Living A Riveting Opera

DER FREISCHUTZ

On this virginal, dawning day, it is not the first words that I commit to the empty page that matter the most, it is the deeep, slow breath which precedes them.  Said breath was essential, because the World inside me is so thick with vines, intricate root systems and underbrush…. My breath is my machete. Slicing to the heart of the jungle within.

 

Life never ceases to blow my mind… with its genius capacity to direct, orchestrate, inspire.  Doors swinging open and slamming shut.

 

Ten days ago,  I wrote you a love letter from  hell…. Since then, I have been desperately groping at the cryptic, mystic contours of infinite space, where inner and outer environment swirl, bleed, blur… endeavoring to make “sense” of it…. find Due North… Discover a secret moonlit path that sings against my bare, sentient feet.  

 

I have scattered fist-fulls of seeds into the wind… eager to discover which ones will, by God’s Grace-laden intelligence, nestle their way into fertile earth, and sprout into a new and clear direction.  I made a profile on a dog walking/sitting website. Refreshed my profile on urbansitter (the local nanny-placement site). Offered my services of copy writing to heart-centered women entrepreneurs.

 

Almost nothing has come back to me.  Except for a full time nanny gig next week, which pays less than I vowed I would give my time for.  But I took it, because at this point, earning any money trumps making none. Look out ten hour days with Serena AND an energetic two and a half year old boy…. Here come the Graces!… God help us.

 

Something I need you to understand about me…. Is that this is how I grew up.  At Serena’s age, my mom was “doing it alone” amidst the unsaybly expensive Bay Area hustle.   For way too long, I hated her for making that choice. I thought it was totally dumb for her to choose the most expensive spot in California to settle and struggle daily to survive with a young child.  This often involved leaving me in sketchy daycares and with babysitters who frightened me…. And sometimes leaving me alone too. Yes, even at age three, or maybe even two. (I forgive you Mom.)

 

Now Life has guided me back here to soften me with compassion and a deeper cut of insight regarding her choices.  There is no place like the Bay Area. Marin in particular. So much creativity, consciousness, stunning natural beauty.  My friend Samantha took us to the San Francisco zoo on thursday, and my soul *exploded* as we crossed the mythic Golden Gate Bridge, and then traversed the breath-giving coastline that led us to the literal edge of the World.  Endless, white-waving ocean. Unlimited cool, vivifying air to drink deep of and seduce titillated skin. I could lose myself in descriptions of the specialness of this place that I was blessed to spend the weighty majority of my thirty eight years on planet earth.  But I have too much more to say. Guess you’ll have to wait for the ebook. Haha.

 

My  naive surface mind imagined that I was coming back to The Bay to step into deeper relationship/family with Ed.   And that gave me enough solace and courage to leap as my Inner Being directed. But upon landing, I quickly (crushingly) realized this was not the case.  Ed is still fiercely committed to his Other Life. We have only seen him twice in three weeks. I’m sure he would wish that I offered you his extremely valid justifications for this.  But since Athena Graceland is MY domain, I shant. Instead, I will testify that I am delighted to be free this time, for what deeply feels to be “for realz”.

 

Back in January, I made a super-duper-neo-feminist birthday wish- to rise phoenix-goddess-style- in my own Dreams and Life- in abundance and success- and NEVER NEED/WANT A MAN TO SAVE ME AGAIN.

 

But now here I am flailing in the crushingly expensive and perversely indifferent currents of Bay Area economy… Desperately sewing seeds in the way of survival… and unflattering truth be told…. I could REALLY go for a Savior right about now.

 

Giordano.

 

I was sure that we were finished.

 

But HE wasn’t.

 

He has been unrelenting in his communication with me.  Unwavering in his love and desire to be a family with me and Serena.  And little by little, my defenses have eroded. Truth is, I mostly, I kept them intact for Ed.  But the days of “for Ed” are dead.

 

On thursday, Giordano told me he was concerned for me.  My flippant reply was “Haha you wanna save me?”….

 

“Sure.  I will.”

 

At first, I only snickered.  

 

But he was evocatively sincere.  

 

So I put the option of taking Serena and flying to his pristine, sprawling, olive tree laden land in the hills above Assisi into the hopper and let it simmer with the rest of my sacred, illuminated mess.  

 

My body still reverberates with sparkling desire when I think of him.  As flawed as he is, his love and desire to be with me and Serena has NEVER wavered since we met in September of last year.   Even after I locked him out of my house and left him high and not-so-dry in driving spring rain… Coldly endured the heart-bludgeoning music of him crying outside my door.

 

My Ma loved to imagine my life as an Opera.  No, not a cheap-assed Soap Opera! A genuine, bonafide OPERA.  And the artistic, elegant, heart-wrenching musical saga weaves ON.  

 

I fear that Ed might throw daggers for me choosing to fly to Italy in August…. But… Fuck him.  If he doesn’t want to create safety and sanctuary for “the love of his life” and his own daughter… Onwards and upwards.

 

I thought I was coming to the Bay Area to follow my dreams.  To grow a business and BE SOMEBODY. But upon cruel meeting of rubber and road… suddenly it looks way more alluring to be held and supported as I care for my daughter with presenc and devotion.  To ditch the concrete and wifi and chemically treated water and return to the pristine vibrance and bounty of Mother Earth. Night sky pulsing with unbounded spray of stars.

