The Poetry of Darkness

My inner perfectionist is ALL UP IN MY BUSINESS as I sit here contemplating what to write about.  I want to write something genius and get drenched in positive attention and validation, because these days, I mostly feel like a mediocre nobody.  If only I could show up here in Athena Graceland like a blazing comet that takes your breath away….  THEN I’d be worth the love and belonging I crave.

 

Ahhhhh feels so good to name that.  It was like taking a giant poop.  It’s the shit that lurks, unacknowledged in the shadows that can really “crush the ball”.  (My favorite Italian phrase.  Referring to testicles, naturally.)  It’s amazing how much stirring of the shadow is occurring in here lately.   I oft wonder “was this stuff always running me from the bowels of my psyche, and I just couldn’t make contact with it?”  This is my hypothesis…

 

Which makes it damn exciting that I am starting to be able to have some real, snuggly intimacy with it.  I guess.  If I give myself permission to digest, release, transcend.  Permission.  It sounds so easy.  But walking through it is like swimming through honey.  Except not nearly as sweet.  Maybe shit flavored honey…

 

I guess I could start by saying really fucking nice things to myself on a regular basis.  The kinds of things that would be glaringly obvious to say to ANYBODY I love and care for, when they are struggling.  The kinds of things I want YOU to say to me upon reading these words.  The kinds of things you HAVE been saying to me.  And for a few sacred mOMents, everything feels ok.

 

Like “Athena, you DON’T always have to be producing something in order to be valuable.  YOU are enough.  If only you could see the exquisite artistry of your BEing as you move through your days.  Even when you feel depressed and hopeless, your magic is contagious and inspiring.”

 

Yep, made myself cry.

 

Been feeling like a mediocre mom a lot lately.  Up until recently, at least I felt like I was succeeding at that.  Serena tells me how much she loooooooves me…. too many times a day too count.  Inside I’m like, “Really???  Even though lose my patience and shout at you too much???”  So much for “conscious parenting”….

 

I think I’m doing better than I give myself credit for.  It just hurts my heart so bad when I yell at this beautiful, perfect being who is my daughter.  (Tears silently spill down my face as I expose this intimate dimension of myself.  Maybe not “brilliant” writing… but honest.  Which is courageous.  Maybe lots of moms secretly feel like shmucks, but don’t want to admit it…)

 

Exhaaaale.  I just don’t know how to navigate the frequent moments when Serena yells and screams and rebels “for no reason”.  I’m sure in HER world, there IS a reason.  Even if she cannot name it.  She’s probably mirroring my emotional intensity.  Maybe this is glaringly obvious from your kush seat in the overstuffed armchair…. She’s also a scorpio.  I didn’t know exactly what that meant when she was growing inside me.  But it’s no joke, people.  Scorpion energy is emotional masturbation.  So indulgent and intense.

 

But I digress.  Sometimes (often lately), I feel like I just can’t handle my girl’s said intensity and unwavering push-back.  I wonder if it would be different if I was adequately reSourced.  I don’t have fuckin’ ANYBODY who shows up to take Serena out for the afternoon and give me a break.  Not even my husband.  (He’s too busy bacon hunting.)  I chose such a fucking hard Path.  Dianne says to keep going and never give up.

 

I’ve always been a spiritual PollyAnna at heart.  My Ma used to passionately wish that this was her last incarnation on earth.  She was OVER IT.   And I’d feel so damn good about myself, replying that I would come back here as many times as I was needed.  But I guess the ingredients I needed to thrust me into “Camp Over IT” were motherhood and a painfully difficult marriage.  Oh, and a seeming lack of ability to plug into higher Purpose.  That’s really the one that slaughters me.

 

Mom, I get it.

 

Did I ever tell you that when I told my mom I was pregnant with Serena, she stopped talking to me for like three days?  Seriously.  And we were living together in her sweet little one-room loft apartment.  It was INTENSE.  I didn’t get it.  But now I imagine that she foresaw the terrain ahead, and was grieving for me.

 

She WAS seeing through the filter of her own struggles, of course.  And probably I will triumph at some point.  Probably some day I will heal my precious inner child, get my writing off the ground and enjoy a more autonomous, focused and gratifying existence.

 

I guess I can lay the groundwork now.  By being sublimely kind to myself no matter what.  And appreciating the Grace of everything that Life is laying at my feet.

