Skull Splitting Revelation!

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Athena was born from Zeus’s head.  Everyone knows that.  But what everyone DOESN’T know, is what is born from Athena’s head!  Would you like to know?  Well then keep reading.  This is IT.  When I close my eyes, I’m seeing richly colored, dripping, psychedelic roses spiraling in fractals… but I’m not sure how these energy patterns will translate into a sophisticated patè of language.  All I know is that I haven’t written in ages, because my laptop keyboard stopped typing Rs.  Then it began to refuse giving up Ts, Ys, Us, Is and Os.  If I wasn’t already so broken down by having a baby with a married man with whom I am hopelessly in love and raising her totally by myself, and meanwhile having my own dear mother get cancer, I probably would have been destroyed by the loss of my keyboard.  No, not because of the inability to update my Facebook status!  Because I am a writer, and somehow it hasn’t been the same to cry out into the desolate throes of my (100% post-consumer recycled) notebook.

But my beloved and merciful friend Chandra gifted me a spare keyboard that was just sitting around her house mackin on Kentucky Fried Chicken and hacking advanced sudokus, while secretly lusting to be USED by genius fingers.  And now, here we are.  A match made in Graceland, which in fact IS Heaven’s most beloved annex.  And since we’re on the subject of Chandra, I’ll sing out that she is an answer to a prayer.  And NOT because she gave me her damn keyboard.  Although that was an answered prayer too.  She’s the nutrient dense, stick to your ribs kind of friend, which I’ve been sorely in the market for since God Almighty stationed me out here in the woods with all the detached (and wildly kind) renunciates.  I needed an outrageous friend who has equal parts reverence and irreverence.

I think someday I’ll start a writing school.  And shred the notion of stringent adherence to Topic Sentences and Main Ideas and all the dumb shit they ground into my tightly sealed skull, before by God’s Amazing Grace, it split open and spilled in linguistic rivers onto the endless pages of Athena Graceland.  Sure, it’s grand to have organized thoughts.  To be able to reach out and semi-softly meet the mind of the reader (yes, YOU), and shepherd you to exalted Somewhere.  But… most often that’s NOT how minds work.  Obsessive organization doesn’t reconcile the pulsing myriad dimensions that beckon and burn to be churned by willing eyes and minds.  Maybe I’ll tighten my reigns when I take the plunge into “Profesional-ISM”, and write articles for “respectable publications”.  I’ll make my mind so trim and tidy and presentable.  And people will think I’m so very civilized and they’ll fork over civilized amounts of money so that I can join a country club and take up tennis and Jacuzzi.

But in the mean time, this, folks is the raw, feisty wilderness.  And if you enroll at the Athena Graceland Academy of Writing, you too can claim the flaming authority of your own essential voice and say it with an unapologetically loose and liberated tongue.

I might as well mention that I’m finally reading a book by Hemingway.  I thought since I take occasional delight in poking fun at the notion of “Hemingway Simple” here in Athena Graceland, I ought to know what the hell “Hemingway Simple” actually was.  I’m reading The Sun Also Rises.  And honestly, I find “Hemingway Simple” quite complicated.  And compelling.  I’ve made it to page ninety one, and while I am struck by his masterful ability to move a story forward at a rapid, rhythmic clip, hooking my mind with every glistening string of words and punctuation marks, I will say that I am having to scrape the crusty edges of my seriously limited interest in inhabiting a literary microcosm of tragically casual drunks who talk circles and squiggles around their heartfelt and honest experience.  I’ve spent my whole adult life cultivating the capacity to articulate and embody my emotional intelligence, and often kept company with those who also value and aspire to such integrated presence.  It’s gently frustrating to be held voluntarily captive inside the ancient, sturdy pages of a book full of privileged, careless (though certainly not “care free”) drunks.  I guess that’s the essence of the 1920s.  I s’pose it’s good to keep company with different types… plus I am exploring my passion-drenched craft.  My Ma beseeched me not to strive to become like Hemingway, but to stay true to my integral voice.  Her bright acknowledgment warmed me.  But I’d still like to learn from his flavor of Mastery and become better.  I ALWAYS want to become better.

And praise the Luminous Lord for this unexpected opening into further territory of my recent thought scapes.  Yesterday morning, my mind was ravenous for a spiritually satisfying snack, so I dug deep into the bowels of the brimming notebook in which I immortalized Matt Kahn’s profound, sanctified genius, back in November.  He said that passion is NOT contingent upon doing your dream job or any other explicit external conditions.  Like, I can be as impassioned as I do my cooking and cleaning jobs (grimace) as I would be if I were a famous writer.  Now THAT is some psychedelic shit.  He said passion is the ability to meet each day as a brand new lifetime.

If you’ve ever lived with a one year old, you know that as soon as you clean up the toys they gratuitously splashed all about the living room floor, they swoop in like a Tasmanian Devil to reestablish a state of despicable chaos.  The ULTIMATE zen koan of my current existence is HOW in the Lord’s hella Good name do I pick up Serena’s collection of miniature Bearenstein Bears books for the zillionth time in a day… WITH PASSION???

This is the Mystery of my Existence.  And the Key to the elusive yet obvious door of my Enlightenment.  Can “enlightenment” be possessed?  “My Enlightenment”?  Probably the stiff, robed traditionalists among us would poo-poo that notion.  But at the risk of sounding ignorant and ego-bound, I’m going to vote for measure FY.  Fuck yes.  I can blissfully posess a humble little slice of real-estate in this rightfully glorified state.  And I will wave it with gay ostentacity (Yes, I made up that word!  At the Athena Graceland Academy of Writing, we encourage such brash authority.  As long as it clearly portrays the world tumbling forth from your mind.  Think about it– this is how all language came to be.  SOMEONE took the self-appointed liberty of authority… and all the drunk and slumber-glazed sheep followed along, mindlessly munching cud.) in your blinking, slack-jawed face on the inevitable, reality-splicing day when I embody passion as I put those damn books back in their outrageously shiny, pink pouch.

Did I get carried away?  Totally.  But it was fun.  And I want to live with unhinged, unreasonable and perfectly shameless passion.  Matt Kahn also said “what if THIS (the life you are in, as opposed to the life you oft wish you were in) is what I want and I just don’t know it?”  The more I contemplate this, the more I am certain that this is the Life I want.  Dings, bruises, cleaning jobs and sprawling string of disappointments and heartbreaks included.  It’s pretty great.  I could write a whole blog, if not an odyssey on this topic… I will.  And it will crack you open to the ultimate realization of the sublime perfection of your raw Existence.   But for now, I’ll leave it at this:

Yes, the Life I have IS the Life I want.

