The Poetry of Darkness

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Yep, made myself cry.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Mom, I get it.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

From my heart,

Athena Grace

 

I Have A Crush On Depak Chopra!

I wonder what it would be like to be married to Depak Chopra.  Seriously.  I watched some of the movie, “ONE” last night… that movie made by three dudes without any film experience who just got a bug up their collective butt to go on a cinematic pilgrimage asking fellow humans their thoughts on the meaning of la-la-LIFE!  I highly recommend it.  (at least the first thirty minutes…Since that’s all I’ve seen so far…)  I loved how they emphasized that the reason that this movie came together with such profound ease and global participation, was that the underlying, driving force was the service of la-la-Love, and that anything is possible when one steps onto a path in the spirit of the Highest first.  One of the guys admitted that if they had have realized the magnitude of this project at the start, they never would have taken it on.  That reminds me of a quote I read on my visit to Glide on Sunday.  It said something like, “Faith is taking the first step, even if you can not see the top of the staircase.”  You know who said it?  Martin Luther King Jr. (a fellow Capricorn!)  Quite different than my Nigerian friend’s idea of faith equating to being force fed dogmatic cardboard concepts such as the Immaculate Conception in the name of Immaculate Manipulation, eh?

But back to Depak Chopra.  Man, I sure got a crush on him.  In my opinion, he is a wonderful speaker.  He presents himself so professionally.  He is clear, articulate and intelligent as hell.  I wonder if I could get away with ANY of my wily feminine games with him.  He seems so on top of his game… seem, seem, seem, I’m bursting at the seems!!!  I sure can’t imagine what it would really be like to be his wife.  I totally creamed my pants when he said, “We are the only species who is aware of our mortality. If you are not totally amazed and bewildered and mystified by your self… then you’re still not fully human.”  For some reason that was a relief for me to hear.  I sit here day after day, turning over stones inside my mind, my heart, my shadowy cracks (and cracky shadows!) and it is endless.  Somehow my fascination feels validated now.  And I know that I am in resplendent company here with all of YOU!!!  I know that as I sit here excavating and musing, I AM doing it for the team.  Another great thing he said was, “Our dualistic thinking leads to ignorance.  Sometimes we institutionalize this ignorance and call it “religion”, and then we go to war over it.”  You know what I love about that quote?  Its succinctness.  It strikes me as a highly profound truth, but he spits it out with a wham, bam, thank you ma’am PUNCH.  Sha-zaam!  Unlike some wordsmiths I know, who are so in love with words that they spread them on the page thicker than Mykael spreads jam on his morning feast of open faced almond butter and jam sammies.  Honestly, it took me months to let go of my judgment and repulsion in regards to his gratuitous jam usage.  It’s a sugar swamp. He needs thigh high rubber boots to wade through it.  This morning, I was feeling especially nuts.  I grabbed mykael’s wrist while he was poised to spread the jam.  (He has to turn the jar sideways, and coax it with a butter knife, so that it pours upon his bread slices like thick, cooling lava.) I started talking in my manic, wacky child’s voice and took raucous, erratic control over operation strawberry jam spillage, laughing all the way, of course.  Don’t ask why, but participating in this sacrilegious rite was somehow healing for me.  Mykael was only a sliver of a fraction of a slice of delight as tickled by my antics as I was.  But he felt my joy and allowed me to playfully dominate his breakfast preparation. (Thank you, Benevolent Sir)  You wouldn’t believe how engaged and at one I was!  I doubt Depak Chopra would allow me to spread his great wall of jam this way…  Another reason to stay committed to Mykael.  (Plus, I bet Mister Chopra is a conservative lover… but I’m not trying to start any rumors.  Maybe he’s all unbridled passion… but he just “SEEMS” so moderate in his lifestyle and behaviors…)

God, I am so grateful to be feeling the freedom of the flow again.  The last couple of days I have felt so linguistically constipated.  Now, I feel like I am at a sleep over with my best friend and we are so excited to be together, that we plan to stay up ALL NIGHT talking about EVERYTHING!!!  Pretend with me, won’t you?  Let’s love every moment!  Let’s make messes and freely reveal our hearts and our overflowing inanity!!!  Thank you for this freedom… whoever you are…

