Dancing with Death (part I)

Well I survived my first night without Forest (since the hospital six months ago).  I had this raw dough gnawing feeling the whole time, but I made it!  Amidst my silent suffering, Shanti-ma reminded me to feel into FOREST and what HE wants.  He was very happy to be with his Nonnie and Papa.  I can see that it’s my own trip… I notice that I’ve come to rely on my sun’s solid, grounding presence.

Serena was elated to have me all to herself.  She practically became another person.  Cooperative.  Kind.  Sweet.  I mean those qualities are authentic to her nature, but lately amidst all the thrills and spills, the less savory aspects of her personality have been louder than I would prefer.  `I can feel her begging for my unwavering, unconditional acceptance, presence and holding… I try to give it to her… but I’ve been too starved for too long and I often feel desperate to… what is it?… To feel FREE.  Free to be me on my terms.  Haha.  Not really the “life context” of a (single) mother of a two and five year old.  When shit gets bad, I feel this wave of violence overtake me and I literally have to raise my hands to the heavens, as if begging for the Gods to intervene.  It works.  Mostly.  

Anyway, even though I wanted to finish my writing in the morning, Serena was content to be near me, watching cartoons.  Her satisfaction and delight were palpable.  Then as soon as Forest returned home, she flew south for the winter.  Meaning she lost her shit at every turn.  Well that’s clear communication.  Having a little brother has been a wound for her to contend with.  And a gift.  Their love spans the chasm where light and shadow merge.

Later in the morning we went to ecstatic dance.  Rachel, my neighbor, friend and life-line to California, organized it (at my urging).  ‘Member when I told you that I was exploring possibilities of who Serena could live with if I died?  Well Mirabai has first (and only) place at the moment.  But honestly, I am so focused on healing, I have not been paying much attention to that.  I just brought it up because Mirabai is a professional tango dancer.  And as soon as she entered my field, I realized DANCING will save my life.  I’m not kidding. TANGO, people!  The most passionate dance there is.  The message sunk straight into my soul:  Dance or Die, Bitch.

But what I didn’t know is how light and freeee I would feel on the dance floor!  Fuck those words “light” and “freeee” because you have heard them so many times that your mind slid right over them without barely registering the MIRACULOUS nature of lightness and freeness.  It was the REAL easter.  Resurrection at it’s finest.  

Ok, this is where I break a sweat.  Coaxing the english language to do justice to a physical, emotional and spiritual experience….

It was a small group of women (maybe seven?), which made it an entirely safe container for full expression.  There was plenty of space and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Every song on Rachel’s playlist rubbed me the right way (not such a common experience at ecstatic dance).  `I am noticing and affirming ease these days, and there was a delicious feeling of ease about being on the dance floor.  hOMe.  

I was WITH myself.  At a level I have never experienced in this body, in this life.  An unprecedented fullness, peace, kindness.  Eyes closed, a voice inside me whispered “I feel like a STAR”.  I told that voice, “YOU ARE A STAR”.  And in the lucid floodlight of my own self-granted permission, I came alive at a whole nother level.  I resurrected the young one who received the message that it’s not ok to shine.  (Little Dawniecakes spent her “childhood career” being invisible because she didn’t feel safe)  My desire is that my full self expression will liberate others ready to emerge from their self-imposed cage and FLY. 

I haven’t seriously danced since before Serena was born… I’m pretty sure… although committing that to “paper”, it looks absurd.  Pure sin.  “Looks to be”… but in actuality, it was a potent barometer of my growth.  The version of me who existed six years ago, though she gave as much of herself to her dance as she was able, there were many “inner rooms” which were still locked.  This translated as a lot of my energy “going out”- like long, curious fingers groping about the “otherness” in the room.  All this externalized awareness was exhausting.  Don’t get me wrong… I still LOVED dancing… but I could only access a limited amount of my SELF.

A Night Without Forest

This one goes out to alla y’all who are experiencing intense waves of fear recently.  I’m with you.  Riding some hella gnarly waves.  But riding them is certainly preferable to being knocked down, sucked under, washing machined, obliterated….

This morning I woke up and was feeling strange sensations in my liver and WOOOOSH!  In no time, my heart was pounding.  Just like that.  Standing before the gas range in my kitchen at five am, illuminated by the stove light, I pressed my hands against my heart with gentle yet firm pressure.  It felt like I was free falling through emptiness and all there was to hold onto was this vulnerable vehicle of flesh.  

I know my work is to STAND STILL.

Stand still and let the fear speak it’s piece while I listen with presence and compassion.

I got this inner nudge to call on Saint Germain and his all consuming violet flame, so I found an exquisite photo of him on the internet and saved it on the lock screen of my phone.  As soon as I flashed to the lock screen to view the fruits of my creativity, the time flashed 5:55 in a blaze of white light from his forehead.  I felt like he rushed through the phone, into the heart of my consciousness.  I knew that 555 was an explicit message from him, so I googled it.  555 is the number of change. Transformation.  Shedding of the old.  Emerging as the Woman of my Dreams.  As I read the extensive message, my pulse slowed again and the fear dispersed like fog in sunlight. 

Gaia took the kids up to the mountain so I could have some space.  I want to tell you about Gaia because she is a divine messenger sent from heaven to shepherd our family through this stormy summit.  Yeah, I really could write a whole blog about Gaia in our life.  How present, attentive and loving she is with Serena (and Forest, although he is not in need as Serena is…  He is like a peacock.  He can swallow poison and transmute it in his blue shiva throat.  I am in awe of that tiny boy.), how she triggers me, her profound devotion to God, the spiritual synergy between us…  

Plus we still have beloved Rosa.   THANK YOU LIFE, FOR SENDING THE “BIG GUNS” to our family at this sensitive time.  Your grace has not slid under the radar.  When I reflect on all of the bitchin souls around me, I nearly fall to my knees in reverence for the magnitude of goodness in our lives.  But then what about the grace of the less savory characters in my story?  (Not mentioning any names 😉  Byron Katie says that our ENEMIES are our REAL friends because they help us grow and evolve, whereas a lot of times, our “friends” just blow smoke up our asses and make us feel good about ourselves.  Listen we are free to

Ha!  I just ended a paragraph in mid sentence.  Soooo wrong!  But I HAD to break the rules just for the sheer BANG of it.  I know that’s immature.  But oh well.  I got off. 😉

I stopped in mid sentence because I only have a smattering of minutes to write and I confess that I was guilty of Beating Around The Bush.  I always have a ton to say… but… in this moment there is really only ONE thing to say:

I just received an audio from Giordano saying that his mom wants Forest to spend the night at their house tonight.  A few months ago, I was pushing for this.  Hard.  Giordano dug his heels into the ground and refused on the grounds that he and Forest were still traumatized from when I was in the hospital in October.  I retorted with “but if I go back to the hospital or die, he will need to have a place where he feels totally safe and comfortable.”  Even though that makes total sense intellectually, G was not ready emotionally and he held his ground.  I was pissed for a while, but honestly I do not enjoy feeling pissed, so daily, I tried my hand at surrender.  Little by little I got to a place where I felt more peaceful than not in regards to our circumstances.  

And then, of course, they shifted.

I have become deeply attached to Forest.  His soul has a solidity about it that is breath-giving… for a 20 month old.  I get a sense that all of the relational drama and ego bullshit around him just rolls like water off a duck’s back.  I love watching sleep claim him each night… his eyelids becoming increasingly heavy until he can no longer keep them open…. His hands touching my face, a contented smile spread across his cherubic face.  The way he plays with his belly button for comfort.  On tuesday morning, he fell and hit his head on a cement corner.  He cried for all of one minute.  There was a lot of blood.  We cleaned the wound and applied a bandaid… but when I checked it later in the afternoon, it was too open, so we went to the hospital and he got two “punti” (stitches in Italian).  I know I’m veering off the road again, but I had to tell you about that moment, restraining him on the padded table in the emergency room….

