Slowly Swallowed by Surrender

Giordano told me today that he is dying and he will never forgive me.  Because I left with Forest…

Words are strong, aren’t they?  Wow.  Those words.  And the worlds they evoke within.  The universe is really making a grand effort to remind me of the POWer of words lately. (and moreso, the power of what is beneath and beyond them, which they aim to transmit…)  They are my Gift, and my Gift will be best given in the spirit of consciousness and reverence.  I’ve always done my best… but now I get to rise to the next level if I DARE be that awake and self referential and responsible.  And awesome.

But let’s talk about Forgiveness.  

When I first got my diagnosis I panicked.  I didn’t realize it, but I was operating under so many low-consciousness belief systems.  About cancer.  About disease.  About healing.  About myself and life and God.  (No wonder I got sick!)  The oncologist at the local hospital “Dr. Kundalini” told me I must start chemotherapy at once.  I told him I would get a second opinion.  Then I leapt into the abyss.  But I was still operating at a very gross level.  Powerless.  Fearful.  Desperate.  I hoped that being hyper controlling about my diet would save my life.  I went therapeutic keto and ate as much fat as I could… but it was never enough and…. my body said FERMA!!!  (That’s stop in italian.  Yeah I’m like SO inculturated that my body dabbles in italian!)  Instead my consciousness is slowly spreading open like a lotus emerging into the light.  And this is the true nature of healing.

Life sent me an AMAZING book.  “Healing and Recovery”.  It is spilling with diamonds that cut deep into my understanding.  It explains how to heal at the level of consciousness.  In the chapter about cancer, it said cancer can’t even grow in the higher energy fields which reflect Truth.  This book also refers to MY Good Book, A Course in Miracles, as it is a path of realigning with The Source through complete forgiveness.  

I am allowing Life to show me where I have been holding grievances and unconscious guilt, so I can let it go.  ACIM says that the Holy Spirit will assist with this process.  Thank frickin GOD because I don’t know how to do it alone.  But because MY LIFE DEPENDS ON IT at this point, I’m all about being helped by the Holy Spirit.  Honestly, I don’t even know exactly what the Holy Spirit IS…. but I’m sure it’s FANTASTIC and I’m jazzed to be assisted by such Cosmic Benevolence.  

Naturally Giordano is at the top of my list of grievances.  I just deleted the lines describing said grievances… as a part of my exploration around the power of words.  I don’t need to enroll you in his stupidity.  Especially if my commitment truly is forgiveness.  Look at ME, I’m growing UP!!  Haha.  He has given me myriad moments to meet myself in the darkest dimensions.  Hatred.  Rage.  Desperation.  Loneliness.  The Hard Stuff.  

But the Holy Spirit is helping me undo my seeing.  My self righteous view point.  I have no control over his behavior.  I can’t make him “do right” by way of a power struggle!  Funny that I even imagined that as the way and the light.  It’s so not.  In fact, binging on that behavior for two and a half years straight nearly KILLED me.   

But it’s damn tricky.  To keep practicing having boundaries.  Expressing my needs.  Without charge.  As kindly as I can manage.  But not fluffy.  Firm.  Clear.  Wow.  I just realized Darling Giordano is helping me strengthen my own inner masculine.  So are my kids, actually.  And so is Life.  If I had a shiny euro coin for every time I’ve needed to be held while on this “Italy Spree” and there was nobody there… Yup.  Rich Bitch.  But the beauty of nobody being there… is that I get to meet myself.  

I get to meet myself when people ARE there also….

I am learning hard but satisfying lessons.  Learning to hold myself.  Learning to trust myself.  My aforementioned book talks about how it’s ALL belief systems.  And we have the power to cancel them.  If our minds have the power to make us sick, they also have the power to make us WELL.  This is what I have been sitting with.  Letting it filter dowwwwn.  Innnnnn.  Opening to the sacred responsibility of being awake.  

Manuela Forte acknowledged me yesterday for walking the way of “natural faith”, and recognized the parallel between the healing journey I am now on, and the way that I birthed Forest.  Free from the constraints of meddling medical “authorities”.  Surrendered to the infinite wisdom of my body and soul.  I got dizzy trying to follow all the disparate external voices of “experts” (and a spray of arm-chair experts as well) and in the end, I fell back onto my own bony lap!  Haha it’s really not THAT bony these days… Anyway, it felt heavenly to be Seen.  Seen not through the eyes of conditioning, but for the deep and potent journey my soul is making.  This letting go, with as much trust as I can muster in a given moment, which is pumping into me at a slow, steady increase.  My mission is to fully surrender to The Source.  And to let this restored connection heal me on every level.  let’s not mess around.  Dig straight for the ROOTS, baby.

I have allies and guides on the Journey.  

But I am the only one who knows.  

And this is both thrilling and terrifying. 

(Just like men, but that’s another story!…)

Dance With Death (part II)


Then came Serena.  I took a few thwarted stabs at going to dance with her.  But then I was being mommy trying to dance, not Athena The Star.  I have lived six very sobering years, culminating with the past two and a half being the “Grand Finale”.  The Grand Finale of my old life.  My old self.  The irony, people, is that I ALREADY HAVE DIED.  A thousand times over.  I just haven’t left my body.  I am not ready to do so.  OH!  That reminds me of my Epiphany about life and death.  I’ll tell you in a sec!

