Rising in LOVE

Finally, I have remembered why we’re here!!!  Good lord, that *seemed* to take FOREVER…  But rumor has it, time is a big, fat illusion, so who who cares?  And what better do I have to do ANYWAY, than fumble my way into the heart of Truth?

Do YOU remember why we are here???

We are here to bring heaven to earth!!!  And if that sounds to airy-fairy for you, then a more Hemingway-simple way to say it, is that we are here to awaken as love.  And when we awaken as love, EVERYONE ELSE DOES TOO.  Because everyone IS you.  I’m serious.  Light heartedly serious.  It’s not just spiritualized wishful thinking.  I’ll even bet you my first born on this!!  And if you know me at all, you KNOW the world that she means to me…

It’s been a month since I touched down in the enchanted garden of Graceland… and good goddamn, it’s been the single most powerful month of my entire life.  In my last entry, I was feeling all battered and bruised because the gap between what I wanted and what I had seemed so irreconcilable and unsavory.  But today, I am living surrender.  Today I know that life IS God.  And God is Love.  Hence there’s absolutely no reason to rage against the machine of supreme intelligence that cradles me to it’s bosom of infinite, ever-expanding, creative form!

This awakening is infusing every area of my life with a soft wash of gratitude and wonder, so I could really use any facet of my life as an entry point to shed  tangible illumination on this subject of blessed transformation.  But since Relationship is really my favorite subject, I’ll start there.  Because you’ve been with me on this whole ridiculous twist of a ride with Dear Edward.

One of my fave yoga teachers, Pedro Franco prefers to use the term “break through”, over the stale, worn-out term, “break-up”.  When he first shared that, I didn’t quite get it.  It just sounded like fluffy, new-age semantics.  But Ed and I have “broken through” twice in the past few “rounds” (think boxing… we are definitely two noble, bloodied, heavy-weight champs).  The first time was after I asked him for a time commitment to when he’d be free from his marriage and he said when his little genius-angel-son graduates from high school.  TWO YEARS.  This instantly sent my heart spelunking through the depths of hell.  I sobbed for at least an hour straight, from the bottom of my guts, and gave him back his grandma’s ring.  In retrospect, I’m sure I was exorcising demons from the collective unconscious, on behalf of Humanity.

The second time was after I rediscovered the distinction of “entanglements” versus real, pure intimacy between two whole people.  Entanglements are the result of two people who are yet unwilling to love themselves fully and completely, instead coming together and desperately manipulating the other to give them what they are unwilling to give themselves.  Which, of course is impossible.  I realized that what we were participating in was indeed an entanglement, and I had some WORK to do in my own precious heart, before I was ready to get all up in another person’s.  Makes a cornucopia of sense, right?!

The miracle, is that on both occasions, Ed felt through the shards of soul pain that surfaced and purged, and remained standing, brighter and stronger than ever before in the open sky of unconditional love and rarefied willingness.  He always does.  And this makes him the supreme god of my heart.  And thus, impossible to let go of.  So you see, we didn’t really break-up.  We broke through veils of delusion.

So where does that leave us standing today?  Our Relationship has been sublimely intelligent shock treatment that has disabled my capacity to linger in the beglittered fantasy of false future hopes.  I LOVE HIM.  Like no other.  That’s real.  And TODAY I choose to stand by his side.  Today I bow to him as an imperative teacher, celebrate him as a world-class friend, and dance with him as a delicious divine lover.

Will we be together in the classical sense, SOMEDAY?  Possibly!!!!  But here’s what I know for SURE~  I am committed to loving myself entirely, and with ecstatic abandon.  I am ALIVE FOR LOVE.  And a magnificent byproduct of this sacred alignment, is that I KNOW that my future is beyond bright, no matter how the story plays out.

HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!?!?!?

Seriously.  I have worked so fucking hard to drop anchor in this sacred center of BEing.  And maybe I didn’t have to be working hard… because awakening is inevitable.  But oh well.  I did.  (Or was I done by infinite intelligence?)  And I’m all the better for it!!!  And so are YOU.  This is not MY story.  This is OUR story.  The world is waking up.  Look into your heart, and you will see that there is an unborn, but entirely formed and miraculously pure world in there.  A beautiful, peaceful, love-drenched world.  And YOU are the One who has been blessed with the divine mission of bringing it into physical form, through the focused beam of your holy faith, tireless devotion and FULL PARTICIPATION in this wild game of love masquerading as physical form!!!   YES!!!  Now go out there and WIN IT FOR THE TEAM!!!!

