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.

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Moonlit Unicorns in Desert’s Breath

Alright, alright, I’m going to come out of the blasted closet.  It’s hot in here and hella stuffy.  And besides, I’ve heard that the world outside is kinda amazing…

I was born in Reno.  I don’t often tell people this.  I identify myself as a bay area native… I have lived there since the age of two.  And to me, Reno, Nevada seems kinda trashy for the likes of a sophisticated, bohemian lady such as yours truly.  Not only was I BORN in “the biggest little city”, but I spent [too] many a childhood summer under wide, dry, vast Nevada skies.

Why do I bother to confess this modest nuance of my personal history today?  Because these very words are tumbling forth from beautiful Reno.  And there is something about Reno that fits like a square peg in a square hole inside me whether I like it or not.  (At least in summer time… I don’t love all that frozen business as far as I can throw it…) As it turns out, this is becoming the summer of holy pilgrimages!  I have made a holy pilgrimage to Reno to ride unicorns!  My dear friend and beloved knight, Sir John has a gaggle of them and he’s been trying to get me up here to ride for months.  But I was too busy trying to hold my frenetic bay area life together.  Shrug.  Now that it’s falling apart, I have set myself free to wander and drink from the bottomless well of sacred images, textures, scents, feelings that lay in wait all over this miraculous planet, earth!  Three cheers for falling apart!  (At least in this moment… I imagine I’ll feel less enthused in moments to come…)

(Last night, I dreamed that a cardinal flew into my temple (massage/yoga/meditation room).  Cardinals are one of my favourite bird… I am stunned by their redness and their gurglish elation of a song!  Cardinals live in Hawaii (among other places) and I take it as an auspicious sign that Hawaii is one of my next destinations!  A cardinal flew into my temple!)

What do I love about Reno?  The dry heat.  The infinite sea of sweet-scented sage brush.  Being surrounded by endless chains of arid, shadowy mountain ranges who rest in a patient timeless meditation, their shy peaks kissing the sea of unbounded blue above.  It is six forty two am and already the world is flash flooded with vibrant light.  In the bay area, I usually only get to taste stingy bites of the sky at any given time.  It is always obstructed by buildings and ostentatious topography and the towering ambitions of those who live lives in perpetual high gear.  (Generally, making plans with a friend in the bay area requires planning at least two weeks out and then blocking out a sorry two hour slab of time at best.  Can you feel my disdain?  I could say a lot more on this topic, but I’d rather write about the enchantment of Reno right now…)

I am drinking all these images as one who has almost died of thirst without hardly noticing that she was wasting away… but every time I leave the bay area, I find dormant pieces of my soul.  They come alive and I remember more of the sacredness that beats my poetic heart.

We spent the day at Sierra Hot Springs, lounging like nobody’s business, luxuriating in warm water and decadent shade, expansive lullabies sung by towering pine trees and warm desert wind, bird songs and the expertly blended perfume composed of heat and dirt and pine.  I invited all the beauty to enter me and become a long term guest in the spacious world Inside.  It graciously accepted and flooded into the infinitude of cracks in me.  We arrived at Sir John’s home after dark.  The moon danced in taunting stillness, high in the foldless canapé of deepening indigo.  She was just over half full and her light was icy silver.  Her light was infectious and uncontainable.  Ever time I looked at Her she drenched me silly, while throwing a twisted, knowing smile my way.  Touché, lady luna, I bow to your spicy, understated splendor.

“Do you want to see my babies before you retire?”  Sir John asked.  I felt lazy and hot springed out and just wanted to flop into bed, but I mustered.  Were they *really* unicorns?  I guess as with all things, it’s in the eye of the beholder.  But if I had any doubt before I met them, now I am sure that it was unicorns that I encountered last night.  Sir John turned off his obtrusive beam of light and took me into the pen of his stallion, Rico.  My vision was all silhouettes, shadows and moonbeams!  Rico’s white body shimmered at the edges as it made ghostly love with the moon above.  I felt shy in the presence of this intimidating equine presence.  I reached out and pet his velveteen muzzle.  He exhaled a massive unicorn lung full of warm air and I became at once drunk on its simultaneously animal and vegetable sweetness.  I feel like I need to reiterate this point.  You MUST understand the potency of tasting unicorn exhale!  Unicorn exhale could heal the sick and resigned!  It transcended my finite self and wafted effortlessly into the eternal world of my soul in a single, slippery instant!  And then it was over… but I am still reverberating with the sting of enchantment.

Unicorns burning in the icy light of a half illuminated wily moon!   It does not get any finer than this.  May you bathe today in Grace-drenched, soul-quenching images!

Amen!

Dabbling in the Deep End

If you had to have one word tattooed on your body, what would it be, and where would you tattoo it?  I am looking at a woman with the word “steel” tattooed on the back of her neck.  At first I thought it said “feel”, and I got excited because I took it as a divine message to drop into feeling.  Then I started contemplating the cornucopia of evocative, opulent words I could adorn myself with… And then I thought what a great way to get to know someone… like at a party or other social extravaganza.  (If you already have a word, or more than one word (Dan), you can still play the game… Wipe the slate clean and feel into ONE single word that would be most apropos to express you in this very moment)

Today I have my permission to be a total spazzy, off the wall nut.  I have to.  Can you dig it?  I HAVE TO.  Life can be way too serious.  Last night I was just going about my modest business and the simplest thing suddenly tripped a landmine in my heart.  Suddenly I was projectile sobbing.  But not for too long.  Soon I was faced with the inward invitation to forgive this whole sloppy dream and get on with things.  I think that’s the key for me.  I can express whatever wants to move through, but then let it go.  No need to wallow or hold on.  So I feel pain… fear… and then what?  Then I do a little dance.  Bake a loaf of braided challah.