(One element of this blog is my spontaneous comments on The Art of Writing.  Authentic writing requires TRUSTING THE MIND.  My Original Mind burst in and grabbed the wheel, hot to tell you about something other than what I was talking about… and if I was to be a “good girl”, I would have silently made a note or just pushed it aside and kept going.  But as the AUTHOR, I am incharge.  Let all the other Suckas follow the boring assed rules!  Author=AUTHORity)

Can you feel Edith Piaf’s impassioned voice boiling over behind these words?  It is… and it is touching my insides as they must be touched!  She transmits a depth of longing, experience, strength… that touches a world in me- wide awake and aching for S P A C E  and light.  She is singing me alive and I am writing you alive and YOU are______ .  It’s a fractiling domino chain of pressing wine out of our human struggles.  Does it get any better?!  Yeah.  If I was at the beach.  Or making transcendent love.  Or riding a horse.  

So in these recent grueling years, I would not have imagined that I was becoming what I most wanted to be (a clarified version of ME).  It felt like the farthest thing from what I was becoming.  My soul was withdrawing from this world because my experience sucked too much ass.  It was like walking through a looooong, daaaaaaark tunnnnnnnel.  I entered it through the portal of ecstatic dance six years ago, and last sunday, POP!  I finally made it to the other side.  Out into the light of intimacy and WHOLENESS.  And I am NOT going back.  I am SO fucking prooud of myself for the deep work I have done that I didn’t even realize `I was doing.  And this could be YOU too.  You might be sitting over there with your face melting off in the sweltering heat of your alchemical container and everything looks black and sludgy and you are thinking to yourself WHAT THE FUCK… Take heart my blossoming warriors, ambassadors and bearers of The Light.  You can TRUST in this alchemy.

My bounty of Ananda friends love to tout that “the joy is within you”.  And I confess that in my moments of “dark night” (most of my life), I have really hated to hear that, because then it’s like what the fuck is wrong with me for not having access to my own damn self????  But now that I am reclaiming my life and my Self, I am living this joy daily.  I feel it now.  It’s like a soft, breezy melody of my own soul, swelling inside me,  flushing me with prismatic glow.  Maybe I AM made of joy after all.  Haha.

But move over, Spiritual Polly-Anna!  Life sure ain’t all lovenlight.  `How many moments have I been cruising along in my sporty little joy bubble and an unwieldy wave of fear rushes in and knocks me on my bony ass.  Waaaaait, I asserted in my last blog that I was RIDING the waves.  Doh… well… I don’t know exactly how to metaphor-ize my experience… all I know is that I am going along fine and then in a lightning flash, I am on my knees, grappling for the highest course of navigation.  It’s usually body sensations that set off the alarm bells. (or Serena not listening and asking why twelve thousand times) Actually it’s more like the bell that sounds at the start of a boxing match.  And then I step in the ring, my bare chest glistening, a trail of blue gatorade still lingering on my chin.  Bobbing.  Weaving.  Jabbing.

Ok I went too far.  But it’s a wild experience to move so swiftly between joy and fear or anger.  Maybe it will make me so dizzy that I will lose my grip on duality once and for all.  I will only feign faith in the transient world of form.  THIS will be my emergence as “Our Lady of God-Drunk Grace”.  The woman I was born to be.

Or maybe I am just hopped up on some questionable sauce… But this is my prayer.  If I don’t make it that far in this life, guess I’ll just keep chipping away on my next galactic adventure(s).

Fuck that I didn’t come straight home from dance and WRITE IT ALL DOWN.  (In fact, while we’re on the subject, FUCK that I didn’t come straight home from EVERYWHERE and WRITE IT ALL DOWN.  My stories… they are a hopelessly swift waterfall spilling into an abyss.  On sunday, the dance was still throbbing in my veins, my cells, my nutrinos!  And now it’s… toilet water in the bay (time for a refreshed metaphor.)  

But here is THE climax moment of my whole dance:  It was toward the end.  As I was moving, I flashed on what my spirit guides told me- to call this cancer journey my “Dance with Death”.  I let the idea filter down through layers of my consciousness as I spun and shimmied and slithered serpentine.  The light was ON.  And I got that “dancing with death” is actually the equivalent to dancing with LIFE.  The yin-yang is not just a cool symbol.  It is a universal truth.  I realized that I am one of the privileged few… (maybe) who was graced with direct experience.  I am no longer regurgitating cheap universal wisdom.  I am paying my own way to WISDOM and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

When I was a child and a young adult, I suffered for not having the EXPERIENCE to match the wisdom of my soul.  And when I reached inside to find the book that I am meant to write… all I got was a blasted DIAL TONE.  Deep down I knew this was because I had essential experiences yet ahead of me, which would ripen my wisdom such that it would just fall on your head with a splat.  Fuck the strained, fabricated shit.  