God it hurts my heart to remember.  The crescent shaped needle penetrating the flesh above his right eyebrow.  His red, tear streaked face.  All I could do is repeat “I love you” like a mantra.  When he repeated through his heart-wrenching cries, “I love you”, I shattered in a thousand pieces.

Oh god, now I’m crying.  But I’ll keep writing through my tears.  Words can’t describe how I love him.  And now, tonight, he is sleeping with his “Nonnie” (he made that word up himself, instead of calling her “Nonna”) and my heart is broken.  I don’t feel ready to hand him over to The World.  

Now it’s 8:13am and I am back to complete this installment of the ecstatic trials of Our Lady of God-Drunk Grace.  I did not imagine it would feel like this to release Forest to the other half of his family.  It’s been this incessant tugging ache in my chest the whole time.  An uneasy feeling that something essential is missing.  

But then Serena is ELATED.  She is basking in the exclusivity of my attention.  A little piece of me is resisting surrender to this, because I had a fantasy that I might actually get an extended and exclusive spree with my own beloved Self.  But pouring my attention on Serena is like watering a thirst-stricken plant.  She becomes plump and bright and precious.  And this is a priority.  I hear the crisp crush of juicy apple against her little baby teeth as she perches on the couch behind me and watches Peppa Pig.  Even though we are not “doing something” together, there is a palpable intimacy in our nearness.

Loving Serena is an exotic yet efficient scenic route to loving myself.  But one of the more difficult of endeavors.  I’m not quite sure why… maybe because I still believe that there are more important things in Life than healing.  (Healing= restoring connection to Source/Love within)  At 10:30am we will DANCE!  A little “ecstatic dance” for the wilder strains of humans laced in the surrounding agriculturally persuaded, forest-dappled, sprawling hills.  I’m looking forward to a literal “dance with death”.  Meaning a space where I can EMBODY all of the kaleidoscopic feelings that rise and fall within me as I partake in this courageous dance with death.  Where they can move and breathe and exist in the hallowed Light of Perfection.

I have been hesitant to write much about Giordano, because it is such a sensitive subject.  But I need to.  For my healing.  Stay tuned… but for now, I will say that our ships are drifting to opposite horizons of their own accord… and this makes sharing Forest all the harder.  Because there is no safe-porting or generosity or togetherness throughout the process.  Which makes it grate on my insides like metal on metal.  For example I texted him to check in last night and I didn’t get a reply for hours and then this is what it said, “Everything ok”.  Wow Giordano, che profundo.

But Saint Germain told me, “No matter what challenges you are facing, you are sure to be on the verge of health, abundance and love on a level you’ve never experienced before. You shouldn’t let yourself be held back by some skittish emotions. Embrace the new and cast away the old. Affirmations are a great way to do this.”

“Skittish emotions”… is THAT all St. G?  Ok, then I will loosen my grip and let them slide through my soul’s fingers like cool spring water, as I embrace the rapid fire changes streaming through my life right now.  I will stretch the skin of my awareness and let it span the cosmos.  So my heart aches….? Perhaps heart ache is but another flavor of ecstatic Existence.  Perhaps it has its own intelligence and purpose.  Perhaps when I hold it up to The Light, it will cast rainbows about the walls of Infinity Within.

Postcard from the way Up.

Eight thirty am.  Bird voices fall in scattered drips about the sunny morning ambiance.  Sunlight purrs in shocks of light about lone strands of spider silk.  I hope all this magic can suckle the profundity out of me… because it is becoming too heavy.  My heart is beaming because I spoke with my soul sister Sushanti this morning, for the first time in three years.  I was telling her stuff and she said, “are you writing this down??”  And I lamented that I have not been able to keep up.  In that moment, I knew that I was committing cardinal sin.

I love the power of paragraphs and punctuation.  Writing really is the same as music.  At least for me.  Finding that stream of inner feeling, a deep surrender to the wild intelligence of the mind.  And then the waves of vibration just ripple through and as you read it, you are moved as if by music.  Touched in places you forgot existed.  

My mom’s mom, Claramae, was a musical genius.  She played the oboe, at symphony level.  But because it was the nineteen forties, she either went semi-willingly, or by force… but there she was with a well-meaning, hard-working man who had recently been released from ten years of prison for robbing a train station during hard times.   You see, he had another family before prison… but for some reason, he did not go back to them… 

Claramae was diagnosed with schizophrenia later in life, when her three girls were in their teens.  (Auntie Linda, feel free to add your voice and expertise here…. Since you are closer to the heart of the action….)  There are plenty of theories around mental illness… but I will testify that since I came to Italy, married Giordano and had Forest… I have felt her pain.  And from inside that pain, I can imagine that mental illness is not just hereditary or chemical.  I would hypothesize that a significant facet of it is circumstantial.  Saying NO to your soul’s longings, appetites and dreams causes illness.  And even death.

I sense that my soul wanted to experience a heavy-handed homeopathic dose of Claramae’s struggle, so that I could feel it and heal it.  God it was miserable.  To be an artist trapped in a domestic prison with a mismatched husband and not enough friendship, support or sweetness.  And by the Power vested in me, I declare this cycle eternally dissolved.  

My spirit guides told me that I will not die.  My soul merely wants to partake in an intimate exploration of death.  (this information, via Carolyn, the energy healer.)  It resonates.  Deeply.  In fact, when she told me, I had a vivid memory of being about three and BEGGING my Ma to take me to the mortuary to see a dead body… My guides said that I will befriend and penetrate the fear of death and find peace in my eternal nature.  They said in a few years, a couple of my family members will be leaving and I will be prepared to assist the process. 

Sounds wonderful.

But.

How do I walk through the fears?

It’s those seemingly insignificant moments… when the fear rushes in.  (It does NOT creep in this neck of the woods… it RUSHES.)  To call upon Stillness in those tremulous moments.  To call upon breath.  R E L A X .  Relax into the experience of fear as into a hot bath.  

I’m starving for sexual love.

(I’m not going to expound upon that now… but it plunged to the surface of my awareness, gasping for light and breath and I felt to give it a flash dance in the spotlight.  And while I’m on the subject, I’ll say that there is a part of me who is enjoying the burn of want.  The void.  The electric Possibility of finding Him.  The him who is plugged into the Him and has put in time and effort in the art of giving and receiving love.  But I will not ask him to pay my bills.  I will not be his mommy.  I won’t wash his dishes, cook for him or do his laundry.  If he doesn’t want to do it himself, he can hire a maid.  I will be busy writing books and sharing quality presence with my delicious kids and friends and saying YES to Life as a whole and sovereign being who is unabashedly joy-full as she cruises up the ascension elevator with Humanity.  (And speaking of “mommy”, I love being a mom now that I have support.  It’s a completely different game.  Thanks cancer!  

Even though I navigate waves of fear, the joy in my heart is profoundly palpable.  I wish I could give some to you right now… What’s it like?…. Almost a tingle… but more subtle and continuous…. Right in my heart.  My heart is healing.  And this is the underlying cause of my physical healing.  I am a disciple to my own wellbeing now, and for this, I will live.

But I must be willing to die. 

A BEE!!!

God is sending so many bee messengers these days.  I just googled it, and besides work ethic and productivity, they are also bearers of the remembrance of miracles.  Perfect.

But enough about miracles, back to the pressing matter at hand.  How to TRULY metabolize this primal fear.  BTW, the spider web threads are still shimmering, (speaking of miracles).  I want to get THE MOST out of this exploration of death.  My guides told me to VISUALIZE a friend or loved one dying… imagine getting in the coffin next to them.  Creepy shit, right?  But… only because of our conditioning.  The truth of the moment of a soul’s passing is a profound pause between inhale and exhale, in which all of Creation rests in ecstatic perfection.  I will be one of the few on this planet who has successfully sailed to the tootsie roll Center of It All and returned with souvenirs for all who care to be free from Fear forever.

