Potent Reflections by a Heavyweight Goddess

By now you must be aware that smoking pot leads to “harder stuff”… Well, it naturally follows that the same is true for head shaving.  Yes.  Later this morning, Athena-the-Saucy will have one of her precious teeth extracted.   Heck, why not lighten my load?  Anybody want a kidney?  This heart is pretty awesome too….

This is my stab at making light of something that I honestly feel pretty sucky about.  And yet, there IS truth in that letting go of my hair did serve as a useful “warm-up” for this more permanent and tragic exercise in non-attachment.  Naturally, as I type this, my mind leaps to the box of dust nestled in the carved wooden chest in the corner, formerly known as “my Ma”.  The few gaping blackheads on her cheek that used to seduce and taunt me (I wish I had’ve asked her to squeeze them!)…. The hand(s) that poured forth the most perfect handwriting ever and clutched the steering wheel of her little red Mazda Protege, as she sped around The Village…. Dust.

And here’s little Athena Grace, breaking a sweat over a single, paltry tooth.  But teeth are so meaningful.  For most of my life, I have had recurring dreams (or shall I call them “nightmares”, because I certainly wake up with a pounding heart…) of losing my adult teeth…. and now they are real.  Let’s just cut to the heart of it.  I’m afraid I will be less lovable, lacking a tooth.  Less attractive.  Less….

But perhaps this is a secret recipe for Liberation with a capital L.  Because if you possess any intelligence at all, you know those fears are exactly that.  My body parts (or lack thereof) do not determine my worth.  Deeeep breath.  I’m honestly jazzed to finally not have a pus volcano living in my mouth anymore.  (Plus, it’s on the bottom… so not quite as screaming as it would be if it was on the top.)  I gave my best effort to healing the infection naturally:  changing my diet, taking massive doses of vitamin c, taking a cocktail of the badass, fat soluble vitamin trio– A, D, K2, acupuncture and chinese herbs… But the damn tooth just wanted to come the fuck out.  And seriously, releasing my hair was a gateway.  I let it go, and I realized that I am still the same potent, regal essence of indestructible love that I always have been and always will be…. so take my fuckin tooth, bitches!!!  In your face!!!!

Just don’t take anymore, ok?…… I’m only thirty seven years old for goddess sake.  Let a woman enjoy her goddamn body parts for a while, willya???

Do you think I’d be a better writer if I didn’t allow myself to jump from topic to topic, like a strung out monkey in a bouncy house?  But if I did exercise such discipline, I wouldn’t have gotten to birth that awesome sentence….  And I think this world is already saturated with tidy, well-behaved, modestly contained essays, anyway.  I’m here with you now, so I might as well make the best use of your illustrious and intoxicating attention.

As I was *devotionally* making my coffee this morning, my mind skidded gracefully into the groove of the pervasive patriarchal paradigm…. Explicitly, how most women take on their husbands’ last name.  Often without even a question of like “why does this practice smell like dead, rotting fish?”….

Names are divinity, powerfully called into form.  Women!?!?  Why do you allow yourselves (and even aspire) to be called into form as your husband’s property?  It’s a subtle relinquishment of your sovereignty, in the name of feeling secure, chosen, loved.  Yes, I recognize that was a totally brash statement to make.  But come ON.  Let’s be done beating around the damn burning bush already!  We are queens, selling ourselves into slavery!!!!  But I suppose we are born into the chains of our fathers’ names, to begin with… so it seems like a welcome relief to flee to the initially erotic clutches of our husbands’ lineage.

It’s super fun to be so extreme and opinionated.  Liberating, even.  Being an empath, I used to try not to rub anyone too wrong…. because I took responsibility for their experience and feelings and I wanted everyone to like me.  But I’m learning to have a damn backbone.  I gave my energetically sensitive friend Chandra a mantra, recently.  It goes, “That’s YOUR shit, bitch!”  Haha, it’s totally funny BECAUSE it’s real.  But as a writer, it’s a little different.  I aim to say stuff that’s profoundly relevant to your journey…  But I know this is relevant.  I’ve gotta trust myself on this.  My deep calling is to gloriously inhabit Woman in service to ALL WOMEN and this gorgeous, generous planet, Herself.