How’s THAT for skull splitting revelation?!

The Ultimate Soul Workout

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Life begins the day you realize it’s meant to be hard.

At least for ME, that’s how it went down.

Being an etherial new-age baby, I struggled a bunch, clutching a dazzling-law-of-attraction-belief that Life was supposed to be easy… and then meeting so many unwieldy mOMents, and intense feelings, and not knowing what to do or be to make my Life submit and behave in the way of ease.  God, it is such an uphill climb.

The crucial point lurking in this hypothesis though, is that at a soul level, this sloppy, unwieldy struggle one of the Heavenly Lord’s all-time greatest boons.  To incarnate in this arduous dimension is heavyweight strength training!  Who wants to be a gorgeous, sparkling, winged mirage, fluttering insouciantly about in a revealed rendition of Heaven… when you could be attending the BEST costume party in the galaxy… suiting up in a nice dense meat sack and pushing figurative boulders up custom-fashioned metaphorical mountains, developing sweet, spiritual six-packs and bulging biceps of the soul?  We really have our priorities dialed in, down here on earth.

Plus, we get to drink tea and coffee!!!  I bet that is the tipping point for many incarnate angels.

Lately, I’ve been having a hot and heavy wonder what it would be like to inhabit my Life with a relaxed internal poise… a *genuine* and full bodied acceptance of the reality in which I marinate.  Because mostly, there’s this whole consuming layer of experience that occurs like agitation.  Like the cursed grain of sand inside the holy oyster shell of my existence.  A destructive, gnawing idea that I’m partially living the WRONG life.  Just partially.  There are SOME elements that are oh-so-right… Really key ones~ like that I’m Athena Grace… and that I have the *most* awesome baby girl.  Now that I’m endeavoring to articulate it, I realize that I LOOOOVE who I AM… I’m just struggling with the process of ACTUALIZING the raw blueprint of my soul.  And searching for that deep sense of Belonging, of hOMe.  God, I hope there’s a phat pink pearl in the works…

And hence, we come full circle to the opening statement of this gloriously enlightened stream of words~ this is the resistance training that I enthusiastically came to partake in.  How to be this AWESOME, luminous heavenly body IN A MEAT SUIT, and masterfully sculpt Infinite Light into a soul-satisfying, consciousness-liberating, Love-revealing, integrity-infused, breath-giving work of sacred art.  I mean think about it… doesn’t that sound like the BEST vacation for God to take???  Yeah.  Totally.

But in the mean time, here I am… wishing I had the utterly fabulous Partner by my side.  A loving, devoted father for Serena.  I am haunted by visions of being a powerful, spiritual leader and a beloved and widely read writer of grace-stained words that liberate ALL HEARTS.  Feeling stuck in this cloistered spiritual community in the woods, that though wrought with kindness, safety and even friendship… isn’t the path that ignites passion in my heart, or pure resonance in my soul.  I feel guilty typing that… because God… people here have embraced me beyond what I could have hoped for.  Typing that made my eyes sting.  Lemme take a deepie (breath)… and really let this Grace sink in.

Lately, I’ve been asking myself how I’d define Grace… Because it’s my last name, for God’s sake!  And it’s like the air we breathe… invisible, and something we don’t even have to think about… because it’s always nearer to us than our own selves… But… it’s still handy to have a distinguished notion of this essential and beneficent ISness.

Grace…

It’s the Invisible Oceanic Goodness in which we ARE.  We don’t have to earn it… and we couldn’t escape it if we tried.  The tricky part, is that Grace is responsible not only for that which we deem “good” in our lives, but the “bad” stuff too. Under the inescapable, psychedelic umbrella of Grace, EVERYTHING we live is Divinity in action, and is conspiring for the outrageous and triumphant unfurling revelation of the sublime heavenly light within us.

I guess that’s why Hafiz wrote this poem:

Running

Through the streets

Screaming,

Throwing rocks through windows,

Using my own head to ring

Great bells,

Pulling out my hair,

Tearing off my clothes,

Tying everything I own

To a stick,

And setting it on

Fire.

What else can Hafiz do tonight

To celebrate the madness,

The joy,

Of seeing God

Everywhere!

Sigh… Grace is God.  And God is ALL… And yet, knowing all this, I am still perched cozily on my couch in the pale light of dawn, wondering how in the heck to make my life what I want it… digging so deep to crack the code of the mystifying dynamism between effort and surrender.  Is my Destiny inevitable???  Or is it true what Tori Amos told my ex-fiance, the night we met her, shining like a riveting Goddess Mirage?  He asked her, “Do you believe in Destiny?”

Her reply~ “She needs your help.”

I want to help Her…

I want to bench press the World in the name of Love.  In the name of giving EVERYTHING to liberate the flame of passion that burns inside me, such that it ignites the World in holy celebration.

This is the “meaning of Life”.  And it is supposed to be hard!

But it is the most gratifying workout in Existence.

Subtle, Soft-Spoken, Unfurling Enlightenment

It’s five thirteen am.  My body feels stiff as the tin-woods-woman.  My lips burn like they aspire to be chapped.  I want to say something profound, and this desire is corralling my my mind and crippling my fingertips.  So instead I’ll just breathe and keep letting go into the river of words and worlds ripe to pour upon the page.

I just thought of my deceased beloved, Dan, and how deeply he believed in my writing and my heart.  I will dedicate this blog to him.  I will reveal myself without judgement, as I imagine his devastatingly gentle face flooding the sky and beaming upon me.  I’d sure give my right nut to know what his soul is up to these days.  If I had a right nut… but I’m not ready to give away my ovaries… because I still have hope for one more child.

I’m house and pet sitting for my land-people for two weeks, which basically means that I am suddenly SO abundant that I have TWO HOUSES, two dogs, two cats, three angel fish, a massive trampoline and an even heftier pile of chores.  Yes, and of course a luminous baby…

While I was out walking the dogs yesterday afternoon, I was thinkin’ on spiritual attainment, and how it’s not what I ever imagined it to be.  It is so ordinary.  I mean, I honestly feel pretty secure and relaxed in the all-pervading presence of God… but it’s not wildly “exciting” in the way of flashing lights, rushes of luscious ecstasy, or mystic visions.  I often refer to the whole “chop wood and carry water” saying, because it is so true.  Or Jack Kornfield’s book, “After Ecstasy, The Laundry”.  This IS “It”, folks.  This is Heaven.  This is Nirvana.  There is no “finish line” to anticipate… where bells sound and balloons and confetti rain upon your wide-splayed crown chakra.   Or perhaps there will be… but who really cares? Self Realization is an ever-expanding spiral of blessed, breathing presence.