 

To go where Orgasmic Meditation and deep sex flow like wine and rivers.

 

And perhaps fulfill my dream of raising a bilingual child.  

 

We’ll see.  I’m getting us one way tickets.  I could be back faster than a blink… or perhaps I’ll never leave.  Life is a Goddamn Mystery, people!!!!

 

I find it utterly hilarious that I’m opting to be saved… after my bold birthday wish….

 

But #1~ Single parenting in this broken world is crushing.  Plain and simple.

 

And #2~ Nothing is black and white.  I will continue to walk my Path no matter what I choose.  Continue to drench you with my heart-stained words… and offer my light and love to this world.  But my daughter comes first.

 

Oh, and #3~ Giordano keeps invoking his dream of co-creating magic.  Working together to build something of value for others in the way of Light.  

 

It’s definitely worth a shot!

 

With ever-scorching honesty and huge LOVE from Graceland,

Athena LMONP

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Saturating Painful Days with Love

Yesterday I found a package addressed to “The Glistening Goddess Athena Grace” awaiting my discovery on a shelf in the mail room.  Serena thirsted to rip into it immediately… but my own inner child must have been trapped in a haunted attic or lost in a psychedelic funhouse somewhere…. Because I uncharacteristically displayed the restraint to wait until we returned to our humble love nest.

 

Serena’s zeal to discover the goods was unwavering though, and the mOMent we crossed the threshold into Graceland, she importuned me to rip the thing open.  (Do you think “importune” was an unnecessarily large and unwieldy word choice? I grappled with that possibility, but opted to go for it anyway. I could have just said “urged”… but it might not have conveyed the flames of passion rising up from the verb…)

 

Anywayz, all this cool shit tumbled from the box:  a little baggie of wild harvested, dried nettles (my favorite), a box of spiral chickpea noodles, a bulging envelope of yerba mate and guyusa tea….

 

AND.  A binder.  Which was brimming with collage style art and words.  Many of which were MY WORDS. Back in November of 2016, I spearheaded a poetry adventure challenge…  In a *secret* facebook group, five of us committed to writing and posting a poem a day for the entire month.  Karuna had compiled my poems, along with relevant images and occasional words into a book.

 

THE LOVE WAS PALPABLE.  It knocked me backwards as I leafed through the pages.  The urge not just to cry, but to be sweapt by deep emotion welled up in me.  But Serena derailed the depth of my experience as she insisted on turning pages and taking charge of the experience.  Plus I was hungry and in the process of making deviled eggs and unloading groceries… Hence I bypassed the full blown emotionality latent within me, the mOMent and the book.  But even as I dissolved in mundane doingness, inside, I trembled.

 

I imagined the emotion was a temporal phenomena.  A time-sensitive buddhist sand mandala, dissolved in the oblivion of needless busy-ness; a wave rising, smashing and dissolving incognito back into Totality.  Nope. Later in the afternoon, accompanied by a steaming cup of tulsi tea, I sat on the pink and black ikea rug outside my house. The spring sun smiled on me as I leafed through the book once again.  Tears streamed easy and my heart broke as I witnessed my own unbounded soul beauty and the arduous, desolate, painful journey of early single motherhood and watching my own mother die, I had survived.

 

It was like some sort of accidental archaeological discovery.  Even though it was only a year and a half buried in my bones and cells, the memories seemed at once ancient and immediate.  I remembered how my untouched body ached every day as I gave what I must to nurture and nourish my beloved one year old daughter… and survive… and keep my home tidy enough.  I revisited the depth of loneliness and isolation that plunged me deep into the dark belly of the earth and my own unsayable Self.

 

I read and cried and remembered and cried and read.  

 

On my knees, forehead to the ground, sobbing…. Serena said “Mama, your back is bouncing up and down.”  And my sobs turned to laughter at the juxtaposition of the complexity of my emotions swirling with the innocence of her observation.  

 

Oh Life.

Later, during dinner, I read more.  And cried more. Giordano hugged me.  After the wave of emotion zenithed, I tried to explain what was moving inside me…

 

“Do you ever see something SO beautiful… like a sunset, or light on the water… and you are flooded with awe…. But you also feel lonely…. Because nobody else saw it… and you feel this crushing depth of holy aloneness…

 

“That’s how I feel reading my poetry.”  

 

Another heavy wave of emotion crashed inside me, and I continued speaking through thick tears, “Reading my words, I feel so beautiful… But like nobody else sees what I see.  Like I’ll die hidden and vanish forever…”

 

He held me as I cried.  And offered that HE sees me.

 

I know… so many people who love me see my raw soul beauty.  Kaleidoscopically. Because it morphs and dances, depending on the One who is seeing.  It’s the undulating energy sex of Creation… So dynamic. And I am an exquisite ingredient in the cosmic swirl.

 

But fuck philosophy.

 

I want to be seen.

I want to be known.

I want to be LOVED…

I want to be savored.

Engulfed in appreciation

of the exquisitry of my soul.