 

I’m grateful that it’s summer.  I might be conflagrating in soul-angst… but I’m no dummy!  I am still able to luxuriate in frequent near-nakedness.  I am still deeply moved by the ambiance of overflowing birdsong that pours upon the warm, bright world each day.  The disarming, supple softness of Serena’s three year old skin.  And the way everything is play for her.  Gorgeous trees dripping with glistening, red cherries, of which we are free to eat as many as we please.  A husband who often falls short… but is a die-hard who stands the fuck up after he falls, and sincerely does his best to learn and grow and evolve.

 

A husband who loves his unborn son more than I do at this point.  Giordano’s love for Forest is palpable.  Sometimes I’m scared that Forest will be too much like Giordano…  Sometimes I feel like Forest is the steel-jawed trap that keeps me bound to a life I hate.

 

OMG.  A monk and a nun exiting the grocery store, pushing a full shopping cart!!!!  One of those monks that looks like Friar Tuck.  And a nun who resembles…. Whoopie Goldberg.  Haha, just kidding.

 

Anyway, I’m looking forward to holding my son in my arms.  It’s still hard for me to believe that a baby is going to come out of me.  Even though I’m giant and exhausted and insanely emotional.  It was like this with Serena too.  But I imagined that the second one would be different, given that I’ve done it before.  Nope.  Still unfathomable to me that in about four weeks, I will have a SON.  A tiny human will emerge through my vagina and depend on me for EVERYTHING.  Whoa.  And he will be oozing with the fresh scent of Heaven.

 

Okay, I guess this is the part where I just breathe.  Dunno what else to do now.  Oh, except to keep being earth-shatteringly sweet to myself.

 

From my heart,

Athena Grace

 

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Sunlight and Sweet Relief

Mmmm somebody at the table next to me is wearing aftershave.  As a kid, I used to relish watching my dad shave before work (swing shift in the casino!).  He’d squirt a shamelessly generous poof of Barasol beard buster shaving cream into his hand, spread it about his five o’clock shadow and go to town with his blue bic razor.  Fast and focused.  I’m sure he could have performed this ritual in the dark.  Then he’d rinse, dry and pat his tender, virgin cheeks with enchanting, blue splash of Aqua Velva.  To my seven year old self, this was the scent of a man.

 

Smell.  So powerful.  A memory orbiting a distant moon, suddenly fallen like a smoldering comet in my nostalgic lap.

 

I’m happy today.  And profusely hoping that I can ride this wave all the way to shore.  Wishing said shore was days away.  One of my earth angels, Dianne, said that with sunlight and a heart that says yes, I am a force to be reckoned with.  I feel that today.

 

I feel that filled with this happiness, I can do ANYTHING.  I feel wealthy and bold and creative.

 

Even though I barely slept.  Sleep is not my forte lately.  Most nights, I fall asleep with Serena in her bed… wake an hour later, pee (at this point, I spend half my life peeing) and then snuggle like a soft, squishy animal into bed with Giordano.  At which point, I rest into the weight of my struggle and the suppressed force of my Desires.  He is exhausted and quickly becomes a virtuoso performance of gentle snores.  I lay in his arms, envious of his ability to relax and release, calling out to an unresponsive God to fucking help me.

 

How’s THAT for glamorous?

 

Quite frankly, in this moment it DOES seem a bit glamorous.  Angels in heaven don’t have such privilege and pleasure.  WE get to swill grit and darkness by the cup-full.  WE get to embody a spectral depth of poetry that cannot be fabricated or feigned.  Of course I can only say this because my Merciful Lord hath lifted me to “the surface” for a generous hit of sunlight and existential relief.  From here, the depth of my Journey looks stunning.

 

I AM so thankful for my people.  If I died in this moment, my heart would explode like a huge cream-filled balloon and your BEingness would shatter and refract as rainbow sunlight in every direction throughout all space.  I’m feeling you all.  Seeing your faces, hearing your unique music curl like incense smoke throughout my Infinity Within.  In the eyes of my ego, I am so imperfect… but in my love for you, I am limitless, pure and perfect.

 

I was suffering because Giordano has been WORKING.  He leaves early in the morning, and returns home at bedtime.  During the day, he sends me loving little audio messages.  Nothing fancy.  He’s not a poet.  Nor excessively feminine.  But his heart is sincere.  This makes me miss him and want more….

