Love Letter Sent from Hell

Hello from the bowels of hell.  It’s actually nice that they allow me write hOMe from down here.  I wouldn’t have expected that. Hell gets such a bad rap. But it’s actually a pretty quiet place.  Except for the jubilantly gurgling fish tank filter. They even have a profoundly soft sheepskin rug for me to sit on.  It’s almost like a cheap knock-off of Heaven down here.

 

Gosh, I thought I was in hell… maybe I should look at a map before I open my big fat mouth and announce shit on the internet.  

 

I woke up grinding myself down in fear and worry of an imaginary and tragic, not-so-distant-future.  A future where I too quickly run out of money… have no way to make more… no inner, nor outer reSource to make my Dreams come true.  It’s fuckin bleak. Plus, I have an incredible, wildly deserving child that I am accountable for. The skewed puzzle of Existence-As-I-Know-It, is not adding up in my mind.  

 

Something woke me at 3am.  At 3:50, I got out of bed… imagining that I’d have extra bonus time to infuse my mind with great books and make love with my cup of tea… but instead I cried too much to even be able to sip from my steaming cup of luscious, caffienated love.  

 

Now I am forgoing my unsayably delectable yoga practice, because I HAVE to write this shit down.  It’s just too bizarre. One of those nightmares you wake up from drenched in sweat, heart pounding… sooo glad to be awake…. But the images and feelings are burned so deep in your body-mind that it takes some serious will power to undo from its gouging shackles.

 

The mind.  Wild that it can dance between heaven and hell in a single flirtatious blink of Goddess’s shimmering, infinite eye.  

 

It’s actually kinda cool… to abide in the space where Rubber and Road merge, mingle and masticate.  I mean that’s when we REALLY get to bump and grind with the untainted honesty of what we are made of.  

 

Or not.

 

I’m made of Light and Love and Hella Special Sauce.

 

But I’m not feeling like it.


What I’m driving at, is that lofty spiritual concepts fly out the window when Life has you in a headlock, your soft cheek pressed against gritty pavement.  Before the genius notion to pound my glorious terror out upon willing keys arose, I perched on a sexy, red suede couch, marinating in sacred, terrifying aloneness, crying plump, juicy tears, hurling hateful words at Ed… like how I wish we’d never met, and that I’d kill myself if it wasn’t for Beautiful Serena.  

 

Isn’t that horrible?

 

I just can’t get my head around how I imagined I was moving in the direction of my Dreams by leaving Ananda.  Now that I am here in outrageously expensive, excessively paved Marin County, I feel totally destabilized and incapable of birthing my Visionary and Delectable women’s video circles.  

 

Maybe I should jump tracks and pour myself into my Podcast, “Get Naked With Athena”…

 

Nobody has signed up for my upcoming webinar.  Go figure. I have been drowning in fear and despair.  Not exactly alluring, to say the least.

 

BUT I CAN WRITE.  I can pour my deranged, haunted-fun-house-mirror feelings and injured-though-fiercly-determined=racehorse-mind all over the page and THIS is my freedom.  THIS is my heaven amidst the self-imposed hell that I am back-stroking through.

 

And I CAN BREATHE.  As deeep as I wanna.  That’s raw, pure Grace.   Mmmmm…. I looove to breathe.  

 

At the heart of the heart, this is what I LIVE for.  To write this boggling existence down. For posterity’s sake.

 

I’m watching, awestruck as my sense of self unravels.  I really don’t know if I know a damn thing. Before Serena came along, I thought I was this high and mighty preacher of the Good Word.  I dreamt I was a know-it-all, spiritual badass. But honestly, as another dawn illuminates this jagged, perplexing world, and I type my heart and soul out upon the page as though my Life depends on it….

 

I feel like desperate emptiness dreaming hollow, haunted dreams.  

Breathing.

Wondering….

Wondering what my Life is REALLY for.  

Beneath the fever dreams of ego and false salvation.   

God will show me the Way.   

I pray that I can be good

for Beloved Serena today.

And hey…

Beloved Me, too.

Even though SHE

Is harder to see.

 

And God, please take away this self-hatred that I didn’t even realize was in me…. Until I stumbled, mostly sober, into this illusory wing of hell.  Let me be Empty.

 

And Faith-FULL.  

 

Amen.

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Hey God…

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Hey God, I need to talk to you.  I know you’re listening… even if my own BEing is too much of a perpetual chaotic swirl to hear or feel you listening, let alone responding.  But just knowing that you are listening is ENOUGH.