From my heart to yours… All love and blessings!!!!

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Shhhh…. Just Love.

I don’t want to talk about my Relationship again this morning… because it is currently a source of befuddlement and pain (in addition to the foundational qualities of deep connection and profound love)… I’m in this awkward place with it, where I move toward him, and it starts to hurt again, so I wonder if it’s *really* time to let go…. and move toward letting go, and guess what? It hurts too. So I move closer… and it hurts. I move away, and it hurts. And yes, this is a caricature sketch of my experience, rather than a scalpel precise cut. (And Ed, please don’t *react* to my testimony by needing to DO anything about it. The river is carrying us to the Land of Milk and Honey, no matter how we behave along the way. I’m just reporting on the scenery as we ecstatically thrash along the rapids…)

But I was serious (insert serious face here), when I said that I wasn’t gonna talk about it. (Except for a paragraph’s worth.) Instead, I shall talk about OTHER PEOPLE’S RELATIONSHIPS! At least for a semi-cheap paragraph… Hmm, this could end up being one of my more random blogs… kinda like the way my Ma cooks, when she’s freestylin… a few black beans, a half a potato, a tomato, a moderately sautéed onion, a few macaroni elbows, some herbs de provence, some cumin… Ummm… yeah, but you’ve gotta taste for the love beneath the anarchy! Gosh. I’m sure stepping on some toes in this blog. That’s the achilles heel of being a raw and interesting writer. If you are really committed to speaking your mind, you gotta deal with the inevitable, occasional wrong-way-rubbing. It’s not a job ya do for the “glamor”… strictly a compulsion of the soul.

So what’s here to express this morning, are some half-baked feelings about life in a spiritual community. It’s confusing for me, because I’ve got a wondering eye on “the future”… like is this microcosm of focused devotees, joined and working toward common goals something that I can see myself subscribing to for the long haul? In some moments it seems so obvious, like DUH, of course, Athena!… Where ELSE would you be, but with the meditating, serviceful GOD LOVERS??? But then in other moments, it all seems like such a sham! And people rub all up on my tender nerves…

I can’t help comparing the people here, to my Bay Area peeps. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area since I was less than two years old, I didn’t fully realize what a special place it is. Well, I sorta did… cuz I traveled enough to put my finger on the pulse of many other pockets of collective consciousness… But still, it’s easy to take the things that come easy for granted. I never had the experience of being the midwestern black sheep, who fled to the Bay Area like a tattered, starving refugee at age twenty-something, to find my kin. What I’m driving at, is that people in the Bay Are are so magnificently self aware and committed to the “work”, for the most part. They know how to relationally “get down” and share themselves and receive at a deep level. At least the people I surrounded myself with. People who did tons of personal growth, transformational work, and spelunking in wondrous caves consciousness. I find it not only refreshing, but deeply nourishing to connect with others at this level.

But surprisingly, here, there is much more of a spectrum of depth that people are available for. It seems like the spiritual path does not necessarily equate to depth of relating. I think many people substitute the spiritual path for “the work”… You know, the more rudimentary levels of growth, development and healing… the “stuff” fondly known as “our shit”… Areas of exploration that one might associate with the…dun, dun, dun….EGO!!!! Our friend the ego gets such a bad rap amongst “spiritual circles”. Like it’s some unsightly beast that requires continuous and covert beating into submissive mush. Sure, ultimately this notorious ISness will not be of any use to us as we merge back into the All Pervading Ocean of Love-Light. But in the mean time, it’s our benevolent vehicle through a vast jungle of “otherness”. We’d be utterly lost without this precious, confining sense of individuated identity.