Life wants FULL SURRENDER from me.  Full fucking surrender.  She told me this directly.  When I asked Giordano months ago to take Forest overnight, he refused.  Then, when I had (actually) let go, BAM!  He whisked Forest out of my bereft arms.  I feel a similar process happening with my writing.  I was desperate to “succeed” at my Art.  A desperation born of feeling “not enough”.  Like if I don’t realize my Gift in this life, I FAIL.  But the sheer beauty of having my life threatened is the realization that just BEING here is enough.  “Let the soft animal of my body love what it loves”.

Ah but the secret paradox is that from my current perch at the edge of the abyss, I am rediscovering my worth.  My edges have become softer (not to mention my gooey tootsie roll Center.)  I am genuinely content to flow through my days on winds of ineffable grace.

AND.

That said, I keep writing, because I MUST.  Because it feels so damn GOOD that it MUST be what I am here for.  And now for the moment that Athena Grace toots her own horn!  I have been getting some BITCHIN feedback lately.  I am some peoples’ Favorite Writer.  I move people.  And my writing has its own Life and Plan.  I just need to keep showing up and being receptive.

Can I approach Life and Death with the same depth of faith and surrender?

This is my aim.  By now it is no secret that I WANT TO HEAL and LIVE… but… do I have the ovaries to genuinely and wholeheartedly put mySELF and my LIFE in God’s hands?  I know that’s a dumb question on some level, because there is no other place that my SELF and LIFE could ever be.  It’s a matter of internal orientation.   Like that I can just go on tending my garden of joy, beauty, peace, sensuality, creativity, friendship, etc…. While doing all that is shown me to do to restore my body’s health… and let whatever comes come.  God I want to feel that free.  Not to suffer about what will happen to my kids if I die, or why didn’t I become a hella famous writer.  (Not just famous among my facebook friends and token random strangers.)  

No matter when it’s my time to leave this wacky spaceship, I want to go out blazing with PASSION.  I will be writing and dancing and making love and peeling back the endless folds of my enchanting (and deranged) emptiness.  Self, I promise NEVER to abandon you again.  If you say “GET THE FUCK OUT”, I will listen.  

God help me.

Dancing with Death (part I)

Well I survived my first night without Forest (since the hospital six months ago).  I had this raw dough gnawing feeling the whole time, but I made it!  Amidst my silent suffering, Shanti-ma reminded me to feel into FOREST and what HE wants.  He was very happy to be with his Nonnie and Papa.  I can see that it’s my own trip… I notice that I’ve come to rely on my sun’s solid, grounding presence.

Serena was elated to have me all to herself.  She practically became another person.  Cooperative.  Kind.  Sweet.  I mean those qualities are authentic to her nature, but lately amidst all the thrills and spills, the less savory aspects of her personality have been louder than I would prefer.  `I can feel her begging for my unwavering, unconditional acceptance, presence and holding… I try to give it to her… but I’ve been too starved for too long and I often feel desperate to… what is it?… To feel FREE.  Free to be me on my terms.  Haha.  Not really the “life context” of a (single) mother of a two and five year old.  When shit gets bad, I feel this wave of violence overtake me and I literally have to raise my hands to the heavens, as if begging for the Gods to intervene.  It works.  Mostly.  

Anyway, even though I wanted to finish my writing in the morning, Serena was content to be near me, watching cartoons.  Her satisfaction and delight were palpable.  Then as soon as Forest returned home, she flew south for the winter.  Meaning she lost her shit at every turn.  Well that’s clear communication.  Having a little brother has been a wound for her to contend with.  And a gift.  Their love spans the chasm where light and shadow merge.

Later in the morning we went to ecstatic dance.  Rachel, my neighbor, friend and life-line to California, organized it (at my urging).  ‘Member when I told you that I was exploring possibilities of who Serena could live with if I died?  Well Mirabai has first (and only) place at the moment.  But honestly, I am so focused on healing, I have not been paying much attention to that.  I just brought it up because Mirabai is a professional tango dancer.  And as soon as she entered my field, I realized DANCING will save my life.  I’m not kidding. TANGO, people!  The most passionate dance there is.  The message sunk straight into my soul:  Dance or Die, Bitch.

But what I didn’t know is how light and freeee I would feel on the dance floor!  Fuck those words “light” and “freeee” because you have heard them so many times that your mind slid right over them without barely registering the MIRACULOUS nature of lightness and freeness.  It was the REAL easter.  Resurrection at it’s finest.  

Ok, this is where I break a sweat.  Coaxing the english language to do justice to a physical, emotional and spiritual experience….

It was a small group of women (maybe seven?), which made it an entirely safe container for full expression.  There was plenty of space and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Every song on Rachel’s playlist rubbed me the right way (not such a common experience at ecstatic dance).  `I am noticing and affirming ease these days, and there was a delicious feeling of ease about being on the dance floor.  hOMe.  

I was WITH myself.  At a level I have never experienced in this body, in this life.  An unprecedented fullness, peace, kindness.  Eyes closed, a voice inside me whispered “I feel like a STAR”.  I told that voice, “YOU ARE A STAR”.  And in the lucid floodlight of my own self-granted permission, I came alive at a whole nother level.  I resurrected the young one who received the message that it’s not ok to shine.  (Little Dawniecakes spent her “childhood career” being invisible because she didn’t feel safe)  My desire is that my full self expression will liberate others ready to emerge from their self-imposed cage and FLY. 

