Whose Dharma is it, Anyway?

I am one self united with my creator.  Salvation comes with from my one self.

Once upon a time I traversed the streets of Paris.  I really did.  And a girl’s gotta wonder…  How do all those boulangeries stay in business?  I swear there are more boulangeries in Paris than there are stars in the sky, or atoms in your body.  But I am remembering one in particular.  It was nothing special… it just happened to be en route between my studio apartment to the nearest metro stop.  Don’t misinterpret… “nothing special” does not mean that I did not stop at nearly every crystal clean window to gaze upon the prim and proper little buttery masterpieces… I did.  I stopped to soul salivate at at least forty four percent of boulangerie windows.  I was tickled and spellbound by the vast diversity of combinations of refined flour, sugar and butter that were possible, and their supernatural seductive powers never ceased to cause me to involuntarily brake.  But this particular shop shone beyond the rest because of the maiden who held court behind the counter.  Was she ordinary?  I don’t know.  But she was perfect.  Perfect like a Parisian Barbie doll, except made of real flesh instead of the usual plastic.  The first time I saw her, I was captivated.  I stood outside, peering through the pristine window, watching her ambivalently serve from behind the veneer of an evocative, poised self.

Tall, slender and curvaceous, her thick black hair was piled neatly sexy in a perfect French twist.  I was perplexed by her choice of outfits.  She looked like she was a high profile secretary, way too fancy to be slinging greasy treats on the streets of Paris.  She wore a low cut, snug fitting cotton shirt, a solid colored, curve hugging skirt and stalkings.  Her cleavage full, reminiscent of perfectly ripe fruit, youth, a wellspring of feminity and sex.  A string of large, languidly luminous pearls hugged her warm olive, swanish neck.  Her make-up was relatively heavy… Especially her eyes which on their own were large, dark and heavy with hidden meaning.  She accentuated them in the way of feline stealth, with a thick black line running along the upper lid and lashes so weighted with mascara that it was a wonder she could keep her eyes open.  Perhaps they rested at half mast…  I stood absorbing her wondrous existence for a double scoop of infinite minutes.  I wanted to touch the pulse of her humanness.  I wanted to know the unique music of her soul, but she kept it so hidden beneath her façade of deliberate, explicit beauty.  I perceived barely a trace of her inner world.  She worked with an air of seriousness and regal sophistication.  Most days, she was there, and most days, my feet involuntarily stopped their feverish traversal of the novelty of Parisian streets to pay homage to this delicious, stoic anomaly of a woman.

This was about five years ago.  But she lives inside me, timelessly.  Strange, the things that leave impressions.  I wish I could BE her.  Not literally, of course.  I could never be as cool, expressionless, tidy.  I wish I dressed to kill for my plain-assed life.  I wish I took my normalcy to the outer limits.  Ordinary people.  We are all such ordinary people on some level… you know what I mean?  Even though we are extraordinary… there is something so ordinary about the human experience.  We all wake up in the morning and must live the day, thrust ever forward by the space time continuum.  We all thirst for love and acceptance.  I could go on and on, listing the ways that we are the same, but why?  Just feel it.  Feel the core of your own humanity, right now, and it will save me a few frivolous strings of words.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna, “Better to do your dharma poorly than someone else’s well.”  So obviously I can’t be her.  I woke up with especially heavy questions about my path this morning, and this enigmatic boulangerista rose to the surface of my relentlessly musing mind.  Why?  Because I want to take as much meticulous care as she did as I claim my seat in the world.  No matter WHO I am, WHAT my dharma is, I want to set my table beautifully, intentionally, every day.  Sometimes I fantasize about catching the midnight flight to Paris, buying a fancy string of fat pearls and landing a job in a boulangerie… but… I’m not her.  I wonder though… Whose dharma was she performing so extraordinarily, hers?  Or someone elses?  And if I did run away to Paris with my aforementioned string of pearls, would that be HER dharma, or mine?

