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!!

 

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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.

Time To Get Awesome!

Do you reckon Jesus relished wandering the desert for forty days (and forty nights)? Cuz I sure didn’t. But my field trip to the desert of the soul lasted WAAAY longer than a measly assed forty days! But I think the main difference between Big J and I is that He was in constant communication with You Know Who… and Little Mrs. Grace… well… sure, my soul is always chattin’ it up with All Pervading Hallelujah… but so often, it’s too noisy in here for me to hear the steady stream of Great News.

But allow me redirect this alpine stream of language, because I am veering away from my point, which is actually triumphant. I am not in the desert anymore! The rains have come, and flowers are bursting forth from the wet, slippery cracks. Suddenly, my inner vision is coming into increasingly lucid focus and I feel a sleek and fierce tigress rousing inside of me, who will kill in the name of Truth. No, dummy, not LITERALLY kill! Ahimsa!… Kill apathy and bullshit that keep me stuck and comfortable. More and more, everything seems possible. And I’ve gotta toss some heavy-handed credit to my Ma for this… because she has adopted a “do it NOW” policy, which completely obliterates complacency. And it has rubbed on me. Thanks mom!

I’m trying to retrace my steps… to see what happened… that brought me here… to this threshold of inspiration, passion and willingness… but I know that life is way too massive and unwieldy too be reduced to a set of strategically placed stepping stones across a surging river of Unknown. That said, I want to tell you that there IS something to be said for letting go, surrendering and hibernating. I felt afraid to stop producing. To take tons of naps and read books and meditate and practice yoga and “have nothing to show for my existence”. But nothing was welling up in me and creating a pressure that requires release through creative expression. And I want to share because I have something to say. Not merely because I’m too chicken to face the great emptiness inside me.

Do you want to remember what is true? Then look at nature. I watched fierce winds rip the dead, brown oak leaves from the trees and scatter them in droves upon hard packed earth and forest floor this autumn at Ananda. From my warm, safe nest, I watched, transfixed as the few remaining leaves trembled incessantly on their branches. That tremble… it spoke to me. Perhaps, because it mirrored my own inner tremble. The tremble of that which silently awaits inevitable surrender, demise, dissolution, regeneration.

Meanwhile, I began to lead sadhanas at Ananda. Sadhana = spiritual practice. This one consists of energization exercises, yoga postures, prayer and meditation. I’d say that was a turning point for me. Standing at the front of the room and enthusiastically guiding a practice, sharing all that I have gathered… I realize there are somethings in life, you can only know through DOING. Sure, I can feel the SEEDS of inspiration singing up from the dark soil of my soul… But they remain seeds until I am willing to risk; expose them to the light of day; step out to the edge of the abyss and share what silently demands to be shared in me. Good lord I have so much to share.

Another key element in the alchemy of my current flush of rebirth has been reading the book my amazing friend Kimber just wrote and published!!!! It’s called “Full”, and it’s about her alchemical, healing journey through anorexia, incessant hunger and self-loathing; learning to LOVE her body and honor her divine Self. God. I am truly amazed by her courage. This woman straight up EXPOSED HERSELF. In the places that most of us (understandably) hide out like wimps! In the places where shame abides and keeps us in the prison of “looking good” and “acting acceptable”. And she pulled it off with a profound lightness, which is sheer magic, given the “heavy” nature of the topics she was navigating. God… she is a good writer! Wise, witty, playful, articulate, raw. Not only did this book illuminate my own healing journey with my body and relationship with food (I was a compulsive eater in my late teens and early twenties… and doubted that I would EVER make peace this essential facet of my existence: food… but by the grace of God, I DID…), but I also experienced the POWER of one life, one voice, one journey~ shared in written word for the benefit of ALL. Her words made me feel more human; inspired to fully inhabit MY JOURNEY, and love it ALL. Especially the uncomfortable, confusing, “ugly”, weird, awkward bits, as they make me wise and strong and compassionate! And to offer every last drop of it up for the benefit of ALL. All that I am, all that I live… all that I know deep in my heart truly matters. If she can do it, so can I! (and so can you!!) And not only CAN I… I MUST.