I haven’t seriously danced since before Serena was born… I’m pretty sure… although committing that to “paper”, it looks absurd.  Pure sin.  “Looks to be”… but in actuality, it was a potent barometer of my growth.  The version of me who existed six years ago, though she gave as much of herself to her dance as she was able, there were many “inner rooms” which were still locked.  This translated as a lot of my energy “going out”- like long, curious fingers groping about the “otherness” in the room.  All this externalized awareness was exhausting.  Don’t get me wrong… I still LOVED dancing… but I could only access a limited amount of my SELF.

A Night Without Forest

This one goes out to alla y’all who are experiencing intense waves of fear recently.  I’m with you.  Riding some hella gnarly waves.  But riding them is certainly preferable to being knocked down, sucked under, washing machined, obliterated….

This morning I woke up and was feeling strange sensations in my liver and WOOOOSH!  In no time, my heart was pounding.  Just like that.  Standing before the gas range in my kitchen at five am, illuminated by the stove light, I pressed my hands against my heart with gentle yet firm pressure.  It felt like I was free falling through emptiness and all there was to hold onto was this vulnerable vehicle of flesh.  

I know my work is to STAND STILL.

Stand still and let the fear speak it’s piece while I listen with presence and compassion.

I got this inner nudge to call on Saint Germain and his all consuming violet flame, so I found an exquisite photo of him on the internet and saved it on the lock screen of my phone.  As soon as I flashed to the lock screen to view the fruits of my creativity, the time flashed 5:55 in a blaze of white light from his forehead.  I felt like he rushed through the phone, into the heart of my consciousness.  I knew that 555 was an explicit message from him, so I googled it.  555 is the number of change. Transformation.  Shedding of the old.  Emerging as the Woman of my Dreams.  As I read the extensive message, my pulse slowed again and the fear dispersed like fog in sunlight. 

Gaia took the kids up to the mountain so I could have some space.  I want to tell you about Gaia because she is a divine messenger sent from heaven to shepherd our family through this stormy summit.  Yeah, I really could write a whole blog about Gaia in our life.  How present, attentive and loving she is with Serena (and Forest, although he is not in need as Serena is…  He is like a peacock.  He can swallow poison and transmute it in his blue shiva throat.  I am in awe of that tiny boy.), how she triggers me, her profound devotion to God, the spiritual synergy between us…  

Plus we still have beloved Rosa.   THANK YOU LIFE, FOR SENDING THE “BIG GUNS” to our family at this sensitive time.  Your grace has not slid under the radar.  When I reflect on all of the bitchin souls around me, I nearly fall to my knees in reverence for the magnitude of goodness in our lives.  But then what about the grace of the less savory characters in my story?  (Not mentioning any names 😉  Byron Katie says that our ENEMIES are our REAL friends because they help us grow and evolve, whereas a lot of times, our “friends” just blow smoke up our asses and make us feel good about ourselves.  Listen we are free to

Ha!  I just ended a paragraph in mid sentence.  Soooo wrong!  But I HAD to break the rules just for the sheer BANG of it.  I know that’s immature.  But oh well.  I got off. 😉

I stopped in mid sentence because I only have a smattering of minutes to write and I confess that I was guilty of Beating Around The Bush.  I always have a ton to say… but… in this moment there is really only ONE thing to say:

I just received an audio from Giordano saying that his mom wants Forest to spend the night at their house tonight.  A few months ago, I was pushing for this.  Hard.  Giordano dug his heels into the ground and refused on the grounds that he and Forest were still traumatized from when I was in the hospital in October.  I retorted with “but if I go back to the hospital or die, he will need to have a place where he feels totally safe and comfortable.”  Even though that makes total sense intellectually, G was not ready emotionally and he held his ground.  I was pissed for a while, but honestly I do not enjoy feeling pissed, so daily, I tried my hand at surrender.  Little by little I got to a place where I felt more peaceful than not in regards to our circumstances.  

And then, of course, they shifted.

I have become deeply attached to Forest.  His soul has a solidity about it that is breath-giving… for a 20 month old.  I get a sense that all of the relational drama and ego bullshit around him just rolls like water off a duck’s back.  I love watching sleep claim him each night… his eyelids becoming increasingly heavy until he can no longer keep them open…. His hands touching my face, a contented smile spread across his cherubic face.  The way he plays with his belly button for comfort.  On tuesday morning, he fell and hit his head on a cement corner.  He cried for all of one minute.  There was a lot of blood.  We cleaned the wound and applied a bandaid… but when I checked it later in the afternoon, it was too open, so we went to the hospital and he got two “punti” (stitches in Italian).  I know I’m veering off the road again, but I had to tell you about that moment, restraining him on the padded table in the emergency room….

God it hurts my heart to remember.  The crescent shaped needle penetrating the flesh above his right eyebrow.  His red, tear streaked face.  All I could do is repeat “I love you” like a mantra.  When he repeated through his heart-wrenching cries, “I love you”, I shattered in a thousand pieces.

Oh god, now I’m crying.  But I’ll keep writing through my tears.  Words can’t describe how I love him.  And now, tonight, he is sleeping with his “Nonnie” (he made that word up himself, instead of calling her “Nonna”) and my heart is broken.  I don’t feel ready to hand him over to The World.  