Krishna?  Why did you so generously shower Arjuna with Divine council, and leave me here all alone in the windowed corner of Gaylord’s café to restlessly stew in lonesome musings?  Today I woke up drowning in the color blue… but somehow I got myself to the meditation cushion… hopeful that Grace would somehow conk me over the head with blissful silence… But alas, twenty something minutes of my ego-bound life spilled through time’s treacherous cracks in a flurry of roaring chaotic chatter, emotional strife and a generous pinch of despair.  Krishna?  Can you please speak up???  Jesus?  Could you please help a sistah out? (Out of dillusion, that is…)  Paramahansa Yogananda?  Would you toss a starving heart a blessed bone?  I’d really appreciate it.  When will I learn to be quiet enough to hear?  In A Course in Miracles recently, they said that spiritual realization is not something to casually attain…only to throw aside for the next achievement or acquisition… If we are relating to it as just another fresh assed, groovy thing to have, like a new Ipad (she said with a scornfully crinkled nose…) than forget about it.  If that’s the case, better just stick with the Ipad.  Awakening is not a frivolous endevor.  It is not just another casual possession to acquire and leave on the shelf to collect dust.  That is what harmoniums and typewriters and sewing machines are for!!!  I had a good laugh when that last thought lit down in my mind.   I wanted a harmonium SO BAD.  Now I have had one for almost a year and have played it all of three times.  I have had a dream of taking an old fashioned typewriter out into the world and being a poetic muse for the masses for YEARS, literally… Recently, one finally landed in my possession, and now I am terrified to take action and embrace that dream… Mykael just bought a sewing machine at a garage sale for fifteen bucks.  Of course I would love to learn to sew, but I can’t even pretend that I will, until I muster the courage to exercise my other two dream machines.   Once I DO, maybe THEN Krishna and Jesus, Yogananda and God will bother to speak up, flood my mind with revelatory light…

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How Do You Know When To Let Go?

We stood, eyes locked in a tragic gaze, at the mouth of the Metro in Paris.

“How do you know when to let go?” E* asked, his words strewn with sincere confusion and constricted love.

“How ‘bout now?” I said, knowing that it was either now or three clingy, desperate nows from now.  I turned away from this tall, devoted partner, hardening sheerly out of necessity, and climbed back up the steps into the light of Parisian day.  Half way up the steps, I turned back to make sure that he had followed my lead and allowed himself to be swept into a new current, an underground current that would lead him to Pizza, Italy, home to the bay area and then on to an outdoor training adventure.  His eyes, saturated with heavy, clear compassion spoke one final goodbye before he turned his back and disappeared into subterranean darkness.

There I was.  Alone.  On the streets of Paris.  Twenty five years old.  When this reality struck me, I flooded with dread.  It was a stronger concentration of the same feelings that flush me when the sun slips behind a cloud, and the world I see is suddenly ominous and dark.  Tears came fast, but I didn’t succumb to them.  Paris is demands much more restraint.  Instead I wandered into the health food store near the entrance to the Metro station where I killed about a half an hour in a state of less than blissful distraction.

Can you guess the moral of that autobiographical snip of a story?  It’s the letting go piece.  Letting go.  Why is it so hard?  Our illusions of scarcity, I suppose.  Well, I am pretty fucking certain that I am ready to let go of M.  But every time I look in the mirror and face the music (face the music in the mirror, I love that!) I flush with guilt, fear and denial.  Any one of those three feeling experiences on its own is enough to pickle a few livers, but when they join forces in a less than holy cocktail, LOOK OUT!  Guilt, fear, denial.  This is why I keep trying to pretend myself free from my inner knowing.  Sometimes the inner voice seems to be something to fear.

Why is that???

Anne Lamott, the writer, talks about how some writers’ writing process is reminiscent of driving through thick fog.  You can only see a few feet in front of you, but you trust that more road will be revealed if you just keep moving forward.  I would say I write this way for sure… but what I am driving at, is that this is LIFE.  Our limited perceptions can only see so much.  I believe that God can see a whole lot more and that is why trust is essential on this Holy Pilgrimage.

What I am grappling with now, is how to distinguish the voice of God from the voice of the ego.  What is this inner knowing that is compelling me to let go of my relationship with M?  Is it the voice of God, or the voice of my ego?  I could sit and deliberate on this all day long… but… what would that serve?  The bottom line is that it is what I feel, deep down.  And at this stage in my unfolding, this gut feeling is as good as it gets.  So, my question stands~ How do you know when it’s time to let go?  And my answer, too shall stand~

How ‘bout now?

Now can I get some comic relief?  Because I feel so heavy.  Where have my bejeweled wings gotten off to?  Has anybody seen my bejeweled wings?  I should make a MISSING poster and plaster it all about my neighborhood.  REWARD for any information leading to my not so suddenly missing bejeweled wings.  If I had them now, how would I be different?  Would I fly away from the human messes I’ve strewn about this life of mine?  Tempting… but no.  If I found my bejeweled wings, I would use them for only for Holy Missions.  I would use them to bless.  I would know my strength as God’s strength.  I would fly Home, to the unconditionally Loving arms of the Ultimate Dream.  But don’t misunderstand.  Flying home does not mean abandoning ship on this silly, sinking world of illusion.  No, it just means a soft though potent shift in perception… Like a frown that melts into a warm, holy smile.  And suddenly I remember.  I remember that God is always my Guide, and I am That.  I remember that the True me is never threatened, cannot die.  Cannot be broken by tragedy or dreams of fear and separation.