Uh-oh, I feel myself getting sucked into the mires of nebulosity. Let me get Hemingway straight for a moment: I believe in the goodness of a healthy ego. And one of the dangers of walking a “spiritual path” (I put it in quotes, because I believe that the spiritual path takes as many forms as there are stars in the sky, or beings in the universe. If God is ALL, then ALL is God. And the only thing that supersedes that, is an individuals *temporary* commitment to ignorance, which is an unavoidable part of the dance of maya.) One of the dangers of walking a spiritual path, is SLEEP WALKING it. And using the teachings as a tool for avoidance of the inevitable (and endearing) pain of being human.

I guess I’m saying I miss my Bay Area friends. And the general cultural climate there. But then… That urban paradigm sure has its shortcomings… What a hoax, is the whole game of each wo/man for her/himself… living in little segregated boxes and ceaselessly striving, sweating and grasping to figure out the hidden formula for personal success and wealth. It just doesn’t make sense at this time. It’s exhausting. Sanity says that it’s time to come together and join for the common good. To give ourselves away in service of a world of harmony, kindness, balance and peace. I know, I’m being a hyper-critical perfectionist. And actually, God DESIGNED people to be hopelessly flawed and annoying, so that we would have ample opportunities to practice and perfect unconditional love and total forgiveness. Praise the lord! I’m just saying that I feel annoyed by people I perceive to be using the spiritual path to avoid sitting right in the messy center of their “stuff”. (fondly referred to as “the spiritual by-pass”) And I’m questioning whether I want a lifetime subscription to this slice of existence. It is very compelling… it is very repelling…

And another thing that weirds me out, is the way people around here behave in Relationship. Mostly, couples are so aloof and distant from one another, that it took me weeks to realize they were even together! I mean, to me, that’s just weird. Once Ed came to visit me at the Momshram. We had lunch at the Expanding Light with my Ma. After lunch I asked Ed if I could sit on his lap, and my Ma piped in, “No you can’t! There’s ‘decorum’ here.” I had to look up the word later…. but in the moment I knew that she meant that people don’t outwardly show affection around campus. It’s true. I’ve never seen anyone kiss or hug, or butt-grab, or deliciously squish on one another… It gets to be a bit of a buzz-kill after a few minutes. Shrug. I guess it’s not considered “yogic” to be affectionate… since one of our high-minded buddy, Patanjali’s yamas (“don’ts) was NON-SENSUALITY. Sigh. I don’t think he meant thou shalt not LOVE ON YOUR SWEETIE… I think he meant don’t identify AS, or be a little bitch to your senses. But come ON! Physical affection is ESSENTIAL to life. Babies who don’t get their snuggle on, DIE. And even though adults who do without touch don’t DIE, per se, essential parts of our healthy self-hood DO wither, and we DO act out in weird ways as a result of such starvation.

I’m just sayin’…. I’m not sure I could, in good conscience, sign up for a life-time subscription of this shade of nonsense.

But I do love being surrounded by meditators. And teachings of ultimate truth. And people who are committed to serving others, and being clear channels for God’s Love. Yogananda said “environment is stronger than will”. Which is why I have no desire to drink alcohol when I’m at Ananda… but then I go back to the Bay Area, and it’s not like I’m a booze hound… but I do like a glass of wine or a beer as often as it’s available to me! Just one. But… It’s not my highest. I want to be surrounded by those who are clearly aiming for the highest mark, of Self-Realization! The alternative is running around like a beheaded chicken. Which gets so stale, after a bazillion lifetimes… but… the details of the path are certainly imperfect. No matter which path one chooses to scale the towering “Mount Infinity”. This is just my mind scrambling for a strain of perfection that this world was not designed to offer. People, places, paths…. They’re all wrought with flaws, Mrs. Grace… Your job is to LOVE in the face of this unavoidable ISness, and keep your heart’s eyes on the “Big Prize”. Just love. And laugh. And when tears come, let them flow. Just keep letting go and letting God. And stop believing that you’ll ever “figure it out”… (notice that I didn’t say “stop trying”… because I like trying to figure it out… For SPORT…) but TRUE realization is borne of stillness and silence.

Shhhhh…. Just LOVE.

Om. Peace. Amen.