Lately I’ve been contemplating the whole “be the change you want to see in the world” notion… because, while it is a truly powerful invitation… the real question is like, okay, WHEN? Tomorrow? Forty days and forty nights from now? No, sleepyheads! NOW. When you wake up in the morning, what moves you to get out of bed? How do you WISH others would behave and treat you and this exquisite planet on which we dance? Well… stop waiting for THEM…. and LEAD THE WAY. Slash an exquisite path for many to tread. Look around… tons of people are lazily waiting to be told the rules! And if you speak with conviction, they will believe you! So speak from your heart, and on behalf of the Heart of the World… and LET’S TAKE CHARGE of this wild and wondrous circus that is life on earth! What time is it? It’s time to get AWESOME. It’s time to stand for nothing less that TOTAL FORGIVENESS, and birth a world of peace, within and without.

Live,
A

My Chaos… It’s Actually Sorta Lovely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live,
A

Clumsy Integration

It’s amazing how much life can be crammed into the span of a single week, day or even an hour. Last time I offered my inner world to the page, I was still at Ananda, and pretty sure that Ed and I were in our not-so-grand finale. Today I am in Oakland, at good olde Pizzaiolo. It’s morning, the sky is soupy-gray and I’m contemplating putting a jacket on. Don’t tell anybody, but a huge rat just scampered across the worn, wooden floor. I can hear the feminine trill of distant opera, mingling with the sound of clinking glasses, the soft aum of a humming motor and the shhhh of water rushing from a faucet.

It feels good to tell you simple, grounding things, rather than leaping straight for the land beyond the moon. I want to be the white-haired couple who are settling in two tables away from me. They each have a news paper and a morning bun. The man just gave a little jar of homemade jam to a dude who works here. His face is bright and inviting. Gosh, I’m noticing that the grass sure looks greener beyond just about EVERY fence these days. Certainly this seasoned pair is every bit as human as I, but in this moment, they represent simplicity to me; non-striving. Presence and contentment.

And then there’s Athena Grace, working so hard. Working so hard to integrate this being human. To heal my mind, my perception of the past… To dream not just MY future, but OUR future. The future of my human family. Fatigued and determined, I climb my own self-imposed walls in hopes of scaling them and discovering a panoramic view of Truth and Love and Infinity. Who will hold me while I break down and sob?… but not for TOO long. Just enough to cleanse and polish the mirror of my soul… and then I’ll carry on. Carry on with this alchemical mission of Awakening. I promise to give away everything that is revealed to me. What’s mine is yours.

Oh stark contrast! I left the pristine gentleness of the Momshram on sunday. My Ma drove me to Emeryville, where the archangels, Jennille and Marty are now hosting me in the guest room of their thirtieth floor penthouse apartment. As Ma and I rode the elevator up, up, up to the foothills of Heaven, we made conversation with a fellow passenger, over the elevator’s sudden, inexplicable inundation of the scent fried chicken. When he exited the shiny chamber, I cheerily called after him, “Enjoy yourself!”

“I’m sure I won’t,” he replied as the door slid shut. Stupified and tickled I looked at my Ma and giggled, “I guess we’re not in Kansas anymore.” And thus began my decent back into this limping, glamorous urban world.

From an ashram to a penthouse. Now I have an epic view of a bay of liquid silver, veiled in thick, white mist and bleeding, electric sunsets through grimy floor to ceiling windows. Like all poetry at it’s finest, it comes swaddled in thick paradox. Thirty floors below, flows an incessant river of traffic: the 80 freeway. From purring crickets and dark, pristine skies pierced with starlight, to growling semi-trucks and endless, rolling scapes of city lights. My nervous system is recalibrating. It doesn’t feel graceful, but more like riding down a mile-long sandpaper slide.

Yes, I’m being dramatic. But I’m also about to start my period, and I feel sensitive and raw. And let’s factor in that the morning after my descent back into this epicentric urban madness, I began a week-long tantra yoga immersion. Just when I felt spiritually grounded… I had to go and rip up the floorboards; peel off the scab.

Pedro, my teacher keeps affirming that tantra and classical yoga are grossly disparate. While classical yogis give their all to denying/renouncing/transcending physical reality, tantrics EMBRACE this physical plane and recognize it ALL as divine. I can see the value in BOTH. I want to transcend it all as I fully, gracefully inhabit it. I guess that’s more tantric than classical… if you must slice it all apart with a scalpel. Well… it stings my heart every time Pedro scoffs at Patanjali and classical yoga.