 

Yes, duh.  I know that ultimately this circuit of longing must be fused solely within my Self.  It’s not about anyone else. It’s not about fame or fortune. (But it sure fucking feels that way!…)  People, this is IT. Seriously, I found the tootsie roll center. This sweet, chewy core of impassioned, artistic Aloneness that aches to obliterate in the infinity of sentient belonging.  Ecstatic differentiation, submerged in oceanic expanse of Intimacy with ALL.

 

Haha.  What in Fuck’s Name does One say after an existential rant like THAT?  

 

I’ll close with one of the poems I wrote during my said poetry challenge.  It speaks to this quintessential ache to be known that ever cries up from inside of me.

 

Cooking and cleaning.

Part of me can hardly

Believe,

that these

are my livelihood,

Here,

snuggled, incognito

in the woods, alone

with a luminous, Tiny Buddha.

On the Inside, I am

Famous. Gravitationally weighty.

A Teacher of Faith,

a winged General

in the Army of Hearts.

A flowing font of liberating,

linguistic streams.

I am Wonder Woman, masquerading

as a modern day Goddess

of Wisdom

and War.

I am crying

with frustration,

afraid this Epic, gratifying me

will miscarry,

never come to BE.

Wondering every day…

what will it take???

To make of my Life

what I know Inside

I can.

I AM.

Lack of confidence.

Perfectionism.

Fear of failure.

Fear of being seen

and rejected.

I need to leap

across this ravine,

into a waking dream

of pure, inspired Service.

Forget myself and offer

this bottomless well

of Heavenly wealth, poured forth

through me, by God HerSelf.

In the coin of Light,

the currency of Grace.

I PRAY

to courageously ACT-i-vate.

 

A River, a Boulder and Sex.

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“Art is why I get up in the morning, but my definition ends there….”

 

Honestly, I think I’ve begun an Athena Graceland blog with that quote by Ani Difranco before… but it is endlessly relevant.  

 

There are mornings, like this morning… when Goddess straddles the dripping, luminous full moon and gallops into the secret folds of my dreams.  She rouses me too early and sweetly tugs at the enchanted threads of chaos and curiosity that weave the tapestry of my consciousness…. Images, questions, longing… all screaming up from inside me to be metabolized through the miraculous beauty of my Inner Voice.

 

My animal body feels heavy, begging for extended stillness and intimacy with soft, cotton sheets.  But the ferocity of my drive to create presses heavy from Inside. Mizz Difranco’s words rise like steam from the coffee that is about to be brewed and like fire, I leap from bed, eager to at once wrap and unwrap myself in the magical threads of language.

 

Oh poetic, philosophical words…. With samurai precision, I slash my sword and they fall to my feet.  I emerge as the naked and raw center.

 

Previously in Graceland, I was aflame as I awaited Giordano’s arrival.  Now, nearly a full moon later, he sits beside me on this depressingly distasteful and cheap brown couch, reading Slow Sex, a book written by my lifelong Beacon of Sexually Liberated Sanity, Nicole Daedone.  I am crushed by the too-much-ness of what there is to say.

 

It has been two week since he arrived.  We decided to do a weeklong trial to see if we could *joyously* tolerate coexisting in my modest, artistically persuaded little box… Until yesterday, it was way easier than either of us anticipated.  (It took me almost the full two weeks to set my farts free…. But I’m up to about a sixty nine percent liberated rip-rate.)

 

Oh there’s too much to say.  I must call upon the Wilderness of Infinity Within, in order to perform the Impossible feat of threading Infinity through the Eye of the Needle.  

 

Where do I begin?

 

SEX.  Naturally.  My favorite subject.  If you’ve followed me since the infancy of Athena Graceland, you know I used to romp there way more. (That was before I was sent by a snickering God to live amongst the Renunciates.)  But I always felt terrified because my Mom was my number one fan…. And inspired, liberated sexuality was not an area of overlap for us. I felt the need to hide my libidinous priestess side from her.  Said priestess was actually quite relieved as Dear Sumitra lay dying… because She imagined that She’d finally be free…. On our last day together, I told my Ma, “Now I can write anything I want!” She flashed a smile of compassionate recognition.  

 

For the first year without her, I wondered when I’d get to it…. “It” being revealing the repressed backlog of wet, racy, outrageous expression within me.  But I guess being an under-fucked single mom was not exactly fertile ground for such writing.

 

Hallelujah the dawn doth cometh!  This morning I am delighted to announce that I no longer classify as underfucked.  Phew. I found my way to the scantily clad, orgiastic desert oasis. Everywhere I turn, water is singing, dripping, gushing, quenching.  

 

I pity the fool who says sex is not spiritual.  I feel a bazillion percent more alive, joyful, energized.  I feel like I finally have the inner resource to Rule The World.  

 

I never believed in “penis envy”…. But when I see Giordano’s perfectly huge, artistically dangerous, hard cock in the morning…. I think that Freudian construct might be laced into the cocktail of feelings that swirl inside me.

 

I’ve been flying high on oxytocin for the past two weeks.  It’s like being drunk on sunlight. I dare you to argue with the quintessential rightness of such purity.

 

But of course, life is dynamic and fuckin messy.