The End. (Or Not…)

If my life were a porcelain puzzle, somebody just snatched it out of God’s ever-open hand, scrambled to the top of the Statue of Liberty, and cast it down to the platinum dance floor below.  Okay.  That’s extreme.  And my life is not.  In fact, I almost want to start this blog over again.  But the image of the porcelain puzzle is so evocative.  And my life is certainly breaking apart, as it must from time to time.  Om namah Shivaya.

 

But maybe I should’ve begun my entry like this:

 

As I was leaving the Momshram precisely one week ago, my Ma said to her utterly adorable and perfect young cat, Jupi, “Jupi, go say bye to Athena.  She’s gotta go back to Oakland and get back to her soap opera.”  Yes!  I swear to God, she said that.  It poked me in a tender place.  My first reaction was a low-caliber “ouch”.  But after the initial sting, naturally, I had to laugh!  My soap opera… I never even WATCHED soap operas!

 

But if you held up her life alongside mine, like two intricate and masterfully crafted, oversized snowflakes, mine would definitely more closely resemble a soap opera.  Sigh.  Oh well.  I am here to learn lessons of Love… and sometimes the curriculum makes me go, “huh?”… or “whoa!”…or “OUCH!!!!!!”.  (I was thinking of that C&C Music Factory song, “things that make you go hmmm”.  Lordy, the wonders that lie dormant in the folds of the human mind!…)

 

A few years ago, right here in the glowing, literary sanctity of Athena Graceland, I declared myself a tumbling student of the School of Mostly Soft Knocks.  But today, as a turn inward, and consider the lessons of the past year… I feel that there is a better adjective for my knocks of late than “soft”.  No, they’re certainly not hard, either.  But they DO sting, in a way that softness never could.  Neither hard nor soft… I’m gonna go with… The School of Sporadically Stinging Knocks… with some soft ones in between.

 

I think Ed and I might be done for a while.  Maybe.  Although I bought him a tomatillo plant yesterday… and I sure wish I could give it to him!  Maybe he’ll bust through the door of Pizzaiolos any second, pausing in the threshold, a mighty silhouette, John Wayne meets the Terminator… and then stride to my table and take me in his arms and kiss me long and deep and loving, then look in my eyes and say, “I want to keep growing with you, Athena.  I hit a wall, but I trust that love will dissolve it.  And I am willing!”

 

I really would NOT put that past him.  He’s been growing at such a rapid pace over the past year.  It has been extraordinary to witness.  I feel honored and privileged to have participated thus far.  But maybe like a kid who is growth spurting all over the place, he needs to take a pause so that he doesn’t split his skin open or something…  That would suck.

 

Dost Thou wonders what happened?  Well, I guess, basically, we are from different cultures.  Does that make it impossible for us to meet in love?  I say no way jose!  But it does take a clear recognition that this is the case…. and a willingness to understand and accept one another, given our different wiring and world views.  We would need to agree to disagree on some matters.  And love ourselves enough to be at peace with the inevitable gaps.  Sounds a little bit complicated, doesn’t it?  Well… too bad, because I’m a believer.  I believe that Love is stronger than anything.  And yet… I’m only masochistic to a point.

 

I’m pretty sure he wanted me to cut a certain friendship out of my life, because the man makes him feel… uncomfortable.  Threatened, even.  Whenever this topic rose to the surface, it caused us both a lot of pain.  And the beauty of the human mechanism, is that we are wired to avoid pain, so that we will survive and endure and continue to extend our species through the endless corridors of time.  So we did our best to avoid the topic for some time.  Inhale.  Exhale.

 

Yeah. I need to breathe a lot, because I just got an email from Ed.  And I couldn’t do anything but RIP it open like a kid in a horror movie set on christmas morning.   Yes, that was dramatic again.  But in the name of poetry.  But if I was gonna say it plain, I’d say that reading it made my heart shudder incessantly and my guts twist in a pre-puke-rush.  Lord.  I don’t understand.

