictability… it’s certainly not a bloody version of Niagara Falls or anything.  But last night it woke me up and I made a beautiful, bloody mess of my sheets and a dribbly trail to the bathroom.  (I am telling you this with the intention of creating a new relationship to blood for all women, as well as men.  It is not something to hide or be ashamed of.  It’s just not.)  I laid a towel down beneath me and climbed back into bed… but shoot, now I was wide awake.  I started to panic.  (mildly)  And then I realized it was a perfect time to say my mantra.

My mantra~ I received it from the Holy Mother, herself, Amma!  While I swam through viscous, aqua heaven this morning, I was remembering the weighty moment when Amma spoke it in my ear.  It’s a moment that I wish I had kept in a teensy bottle, like people do with ancient pirate ships, loaded with treasure.  I would wear it around my neck, and whenever I needed to (at least once a day), I would pop off the cork and peer inside with a squinted eye and an open ear so that I could become drunk on that holy moment laden with divine nectar; sustainable, sober ecstasy.  Her voice!  All at once husky, durable, sturdy and soft and loving as celestial kittens.  And of course rounded and burbling like a stream flowing from Heaven, to Heaven, through Heaven.

When I first received the mantra, I said it with such devotion and care.  But over time, my mind became skillful at thinking about whatever it fancied while also mindlessly repeating the divine syllables.  So I stopped saying it for a while.  I decided to go grass roots with my meditations and simply sit in silence.  But since seeing Amma recently, I have been filled with a fierce yearning for her.  I miss her already and the best way I have to connect with her omnipresent heart is to chant the mantra she spoke in my ear that hallowed night, three-ish years ago.  (I can’t tell you what the mantra is, because I promised to keep it to myself.  A sacred secret between me and the Holy Mother of the Universe!)

Saying it in bed is different than at my altar, one hundred and eight times.  Instead of whizzing through it so that I can get up and go eat breakfast, (not the most spiritually inspired, eh?) I let each word take up space in my mind.  Every word landed on the surface of my mind with a substantial plop, like a pebble cast into a lake.  I felt into each syllable, letting it resonate in concentric circles through the layers of my mind and body.  I relinquished my attachment to sleep, fully present in the life of the sacred mantra.  Soon enough I was back to sleep.  But instead of calling it “insomnia”, I call it “quality time with the Divine”.   Amen.

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Linguistic Tantra

Linguistic tantra. Those words came to me as I was falling asleep last night. That is what I do here on the page. Tantra is (yikes, that’s a dangerous way to begin a sentence… “tantra is”… especially for a naïve, young western woman such as myself. How bout “tantra as I have come to understand it is”…) an ancient spiritual path dedicated to spiritual realization through embodiment, rather than transcendence. Another definition of tantra is to weave, remember? I would say that in this blog, I exercise both of those elements.

People ask me what my blog is “about”… so I give this topic plenty of thought… (I just realized if you scramble the letters of blog, you get GLOB!) Mostly what I come to upon contemplation of this question of intention and essence is that this blog is a forum for full disclosure of my [nearly] unbridled mind, and therefore, my humanity, and therefore, the divinity implicit within that. (And paradoxically, I do this both entirely selfishly, because it is more fun than anything else in the world for me, and selflessly, because I yearn to inspire you, set you free, invite you to relate to yourself and the world through this celebratory, holistic and liberated view) In the recent evolution of our collective quest to realize ourselves as spiritual beings, we tend to give over so much of our own power and authority to outside sources; teachers, priests, people with shmancy letters after their names, etc. We are constantly assessing ourselves, others and the world in terms of “good or bad”, “right or wrong”, “spiritual or not spiritual”… and personally, I find all of this stifling and generally blasphemous.

Maybe I’ll just put some erudite letters after my name. Athena Grace LMNOP. There. Did that make my words gain some substantial weight? Ahem, Athena? You have to BLEED to earn letters. You have to study so hard that you have no time to exercise and your pants no longer fit on your lardy, sedentary, though academically elite body and your friends forget you exist. You have to read a copious amount of mile high academic books written by very “important” people you’ve never heard of that put you to sleep after two minutes. (I guess you can surmise my attitude toward higher education… Listen, it has its place… I know. Nothing is BLACK and WHITE (except black and white, of course).

But I HAVE earned my LMNOP. Where? In the school of mostly soft knocks. Life, I mean. Yeah, by the grace of All Pervading Yummy-ness (I used the word “yummy” because it makes Mykael cringe and dry heave… in the best way…) life usually doesn’t have to knock TOO gut wrenchingly hard to get my attention. Soft knocks are analogous to grimace inducing activities such as getting a filling at the dentist. It’s a pain in the ass, but it’s not that bad. I mean it’s no goddamn champagne brunch in an English garden to spend a day with a mouth full of novocain, but it’s far, far, FAR from the end of the world, or even damaging in the least. In fact, it’s actually a useful, long term investment. But still, though each individual knock may be construed as “soft”, they DO add up, and I have been knocked around enough to be an authority on some things…

I am expert enough to know that you can’t just go drawing lines in the sand of life and declaring that “this” is spiritual, but “that” isn’t. Oh, well, I suppose you CAN, but doing so is comparable to chopping off some of your very own limbs or cutting out arbitrary vital organs. “I need my heart… but this old liver… man, it’s just kinda gross looking… It infallibly makes me cringe when someone says “I fell off the path”, referring to their spiritual path. News flash~ Spiritual paths do not go in STRAIGHT LINES. They twist and turn every which way like the love child of a new fangled, treacherous, barf-a-licious rollercoaster and the world’s most ornately tangled pretzel. That’s just the way it is. Even someone who takes a side trip along the less than romantic and way less than esteemed road of alcoholism… or murder… is on their spiritual path. For God’s sake, stop chopping life up in little pieces and driving around with it hidden in the condemning recesses of your trunk! Come on, then, make yourself useful around here, and get to forgiving!

Linguistic tantra. Another facet of what I do here on the page is I play. Have you heard the Sanskrit term, “Lila”? It means the divine play. The tantras describe this world of maya (illusion) as an elaborate and frivolous divine play. Just for the sheer monkey of it! Microcosmically, that is what I do here on the page. (Even when I feel serious, I usually can still locate at least one single goofball bone SOMEwhere in this heavenly body of mine, and I unleash it on the page in the name of remembering the implicit Hokey Pokiness of life.)

I’ve already written about the weaving aspect. But just to reiterate, I weave all the voices, hearts, beliefs and images that slide through my moment to moment experience both inside and out.

This blog is also a convergence of heart and mind. In the shower this morning, I realized that the voice (throat) is located smack dab betwixt the heart and the head. Frankly, I find this thrilling, since what could be more necessary in life than a peaceful, harmonious and inspired marriage between heart and mind? Gosh, come to think of it, that’s fundamentally the same as striking a healthy balance between the divine feminine and the divine masculine, which seems to be what we are all clumsily attempting these days here on planet earth. Once, in a tantric philosophy lecture, my teacher stated that “man”, the root of the word “mantra” means both heart and mind in Sanskrit, and “tra” means to traverse. So mantra is a traversal of the heart and mind! And so is this blog, a playful traversal of my heart and mind. But Jesus, it’s a pretty longwinded mantra…

Linguistic, mantric, tantric spiritual freestyle. That’s what I’ll tell people my blog is “about” from now on.