 

And sharing my tiny house with a man is bound to arouse conflict and rub raw, ancient wounds.  Yesterday we got in our first real…. Dare I call it a “fight”? I would call it me asking to Talk… and sharing all the withholds that were eating away at me.  Him feeling attacked and bristling in defense. Both of us flooding with fight or flight chemicals and becoming crippled five year olds. How’s THAT for sexy?!!

 

The moon is nearly full.  We are both very sensitive.  Energy needed to burst and gush.  We never really came to articulated resolution.  We walked through the woods, me tense and silent, him spitting inflamed, linguistic daggers wrapped in his profoundly charming italian accent.  Then we took some space…. And naturally tapped our respective wells of compassion, patience and love.

 

I just wish I hadn’t told him I was ALL IN so quickly.  Initially, we agreed to let it ride for an entire moon cycle before we came to any conclusions.  But the damn oxytocin got me all gushy and I professed that I didn’t need to wait. I flung myself into the treacherous deep end, with beaming abandon.

 

Hello, my name is Athena and I am emotionally impulsive.  

 

Seriously.  It’s a weakness in me that I am working on.

 

I don’t know if I’m scared of intimacy… or not fashioned for a conventional, nuclear paradigm relationship… or if Giordano simply isn’t the One for me….  But….. ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!

 

I started missing Ed.  Ed has a way stronger masculine essence.  Giordano was named after the River Jordan.  And he truly IS water. Ed was named after a massive granite boulder.  Haha I’m sooo funny! But I ask myself if I can fully give myself to a man who is so flowing.  This makes me more masculine. But….

 

Giordano is a beautiful being who loves and supports me.  He is honest and caring, creative and adventurous. Plus, his italian accent and adorably wonky sentence structuring is an endless source of tickle for me.  And who says it must be a stifling case of “either or”?

 

A while back, Ed sneered at me, in a moment of pain, and said, “You think you can have it ALL, but you CAN’T.”  His words knocked me bass-ackwards.

 

The fuck I can’t.  I’m ATHENA GRACE, high and holy Priestess of Heaven.  Recently, Ed stopped talking to me for what seemed like a year.  It was actually about three days. But now he’s back. And I am quenched by his steady, masculine love.  

 

Fuck the stiff, moldy paradigm that says I must choose.  But through the unintelligible grace of endarkenment, it still lives inside me.  When I fall asleep at the wheel for even a second, I melt into that ancestrally embedded, default, operational groove.  Why can’t I widen myself and imbibe the love and complementary nutrients that both men have to offer to my heart and life?

 

I can.  I give myself Radical Permission to be nourished by a spectral panoply of lovers.  I give myself Radical Permission to be free from the need to define my relationships according to archaic, expired patriarchal constructs.  I give myself Radical Permission to feel and speak my raw, naked truth in The Moment, and set appropriate boundaries accordingly. I give myself Radical Permission to live in the Present, and release the need to define my intimacy with others through elusive future constructs.  

 

Most importantly, I give myself Radical Permission to love and to be loved.  And to BE LOVE.

 

Messy, imperfect, ever-evolving, embodied love.

Desire Bursts Free in Graceland

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My body is a Rumi poem.  Aflame as lusty divine longing.  Blazing, sleepless passion.  I did my best to suppress my Desire…. and I hate to admit how successful I was.  For a while.  Sigh… As women of this skewed patriarchal culture, we have become adept at suppressing the raging white water shakti force within us.  Certainly not an accomplishment worth celebrating.

And here’s what I don’t get…. After my sacred feminine flow of universally intelligent life force energy has been pinched off for so long… when I finally release myself to it’s mysterious sacred intelligence, it squirts all over the place and makes profoundly unwieldy messes.  And it scares me.  Because it wrecks the nice tidy topiaries of my ego-informed existence.  And it takes a crap load of self love to stay open and stand in the aftermath of my intellectually perplexing, Desire-led navigation of Life.

And now, shall we ground all this glittering, esoteric conceptuality into the flesh and bones, blood and guts framework of my current slice of Life Story?  Gosh, my belly is so squishy with all this inconvenient winter weather and forced hibernation.  Will my Italian Lover still desire me?  I hate that I get possessed by such insecurities… I’d love to graduate from that superficial bullshit once and for all.  (And.  I’d like to be able to exercise more.)

Story.  So in my last trounce through Graceland, I sang from my blissful mountain top perch about how Ed was fully IN, and Serena and I were going to go live with him in the Bay Area, as soon as we found a suitable nest.  We were going to be a happily ever after nuclear unit!  Then came the eclipses.  And unsettling disconnect.  Breakdowns in communication.  Financial freak out.  (On Ed’s part… Gosh, I really feel for men who by the bonds of lineage, enslave themselves to this idiotic patriarchal construct we have fashioned.  They often exist in a perpetual rubble pile of pressure and financial stress to handle it all.  Alone.  Not exactly what I’d call “Life Affirming”.)  But anyway, as I stood in the aftermath of said influences and occurrences, I felt to be back in the exact same place (Just the other day, my wise priestess friend Quynh said “you cannot stand in the same River twice”, which is ultimately true.  And yet….)  But there I was, trying to coach Ed through his next action steps, as though my life depended on it… Longingly peering into the frosted candy shoppe window at the Life Together that seemed perpetually out of reach.  Desperate, frustrated, hopeless.

And in a flash, I realized I was done.