So just think about it.  Why do you choose to become a limp rag doll who wears your man’s lineage… inadvertently abandoning your own?  And when I say, “your own”, I’m not talking about your daddy’s.  I mean your lineage as a Goddess.  A Priestess.  A magical, winged, enchantress, ever-rooted in the rhythmic, pulsing, oceanic infinity of LOVE.

I always felt burdened carrying my dad’s name.  “Horwitz”.  It never felt like the truth of me.  More like an anvil I was tethered to.  It took a goddess rooting in my womb to thrust me into the willingness to break a sweat and leap through the sprawling chain of bureaucratic hoops, and officially cut myself loose from that burdensome weight.  Now, she and I are full fledged founding mothers of the Matriarchal Society of Graceland!!!!  I feel great about that.  Like I stood for my Self.  And please spare me the arguement that my “True Self” is beyond name and form… and all that spiritually enlightened mumbo jumbo.  Like, yeah, DUH.  But I am here to inhabit this body and this world as the divine fullness that I AM.  I am here to play the Game in Love’s name, and WIN.  For the Team.  That means mastering this rigorous curriculum of career and money and relationships and all the shit that spiritually inclined types are tempted to bypass.  I’ve spent enough lives, enlightened on mountaintops.  This is the championship round.

And I own this fucker.

Everyone Dies. And a Funny Ending…

God, I haven’t felt the temptation to exit this earth drama for ages.  But yesterday I did.  Totally self-indulgent, I know.  No way would I leave my baby alone in this cock-eyed, drunken love circus.  But I felt like my seams were all busted and my stuffing ripped out, and no one was here to lovingly pack and patch me back together.  I felt hopeless.

I have never died like this before.  Or maybe I have… but not dared to be entirely sober and in my body?  But listen– I’m like *really* dying, while alive.  This paragraph goes out to all of you who have been there, or are here now… but have never had the words to articulate the experience.  I have watched myself kick and buck and struggle against this dissolution for a while…. rather than simply slipping in and relaxing every muscle, as though this sacred undoing were a hot, fragrant petal-laden bath.  I’ve fought to maintain a crusty, crumbling sense of who and what I have known myself to be.  For example, before surrendered to the Voice inside and cut off my hair, I desperately clutched at this husk of socially acceptable beauty, femininity, sexiness.  Finally I became too weary to fight.  I gave in to my inner impulse and became free.  Gloriously empty and true.  Now I want even more hair off.  I want it buzzed down to like a half or quarter inch.  As it is, it still feels like too much of a style, a persona, another thing to manage.  I want to simply be this exposed face.  These deep seeing eyes.  This naked heart.

Recently, I’ve been feeling waves of pain that rattle the core of my being.  Ed (Serena’s dad) is choosing to stay married to his wife.  Just because she is holding on tight.  From what he shares with me, it “seems” (though who really knows what worlds and truths lurk beneath all the gleaming seemings of life….) there is no intimacy between them, and hasn’t been for years.  I wonder if that can be restored…?  It’s not that I want to be with him in the conventional sense….  But being locked into that family constellation, consumes him, so that he is not able to show up for Serena (his daughter) or me, much at all.  And we are faaaar from welcome over there.  This situation aches my soul, deep, deep down.  Betrayal.  Abandonment.  A sprawling chain of crushing disappointments.  I often wish I’d never met Ed. (And… I love him so deep.  Sometimes it’s just hard to feel beneath the consuming pain.)  But then I look at Serena’s perfectly gorgeous face… And I can’t imagine her being made of any other cells and DNA.  She’s essential and right and exquisite.

Life is the weirdest.

