Dreaming of Orcas in Winter

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Pushing off the shore… moving into the vast expanse of my mind, heart, Life.  I tingle.  I want to be extraordinary.  And in an instant, this desire turns to pressure and collapses in on itself.  Instead I’ll just be me.  Honest.  Curious.  Optimistic.  Ever enchanted by the weird, wild ordinariness of being a human being in a world of endlessly creative, disguised divinity.

That’s the macro.  The climate of my inner life on this deep, dark, quiet morning.  I just stopped to pick a booger.  It was sticky and I rolled it into a little ball and flicked it across my living room.  It took a few tries to launch it.  I’m embarrassed to admit that.  But the naked truth is that I am a booger picker, and you might as well know.  That’s the micro.

My Ma has cancer.  That’s the burning bush I beat around in my last blog.  Still waiting for the said bush to speak Gospel to me.  But pretty sure it will.  In the mean time, I’ve had two and a half weeks to digest this information.  And trust me, I’ve been all over the map.  I think my favorite emotion has been self-pity.  Yes, I’m embarrassed to admit that too… since SHE is the one suffering.  But that’s the bizarre thing about “otherness”… someone right beside you can be undone in pain, and you really have no idea… allured instead by the glow of my own mediocre struggle.  Frown.

My Ma says she’s not “in pain”, per se… just exquisitely uncomfortable.  Mostly exhausted, and worst of all ITCHY.  Desperate to climb out of her skin.  I witness her experience from the outside, and it’s like watching her through a thick pane of glass.  My dad used to work at the MGM casino in Reno.  They kept a doped-up male lion on the family entertainment floor, and you could pay to get your photo taken with this poor, sleepy beast.  At five years old, I found this thrilling and we did.  The “secret” was a thick pane of glass between us and the Mighty One, which wasn’t perceptible in the photograph.  We had to wait a few excruciating DAYS for the photo to be processed… which pressed me into the grill of searing anticipation.  I died a few times waiting.  And then, gotta love ole Bart Horwitz (my dad)… He was supposed to go downstairs on a break and collect the picture… but he never did.  Over time, my desire for the fruit of this frivolous, exploitive adventure shriveled and returned to sacred nothing.  I learned early not to “hold my breath” when it came to my dad’s flimsy word.

Hence the frivolous origin of my metaphor of thick glass between “one” and untouchable dimensions of “otherness”.  I find it tragic.  Because I’ve been on both sides of the glass:  the one being ripped apart by loneliness, despair, some unbearable shade of pain…. Hoping to find relief in being witnessed… to no avail… And the one blinking, helpless as She Who Gave Me Life, tears miserably at her own flesh.  Oh the kaleidoscopic Mysteries of Existence….

You might not give a hoot about astrology… but I do.  And since this IS Athena Graceland, after all, I’ll report that Saturn’s round, dimpled ass is sitting on my gently beaming moon right now, which creates a mood of solitary struggle.  The sort of suffocating, internal atmosphere that grinds one down to beautiful, shimmering dust.  In the name of Ultimate Revelation.  It’s *not* glamorous.  But totally necessary.  And if you don’t want to speak in cosmically persuaded tongue, that’s cool.  Let’s just say that as far as seasons of Life go, it’s a cold, dark winter over here.

But the beauty of living out such a grueling season, is that there are contrast-carving days such as yesterday, which bloom as bright, delicious hints of spring.  By some unsayable Grace, the leaden weight in my heart lifts… I unhinge from the need for my Life to be anything other than it IS.  This is fresh pressed ecstasy.  I was at peace with my Ma’s fate, whatever it may be.  Peel back the layer of clutching at permanence, and being so close to the possibility of death is exciting.  It clarifies and vivifies Life.  It seduces forth more textures of whispering Divinity, laced in Everything.  I can feel the holy, smiling warmth of “The Other Side”, as my Ma likes to refer to that easier dimension of Heaven, where Light is not tethered to such laughable density.