Speaking of best friends and sleepovers, you know I spent some time with one of my Besties, Amrita yesterday.  It was profound as always.  Thank All Pervading Light for those beings who grace our paths, and no matter how much time goes by, the meeting place is always the same deep, eternal knowing place!  We shared about our current vantage points in our relationships… and I was left with an expanded perspective on my current standing.  It was nothing specific that she said, or that we even discussed.  It was more like the involuntary impression that was burned into my mind’s eye during our time together.  (Two women at a nearby table are speaking Spain Spanish.  It turns me on.  My dad’s wife is from Barcelona, and because of all the time we’ve shared, my ears have come to appreciate the dignified angular music of the language.) (A man across from me is nursing a generous glass of red wine, accompanying his bagel and cream cheese!  Ladies and Gents, eleven am, and this party is officially STARTED!!!)  Anyway, the impression that burned into my inner vision was an intangible understanding of…

Hard to say.  But I feel it and I know it.  It is a place where the masculine and the feminine quintessentially clash.  It is a place where human beings are quintessentially imperfect. Inevitably every relationship bears this blessed curse.  Cursed blessing… or “ISness”, if you prefer the less dramatic portrayal… Made me think of the story of Sita and Ram, as portrayed in the movie, “Sita Sings the Blues”.  I was astounded at what a bonified DICK Ram acts like most of the time.  And in the face of that, Sita is steadfast in her devotion to her beloved husband.  I grappled with that one for months after I saw the movie.  I was struck by Sita’s potent, uncompromising devotion to Ram.  But I did not see much evidence that Ram deserved it.  He didn’t trust her and he seemed to be a pretty ego centric King.  Last night it occurred to me that she was merely practicing unconditional love.

Unconditional Love.  The term has been beaten to death by our modern, new agey, popular culture… but at it’s essence, it is simple~ Love without conditions.  Lately, I have been painfully aware of my bottomless “font” of conditions in relationship with Mykael.  I see that my default habit is to be entirely self serving.  So far, the result is much disappointment.  It seemed at first glance like Sita got the shorter than sin end of the stick, while Ram had more stick then even a renowned king knew what to do with.  But really… I say Sita got a stick that stretched clear to heaven.  Because the one who chooses Love is free.  The one who chooses love, chooses intimacy with the very binding agent of the Universe!  I am considering the angle that one [profound] purpose of long term, committed relationship is to practice, purify and strengthen one’s capacity to LOVE without condition. Like really, truly without condition… not just when its fashionable and convenient. Why bother binding to one single other?  Because the commitment is a container that allows for the perpetual deepening, the profound alchemy intrinsic in practicing Love.  In the face of this other’s inevitable imperfections, you commit to seeing, serving and loving the eternal light in them.  It is like a dress rehearsal for loving, serving, seeing humanity this way, and ultimately widening your heart so much that the illusion of duality is decimated and the truth of Oneness reclaims reign in the forefront of your mind and being.  Real Love once again takes the wheel of your existence.  All of humanity is elevated and awakened by looking into the clear, still mirror of your perfected Self!!!!

Amen.

There’s God In Them Thar Hills!!!!

Well, God would have it this morning that I sat myself next to a man from Nigeria, who was chosen at the ripe old age of five to be a catholic priest.  You see, I told him my name was Athena.  He exclaimed, “The goddess!”

I said, “Yup, wisdom and war, baby… though people conveniently leave out the war part on a very regular basis.”  They do.  Whenever I tell people my name, the popular response is, “The goddess of wisdom!”

…Yeah, the goddess of wisdom who happens to be carrying a massive shield and sporting a high-fashion warrioress’s helmet… I guess war as we know it is a pretty frightening subject.  Better to just pretend it doesn’t exist, eh?  But then there’s the quintessence of all wars~ the war we fight inside ourselves every day.  The war that the ancient Indian sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita metaphorically addresses.  This is the war between the ego and… “The Great Love”, I’ll call it.  Yikes.  Talking about “religious matters” is a slippery slope, isn’t it?  Well, suffice to say, that I like to think that Athena’s stand for imbuing war with wisdom is a courageous stand for the highest, especially in the Holy battle fields that stretch across the interiors of every human heart.  At least that’s what THIS Athena stands for.  I am committed to cultivating my wisdom and intelligence and using it as a trusty ally in winning the only battle worth fighting.  The fight for peace in my heart, in my mind, here and NOW.

But, the crafty philosopher asks, does it HAVE to be a fight?  Fighting is the antithesis of peace, ain’t it?  After all, war begets war…  Maybe, oh Crafty One… but for now, all this devoted warrioress can do is fight this relentlessly chattering, fearful ego machine.  My bullets are made of condensed conviction, perseverance.  My gun powder is feverish devotion to a vision of something that I can not see with my eyes, but damn it, I know it exists.  I know that there is a world within me that is unbounded divine light, and that it is possible to live life unified with this great light.  And this silly, frivolous mind that never shuts up and ceaselessly dangles those wicked carrots all up in my sheee-it… You know, the carrots who seduce gullible little me with visions of a future wrought with every shade of wealth, happiness and peace (meanwhile, my heart is tight and trembling)… those carrots that that are designed with state of the art, aerodynamic elusivity…

How many times must I tell myself that this is it?!!??!  This is the only moment where happiness and peace are truly at my disposal.  Is this good news, or bad news?  You decide.