 

I’m scared today, God.  Can you refresh my memory as to WHY you are sending me and Serena back into the expensiver than Thou, outrageously chaotic, painfully paved, relentless traffic, screaming wifi lands of the Bay Area?

 

Because I wanted to go?  Is it THAT simple? Never.  And Who infused me with said want, anyway?  Maybe we should have waited until October. When the first hints of chill creep back into the air, and the Enchanted Yuba River no longer lures with the same siren song….  Shouldn’t we have spent one more summer nestled in the verdant, jungly folds of Balarama’s “Prana Gardens”, plucking sun-warmed, candy-sweet cherry tomatoes from their vine? And what about those shiny, black, bursting berries that Serena and I have been dreaming of with every rain…. Imagining the blessed water soaking into the earth, being voraciously slurped by aggressively purposeful roots who prepare in secret to bust out the sweetes, most resplendent little jewels.

 

Am I going to feel MORE ALONE amidst the urban sprawl…. Surrounded by infinitudes of “important people”, ceaselessly doing “important” things….?  I think that’s my greatest fear.

 

No, actually being able to earn enough money to survive (but God, I’d waaay rather THRIVE) there is my greatest fear.  And yes, I know it’s not “spiritually hip” to run on and on about fears. But I’m over being spiritually hip. I just want you to hear me and LOVE me, God.  And reassure me that you won’t drop me. Ever. And if I fall, you’ll pick me up and hold me closer than ever. That’s what a Mother does for her child.

 

I want community.  I have plenty of friends, all the fuck over the Bay Area…. But good Lord… how much expensive fossil fuel will I have to burn in my ancient, twenty-two-miles-to-the-gallon little Subaru, “Venus Ray”, if I want to bask and bathe in the grace of everyone’s luminous company?  

 

Will you help me make friends in my neighborhood?  Not that I’m tossing the oldies but goodies aside… just seeking calm, rejuvenative balance in my Life.

 

A recurring image flashes in my mind’s eye when I’m reflecting on my Path…. I see myself blindfolded, in total darkness… groping about the contours of my environment… feeling for doors and windows… seeking one that opens when I exert focused will.  

 

And when I find an opening, I know it is my Destiny to be brave and step across the Threshold, into the mysterious world therein.

 

The door into my new Life* in the Bay Area flung the fuck open for me.  No questions asked. Within less than a week of declaring my intention to leap… it was like “Yeah Bitch*, walk on through!”  So…

 

This Royal Bitch is walking on through.  Trust-walking. But not without a shadowed underbelly of apprehension.

 

And now for a few words on Bitch* and Life*.  

 

I like the word “Bitch”, because it is evocative.  Too often, it gets a bad rap. It is construed as a wicked insult to women.  But that’s so thoughtlessly mainstream, if you ask me. Deep within every woman, lives a bitch.  Fierce, venomous and unapologetic. But we have been domesticated to the point of near apocalypse.  We have been programmed to dull our own swords, walk in straight lines and keep our legs pressed together.  We have been hypnotized to fear and reject our own dimensionally vivifying, evocative and intelligent shadows.  Fuck that.

 

And LIFE.  To me, “Life” and “God” are synonyms.  Life is God’s profound, undulating body.  Life is how we touch, feel, know God. And therefore, our Selves.  Sure, God’s Queendom of Infinity extends Beyond all that which is that which we know as Life.  But if you think about it, LIFE itself stretches Beyond that which we “know” as Life….

 

Can I truly REST inside the God-ness that IS this Life I AM?  

 

As I posed that fluorescent, flame-dancing question, I became immediately present to tension in my body.  The tension of bracing myself against the Unknown. Bracing myself against the inevitability of the death of my body.  And in a flash was the knowing that trust emerges in a single mOMent, as the willingness to RELAX, surrender all tension.  

 

Oh, I’m celebrating this Revelation with a deeeeep breath!!!

 

God, thank you for Being Here.  For Listening. For breathing me.  For filling me with just enough wisdom and insight to navigate THIS MOMENT.  That’s plenty.

 

Sincerely,

Athena Grace

Growing a Goddess

One of the most literally miraculous (is there a such thing as “figuratively miraculous”?) aspects of bringing a child into this world, is the way they reunite people.  Even without inhabiting a body, the gravitational force of a yet to be born soul’s love is profound.  Serena’s presence in my life has been an immense catalyst for reuniting and healing.  I bow to her Holy influence.