I marvel at witnessing Serena blossom day by day, like an exquisite lotus.  It’s strange.  Flowers are so remarkable… because they come and go in such a brief burst of the Miraculous… every stage of their holy becoming is sovereign in its majesty (yes, even the poetic, wilting decline).  We are like that too.  Life seems long… and in a way it IS.  But from some other cosmic vantage point… like maybe smiling Dan in the sky, it is just as heart-shatteringly fleeting as an ecstatic bloom.  The rose was always a rose… And WE are always Divine.  Even when we act like dummies because we are in pain.

The feeling while I was walking was this subtle whisper of perceiving the World new… like even though it seems to appear as it has always been… I saw a hint of freshness sparkling in everything.  And I knew that my consciousness is secretly unfurling in the way of Realization.  But it is so quiet and gentle… and just enough.  Not too much, like a kamikaze kundalini krisis (had to go all Ks!…)  It’s a garland of increasing mOMents of blessed knowing of the perfection of Life.  And trust me, these lucid mOMents are so precious… in contrast to the mOMents where I am climbing my own walls, wishing things were different.  Wishing that Ed and I were together, living as one happy family.  I believe that the lucid, free moments will continue to increase until they are one wide open vista of relaxed presence. And even then, my divinity will continue to reveal and express in ever-new and glorious ways!

But THIS moment is rad.  Lola the cat just snuggled into my lap.  My tea cup is half… full?  Empty?  You decide!  But it still has tea in it!!!  The morning is so quiet and it still belongs to ME.  MINE.  And then I breathe so deep, and all this incognito miraculous ness expands into itself, like the serpent eating it’s tail.

If this isn’t enlightenment… My name isn’t Rumplestiltskin!!!!

It’s been amazing with Ed.  Our Relationship is such a powerful gauge of the integration of this said Realization.  Over time, I have seen that the more I open my heart, and let Love lead the Way, the more HE manifests in my reality as his highest Self.  This is such an exciting game!… witnessing some guy you once perceived as so… ordinary… become a buddha, become a God. (In all his glorious ordinariness!!)  I witness his wings shyly spread and consume the sky.  I have brushed chapped elbows with giving up on him a thousand times over.  But for some Mysteriously persuaded reason, I have not been able to.  Now he’s unfolded his divinity in astonishing dimensions, and this is just the beginning.  After all, God’s domain is Infinity.

I want to testify in favor of choosing a Man who is not “transformed” or “spiritual”.  In the Bay Area, there is such a buzz around these labels.  It’s quite a phenomenal culture for a spiritual ego… with all these holier than Thou ways to assess others’ “qualifications”… But the danger of such sport, is that 88% of the time, you’re not getting The Real Thing.  You’re just getting an ego structure that has tethered itself to a set of self-righteous ideas and protocols.  They have the script down, and can easily feed you (and themselves) a heaping dose of masterful, sparkling, hollow spiritual bullshit.

Eeeeek!  I just realized that I’m treading water out in the middle of the dangerously vast and deep “Lake Conceptual”.  Would I dare to wrap the Baby Jesus in that semi-soft, blanket statement??  Probably not.  But I will say this~  I often appreciate that Ed does not have any scripts of a “Transformed Spiritual Man”.  Often, when our conversations go off-roading through treacherous terrain, he goes Silent.  Because he doesn’t have a script to cling to and hide behind.  And because (to my recurring dismay, he isn’t as quick as… ahem… “some”, at articulating his innermost feelings.  Instead he draws deeply into himself, seeming to disappear for a time.  But when he pops back out into shared reality, he has something genuine and meaningful to say.  Sometimes I find his shares disappointingly simple… but I’ve come to recognize that there is mastery in his simplicity.

As our love matures and refines, I see his essence clarifying like a rare jewel.  Again and again, I must surrender to the imperfection of our circumstances, choosing to invest ALL OF MY FAITH in God’s perfectly unfurling Plan.  This morning, this breath… I return to profound, all-pervading Rightness.  In this mOMent, I fully trust that I am exactly where I need to be, by the Grace of God.  I trust that all of my deepest dreams are blossoming through me in their sublimely perfect Time.  I am willing to relax my body and let Life unravel me and shower me with Grace.

Amen.

Taking Sweet Refuge in Athena Graceland

I’ve been blessed with a stellar opportunity to write six *paid!* articles on motherhood, for a chiropractor friend’s website.  I’ve written four so far, and I have been very satisfied with them.  But then Serena turned four months alive, and suddenly my brain has gone missing!  The fifth one was gonna be about the immense potential of raising a girl, given all that I have gone through on my journey, and can now offer to her as profound empowerment.  And how this empowerment can ultimately heal and transform the world in the way of LOVE.  I am so ignited by this “sermon”… but somehow, despite the well of passion pressing on my heart from inside, I am failing hard!  I have written it FOUR times.  Each flush contains exquisite gems… but…  I feel like I am trying to decant the Ocean in a flimsy crystal champagne flute, which is a massive endeavor… and then my little Buddha-fairy calls to me from the bedroom and my concentration on this task is decimated.  My mind is a freshly shattered mirror, and when you try to behold your own face within it, you have a thousand eyes and a hundred and eight gaping, perplexed mouths.  Which might be interesting for a second, but ultimately, you need a soft, linguistic sanctuary for your mind to rest after bushwhacking through the underbrush of popular culture and wifi signals, concrete and an overpopulation of stiff right angles!  On one hand, it’s wildly frustrating… but it’s also pretty fascinating.  It’s a new experience for me to feel so clumsy with words and ideas.