 

We planned a sunday trip to the “seaside” (adorably, that’s what he calls “the beach”)  and sweetly anticipated it all week.  I can’t recall a single time since I’ve been in Italy, where we’ve done something together and had a harmonious, nourishing, pleasurable experience… mostly it’s hard to connect, I feel lonely, we fight…

 

But still, I brought my Beginner’s Mind on Sunday.  When the rubber met the road, he was “nervous” (and mean as a biproduct).  And I was like, “Really???  We’ve been anticipating this beautiful day all week, and now THIS is the best you’ve got???”

 

But apparently it was….

 

As is often the case, he didn’t respond when I talked.  He interrupted me.  He complained and ruminated on things not of the Present.  He drank a small bottle of white wine with lunch, like he does on most of his few days off… as if this were a legitimate escape from the burden of his overactive mind.

 

Little by little over the course of the day, my heart closed.  Despite this, I strove to enjoy Serena’s refreshing, innocent company, let the sunlight and warmth recharge me, release my burdens to the salty, undulating sea.  I sort of succeeded… in a decapitated fashion.

 

But LISTEN.  I am NOT telling you all this to defame my husband.  I understand him pretty well… These days, he is living beneath an intensity of pressure that would break most mortals.  Considering this, he’s actually been pretty damn nice.  He’s breaking through some deeep-assed patterns of anger and cruelty.  Doesn’t mean I’m loving it… but my respect for him grows.  This is a big part of what makes me stay.  That, and his love for our unborn sun.  He loves our baby (and Serena) too much for me to leave without giving him a chance.  Though the notion of leaving is an unrelenting devil on my shoulder, who taunts and seduces me until I am stumble drunk on his hollow promises of happiness in distant lands.

 

Last night, we nestled into bed pregnant with The Unspoken.  Instead of passing out, he stayed with me.  Slowly we unraveled some profoundly unwieldy knots.  He impressed me with his capacity to receive my harsh honesty, and stay open.  I wish he was more consistent in this domain.  But perhaps, with practice he will be.  Because he didn’t used to be this good.

 

We talked until we were empty and united.  Then he asked if he could lick my…. Uh-huh.  I have been feeling so sexually shut down these days.  Depression and lack of trust is not exactly an aphrodisiac, as it turns out.  But what did I have to lose???

 

He rocked it.  In general, he has good technique… yet mostly, I feel like HE’S not loving it.  He’s just being courteous.  I’m all for courtesy… but there IS something to be said for The Zone.   The alchemical expanse where giver and receiver melt and meld into one sprawling puddle of pleasure.

 

I’m not gonna give you all the details of my sex life.

 

That’s not my point.  My point is that I don’t believe I should hide the full spectrum honesty of my existence out of shame and cultural conditioning.  Sex should be normalized and healthy and spoken of at LEAST as freely as struggles and fighting.  And another point is that talking shit out is rad.  I mean like super rad… but it can only get a couple so far.  The rest must be said with wordless lips, with touch and lust and passionate, embodied love.  I dare you to argue.

 

I awoke early this morning, and the freshly hatched day was a-flood with sunlight and the exotic, diverse songs of birds.  It also happens to be Giordano’s birthday.  My body was still brimming with pleasure.  I got up and made us coffee, brought it back to bed, and we tandemly geeked on our phones.  (As much as I despise it, my phone is a portal to so many loving connections.  Sigh.)  Oh, modern day romance… not too romantic.  But the Moral of the Story, is that I felt happy.  And leisurely.  Serena slept until 8am.  And I found myself laughing at the “problems” that usually plague me and sink my blessed ship.

 

Then I wrote it all down, and feel Brilliant.

 

May this wash of sweet relief sustain me for…

Days…

Or perhaps lifetimes.

 

Thank you for your LOVE.

Thank you for your Courage.

Thank you for Believing in me.

Thank you for BEing.

 

Love,

Athena

 

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

Wedding Day part I: What We Wore

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On the eve of our Big Day, Giordano ravaged his closet for the most groomish combination he could muster.  In the way of pants, all he had (that was clean) was a profoundly casual pair of blue “trousers”. (Haha… Europeans!)  He sulked as he announced that they were “ruined”. I never figured out what he meant by that… but my hypothesis is that he was having some pre-game jitters, and eager to indulge in a steaming plate of saucy, Italian-style drama.  He put on a white button-down shirt that was suave enough (though he did toss in a token whimper about not having a flower to pin to his breast). It was the JACKET portion of the outfit that really krushed the ball.