With my wings, I am courageous.  With my wings, I am a divine servant.  With my bejeweled angel wings, I only see as God sees.  When I fly, my wings sprinkle a wake of shimmering treasures upon this world.  Treasures born to elevate, inspire and remind.  I will find my wings.  I will find them, because I have not lost them, only forgotten.  Any second I will remember.  I can feel it.  I can almost hear my wings beating just behind the imaginary veil of darkness in which I have become accustomed to identifying with.  They sound like birds singing in bellish voices.  Or bells singing with birdish voices.  They sound like smoldering flames, like benevolent warmth.  When they beat, tropical breezes, heavily pregnant with floral scents are born to elevate the minds of the masses.  When they beat, you remember your home in Peace.

I say this to soothe all of myself.  I say this because this is the expression of sincere yearning from the heart of a saint in training.  Perhaps a saint is just One who has remembered their wings… Perhaps letting go requires trusting that it is my Destiny to fly.

Relationship, the Inner Critic’s Reign of Terror and a Visit From Jim Morrison

God is really trying to test me today.  I got to café 504 and they are playing disco music pumped up to exorbitantly high volumes. Is it the Bee Gees?  Maybe.  All I know is that the base is bouncing me like I’m a fussy infant, which ironically is making me feel like I’m a fussy infant.  I feel a lot of pressure to say cool stuff today, because yesterday I came to the café and wrote, but was not nearly brilliant enough.  My thoughts just never coalesced into much beyond dirty pond water.  So today I have to prove myself, or else I am not a writer.  Do you believe I think like this?  Cruel and almost unusual… Except that it is usual.  This is the kind of unconscious pressure I live under in every waking moment.  Do you think that’s why I’m so tired all the time?  I bet.

God, I have a bone to pick with you… Lately you have been sending your muses to fill my mind with excruciatingly brilliant ideas for writing topics at the most heinous moments.  Little gemish sentences flutter through my mind when I am trying to sleep and my linguistic butterfly net is more than hidden in the thick folds of nocturnality.  Why do you do this to me?  And then I come to the café, hoping that all these dazzling, winged strings of English will reappear the instant I call upon them, but instead you fill my head with whiny disco, a superficially bassy beat that could only be a result of black market “roids”…and I am left to fend for myself.  Well, God, I just want you to know, that this scenario is NOT ideal for me… but God?  I also want you to know that I’m gonna roll up my sleeves and muscle through it.  I don’t need your tattered, greasy “magic feathers”… No way, dude.  I can do this by myself.

Okay, that was my inner teenager, rearing her pimply, confused head.  Thank you Dear One.  Now, the truth is that I may be able to live life all by myself, write cool shit in a state of divine renunciation, but yuck!!!  Who wants to do that?  I want every single word that sprays across this virgin page to be graced by some kind of Love that would knock the socks off of socks themselves.  If it is not from love, for love, by love then why bother?  I wish they had taught me that in school.  No, not bible study class.  Don’t try to label me a god fearing Christian, just because I have a proclivity for holy names.  Jesus Christ.  School.   You know, garden variety, limping and broken, public assed, free education…

My foot tickles. (Strictly for the record…) I have been feeling the seven year itch with M.  We haven’t even made it to two years yet.  And I’ve been making ready to quit him.  But then I keep coming back to the unrelenting question which auspiciously haunts my mind.  Am I just meeting my own edge and choosing to collapse out of habit?  M has been helping me illuminate this vicious critic in me.  Yes, that would be the very same one who tries to prevent me from writing by leading me to believe that if I don’t do it perfect, than I oughtn’t even bother doing it at all.  So who am I to think that I’ll EVER be in a relationship with a man who is exempt from this merciless, fault finding beast who lives in my wounded mind?  There IS no such a man.  (I would probably even scrutinize the large pores on Jesus Christ’s nose, or become repulsed by Krishna’s luminous, blue skin over time…)

I sure have created M to be hella faulty though… Why?  Why is it so much easier for me to exist in the problems, when perfection sings out unabashedly glorious from beneath every footstep?  No, I’m not just being poetic.  Life is so generous with me.  Love blooms inside me, regardless of the season.  Not Hollywood love.  Maybe that’s the problem.  No, Athena, the “problem” is your addiction to problems.  A Course In Miracles teaches that the O-N-L-Y problem there IS, is the problem of “separation”, which is already solved, because it was an illusion in the first place.  Wow.  I know we all “know” this… It is beyond IN to preach about how separation is an illusion, right?  But have you ever just been sitting at the café, or parading your cart about the grocery store, and dared to actually look around you, feel around you and do your darnedest to just surrender into oneness?  Hmmm, doing your darnedest and surrendering seem kinda antithetical… On your marks, set, SURRENDER!!!  I said SURRENDER, damn it!!!  Then her face twisted into a soft, modest grin.  A grin that actually smoldered like a dying fire, but still it gave off plenty of heat to thaw the hearts of cynics.