Gosh, I sure can get lost in the endless dimensions of my mind!  I was telling you about the ease of yesterday.  I did an hour of paid cleaning at my Ma’s group house while Serena napped in the car.  I felt free.  Life was reduced to the simplicity of scrubbing a filmy shower with the green, abrasive side of a sponge and homemade vinegar-water with tea tree and lavender oils.  My large hands squeezed into small, orange rubber gloves.  When I finished, I laid on my back on the gravely driveway as Serena continued to snooze, texting with Ed… deciding on which day he would visit.  We agreed on Moonday.  The day after Christmas.  I felt excitement swell inside.  Danger.  Like looking into the eyes of a tiger, this fragile feeling could so easily snap in the jaws of devastating disappointment.  But like the archetypal Fool, I softened, letting it all be, as I danced after the rose at the cliff’s edge.  I love Ed and I want to spend time with him.  I relinquished the urge to be in control of our relationship and “the future”.  (Which I spend a lot of time and energy attempting to manipulate in hopes of “getting comfortable” and feeling “okay”.)

Then a sliver honda crunched the gravel driveway and spit my Ma out, fresh from another doctor appointment, and less nine vials of blood.  She was high on pumpkin spice latte, which made her behave like her former self!  Full of energy and good humor.  (These days, she mostly exists in a dull state of exhaustion, molded to the shape of her beige recliner, dispensing frequent apologies for her wilted state.)  I lapped up every precious second we were blessed to share.

Lots of other stuff happened too.  (Didn’t the literary precision of that last sentence bring you to your beautiful knees?!?!)  All profoundly ordinary, yet glistening with a sassy hint of revealed divinity.  This is what happens after death.  Suddenly there is new space for Truth to beam through the veil.  No doubt this is what Leonard Cohen meant when he sang, “There’s a crack in everything.  That’s how the Light gets in.”   Death upon sweet death cracks apart the ego’s defenses to the blazing Reality of Light.  Slowly, over time, in my case…and perhaps sometimes all at once.  (Yikes!)

I don’t want to deluge you in the mundane details of my awesome existence, but I can’t skip the part where Serena and I drove to the cow dairy to procure a half gallon of raw milk for my Ma… we left the car running, intending to be quick.  Three calves rested in a bed of hay, adjacent to the milk room.  The smallest one, a baby bull, stood up, spindly hind legs first, and came to the fence to say hi.  He let me scratch his neck!  Then a bigger girl came over and licked my hand with her thick, coarse tongue.  My heart turned melty as they gazed at us with their radiant, wide, brown moon eyes.  I thought I’d never wash my barnyard stained hands.

I don’t know if I’ll feel as right and free today.  Serena woke too many times last night.  Then I awoke at almost four am from a dream of orcas.  It was nighttime.  I rode a ferry and they danced elegantly in the dark water alongside the boat.  I called out to them, “I LOVE YOU!!!!”  When our boat docked, they approached and let me pet them.  I was cautious at first, in their mighty presence.  Then I relaxed into trust.  This dream exploded my crown open and flooded me with infinity and stars and a feeling of pulsing awe.

I am ready for whatever shades of Grace today bestows.

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Superconsciousness And Loving My Mom

I think I’ll write about how much I love my mom. Because everything else that is rushing through my mind is making my heart clench. I don’t know why… I mean, everything that is on my mind is awesome… if you boil it all down. I have been breaking a sweat since I started my Spiritual Counseling class here at the Momshram. It seems simple enough, right? You go to class, they dispense information, you stay awake and take good notes, go home and get on with your life… NOPE. As it turns out, being a spiritual counselor requires abiding in a superconscious state, which then lifts the counselee into alignment with their own innate wisdom. So, yeah, they taught us tools… but none of those tools are worth a damn if I am abiding in my small, separate self.