Meanwhile I was participating in a fourteen day sex magic initiation, guided by a skillful, inspiring, sovereign priestess sister…. and as my orgasmic energy awoke, my deep vagina and the stream of whispering, intelligent soul song that flows from within this feminine well called out, “Giordano”, with lucid articulation.

Now I suppose it’s debatable…. if the messages of my body are trustable and worthy of giving one’s self over to…. But I’d like to think that my body of recycled stars is a radio tower to the Cosmos.  Ever since my Italian Lover entered my Life and Body, sex with Ed has not been the same.  An empty husk.  Yet I have tried a few too many frustrated times to fuck us backward in time.  Because I love him.  And he is the father of my daughter.  And my mind said it was the “right thing to do”.

I came way too close to locking my Desire in a damp, subterranean cell and tossing the vintage skeleton key into the primordial sea.  But my soul said FUCK THAT.  My Priestess Path will not allow me to veer too far off course.  I am not designed to be possessed.  That would be harm and foul to humanity and the planet.  And more important than those idealistic aquarian constructs– to MY SELF.

You should know that I was terrified to commit these words to the page… because the space between me and Ed feels so fragile right now.  He is crushed.  In his world he was working as fast as he could to get free from thirty five years of marital tangle and come to me and Serena.  Me losing interest and moving on is NOT what his shallow self was banking on.  And being an empath, his pain and confusion crush me too.  (Lately, I often feel sharp, energetic stabbing sensations in the center of my heart…) I have a deep fear of being abandoned by him.  This fear, plus a profound need for Daddy’s holding has kept me holding on as long as I possibly could… abandoning my Self instead.

I know I’m not the only one who is willing to abandon myself in exchange for some semblance of external safety, belonging, support…  And I take delicious pride in exposing these unsightly dimensions of my existence in hopes that it will illuminate your own inner tangle and set you free.

Or maybe it’s not about you at all.  Maybe it’s just a fuckin wild and bizarre story, and if I don’t tell it, it will die along with this heavenly body, and I could not live with such a burden.

Giordano is flying back to me in two weeks.  To “see what can be” between us.  I am amazed he has held on this long.  When I told him I was stepping fully into Ed and closing the door on romantic possibilities between us, he cried for four days straight.  And sporadically after that.  He said the pain cleansed his soul.  He said I live inside him.  Inside every breath.  I know it is true, because deep down, I feel it too.  Even though, as stated in the intro to this blog, I am masterful and the suppression of my Desire, beneath the logic and reason… He is there.  He tells me he is not attached to an outcome.  Loving me is enough.  For who I actually AM.  And yet he feels to come here…. to see what can be.

My body is on fire.  And I wonder…. about the lost mystic wisdom of the Divine Feminine.  Perhaps what has for so long been dismissed as mere “lust” and “desire”, is actually the sensitive instrument of the body translating the voice of the soul, which is intended to be our luminous Holy Navigation System through the dark terrain of this physical plane.

I wonder…..

And give myself over….

To the God that dances…

As Life.

Embracing the Endless Desert

Any guesses as to how many luscious, indulgent words my fingers will be privileged to pump out before my Luminous Shrimp cries out from the bedroom and sucks me into the roaring machine of single motherhood?  My guess is not enough to scratch the itch or feel outrageously coherent.  I have seemingly abandoned my post here in Athena Graceland, because Serena has been on an early-waking-bender.  For weeks now.  And the lone shred of something for “myself” has blinked out like a kamikaze star.  Sigh.  The heat is ON.  And the longer I go without writing, the less I know what to even say.  I mean… what does one say when they are being broken down???

Well in THIS moment, it seems almost obvious… One describes the process of being broken down.  Such that it becomes poetry and salvation and wholeness.  Such that when one looks backward at the wilderness of her Unfolding, she might have a deeper understanding of Divinity and Perfection, Healing and Grace and Destiny.

But God… There is so much.  And it feels like chinese water torture to imagine going play by play, ounce for ounce.  So where does that leave me?  In the epicenter of my heart, I s’pose.

I have not had any communication with Ed (Serena’s dada, and the married man I have fought for for four years now) for days.  Today I am pretty damn sure I have given up the fight.  For real.  I know that I am a classic case of the girl who cried wolf, when it comes to the topic of “breaking through” with Ed… And I don’t expect you to believe me.  But I will testify that we have never gone more than a few hours without communicating at least a little bit.  Except for once a few years ago…. and that time, it was painful and dramatic.  But this time, I feel relieved and more whole… Like finally, my life doesn’t feel like it’s got a flat tire or a sinkhole.  I’m not syphoning my life-force into this fantasy world that detracts from the immediate and glorious world I marinate in.  I never imagined this day would come.  Detaching from Ed seemed beyond impossible.  And actually, I guess it IS, since we have a child together.  I guess it’s not ED I’ve detached from… but from the fantasy of someday playing house with him.

Letting go of that rotten fantasy, I land with a sobering thud in the reality that I am an over-stretched and stressed single mama.  Yes, I have been that the whole time…. But I refused to fully admit it.  Part of me was fiercely clutching this other frustratingly intangible life.  No longer.  Now I am here.  Shmoozing with all of my nearest and dearest– Loneliness, Exhaustion, Longing, Confusion, Regret and my all time favorite– DISAPPOINTMENT.  Yeah me and disappointment can’t seem to get enough of each other.