So Athena Graceland is once again my hallelujah-refugee camp.  A place where I don’t have to make sense, or sound erudite and literarily competent.  (Although I often do…just by accident! 😉  The only requirement here in this psychedelic wilderness, is to BE ME, which thankfully, I can still muster, even as the mother of a four and a half month alive baby saint.  You think I’m kidding… I’m not.  I’m pretty sure all baby saints behaved as Serena does… with so much grace and patience, effulgent joy and serenity.  Yep, Saint Serena is super rad and I’m marinating in thanksgiving.  But this doesn’t make the job of caring for her any less labor intensive.  God, my body feels suddenly OLD!  Creaky and sore and weatherbeaten.  Is this why women are supposed to have babies at twenty, rather than thirty six??  Or is it just because I am doing it 98% alone, while earning a meager living doing physically demanding jobs, such as cooking and cleaning, which a) takes it’s toll, and b) doesn’t leave me excess cash flow to fund such replenishing activities as massage, yoga classes, luxurious laps at the local pool…. I still have hope for these things and more.  They would do me oodles of good.

I wish I was bringing in plentiful dollars via the use of my incredible mind and courageous, infinitely loving heart, versus my poor tin-woods-woman body, which has hopelessly misplaced the oil can right about now.  I have so many gifts and talents of the heart and mind… but I just haven’t quite figured out how to “monetize them”… and honestly, writing that made me puke in my mouth, because I still feel grossed out that I should have to monetize my love.  I just want it to happen for me like it happened for my all-time-hero, Matt Kahn.  He totally “seeked ye first the kingdom of Heaven”…. and all else was added unto him.  He didn’t sit around strategizing who his target audience of wounded SUCKAS was, and how to seduce their imagined weakness.  He tended the garden of his heart with steadfast, meticulous passion and suddenly… POOF!!!  Life demanded that he share all that he found with those who were hungry to Remember.  That’s the only way life makes sense to me.  I will just keep stepping deeper into LOVE… and my life will become what it must, as I die to myself and am ever re-born into the heart of Infinity.  I just can’t stomach all that marketing bullshit.  It’s basically feeding off of peoples’ culturally conditioned myths of brokenness, and capitalizing on it!!!!  That’s not okay with me.  I’d rather make them soup in my Shakti Pot, and just get by….

But I know there’s another way.  I know there’s a way for us all to thrive by communing in our Infinite Light… Celebrating our unique, masterful divinity….

In the mean time, I am chopping the shit out of wood and carrying the F out of water.

And I am mostly hella happy.  My body is just a bit stressed.  And I am feeling stretched.  And as aforementioned, my mind is curiously shattered… at least when I put pressure on myself to make sense… cuz this makes sense, right?  It makes perfect sense to ME…

Saint Serena the Benevolent is really allowing me to get into it this morning!!!… which is another ridiculous irony.  When I’m trying to write my articles, she wakes up before I can pull my mind together into a unified field of genius… But when I’m writing for my own cosmic shits and giggles, she snoozes away like Sleeping Beauty!  But I’m just watching the whole insane play unfold… and laughing about it all.  Even when I cry.  Like yesterday evening…

I had just led sadhana… (The two hours a week that I exist as Athena Grace… Not “Serena’s Mama”.)  I was walking along the red dirt path back to my car, who I named “Faith”, but my Ma insists on calling “Hakim”, because the license plate says HKM!!!!!  That woman amazes me in the best way…  Because her gratuitous rebellion simultaneously PISSES ME OFF and CRACKS ME UP.  Like, Mom, can’t you just call the damn car Faith, already???  And also, don’t stop calling her Hakim, because it strikes up a symphony of funny bones in me, that ONLY my Ma is able to….

But, so, (yes, I know it’s not traditionally “literarily masterful” to start a sentence with “But, so,”… but it felt like the appropriate beginning, so I went with it.) the evening is IN-TOX-I-CATING.  It’s not quite twilight…. But the world is beginning to blush in cool, ultra lucid tones.  Flocks of regal pine trees sweep the deepening sky, and the air feels like womb-esque perfection– neither warm nor cold, just deliciously alive.  This unsayable beauty suddenly reminds me of a poem written by my deceased friend and lover Dan… Something about realizing the meaninglessness of all that he once feverishly chased… uniting with the Truth of Existence– to bear ecstatic witness to the Light that fills the world each new day.

I start to feel the Dan shaped hole in my heart, tears sting my eyes, and I release myself into the heart of the emotion, like a white dove, tossed into the air, suddenly liberated in the invisible currents of space.  I reflect on the amazing conversations we shared over amazing food and wine, long, meandering walks on blessed beaches, through holy woods and vibrant green scapes of scintillating springtime.  And also the ways that he annoyed me– sometimes talking for days, as though he’d never been listened to in his whole life, which flooded me with a helpless feeling of energetically drowning in seemingly endless and desperate garlands of (beauty-full) words, worlds, stories.  This twisty, frivolous wander backward caused  me to muse… what WAS it about Dan???…. that compelled me with such immensity…?  His HEART, the immediate knowing flooded in.  His heart was the softest, most gentle, wise, generous compassionate space in all Creation.  Resting in its sanctuary was like being swaddled in chinchilla fur.  I could cry now, just thinking of his heart.  And his voice reflected it perfectly.  So soft, soothing, gentle.  Ok, now I am officially crying.  And his hands…. perfect extensions of his wide, infinite heart.  They spilled with healing love.  They touched to the core, without even trying.

Then I thought about all the hearts that I get to commune with every day of my life…. Legendary hearts.  And I’m not exaggerating.   My Ma.  Ed.  Serena.  Ken.  Dara.  Deirdre.  Karuna.  Gosh, it’s stupid to list them, because the list would never end.  I am lucid dreaming in an explosive eternal spring garden of glorious hearts.  My life is a stream of holy communion (sometimes playfully concealed by silly “problems”, misgivings and futile hopes…)

I am laughing at the one who used to believe that spiritual awakening would be like getting high… Like if I “meditated hard enough”, my third eye would explode into a psychedelic fractal of kaleidoscopic lights, and my body would rush and dissolve in tingling ecstasy.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, that would be pretty damn cool…  But I’m not renouncing my miraculously mundane existence in this Garden of Hearts, in order to stalk that fleeting, unsustainable “peak experience”.  I remember when I heard the spiritual AllStar, Wayne Dyer say, “Man must chop wood and carry water”… I was like hella bummed.  I secretly hoped he might be wrong.  Chopping wood and carrying water seemed a prison sentence to me.

But here I am, chopping the shit out of wood and carrying the F out of water….

And feeling more sustained, mellow ecstasy, contentment and peace than I ever imagined I could.

And maybe SOMEday, somehow, I will find myself delightfully inhabiting a version of my perfectly blessed life, where I am abundantly sustained by the gifts of my heart and mind, as I blissfully serve the bursting hearts of Humanity.  That would be so awesome.