Then I snuggle up with my sick boyfriend and watch some bitchin comedy.  Have you heard of Zach Galifianakis: Live?  See it. (We watched it on Netflix watch instantly)  He is a brutally honest, perfectly screwed up, entirely lovable comedian.  I discovered him on the Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job.  (I put the link to their website on my blogroll.  Check them out if you need some seriously irreverent medicine. (that would be most of us…)  As I see it, Tim and Eric are two liberated Buddhas, who say a boisterous and irreverent YES to life, to their messy, wretched, tangled, human state of bliss, and in doing so, invite us all to exercise the same playful freedom of self.  They exhibit my favorite kind of intelligence.  The kind that is off the charts, yet sneaks in through the back door, so that you might miss it if you are attached to a more classical, erudite, academic template of intelligence manifest.  In which case, I say, you need to loosen your necktie, let your hair down and play the fool way more often.  And now, please take a moment of silence in honor of these two exceptional men.                            Thank you.)

Zach Galifiankis.  He’s just as funny as Tim and Eric.  Watching his (Whoa, I just got distracted, because this woman just came through the door (Pizzaiolo’s door, that is) wearing DEEP, red lipstick.  Her hair natural, mousy auburn, cropped in a modest though sassy bob.  Her lips are sheer seduction!  Otherwise, she looks pretty plain. But her lips scream whisperish songs of lust.  Yum.)  Watching Zach’s comedy validated my intention for this blog.  He was unabashedly transparent in his expression of his particular, insane strain of humanity.  But through his brutal honesty, light was made out of what would certainly otherwise drive him entirely nuts and honestly, I imagine he would have killed himself a long time ago… he has that much inside him.  Since we are all more or less the same, with varying degrees of ability to contain ourselves and lead “normal” lives, it is healing to witness others giving voice to the facets of ourselves that we have become habituated to manraging and hiding out of homage to our heroic slave drivers named Shame and Appropriteness.

I often doubt myself… I can’t stop blogging.  But I wonder if it is it a sheerly masterbatory, frivolous waste of my time.  It can’t be, because it makes me feel more joy and fulfillment than anything (except good sex and church… and good coffee and satisfying, deep connections with friends, swimming, rock climbing, hip hop dancing, listening to the birds, sipping red wine while I cook nourishing meals alone in my kitchen… Athena, slow down, you’re knocking the wind out of the point you were just driving at.  Honestly, this blog is one of the MOST important facets of my existence right now.)  But is it in vain, I sometimes wonder?… And when I witness other humans, like Zach G. bearing the unsightly [metaphorical] lumps and rolls and pussy infections of their humanity, I remember the value of courageously sharing the less flattering angles of my cumbersome human existence.  Zach is so easy to LOVE in all his mess.  Which of course makes me that much easier for me to love AS I AM.  And you too are as lovable as all of your wacky, flawed and deliciously alive reflections in this mystic hall of fun house mirrors otherwise known as Life.

Tim, Eric and Zach would all fall on the below average end of the studly spectrum.  They are all overweight… Not obese or anything… they just look like bachelors who eat at In and Out Burgers too often, drink too much beer and haven’t exercised a day in their lives.  I bet they even get winded boning their bitches after like two minutes… but you know what?  I am so attracted to Eric and Zach, because they are so FUNNY, SMART, COURAGEOUS and ALIVE.  (Tim is all that too, but I find him less hot for some reason)  My point?  Don’t discount the potency of SOUL.

But then there’s my barista.  He is hot AND soulful.  He told me his name today, Damon.  He said it’s Greek, too.  I said maybe we’re related.  He said HE’S not Greek.  I smiled and said neither am I.  Meow!!!  I just felt my face as I was writing this paragraph.  I can only imagine what it must look like… I have this strange, soft smile, distant, dreamish eyes probing the billowing fabrics of far off, sensual universes, cocked head…  I love having crushes.

Oh, BTW, I coined a new term for my relationship status!  “Monogamous Polyamorist”.  What in Jehovah’s name does this mean?  Duh, it means that Mykael and I are in agreement that we both want our relationship to be a source and expression of our freedom, truth and wholeness as people, and if that means that we want to share intimacy with another, that is perfectly acceptable… at least in theory… (When Mykael found a dame he wanted to play with (he’s so finicky), I freaked out… but that’s another story) Ahem… theory… I find it very relaxing that I am not bound by Mykael’s fears and insecurities, nor is he bound by mine.  Honestly, I’m not interested in having sex with anyone else right now (Mykael is MORE than enough man for me)… but there is something deeply relaxing about knowing that that door is not bolted and nailed shut forever.   Monogamous Polyamory… It’s the way of the rock star future!

The last thing I’ll say, is a public service announcement:  Body language!  Have fun with it.  More movement, less needless blabbering.  I just switched seats because two chatterboxy women parked next to me and I couldn’t think straight over their birdish banter.  So I wandered over to this massive table and asked the white haired hipster with thick, black nerd glasses if I could park across from him.  Except he has his headphones on, so I simply did a modest little interpretive dance indicating, “may I sit here”… He danced back an unabashed, inviting “YES!”  FUN.