But that’s not even what this piece of writing is about!  Too bad, huh?… cuz what a wonder-full topic to expound upon!  I get such a charge out of “breaking the rules” of writing.  Because REALLY, who made them up in the first place?… and why are THEY the one who like a smirking jailer, holds the iron key-laden ring to a fractaling multitude of cells, crowded with way too many suckas who think they are “better writers” for anally affixing a “main idea” to their “opening sentence”?  Yes, I DO believe that it is a useful strategy for drawing the reader IN… and giving you an idea of the linguistic river ride that you are invited to glide and bounce along upon.  But not every poem must rhyme the last word in each line.  Sometimes the rhythms and rhymes are slanted and erratic and squiggly.  And sometimes any rhyming would be binding and trite.

Alas, we find the mouth of this rushing mind river, set upon the the bank of a dribbling creek.  Six months pregnant, I am seated upon a white, plastic patio chair, on a pebbly, parched creek bed, reconnecting after a steep twenty-someodd years, with my childhood bestie from first grade, Mary.  We (especially shamelessly ravenous, pregnant me,) feast upon queen-sized bags of Tostito’s lime flavored corn chips, and impossibly addictive, GMO kettle corn, which is entirely climactic unto itself, but inconsequential to this visionary essay.  It is a bright, sweltering afternoon in late july, and I am probably slippery with sweat.

Mary, now having three children of her own, confesses that when she found out her third child was a girl (her first), she cried!  Struck by this confession, I ask why… for I would have cried if I found out I was NOT having a girl, which fortunately was not the case.  (Note to self– write the dismal, cloud-cover story of your ultrasound one of these days…)  She says, because she immediately fretted for all of the painful passages her girl would make, and Mary would hence relive:  struggles with friends, boys, body image, self-esteem…

Golly, those dimensions of the journey had never occurred to me.  At least in the way she portrayed them.  Hearing her perspective magically illuminated my own.  I realized that I had an equal amount of energy as she, but mine equated to enthusiasm, purpose, and vision.  Whereas she felt plagued by all that she had endured as a girl in this world, I felt equipped, and eager to use my [excruciating] trials as a source of empowerment and transcendence for my burgeoning girl, and all girls.  And THAT statement, ladies, gentlemen and the no-so-civilized among us, could be construed as the “main idea” of this writing spree!

I *really* struggled to grow into the goddess that I have become.  You’re probably familiar with the saying, “Not all who wander are lost.”  Well, I was a lost and tortured wanderer.  I was a classic case of “ugly duckling”.  But now look at the elegant and wild swan I have become.  No.  It was not easy.  Yes.  It hurt a lot.  Will Serena have to go through that?  I hope not… But no matter what she must live, I will empower her to encounter it ALL as essential steps on a heroine’s journey through Holy Lands, expanding into ever greater and more masterful embodiment of the Divine I AM that she already, always IS.  So help me God.  Yes, I want to protect her from low self-esteem, severe acne, heartbreak, mean girls, feeling lost… I suppose every parent with a heart must want to protect their child from the pain of Becoming…

Take our homeboy Siddheartha as the prime-est of examples.  His parents wanted to keep him imprisoned behind opulent palace walls for his entire life, so that he would NEVER need to encounter sickness, death or suffering of any flavor.  But ultimately this cush, sheltered life left him hopelessly bathed in malaise.  Out of immense love for their Prince of Perfection, they had to release him to the arduous journey of Becoming, that we are each here to surmount.  Sigh… I guess I will release Serena from the suffocating confines of the palace walls of my narrow and skewed, but wholly well-intended ideas of loving.

All hale checks and balances!!!  Because I equally contain a mature strain of brave, awakened love.  And a knowing of all-pervading, unescapable divine perfection.  My daughter will never live ANYTHING that is not in service of her eternally expanding journey of sacred illumination.  Nor will any of us.  This idea requires a bottomless well of faith… which is a tall order, in a world where so many suffer.  Sometimes I go to my well, send the bucket down, and only come up with a few modest drops of liquid faith.  Just enough to wet my lips… so that I may keep whistling Amazing Grace, as I trudge up steep hills, in pursuit of unknown, though purely compelling, elevated states of Realization and Service.

Are you still there?  Yes, YOU, whose eyes wander in wonder, word by word, through the world revealed through vision-driven finger tips… Please… Give me your hand!… Like a negligent child’s stray balloon, I have floated up, up, up into the gay stratospheres of beatific idealism.  Pull me dowwwwn.  To the ground, where I have a noble and life-long job to accomplish.  Raising my daughter with intention, attention and devotion, such that the Goddess is free to reign on earth once again, and Love explodes in harmonious, healing rays from EVERY HEART.  And I mean Every Heart.

