The Poetry of Darkness

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


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


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


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


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


Yep, made myself cry.


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


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


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


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


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


Mom, I get it.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


From my heart,

Athena Grace


Field Tripping Through Darkness

Whoa.  Is it just me?…. Or is some Collective shit going down?  Maaaaan, I’ve been field tripping in some of the darkest reaches of my Being.  It’s been horrid. Thankfully, groping along the darkened walls inside me, I finally happened upon a Light switch.  Phew.


I’m not exaggerating when I confess that I was on the brink of intentionally miscarrying.  And perhaps fleeing to California. Which, come to think of it, I can’t even do right now, since my visa is expired and I haven’t been to the Police yet to request an extension for “family reasons” (being married).  But the more burning agenda item was to not be pregnant. Isn’t that atrocious? That’s the shit nobody admits. Except Athena Grace.


What had me lurch to such X-treme measures?  A combination of always being cold, having one-the-fuck-too-many crushingly unpleasant exchanges with my stressed-out, unevolved husband, and an intolerable lack of community.  Oh, and let’s not forget, a full moon and early pregnancy hormones, which are oft reminiscent of Bad Acid.


All these factors were eating away at my insides, as though the Devil had gratuitously sloshed a fresh batch of battery acid all up in me.  Meanwhile, beloved California is burning down, my best friend got a double mastectomy, another dear friend is fending off child protective services, thanks to an A-hole ex-husband…. What the fuck is going ON on this glorious planet?  


Have you ever sat in the messy middle of your Life, blinking and shaking and wondering how on earth it managed to turn out like THIS???  It’s wild. To feel repulsion at that which I called into being. Flirting with an aggressive urge to hate. But then I turn towards my Self… and despite my perplexion at the hand that me and God Almighty have co-dealt… Miracle of miracles, I still love myself.  Nothing makes sense. To be so angry and confused by my choices… yet… to still feel my own tender pulse of fallible lovability.


I’ve been haunted by the skipping record thought of wishing I left Italy back in August, when I had two fat, juicy tickets.  But I didn’t. I chose this Family. Nuclear family. Honestly, I want to hurl the nuclear model against a wall and watch it smash and hopelessly shatter.  It’s a broken system. MY broken system, for now….


But the grace wrapped in the rotten cheese of my circumstances, is that this desperation has compelled me to be fierce about seeking community.  On saturday, Serena and I went to Benedetta’s for dinner. After that, I felt a pinhole of light wash into my cell. On sunday, I took my girl to Sunday Service at Ananda.  Something I’d been resisting since I got here. Honestly, it was a little dull…. But my thirst was so dire that I didn’t care.


Actually, the holiest of holy moments, “The Revelation” was when Ishani, after hearing my troubled heart, holding my gaze with deep, compassionate, sparkling brown eyes offered, “and by the way, EVERYONE’S husband is annoying.”  HAAAAAAA!!!!!! I totally forgot this quintessential, ageless wisdom.


After service, we hung around with Benedetta and her boy, Eliseo, who is Serena’s age.  They climbed all over the place and goofed about. Benedetta fed my girl bites of yummy food from her plate.  My heart smiled bright beams. This is how it is “supposed to be”. The Village, I mean.


When Giordano showed up, I actually felt I could love him.  And receive his love. Which, by the way, (though flawed as fuck) has been damn steady.  Even though he rarely behaves the way I wish he would, he continues to stand in unwavering love and devotion to me (and Serena).  Sometimes I actually wonder if he’s retarded for this! I mean I can be a total cunt when I’m upset.


And by the way, if you’re wondering how this blog will sit with my darling hubby…. I AM TOO!  Haha. Seriously, this is all such risky shit to say. But I’ve told him from day ONE– writing is my first LOVE.  I have a NEED to be transparent on the page, and I need his support. He totally gets it. And supports me. It is never my intention to portray him as a Villain, or douse him in ugly light.  My aim is to unpack my innermost self, for the purpose of finding relief from the pressure of my inner chaos, to discover insights and perspectives previously concealed, and hopefully, to illuminate your Journey and the deepest, perhaps hidden reaches of your BEing.  Because after all, we may be living out a vast panoply of scenarios, yet we are still One. We are breathed by the same Breath.


All this hellish suffering and grievance really put a damper on my sexual openness.  After Sunday Service, I put Serena down for a nap, and Giordano wanted to give me pleasure.  I felt my body closed to a degree I have never experienced with Giordano. But who can say no to Orgasmic Meditation?  Not this bitch. Fifteen minutes of attentive strokes to my clit and I was reborn. After that we shared more… ahem… “Love”… and I was touched by his serviceful attitude.  My body melted open to the flow of love, and the day was Saved.


Sex.  It’s one of the strongest aspects of our connection.   For better and for worse. When it’s missing, shit is warped.  But in order for nourishing sex to occur, the emotional piece has to be relatively solid.  It’s such a damn delicate equation.


I have reflected a butt-ton since all this excruciating discomfort began.  You know, like on the quintessential meaning of my life, my relationship with God, my priorities…. That’s the beauty of suffering.  It can be such a clarifying Force.


I’ve remembered that Ultimately, the meaning of my life is summed up in Rumi’s quote:  “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.


I have been crushingly intimate with the barriers inside me.  And so happy that I have a husband who helps me grind against myself in such terrible (and exquisitely helpful) dimensions.  Even though I often hate it, I think it might somehow be good…


Oh.  And then there is Serena.  Through all of this, my love for her has kept me functional and sane.  It calls me forth. She is an endless stream of blazing innocence, imagination, curiosity, love, creativity, presence.  I can only step forward in Service of her Magnificence.