 

All his sport coats looked laughable with his “ruined blue trousers”.  Two disparate worlds colliding. He was miserable as he tore through his entire, dusty wardrobe in search of the winning combination.  A tickled spectator, I sat on the couch marveling at this previously hidden facet of my darling Ball and Chain (wink). I had zero emotional investment in this scene of the Play.  Which infuriated him! He SO wanted me to care. He began to lash out. At one point he told me he hated me.

 

Some might argue for the undeniable wrongness of such an extreme, poisonous statement…

 

But I totally got it.  This unsightly voice of the wounded feminine has struck out in pain through me too many times to mention.  Awash with empathy, I made a concerted effort to shift gears from “being entertained” to “giving a shit”. When he discovered his navy blue wool sailor jacket* in the closet, peace fell upon us like a blanket of snow from the Heavens.  He ended up looking pretty damn sexy.

 

*A quintessential note on the jacket- Giordano bought it with me in Nevada City last year, from a super hip used clothing store called “Solstice”.  He fussed for a solid three minutes because the arms were too short, before finally committing to it. He donned it the foggy, early November morning, as he traipsed with a grave face and broken heart across my gravel driveway, laden with suitcases… toward the airport, and then home to Italy, doubting that we’d ever see each other again.  

 

I didn’t show Giordano my wedding outfit until we dressed that morning.  He called me “Rockstar”. Guilty as charged;) But the deeper cut, is that I was adorned in bittersweet memories of a life of love lost.  Not that love can ever be lost. But I sure have lost some lovers along this messy, fuckin impermanent Journey.

 

From my ears, hung gigantic, glittering black lightning bolts that my Ma bought me on one of our last outings “to Town”, before her death.  I wear them when I want to remember my true identity as an Unstoppable Cosmically Sourced Superheroine.

 

My dress, a teensy, white and black, form-fitting number that I found in a bag of used clothing passed along to me by the chic teachers at Serena’s school, days before.  I guess nothing too bitter about this… but certainly the sweentess of always being given what I need, in the mOMent that I need it. Oh and the sweetness of feeling fabulous in such a miniscule dress!

 

My slender, strong legs were adorned with my remaining pair of “Dead Dan Tights”.  Maybe you’ve been with me since 2012, and peered through the shattered window of Athena Graceland as I navigated the death of my Beloved Dan.  My first initiation in the realm of loss. Dan was my lover, best friend and number one fan. In april of 2012, he was kayaking alone near his home in Costa Rica.  Navigating especially wild waters, he was thrown from his kayak, smashed his head on rocks, clambered to shore, and inscribed a message to me in the dirt with his final breaths:

 

“LIVE A”.

 

Yes, Dan!…  Living I AM!

 

To soothe my thrashed heart, my friend Marty took me to a hip sock shop on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley and treated me to two exciting pairs of tights and two rad pairs of knee-high socks.  My leopard tights deteriorated… but the vibrant, blue lace pair are still going strong, and they made my wedding day cut!

 

What really made the outfit POP, was my Wonder Woman cowgirl boots.  I found them in a Western shop in Livermore, of all places. Ed (Serena’s Dad), took me there in the glorious spring of our romance, to buy me a pink cowgirl hat.   I swear, these boots pounced on me, and did not let me alone until they were MINE. All three hundred dollars of them. (Ed bought one, and I bought the other.) Like the earrings, they transport me to an elevated state of consciousness.  I become a version of myself that towers above the stratosphere and clearly rules the Yoniverse.

 

Recounting the sacred origins of my wedding day regalia, the tenderest rooms of my heart are flung wide open and I could easily crumple in an emotional heap and grieve the loss of Ones who mattered THE MOST and now seem so far.  The hella friendly ghosts of my crushingly blessed past. Ed is not dead yet. But I have not fully digested the agonies and the ecstasies he sparked in my soul. In fact, you should know that I just afforded myself the luxury of resting my face in my hands and letting loose deep, tearful cries.  I’m in a busy cafe. There’s a good chance nobody even noticed. People, myself included, are too busy being the center of their own damn universes. It’s incredible to be here… on this hella crowded dance floor, otherwise known as Earth.