Amen.

The Legend of the Black Lightening Bolts

If I try to be extraordinary this morning, chances are, I will not get anything written.  So in the name of sharing my life and my mind with you, I am going to put my extraordinariness under cover, and three-two-one DO THIS!!!  But first, I am going to put on my ridiculous, dazzling lightening bolt earrings… because they have magical powers, and I want to see how they effect my writing.  I know that seems a bit contradictory… to be undercover, with gigantic, black, sparkly lightening bolts sprouting from my ears… I can’t argue with that.   I guess I’m not committed to being ordinary… I just wanna git-er-done… and my time is very limited.  Serena is nearing the four month alive mark, and gone are the days when she’d wake up, and act like a breastfeeding blob of dough in my lap.  Now she wants to commune with me, and fervently prepare for the not so distant day when she shall own the World!!! (And thank GOD for that… because it is past due time for this world to be owned by a Tiny Beaming Buddha with an incessant God-drunk grin.)

I think the earrings are working.  My Ma (and of course Serena) and I went into Town a couple of weeks ago, (yes, living way out in the woods, as we do, “going into Town” is a “Thing”… which still tickles me, being a Bay Area native.  Most of my adult life, I’ve been able to step out my door and be instantly transported to the BEST cafes, yoga studios, restaurants, dance classes and general rambunctious swirls of grandiose human doing-ness.) Where was I?  Ah yes, we went into Town, and I wanted to get something(s) new to wear, because the few clothes I have, probably predate the dinosaurs, and even with my innate, bohemian je-ne-sais-quoi, which by some stroke of magic, allows me to appear a bit flashy and enchanting, I was (and still am) seriously sinking in the domain of fashion.

I had high hopes for “Solstice”, the vintage, costume and chic used clothing shoppe in Town… but mostly my daintily cloud-brushing hopes sunk like a crippled submarine.  It’s just not the same, shopping with a needy three month old strapped to you, and a body to testify that it really has not been that long since she burst triumphantly into this world.  I got two tank tops.  I couldn’t try them on, because by the time I found them, Serena had fallen asleep in her ergo pouch, and there was no way I was gonna disturb her, so my beneficent ma took a wild woman gamble and bought them for me just in case they were awesome.  They were.  Praise the Lord.  And that is not even what I set out to tell you.  But you might as well know that I am well initiated as a mom, and my life is no longer my own.  And this somehow tickles me.

But the particularly loose moral of this story, is that up by the register, there were these over-the-top ridiculous black lightening bolt earrings on display.  And they honestly got all up in my business.  They wouldn’t leave me alone!  I’m pretty sure they were whispering promises of rockstardom and world domination, oh-so-softly in my ear.  My eyes turned into swirling spirals, and I heard strange, secret music flooding my ears.  I looked at the price tag, and they were twenty bucks.  Actually nineteen ninety-nine to be artistically precise.  No WAY was I gonna shell out such an obscene amount of money… even in the name of rockstar world domination… I have been a heavyweight champion miser since Serena arrived.  My life has revolved around paying my rent and utilities, not looking fabulous and having frivolous fun of yester yore.

All that unsatisfying shopping (and breastfeeding) worked up an appetite though, so we moseyed over to a cute little cafe down the street, which to my delight had outdoor seating!  I got a turkey sammy (came with a pickle and thick, ridged potato chips) and a spicy chai.  My Ma got a Mad Hatter looking slice of cake and a bowl of soup.  Being a short-order joint, they sent us away with the cake and chai, and gave us a number for our “savories”.  My Ma made mention of having to wait to eat her cake till after soup.  With glitter black lightening speed, I informed her that this was not the case!  She could indeed eat her cake FIRST.  Apparently, this was delightful news to her, because like the Queen of England on anonymous holiday, she dove right in!  And like the Queen of England’s privileged, croquet prodigy progeny, I ate most of the perfectly bitter, buttery chocolate frosting layer.  I love that about my Ma… she is so endlessly giving to her babies… No matter how giant and self reliant we become.

But alas, none of that mattered so much in the grand scheme.  I mean of ALL the unwritten stories that sleep like mythical beasts inside the fortress of my mind, body and soul, why was I compelled to tell THAT one???   I think mostly because I liked the part about giving my mama permission to eat her cake first.  I really do find myself endearing for having such frivolous, whimsical priorities.

And now for the steak and potatoes of this momentous literary masterpiece.  My best dear friend Anitra, fresh off the plane from India, had joined us at the cafe, and after lunch (which was cut short by a rare and extreme, latte curdling wailing session by Serena– I think she was overwhelmed by the excessive stimulus of Town…) we set off together for a little “friendsie time”, and my Ma was left to entertain herself, which is very natural and delicious for her, since not only is she independent by nature, but she also had a purse brimming with cash on this almost warm and sometimes sunny, waxing spring-ish day.

At two thirty, when we converged back at Faith (my valiant, silver station wagon), she delightedly displayed an assortment of “things” she had acquired while we were apart.  I feel like a shmoo for not memorizing all of them… I DO remember a bright orange hat she had gifted herself, “for gardening”.  And of course I remember the little brown bag she handed me, which I immediately ravaged and discovered the illustrious, coveted lighting bolts!!  I immediately put them on, and assessed our communion in the visor mirror… I was amazed to discover, that immense and exaggerated as they were, they somehow achieved an acute sense of rightness on me.  And in that moment, my life changed.

I’m serious.  I transformed from a blah-zay, frugal, single mother dressed in ancient rags, to a SUPER HERO(INE) with undetermined, yet unmistakable magical powers.  I’m still trying to attune to what they ARE… But when I wear my “bolts”, I feel giant and invincible and wealthy!!!  I am a force to be reckoned with.

Yesterday, I wore them as I made quiches for the first time in my life, to be sold at Master’s Market… and when the savory egg pies emerged from the oven, one of them still had some goop.  I panicked, because I was afraid that if I cooked it longer, the egg matter would turn tough.  Eggs are really such delicate, touchy creatures, who demand attentive kid gloves and ample tenderness.  I decided to bake it a bit longer… I hope it worked out.  I am still shaking in my weather-beaten, fur-lined pink ugg boots, to be honest.  But I will testify, that the only way I survived that risky wrassle with mortality and imperative customer satisfaction, was wearing these said heavily enchanted earrings.