The surface “me” wishes things were different.  And I mean almost EVERYthing.  But the deeper me is actually relieved, because I can’t even get a grip on my identity, and I know it’s because I am dissolving.  And how can one EVER hope to know their Infinite-God-Self, if they are all twisted up around the shards and husks of something less.  Social conditioning and past experiences and self-imposed limitations.  “On paper” (or on the screen, to be more accurate), it looks pretty glamorous– the Opportunity to know my Self…. But in real time, it has been barren and excruciating.  Lonely and hopeless.  Like Jesus wandering the desert for forty days and forty nights.  Except from Athena Graceland, forty days and forty nights seems like a recreational cake-walk.  Over here, it’s more like a paltry stone’s throw from Forever.  I long for some PG-13 man-love.  Just a strong and beautiful and clear soul to hold me and rub my shoulders and smell my hair and cook me dinner and delight in my (dwindling) radiance.  But then I wonder if inviting that in would actually be like tying my own shoelaces together and making me trip all over myself, when what I really need to do is MOVE FORWARD.  I’m afraid that even the most simple and pure intentioned connection could quickly turn complex and haunted.  Because I’m someone who can’t NOT go deep.  And relationships are complex and twisty and jagged… because they arouse our deepest vulnerabilities.

Well there’s a lot I want.  And then there’s my rigorous moment to moment existence.  And the two don’t seem to have too much overlap, so who cares?

I care.

But even still, all I can do is breathe and do my best to hold my own heart as the Infinite Treasure and “do what it takes to feed the children”.

Thank GOD for my friends.  Even though I am navigating such profoundly uncomfortable terrain these days (as many of us are, I must acknowledge… and I pray that sharing MY journey will offer healing to yours.  That my Ultimate Faith may illuminate your own.  That my honesty and willingness will inspire you to face yourself with kindness, curiosity and humor.), I cherish my morning walks with Teri and her little Phoenix.  The healing, honest and spiritually nutritious exchange of voice memos with QuynhyMama.  The ever-irreverent, easy and no-holds-barred, spiritual gangsta sisterhood with Anitra.  The “Cheers-esque communion with the warm-hearted staff at Mother Truckers– the tiny and amazing grocery store a hop and a skip down the road from Ananda.  The hallowed daily check-ins and gift of Listening bestowed my my dear Mother.  God bless her!  Even as she navigates the brambly forest of Cancer and ChimoTherapy, she is still my rock.

Serena is awake.

But I’m satisfied with this cut of sharing.  And I aspire to a more steady linguistic outpouring of this Wild and Enchanted Journey through God’s very creative and ruthless Imagination.

Bless you, for we are all in this together.  And I’m certain you are rockin it over there!

Happiness Flew In… And then…

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I left the door wide open, and my beloved visitor finally flew away.  I knew it was inevitable.  Even if I bolted the door, this quiet, pervasive happiness would have slipped as liquid gold, through the bars of my pretty little cage at Her leisure and whim.  You can’t capture an electrically fresh, bud-bursting spring day in a jar.  But I was amazed and delighted at how long She chose to stay and warm me from deep within.  I should have recorded the days with little tick marks on the wall adjacent to the end of the couch that has a gaping (mostly figurative) indentation from where the heavyweight tag team of my butt and gravity work it over, day upon day.  (I should really consider changing it up and sitting on the other side of the couch, or at the table or on the floor so that I am less of a buzzed zombie… maybe when spring comes.) (Zoiks!, I’m not even through the first paragraph, and I have uttered the forbidden word “should” TWICE!… Honestly, I like to say “should” even more, since it has gone so far out of fashion.  It’s the rebel in me.  Otherwise, what is the alternative?  You just spend way too much time and energy groping about inside, like some new-age dork, to find shiner, more socially acceptable words to say the same damn thing– like– “It would be potentially life-affirming and transformationally potent to whisk my little ass on a romantic getaway to the other end of the couch.”  I mean, sure it’s fun to talk that way.  But sometimes I just wanna get the raw, plain idea out and move on with life.)

And now back to happiness.  And lack thereof.  Actually, I’m not lacking happiness this morning.  But maaaan– the flavor of those days upon days (I think it must have been about a week straight) was soooo delicious.  It was seemingly unconditional… I imagine, the unimpeded flavor of my soul.  It was bright and ecstatically tremulous… a wide open canvas upon which God painted the colorful masterpiece of my days.  And then I got a sore throat and the rain came back and Serena refused her afternoon nap, instead opting to play with the burner nobs on the stove while repeating “no, no, no” and making solid eye contact with me as I chopped delicata squash and collard greens for our soup.  I’m not unhappy now…. But I don’t feel invincible and larger than Life, like I did for that scrumptious honey-moon-lit week.