 

Premarital Bliss.

Immagine correlata

Gosh, I was so scared to publish my last blog.  Though I poured my heart out in a comprehensive fashion, ONE single facet stuck me like a poison dart: The confession that I probably wouldn’t marry Giordano if I had money.  I felt so vulnerable offering that shard of my inner life up.

 

Then came the near-erotic thrill, the loss of control that is clicking “publish”.  Then Giordano’s eyes imbibing said confession.  He made his way deeper into this heart when he replied, smirking,  “So you’re marrying me for money?… I don’t have money!  Just one house from my family, who crush the ball every day.”

 

We both had a good laugh.

 

It’s true… If I was marrying a man “for money”, I made the worst possible choice.  Money has been so scarce lately, since Giordano has started engaging in the all-consuming task of picking olives.  It wasn’t until a few days ago that he found the time and money to purchase a cheap silver wedding band.  My adventures at the grocery store have been to the tune of “how much nutrient dense juice can I squeeze out of a twenty euro bill?”….

 

I am marveling at the power of raw, unfiltered honesty.  Saying the stuff that I am most scared to say… and POOF!, I am free. (Sometimes.  Other times I just get myself into relational trouble…)  It no longer festers inside me.  Like a thick fog, it silently screams as it sucks, hopeless, into the blazing Source of light.  I swear, after I posted my last blog, I softened deeper in love with Giordano.

 

Listen to this!….

 

I actually feel delighted to be marrying him.  Marriage feels like an unprecedented adventure.  One of those passages that must be lived through, fully felt and tasted.  Not just read about in a book, or heard tell of around a campfire.  (Or sipping coffee in mismatched reclining chairs with my Ma, as she recounted snippets of her two emotionally unsatisfying marriages, during what I didn’t realize then was the tail-end of her life…)

 

Am I just hella in love with him because I barely see him these days?… I have so much time to miss him..  And then he comes home like a sunkissed war hero, smelling of utterly tantalizing incense.  Seriously.  He’s the most deliciously scented creature I’ve ever encountered.  From the heat of his strong, active body, wafts a hypnotic synthesis of pheromones, pine and earth, fire and pristine alpine spring water, spilling from the heart of creation.

 

It always tickles when he says, “I can’t wait to hug in the bed.”  An american man would never say anything so charming.  It’s totally not an innuendo.  He just cherishes the simple pleasure of our warm, naked bodies entwined at bedtime.  I don’t think I’ll ever tire of his adorable italian translations.  Nor his innocent relishing of fundamental existence.

 

Giordano’s unwavering, rarefied, devotional love is healing me.  I didn’t realize how war-ravaged I was, after a five year affair with a married man, to whom I gave my whole self… and had a child with. (Three cheers for raw, unfiltered Life Experience!) The trauma of settling for Ed’s pathetic crumbs became a normalized experience in me.  Which of course stemmed from the glories of a having an emotionally immature father who prioritized world travel and eventually another family, over precious little me.  I am still discovering forsaken and shy territories of my heart I boarded shut in order to endure the pain of it all.  Slowly, they melt open in the sunlight of Giordano’s wildly imperfect, though incredibly sincere and miraculously steady love.

 

I’m also becoming a whiz at navigating his wounded little boy, (It is still hard work though!!!) which would indicate that I am loving myself pretty well…. Plus, learning/practicing emotional restraint.  I still go up in flames on the inside when he goes off the deep end emotionally, over what occurs for me as the pettiest shit.  I’m learning to breathe more and speak less.  And attune to his deeper needs and more subtle communication.  Hooray for me.  Seriously.  Though it will be heavenly when he graduates to the level of being able to advocate for himself with maturity and consciousness…. The fuckin Italians…. So damn emotional… and not a lot of personal growth courses over here….

 

One of Giordano’s strengths is bringing humor and lightness to otherwise suffocatingly dense moments.  My work is to soften into his invitation to laugh and let go.  Of course I reserve the right to hold on, punish and drive my point home when I feel like he hasn’t gotten the message or the medicine…. But mostly this hurts me more than him.  We ARE pretty comical in our heated moments.  Two giant babies flailing our fat little arms and stomping our squishy little feet.  Utterly riveted by our emotions and points of view.