Superconsciousness is God-mind. Unity consciousness. The sphere where reality is not relative. I am you, and you are me, and we are seemingly individuated drops dissolved in the infinite ocean of love. That’s awesome, right? Like why on earth would my heart be clenched? Well… my best guess is because all of the ideas about myself and life that are rooted in my small, separate self are on the brink of death and they don’t appreciate that. And I have believed for so long, that that is who I am and I don’t want to die!! But really, I DO. I want to be free. I want to remember myself as the Ocean.

The last thing I’ll say about this, before I start gushing about my superlative mother, is that being a spiritual counselor is not something you do for an hour, and then fall back into darkness, separation, delusion. No! It requires vigilant practice!! In every new moment, we have a fresh choice (no, not the restaurant, dummy!)… to be identified with our limitations, fears, judgments… or to lift our consciousness up into heaven within. Like Jesus said, “Let thine eye be single, and thy whole body shall be full of light.” He’s talking about the third (spiritual) eye; the point between your eyebrows; your sixth chakra. Through practicing inhabiting this sacred center all week, I realize that I can not live there AND live in my head, in the past, in my deluded hopes…

Superconsciousness is a gentle home. It makes no demands. And being an inward ambassador of eternity, naturally, it speaks in a tenderized whisper. When it speaks. Often it doesn’t say anything at all. The Self is ever content, ever peaceful, ever free. So you can see how easily it can be drowned out by the relentless, dramatic antics of the ego.

To be a spiritual counselor, is to LIVE in spiritual practice. But thankfully, not spiritual perfect! God, if that was the case, we’d all be screwed. But everyone can practice! I guess at a soul level, we all ARE practicing. Hmmm… Sometimes that sure doesn’t SEEM like the case. Most of us seem to be clutching dam hard at the fringes of oblivion. But heck, I’m not gonna go there. Sri Yukteswar said to leave some mysteries for when we’re Self Realized. I think because on the spiritual path, simplicity and practicality go a long way. For example, I keep reminding myself to pause and lift my inward gaze to the point between my eyebrows- simple, yet potent… Like, really, what else IS there to do, beyond being willing to relinquish all that *seems* so compelling, and simply be awake. Gosh, it seems so easy. And it IS. For a fleeting moment. Until I get swept away in the rapids of my untrained and flailing mind.

But anyway, MY MOM IS AWESOME! It’s been exquisite to be on this leg of my journey… and get to spend so much time with her. I mean, dig this: we share a bedroom (with matching german fairytale single beds)! Yes, for six weeks over the summer, then a two week break, and now another two weeks and counting, we have been living together in hella intimate quarters. Every day, I feel amazed and grateful that this brings us closer, when it could so *conceivably* drive us further apart. You know… by being way too up in each other’s shit. But we’re so harmonious! She doesn’t get jalepeno my business, nor do I get all up in hers. But we both enjoy coming together for little segments of the day and sharing conversation, life and laughter (and sometimes I cry too). I bet if you drew some of each of our blood and looked at it under a powerful microscope, you’d see the same sense of humor splashing about in both sanguinary samples. We can laugh together in a way that is unique to us; like being the only two members of a highly exclusive and totally fabulous club.

I have also opted to be transparent with her in regards to my emotionally sprawling journey with Ed (whom I am still epically in love with and devoted to). This has been a conscious choice on my part, and has had me totter at the terrifying edge of my vulnerability again and again and again. I face my fears of being misunderstood or judged. And yet I keep choosing to expose my heart and my life to her. Every time, I am met with unconditional love. Not that she doesn’t have judgements. She might. But she does not make them the most important thing. She listens to my heart. And asks questions when she doesn’t understand. And the miracle of it, is that so many times, I have shared with her the places where Ed and I get stuck and are struggling to “see eye to eye”, and Beloved Sumitra is able to recognize an convey how Ed might be feeling/perceiving reality… and where I have NOT been able to hear HIM, I can suddenly hear him through her!!! And when I refer to this as a miracle, I mean it. (Though really, I believe EVERYTHING is a miracle… but let’s not go tumble up that ecstatic rabbit hole right now.)