…And come to think of it, they are probably the reason that little Serenie-doodle is asleep in my lap right now, and I am able to finish this essential tale of my existence.  Speaking of my existence… I’m not sure that I’m exactly “afraid of death”… but lately, I’ve been acutely aware that I might be pretty bummed when the “Athena Grace movie” is over.  I mean, yeah, yeah, eternal souls and all that erudite, spiritually enlightened jazz… but still… whoever this is, who is currently donning the ingenious costume, fondly known as “Athena Grace LMNOP”, is gonna slip out of it one of these days… and even though this indwelling, fabulous shimmer of Eternity will continue on (and on and on and on and on and…), the “Athena Grace movie” will be over.  And I’m sad for this… Because I love being Athena Grace.  She’s such a bold, quirky and lovable heroine.  How could my soul POSSIBLY top this one???

I guess it’s possible.

EVERYTHING is possible in God’s dream.

Growing a Goddess

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Party Starts Here…

Well… I FINALLY made it!!!  You know… to the land of milk and honey!!!  That sweet, creamy epicenter of creation, where there is no resistance… to life…  Grin.  Will I be able to stay in this inner paradise?  Or will my unabashed telling it on a mountain knock me back on my sparse little fairy ass?  Shrug.  My hypothesis is that life will keep grinding me into exquisite diamond dust… and sometimes I’ll enjoy it more than others…  but for the most part, I have retired from beating myself up, and measuring myself against that despicable pile of beyond the sky spiritual standards.

This is mostly thanks to Matt Kahn.  (check him out on youtube or truedivinenature.com.  seriously.) People, I’m telling you… this dude is the sanest of the sane among us!!! He has reminded me that I can take an EPIC shortcut to everything that I have ever wanted, just by loving my own heart.  Yes.  Like physically putting my sentient, slender, E.T. hands over that warm, pulsing center of the universe, and saying aloud, “I LOVE YOU,” as I feel it reverberate like music through the land beneath my sternum.  As many times as I can stand it… and then a baker’s dozen more… at least.   Because like… the time has come to stop being a beggar, pleading for others to give me that which I refuse to give myself.  Insanity at its finest!…

In response to EVERYTHING that arises… I LOVE YOU.  I love you… I love you.  Try it!  I DARE YOU.

So I’ve found the gleaming, antique key to the Pearly Gates of the Queendom of Heaven.  Now what?  Like Jack Kornfield said, “after ecstasy, the laundry”.  Yep.  I’m still here at the Momshram, aka Ananda Village.  Early last week, I was shopping in “Master’s Market” and the woman who rang me up asked me if I was “looking for a job”.  It hadn’t occurred to me that I was… but when I gave it some thought… I realized that I just might be, after all!!!!  She said they  needed a new produce manager.  Twenty hours a week.  Someone to love on the veggies and fruities.  I felt kinda excited.  It was one of those cases of MC Omniscience on the mic, singing out divine order loud and clear.  So I leaned into the invitation and the next thing I knew, I was unloading a truck of organic veggies and blinking with astonishment at the light speed progression of my unfolding!

Actually, I panicked.  Like what in the heck had I just committed to???  What were the implications of saying YES to this opportunity?  Suddenly I was married to a life inside of this conservative, rigorous spiritual utopia in the middle of the woods, to which I do not officially belong… nor aspire to belong, to be honest.

Yeah, lemme interject a word about that- This place is medicine.  Many people come here to heal.  Whatever it is they have to heal…  Myself included.  Over the past year and some months, I have become unrecognizable to myself.  I have given up alcohol and pot and the excessive stimulation of urban existence.  I have been emerging as a teacher and a leader; one who courageously lives what she knows in her heart, without holding back.  But not in an ostentatious way… just inhabiting a quiet faith in the all-pervading power of love.  Gosh, I suppose that’s nothing new for me… But just updating my systems, and purging some seriously heavy, useless junk.

That said, I’m certainly as flawed as the rest of you suckas!!!  I still act like a jerk sometimes.  Especially to the people who matter most to me.  And I still shook in my hip and versatile, water-resistant boots after I committed to being the Produce Goddess at Master’s Market.  I told the manager (multiple times) that I wasn’t sure that the job was for me… that he should keep looking for someone “permanent” (whatever THAT is!), but I would GIVE MY BEST while I was there.  He looked into and straight through me and with an omniscient smirk, said, “That’s perfect.  That’s all I ask.”

And then I was free.  Not locked into living out a begraggled eternity at Ananda Village, doing a part-time, minimum-wage job… but just free… to fully inhabit THE MOMENT.  Giving my heart and my sweat to the task at hand, and the people who grace my presence.  It’s been like a week and a half.  And I am surprised by how much I love it.  It feels like family there.  A family of bright lights, under-cover agents of LOVE.  It’s kind and peaceful and SHRI.  My life feels balanced and blessed.

Oh, I forgot to tell you the most significant piece!!!  Ahem.  So I am practicing trusting my HEART to guide my life, right?  I am.  And it tells me what to do.  Sometimes.  And then sometimes there are spans of great quiet.  Where I guess I am just meant to BE in life for a while… But She told me to take this job.  And AHHHHHHHH my ego went BERZERK!!!!  It was like freaking out because it didn’t understand what I had just done!!!  It didn’t seem to jive with all the plans that it had made… For me to have a baby… and lead the LOVE REVOLUTION… and be a leader of women and a wealthy spiritual teacher with my own hOMe… and… on and on. (which is mostly all happening through me anyway, but that’s beside the point.)

All I knew is that I was told to say YES.

PEOPLE… I’m telling you… this kind of engaged, surrendered willingness is a serious exercise in TRUST.  A divinely ordained test I passed by a baby angel’s hair!!!! (there’s no such thing as failure, buy the way!) All I know is that life is NOT what we think… It’s this miraculous trust walk through perpetually blossoming gardens of endless magnificence that we can only recognize when we stop thinking we know how it should go and projecting into the illusory future… just simply relax as the current of divine grace carries us along this riveting river of predestined “surprises”, which are ALL conspiring to unfold us as ever-perfect expressions of LOVE in motion.

Are you ready to REMEMBER?

“The party starts here,” she said with a coy smile, pointing with gentle confidence to her blazing heart.

Athena Graceland is morphing into new dimensions of HALLELUJAH!!!
Yeah, I’m in love with video now.  My intention is to raise YOU up!!!!!

Are you ready to explore new frontiers of ecstasy, delight, gratitude and wonder?

If so, you have come to the right place!!!

Let the SHRI resound through your sweet slice of infinity within!!