I’ve witnessed enough young children to know that it really isn’t what we SAY, as parents and trusted guides, but what we DO.  With riveted attention, our littles watch our every move, drink in every word (except when we are preaching exhausted, disembodied gospels to their time-dulled, wisened ears).  This is a call to slow down, drop IN and rise to new heights of integrity.  No pressure. Grin.  Yes, it’s a tall order; an invitation to fail many times over.  But I am willing to flail, fall and simply get up again, aspiring to be bright beacon of intentional love and sacred responsibility for my Tiny Goddess to emulate.

I don’t have it all figured out (like duh…). But after clambering around in the dark for the first thirty years of this life, grasping for something REAL, substantial, fundamental… I found it.  Seriously, I BEGGED God to tell me the meaning of Life.  And God said it is Love.  This pure, potent and totally knowable Force, around which to order, organize, inspire and inform all choices, actions, words, relationships.  I may make mistakes… but Serena will bear witness to a woman who loves her own heart with fierce, unrelenting and tender persistence.  Yes, come what may, I will always be one to pause, put my hand over my warm, pulsing, deep feeling heart, breathe deep and say to the tremulous and pure One in there, “I love you.”  ALL OF IT is worthy of my unconditional love:  fear, anger, disappointment, hope, desire, peace, passion, insecurity…  I may not be able to shelter my daughter from the essential storms of life, but I WILL give her the tools to weather them with Love’s immensity.  After all, she IS a little Mrs. Grace.

My dear friends, David and Rosy have a daughter who turned thirteen last year.  Reviving the entirely necessary, and recently misplaced Rite of Passage, they created a women’s circle to celebrate and initiate their budding goddess into the delicious (though totally overwhelming at times) Ocean of Womanhood.  I was blessed to be invited to co-create this powerful cauldron of holding, wisdom, love and sharing.  God, I wish for every girl to have such an intentional and blessed emergence…

Witnessing this no-longer-girl-child, yet not-quite-woman, I was flooded with aching and bitter memories of the confusion and pain of my own listless, unanchored, sprawling drift into womanhood.  As was each of the women who sat in circle, sharing pertinent morsels of their own grueling tale of Becoming, in service of empowering young Eva’s unfurling story, and implicitly, all of HerStory.  What struck me, is that we were all left to grope, alone, in a dark and stark world, until somehow, through the grace of the goddess, we managed to find something of true value and substance Inside.  It was the exception to the rule that someone wise, loving and steadfast took our hand and powerfully guided us into the vast, undulating world of womanhood… let alone a circle, a village, or an entire choir, sung from the radiant feminine hearts of a sane, healthy and connected world.

We were all taught to loathe our bodies and our blood, and hence, never touch the latent miraculous power therein.  Over the course of my own single-serving-struggle, I have come to love the blood that flows from my womb with every moon.  And too, I realized that my body IS the temple through which I worship the GodLove in Everything.  Granted, we each may need to struggle, ache and break, as we make the brave pilgrimage through the earthly lands of our Destiny… but WE DO NOT NEED TO FEAR OUR BODIES, OUR BLOOD, OR OUR SISTERS.

I will teach Serena to revere and devotionally care for her heavenly body, and to trust its innate wisdom.  I will teach her that her sexuality is a sacred portal to endless dimensions of divine communion, not to be squandered, diminuated or bartered for a cheap, hollow imitation of love and acceptance from an external, and hence perpetually unsatisfying source.  May she know, that SHE IS THE SOURCE.  And Sorceress…  I will invite her to honor and learn from the power and mystery of her goddess blood.  I will allow her to retreat Within during that sacred moon time– to meditate, journal, rest, pray, dream… And to invest her Self in the coin of indestructible Sister Love.  Competition among women must be a contemporary capitalist plot.  Our power awakens in our Joining.  Alone, we are false, and therefore weakened.  As women, we are the keepers of Mother Love on this planet.  Mother Love, by nature joins, for it IS the luminous, intelligent, compassionate and beautiful web of Creation.  Though to our divine delight, we seem individuated on the surface, if you close your earthly eyes, and look through the Eye Within, you will surely see that beneath the ever-creative, intricate lila of dancing surface waves, there is One united force of pulsing, creative love, giving rise to all our lives.

It is one thing to “know” of these ideals… And quite another matter to LIVE them.  But this is what I strive to do and BE… for myself, for my daughter, for all women and men, for our selflessly, endlessly generous Mother Earth and all Her miraculous, essential inhabitants.  God, please bless my every step on this life-long, essential mission.  In the name of Love.

 

Watch my vid!!!