Now it’s 8:13am and I am back to complete this installment of the ecstatic trials of Our Lady of God-Drunk Grace.  I did not imagine it would feel like this to release Forest to the other half of his family.  It’s been this incessant tugging ache in my chest the whole time.  An uneasy feeling that something essential is missing.  

But then Serena is ELATED.  She is basking in the exclusivity of my attention.  A little piece of me is resisting surrender to this, because I had a fantasy that I might actually get an extended and exclusive spree with my own beloved Self.  But pouring my attention on Serena is like watering a thirst-stricken plant.  She becomes plump and bright and precious.  And this is a priority.  I hear the crisp crush of juicy apple against her little baby teeth as she perches on the couch behind me and watches Peppa Pig.  Even though we are not “doing something” together, there is a palpable intimacy in our nearness.

Loving Serena is an exotic yet efficient scenic route to loving myself.  But one of the more difficult of endeavors.  I’m not quite sure why… maybe because I still believe that there are more important things in Life than healing.  (Healing= restoring connection to Source/Love within)  At 10:30am we will DANCE!  A little “ecstatic dance” for the wilder strains of humans laced in the surrounding agriculturally persuaded, forest-dappled, sprawling hills.  I’m looking forward to a literal “dance with death”.  Meaning a space where I can EMBODY all of the kaleidoscopic feelings that rise and fall within me as I partake in this courageous dance with death.  Where they can move and breathe and exist in the hallowed Light of Perfection.

I have been hesitant to write much about Giordano, because it is such a sensitive subject.  But I need to.  For my healing.  Stay tuned… but for now, I will say that our ships are drifting to opposite horizons of their own accord… and this makes sharing Forest all the harder.  Because there is no safe-porting or generosity or togetherness throughout the process.  Which makes it grate on my insides like metal on metal.  For example I texted him to check in last night and I didn’t get a reply for hours and then this is what it said, “Everything ok”.  Wow Giordano, che profundo.

But Saint Germain told me, “No matter what challenges you are facing, you are sure to be on the verge of health, abundance and love on a level you’ve never experienced before. You shouldn’t let yourself be held back by some skittish emotions. Embrace the new and cast away the old. Affirmations are a great way to do this.”

“Skittish emotions”… is THAT all St. G?  Ok, then I will loosen my grip and let them slide through my soul’s fingers like cool spring water, as I embrace the rapid fire changes streaming through my life right now.  I will stretch the skin of my awareness and let it span the cosmos.  So my heart aches….? Perhaps heart ache is but another flavor of ecstatic Existence.  Perhaps it has its own intelligence and purpose.  Perhaps when I hold it up to The Light, it will cast rainbows about the walls of Infinity Within.

How Thick Can One Plot Get???

Sometimes Life gives you a whopper of a story- special sauce squirting all over you, wilted pickles pleasantly sour, mystery meat grease lingering on your tongue for weeks.  

Eleven days ago, I took a risk and chose to spend sunday with “The Family”, rather than indulging in the rare and exquisite delicacy of Aloneness.  If you have been following me for a while, maybe you cringed at the uncouth, kaleidoscopic possibilities that such an activity unearths.  I didn’t.  I was brave.  But still it hurt.  Many times over.  Early on, G and I got into a potentially benign tiff, which of course escalated, and then he threatened to leave with Forest and never come back and even though I know that’s a crock of colossal bullshit because he won’t even take our Sun for a damn overnight, it still affected my nervous system in a caustic way.  These little moments where the sky crashes down on me like corroded metal.  And I am declaring it Officially Unacceptable.  

Gently unacceptable.  You know, Gandhi style- stone cold chillin’ on the capitol steps, beaming starlight and broadcasting wellbeing for forty days and forty nights with no food and no water.  Only smiles, sincerely kind words and blessings or sacred-stained silence.

By the end of the day, my heart was RAW.  Do you know how to say “raw” in Italian?  Crudo!  Yeah, my heart was hella crudo.  And then my phone rings and it’s Dhuti, who’s house I am subletting.  (Love you Dhuti!) My nervous system has like one thread of synaptic sanity left… so I decline the call.  But the ringing flairs up again.  She is fierce to get me.  “Hi,” I say with flat, slightly agitated voice.

Long preamble…

But I know where it’s going.  The landlords asked me to leave.  

Yep, a single mama with two kids, healing cancer, left her husband after he was physically violent (let it be known that I kicked him under the covers in bed once!!!  Many times.  Until he wouldn’t talk to me anymore.  I was mad because he interruped me and showed zero interest in what I was sharing, which happened to matter deeply to me.), in a fucking foreign country.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not making myself a Victim Sundae with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry.  I’m just marveling at the plummeting drops and sprawling, panoramic expanses of this story as I ride it like an epic, gnarly wave to the shore on the other side of Life.

I am currently undergoing a process of undoing my default habits of mind and emotion.  So while I was tempted to crumble under the destabilized weight of the circumstances, instead I said to God, “Ok Lord, your hand is mighty obvious in this… so what would you have me do NOW?” 