 

Ecstasy: The Return

Wow. If this isn’t a classic case of the hero(ine)’s journey, I don’t know WHAT is!… Here I am, the lone little hobbit, descending back down the treacherous mountain, into the lush and innocent valley that is my home… worn, weather beaten, triumphant, and pulsing with inner strength. Yep, I’m back in the bay area, after my nine week and three day quest. And by the grace of my nature, here I am, trying to add it all up (and divide by ONE!)…

I’m actually surprised by how glad I am to be back in the Bay Area. Honestly, I thought I was like so over this chaotic, polluted, yet somehow sublime meca … Not so. Laurelwood was awesome and necessary. But it was also rugged in many ways. Sorta like backpacking for years in the wilderness. I didn’t realize how hard it was on me to spend so much time indoors. Or to do without my daily dose of “ecsta-ser-cise”. That’s a combination of “ecstasy” and “exercise” incase you didn’t gather that on your own. Because I have noticed that those two words are almost synonymous for me. I swear, I hit up my old lover, bikram yoga, the first chance I got, and as I formed my body into still and sacred shapes, breathed, poured tangy sweat, and felt wild unsayable things bursting and dancing inside me, I realized I was making love with myself.

Imbibe= to absorb or soak up, as water, light or heat.

Yes, I was imbibing embodied, transcendent ecstasy. Same thing in the pool this morning! Holy JESUS. I LOOOOVE temescal pool! Salt water. Outdoor. Sensually stroking through liquid bliss. Flying through a cool and shimmering slice of gentle, wet, sky. Love becomes nearly tangible as it shushes across my naked, singing skin.

After Laurelwood, EVERYTHING TASTES BETTER!!! (Except Ed. He always tastes better.) I went to ecstatic dance on sunday morning, and good lord, it was the first time in too many forevers, that I’d landed in that wild, frenetic, strain of heaven, and felt “at home”! (Over the last nine or so months, as I’ve been in this deeply transformative and vulnerable shedding process, my experience of ecstatic dance has mostly been one of landing in that sphere of high energy in motion and feeling overwhelmed and way too tender and eighty-sixing it outa there.) Now I’m squealing and shrieking with delight about how god it felt to be there.

I’ve been trippin’ on this whole notion of “spiritual” a lot lately. That over-stuffed word can be as much of a fuck, as religion itself. “I’m spiritual, he’s not.” “That’s spiritual, this isn’t.” Reminds me of that poem by Hafiz where he’s all sympathetic and tender towards us human folk, because we MUST be exhausted, spending all day “dividing God”. Yeah. Dividing God sure IS a full-time occupation. It’s so weird that we have SO far to go, considering we are already here!

But what I was driving at, is that it annoys me how people at Ananda sometimes display this elitist attitude… like “Over HERE, on THIS path, we’re so tra-la-la…” Us and them. Sigh. It’s a reflection of my own deluded consciousness. Who am I kidding… I am hella quick to draw lines in the sand and rank my nebulous dream of my “self” above and below “others”. Probably as soon as I knock it off, the “outside world” will realign with my refreshed inner reality.

But gracious me, I can’t seem to walk a straight line of thought for the life of me! I must be drunk! Drunk on ecsta-cer-cise. And spring time sunshine. And delicate cappuccino aftermath. And the passionate kiss that my Man just leaned over and shared with me. Yeah. Ed’s working on his [grown-up] biz right next to me. We’re at Pizzaiolo. The wood oven is blazing with sacred, translucent orange flames, glasses are filling the lusty spring morning with clink, and people are doing whatever it is that people do at hip urban cafes. Shrug. “Important stuff.”

Okay, lemme make the point I was trying to make three paragraphs ago, before I blurred into tangential, non-sequiturian ecstasy-induced blathering. I’m saying that from my galactic vantage point, I don’t recognize a true division between the spirituality expressed in a spiritual community, and the spirituality that innately oozes from the creative, conscious, connected, open-hearted friends at ecstatic dance. I believe it can be a “pitfall” on the spiritual path to start asserting who and what is “spiritual”, and who and what isn’t. I believe God is LOVE, and love is everywhere, mischievously smirking; just waiting to burst out and be revealed.

Seriously, this is the most profound and spiritual moment of my life. Right NOW.

Being at Ananda Laurelwood was a rough ride in many ways. Being indoors, being in perpetual rain and cold, being away from my delicious lover and best friend. (I missed you too, Mom… but it’s different…) Not getting enough exercise. Not getting enough animal flesh. Not touching or being touched enough. Being mostly surrounded by people who had a way lower threshold of authenticity, openness and willingness to reveal and be revealed in the most raw and rudimentary fashion….

And yet…. something happened while I was there. I was not just scrubbing toilets, I was scrubbing the dingy crannies of my soul. Not always a glamorous endeavor. But SO worthwhile. Do you know what I mean? Like sometimes the heart calls us forth on a journey that the conscious mind can NOT make sense of. But still, the heart quietly requests us to let go of what we “know”, and step out beyond the edge of the mystery. I am learning to say yes to the omniscient wisdom of my heart. It never leads me astray.

A lot of the training I have been undergoing recently has been about reclaiming connection with my Self; remembering that truly, the joy is within me. (Which naturally implies that THE JOY IS WITHIN YOU, TOO. Pause a moment, and let that sink in. I mean it. Close your eyes and say to yourself, “All the joy I could ever want is within me RIGHT NOW!”)

********PAUSE. BREATHE. OPEN. ALLOW.***********

I was so curious to see how this new version of me would experience its ISness, in “old familiar” settings, beyond the seventh day adventist boarding school turned ashram. And I am not so surprised, yet completely delighted to discover that I am the same as I have ever been… and yet completely new. More available to refract the vivacious rays of Infinity. More evidence as to why I ought to trust my exquisite heart for the rest of forever.

Om. Shri. Om.

Keys to the Queendom of Heaven

Eeeee… Here we go! Off-roading in Athena Graceland. I feel extra pre-game jitters today, because I’m not quite sure where we’re going, and how we’re gonna get there. And if the route will be “scenic enough” for you… But actually, I have been known to consider that EVERY route is a scenic route, if you are looking through wakeful, artistic eyes… The path you’ve traversed ten thousand times is bursting at the “seems” with hidden wonders, aching to be revealed in your receptive, inquisitive gaze. Neighborhoods fashioned from industrial warehouses, cyclone fence-encased, abandoned parking lots with cracked pavement contain the whispering triumph of mother nature reaching up tenaciously from beneath, with her svelte, weedy fingers, and the graffiti on the walls are the cryptic longings of weary wandering souls. Open your eyes!!! Don’t miss this strangely shaded zoo of misinterpreted bliss.