Cancer is my soul’s own flavor of bungee jumping, or parachuting.  I leap into the abyss… with the thrill of knowing that I could lose my life… and yet my navigation is set for the lush land mass beyond the dark, churning waters.  It’s a bracing scenario!!!  Haha, am I being too light?  Too irreverent?  Noooo, come ON people, I’ve gotta make light of It All.  Otherwise it would take me down!  

`But that’s the tricky thing about the alchemy of fear… you can’t just shove it to the side of your plate and then hope to toss it down the sinkerator.  Well… I don’t know if YOU can or can’t… but I DO know that this initiation of mine is firmly asking me to release myself into the epicenter of the fear.  In my body.  And GO THROUGH it.  Dissolve it with the Light I AM.  

Not easy.  But totally doable.

At least it helps to know what game you are playing. 

Oh and just for the record, I don’t know if “sinkerator” is a word… but I DO know that you know what `I meant.  And is that not the fundamental purpose of language??? To transmit some loose semblance of meaning?  Oh I’m so deep I could CRY.  

It’s so wonderful to be alive.  

Keep the faith, People.  

The elevator is on it’s way Up.

Simmering in the juices of longing

Dear Yoniverse, why is it SO hard to write these days?  I am closed in my bedroom.  It’s seven-oh-five am.  I hear Foresty crying on the other side of the wall.  But I can’t resist the fierce gravity of the sanctum of the written word.  I can’t stay away even if the chinese doctor said my pulse was thin and my vital energy was at an ebb… Writers write until their very last breath.  Like my Dan, who used his final  drops of consciousness to scribble in the sand for me, “Live A”… Nine years ago.

I AM LIVING DAN!!!!!  Look at me go!!!!

God I could say sooooo much.  I have lived lifetimes since my last blog.  Lifetimes.  I’m not being dramatic.  I’m not the most sensitive new age chick that ever lived, but I almost feel like this is actually, literally, the first day of my life.  Some kind of major overhaul is underway and it feels so refreshing.  I am a surfer and the sets are hella gnarly these days.  

Forest isn’t crying anymore.  

I am settling into myself.

I want to tell you about this feeling of panic I’ve been noticing arise lately as I settle into the reality that even though I wear a wedding ring, I do not have a partner.  This feeling of OHMYGOD I’m going to lose something I can’t live without.  Touch.  Sex.  Merging.  Feeling wanted.  (by someone other than my kids!  haha.)

But with even just a dash of introspection, it doesn’t really make too much sense to seek intimacy with someone that I don’t trust.  Like DUH, Athena.  I remember sitting on the couch with Giordano just mere weeks ago, fighting under the loving though perhaps slightly flustered gaze of our counselor, my body filled with rage and desire.  Desire for HIM.  I left that meeting after exclaiming a brazen “fuck you” and then walking out.  But honestly, if he had’ve seized my wrists and pushed me up against the wall like he did that day before I left….

But it’s waning.  And I’m not “doing” anything.  It’s as if once our magnets were polarized, and now they repel.  We, the ecstatic marionettes, bobbing sleepily upon our gossamer strings.  

I know that Life is asking me to move with Her… let go… into an intentional aloneness that heals.  The kind of honest aloneness that few are willing to allow because the price of admission involves a profound willingness to sit in the slimy, groaning, sulphur depths of The Dark Night.  Without panicking and doing all those Things.   You know the ones.  Well… if you’re LUCKY you do… If you know, then you are in the alchemical cauldron and when your time is ripe, you will be released with a sense of palpable, tremulous wonderment…. Because the One who sees, feels, lives through you has been reborn in the Way of Love.

Anyway, it took a slice down the middle, a colostomy, lung metastasis, domestic violence and community intervention for me to even get to this place of half-baked redemption.

To my Self.

Yeah folks, I’m going for the Grail.  The Grail that is intimacy with my own gooey center of divine I AM.  

But back to the terror.  It’s not easy.  I feel the one in me who does not want to let go.  It’s as if the past is being sucked up by a giant vacuum in the sky and there are fresh eyes opening through me.  And the identity dies hard.  So even though the truth is that I feel that I am being remade but I’m not yet fully formed, I still notice my mind grasping for familiar thought patterns and images… but they just don’t fit like they used to.  

Sorry for that last sentence.  It was a bit of a twisty road… It made me laugh because it reminded me of reading Matt Kahn’s books.  He often starts his sentences with phrases that condemn the poor things to being hopelessly long winded and cryptic.  But I love him.  And I unpack the plentiful goodies in his words and…

Ahem.  I’m noticing how confronting it is to just let go into being alone.  Without a man.  His coarse face and earthy scent.  But in case you have not noticed, I… uh…. have some healing to do.  Yes… we can laugh about it.  It’s absolutely amazing to me how Life always provides us a mirror to reveal our hidden inner conditions.  And it really IS a path of Mastery to approach it this way.  And course-correct accordingly.  WITH LOVE.

Ohhh, can I just tell you how gooood it feels to be pouring forth?  It feels like oneness.  Merging with… me.  But a vast, profound and liberated iteration of “me”   I feel this warm oozing ribbon of bright intelligence pouring through me and moving my fingertips and my eyes are seeing it, so it must be “me”…. Right?

Okay tripper.  I wonder if my philosophocality is a conditioned response to trauma…. A way of avoiding being in my body.  Is it possible to be philosophical and embodied at once???  Well????  Go on, TRY IT!!!  

So in some moments I feel like I’m wrastling a gator.  This lithe and lethal beast of Desire.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those yogis who shunns Desire, desperately seeking refuge in a high mountain cave for the zillionth life time in a row… But… I sense this is a moment of my life when my Desire will reunite with my innocence.  And provide deep healing of my sexuality, creativity and sense of authorship of Life.  It all feels so damn juicy.  

Like for example THIS moment.  Forest is singing “gioia gioia gioia” (joy joy joy in english), sitting at his kiddie table eating quinoa with a little spoon and watching elmo’s world, so that I can ACTUALLY.  FINISH.  A.  PIECE.  OF.  WRITING.  

I think overall, I’m a brilliant writer, but I would like to sculpt my muscle of focus.  I really want you to understand that I’m inhabiting this very raw and fresh space where apparently I feel safe enough to heal, because so much old shit is coming up and I am surrounded by Teachers.  Perhaps They have been here for ages, but I have not had the eyes to see them.  Yeah, as it turns out, all those “extras” in your movie who you just imagined were garden variety annoyances actually turn out to be the Chosen Ones sent to help you navigate your deepest, darkest crevices and make a triumphant return to the Light of Wholeness.  

I feel like a baby again.  Learning how to live in this body.  How to care for it and move with gentleness and passion, abundance and connection upon the earth. 

Oh!  I just paused and stared into space to try to find the deeper cut.  Here’s what came- without a man desiring me, I feel a tinge of disappointment to admit that I don’t feel very beautiful in this moment; with my stitches unraveling, stuffing spilling out and one of my button eyes hanging off.  But actually this is great news… because I am remembering how to observe this feeling and let it pass.  Sit still in the dim underbelly and let it change me.  

Maybe you’re not stoned like me… but I bet you feel it- a rapid collective transformation beyond anything you’ve ever imagined.  

Woo hoo. 

Alone in Forsaken Scapes.

I am alone.  It is a strange sensation… to be alone in my house on a rainy sunday.  Serena will come home soon, which has me “writing with one eye open”… but this is better than nothing.  Forest is with his dad for the day.  The rain falling outside looks like sifted powdered sugar, but it is not snow.  Thank God. 