I often reflect on how amazing it is to be on a spiritual journey with my Ma. Like, how many people GET THAT boon? She is such a great friend, ally, human being. If she was someone ELSE’S mom, I’d be so jealous of them!!! I even love the ways that she “messed up” raising me. Because I have the opportunity to choose forgiveness, and only see her for the love she gives and the love she IS. And likewise with the ways her “mess-ups” impacted me. Again, I have the choice to hold myself with unbounded compassion and perfect faith in the intelligence of the divine wisdom that is unfolding me with every breath.

As a child, my mom always let me eat whatever I wanted off her plate. I see this as a metaphor that extends way beyond the act itself. Jeesh, I would have a much harder time sharing my food… even with someone I love entirely. MY FOOD. Dumb, I know… But deeper than that, it’s the energetics of the gesture. Genuinely selfless giving. From pure love. She gives like this to many in a multiplicity of ways, every day. I have learned so much from her. She has learned so much from me. And we continue to raise each other up in the Light. We always will.

Sometimes I like to think about how one day, she will leave this earth. And how much I will miss her. This makes me savor every second we are blessed to share. Or maybe every tenth second… Because sometimes I fall asleep. But I am practicing waking up more and more. It takes vigilance. But it’s worth it.

Live,
A

My Pilgrimage to Ananda Part III

It’s another one of those mornings where I don’t want to write.  I’m feeling flooded with emotions and overwhelmed by this all too familiar experience of being crushed under the weight of my own recklessly tangled dharma.  Every  night that I have slept here at Ananda, I have had disturbing dreams one after another, waking up numerous times with my heart pounding.  I came here to release.  I came here to heal and contemplate.  Apparently I have been doing a good chunk of work at night.  But this morning, I hit a point of overwhelm.  My heart was as full as a well fed tick and tears kept slipping out and streaming all about my face in sadhana.  Lately A Course in Miracles has been preaching all about how only joy is real.  Pain and sorrow are not real.  So every time I rub elbows (and every other imaginable body part as well) with my pain and sorrow, I wonder what I am to make of those seemingly intense strands of aching moments.  Will I ever be healed enough to just be a god damn fountain of ever-new joy?  Is it self indulgent to succumb to all this grief and devastation?

I don’t remember if I mentioned this before, but I could not find my emotions at ALL for the first half of my twenties.  I had buried them is such a deep safe chamber inside of me, to sort out later when I felt grounded and safe enough.  That time came.  And because I had been without them for so long, my emotions became the most precious delicacies to me.  Now when they come, I feel whole.  But… I also wonder if I’m stuck sometimes in indulgent eddies of sorrow… Lately I have been feeling called from the inside to practice continuously stepping into gratitude, presence and joy.  But where does that leave all the shadow-strewn nooks and crannies of my heart and soul?  Must shine light on them.  Must love through them.  Easier said than done.  God, it seems to be taking a lot of WORK right now to be awake and on duty.

As I wrote all that, my mom was puttering around in the kitchen fixing herself a late breakfast. Today is her day off from working in the Crystal Hermitage gardens.  Something about my mom is that she incessantly hums.  I think it is so dear.  Sometimes I can hear her coming before I can see her.  She is a fountain of faintly gurgling song.  I trip out thinking that probably she will die before me and I will live a portion of my life without her nectarous humming and her irritating little habits, her stories of day to day existence and the people she knows.  Something else I have come to love about my mom is that she can’t eat anything without spilling it down her front.  It used to drive me crazy, but now it tickles and delights me.

I didn’t really intend to go on like that about my emotions, but it was so present inside me, that nothing else could find its way out.  If I didn’t express it, I would have just collapsed under the immense weight and opted not to write.  Let that be a lesson to you.  If you think you are having “writer’s block”, which is just an old wives tale any way, just write about what’s most true for you in the moment and then shazam!  You will be amazed at the energy that’s freed up!

