Solving the Perplexing Puzzle of Prosperity

Spirituality, Prosperity, Abundance and Full Divine Surrender have always been a particularly perplexing cocktail for this enchanted, amnesiac fairy gone human.  They seem to be a puzzle whose completion is ever evasive.  But lately All Pervading Daddy Warbucks has been hookin’ this sistah up with weighty wisdom, insight and miscellaneous booty from all sides!   It all started (that’s a dangerous way for an ancient soul to begin a sentence, eh?!) when I won a raffle at church and walked away with a fresh, sparkling copy of “The Abundance Book”, which lays out the most basic universal laws of abundance and includes a 40 day prosperity plan.  Auspicious, huh?  And then A Course in Miracles has been throwin’ down some sweet gospel on the essential matter of divine abundance.  And yesterday on facebook, my dear friend Marianne Williamson spit forth this priceless piece of the puzzle:
”Most people limit their lives by censoring their desires. Don’t censor them: allow yourself to own what it is you really want. The desire is telling you something. If the desire is appropriate, your owning it paves a path for its manifestation. If not, owning it is also necessary so you can surrender it for transformation. Live in the excitement of being pregnant with the life you truly want.”
LIVE IN THE EXCITEMENT OF BEING PREGNANT WITH THE LIFE YOU TRULY WANT.  That is sheer and utter music to me.  Upon reading it, I noticed that a big chunk of my mind had been preoccupied with figuring out how I was going to survive in Kauai.  The energy behind the thoughts was anything but pregnant with the life I truly want.  It was all about figuring out what compromises I was begrudgingly willing to make in order to barely get by.  Ewwwww… but for most of us, that is our default modus operandi~ squeezing ourselves into unflattering molds imposed by a world devoid of soul.  What if it wasn’t?  Am I dreamer?  GOOD.  Let me dream.  In fact, a wise man once told me, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…” (Grin)  Listen, we are ALL dreaming, all the time.  Even the author of the beloved childhood anthem, “Row, row, row your boat” knew what was up.
The question is what dreams do you choose to dream?  What dreams are worth being entertained by the divine flood of light that you ARE?
I want to go to Kauai and WRITE MY BRAINS OUT!  I want to pop out a sacred book while I’m there.  A book that will make the world tingle and dance and take hecka unabashed deep breaths.  I want to write a book that will stealthily, sexily seduce the masses (you and me and everyone we know) into a state of ecstatic celebration and a holy remembrance of the here now Heaven!  Screw retail and all of its wretched second cousins twice removed…  Let them curl up in shriveled pathetic balls where the sun don’t shine.  Why can’t I live the life I want to live?  Well… only because up until now, I have told myself that I can’t.   Because we have slumberishly acquiesced to being so damn ruled by the zzzzzzzz inducing limitations we have unconsciously inherited by our anally clenching predecessors.
But then I always get caught in my slipperiest trap of a construct that says, “Oh, but Athena, is that dream truly God’s will for you, or is it just your ego, bullyishly taking control of the steering wheel?”  Wonder woman!  Seems like I have been stuck in that tired cesspool for centuries!   No, wait, I don’t want to dis it entirely… I think the deep, scrupulous inquiry of the origin of ones motivations is of crystalline value.  I should ask myself who is in the driver’s seat as I dream myself into existence.  And I have found that the seemingly disparate worlds of action and surrender, effort and grace melt into one holy bindu (single point of consciousness) when I return to the well of holy silence daily to wash my mind clean.
I am willing to take thirty-ish minutes a day to offer all my desires and dreams and fears and bona fide divine chaos back into Gods hands.  “Here God,” I say humbly.  “Please take ALL of this mish-mash and just give me back what is most true and blessed by your omnipresent Love.”  And the more I do that, the more that I am realizing the implicit unity between effort and grace, desire and renunciation, passion and service.  PASSION and SERVICE?!  Could those two really walk hand in hand in peaceful, blessed communion?  To this starry eyed mystic, it seemed too good to be true.  Could it really be a service to you to read these words that gush from me as very waves of the ocean of passion and bliss?  Nah…
Seriously, for a long time, I equated suffering with serving.  Serving meant doing something that you really didn’t want to do, because a wickedly elusive, punishing authority figure said you should, in order to be “GOOD”.  You gotta love the back draft, back lash of organized religion… puts some unsightly hair on more than a few billion chests…
Here is something I have learned about abundance, prosperity and gratitude in the most recent chapter of my existence (Note that I have been studying it for longer than I can remember… but only recently have I mounted this winged beast named Synthesis.)~ My ability to truly feel the abundance, the prosperity that has been promised to us all by our Heavenly birthright is directly correlated to my conscious recognition of the sacred, interconnected, underlying reality of all Life.  I have been on this relentless path of forgiveness… thanks to A Course in Miracles… and the more I forgive, the more I am able to Love.  And the more I am able to truly, unconditionally Love, the more I feel RICH right now, the more drunk I become on the beauty that just keeps seamlessly splooging (in fountainous fashion) from the very core of my being, the very core of existence!
The perfect embodied example of this is the choir at the East Bay Church of Religious Science.  I bow in reverence to their sacred, celebratory offering of song.  No joke, I cry every time they sing.  And you know what?  Half of the singers are crying as they pour their honey wine voices out on high upon the holy congregation.  And the other half are practically levitating in ecstasy!  They are a sea of faces of every color, shape, age.  Their faces are meandering epic poems exalting the infinite journeys of the One Creator.   Yesterday in church, the choir director, a luminous, large black woman, spilling with spirit was ESPECIALLY inspired.   They sang a song about surrender and she opened her arms wide to the sky as she soulfully belted the flaming melody.  She held nothing back.  I repeat she held NOTHING back.   No fear of looking good.  No fear of being judged.  Just a pure, complete offering to God, through God, AS GOD, with God.  Her freedom and purity sets the tone for the choir and all who were present to drink the sonic exlixer.  The energy was so high and pure it tickled and left me blinking and awe struck.
She told us yesterday, “We are not here to entertain you… though it may be entertaining.  No, we are here to serve as a sacred mirror for you, so that you remember who you truly Are.”
This holding nothing back, this offering EVERYTHING of one’s self in service of the Highest… This is true prosperity.  It lives now, shining as the One face of Eternity.  The giving IS the receiving, the service is the passion.  The effort is the grace.  Amen.
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My Mother’s Wisdom