A highly alluring byproduct of said happiness, is that I had literally NO expectations of Ed (the perpetually unshakable Married-Baby-Daddy-Love-of-my-Life, for those of you new to Athena Graceland), but instead was an unconditional outpouring of generosity, support, appreciation and romance.  Haha, that must have been a nice little heart-spa vacation for him!  I felt so damn whole in this happiness…. that I really didn’t give a hoot about the terms and conditions of my existence.  I just wanted to give love.  I’m pretty sure this inner climate is the natural state of the soul.  I’m pretty sure that I peered through a sacred window into an impending inevitability.  I’m pretty sure this is what we are all stalking, beneath the glitzy veneer of every ambition and hope and choice.  This glorious wholeness.  A profound, profuse generosity sourced by an unending, overflowing sense of fullness.  An unconditional inner brightness that shines on Everything.

Lucky me.  I saw it.  I tasted it.  It is real.  Or at least it WAS.  And now I am on the brink of sick and I wish I could stay in bed and sad Hemingway all day.  Speaking of bed, I just had a flash of a dream from last night.  It involved me trying to get into the swimming pool (to swim succulent laps), but being obstructed by circumstances.  I’ve had a few of these lately.  Which is not surprising.  Because that’s my life.  The swimming pool is a place where I am free, whole, happy, nourished.  I want to swim sooooo bad.  So good?  But…. I am incessantly tethered to my most beloved fourteen month old daughter.  Which is pure grace.  But fuck.  I want to swim.

And speaking of water… now the rain is smashing down from a saturated, pre-dawn sky and singing me a dramatic serenade.  Suddenly all those notions of happiness and other-than-happiness and moments besides right now seem like a foreign language in which I have lost fluency.  Not to mention the heavenly bite of paleo banana bread slathered in chunky peanut butter and salty, grass fed butter that is currently dissolving in my profusely salivating mouth.  This sudden uprising of undeniable nowness doesn’t leave room for much else.  But I must press ON with this gay parade of mind and meaning.  Because writing is my passion.  I simply must squeeze the juice from the simplicity of ISness, and drizzle it into the stiff shot of complexity that is a human life and mind and heart…. stir… and serve you up a cocktail sure to jolt you into a heightened state of God-drunk presence.

Gosh, Serena has been sleeping for twelve hours now… which means that she is due to wake up any second.  I really wanna get these words out into the naked, sprawling corridors of the internet, where a handful of shimmering others might read, enjoy and benefit from them.

But allow me to splash first in the deep, vast waters of microcosmic awareness first.  Ribboned into this swirl of recent happiness, there has been a felt sense of deep peace.  I still feel it, like a full moon reflecting on a softly rippling, nocturnal lake.  I believe these gifts of happiness and peace are a contribution to The World.  I am not an “activist” in the classical sense of the word… nor do I aspire to be one.  But I am pretty sure that the energies that move through me uplift the collective.  Through untrained eyes, my passive stance of raising a tender, bright goddess in the woods, while doing humble, labor intensive jobs and investing in a sprawling bouquet of heart-full relationships might seem like a steaming heap of whoopdie-do.  But it’s NOT.  It’s a lavish slather of uplifting love up in the one heart we all share beneath the wondrous adventure of otherness in which we dance.  Listen– I’m all for Otherness.  A celebratory recognition of Oneness does not impede or negate the glorious play of duality that we are all exploring now.

I’m simply reminding myself and YOU that our lives and especially our LOVE, no matter how seemingly inconsequential and humble, MAKES A DIFFERENCE.  So won’t you please join me, and gaily fling open that cage door at the edge of your identity…. take delight in all of the intricate and fascinating winged visitors who fly in and out at their whim and leisure in the name of Destiny, in the name of Grace…

In the name of Heaven dawning withIN.

Dreaming of Orcas in Winter

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Pushing off the shore… moving into the vast expanse of my mind, heart, Life.  I tingle.  I want to be extraordinary.  And in an instant, this desire turns to pressure and collapses in on itself.  Instead I’ll just be me.  Honest.  Curious.  Optimistic.  Ever enchanted by the weird, wild ordinariness of being a human being in a world of endlessly creative, disguised divinity.

That’s the macro.  The climate of my inner life on this deep, dark, quiet morning.  I just stopped to pick a booger.  It was sticky and I rolled it into a little ball and flicked it across my living room.  It took a few tries to launch it.  I’m embarrassed to admit that.  But the naked truth is that I am a booger picker, and you might as well know.  That’s the micro.

My Ma has cancer.  That’s the burning bush I beat around in my last blog.  Still waiting for the said bush to speak Gospel to me.  But pretty sure it will.  In the mean time, I’ve had two and a half weeks to digest this information.  And trust me, I’ve been all over the map.  I think my favorite emotion has been self-pity.  Yes, I’m embarrassed to admit that too… since SHE is the one suffering.  But that’s the bizarre thing about “otherness”… someone right beside you can be undone in pain, and you really have no idea… allured instead by the glow of my own mediocre struggle.  Frown.

My Ma says she’s not “in pain”, per se… just exquisitely uncomfortable.  Mostly exhausted, and worst of all ITCHY.  Desperate to climb out of her skin.  I witness her experience from the outside, and it’s like watching her through a thick pane of glass.  My dad used to work at the MGM casino in Reno.  They kept a doped-up male lion on the family entertainment floor, and you could pay to get your photo taken with this poor, sleepy beast.  At five years old, I found this thrilling and we did.  The “secret” was a thick pane of glass between us and the Mighty One, which wasn’t perceptible in the photograph.  We had to wait a few excruciating DAYS for the photo to be processed… which pressed me into the grill of searing anticipation.  I died a few times waiting.  And then, gotta love ole Bart Horwitz (my dad)… He was supposed to go downstairs on a break and collect the picture… but he never did.  Over time, my desire for the fruit of this frivolous, exploitive adventure shriveled and returned to sacred nothing.  I learned early not to “hold my breath” when it came to my dad’s flimsy word.