Now I’m ready to tell you the exciting news.  The night before last, my mom got an email from the head Swami, Kriyananda’s assistant, Lakshman.  He informed her that the Hallowed Swami had given her a spiritual name (upon her request) back in march, but for some reason she hadn’t received the email.  He forwarded the original email sent by Swami Kriyananda.  Kriyananda had informed her that he couldn’t get down and funky with her first choice, Aria… but that he felt that the name Sumitra was a great fit for her, and if she would receive it, he offered it with his heart-felt blessings.  Sumitra.  She rolled it around inquisitively on her mind’s palate.  Sumitra.  Getting a spiritual name bestowed upon you at an ashram is as big a deal as starting your period, getting married or being visited by a Santa Clause who only comes once in your entire life!

Immediately she plunged into the world wide web to research the name.  First she discovered some long-winded explanation about how Sumitra was a modest supporting role in the Hindu Epic, The Mahabharata.  This did not seem to please her.  So she searched on, learning that at its most simplistic, the name meant “Good Friend”.  Still she expressed distaste.  She did not feel that “good friend” encapsulated her.  I could feel her deflation.

Good friend.  As we lay in the warm darkness of her bedroom, nearing the cusp of slumber, I let the meaning sink below the surface of my mind, into the dark depths where concepts drown and alchemize in their own time into richer soul wisdom.  Good friend.  I told her that honestly, at the end of the day, I couldn’t see anything more valuable than both BEING a good friend and HAVING good friends.  All the rest of the stuff we value in life is mere jingle bells and penny whistles.  Then I thought of my favorite Sufi poet, Hafiz.  He mostly refers to All Pervading Light as “The Friend”.  And reading his poetry, one can just tell that his tenderness and intimacy with God is sheer potency.  It is the kind of food that could sustain entire multiverses for Eternity and a day!  I ASPIRE to have that kind of a bond with God.  No REALLY.  I have to say that again, because I want it SO BAD.  I yearn to feel infinitely saturated by my friendship with the One.  Doesn’t that sound like the BEST thing EVER?  (Sure Athena, you just keep right on a-knockin’ from the Inside…)

I suggested that she contemplate her relationship to friendship… really chew on it and suckle the juice.  Not long after that, I was abducted by a tall, dark, handsome Sandman.  When the morning breathed fresh light into us once again, she loved her new name, Sumitra.  Oh… her *obsolete* name (wink) is Susan… So you can see that it’s a natural stone’s throw from her original sonic invocation.  Spiritual names are that which we grow into.  When we first get them, they seem baggy and awkward.  It is time and experience’s loving hands that sculpt our very beings so that the names glovishly hug our truest essence.  I can not think of anything better to refine ones self to fully master than a Good Friend.

They say that it has only happened one other time that Swami Kriyananda has sent someone their name and it has not gotten through to them.  My mom wondered why her naming was postponed for four months.  Shrug.  Who knows… but if I was the center of the Universe and I had the power to say, I would declare that it was so I could be present for this illustrious rite of passage in the life of my Beloved Mother, Sumitra.  I feel blessed.

Amen.

Ananda Pilgrimage Part II

Two days ago, my mom picked me up from the greyhound bus stop in Colfax and drove us along an exquisite winding road through the forest back to her spiritual stomping ground.  Do spiritual people stomp?  Or do they tap dance?  Samba?  Tango with the All Pervading Divine Dancer?  I suppose it depends.  But the road was magical and put me quickly at ease.  Did I need to be put at ease?  Yes.  It was strange.  For the first leg of my pilgrimage which consisted of a four hour sojourn on the greyhound bus, I was filled with the invigorating cellular hum born of adventure.  I thought and read, dreamed and witnessed life slowly racing by out the window, feeling so relieved to be out of my beaten-to-death-familiar surroundings.