I am alone.  Last night Shanti-ma came over and “counseled me”.  She’s a good counselor because she is able to stay rooted in a neutral and honest plot of reality.  And she is attuned to divine love and wisdom.  I was expressing the recent torrential gales of need I feel related to love from man/men.  I guess it’s always been in me… this need… of daddy’s adoring love.  But since things fell apart with Giordano, it has been deafening in moments.  I watch this desperate part of me grasping for an externalized sense of masculine presence and love.  I know there must be something IN ME… that I have lost touch with.  My inner masculine, my inner marriage.  And meanwhile this wounded female predator stalks prey.  A man to seduce and conquer.  Make him SEE ME.  Make him LOVE ME.  

Thankfully at this point I am able to remain rooted in the consciousness of witness.  Plus, I don’t have the “luxury” of acting it out, because I am too busy being mom and anyway there aren’t any compelling men around.  Praise the Lord.  The LAST thing I need right now is more man trouble.  My unwieldy husband is plenty!  

Anyway, when I confessed this “ugly shadow” to Shanti-ma, she said, “You are alone.” Then a brazen pause, which formed a chasm and the words and their meaning bled into the soil of silence within. “I am alone. Everyone is alone. And sometimes it is lonely. And anyone who pretends it isn’t is deluding themself and others. But you can call Him up. When you are feeling alone. And He will be with you.”

Or something like that.  If my life were to be made into a feature film, this scene would definitely make the cut.  It would even make the TRAILER.  It was such a sober, slicing moment.  A moment of intimacy from one glorious and bleeding holy soldier to another.  Like “let’s not waste anymore time with pretense.  Your asshole does NOT need anymore smoke up in it, my Friend.

And now for my latest reflection on vulnerability.  This exquisite “Italian Sister” gave me an astrology/numerology reading to help me elucidate the passage I am making now.  She mentioned that I struggle with true vulnerability.  This assertion snagged my curiosity.  I perceive myself as one who values and has some amount of fluency in the realm of vulnerability.  But is this just an ego-stained overlay?  Maybe, I mused, I am savvy in “controlled vulnerability”… I share “vulnerably” in my writing… yet I am always in control of what I show you, and what I keep for myself, and even from myself.  

Not that there’s anything wrong with what I do.  I see beauty and grace in what and how I share… but I am still wondering… what is TRUE VULNERABILITY.  Heart to heart, soul to soul.  No filters.  Groundless.  Free-falling.  Have I EVER fully experienced such a phenomenon?  

She said that in the face of this quintessential terror of my true vulnerability, I rely on a false sense of strength.  And my work is to dismantle this knee-jerk shadow boxing match with myself.  Ok, that’s not exactly how she said it…    😉

My energy healer said that my tumors are all the pain that I have been through… consolidated into four precise points.  And that in order to heal them, I MUST tune IN to them and write.  Write it all through my system.  Write them into annihilation.  This is simultaneously daunting and thrilling.  Like there’s NOTHING I’d rather do than enter into the deepest reaches of my being and write it down in the name of Healing For All… and yet… I doubt my capacity to reach this far IN.  

Shanti-ma said I have anger issues.  Because I reach out to her when I am triggered as fuck by Darling Giordano.  And it’s pretty easy for me to go up in flames these days.  Which may indeed indicate “anger issues”.  She said Giordano is just a catalyst for the deep stuff that’s ready to come up and out… That the one who is angry is so young.  

Perhaps even vulnerable. 

I know I have “inner child issues”… Because I have a hard time connecting with “Dawnie-Cakes”.  (my nickname as a child)  When I look inside for her… radio silence.  Where is she hiding?  And meanwhile I butt heads with Serena too often.  She mostly feels that I don’t give her enough attention, so she acts out and pisses me off in order to get more of me.  But her demands and sass and stubbornness trigger the shit out of me.  Hello anger issues. She cries.  My nervous system cringes and explodes.  I demand she STOP.  She goes harder.  I shout.  LOUD.  I feel sick.  This is a pattern of sickness.  It must be healed.

Shanti-ma says that Serena is my Inner Child.  And when one of these episodes commences, the most healing choice is to dive beneath the waves and “go to her”, hug her.  It is ME.  This sounds so simple, right?  It’s not.  When I am triggered, heated, angry, it is SO HARD to let go and hold her.  Practice will make me perfect.  I have some work to do.   I’m talkin deeep ancestral healing.  I know this is what I am here for.

Remember- we have the power to set so many free when we bring love to the forsaken scapes within.

Groping for The Rock

Remember when I didn’t have kids and all I knew to do with this unwieldy life was pour it onto the page?  Every day the question I awoke to is “which cafe do I want to write in today?”  I wrote because it was all I knew to do.  Nothing else made sense.  I felt lost and purposeless.  So I made a baby.  And then another one.  And they unhinged their baby jaw and devoured my life. 

Just for the record, I felt a bit of “pre-game jitters” about my long-awaited Return to Athena Graceland.  Back in those aforementioned “good olde days”, I had to reach super deep into my ass to find stuff to write about, because my practice was so profuse and I said it “ALL” a thousand times over.  But now there is an insurmountable backlog~ an emergency surgery in which 40 centimeters of my colon, including a malignant tumor was removed, an episode of physical violence on the part of my darling husband, which culminated in me and the kids moving out of his house, a meeting with an oncologist who announced that a spot in my lung showed up on my CT scan which could be more cancer, or just a benign irregularity… another CT scan… waiting… 

I don’t even want to talk about that stuff.  While it is significant, it is also water under my epic, tremulous bridge.  Today is impregnated with it’s own remarkable heft of innermost feelings, thoughts, aspirations…

God it feels heavenly to be reunited with my literary Throne.  This is the only dimension of my world where I truly feel to be Queen.  Here my inner authority flows like rain gutters after a monsoon.  There is no question.  I feel what I feel.  I claim my thoughts, my longings, my struggle, my passion.  The rest of my life is a nebulous smear.  A tragic falling short.  

Last night I awoke every two hours… preoccupied because Giordano didn’t reply to my texts after 10am.  I feel ashamed that I care so much.  But since I’ve moved out, he’s barely showed up.  I’ve been a single mom of two.  (I pretty much felt like one before… but… this is a whole new level.)  I had a hope that our separation could be a catalyst for deeper intimacy, intentionality, clear communication, healing…. Everything I have been starving for since I’ve been with him.  But things have actually unfolded to the contrary.  He has drifted like a rudderless boat, out into the dark, churning, boundless sea.  It takes him hours, if not days to reply to my texts, he doesn’t answer his phone… and meanwhile, I am left to care for the children.  Oh, and every once in a while he casts a fistfull of beautiful though empty sentiments in my direction… just to keep me hooked.  

I am hooked now.  Waiting for my phone to sing the solo chime that could be words from Him.  Why can’t I just let go?  I am grieving the death of what could have been… a loving, happy, united family.  Grieving the loss of an often magical sex life.  Grieving that I left my home and came across the world to “give love a chance”… and now I am locked here… with two children and no man to share love and life with.  

It all sounds so tragic.  And pathetic.  And it doesn’t really cut to the depth of my experience.  It is always my aim to dig deeeep.  To mine the plethora of hidden jewels in the material of my life.  But I must confess that I’ve never been in such a vast, shark-laden “deep end” as this.  The truth is that I feel completely lost.  Hopeless.  Defeated.  

Words are failing me.  

Because there is more.  

There is the I AM beaming just beyond those feelings.  There MUST be an Intelligence driving this savage confluence of circumstances.  

Walking down our pitted gravel road at the snail’s pace that having two one and a half year olds in tow entails, Benedetta asked me what brings me joy… and I was surprised to note how genuinely stumped I was.  I have swerved so far from the rushing neon pink river of my passions.  Though after some hot and heavy excavating, I realized I love reading books these days.  Imbibing words imbued with various shades of genius is decadence for my mind.  I encounter sentences laden with such heavy wisdom, truth and beauty that my bells reverberate through the invisible corridors of Infinity.  And I’m not just being poetic.  Listen.  You will hear them mingling flirtatiously with the thunderous, rolling, primal OM.  