Hello Friends!  I know that Athena Graceland has been a ghost town as of late… I have been exploring the medium of video, and finding so much delight in this mode of expression.  This is just the beginning… I am taking the world by storm.  I want to remind you all of the Truth.  That you are INFINITE.  You are WHOLE.  You are a powerful creator, and your thoughts and feelings CREATE YOUR REALITY.  The mind can get so lazy…. and fall asleep as you tumble through well worn grooves in your mind.  But time to WAKE UP.  Together… Come on!!!!  You and me.  Let’s dare to LOVE like we were BORN TO LOVE.  And shape our lives and the world from inspired vision and delight!!!!

 

Check out my first video here:

 

 

Blessed BE,

Athena Grace

 

 

Every Shade of Grace

Leaving Ananda (the “Momshram”) last time was an experiment. My Ma was sure that I’d return to her after my impending Bay Area romp, Humpty-Dumpty shattered, and she’d have her work cut out for her with the bottle of kray-zay glue. But I was like, “Oh, Ma! Why dost thou insisteth on investing thine faith in the worst case scenario?!” My stance was straight up curiosity. Like, “Huh… how’s it gonna play out… ME, going back out into “the world”. Yep. It has become like that… There is Ananda Village… and The World. And comparatively, the world can be a rough ride. Ma was right. At least today’s forecast calls for a bandage brigade. And probably a few stitches. And maybe a tourniquet.

And now for a deeper glimpse inside the writer’s mind: She’s thinkin’ like, okay, where do I go from here? Do I climb up to the high dive and leap into the deep, inhospitable waters of my dramatic sob story….? I want to bring my BEST to you through this blog. Yes, my MESSY, NAKED BEST… I want to turn my lead into gold before your very eyes… and turn yours the same through sympathetic osmosis. That’s what Jesus did. And every other saint and sage who’s blessed this Forgetful Zone. Great souls dwell in the light of Truth, and others are naturally and effortlessly elevated… just be sharing in the *realized* presence of the all pervading, indwelling God (LOVE). Now I’m not professing to be a saint. Or a sage. Just a genuinely aspiring, caring and determined soul. And I want to invoke the presence of the Miraculous, such that through the sharing of my story and my heart, Truth will be revealed where before there was a veil of darkness. I will heal myself as I unfurl upon the page, and you, in turn, will receive healing like pure alpine snow melt, pouring out into myriad streams, who surge with the force of destiny toward the Ocean.

Okay Athena. Beautiful aspiration. Now let’s get to work. Do you want to take a guess as to why I SOBBED myself to sleep last night and awoke with my eyes swollen and crusty… only to resume the wet festivities again this morning? If your mind wandered to our massive and mushy-hearted police officer, Ed, you WIN. (and if you are new to my blog, or you were just genuinely stumped, you also WIN, because in Athena Graceland, everyone is a winner. How can we *not* be?!… we are all glorious, creatively costumed children of the INFINITE?…)

I’m starting to see a pattern. I yearn to be oh-so-close with Ed. So I will my orbit near to his. And it’s like eating my fill of warm, melty brownies… laced with arsenic. Moments that we are together and holding each other close, or cooking a nourishing meal together in our new PJs, or walking down the street with my arms wrapped around his big, squishy middle… Perfection.

And then he goes back to his family; in a maximum security world, where I am forbidden. At least my body… I know that my heart and my energy pervade that world like a questionable fragrance. Is it sweet? Or is it lethal?… It is both. It is born of flowers grown in the great goddess of destruction, Kali Ma’s own garden. I know my love is felt in Ed’s home… but it is not soft, fluffy, puppy kitten love… it’s the shade of love that demands truing and transformation. Not glamorous. But necessary. And now that I think about it, it isn’t even “my love”. It is God’s love. And it is working me over just the same. And that’s why I’ve been crying all hard and tragic for the last twelve hours.

I’m calmer now. Now, I’m just here. At Pizzaiolo. I cried all the way here on BART, though. And to be honest, crying in public (and I mean REALLY CRYING… not a wussy, withheld trickle…) is a form of my activism. Why should we have to portray ourselves as all neat and tidy all the time? Kids aren’t the only ones with feelings. Cry Laugh Orgasm. Buy the book. It’s the story of my life.

Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes, the perfection of moments shared with Ed. Our connection is POTENT. And as deep as deep is deep. But then he goes back to his family. And he is unwilling to create any kind of timeline as to when he’ll be available. And I think my heart has broken and spilled over the reality of our situation one too many times to continue on as we have been. And he expresses similar sentiments about his jealousy issues and my desire to spend [PLATONIC] time with other men. He doesn’t understand it… My need to connect. To show up for the people that God peoples my life with…

Meanwhile, I was invited to visit OREGON! There is another Ananda community just outside of Portland. And I have a compelling opportunity to go there and serve in the kitchen and lead sadhanas in exchange for food and shelter and classes on spirituality and art taught by an amazing woman artist who is a part of Ananda! Duh. It’s obvious that I need to go. When I turn away from the pain and the drama with Ed… and toward my guru, toward expansion, toward service to humanity, the sun comes out and my tears turn to glitter and crystals and diamonds to rain upon the masses!