But as soon as the bus released me in the small, hot mountain town of Colfax, on the disconcertingly expansive doorstep of the Great Unknown… Gulp.  I was washed by a surprising wave of fear.  In the car with my mom, I sat with a very young feeling of being perfectly out of control.  In my daily life at home I have my rhythms and routines chiseled brutishly on the stone tablets of my day to day existence.  I traverse the same streets, eat the same foods, (Time out, I just have to tell you that there is a beautiful white spotted fawn outside the window.  It is very young, tender and skittish.  Oooh, there’s mama, too.  The deer are very prolific around here, so I have been blessed with the opportunity to observe them closely.  I notice that they are ALWAYS on guard, never seeming to have the luxury of letting go and stone cold chillin’.  So many boogie monsters out to get them…Ahhh, a day in the life of prey. But they are so innocent and silent. Time in.)

Same foods.  Same songs.  Same Bay Area static.  Is that good or bad?  Is that right or wrong?  Is that in or out??? (Attention ladies and gentlemen, that was me poking fun at our default judicial orientation to compartmentalizing our experience of Life!  And now back to our previously programmed linguistic parade.)  This rhythmic continuity has its ins and outs, as does everything, if you really want to get to bone picking, which I don’t.

I just want to stand back and marvel at that surprise shower of contracted emotion that rained down on me from the invisible sneakery of left field.  I felt momentarily crippled by the fear, because I could not control it.  So as we wound along the enchanted woody road to Ananda, sunlight and shadows slow dancing about the sea of silently chanting trees, I desperately invoked the presence of my own inner mother to soothe this frightened child balled up in my chest and belly.  But the moment of release of course was all Grace’s doing, as it usually is.  (I believe there’s even an old, popular song written about this…Wink!)

We approached a bridge and my mom cheerfully asked, “Would you like to get out and have a look at the river?”  I contemplated her offer for a moment and then said, “Nah… I’ll see it later.”  We were intent on making it back in time for me to attend afternoon sadhana and plus, I just felt lazy about stopping and exerting the profound effort of getting out of the car so that I could stand on the bridge and take a few generous visual gulps of the illustrious Yuba River.  But my mom didn’t seem to hear me, because without even a moment of hesitation, she pulled off the dainty, twisting highway and into a crowded parking lot nestled beside the bridge.

(Time out~ I feel compelled to report a crucial location change.  I started this blog entry in the late morning at the large dining table in my mom’s communal house, “Chandi House”.  Now it is evening and I am outdoors on “the Ridge”, which faces west and overlooks a lush, green valley and distant, laissez-faire-ily rolling hills.  I can tell the sun in contemplating setting a few thousand heartbeats from now.  Outdoor sunset bloging:  It’s a whole different beast.  I’m leaning up against this massive evergreen trunk.  It must be the arboreal love child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mama Cass.  Thank god for the grace of its generous canope, because even at eight pm its so hot here.  This now moment is quite a contrast from my worn-out, nauseatingly usual jumpin’ urban café for sure.  The scent of the air is sweet, earthy.  Oh and while I’m on the subject, this adorable couple was sitting on a bench swing near me.  When they got up to leave a few moments ago, the man, a very luminous (I mean very luminous) older man wished me a good night as he folded his hands before his heart, looked in my eyes and gently bowed.  The gesture burst with blessed essence.  It’s one of those moments that could either slip almost unnoticed into the cracks in time and space, or rattle my soul’s bones with quiet miraculousness.  I opted for the later.  Time in.)

So thankfully, I have finally graduated from the tired-assed, worn out school of constantly finding fault in my mom… so whereas once upon a not too distant time ago I would have been enraged that my mom stopped even though I explicitly told her not to, this time I threw my mind into fourth gear and wearily hopped out of the car to peek over the bridge at this alleged river.  What do I type next… except HOLY LUCID-A-LICIOUS GUACAMOLE!  The Yuba River… It took my breath away and then gave it back to me again a thousand fold.  Envision excruciatingly lush, verdant, sloping hillsides sliced down the center by a rushing current of vibrant, aqua elixir.  Imagine this liberated, crystalline current weaving its way between immense granite boulders smoothed by water and time and certainly by the meticulous Love of the All Pervading Mother.