Now I’m reading Byron Katie, “Who Would You Be Without Your Story”.  If you are not familiar with Byron Katie, she went through a sprawling Dark Night of the Soul and came out on the other side awake, and imbued with this inquiry technique called “The Work”.  The Work assists anyone seeking true freedom by examining the thoughts that cause stress; revealing that disease never comes from outside, as it appears to… but from within our very own minds.  ALWAYS. 

This is quite a horse pill for me to swallow because I just looooove the blame game.  I looooove to be a victim and a pathetic damsel in distress.  Sucky but true.

At least I used to love it….

But the fire is getting too hot and I can’t tolerate the suffering… so I am considering trying something else.

One of the fundamental pillars of her Work is getting right with what IS.  Ohhhh all those notions that it SHOULD BE DIFFERENT.  Turns out they are the Devil.  

Through witnessing her intensive dialogues with people who have attended her international workshops, I am repeatedly seeing how I create my own bondage by believing my thoughts.  And superimposing my skewed agenda on top of Reality.  I see that I am faaar from unconditionally loving.  My behaviors are manipulative, conditional and self interested.  

I want Giordano to make me feel less lonely.  Happier.  Loved.

And mostly he doesn’t.  

And my response is cruelty.  Disapproval.  Judgement up the wazoo.  

In the piece that I was reading today, Byron Katie said that the whole world “out there” is “for me”.  It’s all conspiring to bring me Home.  To my Self.

I want that so bad.  To dive deeper than the kaleidoscopic swirl of externalized perspectives that inundate me.  To find that Home which is the Rock that Jesus spoke of.  These shifting sands are kicking my self-righteous,  small-minded ass.  

My need is screaming.  My search is dizzying.  My life is benevolently falling apart.  My Self patiently awaits my Home Coming.

My 840,000 Euro Revelation

I had a million dollar revelation delivered with this recent virgo new moon.  Unfortunately, one million dollars only translates to 840,000 euros.  But that’s still a hefty chunk.  And actually, here in this depressed economy where you can rent a house for 300 a month or buy a liter of the world’s finest olive oil for twelve euros, eight hundred and forty thou can go damn far.  

Athena!  Stay the course babe… Your intention in diving right into the meat and blood of your revelation was to hook people straight away, suck them into the enticing land of expensive “ah-ha”s…  


Yeah, but then I needed to tickle myself because translating dollars to euros is the story of my damn life and that is funny to me.  

I am dazzled by the syphonic, harmonic nature of circumstances and personalities and timing.  So many factors contributed to my revelation- conversations with friends, sessions with Carolyn- a gifted energy healer, coaching with “Maha” David Schlussel, reading Pussy, by Mama Gena, Giordano’s behavior, my own extended stay in Dark Night…

Goddess, it has been a dark night.  Suicidal thoughts, sticky self-hatred, extreme frustration, desperation and rage… really rough inner terrain to navigate.  But I think the grace of diving all the way to the fucking BOTTOM is that there is something to push off of when it’s time to resurface.  

Giordano disappeared for a couple of days.  Not completely.  But staying out after a long day of work and coming home after me and the kids were already asleep (Though it should be known that as the light wanes, I have been retiring before nine, so I can wake at four and write my heart out because if I DON’T, I am a miserable person and my kids shamelessly take all.) For some reason, Giordano opted to sleep on the couch.  Maybe because he drank beer and he didn’t want to be subject to my debilitating disapproval?  Yeah, smelling his boozy breath triggers the shit out of me.  It’s not like he’s a damn “alcoholist” (as he calls it!) or anything.  But my fantasy dream husband does not turn to alcohol when life gets unruly and uncomfortable.  No, my Fantasy Man kicks it with Shiva.  Life’s jarring “cinematic thrills” draw him deeper into the heart of his inner stillness.  He takes a long, cold shower and retreats to his cave to regain clarity and alignment.  Sigh.  I know that my standards are steep.  Cut the Brotha a break, right?  

So he slept on the couch for two nights and I barely saw him and my deep carved abandonment wound flared up like a hemorrhoid.  When this happens I feel to have carte blanche to be cruel.  Maha David suggested making KINDNESS my spiritual practice.  I know that sounds like an obvious choice… but when you’re left to care for the kids mostly completely alone day in and day out, kindness often seems like a dim option that it’s damn easy to miss.  

Another relevant piece of this pie otherwise known as my current Existence is that I have been in a deep inquiry of victim consciousness and how it plays out in my psyche and life.  Reread the last paragraph and you will see that it actually reeks of victim.  But this way of perceiving has been so native to me, that I haven’t even been able to identify it until recently.  (Side note- I’m hypothesizing that this is one factor in why my entries in Athena Graceland have tapered off…. I have grown tired of enslaving my fingers to the voice of the poor, whiny victim who insists on using me for her own self-indulgent agendas.  I want so much more for my writings and my LIFE.)

I’ve been DEVOURING Pussy.  Haha, the BOOK, silly.  So here I am, heavy with pain and disdain for my husband’s disappearance, wondering how in the fuck to find my light and power…. And I come to the chapter on “Rupture”.  Basically, Mama Gena defines Rupture as those life experiences that “break us open”.  She says that this is essential for a woman who is committed to living from her Desire, because it strips her of fantasies, pretense, smallness.  And if she’s willing to give herself over to the Rupture and allow her body to lead the way through the underworld of grieving, it will take her clear to the bottom.  The Original Wound.  The one that keeps playing her life like a skipping record.  Grief will clean her out, deliver her from victim to AUTHOR.  Initiate her from the little girl who runs into the arms of another in moments of coming undone, to the woman who fully surrenders to the wisdom of her own body and knows that she need not seek outside of herself.

Talk about Divine Timing.  My heart throbbed, literally feeling broken in two.  And as if amidst a vision quest in the safety and comfort of my very own pink bedroom, I saw the responsibility I have given to every single one of my partners… to hold and care for this broken-assed heart.  The heart of the tiny girl whose daddy left when she was two; whose mama left her alone at home sometimes when she had to work and couldn’t find a babysitter.  This desperate little person, wielding her weighty goddess power in the name of being delivered from the bleeding epicenter from her very own devastating break from Source.  Yes, I am way more powerful than I give myself credit for, and I have been misusing said power in the way of punishment… to manipulate my men into saving me from myself.  And I have attracted a blazing squad of nearly competent saviors!

The cost of this?  My sovereignty.  My Authorship.  My self-respect.  

I have hated myself for this repetitive choice.  And projected that hatred onto my men.  My relationships become suffocating and I panic and get the fuck OUT… imagining that the liberation and satisfaction and embodied spiritual immensity is waiting for me in the holy land of single-ness.  But I haven’t found it there.  And if I ran toward it now, I’d do so as a single mother of two (which is hardly “Single”… it’s more like “Triple”).  Being a single mother to Serena was not such a bad scene.  We were a team… but Forest???  He has a different agenda- running his male energy like Niagra Falls.  (Though he always stops to smell the flowers…)  

From the mountain top, the Path looks so obvious and clear- I wrap my broken-hearted little girl up in my arms and hold her while she sobbs and wails, I’m unconditionally kind to Giordano, and I reclaim the driver’s seat of my Life, become a rich and famous author and wash my soiled hands of this whole nasty victim thing.  BAM.  

But unfortunately life doesn’t happen from the top of the mountain.  It’s an off road trek through vines and brambles and crumbling earth.  And let’s not forget to mention the slobbering, woman eating beasts lurking in the bushes.  I feel so justified being mean to Giordano!  He’s so imperfect and irritating!  And it takes so much effort to create new habits and ways of being.  To be the capable woman who asks for what she wants and then allows herself to HAVE it.  To be the woman who is the Source of her own fulfillment.  To be the woman who has the courage to embody the depths of her darkness AND live with her Light ON.  