Another quintessential element of my oh-so-dark mood of late, is that I have been beyond tired.  I bled with the new moon last week, and it really sapped me.  So I took a nap with Serena yesterday.  I went deep enough to have a dream flash that I saw my Ma, walking up the dusty driveway to my house!  My mind fritzed, because I was like, wait… how can this be???  This surge of confusion struck me awake.  I was crushed, because she was coming toward me, and I felt so much joy and relief to see her and then in a flash, she vanished.  I lay in bed, still exhausted, and began to quietly cry.  I know she was coming to be with me in a time of need…. I know she is so close.  Even now… but I’m damn frustrated that I can’t get still enough to experience satisfying communion with her.  But even that fleeting mOMent was gold.

Gold…

I’m feeling a deep affinity for gold these days.  I yearn to bathe and melt and merge in warm streams of golden light.  In a flash, the “still, small voice” inside informed me that I actually AM being showered in this Mighty, healing light, as I come undone.  Shazam!!!  A lightning (my Ma told schooled me on how to spell “lightning”, after I wrote a blog about the black “lightening” bolt earrings she bought me in town last summer!  Thank GOD she set me straight before she ditched me.) flash struck me when I got up to pee just now.  I realized that dying is really not bad at all.  What it IS, is that our crippled, capitalist society has not designated space and value for this holy and wholly essential and inevitable dimension of Life.  It is a deep, dark, fertile space of rebirth and cultivation of wisdom.  But instead we are prescribed pharmaceutical drugs and collectively pressured to hold it together and pretend that everything is……………………. FINE.

Haha!!!!!  Fine.  Why does that tickle me so?  “How are you?”…….. “Fine.”  It’s just such a flaccid thing we say to each other and ourselves.  Fine…..

Suddenly I’m all lit up inside about this matter of dying.  Like it’s my activism to give a publicity plug for dying.  While I was stirring my hot rice cereal just now, I though bout writing a children’s book, akin to the classic, “Everyone Poops”.  Entitled, naturally, “Everyone Dies”.  It will talk about how we all die many times over as we navigate this life thing.  And of course there’s the “grand finale”, when we leave these cute little meat suits, too.  And while not necessarily comfortable, all of it can be graceful and maaaaaybe… even a little bit fabulous.  Gosh, I want to master the ART of dying.  I want to get really good at it and inspire you to lean into your deaths, and trust the rightness and necessity of these dark and barren passages.  I want to stop digging my desperate, dirty nails into the walls of the pit, and just let it swallow me whole, and TRUST that I will certainly rise when the time is ripe.    

I’m exhausted from trying to fast-forward this goddamn movie and be in a scene other than the one I am in.  I want to play my role so fully and beautifully that it liberates all hearts, purifies the waters and heals the planet.

What if I entirely trusted that my career aspirations and deepest, soul-full desires were inevitable….  and I didn’t have to fight the current to fulfill my Destiny?  What if this delicious undoing was ESSENTIAL to my being and doing and offering all that I am here to share?

By the Light vested in me, I declare this to be SO.

Three cheers for getting swept up by a linguistic river of impassioned conviction….

Oh!  I remembered something crucial that I need to tell you.  In the face of wanting to die yesterday, the only natural thing to do was go to the River.  Like duh.

Being there… the miracle that I AM, gazing through these eyes beheld the satiny, musical rush of wet, crystalline aqua, dappled with dancing diamond light… a precise half moon, smiling unconditionally amidst deep, blue space. I flooded my lungs with the incense-esque scent wafting softly from the heated, piney earth.  I hafta laugh, because I know that even this linguistically gifted mystic could never find words to touch the epic divinity of the world quietly gushing alive before my very blessed eyes.