Anyway, a few days ago, I had this epiphany that I would start a research project in which I will visit a different church every Sunday, and blog about my experience.  TIME THE FUCK OUT!!!  The Nigerian would-be priest just strode up to my table with a handful of large, wet, glistening CARROTS.  I am SO FUCKING SERIOUS.  Really.  I swear.  He offered me one.  I said no thanks.  I said, “Listen, Your Piousness, you take your seductive, crunchy-assed carrots and shove them where the sun don’t shine!!!”  No, of course I didn’t say that.  I considered taking one, but I didn’t feel like starting my digestion at ten forty three am, so I politely declined, and very jubilantly exclaimed to him that I was writing about carrots as we spoke.  This is the man who was just preaching to me about how he didn’t trust faith as far as he could throw a whale-sized carrot.

God, you are SO, SO, SO brilliant!  Thank you for the comic relief… I was getting pretty heady this morning… Time in.  So I’m excited to explore religion, because I throw the word GOD around with such devotion and gaiety, in the face of a world that is AT WAR AS I TYPE THIS, in the name of GOD.  I forget that sometimes.  In my little microcosmic, insulated slice of forgetful heaven, “my God is an awesome God”, (as the beloved David Lurey would rapturously sing on occasion).  Suddenly I am insatiably curious about what “the masses” are being spoon-fed in all the holy edifices of the bay area… and maybe eventually the country, and the world!!!

I proudly disclosed my blue printed plans for this project to my Nigerian friend nesting at the table next to me… and little did I know that HE had a story.  Back in Nigeria, he was sent away to catholic schools from a very early age, so that he could be groomed for the rigorous vocation of Catholic Priest.  Good for him, right?  Wrong.  At age fourteen or fifteen, suddenly the raging river of testosterone knocked him on his ass and he became consumed with lust and curiosity about all things pussy.  Woops, I mean, “girls”.  Let’s not be lewd here, Athena.  Well this was BAD NEWS according to Father So-And-So.  My friend was sent to perform “penance”.  He informed me that the “English translation” for penance is more equivalent to “torture”.  He was sent away to a cloistered “retreat” (more like a “prison”) where he was fed bread and water once a day, slept on a cement slab and commanded to pray for hours on end to be purified of this “demon” called Lust.  After months of that, he was permitted return to school.  Foolish man, he confessed that penance had in fact not helped the situation, but actually exacerbated it.  (No, I don’t really consider this man foolish, I just wrote it for dramatics.  Actually, I perceive him to be highly courageous… to stand in his truth in the face of EVERYTHING on the outside negating his experience.  That takes some serious balls if you ask me.)

He stayed in this caustic, soul contaminating environment clear up until he was twenty two years old!!!  Don’t you think that’s a long assed time to be hanging out in a place that insists you are broken and possessed for wanting to explore your sexuality and speak your truth?  I do.  And when he left, he straight up FLED.  And he said that the “Holy Men” had pumped him all fulla this fear that he was bound to be struck by bolts of lightening hurled by an angry god at any moment.  Wow.  He said since then, he has been a seeker.  Since then, he has been asking a steady stream of questions.  They sure tied him in some tight knots.  No wonder he don’t dig no faith.  To him, faith means believing stupid shit like the Immaculate Conception without question, investigation or the entirely natural shadows cast by healthy doubt.  Then we had a laugh, because he flipped over the splayed open book on his table and showed me the title, “The Portable Athiest”.

So this is the world “outside” that I have to contend with, EH?  Good to know.  Humanity?  Are you listening?  Take my hand… We’re gonna go on a journey!  We’re gonna go on an adventure!  We’re gonna skip and frolic through the plethora of churches in this contemporary and diverse world… and hopefully, be able to sip the delish nectar of Love that quivers like a tremulous wishing well at the center of all of them.  It’s like panning for gold.  Sure, it’s an arduous process, picking out all the rocks, gravel, calcified beliefs and unwieldy clumps of control mechanisms… But then you have ga-ga-ga-GOLD!  Ga-ga-ga-GOD!!!!  La-la-la-LOVE!  A kind of Love that One really has no choice but to brake for, because it is so magnificent, healing, inclusive!  That’s what the miners really meant when they exclaimed, “There’s GOLD in them thar hills!!!”  They meant there’s god in them thar mountains of human confusion, war and pain… trust me…

Oh, and did you know there’s a Guru living in my back yard?!