–Let me just give you the abridged version of the “back story”, which is that a couple days before, the landlords (an old couple whose ancestors have probably tread this medieval  wonderland since Jesus and the dinosaurs roamed the earth) where here trimming trees in my yard and I asked them (in broken italian) if I could grow a garden here (there is a wonderful open space, begging to become a garden…).  The darling oldish lady told me that the house belonged to her, and back in “The Day”, her Zia (Auntie) used to have a garden there.  Hearing this warmed my heart, as I felt that I would be carrying on a legacy, an alliance between Earth and Woman.  

Fast forward ONE DAY… and… I am asked to leave.  ASAP.  

People, I’m forty one by now.  (and yes, the Yoniverse did NOT pass over my golden chance at a midlife crisis, as I imagined it would) (I thought this because my whole life has been sorta crisis-y… so I thought it would be like black on black.  But nope.  I have plenty to unravel!)  Having whipped around the sun a few times, I have had many-a-door fling open or slam in my face and I know this is by Intelligent Design.  I have felt Heaven dripping sweat upon my haloed crown as She works tripple time to direct The Flow from Above.  So instead of panicking, I calmly said to God, “Ok Dude, so what’ve you got in mind?”

And I was sure He said, “Thou shalt go back to Giordano’s house”, and so I did.  Well… I brought a huge duffle of clothes and some plants and vitamins and stuff….

But no sooner had I set foot on our familial soil… than my wise and benevolent gut said “Girlfriend, get the fuck out of here, ASAP.”  And I did.  And I did not look back.  But I laughed nervously with Rosa as I realized that if I had a thousand dollars for every time I had packed my massive, black duffle bag with a pounding heart, I would…. Have enough to put down on a ramshackle little house in the Italian Countryside to call my own.  (Which is something I am exploring….)

FEAR.  It was as if I was waking up from a thick sleep.  I know that you’ve heard that one a bazillion times…. But… that’s because it cuts to the heart of a very common human experience, which is along the lines of wash, rinse, repeat.  That of sleepwalking through Life, buried beneath a heavy pile of programs, which most of us are doing… and then suddenly being aware that we have not been aware.  In that moment, it simply was not ok to be spoken to with such cruelty.  Period.

So with as much certainty and quintessential rightness as I could  scoop up in my prayer-stained palms, as if riding a revolving door, I stuffed said bag full of my modest existence and drove back to my american refugee camp in the beautiful and “intimate” (a friendly mode of expressing the way everyone is up in each other’s business…) Morano Madonnuccia (the perfect name for the village called home by a woman who was once a girl who blushed and swooned and daydreamed of Madonna.)  Turns out it’s not legal to kick people out of their homes during covid.  Even if they are not on the lease.  

I will find another place as soon as I can… but in the meantime, I feel very blessed to call this hOMe.  And I completely trust.  Life has never dropped me.  (maybe I’m not hot enough???)  Especially not when I am living in fearless alignment with my values.  This act never goes unacknowledged by Life.  She eats that shit UP.  

Isn’t that a juicy plot twist?!?! At first I imagined that the “lesson” was to humble myself and choose family.  But I quickly realized that the lesson was to TRUST MYSELF and have no qualms about getting the fuck out of a toxic environment.  Choosing myself, choosing Life, choosing health and peace and wellbeing.

I’m still not perfect, because I can’t always remain cucumber cool and unresponsive when he says antagonizing shit… but I’m getting better.  Also getting better at not yelling at my kids.  Thanks Mama Cannabis.  (I will anchor this new habit into my system, so that I am not dependent on “help” to achieve a sprawling state of radical kindness.) 

I feel scared to admit that I’m done trying with G.  Truthfully, I have been feeling this for a while.  But I felt way too vulnerable to say it out loud.  In fact I still haven’t said it to G.  Does that  make me a shmuck to say it here first?  Yes.  Or maybe not.  But.  G has shown me that he’s not always capable of being “decent”, even when I am soft and unguarded.  No mi piace.  Right now I need decency.  I’m not enlightened to the point of being untouchable yet.  (I have a feeling that’s not tooooo far down the road at the rate I am traveling…)  I feel vulnerable. Being in a country that is not my own.   Caring for two kids.  I guess the good thing is that since I am not dependent on G for much at this point (except the car), I don’t have much to lose.  Actually that’s not true.  I have a child that I have become soooo attatched to… and some semblance of peace to maintain in my heart and home.  

Postcard from the way Up.

Eight thirty am.  Bird voices fall in scattered drips about the sunny morning ambiance.  Sunlight purrs in shocks of light about lone strands of spider silk.  I hope all this magic can suckle the profundity out of me… because it is becoming too heavy.  My heart is beaming because I spoke with my soul sister Sushanti this morning, for the first time in three years.  I was telling her stuff and she said, “are you writing this down??”  And I lamented that I have not been able to keep up.  In that moment, I knew that I was committing cardinal sin.

I love the power of paragraphs and punctuation.  Writing really is the same as music.  At least for me.  Finding that stream of inner feeling, a deep surrender to the wild intelligence of the mind.  And then the waves of vibration just ripple through and as you read it, you are moved as if by music.  Touched in places you forgot existed.  