But here’s the funniest part EVER:  It was a clothing optional beach, and Serena, who has been clambering around at the water’s edge, notices two naked men standing near.  Her eyes are fixed on one of the dudes’ You Know What… Good Lord… Is she?…  Reaching for it???  Yes.  And repeating a word that at first, I can’t make out.  Then it clicks in my brain.  “Candle”.   I repeat it… “candle?”  Nodding affirmative, gaze fixed, she continues to speak this random man’s shlong into enchanted, interpretive existence.  I look at the two men, to get a deeper read on the situation.  Their eyes are soft and friendly… yet I feel contracted in a wave of embarrassment.  I relax, and realize that it’s all okay.  My daughter’s precious innocence is not something to take personally, manage (in this case), or be ashamed of.  Relaxing open, I crack up.  Hard.  They laugh too.  Serena keeps repeating her mantra.  I guess she hasn’t been exposed to too many “candles”….

I HAD to tell someone.  It’s a classic case of “If the Pope shits in the woods, and there’s no one there to hear it….”  So thanks for allowing that gorgeous mOMent of pure and perfect innocence to take root and fully LIVE.

Here’s to fully living

and fully dying.

With inspiring grace.

Total faith.

And as much love

as One can muster

from amidst the flames

and purging pain.

xoxo,

Athena Grace

The Naked Truth of Me.

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I cut off my hair.  I don’t love it.  I did it because my Innermost Self told me to.  When my Desert Island Friend (the friend I’d choose to be stranded on a desert island with), Anitra asked me if I liked it, I replied, “I don’t know.  But I liked the courage it took to trust my inner voice.”  Now, you might think I’m exaggerating or embellishing… but I’m not.  I’ve felt this deep, acute irritation regarding my hair, for a while now.  I kept having mental images and accompanying feelings of shaving it all off… This was totally freakin’ my ego.  I tried to bargain with myself… like, “Oh, Athena… you don’t want to lose your femininity.  Why don’t you keep it long in the front, and shorter in the back….?”  I imagined a cascade of annoying hair, spilling in my face all the time, and it literally seemed like an incessant tussle with the devil.

Then, yesterday, the day of my haircut spread in full bloom.  I sat outside on the uncharacteristically lush (for Nevada City), flower laden deck of the house where Magdelena (the Priestess appointed to do the sacred deed) was housesitting.  My heart wandered an endless desert of grief.  I had cried most of the morning.  Because I longed for closeness with friends… but they all seemed concurrently distant.  And in this desolate inner space, I realized a quintessential role of Mother, is to be your unconditional friend in the face of everything that life is and isn’t.  My heart groped for her and instead drew fistfuls of cold, slippery vastness.  It’s been three months since she disappeared from this dimension, and finally the grief is really hitting me.  My mom is gone for good.  And don’t you DARE get all transcendentally savvy on me, and tell me that she is always with me, or that our souls will find each other a bazillion times over… Because, honestly, like SO THE FUCK WHAT?  I didn’t come into this Athenian Earth Dream to float above it in cushy conceptual realms.

I came here to get down in it.  And feel to the gritty bottom.  And talk about it with at once disturbing and relieving honesty.

And these days, the bottom sure is fuckin gritty.  The poles of my experience are carving me with the technological precision of laser surgery.  On one hand (and I am totally NOT exaggerating), everywhere I turn, I see angels, whose love pours toward and through me with the force of a burst dam.  Seriously, I bear witness to outrageous kindness, sincerity, generosity and sparkling eyes at every turn.  You’d think I was wandering through Heaven or some’m.  (And then Athena winked, and in the lightning flash before logic could strike, you flooded with undeniable knowing.)  I mean, if I was the fall to my knees type, I would probably be living so close to the ground… for the goodness that oozes through every pore of Creation As I Know It.