Again, words are an unjust means to convey the experience of Holy Awe that pounded me like the swift current this great river which clearly contained the Ocean!  The best I can do to get you on the same revelatory page as me is to confess that I threw a rushed gesture in my mom’s direction before throwing myself down the steep incline, ripping off my pants and diving right into crisp, translucent blue heaven.  Yes, in plain English, I leapt into the river in my tank top and panties.  It was as if I was diving into a wellspring of my own vitality.  My whole body tingled with ecstasy and gratitude.

Ever since I heard Little Grandmother speak about how our true energy source is nature, I have yearned for nothing more than to immerse my whole self in Mother Nature’s wondrous, unconditional majesty, drinking it in in unabashed, glutinous swallows.  Soaked and exploding with life, I hopped back in the car, high as a soaring eagle.  How did my mom know to give me this gift?  She just knew.  I love that.  I love that so much.  I love her so much.  I love the Yuba River so much.  And now the sun hovers just above the horizon, spraying dangerously potent, electric orange light all over everything.  The air temperature has rapidly dropped to what would clearly read on any thermometer, “perfect”, “sensual” and “passively euphoric”.

God, thank you SO much… for this moment, for this day, for this life, for this long, arduous and entirely miraculous unfolding.

Amen.

My Pilgrimage to Ananda

My mom has been zealously inviting me to visit her at the ashram where she lives for… wow… maybe a couple of years now…But I’ve just never felt quite right about dropping the tight reins of my life and skipping insouciantly off to her holy land.  Until  now.  Yup.  I write this blog entry from Ananda, an ashram founded by a disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Kriyananda nestled in the foothills of the Sierras (Nevada City).  Yogananda has always been near and dear to my heart, all throughout my life.  I guess he’s the closest thing I ever had to an “imaginary friend”.  Sad to say… since I think imaginary friends are like the coolest ever.  I mean basically they’re spirit guides that love you to bits, play obscure games with you and whisper the secrets of the universe in your ear in the most lucid yet childishly comprehensible terms.  Yogananda never played with me.  He might have told me secrets, but I was too dense to decipher them.  But I’m not complaining, because his constant, subtle and entirely loving presence has hovered gently on the edge of my life, always.  And when I look in his eyes, I know the love that I am striving to drown in.

Another thing I realized about Yogananda recently is that HE is the primary poet who has inspired my own devotional relationship to words.  It was not Hafiz… He gets second place.  Rumi takes third.  Yogananda is not known as a poet, but trust me~ he IS a poet.  His love for the Divine is *romantic*, passionate, pure, effulgent.  When I read his poetic prayers, I am transported to that place where matter becomes spirit becomes space and dancing light.  Through his devotionally soaked words, I have splashed in my share of epic fountains of liquid love, spilling in endless tiers of rainbow streams drenching deep velveteen space scapes strewn with spiraling galaxies.  In other words, his words take me Home.  Just to set the record straight.

In meditation this morning, I remembered a dream that I had just before waking up at four something this morning.  I was leaving an all night party, trying to find my boots among many pairs of unclaimed shoes.  I kept seeing other women putting on similar boots.  Mistaking them for mine, I’d approach them to take my boots back.  But upon closer examination, I would realize they were not mine.  I was feeling confused and helpless, though very focused.  I think it means that I am struggling to recognize my own path right now… looking all over on the outside, which usually proves to be fruitless.  At least in my experience.  I never did find my boots.  But DAMNIT, I will.  Mark my words!