From my “partial perception”, (as Pedro refers to each person’s unique, galactic vantage point) the practitioners of classical yoga, as illuminated by the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, are all very grounded and embodied in this earthly reality, living lives of harmony, devotion and service. I don’t see negation of life… only a grounded embrace. And yet, personally I don’t want to dress modestly and diminish my sexuality. I want to dance naked and glorious in the sloshy tides of warm, salty, semi-figurative, tropical dawns.

I guess what I’m driving at, is that I am feeling clumsy as I integrate all that I have lived and learned, to form a coherent and empowering view of reality. And when it gets to complicated, I find solace in the remembrance that I mostly want to be a kind, loving, honest and inspiring human being. I want to live by example; take care of all of my Brothers and Sisters, (yep, that means YOU, beloved child of God) and this magnificent planet on which we dance. I want to be happy and free and at peace. That is more than enough.

Amen.

On the Precipice of Something God

Today I know why Athena is the goddess of war AND wisdom (and weaving, for that matter).

 

The battle inside of me is full on.  And beyond mere womanly muscle power, it takes some serious tact to outsmart this army of unruly and malfeasant demons who have staked their illusory claim in the dream scene domain named “me”.

 

I’m at the Momshram.  Yup.  I successfully purged and boxed my modest first world existence, and then my light and dark knight, Sir Edward transported me here, lovingly and safe on wednesday afternoon.  And I’ll tell you what- there is not a single shred of doubt or regret about my choice to let go of “that life” and step boldly into “this” one.  God bless Oakland… But I am relieved to be here in the sacred forest, where the urban sounds of sirens, trains, car alarms, the scuttle of tiny dog toenails on the hardwood floor upstairs from me, have morphed into crickets, saccades, a gurgling fountain and the repetitive thud of soccer ball colliding with human foot.  Oh and let me not leave out the gentle hush of breeze teasing well-attended choirs of leaves.

 

I am once again daunted by the task of finding accurate language to convey the plunging, prismatic depths of my experience.  I want to be eloquent, succinct, lucid, evocative.  But I mustn’t let this lofty aspiration close me in on myself.  My job is to show up and open the channel so that God can say what must be said.

 

I feel myself on the precipice of radical transformation.  I will be starting a four week yoga teacher training on moonday.  Does that mean I want to be a yoga teacher?  Shrug.  Dunno.  But I DO know that I want to deepen my Relationship with God; purify my mind, heart and being.  Of this, I am clear.  But today I am aware of the gap between where I perceive myself to be, and where I wish to go.  And it is requiring so much patience, self acceptance and compassion to just hover my awareness above and within this distasteful, imaginary void.

 

I’ve been doing my precursory reading assignments for the training… and the material is shining a floodlight on aspects of my smalls self, that up until now have been concealed within the crafty and elusive veneer of my identity.  I love the yogic path!!!  Incase you were  not aware of this, it has nothing to do with stretching.  Unless you’re speaking strictly in the figurative sense (which I love to do).  I realize that if one offers one’s whole self, with discipline, focus and devotion to the timeless and comprehensive teachings of the yogic path, one WILL discover complete inner freedom, and be able to live grounded in Truth with a capital T. (that rhymes with P that stands for pool!)

 

Here I perch, on patio furniture on the lawn outside of Master’s Market wearing a sullen, excessively sober face.  In this moment, I am deeply questioning who I am, who I most want to become, and what I have dreamed to be meaningful.  I like this.  I have a feeling that much good will come of this unfurling.

 

And then there’s Ed.  He’s the main ingredient in the recipe of this alchemical purification process.  I have never loved anyone with such unwieldy magnitude.  But is it really “love”?  I mean… absolutely it is.  AND…

 

I am deeply studying the nature of my own heart as it pours forth blood curdling screams of devotion to this divine other.  Experiencing my heart in this moment, it feels open so wide, that what I am present to is *not* the openness, but the EDGES that are being radically stretched.  Ed evokes feelings so immense in me, that though our communion is clearly an experience of opening (except when it’s not), in this moment, I am not experiencing blissful, boundless space, but the pressure of confines.  What IS this?  It can’t be divine love, can it?  For divine love is INFINITE and unbounded.  And this love… has me fallen to my knees and begging for mercy.  Perhaps this is the paradoxical experience of being simultaneously human and divine.  Perhaps boundaries are the access point to the unbounded.