But all this goodness does not take away the pain.  If I was not such a goddamn heavyweight warrior goddess, I’d probably double over at the pain of my Ma’s absence, cut with the rigorous path of single motherhood and the confusion and searing longing I feel as I await a deeper cut of knowing around my soul-quenching work in the world.  And the continuous blood-letting of having a child with a man who is committed to another family.  A family that wants NOTHING to do with me and Serena.  My cosmic dad said I’m an extraordinary writer EXCEPT when I talk about God or my Baby Daddy.  Now this claim may indeed be valid.  Even though I really DO feel that God is the total shiznit… But I get it, KenPie… If my writing hovers twelve feet off the ground, it runs the risk of turning to dissociative vapor that leaves you  pondering your to-do list, as your eyes wander the forsaken breadcrumb trail of words.  I guess the God issue boils down to the rudimentary, literary gospel of “show not tell”.  My words can drip with divinity without me once mentioning HeSheIt’s hallowed name.  I was not born to regurgitate flashy, etherial nonsense.  I came to get MESSY, bitches!!!!  Just so you could feel less alone, and maybe have a laugh about this whole delicious tangle of imperfection.

And in terms of Baby Daddy…. I can imagine that it gets fuckin stale from over there (actually from in here, too!)…. my skipping record of heartbreak and disappointment… But I come to the page to heal myself.  Digest the pain of this human odyssey. (I like to imagine that someday, I’ll write for YOU… but for now, honestly, I am here out of a raw and driving, selfish need.  Love me or leave me!) I’m getting free… More and more, focusing on what feels nourishing and life-giving and even JAZZY!!!  But still, I am slow cookin’ in the juices of heart-ache and disappointment, like the tastiest, blue ribbon stew.  My soul delights in entering rooms (of experience) with no exit.  Then, the only way “out”, is to completely transform.  What could be better?

So I cut off my hair, because I am quintessentially broken down.  Magdelena said it was not just a haircut.  It was a ritual.  She invited me to pray.  And to strip down to the honest core of my current experience.  Which is not glamorous.  She invited me to let myself be seen as I am.  And especially to see myself.  This face, this soul, this grief, this naked humanity.

But hair is feminine…  Do I look like a boy?  Will men want to fuck me?  Will I be less lovable?  Less magnetic?

These are the fears and concerns I had to step beyond in order to let go.

I move deeper into the experience of dissolution.  This is true alchemy.  Ultimately I trust the process, even though I don’t understand it, and I can’t see what’s on the other side.  This is true power.

I love you, Athena Grace.IMG_6851

The Fight to Write.

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The unicorn is galloping across sprawling, poofy, marshmallow cloudscapes, and still…. I am gonna thrust myself up on the bitch.  Yes.  I’m talking about my writing life… which has slithered like whispering water through my slender fingers as I incessantly pour into my life as a single mother.  Actually, I feel some relief in the X-treme scarcity of Time.  Because before Serena, there was too much of the stuff.  I damn near drowned in the strange ocean of excruciatingly slow, linear, third dimensional existence.  I guess Time is a beast that I came here to wrastle (and K the fuck O).  What better way to restructure said relationship, than to dream forth a demanding little goddess who hoards every precious second, formerly known as “mine”.

I hear a mouse gnawing at the inside of my bathroom wall.

Is it legal to write a one sentence paragraph?  I remember in high school, when “they” taught me about the “essential” components of a paragraph– An opening sentence with a main idea.  Then a few supporting sentences.  And finally a conclusion.  I like considering the possibility that ONE single sentence can contain ALL OF IT.  Like the universe in a grain of rice.  Like how much blessed meaning can you squeeze out of one modest strand of words.  What worlds secretly breathe and pulsate therein?  It’s like those pivotal moments following the news that your mother “wishes to be made comfortable” (apparently code for “is about to die”)… and suddenly the slow drip of the kitchen faucet becomes the heartbeat of Creation.  Your mind sprinting through stiff, sludgy oatmeal.

Ah, yes, it’s wonderful to be back in Athena Graceland.  Fuck.  Serena just called out to me from the bedroom, her voice a sharp arrow.  It’s only 5:49am.  Girl, go back to sleep.  God!!!!!!  Throw down some freakin’ mercy.  Let a bitch express some damn philosophical frivolity (and an impending deeper cut) to the privileged few amongst the masses, who have, by your Grace, stumbled upon the treasure-laden, zany worlds that stream from within me.  Silence again…. And a slow breath, pregnant with Hope with a hella capital H.