Dangling Carrots for Hungry Saints in Training

The carrot is designed to be unattainable.  No, not just my carrot, your carrot, Madonna’s carrot and Obama’s carrot… just about every carrot that the ego dangles before its self (note the diminutive S in the word “self”) in order seduce our blind asses into the promise of future fulfillment.  There is good news and bad news about this revelatory disclosure.  Which do you want first?  No matter because the good news and the bad news are the same news=  Our peace and fulfillment can only be found in ONE place and that’s the notorious N.O.W.  (Distant cousin to the Notorious B.I.G.!!!)

This is what A Course in Miracles reminded me today.  And trust me, I was prime for this reminder, since I have been living most recently in this psycho-emotional prison of missing my ex and perpetually suffering about whether or not I should be in my current relationship, and knowing somewhere in the back of my mind that I am missing the mark all together in terms of how I am investing my energy.  So as the cliché goes, I was knocked on my ass by a ton of bricks last night when I realized that every single carrot is created equal in its elusivity.  Do you get that?  Every. Single.  Carrot.  (Every single carrot is a poem, written on the back of God’s hand…)

So today I am thrown into an existential riptide.  The rug has been ripped out from beneath my delusional, smarmy feet (God love ‘em).  Now I wonder why I am even bothering to write… Why do anything?  I guess I just do my best to recognize my true and natural state of peace, contentment and divine love and bring that to each word.  To each letter of this crafty-assed alphabet.  But the trouble is that I don’t feel particularly fluent in the language of peace… So now what?  I must have plenty to forgive.  In A Course in Miracles they say that forgiveness is the way to clear internal space so that One can find the wicky-wicky wicked light inside.

I feel tired.  Can I forgive myself for feeling tired?  I feel so often tired… It doesn’t feel okay.  And here’s the real beef of the matter~ if I surrender to the moment and the light and this benevolent creature named Peace… Will I still want to be a writer?  I’m afraid nothing of this world will matter anymore and I won’t give a rat’s monkey about worldly success, pursuits of the small s self.  I am afraid to let go of my ambitions, or what will be left?  Who will I be?

Hopefully a Saint.  That’s something I wanted to tell you.  I wanted to tell you that when I retire as a writer, probably in my sixties or seventies, I plan to become a saint.  The quintessential career for the “golden years”, if you ask ME.  Mykael called me a saint in training last night.  I didn’t want to admit how good that felt.  Do you ever do that?  You know, when somebody says something that stabs the vein of one of your most potent hopes or dreams and inside you want to shriek with joy or ejaculate in some form or another… but for some reason, you hold it in… Well, I do that.  So there I was, exploding inside as I considered that I truly WAS a saint in training.  And on the outside I only smirked.  Silly girl.  Then I realized that it is hella likely we are ALL saints in training, here on planet Earth.  That turns me on.  When push comes to shove, it’s true~ we get to choose how we perceive this world of illusion.  And besides, I sure can’t find any evidence to the contrary of our collective [dormant] aspirations of sainthood…

Oh, now… Aren’t you tired of fighting against this beast we call “Religion”?  Really.  That gratuitous fight is so five minutes ago.  We know better than to need to compartmentalize Love, Source, Peace, Oneness.  For God’s sake, people, get over it.  I say this to those of you who are getting hung up on a saint being a title affiliated with busted-assed churches… You know who you are~ those of you who make a modest career out of being sure to assert that you are “Spiritual”, NOT “Religious”.  (And if you ask me, those busted-assed churches are totally awesome, as long as a seeker enters with the pure intention of communing with the One, opening their heart.  Who bloody cares what name we give It?!?!)  According to dictionary dot com, one definition of saint, the one that I am referring to, is:

“A person of great holiness, virtue, or benevolence”.

So it’s not a very far fetched idea to consider that we are all here co-participating in this dream with a shared core intention of realizing our intrinsic holiness, right?  Maybe it doesn’t always SEEM that way, but honestly!  Where has seeming ever gotten us in the first place?  Pretty far from Home.  And most of us *seem* to want to imagine that we are far from home… so power to us.  Power to this multiplicity of saints in training!  Rumor has it that time is just a figment of this same fractured imagination who has invented the wacky myriad of fantastical carrots, so take as much time as you please, Your Holiness.