I am LOVING getting an inside view of my mom’s intimate world!  I realize that I have not seen this much of her day to day reality since I lived with her as a teenager.  Now I’m thirty and she’s sixty two and it feels paradoxically worlds different, and yet very familiar.  I sorta feel like we are college roommates or something.  She has this cute little bedroom all to herself and I have made a modest bed on the floor.  (She planned to sleep on the floor and give me her single bed, but I begged for the floor.  Partly because I’m not used to being so bound by the coffin-esque confines of such a small bed and partly because I would incinerate in guilt making my sixty two year old mother sleep on the floor.  Shrug.  I don’t mind the hard floor.  My futon at home is pretty hard anyway, so I am used to it.)  I love being in her bedroom.  It has such a nice vibe.  She’s never been the type to have all the stiff, fancy “grown-up” possesions.  You know what I mean?  Like high quality furniture sets made of dark, beautiful wood with cream colored linens and very deliberate decorum.  No, her space is more like a collage of all the random preciousness that she has accrued over the course of her long, full life.  (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t perceive sixty two as old… I did when I was a kid… but now that I’m older and my parents are older, “old” has been pushed back to late seventies.)  I love studying the contents of her crowded book shelves.  She has so many books that I could easily rip off the shelf and swan dive into.  But I don’t… cuz I’m too ADD and I can barely manage existing in my enthusiasm for books.  It takes me months to read a single one.  And mostly, rather than reading any lately, I have been feeling like a deer in the headlights, blinded by all my burning literary choices.

But my mom’s books excite me.  And so do all the random little do-dads and plants that contribute to the eclectic, spiritual and fun-loving culture of her bedroom.  It’s a little cluttery… but it’s the kind of clutter that smiles at you, demanding that you befriend it and take comfort in its volumes of soulful hidden stories.  Plants, framed pictures of various members of her guru posse, an impressively tall statue of Saint Frances, a smaller though entirely rockin’ Quan Yin statue, a framed photo of my little brother and his girlfriend at the prom, prisms and incense and BEST OF ALL, this big butterfly that I cut out of thick paper and painted for her when I was nineteen.  It is SO amazing!  I should take a picture of it and show you.  Its layers are endless~ dried flowers, acrylic paint, glitter.  What she doesn’t know, is that I made it for her while I was on mushrooms.  She’ll know now, because she reads my blog.  Pitty pat goes my heart.  That’s the trouble with being a writer committed to digging around in the nooks and crannies where mostly benign, fleeting truths hide out… sometimes it makes me tense for a few minutes.  But what can I say?  I’d rather that than hold it all in.

God, there’s so much more that I want to tell you… but I’m almost at a thousand words.  I sure hope tomorrow comes, so I get another crack at it!  One more thing, okay?!  It’s along the lines of having the blessed opportunity to peer into my mom’s day to day life, rather than just know her through whatever she chooses to tell me over the telephone, or over a meal on a short visit.  We ate breakfast together this morning after sadhana (a two hour practice involving energization exercises, asana and meditation!  Such a nourishing way to begin a day!  Jesus!  I LOVE IT.).  And how tickled was I to get to observe what she ate.  I love these mundane things… now that I think about it I think it’s a sin not to know what your own mother eats for breakfast!  Here’s what she ate~ A little bowl of oatmeal with a few dollops of plain yogurt on top, two pieces of sprouted whole wheat toast with one single, foil wrapped pat of butter divided between them and raspberry jam on top of each and a generous helping of orange wedges.  Oh, and a cup of coffee with cream.  I can’t quite tell you why, but witnessing this simple facet of my mother filled me with freestyle delight, which is still coursing through my veins.  I’m takin’ it to the grave, I swear.

She is SO happy to have me here.  I can tell.  The weird thing about mothers is that you can NEVER fully empathize with them until you ARE one.  You just can’t.  A mother’s love for her children is not something that language and concept could ever do justice to.  So I don’t quite know exactly what the song in her heart feels or sounds like from the inside.  But I do know that through my presence here in her sacred day to day world, something deep inside her is fed and filled.  I am so grateful for the healing of our relationship.  We went through some DARK times, which Grace has only breathed resplendent illumination on in the last couple of years.  But trust me when I say that walking through the darkness makes the light so much SWEETER.

Amen.