Ok, better get to the excruciatingly sharp POINT.  Life.  That is always the point, I think.  Telling the raw, naked truth about Life. So watch me bust out a “Hemingway Simple” topic sentence on this urgent subject…

In so many mOMents lately, I find myself threadbare and just celebrating the rudimentary fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.  She’s crying again and I can’t muster much explosive intelligence and cleverness as I endure her increasingly desperate call.  I was hoping she’d self soothe and sink back into slumber.  Dream on Athena.  Well there you have it.  Athena Grace, squeezing a goddamn drop of creative juice out of a huge ugly rock, imperviously lodged in a cruel and hard place.  Bye.   

It’s a new day.  My body thirsts to practice yoga.  But an invisible force inside me demands that I finish this piece of writing.  This is my Life now… Squeezing single glistening drops of “me time” out of huge boulders of obligation and duty as I trudge through a panoramic mOMent of humble service and profound ordinariness.  But that makes mothering sound like a chore… It is.  And it’s not.  It’s actually the best thing I’ve ever done…. And one of the hidden gifts of its fierce rigor is that being in twenty-four-seven service to Little Missiz Grace stokes the fuck out of the fire of my longing to be, do, have, and fully LIVE the other facets of my intricate, dynamic Self.  Which is good.  Because back in that other life, (now a microscopic speck in my figurative rearview mirror) the unwieldy ocean of perceived time drowned out my fire to engage and create.

Now that I have experienced conception, pregnancy, birth and sustenance of the object of my all-consuming Desire, I have a felt-sense of this sacred, feminine territory.  And I can feel a new life gestating in my womb.  It is my work in the world.  A hunger is welling up inside me to play huge.  And WIN.  Which of course encompasses plenty of glorious failures along the way…. But winning looks like staying in the game.  No matter what.  Full contact.  No holds barred.  Stretching into domains of creative actualization and impassioned service beyond my wildest dreams.  (And beyond the crippling social programming of my fore-mothers.)

In 2011, I did a two hundred hour yoga teacher training with Psalm Isodora, the renowned tantra yoga teacher who recently took her own resplendent and gritty life.  Her training felt like flushing a couple thousand dollars down the toilet.  In my experience, the bitch did not have it together.  (But I give her goddess props for not letting that stop her.  To live into huge vision, it’s mandatory to fuck up and make messes along the way.)  The one gold nugget that emerged, gleaming from the sludgy chaos and bullshit, was the moment she said to me, “If you want something, you have to become obsessed with it.”   

It’s true.  I felt this all-consuming obsession with creating a child.  And now it is building a soul-satisfying career that inspires, ignites and liberates the hearts of the masses.

FUCK.  The mother fucking dog barked and woke Serena up.  I could kill him.  It’s only six twenty and I was sure I was gonna finish this goddamn thing today.  FUCK EVERYTHING.

And now for the ultimate zen koan.  It’s wild how victory feels simultaneously impossible and inevitable.  Life is grinding me down.  S L O W .  So that in God’s Time, the spacious nothing that I am will ripen, rise and conquer.  I really do want to take over the world.  But not for my own gain.  For the benefit of ALL.  I yearn to be a vast, consuming source of neon spectrum, God-drunk, turned-the-fuck-ON liberation that doesn’t quit.

Life feels grueling.  Wrought with unsayably deep, emotional complexity.  It is requiring EVERYTHING.  I am watching myself break the fuck down.  I am starving for touch and deep, sexual loving.  I have to bust out some serious kung fu just to claim a few moments to paint my damn nails.  Yet… I feel a silken ribbon of holy whisper inside.  And it assures me that I am Destiny’s bitch, whether I like it or not.  And She IS this unquenchable, creative thirsting, bursting, swollen River ever gushing from within me.

PS–  I finished this blog with my “Big Girl” suckling my breast.  Whatever it fucking takes….

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.