 

Yeah, I’m really jazzed to be married!  I wanna see what this wife business is all about.

 

“GETTING” married on the other hand…. This is not such a thrilling facet of the jewel for me.  The Big Event goes down in three days.  I don’t have a dress.  I might just pull some halfway decent garment from my closet.  Giordano’s story is the same.  It’s supposed to rain.  We haven’t had the luxury of time to synch up and create meaningful vows together.  99.999% of my friends are far, far away.  I mean I managed to shake loose from the fever dream of my perfect fairytale wedding years ago… but THIS… my wedding day is shaping up to be the polar opposite.  Hopefully the event will make for a good story.  This is what matters most to me deep down.

 

I dedicated that last paragraph to self-pity!  It felt awesome.  But I DO want you to know that of ALL people in my world, my Cosmic Dad will be in attendance.  He will “give me away”.  An insatiable Sagittarius type, he just happened to be traveling through Europe, and swung our way to imbibe in the Hella Holy Matrimony. So I guess in reality, my glass is actually half full.  The man who has seen me through the course of my entire “adulthood” will be with me for this substantial rite of passage.  Whoopie.

 

I can’t wait to report back to you and divulge the dirty deets of my hella special day.  May it be an ecstatic, messy, perfectly imperfect Unfolding, colored by outrageous characters, intriguing nuance and mind-blowing realness.  Yee-haw!

 

Hella Holy Matrimony

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On moonday morning, Giordano, Serena and I drove into the Italian-er-than-Thou little town down the hill from our home, to submit our paperwork, in hopes of being awarded a date for marriage.  Legions of butterflies messed about inside me for myriad reasons. Reading bureaucratically persuaded websites is *not* my forte, so I wondered if we had all the documents required. One thing they HAD clarified at the US Consulate in Rome, when we visited a couple weeks ago (to obtain my sworn statement of single status), was that we must marry before my visa expires.  Which happens at the end of this month. Zoiks!

 

Our pilgrimage to the Wizard of Holy Matrimony required Giordano to miss a morning of work.  These days he is in hot and heavy preparation for a massive olive harvest. His head is nowhere above water in the way of tasks he must accomplish.  Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered someone with so many dangling, disperate obligations. My mom at the end of her life, perhaps…

 

But the point is, the unwieldy pile of my Husband-To-Be’s searing tasks sure brings out some brassy notes in the man.  He already tends toward the anxious shades of the rainbow. As I drove our little white Fiat, “Penis Ray-Ray” along the twisty, one way streets into the center of the village, he spit aggressive, critical directions at me.   I don’t have much tolerance for this facet of him. As an empath, I too quickly get inflamed and agitated, and perfectly awesome moments are spoiled by excessive heat and unkindness.

 

We parked down a hill from the “Common”, and I held Serena’s hand as she made her way up the steep, cobblestone road.  Apparently we were not fast enough for Giordano and in his broken five year old fashion, he let us know (nagging, crabby mumbling, slicing insults).  In my world, we had plenty of time, as it wasn’t even nine o’clock (when the office opened). I was jazzed that Serena wanted to walk alone, as she often prefers, like a lazy, cumbrous Pygmy Queen, to be carried.

 

I have a lot to say still, so I’m gonna pick up the pace.  But what you must know, is that by the time we arrived in the stale-cigarette-scented foyer outside the matrimonial office, Giordano and I were not on speaking terms.  When the disarmingly kind and casual italian lady opened her pearly gate for us, we were like two repelled magnets. I wouldn’t even look at him.

 

We shelled out our paperwork and I was half surprised, half relieved, half mortified to discover that we had all we needed, and would be able to secure a wedding day.  Whoa. We asked for October 28th. Two days before my visa expires. According to my astrologically savvy friend Anitra, that is the smoothest, most palatable day available to us, given our restricted timeline.  They were reticent to work on a Sunday. But a hundred euros and a relaxed sphincter later, they agreed.

 

We stepped back out onto the street transformed.  

 

That sentence gets to be its own paragraph, because it definitely stands alone.  I am not quite sure of the “behind the scenes” energetics of the matter…. But it was a palpable shift to have a wedding date and time.  Thankfully, we were both softened. We stepped into an adjacent bar, and Giordano ordered us cappuccinos. I can’t get right with the culture of drinking such heavenliness standing up, in less that three seconds.  I savored spoonfuls of thick, decadent foam, while Giordano teased me for taking my time.