Hence the frivolous origin of my metaphor of thick glass between “one” and untouchable dimensions of “otherness”.  I find it tragic.  Because I’ve been on both sides of the glass:  the one being ripped apart by loneliness, despair, some unbearable shade of pain…. Hoping to find relief in being witnessed… to no avail… And the one blinking, helpless as She Who Gave Me Life, tears miserably at her own flesh.  Oh the kaleidoscopic Mysteries of Existence….

You might not give a hoot about astrology… but I do.  And since this IS Athena Graceland, after all, I’ll report that Saturn’s round, dimpled ass is sitting on my gently beaming moon right now, which creates a mood of solitary struggle.  The sort of suffocating, internal atmosphere that grinds one down to beautiful, shimmering dust.  In the name of Ultimate Revelation.  It’s *not* glamorous.  But totally necessary.  And if you don’t want to speak in cosmically persuaded tongue, that’s cool.  Let’s just say that as far as seasons of Life go, it’s a cold, dark winter over here.

But the beauty of living out such a grueling season, is that there are contrast-carving days such as yesterday, which bloom as bright, delicious hints of spring.  By some unsayable Grace, the leaden weight in my heart lifts… I unhinge from the need for my Life to be anything other than it IS.  This is fresh pressed ecstasy.  I was at peace with my Ma’s fate, whatever it may be.  Peel back the layer of clutching at permanence, and being so close to the possibility of death is exciting.  It clarifies and vivifies Life.  It seduces forth more textures of whispering Divinity, laced in Everything.  I can feel the holy, smiling warmth of “The Other Side”, as my Ma likes to refer to that easier dimension of Heaven, where Light is not tethered to such laughable density.

Gosh, I sure can get lost in the endless dimensions of my mind!  I was telling you about the ease of yesterday.  I did an hour of paid cleaning at my Ma’s group house while Serena napped in the car.  I felt free.  Life was reduced to the simplicity of scrubbing a filmy shower with the green, abrasive side of a sponge and homemade vinegar-water with tea tree and lavender oils.  My large hands squeezed into small, orange rubber gloves.  When I finished, I laid on my back on the gravely driveway as Serena continued to snooze, texting with Ed… deciding on which day he would visit.  We agreed on Moonday.  The day after Christmas.  I felt excitement swell inside.  Danger.  Like looking into the eyes of a tiger, this fragile feeling could so easily snap in the jaws of devastating disappointment.  But like the archetypal Fool, I softened, letting it all be, as I danced after the rose at the cliff’s edge.  I love Ed and I want to spend time with him.  I relinquished the urge to be in control of our relationship and “the future”.  (Which I spend a lot of time and energy attempting to manipulate in hopes of “getting comfortable” and feeling “okay”.)

Then a sliver honda crunched the gravel driveway and spit my Ma out, fresh from another doctor appointment, and less nine vials of blood.  She was high on pumpkin spice latte, which made her behave like her former self!  Full of energy and good humor.  (These days, she mostly exists in a dull state of exhaustion, molded to the shape of her beige recliner, dispensing frequent apologies for her wilted state.)  I lapped up every precious second we were blessed to share.

Lots of other stuff happened too.  (Didn’t the literary precision of that last sentence bring you to your beautiful knees?!?!)  All profoundly ordinary, yet glistening with a sassy hint of revealed divinity.  This is what happens after death.  Suddenly there is new space for Truth to beam through the veil.  No doubt this is what Leonard Cohen meant when he sang, “There’s a crack in everything.  That’s how the Light gets in.”   Death upon sweet death cracks apart the ego’s defenses to the blazing Reality of Light.  Slowly, over time, in my case…and perhaps sometimes all at once.  (Yikes!)

I don’t want to deluge you in the mundane details of my awesome existence, but I can’t skip the part where Serena and I drove to the cow dairy to procure a half gallon of raw milk for my Ma… we left the car running, intending to be quick.  Three calves rested in a bed of hay, adjacent to the milk room.  The smallest one, a baby bull, stood up, spindly hind legs first, and came to the fence to say hi.  He let me scratch his neck!  Then a bigger girl came over and licked my hand with her thick, coarse tongue.  My heart turned melty as they gazed at us with their radiant, wide, brown moon eyes.  I thought I’d never wash my barnyard stained hands.

I don’t know if I’ll feel as right and free today.  Serena woke too many times last night.  Then I awoke at almost four am from a dream of orcas.  It was nighttime.  I rode a ferry and they danced elegantly in the dark water alongside the boat.  I called out to them, “I LOVE YOU!!!!”  When our boat docked, they approached and let me pet them.  I was cautious at first, in their mighty presence.  Then I relaxed into trust.  This dream exploded my crown open and flooded me with infinity and stars and a feeling of pulsing awe.

I am ready for whatever shades of Grace today bestows.

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