Ha. I make it sound so scientific. So simple and easy. But the human heart is a complicated knot of karma and longing. And the feeling that it is time to turn away from Ed kills me. It is a death. And death is not pretty. Well… I suppose it CAN be. Elements of it, anyway. But I know that rebirth and regeneration is inevitable. For the faithless, death is sheer terror. But for the faith-FULL, death is a wondrous mystery, teeming with hidden gifts, laced with grace, and spun from the very threads of The Miraculous.

But here’s the latest breaking news, live from Athena Graceland~ Ready? Here goes: Even the faith-FULL ache and break and spill. But we do it with our hearts lifted and our wings spread.

I believe. I know that everything is unfurling as it must. Whether I fight the current or move with it… It moves just the same. The only difference is how much I suffer. I hate to admit it, but I am choosing suffering. Because I am so attached to Ed. And I don’t understand what the implications of letting go are. I don’t know if Life will bring us back together or not. But I know that Life has a deep and sober intelligence, beyond individual agendas. I still want to fight it. Just enough to FEEL the edges of my life and the shape of my soul.

The heart always knows how to find its way through this dark labyrinth of a human life. I am learning that there are times to pause and wait and listen… and times to act. My Ma told me this. And the natural rhythms of my life affirm it to be true. I have waited and listened… and very soon comes a time of action. I will do my best to act in alignment with the Highest.

I’ve been musing on the implications of karma lately. It’s hard NOT to, when it slaps you the fuck around so much. I’ve been wondering how I can graciously make my bed and LIVE in it, so to speak… You know, like be woman enough to show up, open and willing to meet the sprouting seeds which I have sewn in the soils of time and space… With the presence and artistry to create the most positive and uplifted future impact. We are always acting. That’s just how it words down here. Karma begets karma = action begets action. But I believe that the more I can keep my eyes open and my heart lifted up to God as the whole ecstatic theater unfolds, RESPONDING with divine intelligence, instead of reacting like a horrified, convulsing reptile…. the more I can minimize the damage, and sew seeds of divine grace in the soils of my (and OUR) future.

This is my prayer.
This is the will I share with God.
May it be so.
Bless.

Live,
A

My Chaos… It’s Actually Sorta Lovely.

This isn’t a very creative opening sentence but my goal today on the page, is to befriend myself and open my heart to all the chaos that is coursing through my veins. Is anybody else feeling extra nutzo today? This is such a bizarre chapter of my life. I want to scream. It feels self-indulgent to sit here writing about all my feelings and fluctuations… when I could be “making something of my life”. But my hope is that by letting myself just BE here, amidst the chaos and confusion, that a spontaneous alchemy will happen, and a diamond will naturally tumble forth from this imaginary weave of dynamic tension, like prismatic honey dew cascading from a fragile leaf in heaven’s own secret garden.

I feel angry. I think it is my soul trying to shake me awake, call me to ACTION. There are so many things I want to create in my life. But somehow, the days keep slipping by. Mostly all I have been doing is sadhana (spiritual practice), talking to my mom, talking to Ed, preparing healthy food, eating it, napping, more sadhana, more talking to Ed and my Ma… and then going to sleep. And now I’m here writing about it, and I want to cry and pull my hair out.

The spirituality here at Ananda feels pretty masculine. The whole line of gurus are men. They condone sitting still for like EVER. Listen, I am not knocking it… (like I did in a some blog posts a few years ago) I LOVE it here at Ananda. It is a sanctuary of sanity amidst a world of blind, forgetful children, flailing around in ignorance, barking up imaginary trees in pursuit of happiness that already exist within each of us, NOW. It’s a classic case of the Alchemist. Member? That magical little book by Paulo Cohello… The dude goes on this epic journey in search of treasure that was buried in the exact spot beneath which he slept at the beginning of the story…

But oh merciful Mary, my heart is THIRSTING for an integration of feminine expression in my spiritual life. I feel dried out. Must. Have. JUICE. This morning, I did my energization exercises, and then I stood frozen and tortured. I could not bring myself to do the same austere yoga poses I have been practicing day after day after day after… I haven’t danced in over two months. This was fine for a time… while I was dissolving over the summer, it was actually quite alright. And perhaps even necessary. But now the leaves are falling from the trees again, and blowing about in smooth, poetic frenzies, and I am once again becoming solid. And it’s a classic case of dance or BUST!