 

Basically, I think Ed was asking me to abandon this said friendship, so that he would not need to feel threatened.  I think… I’m still not exactly sure what happened, because my head is spinning and my heart is shedding a waterfall of internal tears.  Anyway, I expressed to him that I will never stop loving the way I love.  No, that doesn’t mean sexualized loving.  Just open, authentic, vulnerable, nourishing connections with quality human beings.  (I loooove what my minister, Reverend E says on occasion- if there is ANYONE who you think of… and a smile does not spread across your face, YOU HAVE WORK TO DO.  That was just a word from our sponsor, btw…)

 

“You must really love that man,” Ed commented when I drew my sacred circle in the sand last night.

 

No… it’s not about “that man”, I told him.  It’s principal.  I need to be trusted and supported in my life and relationships.  I’m not the kind of weak woman who will close her heart off,  just to make her man feel safe and secure.  I love MYSELF, I told him.  I do.  But unfortunately loving myself does NOT mean that I don’t hurt like fuck.  Yes, in case there was any question, I HURT.

 

But I am hurting in God’s embrace.  I feel this in my bones.  And all I can do is surrender.

 

Last night he said “Bye” to me.  Via Facebook messaging.  It was just after nine pm.  I was in bed with the lights out.  Nearing the precipice of slumber.  The word and his finality stung like a hard slap, and then the quiet of death settled like an invisible, suffocating fog, over everything.  I was stunned.  And yet calm.  All I could do was pray to God.  God, please be here with me.  I surrender to You, God.  Be here with me.  And be with Ed.  Let us both find comfort in Love’s embrace.

 

Sleep.  It came flirtatiously near… but no closer.  Instead, I spent the night feeling mostly sober and lucid after a bad acid trip.  I dreamed dreams that woke me with a pounding heart and sweaty sheets.  And yet, still I knew that God was cradling me.

 

Ahhh… here come the tears.  They have been evading me until now.  But I feel dropped.  Like a porcelain puzzle.  Off the Statue of Liberty.  Oh well, NOTHING REAL CAN BE THREATENED.  NOTHING UNREAL EXISTS.  This is from A Course in Miracles.  And I know it’s true.  Even when it doesn’t FEEL that way.  Ahhhh feelings.  They are *NOT* for wusses.  NO WAY.

 

I dunno.  I guess that’s about all I have to say right now…

 

Except I want to say to Edward… Ed, if you change your mind and want to keep growing with me, and consider that there is a beautiful world on the other side of your wall, that is YOURS FOR THE LOVING, I am still here.  You still have much to learn, and I would be honored to hold your and and continue to be your guide, your friend and your lover.  Boner.

 

Live,

A

Monogamy Vs. Polyamory… Who Will Take Home The CUP?

I’m at Pizzaiolo, because it just feels right here.   Lots of dark wood and dim light and civilized, interesting people.  They almost always play roughly textured music too loud, but I just try to deal with it, because everything else about the ambiance here certainly rubs me righter than any other writer-friendly public domain.  Which strikes me as odd, considering that this is the Bay Area, and it really ought to be brimming with aesthetically intelligent, hip hang-outs.  Oh well… one is enough.

 

Anyway, that was just me setting the scene, so you are able to relax and snuggle into this precious and fleeting moment of life with me.  What I really want to explore is monogamy versus polyamory in Relationship.  Life truly is a ceaseless stream of evolution and involution… which I forgot for a minute… and I caught myself grasping at the hopeful illusion that I might stumble upon some sort of pervasive, weighty truth or over-arching understanding, as I tumble myself out upon the page.  But unfortunately (and fortunately) the most I can expect is a stimulating, thought provoking and naked exploration.

 

Part of me wishes that I could just declare myself monogamous, pour myself out in endless devotion to Ed forever and get on with my life.  I mean that’s such a pretty picture… I’d even go so far as to call it “lovely”.  But is it realistic?

