Embracing the Endless Desert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I care.

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

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

Serena is awake.

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

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

Happiness Flew In… And then…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the name of Heaven dawning withIN.

Babies Bobbing In My Bath

It’s windy right now.  There’s something vulnerable about watching humans in the wind.  Watching their hair flail about and plaster to their faces, sensing their simultaneous discomfort and rapture.  Anyway, the good news is that I figured it out!!!  I figured out the purpose of long term, committed relationship! (If I were you, I wouldn’t take my claim sitting down though…)  Did I REALLY figure it out?  Probably not, but it “seems” like it.  Ahhhh, the seeming.  Holy smokes!  Seeming for president… Actually, I’m pretty sure that seeming IS the president, and has been for centuries.  But this is not a political rant.  Who cares about politics when there’s human relationships?!?!

I knew that Mykael was gonna spend the day with a friend today.  And I felt jealous because they are going to this beautiful beach, which according to Mykael is covered in rainbow colored rocks (but like I told you before, he has wizard vision.  He sees rainbows in your garden variety, organic grey scales), and I felt left out.  I haven’t been getting out into nature enough, so here I am A-gain, at the café, feeling the stream of traffic and psychic chaos as if it is all flowing right through my center, which I guess it is, since I am the dreamer, dreaming this dream of the main thoroughfare of Piedmont Avenue, teaming with oh so civilized civilization slicing right through the center of my mind, suckling my nerves like over grown babes with oral fixations.  Anyway, so this morning I asked Mykael if he was excited to spend the day with this dude.  He said he was nervous.  That threw me off.  Why would he be nervous about going to the beach with a good friend?  Because, he informed me, he would be “shrooming”.  OH!  Well this is fucking news to me.  And I felt bitch slapped by the spontaneous additional information.  Alienated, excluded, surprised, confronted… and you throw those ingredients in the pot and simmer them under the hot flame of exacerbated old wounds and it becomes an alchemical disaster.

Today I believe that a cornerstone purpose of relationship, at least in MY world, is to serve as a magic mirror.  A magic mirror that is way harder to break than your garden variety glass and metal job.  Or even any other fleshy rendition of reflectivity.  Mykael has been a broken record, constantly bringing it to my attention that I am choosing to see the worst in him.  It’s true.  I have been having a really challenging time focusing on the good things about him. (It’s not hard, given how he’s behaving… but still…) Feels like an addiction.  And speaking of addiction, I can see that my ways of being in Relationship are WROUGHT with addiction, and this is a big piece of why I have been plotting my escape.  It’s really my additive behaviors that I want to break up with. I hate admitting this, because automatically, this confession of awareness raises me up to a new level of personal responsibility… which I suppose is good, but confronting too.  That’s what I love about writing.  I love to show up on the page as deeply honest as I dare to dive, and inspire you to choose the same game, the same journey into self and Self.

In this magic mirror, I am seeing all my incongruencies.  I see that often times, the wounded little girl is in the driver’s seat.  She is needy and clingy, punishing and demanding.  As I evolve, I am discovering that I am a very powerful woman.  But my power is unripe and even dangerous when the aching three year old is the one wielding it.  Yikes, right?  “LOVE ME,” is her ceaseless mantra, and no matter how much she is loved, it is NEVER ENOUGH, and all the while she is swinging a samurai sword three times bigger than she is.  I believe that we are all wounded children, imagining the most epic mother of all betrayals.  The betrayal of God.  (APL= All Pervading Light, for those of you who wake up in severe night sweats due to the abused, battered, scarred “G word”)  Anyone who is paying attention must feel the ache that it is to be invested in this dream of separation.

Love.  To be made of the stuff… and still acting as a beggar at the door to our very own nature.  That’s enough to drive even the most average, corporate person mad after enough cooking time.  But we all have this program uploaded in our collective mind that tells us that finding a mate will cure us of this consuming ache.  It won’t.  Once upon a time, I used to find my wounded behaviors acceptable.  Now I am thirty and life is pulling me deeper into my core, purpose, truth, maturity.  And it is becoming intolerable to let little baby me have the wheel so much of the time.  Doesn’t work.  I want to grow.  But I don’t want to change, I don’t want to let go.  Yes I do!  No I don’t!!!  NO!!!! YESSSS!!!  You see?  It is like this in me.  Is it like this in you?

Just for the record, Mykael is totally imperfect.  But just for the record, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US is totally imperfect.  The question is, do I want to traverse my short time as Athena Grace, with my eyes fixated on the faults of myself and others?  No thanks.  It’s a bad habit.  (One that according to vedic astrology, is a much stronger inclination to one who was born in the dark of the moon.  That would be yours truly.)  (I am feeling calcified and stiff from all this serious talk, so I just stretched and breathed and looked around at the café full of PEOPLE.  This rainbow of skin tones and ages and life experiences.  So many hands lifting refined flour and sugar lumps to open, anticipating mouths.  Proper mouth wiping with crumpled brown paper napkins.  Eyes lost in distant, lonely dreams or buried in glowing screens.  Voices and silence and bad modern rock music.  Woops, the old man with the long scraggly white hair and salt and pepper beard and mustache combo dropped a layer of croissant sheet in his pint glass of milky coffee.  He fished in for it with his weather beaten hand, on the pinky of which he wears a thick turquoise and silver ring.)

What was the turning point inside me, when I realized that Mykael was the ally, not the enemy?  I can’t even remember.  But what I DO remember is that time after time, he steps into me.  Moves closer even when I invest all my strength in pushing him away.  I find this odd. Why doesn’t he break and quit?  I would if I were him.  Curious that this woman with abandonment issues would keep attracting the most loyal, indestructible men on the face of the earth, eh?  (If only he was RICH and loyal and indestructible… Ha!)  Another question I have is, WHY do I fight so hard to stay closed when I touch my pain?  I want to be great enough to open in the face of my ache… but every time, I fight.  WHY?

Look at this~ I say I want to feel what it is to be alone, Athena with nothing added, accountable to no one save herself.  Then, Mykael hangs out with a guy friend last night instead of going to Shabbat dinner with me, and then he makes plans to go out and have a psychedelic play date with another friend the very next day and I am devastated.  Independence~ the very issue that I take a warrioress’s stand for becomes reality, mannifest and I cast it to the stone floor, wishing, in a state of hot, childish passion to smash it into an infinitude of useless pieces.  What the fuck?  I need to herd all these rebellious cats inside of me, and hitch them to a sled, so that they can race at full speed toward the Land of Milk and Honey from whence I sprung back in the old days before Jesus and the dinosaurs.

It feels harder to stay in relationship and behave in new, intelligent, empowered ways than it would be to “close up shop”, leave and do it all by myself.  I am going to take the liberty of making a broad generalization now, because I am a studier of humanity and I think I am pretty damn accurate.  Okay, here goes:  In relationships, modern day humans seem to find solace in shoving each other into tight, comfy little boxes.  We create all these mostly unspoken rules, pictures and expectations of the other, and strike this precarious balance by being who we are supposed to be in order to get this scarce commodity called “Love” from the other.(Which as it turns out, is not really Love at all.)  And when one person behaves not in accordance with the “contract”… look OUT.

So you see, I can’t leave.  There are too many stones unturned.  Too many babies still helplessly bobbing in my bathwater.  And sending babies down the drain is a felony, I think.