My mom’s mom, Claramae, was a musical genius.  She played the oboe, at symphony level.  But because it was the nineteen forties, she either went semi-willingly, or by force… but there she was with a well-meaning, hard-working man who had recently been released from ten years of prison for robbing a train station during hard times.   You see, he had another family before prison… but for some reason, he did not go back to them… 

Claramae was diagnosed with schizophrenia later in life, when her three girls were in their teens.  (Auntie Linda, feel free to add your voice and expertise here…. Since you are closer to the heart of the action….)  There are plenty of theories around mental illness… but I will testify that since I came to Italy, married Giordano and had Forest… I have felt her pain.  And from inside that pain, I can imagine that mental illness is not just hereditary or chemical.  I would hypothesize that a significant facet of it is circumstantial.  Saying NO to your soul’s longings, appetites and dreams causes illness.  And even death.

I sense that my soul wanted to experience a heavy-handed homeopathic dose of Claramae’s struggle, so that I could feel it and heal it.  God it was miserable.  To be an artist trapped in a domestic prison with a mismatched husband and not enough friendship, support or sweetness.  And by the Power vested in me, I declare this cycle eternally dissolved.  

My spirit guides told me that I will not die.  My soul merely wants to partake in an intimate exploration of death.  (this information, via Carolyn, the energy healer.)  It resonates.  Deeply.  In fact, when she told me, I had a vivid memory of being about three and BEGGING my Ma to take me to the mortuary to see a dead body… My guides said that I will befriend and penetrate the fear of death and find peace in my eternal nature.  They said in a few years, a couple of my family members will be leaving and I will be prepared to assist the process. 

Sounds wonderful.

But.

How do I walk through the fears?

It’s those seemingly insignificant moments… when the fear rushes in.  (It does NOT creep in this neck of the woods… it RUSHES.)  To call upon Stillness in those tremulous moments.  To call upon breath.  R E L A X .  Relax into the experience of fear as into a hot bath.  

I’m starving for sexual love.

(I’m not going to expound upon that now… but it plunged to the surface of my awareness, gasping for light and breath and I felt to give it a flash dance in the spotlight.  And while I’m on the subject, I’ll say that there is a part of me who is enjoying the burn of want.  The void.  The electric Possibility of finding Him.  The him who is plugged into the Him and has put in time and effort in the art of giving and receiving love.  But I will not ask him to pay my bills.  I will not be his mommy.  I won’t wash his dishes, cook for him or do his laundry.  If he doesn’t want to do it himself, he can hire a maid.  I will be busy writing books and sharing quality presence with my delicious kids and friends and saying YES to Life as a whole and sovereign being who is unabashedly joy-full as she cruises up the ascension elevator with Humanity.  (And speaking of “mommy”, I love being a mom now that I have support.  It’s a completely different game.  Thanks cancer!  

Even though I navigate waves of fear, the joy in my heart is profoundly palpable.  I wish I could give some to you right now… What’s it like?…. Almost a tingle… but more subtle and continuous…. Right in my heart.  My heart is healing.  And this is the underlying cause of my physical healing.  I am a disciple to my own wellbeing now, and for this, I will live.

But I must be willing to die. 

A BEE!!!

God is sending so many bee messengers these days.  I just googled it, and besides work ethic and productivity, they are also bearers of the remembrance of miracles.  Perfect.

But enough about miracles, back to the pressing matter at hand.  How to TRULY metabolize this primal fear.  BTW, the spider web threads are still shimmering, (speaking of miracles).  I want to get THE MOST out of this exploration of death.  My guides told me to VISUALIZE a friend or loved one dying… imagine getting in the coffin next to them.  Creepy shit, right?  But… only because of our conditioning.  The truth of the moment of a soul’s passing is a profound pause between inhale and exhale, in which all of Creation rests in ecstatic perfection.  I will be one of the few on this planet who has successfully sailed to the tootsie roll Center of It All and returned with souvenirs for all who care to be free from Fear forever.

Cancer is my soul’s own flavor of bungee jumping, or parachuting.  I leap into the abyss… with the thrill of knowing that I could lose my life… and yet my navigation is set for the lush land mass beyond the dark, churning waters.  It’s a bracing scenario!!!  Haha, am I being too light?  Too irreverent?  Noooo, come ON people, I’ve gotta make light of It All.  Otherwise it would take me down!  

`But that’s the tricky thing about the alchemy of fear… you can’t just shove it to the side of your plate and then hope to toss it down the sinkerator.  Well… I don’t know if YOU can or can’t… but I DO know that this initiation of mine is firmly asking me to release myself into the epicenter of the fear.  In my body.  And GO THROUGH it.  Dissolve it with the Light I AM.  

Not easy.  But totally doable.

At least it helps to know what game you are playing. 

Oh and just for the record, I don’t know if “sinkerator” is a word… but I DO know that you know what `I meant.  And is that not the fundamental purpose of language??? To transmit some loose semblance of meaning?  Oh I’m so deep I could CRY.  

It’s so wonderful to be alive.  

Keep the faith, People.  

The elevator is on it’s way Up.