It probably won’t be the all or nothing construct that I love to fabricate and use to sabotage my step by step trek to greater expanses of success, fulfillment, happiness and turn-on… But… I’ve SEEN what was previously hidden from my view.  My map has become more refined and comprehensive.  As much as I thirst to pull a Babe Ruth and step up to the plate, point out beyond center field and smash the shit out of the fucking galaxy… I recognize that consistent baby steps are enough to take me where I want to go.  More hitting pillows and howling at the moon with my Sisters and ASKING FOR WHAT I FUCKING WANT and less punishing and criticizing my well-meaning and golden-hearted tho fallible husband.  

I’ve been doin this life for forty years now… and I finally found a way that looks enticing, worthwhile and fabulous.  Watch me crush it.

With the most immense and delicious Love,

Athena Grace

PS- What I am discovering inside is Deliverance from the spell of slumber that all women have given ourselves to (Yes, GIVEN.  We are not victims, nor have we ever been.  We are too powerful for that.).  We are waking up together to our power, love and creative capacity.  In doing so, we naturally restore the balance and wellbeing of Mother Earth and Humanity.  This is my part.  May it inspire you and yours.  

An Unedited Flood and Landslide

I can feel my fingertips throwing off mad sparks.  Colors that don’t even exist in this humdrum dimension. Ohhhh it feels sooooo good to type.  It’s the best sex.  I was gonna say better than sex, but that would be unnecessarily divisive.  

 

Giordano took the kids to visit his mama up the hill and I’m ALONE.  My five favorite letters, in that specific combination, I want to climb inside them and writhe around inappropriately.  I know, I know, it’s not the letters, it’s their meaning.  But I love letters and words and strings of words so much.  I love the potential power they possess.  Maybe they are empty unto themselves?  Or maybe not.  Maybe it is the electric charge that shoots through me and plumps them up with holy value.

 

Fuck, I don’t want to waste my sizable crumbs of ALONE ness pontificating on the alphabet!  Although a crumb of a crumb was fun.  Onwards and upwards.

 

There’s too much to say.  I’m afraid I’m going to tear as it exits me.  Relax and breathe, Athena.  

 

Lately I have been having recurring flashes of the vision quest I did when I was like 28.  It was four days on the hill, inside a little rectangle marked by mugwort.  No food, no water.  

 

Have you ever thristed?  

 

I mean like REALLY thirsted….

 

It’s the most excruciating sensation.  Probably some kind of dying.  Which apparently I suck at, because I came down off the hill after two days and just chilled at basecamp.  Like a little native american style vacay.  

 

I guess I keep flashing on that memory because I AM THIRSTING again.  Except this time it’s not for literal water, and there is no hill to climb down, and no water at the base.

 

I can not get my head around why in fuck’s hella holy name I would choose such a crushing path.  In my stronger moments, I believe in a higher purpose for all this suffering.  When I’m in it, I wrastle the damn thing like a gator and lose every time.  I am imagining that you don’t understand, because in a few ways my life looks quite privileged.  Like having healthy, rad children and a devoted husband and exquisite land.  AND A DREAM WRITING JOB, which I am aiming to tell you about, but who knows where this wild current will take me.

 

But maaaaaan.  I’m starving for so many nutrients.  Let it be written that it is ANYTHING BUT NATURAL to raise children via the exhausted old nuclear way.  It’s the devil incarnate.  So barren.  Where are my witches?  Where are my bitches???  

 

Yes, it’s NOT just a cliche, it DOES take a village to raise a child.  And NO, relationships with men are NOT satisfying to the soul.  Well… at least not with my man.  But I hear so many women complain that their men are… ummm… idiots?  Hahaha.  Well… let’s just say, “not able to meet them at full capacity”.  Men have their place.  But it’s a the bar. Haha.  I crack myself up.  And if you don’t get it, too bad, cuz I only have a few hallowed minutes, not enough time to explain my subtle and complex wit.

 

But yeah, I think suicidal thoughts a butt ton these days.  And then I quickly realize that I’m waaaay too spiritual to take my precious life and I would never abandon my adorable kids even though I often hate them these days.  Yeah.  That’s not the kind of shit you say out loud.  Unless you’re Athena Grace.  Unless you are condemned to a brutal prison sentence which involves NEVER HAVING ANY PERSONAL SPACE except right now.  Then you would hate your kids too.  All their whining and demands and unrelenting neediness.  

 

But I will love them when they come home, because I am immersing in a heavenly realm, banging, yes BANGING these words out upon this screen, incense drifting in sweet swirls as I lay on my belly on my bed, engulfed in a sea of pale pink ALONE ness.  The window is wide open and it’s cold for June thirteenth.  Storm clouds are gathering, preparing to dump violent showers upon us.  Acacia leaves whisper elite secrets and the birds testify affirmative. 

 

So basically, what I need you to know is that I DID NOT KNOW WHAT I WAS GETTING MYSELF INTO WHEN I MADE A BABY WITH A MARRIED MAN.  I’m sure I’ve told you this part before, but when I told my Ma I was pregnant, she didn’t speak to me for like three days and now I know why.  

 

This path is crushing.  And what was I thinking when I married the volatile italian man and concurrently made a baby with him???  I must be a quintessential idiot.  I have kicked myself too many times for this string of questionable choices that has put me in an inescapable death grip life.  

 

Just for the record, Giordano is doing great.  Except when he flies off the handle.  But I decided to love him in spite of his “spells”… rather than waiting for them to stop.  Because they might not.  Shrug.  He’s really refining beautifully.  To his credit.  And.  He works all the time, and eats his food like a starving hound, and doesn’t have the best capacity for presence.

 

But his face looks lighter.  And I love the way it lights up when he smiles, and the little dances he does and then looks slightly embarrassed.  I love his sharp, musky smell and falling asleep in his arms.  (I joke that sleeping is the best part of our relationship.  And sadly, it often feels that way.)  I love his love of nature and his deathly charming broken english.  I can’t get enough of that.

 

So anyway, lemme tell you about my new writing gig.  I had a session with an energy healer a couple months ago, and I asked about work.  Writing.  She said a bunch of stuff, but most of it’s none of your business.  Wink.  No, just kidding, I only want to tell you that which will forward my riveting story.  Which is that she said it looked like writing about PARENTING would be in alignment for me. I practically puked.  I’m already so sick of that topic.  I can’t imagine flushing my creative time down the toilet in such a manner.  

 

Maybe I’m being dramatic.  But I did feel an aversion and I told her so.  Inside, I thought, I want to write about SEX.  

 

Too bad I’m not having any.  Haha.  How can I write about something that’s not even alive for me?  Actually, in the name of accuracy, we have sex about once every two weeks.  It’s usually hard to get started, due to how many withholds and complex shadow emotions I feel in relation to Giordano.  How frustrated and disappointed I often am.  How much MORE I want from him.  Especially in the way of raw, full throttled, unadulterated, penetrating PRESENCE.  

 

I digress.  Once I get into it, it feels AMAZING and I feel so glad that I married someone I love having sex with, even if it’s so hard to get there due to everything.  I also need you to know that I bought a day planner for 2020 and my friend Dara was like why do you need a day planner, you aren’t up to anything.  But I had lofty aspirations pre new year.  And now, the only thing I pencil in is a detailed account of my rare (and precious) sexual occasions!  I had to tell you because it’s one of those needless details that gives life it’s poetically evocative depth of field.  