And my Friends.  Most of you are oceans and land masses away in the 3D…. But you are Golden Angels in the flesh.  You hold me and shine a light when it gets frighteningly dark in here. You are my wealth. You are my Salvation.   I love you, I love you, I love you…


I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!

Fresh From the UnderWorld…

Hey, before I get too immersed in the boundless depths of my thoughts and feelings and stories… do you realize that YOU are a Child of God? And yes, even if you prefer to use different, less charged language, such as a “Whole and Perfect Expression of the Infinite”, my point stands. I just thought I’d ask, because personally, I often forget. And it’s always a little mini victory to remember again. Ahhhh what a strange thing to be a luminous little shard of Infinity, field tripping through a finite dreamscape…

I haven’t written in AGES… or so it seems… because I have been very occupied by the arduous adventure of fumbling through a pitch dark maze in the underworld. I kid you not. I have been digesting way too much poison to be able to offer up anything beyond my own disgusting soul sludge. It’s been quite an experience to sit in the belly of darkness. I wish I understood why that was a necessary journey…

I arrived at the “Momshram” (Ananda) a week ago. My mom was convinced that it was the “outside world” that chewed me up and spit me out, and she received me like a mangled, bloody soldier returning from battle. She gave her all to the task of rejuvenating me and restoring me back to the homeostatic peace and joy of being aligned with my soul. Upon landing back here, I was slogging a heavy and burdensome load of responsibilities and expectations I had piled on myself… and every day I shattered under the weight of all these fear based, self-negating dos and don’ts. But beloved Ma forbid me from attempting to get ANYTHING done, or figure out my screwed-up (my toxic judgement) life. She told me to just take care of myself and BE. This was really hard for me. I was somehow clamped in the steely jaws of this nasty idea that I have been lost and confused and ambiguous about my path for WAY TOO LONG (like my entire adult life), and if I didn’t figure it out by six NOWs ago, I was a pathetic loser who deserved to suffer and die. OUCH!!!

God, it seems so ridiculous from my perch on the stiff, velvety blue couch in Serenity House lounge… To consider that I wandered through such a bleak rendition of hell. I was also suffering about my relationship with Ed. Wishing it was different. Wishing he was available to live OUR life, create OUR family… Putting so much of my energy and attention on him, and breaking apart again and again as I slammed up against the stone wall of the reality that he is still immersed in another home and family that I am not welcome or included in.

But I’m here today to tell you that yesterday, Sunday, I found the light again!!! I went to Sunday Service with my adorable mama… and like a starving, abandoned kitten being fed a bottle of warm, sweet milk, I gleefully suckled every last drop of Truth and Light that was offered! God, there really is nothing like gathering in the name of LOVE, and imbibing the timeless teachings of the yoga of Self Realization. I get an undeniable feeling in my body when Truth is spoken, read or otherwise revealed. Relaxation. Vitality. Alignment.

It is ironic that when I left Ananda like seven weeks ago, and returned to the Bay Area, I felt so saturated in the teachings, that I had no desire to go to Sunday Service. Once I read in a book by Yogananda about “spiritual indigestion”… He said one oughtn’t gorge on Truth-imbued books. You just take a bite or two…contemplate it, allow it to sink in and transform your consciousness. You don’t need to keep ingesting more and more and more, like Burger King drive-thru. Well I felt SO FULL when I left… But how quickly that “other world” leached the nutrients from my system!!! I was truly starving and twisted up in deep grooves of ignorance by the time I returned to this God-stained haven.

Trust me, it is a different world here. Everyone is on the same page. Everyone has given their lives to going Inside, into the Silence, and making themselves available for the whispers from eternity, which speak to us all, all of the time… if only we take the time to LISTEN. In the “outside world”, that is NOT what people prioritize. “Out there”, it is so much more about survival, and ambition, and excessive, incessant stimulation. Here it is about creating the conditions to touch the divine reality within (through deep meditation), and then living that reality every day. Mostly through service. At least that’s how I perceive it today.

Why on earth would I want to go back to the other world of noise and darkness and deluded worldly ambitions, when I could be here, actively working to BECOME divine reality. Not just to “believe” in it, think it, hope for it… NO! To make it my Home in every moment, and to let Truth inform all of my thoughts, actions and words. I want that!!!

The more time I spend here, the more I am considering living here. Even though it is “bland”, as I once described it to my ma. Shrug. It seems I am losing my taste for excessive stimulation and outrageous flavors. Suddenly bland is the new delicious. Honestly, I’m not quite ready to swan dive in to being here full time… I think I need to get roughed up s’more first, by the choppy waves of the deluded world. If and when I choose to live here, I must be one hundred percent behind that choice. I’m just reporting the riptide I am experiencing that keeps pulling me deeper onto this beautiful, nourishing path of Self-Realization.

What about Ed?

He is an exquisite partner. He has been continuously willing to stand by me and support me in what ever choices strengthen my well-being, happiness and fulfillment. Because his love for me is deep and quality. And the more he lets go of me, in service of choosing the highest path, the more I KNOW in my soul’s bones that he is worth holding onto. I figure, if a couple can navigate such arduous challenges as we are, standing side by side and relying not on our own strength, but on the strength of God… finding the tap-root of patience and endurance, staying mostly compassionate and loving, surrendered and in good humor… then there is NOTHING, no challenge, obstacle or storm (Yogananda says there are no obstacles, only opportunities) that we can not weather together, and emerge VICTORIOUS.

I am beginning to believe that it is loving and trusting God that makes a Relationship capable of going the distance and enduring the inevitable trials and transformations of human life. Can you prove me wrong? What do you think makes a Relationship endure in the face of this unwieldy ride we’re all on?

So that’s the terrain I’ve been navigating lately… I am so grateful for my return Home to Faith and Surrender and the ever-new Joy of God. Blessed BE!!!