 

Before I fell in love with the dude, I was pretty convinced I never wanted to be monogamous again, because it cramped my style.  Like why should I restrict who and how I love?  It seemed fear-based, and inauthentic.  Up until very recently, it used to drive me cray-zay that Eddie was so jealous and possessive of me.  I aspire to never to make major life choices based in fear… But then check THIS out- you click reality two subtle notches to the left, and the fears shape shifts into the foundation of a potent and valuable *container*.  I never thought I’d say this… GOD!  But I’m gonna.  I’m gonna exercise the metaphoric parallel of locking my apartment door.  I am savoring the irony of this, because a few years ago, I wrote a blog about an epic fight that Mykael and I got in, when we left the house to visit our neighbors five houses down.  He wanted to lock the door, and I was adamant that he just relax his anal sphincter and trust that our home would be safe for a few minutes while we shmoozed down the street.  Member THAT?  And we ended up getting in a face-slapping match over it?!…

 

https://athenagrace.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/a-fight-that-will-live-in-ecstatic-infamy/

 

There’s the link.  Refresh your memory.  It was a good one…

 

But yes, as much as I strive to expect and invite the highest conduct from my fellow humans, and life in general, I still put my valuables in the trunk of the car while I frolic about life, and lock my house when I leave.  Because I want to keep that which I value safe.  Can you see where I’m headed with this?  When done right (grin), sex creates a hella deep bond, and makes a relationship infinitely more complex.  Beyond the mere energetically demanding juggling act of maintaining multiple such connections, it really does open the door to potentially jeopardizing the depth and purity of a primary relationship, if you ask me.

 

Sure, a lot of people pull it off… And I am not knocking that.  Not even.  I’m just asking myself what sharing sexually with multiple partners is really in service of in my life…  And *at this point*, the hard, fast answer is NUTTIN.  I value depth far more than I value variety.  I’m really not one for all you can eat buffets… or those sushi restaurants with the little boats… they make me anxious and its hard to just relax and enjoy my meal, because I’m all adrenalized and on edge because I’m perpetually scoping out the little river, in anticipation of the “perfect” piece of sushi… It’s very primal.  But that has nothing to do with monogamy.

 

Or maybe it does.  But mostly I shared the sushi trip because I find it to be a quirky and humorous nuance of my human experience.  But allow me to reign myself in and say that the depth and quality of love, friendship, intimacy and sex that Ed and I share is waaaaay more than enough for me at this point.  And it is certainly worth sanctifying.  Hands down.  But can I make radical, over-arching promises to myself and to him about who I’ll be tomorrow?  I wish it was that simple…

 

But it’s not.  And honestly, why do I even wish that?  Well, because peering into the fantasy future of loving and evolving with one RAD man for our entire lives inspires me.  The notion of *mature love*, perpetual deepening, friendship sturdier than nautical rope…  I find it so appealing.  More appealing than being a promiscuous little slut.  Not that promiscuous little sluts can’t also thrive in long term, committed partnerships…

 

I dunno.  I mean here in the Bay Area, so many people are polyamorous.  And as I try to navigate and define myself, naturally, I look without for mirrors and models that resonate with my own concealed knowing.  And sometimes all this searching gives me a headache.

 

But in order to navigate the inquiry of monogamy versus polyamory, an essential question for me to explore, is what is the purpose of Relationship for me?  Ugh.  This is a massive topic.  And the answer really depends on which facet of me you ask…

 

The answer according to my most idealistic self, is that a partner is someone to hold hands with as we walk home to God.  Think in the vein of the whole is greater than the sum… Someone to raise a family with and serve the community and the planet with… a source of…

 

Oh shit.  Edward just got here and he was fresh from the court room, all decked out in a dress shirt and tie and slacks (and his sporty digital watch peeking out of his left cuff… teehee!) It’s way too profound to put into words… the feeling of our embrace.  So warm and human and transcendent.  That’s how I mostly feel about the glorious perfection of the love we share (except, of course when we’re romping and splashing through the dark, creepy shadows…).  Its way too big to imprison within the confines of language.  But I never stop trying.  It’s just my endearing nature to perpetually stab at saying the unsayable.

 

But as for the purpose of Relationship… I suppose that the best things in life are those which are sourced and informed by the infinite Mystery.  But it *must* have a lot to to with evolving and expanding our recognition and practice of living as perfect expressions of Divine Love.  Mmmm… Divine Love.  That excites me.  Way more than all you can eat buffets, or the perfect piece of sushi…

 

This is definitely an endless inquiry.  It’s more fun this way… Stay tuned.  And please feel free to leave a comment and offer YOUR thoughts on this profound and essential inquiry of contemporary human existence.  I’d love to hear from YOU!

 

LIVE,

A