 

Anyway, I always keep my finger on Nicole Daedone’s pulse.  She was the founder of OneTaste, mother of OM (Orgasmic meditation, which I swear by, and practice as often as humanly possible.  Which unfortunately isn’t the 4x a day that I wish it was.)  People project a whole array of shit onto Nicole.  From Angel to Demon.  But in my Seeing, she is on a potent and admirable Path of Mastery, and I always keep her close, because I am too.  In my own way.  And I like to stay attuned to those who remind me what I’m made of.

 

She was showing up in my dreams a bunch.  Intuitive dreams, from which I awake deeply impressed.  One thing led to another, but I don’t have time or desire for a play by play.  One day, she reached out to me and basically offered me a job editing a series of her old blogs.  Flattening the 3D elements and making them into magical, timeless prayers.  

 

I get to climb inside her mind and transcendent erotic encounters… while Forest sleeps and suckles my breast.  And unfortunately Serena watches too many cartoons in the living room.  I hate that.  But she likes it.

 

Anyway how do you like THAT???  I wanted to write about sex even though I am in a period of forced abstinence and I could NEVER source material as potent as Nicole’s anyway.  She is of another realm.  But by the Grace of a hella awesome God, I do have the sublimedivine gift to do her words some serious justice.  Ahhhh the moments that I spend “working”… are the truest moments in my soul.  It is Union in the classical sense.  I am so absorbed, I disappear.  Fully engaged.  Used.  Challenged.  Turned on.  This is what I’m made for.  

 

Noteworthy that I am so wholly satisfied doing writing work that is not “mine”.  I don’t crave the recognition that I thought I did.  I love writing my own life… and yet, these days, it is so dry and brittle and rugged.  I would sicken myself to write it all down.  I love disappearing into Nicole’s bold, illuminated genius. It’s the quintessential journey that IS the destination.  I never want it to end.  

 

It probably will.

 

And I guess this blog should too, because it’s time to make sweet potato fries and hamburger patties and garden fresh salad.

 

I hope that I have provided you everything from illumination to liberation to amusement.

 

I love you.

Will It Still Be There When I Get Back?

Back in my experimental drug days (which incidentally spanned across an entire decade), I took ecstasy alone once.  I was quasi living with a weird and sweet old hippy dude, in a room that used to be a “grow room”. The walls were covered with shiny, silver mylar sheets, upon which I was free to paint and write and express myself freely.  I remember a moment in the midst of my heavenly corporeal rushing, where the sky figuratively opened and luminous revelation rained upon me. I grabbed a black sharpie and furiously scrawled it into existence on the wall:

 

“Will it still be there when I get back?”

 

Post trip, I revisited the colorful lotus flowers and butterflies and strands of words that had flown through me… and for the life of me, I could not recall what the hell “it” was, or where I imagined I would be circling back to.

 

And yet… there was something about this relatively cheap and fleeting revelation that has caused it to stay with me for the nearly two decades since its dawning.

 

Now we ride the wild spiral of time to the mOMent fondly known as “today”.  Athena Grace, mostly alone in the foreign, wondrous land of Italy, with two small and miraculous Graces of her own.  Serena’s school recently closed in the mornings, because it was too “outside the box” for the conservative folks of Gualdo Tadino, who are apparently content inside their safe, comfy boxes of public education.  Hence the colorful and fiercely devoted sisters of “Wonderland” did not have enough children for it to be worth their while to say open in the mornings.

 

We asked Giordano’s mama to be with Serena two mornings a week (not much, but definitely better than nuttin), while we figured out another solution.  Raphaella is “a magician”, as Giordano once coined his mama’s Gift with children… They build magical 2D and 3D worlds out of paper and colored markers and leggos of various sizes, in which Serena’s dollies and plastic animals, dinosaurs and insects lavishly inhabit… three hours of pure absorbtion in lavish fantasy scapes.  (Plus 100% Italian immersion.) Serena is in heaven.

 

Just as we were settling into a nutritive rhythm, came the voracious, slobbering beast called “The Olive Harvest”, who has once again consumed every last drop of my already hella absent husband’s time and energy.  And his mama too.  

 

Yes, I know that I “should” loooove olive season, because she yields such unparalleled exquisitry.  Spicy, bright green liquid love to drizzle freely upon everything edible. But she chews my already consumed husband up and spits him out into my bed smelling of alcohol and weed in the wee hours of the night, and then beckons him again as the first light smears the sky.

 

And I…

 

Wake each day, replete with a jungle of wild emotions roaring and tearing at me from the inside.  Immense, unbearable longing. My wild, creative Self, desperate to live and express. My body, heart and mind, begging for stimulation, intimacy and holding.  And yet, my days are all weighted with the incessant necessity of domesticity and precious dependants.  

 

I live inside the question of “what if”… what if I just let go into this all-consuming river of rigor that is full-time mothering.  And housekeeping. (The grocery store is my second home) But I want to be so much MORE than just a mother. The wild woman, the (BEST SELLING) writer, the sex priestess, the yogi, the friend, the hermit, the unabashed trail-blazing leader, the ecstatic dancer…. OUR LADY OF GOD-DRUNK GRACE.

 

And so each day is a silent fight.  All those hidden “Me-s”, unwilling to to be steam-rolled by the daily G-R-I-N-D.  And God, is it a grind. I am turning to shimmering, galactic dust. But I won’t let go and be decimated in the jaws of this mundane machine of motherhood.  Because…. If I DO….

 

WILL IT STILL BE THERE WHEN I GET BACK?????????

 

Will I forget how to write and fuck and gallop and dream?  Writing it out, it seems impossible and even ridiculous… To take the Athena Grace out of Athena Grace…. 

 

Surrender.

 

I realize surrender has its own life, intelligence and will.  It’s not like I can just say, “And now for my next wondrous trick, I shall offer my entire self to the psychedelic, dancing flames of my all-consuming Now Moment.  Ladies and Gentlemen, watch in wonder as I dissolve in the oceanic ecstasy of pure, self-less BEing.”  

 

My days ebb and flow with holding on and letting go.  They are exquisite in their own way. I will look back on this chapter with a pervading flood of fondness and gratitude.  The privilege, the holy gift of quality time with my innocent, fully present, creatively ablaze kids. So many moms miss this… because the River of Life sucks them into other compelling currents.  

 

I can already see the woman that Serena is, outside of time.  And I know that time will catch up to the soul-full maturity she exudes.  Her childhood is a marvel. A miracle that leaves me blinking with wonder to behold.  How can such an ancient soul manifest with such lucid innocence? My own childhood is vivified; alive once more inside me.  

 

And Forest.  Even though the rigors of a baby ache and break my body… there is nothing as precious and tender as being charged with a pure, new babe.  Not yet lost and tangled in worlds of words. He speaks with his wide awake eyes, his wide mouthed smiles and his cries. I am drunk, kissing his squishy, bulldog cheeks, drinking his milky breath deep into my lungs.  

 

God I hope….

 

IT will still be there.

 

But the “I” who gets back will surely not be the one who embarked on this Journey.  

 

This must be the ultimate Cosmic Joke. 

 

The Nearly Free Birth of Forest: EPILOGUE

The river of life flows on… and the more time that rushes past, the more surreal my lived stories become.  Sorta like grapes to wine. And now is the moment when I decant some of July’s finest vintage for you…

 

You have yet to discover why Forest’s birth was “nearly” free.  The birth itself was free… but over here in Italy, I was enraged to discover that aside from the air I breathe and the spring water that flows like wine from Bacchus’s blessed font, NOTHING is truly free.  

 

After Forest emerged, Giordano became preoccupied (to an obsessive degree) with getting him “registered” as a viable human… you know, the whole birth certificate business.  I appreciate that Hubba-Hubby was so on top of it… But he has a rancid tendency to expect the worst and bring fear and anxiety to affairs that could just as easily unfold with peace, harmony and grace.  