So incinerating in inexplicable internal flames, I put in my earbuds, and played an exquisite rendition of the gayatri mantra and began to move as my body and soul demanded. Caged in an empty, white-walled room, lit by a single candle, I danced to set myself free. It was clear that I was doing what I must, because the shackles began to loosen and slip from the silken surfaces of my soul. But then I looked to the altar. To the five men with serious faces who were witnessing my dance… And I felt misunderstood. I felt embarrassed, and maybe even ashamed for letting this essential part of me emerge and play. I cried as I danced. And I wondered if I was projecting all that judgement onto myself, or whether the gurus really didn’t approve. I’d like to think it was just the darkness of my own psyche rising to the surface for healing. Yeah. I’m pretty sure it was. Because rumor has it, there IS no “outside”; the whole world is a projection streaming from the divine play of light and shadow, born of my own consciousness. I know that’s debatable. But let’s not debate it right now. Because when it comes to beliefs, the question to ask is: are they serving and informing my life, such that I am elevated to new heights of excellence? I mean, that’s really all beliefs are GOOD for, right? Infinity is way too vast to be strangled by the “hard and fast”… But that said, we need some sort of map and compass to guide us to the Eternal Home beyond the self-indulgent, respective somewheres we insist on wandering about in…

Ok. I’m starting to love myself again. I was beginning to doubt. It’s just that lately I’ve been surfing one of my all too familiar, quasi-beloved waves of terror- that I’m gonna FAIL AT MY MISSION for this life. I came to INSPIRE. To learn and explore and share all of my profound discoveries with YOU. I came with so many gifts, and most of the time, I feel like I am squandering them as I chase my tail and think really deep thoughts. Goddess almighty, this makes me crazy!!!! And the stupidest part is that here I am, just wanting to cry about it!!!! When really, all I need to do is change the channel and get into action.

Okay. I’m gonna take a time-out from this self-critical loop through no-woman’s-land. Instead I’m gonna write about this mystical white owl who is hovering just beyond the visible edges of my consciousness. She must be immense, because with even the slightest motion of her wing thrusts, mighty majestic winds wish across the sky inside, arousing subterranean feelings of enchanted power. Come closer, beautiful creature!!! Let me climb onto your smooth, white feathered back. Carry me somewhere better. Carry me to the towering, golden, jewel-crusted gates of Grace, where I will sit and patiently do pranayama and sing flirtatious, devotional songs (see, I’m gonna use my time wisely!) until they splay open, and out rolls an iridescent carpet, fashioned from the wings of ascended angels, upon which I will tread soft and triumphant, back into the arms of a love so pure and pervading, I will melt into a sea of my own ecstatic tears and pour upon alla y’all who are still staggering about on planet earth like a gaggle of drunk turkeys on the first day of november.

This message has been brought to you by the simple pleasure of new fleece sweats, caressing hydrated, wistful skin.

Live,
A

Dissolved And Broken Open

Looking at the blank page right now is daunting because I am changing so fast and attempting to put it into words seems like having a foot race with a shooting star. But writing is what I do, so I will take a stab at it. Speaking of a stab, Ed and I broke up again on wednesday. And this time it seemed all too real. It was the same thorn that has been lodged in our communion since before the beginning; my relationships with certain other men. Ugh. I don’t even feel like writing about it because it makes me feel shitty. And I didn’t pilgrimage all the way to Athena Graceland this evening to plunge any deeper into my already aching heart than necessary. All I’ll say, is that whenever this topic rises to the surface, we hit a painful and severe gridlock… so our tactic has been to leave it alone. But unfortunately, leaving it alone has not made it go away, as I wish it would, so we could get on with our exquisite loving, without further interruption.

Tension started to build a few days ago. When the topic first surfaced this time, I held on to some of my feelings, because I wanted to avoid the lethal strain of disconnect that this topic tends to cause. But that didn’t work. He knew there was more that I was not saying, and he said he always wanted our relationship to be a place where I felt free to speak my heart. So I did. And up went the Great Wall. Add to this disturbed mix that he was planning to come visit me on wednesday. Even though I had cried my guts out, and we were both considering that our Relationship (with a capital R) was over, still I demanded he come. Because I missed him so much. And because I wanted to share a few sips of the nutrient-dense sacredness I have been imbibing for six weeks straight. (Currently it is “Spiritual Renewal Week”, and there are talks and other special events every day. Guests are here from other Ananda colonies, and the atmosphere is especially festive.)