 

Honestly, I’m not quite sure.  But I am sure that I can’t ignore this experience, put it to the side, sweep it under the sprawling heirloom carpet, which furnishes the eternality of my magnificent soul.  Something is calling out from within me.  Demanding to be integrated.  Assimilated.  Forgiven.  Embraced.

 

Today’s Course in Miracles review lesson is: “God’s will for me is perfect happiness.” and “I accept God’s will for perfect happiness for me.”  This was the perfect lesson for me today.  Of course.  Though I believe that every facet of life is infused with the perfect medicine, the perfect formula for each of our liberation from this dream of suffering and separation… still, there are some lessons that shout, while others merely whisper.

 

This morning I awoke from frustrated dreams of Ed being with his family… and me not being welcome or included; a painful experience that I grapple with most days.  Mulling over today’s lesson, I became acutely aware and then repulsed by  my own resistance to letting go of my suffering around this topic, and instead choosing to be happy and at peace.  I SAY I want to be happy… but when, in a moment, I am faced with the choice of holding on, or letting go… I often notice my resistance to letting go!  Why IS this???

 

Well…  I at least want to take a preliminary stab at answering this wily, elusive and quintessential question.  I mean… if I WAS to choose happiness in every moment, regardless of the circumstances of my life… then WHY would I bother living?  If I was totally content without Ed by my side, then why would I go on desiring his sacred partnership?  Would I?  I’m not sure…  But I don’t want to risk that.  I WANT to want him.  I LOVE to love him.  Losing that feels like losing so much meaning and richness in my life.  But so often my desire to live life beside him feels like bondage.  And I want to be FREE!  Or do I?

 

I am using my Relationship with Ed as an example, because it has the most forceful gravitational pull within me.  But really, I could illuminate many circumstantial cesspools of paradoxical suspension within me- all of the myriad ways I imagine happiness and peace are “out there”, “some day”…

 

I want to find freedom within me.  I am terrified to find freedom within me.

 

This is the perfect place to be as I embark on this transformational journey of dissolution, purification and rebirth.

 

God, that would have been such a potent place to end this pilgrimage through Athena Graceland… but I have a couple of practical announcements to make.  It’s kinda like at the end of a yoga class… this is one of my pet peeves- after we’ve just finished our final relaxation, and we’re all melty and quiet, preparing to roll up our mats and slowly integrate back into the frenzied river of modern, urban life… and instead, the teacher feels compelled to spout off all these superfluous announcements about upcoming workshops and retreats and junk.  Come ON- there is a time and place for propaganda.  And it’s not post sivasana, when I am new born and tender.)

 

And now for my announcements (wink):  I want to tell you that where “it” stands with Ed.  I told him I am no longer willing to have a secret, (his wife knows… and yet he has still been tiptoeing) secondary relationship with him on selective weekdays between 9am and 2:30pm.  And no, that does not equate to, “leave your family and come to me right this minute.”  It just means that I need to be integrated into his current construct of reality, such that our relationship has the light and space it requires to grow and flourish.  Such that he can come to church with me once in a while… or be my date to a rad event in my(our) community… or sleep over once in a while.  God it hurts my heart that NOBODY in his life knows who I am, let alone what I MEAN to him.  I could really get into suffering about THAT ONE.  But I won’t.  Because he said he would rise to meet this request for evolving openness.  I don’t require the all or nothing paradigm.  I just need clear, intentional movement in the direction of integrity and togetherness.  And the beauty of it, is that I trust him to do what he says he will do.  Not that he can’t be an avoidant worm like the rest of us, at times… but when he says he’s gonna do something, HE DOES IT.  I find this quality in him very sexy and compelling.  So that’s where we stand.  I am so committed to this man.  The depth of our love and connection makes it well worth the struggle.  All I need is movement in the direction we both desire to go.  Incase it is not obvious to you by now: I LOVE THIS MAN SOOOO DEEEEEEP.

 

And the last announcement is that I probably won’t be writing much at all for the next month, because I will be hella occupied with my sacred transformation (teacher training).  Though naturally, I always reserve the right to visit Athena Graceland any time I am called.

 

So bless me as I step off the cliff of the familiar, once more, and offer my false self to the loving sword of Kali Ma.  And say goodbye to the woman who just wrote this blog, because she is already dead and reborn.

 

OM NAMAH SHIVAYA.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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