 

Giordano went to the “Commune” of our enchanting city, Gualdo Tadino, to discover what we needed to do to register our boy.  They told him a “witness” of the birth was required in order to verify that Forest was truly our baby. The witness is usually either a midwife at home births, or a doctor at the hospital.  Neither of us qualified as a valid witness. Vafanculo! (Me and Serena’s new favorite Italian exclamation. It literally means go fuck your self (in the ass). It’s fun to say with an over dramatized Italian intonation!)  Who invents this smelly bullshit? Yeah, I stole my baby… but I’m lactating, I have an empty, saggy belly and my yoni is streaming bloody lochia. I’m getting pissed just writing about it. The memories are definitely coming into focus again…

 

Giordano got quite worked up by this news.  The peeps at the Commune had never dealt with a scenario like ours before (Italians are too tribal-minded to choose anything as radical as Freebirth), so their information was awash with nebulosity.  They had no solid source of reference for the information they provided. But they told us we had TEN DAYS to submit our documents (including said witness verification).  

 

Navigating this situation was like grasping at mist.  Giordano’s anxiety mounted as breaths, hours and days passed.  I chose to trust. Giving birth had ripped me wide open. I was raw.  Feeling and digesting my husband’s anxiety and fear felt like a fucking curse.  I just wanted to rest and heal (and take necessary steps… but sans the element of toxic, emotionally charged, fear-based drama).  Not to mention that I had very little help postpartum. (Giordano’s mama brought over a few lunches for the first couple days, when I could barely walk without feeling like my yoni was on fire and about to fall on the floor when I stood up.  Which I did waaaay to often.)

 

So on day three of Forest’s glorious earthside journey, our family of four set out on a quest for the Holy Grail- a witness who would verify that Forest was ours.  Giordano is a creature of instinct. Mostly I find this sexy, but also sometimes a bit alienating, because he doesn’t make decisions or take action until the last moment… and then he does what he feels.  (It’s hard to make plans with him or feel included. But his instincts are keen like a wild animal.) So we were driving down the road out of town as he grappled inside for the “sense” of where to go first.  Talk about a thrillride.  

 

And remember, I am ripped open to the heavens, I can barely walk and am pouring with bloody afterbirth fluid called “lochia”.  Oh, and I was wearing my last pad!…

 

In a timely lightning flash, he resolved to head to a pediatrician in the next town over, who was recommended to us by friends with small children.  Supposedly she was relaxed about “normal” (not so normal if you ask me) protocols such as vaccinations. We were tense as we drove. He got lost. We were late.  We fought. I reminded myself to breathe deep and relax the relentless tension in my belly, chest, neck and shoulders. Ugh.  

 

We finally made it.  We stepped out into the thick July heat, clothes clinging to our sweaty bodies.  I walked ahead of my superbly anxious husband and fumbled in broken Italian to discover where to go.  

 

The pediatrician was a decent woman.  She asked us basic questions (in Italian), such as his full name, the date and time of his birth and his weight.  Then she told me to take his diaper off so she could weigh him. It was all pretty benign and doable. Until she took him and put him on her table to “examine” him.  To her credit, she was gentle. But to me her protocols were superfluous and stressful for one so new. She tested his reflexes, tossing him around to see if he reacted when he fell backwards.  Poor little guy. Of course he reacted. He cried. Hard. My raw heart bled and I filled with fire. She told us that Forest was slightly jaundiced. Duh. He was a bit yellow. She wrote out a prescription for him for vitamin D, which I tossed in the recycling at home.  Didn’t anyone tell her that my body custom blends his breast milk according to what his body tells me it needs based on the information passed in his saliva?

 

She wrote us a paper verifying that little Mister Grace had received “care”.  This was to make us look like “sane, respectable parents” through the eyes of The System”.  

 

Next stop was the “Consultorio”, which is where I was receiving “prenatal care” (Not really “care” at all… more like a group of well-intentioned ignoramuses who pretended to know more about my body and my baby than I did, were way too trigger happy to ultrasound me without asking my consent, took my blood monthly, told me I was at risk for toxoplasmosis, didn’t listen to me when I told them exactly when I ovulated and instead spent way too much time at EVERY visit calculating and recalculating my due date based on the first day of my last period with a little cardboard wheel.), until about half way through my pregnancy when I got bold, listened inside and permitted myself to stop going and instead TRUST and truly CARE for myself and Forest.

 

Since I don’t speak Italian, Girdano did all the talking.  Even though it “crushed him the ball” (another of my favorite Italian expressions!) to have all the responsibility for communicating, he was very poised.  I could not understand all that was being said, but there was a lot of fear energy coming from the characters at the consultorio. Meanwhile, I had bled through my last pad back at the pediatrician’s office, and replaced it with paper towels, which had slipped out of my stained panties at some point.  I felt a warm rush of liquid. Cradling my newborn, I headed for the large roll of paper towels in our exam room, went behind a white shoji screen and put a fresh wad in my undies. I felt like a renegade cowgirl.

 

The peeps at the consultorio sent us to the nearest hospital, twenty minutes away.  It was lunch time. The heat was opressive. Giordano told me that I would probably need to be “examined”.  This ENRAGED me. I spent the whole ride spitting fire. Giordano handled this really well and did his best to allow me space to express my feelings, while keeping us on track.  He was not happy about the way things were going either, but apparently this is what needed to be done.

 

At the hospital, we were sent to the maternity ward, where we were greeted by two warm and helpful women.  Serena and I sat on a loveseat in their office while Giordano spoke extensively with them. They knew his father and commented that they were not surprised that HE would choose such a radical course.  Apparently it runs in the family…. 

 

After about twenty minutes of talking and waiting and talking and waiting, he explained the situation to me.  They were hesitant to “take responsibility” for our out-of-the-box birth. They deliberated amongst themselves how to handle our delicate situation.  They wanted to help us… and cover their own asses. They sent us to a small, chilly, fluorescent-lit waiting room down the hall. Serena was wiggly but well behaved.  Forest slept in his carseat. I breathed. My hunger swelled. It must have been two or three o’clock. Giordano and Serena went foraging at the cafe downstairs. He ate a hamburger and brought me back some organic coconut chips and raw cashews.  Perfect.  

 

Around the time we were done munching, they came in and said they would sign for us… but first I would need to be examined.  Holy hell. We were led down the hall to the exam room. The nurse said I had to go in alone. There were FOUR italian speaking women inside who gazed scrutinously upon me.  I felt cornered. They asked me a few questions in Italian, which I mostly understood and was able to answer. Then they told me to take my pants and undies off and get on the table.  Fuck. They told me to scoot forward. My body screamed NOOOO. But I felt like I had no choice, if I wanted to get the damn piece of paper and the ensuing birth certificate.  

 

The sourest woman of the bunch stuck her fingers in my vagina.  Without consent. Without even a warning. Without a damn shred of sensitivity.  She concurrently palpated my lower belly. I felt violated. I yelped and pulled away.  I didn’t know whether to cry or kill. Then they lathered my belly in blue goop and gave me a fucking ultrasound.  I don’t trust ultrasounds. I did NOT want that. As far as I’m concerned, they are only appropriate in extreme circumstances.  When they were finished, they didn’t even offer me a damn paper towel to clean myself off.  

 

But they gave us the fucking paper.  

 

They told me to come back in forty days for another fucking check-up.  Yeah fucking right.

 

By the time we got home, it was early evening.  I was exhausted.  

 

I was not able to speak with anybody throughout this process, so I don’t know for sure that all of this REALLY had to happen.  Maybe there was a way to avoid this violating experience… but if there was, it was not revealed.  

 

I chose to freebirth, because I wanted to bring Forest into the world on MY terms.  I wanted to stay at home, in peace. I wanted sovereignty of my body, my baby, my choices.  I did not realize that this was not an option in this archaic, medieval, Palpally-persuaded, boot-shaped paradise otherwise known as Italy.  

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