It’s tempting. To race to the illusory, self-inflicted finish lines. Like me, counting the days: three weeks and two days… until I depart this enchanted forest valley… and fly back into Ed’s arms for a few all too fleeting moments… feeling into the shape of my freshly transformed self against the rajasic backdrop of the Bay Area… I’m looking forward to that. The way a warrior might inexplicably, subliminally salivate moments before stepping onto a battlefield laden with dancing, airborne arrows and casually strewn puddles of warm, steaming blood. That was dramatic, but fun to write. What I mean, for those of you who only speak “plain english”, is that I feel so sensitive these days. Like I’ve told you before, my urban calluses have worn down and I am a tender babe. But I’m eager to explore my new shape against a backdrop of jagged contrast, so that I can more deeply recognize who I am becoming. And then after that brave and brief brush with becoming, I shall kiss Ed goodbye once again, and run for the benevolent, woodsy refuge that is “The Momshram”. Another homecoming. Another backdrop against which to ascertain the flowers, fruits and foliage of this current alchemical transformation.

And then and then and then and then and…. So what? I watch myself erect all these future events to “look forward to”… And I believe in their implicit rewards, as a child believes in Santa Clause. “Some day”… It’s like that song… YOU GOTTA WATCH THIS!!!:

Seriously! That says it ALL. I just watched it, and realized NO FLIPPING WONDER that I turned out this way!!!! Hahahaha!!! If you only KNEW how REAL that exiled, tender-hearted princes archetype lives inside me!!!! Children are such preciously malleable little sponges… soaking up criminal thresholds of toxic bullshit in this plastic, corporate empire, otherwise known as the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Someday Ed and I will be together. Someday I will be PREGNANT… and give birth to beautiful, luminous Alexandria. Someday I will publish my book(s). Someday I will be a spiritual leader… And THEN… Wink. Sigh… All I am racing toward, when I am in refusal to realize the grace and glory of this under-cover scenic route of a human life, is DEATH. And rebirth. And death and rebirth and death. And if you don’t believe in reincarnation… then fine, just stop the train at death, and that’s pathetic enough… (But when we brush elbows in the next life, you’ll scratch your head and wonder why there’s something disconcertingly familiar about this wild place called Athena Graceland!)

Hey, It’s a miracle! Because when I dropped anchor and set sail onto the dark, mysterious swells of philosophically charged language and thought this morning, I had just a faint notion that what I wanted to talk about was happiness… In fact and fallacy. But I quickly relinquished it, allowing myself to be swept away by a powerful wave of inspiration, into the journey… and suddenly we are here, and all there is to address is the meaning of life!… and I didn’t even break a sweat or grind a gear in order to land here! Something BIG and hella ALMIGHTY is clearly at play. Something still, and small and secret…

In my raja yoga class, Daiva passionately “throws down” the potent, rudimentary principals of life as we know it. He reminds us week after week that it is always happiness that we seek. No matter how we skin the dinosaur. And embarrassingly, even that assertion was a surprise to me at first. Like, REALLY? All I want is happiness? I have dressed it in SO many ostentatious and clever costumes…. But upon further reflection, I have come to recognize that this is true. Are you with me so far?

Good. Then take my hand, and let’s proceed to the next lilly pad of illumined revelation… We have put the cart before the horse, people!!! We are conditioned to believe that we must figure out WHAT will make us happy… and we all grope around in pitch dark, like selfish little baby monkeys, trying to get our greedy fingers and opposable thumbs around our heavily frosted, perfectly moist slice of unbirthday cake….

I just took a shower break a few minutes ago, and I laughed out loud in the dim stall, under the stream of deliciously warm water, as I continued to mull on this topic, and I thought of how long I have cried and lost sleep over the fact that I can’t seem to figure out WHAT COLOR MY CURSED PARACHUTE IS!!!!! Hahaha!!!! Listen~ it doesn’t MATTER what color it is!!!! That’s just another gimmick lodged in-between me, and the ever-present CHOICE to BE happy. Right now.

I know it can SEEM way more complicated that that. Because we are carrying the heavy burden of THE PAST along with us… which makes it hard to recognize WHAT WE ARE. You see, we don’t need to SEEK joy… because we ARE joy. That’s what it is to be made in God’s image. We are the joy, the love, the peace that we seek.

It is such fertile ground for learning here at Ananada Laurelwood. Because I can truly see that no matter whether I am scrubbing moldy shower stalls, or dressing massive cakes in painfully sweet frosting, or sponging tomato-stained grease off of a heaping mountain of lunch plates… It’s really all the same. It’s only my attitude, and willingness to surrender myself into the voluptuous grace of the moment, that governs how I experience IT. Every once in a while, at the end of a kitchen clean-up shift, I hear myself triumphantly utter something equivalent to, “We’re almost outa here!”… Then my words echo, as if through a massive canyon, flailing like bouncy balls, about the expanse of my awareness… and I ask myself where I imagine that I’m going, that’s going to be any better than where I am… and I realize that I am like TOTALLY deluded. It’s only the tension I’m holding in my body… that resistance to fully inhabiting the space of now, that makes me wish I was elsewhere. So I am practicing softening my belly and my shoulders and my thoughts; breathing all the way into and through each perfect and whole, lucidly gooey slice of Now Pie.

Do you hear what I am saying? I spent so many years suffering, because I couldn’t figure out what to DO with my life. Finally, I am coming to realize that that is NOT the issue. The issue is what barriers am I placing in the way of my moment to moment acceptance of what I AM? Like a shy bud emerging from the world’s longest winter, into the bright kindness of spring, I peek my head out into the rainbow-strewn, crystalline halls of eternal Truth. Sometimes it’s a tough pill to swallow. Ya know… that in the face of this flawed and fleeting world, it is permissible to allow my heart to sing out in perpetual, prismatic shades of divine joy…. Do you GET IT?? Life is not about FINDING your passion. It is about BEING your passion.

Meditation is very helpful in this process of undoing from the chains of misunderstanding. Think about it. If happiness lies within, where must we GO to find it? Yep. Exactly.

There. Now you have the keys to queendom of heaven. What ever shall you do with them?

Om. Peace. Amen.

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