He came. At nine am, he walked into my Ma’s room, holding a vase of exquisite, boldly colored flowers. Our embrace was electric and laden with deep, soulful relief. We shared a perfect day together. He came to the morning talk, and afternoon sadhana (spiritual practice= energization, asana, prayer, chanting and meditation) and a Q&A session with the leaders of the community, Jyotish and Devi. Our hearts were joyous and joined as one beaming light.

It wasn’t till nine thirty pm that we opened the inevitable can of poisonous worms. As we talked in the moon-soaked, cricket pulsing darkness, I prayed and prayed and prayed to Yogananda (the Guru of this path) to be with us. I prayed to God, to speak through me. I prayed to Love to look through my eyes. And still, he drove away into the pitch black with a calloused heart, and fairly certain that we were done. As he started Magic Mike’s (his truck’s name) engine, I softly sang him Ananda’s goodbye song. It goes, “Go with love, may joyful blessings speed you safely on your way. May God’s light expand within you, may we be One in that light someday.” I followed it with a requisite OM, and then walked into the house in a state of shock and denial.

God, I didn’t mean to tell this story so linearly. Because meanwhile, splice the screen of reality in two, and on the other side, see me becoming so deeply tenderized and spiritually receptive. Every day I have been here, I have risen early, as I do, and begun my leisurely, devoted sadhana by six thirty am, at the latest. And every day, I practice before an altar laden with the faces of the guru lineage of Ananda. I gaze into Yogananda’s omniscient, compassionate eyes, and he speaks to me. Every day. Here come the tears. Yogananda came into my life early. I was about six. Over the years, sometimes I have felt very close to him, and other times, I have been the rebellious teenager, who is determined to do life MY WAY. Without some goody-two-shoe spiritual dictator telling me how I “should be”.

But since I have been at the Momshram this time, I realize that I am ready for him to tell me how I “should be”. Because I’d rather take direction from one who has attained Mastery (with a capital M), landed back in the heart of Truth, and realized oneness with ALL, than rely on my fickle, erratic, impulsive, delusive, ever-fluctuating small self to guide my life. Why would I insist on wandering the desert alone and thirsting, when there is a loving avitar with an impeccable map, standing before me and extending his hand? Yes, that was a rhetorical question. There are endless reasons why I would resist. But the bottom line is that I am so tired of being lost and alone in maya and I want to go Home. I want to seek. I want to find. I want to share.

I could sob right now. But instead, I will take a deep breath and courageously keep on writing.

When I was on the phone with Ed the other day (before his visit), having one of our most painful conversations, in walks my Ma’s housemate Uddhava, and out of the blue, without regard to my being on the phone, he says, “If you decide to take discipleship, I’ll come to your ceremony.” Damn it! I can’t hide in God’s house! The pull has been growing inside me… slowly… over the past six weeks. But I hadn’t mentioned it to anyone, because committing to a Guru and a specific path feels similarly weighty as committing to a monogamous Relationship. Not an impulse by in the check-out line of life. Plus, I didn’t want my Ma to get all worked up about it and “pester” me to join her cult.

Not that I think it’s a cult. And not that my Ma pesters me… but you get the idea.

So you see, my world is coming undone at such a fundamental level. Yesterday, on the phone with Ed, I cried a profuse stream of grief as I marveled at the immense, unrelenting hole in my heart. Oh yeah, you should know that Ed still wants to be my friend forever, even if we cannot go on as Lovers, as Partners. I guess that’s “nice”. But I have never loved anyone to the depths that I have loved with him. This is why it’s so hard to let go. I’m actually astounded at how deeply moved I am by him. As the tears flow, I realize this is how I cried when Dan died last spring. Tears of grief. I guess I am navigating another death. I don’t know if Ed and I will make it to the other side still hand in hand.

All I know, is that I am truly ready to offer my life to God. I am ready to focus. Work hard. Serve. Surrender. I really feel like a dissolved caterpillar in her cocoon. I am not what I have been. But my becoming is not complete. Imaging myself taking flight on wings that have not yet materialized makes my guts leap into my ________. Traversing the spiritual path takes so much f-ing faith. OMG.

I told Ed today that my heart has never felt so broken… To that he replied, “Maybe it’s not broken, but just stretching wider than it has ever stretched.” Spoken by the man who knows my heart better than anyone ever has.

It’s all good. So good. But it is NOT easy.

God, thank you for your infinite love and blessings. Let me rest in perfect faith tonight.

Om. Peace. Amen.

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