 

And for my next splendid, death-defying act, ladies and gentlemen, I shall bare my messy insides for you all to gawk at and secretly relate to.  

 

I never imagined that getting married would be strewn with such a wild swizzle of unruly emotions.  Repulsion, excitement, love, powerlessness, curiosity, fear, turn-on…

 

From my insider’s view, I can clearly see how much collective meaning “We” place on marriage.  It means “forever”. It means “so in love”. “Happily ever after”. “The One”.

 

It means none of that for me.  It’s more like, I am just doing what needs to be done to move forward on my cryptic Path through the billowing fields of Enlightenment.  I have been groping to come to terms with it all.

 

Would I marry Giordano if I was financially free?  Probably not. I am marrying him as a single mom who needs help, and he is the flawed Angel that God sent me.  I feel a primal fear in telling it so straight. But as a writer, slicing straight into unflattering truths is the verdant river valley of good writing.  

 

And honestly, no matter how flawed my Angel is, my bottom line is that he supports me in showing up on the page and singing out the unfiltered mess of my Existence.  Which is what I live for. And I guess that’s the heart of the matter for me. My soon-to-be-Husband understands and supports my dharma. Even if it means that he occasionally gets chewed up and spit out on the page.  He may act like a wounded little boy too often. But holding space for me to be my fullest expression as a writer, even at his occasional “expense”, is a powerful stand to take.

 

The density of my Life Material these days often feels unbearable.  Okaaay, that was dramatic. I have it great, in so many ways. But as a woman who aspires to sovereignty and full-throttle empowerment, this is a very confronting life to be living.  I struggle to find a powerful place to stand. I feel small in so many ways these days. Living in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language… Having few friends to commune with.  Marrying a man who I am constantly having to teach and train and tolerate.

 

I can never say that last bit without following it up by how loving he is.  Giordano is so genuinely invested in my (and Serena’s) happiness, delight and wellbeing.  For example, he went way the fuck out of his way yesterday to ask his Baby Mama if we could stay in her rental apartment in Assisi next weekend, so that I could partake in a yoga festival happening right across the street.  While he sweats and bleeds and cries, picking thousands of olives to press into oil…

 

I guess the moral of this story is that on the INside, it occurs like all I can do is surrender to my Path.  I have written recently about my perceived lack of choice in the matter of my life. Like I’m just stepping into what splays open before me, with as much dignity, joy and willingness as I can muster.  Squeeze as much Trust out of my nearly-empty toothpaste tube as humanly possible.

 

Trusting that all this is right.  Trusting that this is all Grace. Trusting that this is exactly what I need to evolve.  Trusting that these are the perfect conditions for me to blossom open AS LOVE and embody the Master that I AM.  Living in said trust is a tall order, as my life is NOT unfolding as I imagined it would. Not that I ever fully imagined my unfolding… But life as I know it has bled way outside the lines of Collective Conditioning.  It’s not the stuff that “Happily Ever After” is made of.

 

Thankfully, I AM the stuff that Happily Ever After is made of… If only I allow myself to relax into this unassailable ISness.  I suppose this is the hidden cheese, wrapped in the bitter pill of my life. Haha!

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I never dreamed it would be like this….

Today I’m wading thigh deep in feelings and questions that I’d rather not share.  I feel vulnerable and out of control, and I’d rather not make waves. I don’t want to be misunderstood or condemned.  But isn’t this tender place where writing actually comes Alive? Maybe. Or maybe I should just roll out my yoga mat, and keep with the private process of silent digestion…

 

Nah.  That feels like hiding.  My inner life is pressing on me from the inside.  The pressure is begging for creative release. But just know that my words are PROCESS.  Not Ultimacy.

 

I’ve been sitting in the YES to marrying Giordano for a few days straight.  I’m still learning how to operate as a highly emotional being in this world.  The best way seems to be to roll through waves of feeling across time, without reacting.  Just being curious and observing. Then, after the wave has made what feels to be a complete arc, I am “qualified” to make a choice, or take an action.  (The antithesis of my knee jerk facebook campaign to get the fuck out of Italy a moon ago.)