Well I am sitting here imagining oneness as I scan the scene, abounding with a colorful bouquet of “others” and “things”.  It feels awkward, given all my habitual ways of perceiving “others” and “things” outside me.  But yet there is something that tingles with shy unity.  It sorta tickles like they’re all in me… Is this far fetched or overtly obvious?  Flip a coin, if you ask me…

Back to my edges in relationship.  I am waking up from this dream of co-dependence.  But then it feels so familiar and comfy that I don’t really WANT to wake up.  But then I do.  But then I don’t.  But then I DO… confusing, eh?  Totally.  All of these voices inside me, vying for the driver’s seat.  The warrioress rises to command at the surface of my mind.   She is intolerant of my stuckness, (and has a proclivity for blaming external circumstances and people I portend to love) intolerant of my habits of closure, hiding, playing small.  Her less than gracious response it to knock over tables and pillage the ancient villages built with bricks of dense repetition and plastered with calcified thought forms.  She is a revolutionary at all cost… unfortunately, though, her head is still stuck up her egoic ass hole more often than she cares to admit, which doesn’t always  make her the most trustable leader.  Then there’s the father, who is constantly scrutinizing all my actions and thoughts and telling me that I could be doing better and more and better and more and better and more.  And the child who is always just a little too empty and needs a bit more… more of anything, you name it, but at the end of the day, if you’re keeping score, it all simmers down to Love, doesn’t it?

What’s the point of all of this nattering?  The point is very clear.  There is only ONE solution to all of theses neurotic problems!!!  I MUST THROW MYSELF AT ERIC*’S FEET AND BEG HIM TO TAKE ME BACK!!!!!  Just kidding!  Did I trick you?  Even for a second?!  Sometimes that’s all I have is the ability to poke fun at my severely limping humanness.  Honestly, I do think that from time to time…to time.  That if I was back with Eric*, I would be happier.  More at peace and there would be hope that one day, I might be blessed with a single, tantalizing taste of fulfillment.  But no.  It’s find the light inside me or BUST.  And not just one, single bust, like bust and be done with it… no, it’d be like bust and bust and bust some MO’.  Maybe they call that “combustion”.  Bust until the day I die.  Bust until this illusory body is beyond exhausted from racing manically about on the hamsterish wheel of samsara.  I know it’s playing the odds, to hope for liberation anytime soon… but what is the alternative?  An unfulfilling, abuse ridden marriage to insanity.

My old landlord once told me that Jim Morrison often wore the same outfit for weeks at a time.  That was very healing for me to hear, because I only have one hoodie and I wear it every day…  Is it because I’m too poor to buy another?  Or is it because I hate shopping?  Laziness?  Unworthiness?  Could be all of those… or it could just be because I am a careless rock star at heart.  Sometimes (often) I wake up and put on the very same clothes that I peeled off and threw on my floor the night before.  Now, once upon a time that was a wholly unattractive behavior… but thanks to Jim Morrison, now it is rebel-hip and careless-creative.  You wouldn’t understand unless you were a *real* artist.  Grin.  Maybe… Maybe not.  But like I said, it’s healing for me to consider this.

Now for a quick update on the orgasm front~ It is strange… I have met so many edges and instead of spilling over them, I just hang out, like a leisurely Parisian, strolling thru the Jardin Luxumbourg on a Sunday.  Have you seen the Parisian contingency in the jardins on Sunday?  They might just sit, dressed in Sunday best, quietly drinking in the spring sunlight as it pours with passive passion on their native French faces all morning.  MAYBE they’ll read the paper.  So that’s how I have been meandering through sexual ecstasy these days.  It’s not half bad… though I do miss cumming.  Another trick I use to keep from spilling over the edge of the pounding waterfall is when I feel that “ohmigodd shoot here it cums” feeling… I totally relax.  Then I put my attention on the physical location of my heart, and naturally, the energy rises.  Jeepers, who knew it was that simple?!