Athena Grace LMNOP commin’ acha live from the school of mostly soft knocks.  (Mykael and I have a daily ritual where he reads my blog to me from his Iphone, usually after we finish up lunch.  Yesterday, when he read me the part about LMNOP, I laughed so hard, I think it even gave our very own God Almighty a start!  I laughed a laugh so deep and resonant that it shook the earth.  It sounded like sonic loafs of hearty bread cascading out of my mouth.)  Ahhh, for the love of soft knocks!  Lately the knocks have been on the harder side of soft.

Listen, I sorta hate admitting that I finally started my period just now… I mean I’m stoked, because I believe that bleeding is a blessed and wholly sacred occurrence laden with a power that is beyond intellectual comprehension… but in our culture, it is such a popular practice to dismiss a woman’s expression, with the flippant wave of the hand and an accompanying comment such as, “Oh, she’s probably just on her period.”  I’m guilty of it too… but I don’t want you to write me off this morning.  The way I see it, menstruation is a time of potent lucidity, which can be overwhelming sometimes… It’s like feeling the world at full blast volume, rather than as soft background music that you can only notice if you happen to know the song that’s playing, but otherwise its imperceptible.

Last night I zonked out at 9pm, but when Mykael got home at 10, I was suddenly wide awake.  He came in and kissed me, but then he left.  I’m not used to this.  Usually, he snuggles me to sleep.  Turns out, he didn’t want to wake me, but I perceived it as that he wanted to be in his own space.  So there I was, wide awake in the dark, feeling ABANDONED.  You might think I am being dramatic, but it brought up memories of being very young and home alone in bed in the dark… Suddenly, emotionally, I was somewhere between two and seven years old, feeling helpless and painfully alone.  I began to cry.  Sure, I could have just called out to Mykael… (or texted him, like I love to do when I’m laying in bed… I feel so Jetsons when I do it!)  But remember that I was living in a world where he didn’t want to be with me.  I was living in a world where my pain and aloneness were the most real and consuming facets of existence.  You have to understand that this experience was not an isolated incident.  It was piled on top of Mykael being mostly entirely otherwise occupied, between studying for his phat nursing exam, carving and being anxious, worried and afraid…