 

I’ve ridden this most recent maverick marriage wave across a few days.  I’ve sat with the panoply splash of opinions and perspectives of friends.  And God, let me tell you… this is damn challenging- the work of receiving perceptions, projections, advice of those whom I love and trust… while maintaining a clear connection and knowing of my inner voice/Self.

 

Despite my dumbfounded mind, I feel a sustained YES inside to “tying the knot” with Giordano.  Haha it really might BE a knot. Two lives (plus children and innocent bystanders) all hopelessly kinked up…  

 

Listening to Matt Kahn’s latest youtube video last week, was a turning point for me.  It was called “The Apathy of Options”. The essence was that our notion of myriad choices is actually a function of capitalism and consumer consciousness.  When we are “in the flow”, aligned with Truth, purely relaxed into the moment, the illusion of choices dissolves, and what remains is Destiny’s continuously opening Way.  

 

I can see this being a very controversial perspective.  Choice is such a popular notion amongst the transformational circles I have run with for my entire adult life.  “I choose chocolate because I choose chocolate. Bitches!”

 

Does this possibility of simply riding Destiny’s pre-paved roller coaster track ruffle your feathers???  Good.

 

When I look backwards at the Life that has lived me, it has always been this way-  I have lived a miraculous epic that I could never have imagined or invoked of my own paltry volition.  Something waaaay more immense has called the shots, moved the pieces, conducted the superlative orchestra of Existence.  

 

Moving to Italy and marrying Giordano is no exception.

 

The part that I am struggling to come to terms with, is that I never imagined getting married would be like this.  I thought I’d be “so in love”… Certain that I was with the “man of my dreams”.

 

But as a writer and an ultra-sensitive “experiencer”, I kinda like that it’s not this way.  I come to the table with wildly mixed emotions. A hopeless collision of thoughts. It was epiphanic when I realized that this echoing choir of inner voices and resistances are all trying to save me from future pain and hardship.

 

And yet the track of Destiny continues to smirk as she lures me forward.  In the name of spiritual evolution. In the name of undeniably intimate with my true nature.  In the name of a damn good story.

 

This might sound lame to you, but it’s real for me.  And please don’t thrust your “enlightened council” upon me.  My hopper is already brimming with input. I’m just giving up my raw self for you.  Here goes:

 

I don’t feel like I have any other REAL options right now.  And this comes as a relief. More empowered than victimized.  I’ve relished imagining I could fly back “hOMe”, to California, and get on with my life.  But the truth is that I have no life there. That life is but a flattened flipbook of memories now…. Conflagrated in the mystical act of BEing Alive.

 

What would I do in the Bay Area?  Couch surf (with my almost three year old) for a month at best?  Get a nanny job? Or become a checker at an over-priced health food store and put Serena into preschool full time, so that I could almost afford to pay an exorbitant amount of rent… meanwhile squeezing my creative dreams like juiceless limes, praying for a few tangy drops to splash forth, first thing in the morning or last thing at night?  Continue to grind myself down in hope-stained disappointment that my relentlessly beloved baby daddy is still not available to be the Partner, family and support that I ache for? Wishing that my friends were not so busy in their own survival-based hussle, so that they could be there for me in mine???

 

No thanks.

 

So I’m here with my irritating but entirely devoted Italian Man.  Swimming in a wild, enlivening swirl of mixed feelings. And despite this chaotic and reticent inner climate, the God in me is shining a Green Light.  Italy has claimed me as Her own. The dramatic, psychedelically persuaded, Maxfield Parish clouded, thunder-sprayed skies have seduced me. The pale, crumbly earth drinks my bare feet, as She pours forth her bounty in the name of blessed sustenance.

 

In this shadow-strewn, blessed iteration of my life, I have the support necessary to write a book.  Serena has a dad who truly loves her as his own. Once married, we can apply for government assistance because we have a child.  And this will pay for Serena’s preschool. Ananda preschool. She is so ripe for this developmental leap. Friends, creativity, expansion.

 

During my recent, knee-jerk, fear stained, dramatic upheaval, my friend Joan illuminated in me, a proclivity for living in “fantasy land”.  Well… I feel pretty damn sober now. My priorities are: creating stability for my girl, who is EVERYTHING to me, and writing a fucking awesome book.   When given a life that is richer and more riveting than the best fiction… writing it down is really the only option.

 

And of course, through all of this, I yearn to learn something real and enduring about the nature of love.  

 

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