Makes being a co-dependant really challenging.  It’s like the rug has been pulled out from beneath my feet… which clearly is a blessing since co-dependency is for losers in the first place… But still… I am having a hard time feeling blessed.  Mostly I feel sad and unsure of why I am in this relationship in the first place… No, that’s not true… I have enjoyed finding other stuff to do with myself in the evening besides smoke pot, and curl up with my man either have sex, watch Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job, or the Office, or on the sweeter nights, both.  Instead, I have been reading books, writing, PLAYING MY HARMONIUM, walking to the grocery store at twilight… you know the kinds of things we used to do back in the good ole covered wagon days… All this time apart from Mykael is just what the doctor ordered… but then, being with him brings all my wounds right to the surface and I am finding it massively challenging to love through them.  I want to run away and deal with it later.  When I see myself behaving like a punishing, bratty child… it feels like the hardest thing in the world to love myself, let alone another.

So Mykael came into my room and held me, but I refused to “use my words” to tell him what was happening for me.  Usually, that is one of my strengths, since I am so self aware.  Not last night.  All I could do was sob and ache and pout.  How’s that for tantric?  …Sigh… Finally I sunk down under the restless waves of ache and was swallowed in the dark, respite of sleep.  Mykael stayed with me till after midnight.  I appreciate that.

When morning came, I was exhausted and depressed.  Usually morning is the time where I am all about catching worms and loving the fresh air, literally dripping with bird song.  I love my tea.   I love the lucidity of my mind.  Today though… I did not love.  So I called my mom.  Basically, she gave me an hour long dharma talk.  She said so many things that helped me refocus my heart and mind.  She spoke mostly through the lens of her own experience, her own luminous lessons over there at the ashram.  But naturally, it was all applicable to my world.  And I felt way more receptive to it, because there was not a single should involved… She jammed not a single spiritual ideal down my throat.

Holy God, I feel so boring this morning.  But I need to get this out.  Fuck, I should have done it different.  I felt so awesome about my entry yesterday.  I feel so angry at myself for not being brilliant today, but instead caught in the seemingly endless cesspool of my pain.  Is this forgivable?  Can I still be a successful, impactful, prosperous writer, even if I have to waste a perfectly good blogging day processing through my wounding?  Do YOU have these voices too?  Can I just let go and sob right here at Pizzaiolo?  (The prep cooks were attempting to hack apart an entire pig head this morning when I arrived… just for the record…)

Back to my mom’s wisdom.  I want to share with you the three most impactful ideas she shared with me.  The first one was she suggested that I go and serve others when I feel blue (and black).  Duh.  Seems obvious.  Especially for a saint in training.  But it’s easy for me to get caught up in the inertia of my self importance… Sometimes I fantasize about sitting with terminally ill children.  Can I do that?  How do I do that?  It makes me so sad to think about terminally ill children.  Children are supposed to have long lives ahead of them.  Can they even conceive of the idea that they will die soon?  What courageous beings they must be!  I could learn from them for sure.

The second gold nugget my mom bestowed on me was her own lesson of letting others be exactly as they are, without trying to change them.  She said she has been working on this since she got to the ashram a few years ago.  Her recounting of her own experiences with this lesson shed plenty of light on my habits of constantly trying to micromanage Mykael and think I know who and how he should be.  He should eat more vegetables, exercise more, spend less time on the internet.  Fuck, as I write all that, I feel so convinced all of that is true… I guess then the question is do I want to keep choosing him for a partner in the face of those habits… Ask me after I finish bleeding…

And the third thing (!!!!!!!) (Yes, I’m especially enthused about this one) is the reminder to dedicate my actions to God.  I mean, I live like this sometimes… but it’s easy to forget and act like a self important pig headed jerk.  When my actions are dedicated to God, there is no expectation of any return, no competition… only the purification born of offering my self in the spirit of love and blessing.  And then concepts like “success” and “ambition” disappear in the simple act of being present and offering my best.  My mom said that not only does God LOVE like nobody’s business, but God also LOVES to BE LOVED (like nobody’s business!).  I didn’t realize this.  But it makes sense… I mean if I am made in All Pervading Dreaminess’s own image, and BOY DO I LOVE TO BE LOVED!!!, than it would naturally follow that God, too would expand and burst into a song of the Infinite upon receiving the love of Its Holy Children, such as yours truly.  Language gets so tricky when discussing such matters as Omnipresence.  I don’t mean to divide everything so clumsily…

The bottom line, the top line and the space in between the lines (not to mention then nonlinear components involved) is all a call to LOVE, to let LOVE inspire each newborn moment.