Spelunking the Uncanny Quiet

I don’t have anything burning to say… that I’m aware of.  But I am showing up, holding space for my Self.  The truth is that since my cancer diagnosis, I have become more internal than ever before.  I guess because it’s such a strong subject and people have so many opinions and so much fear.  And I want neither.  I am moving along my Path, illuminated from within.  Everything I need is coming to me with ease and grace.  

For example, a couple of weeks ago, Rosa brought me an article that she found wedged in a stack of books that someone recently gave her.  The article was in english, and it was about a man who had colon cancer that metastasized to his liver.  He tried all this natural stuff that didn’t work.  Finally he let the doctors chop out a big chunk of his liver and his body was rocked.  Without missing a beat, the oncologist was pressing him to undergo chemotherapy… but he somehow caught wind of the notion that ayahausca (a strong plant medicine) could heal him.  So he did four ceremonies and at the end, the spirit of the plant told him he was healed.  He went in for a CT scan and it was confirmed- he was cancer free.  The oncologist was so shocked, he requested another scan.  Yup.  All gone.  

Was it any coincidence that this article found its way to me against all odds?  No frickin way.  So I contacted the warm and wild hearted wise woman who facilitates Santo Diame ceremonies in Assisi, to see if she could help me.  To my surprise and delight, she offered to come to my house for a private prayer and medicine ceremony.  People keep telling me  that treatments work if you BELIEVE they will.  That the MIND plays a massive role in healing.   I believe in the power of plants.  And my own body.  And God’s grace.  (and NO, I am not relying SOLELY on this medicine.  It is merely an element of my healing journey.)

On the other side of the coin, the mind also plays a massive role in sickness.  And the universe is giving me a big, juicy opportunity to dig into this demension.  Manuela Forte has been appointed by the Divine Mother to support my journey since I was sent to Italy.  She is an Italian spiritual counselor/meditation teacher/ambassador of Consciousness.  Her heart is pure and kind and she has an impressive following.  She shared my story with her community, and invited people to support me if they felt moved from their heart.  The response was stunning.  So many women of the light stepped forward and shared money, prayers, words of love, art, song and healing resources.  An older woman named Annalisa offered to serve as a guide for me to heal the thoughts, beliefs and emotions that created my illness.  Her modality was developed by Essene doctors in Jesus’s time.  The system is designed to determine and dissolve any illness at the ROOT.  Annalisa said she will walk with me as long as I need her.  We have already begun.  

Witnessing all that is flowing to me in benevolence and grace, I feel quite stunned.  I realize that at a soul level, I have created this as a shocking, undeniable call to DIVE THE FUCK IN and DO THE DEEP WORK.  If the Call was a whisper before, now it is siren screaming down a swanky sunset boulevard, alarming the greasy crackheads and slick billionaires alike.  

God I am willing.  At least willing enough.  Navigating a human ego is certainly like herding a flock of arrogant cats.  I assert this as an acknowledgment of the parts of me that want to hide out and hope Life will safeport me to the other side of this treacherous river.  But there is ENOUGH of me that is not only willing, but also EXCITED to unravel old trauma and pain and beliefs in sickness…. May God’s Grace fuel this part of me, that it may move with strength, swiftness and precision.  

And what of my marriage, you ask?  Gosh… this topic might be officially nominated the Ultimate Buzz Kill of 2021.  Giordano is terrified.  And enraged.  Thankfully, he is doing his best to keep his overwhelming feelings to himself.  But this causes him to pop into our reality in brief sparks, fleeting moments of buttery sunlight amidst a purple black storm. (Wait, that was super poetic… but being with him is actually not buttery sunlight.  It’s black and purple like storms and bruises and uncharted neighborhoods of the Underworld.) At first, I felt very upset about this erratic behavior.  But I noticed that feeling upset was antithetical to healing.  So I’ve been working to get right with how it IS.  Byron Katie says that “Reality is God”.  If you want to love God, you gotta love what IS.  So I’m in the active practice of letting it be.  I was hoping for a lot more support and connection from him.  But if it’s support and connection I crave… I can find it elsewhere.  And hence be a helluva lot happier.  Sounds tempting, eh?  

The weird part is that he alternates between begging me to come home, and then dousing me in fires of rage and attack for having left.  He doesn’t seem to understand that the only thing that will entice me “home” is kindness, joy and love.  But when we are together, he is mostly distracted and miserable, and I feel so thankful to have a peaceful, energetically light space to come home to after our heavy interactions.  We tried therapy for a minute. The first session sucked ass, because it came on the heals of a string of cruel, emotionally violent audio texts from him and I felt scared, hurt, angry and unsafe as fuck.  That session ended with me exclaiming “FUCK YOU” and then storming out.  (But the beautiful thing is that G spoke with the counselor for another two hours!)

Then Giordano stepped through a pane of glass and spent the night in the emergency room and somehow this softened him.  Soon following, we went to speak with a different counselor, and it went markedly better.  But this had nothing to do with the counselor… only the erratic emotional climate dictated by the quicksilver gales of my wounded husband.  I am aware as I write this, that I am putting it all on him.  I’m asking myself if this is a) accurate and b) useful.  It truly seems like he is the one who is flailing and floundering.  And I don’t feel safe.  I’m willing to dig in and search for that which has been hidden from my view….  And these words represent my view at present time.  

Yesterday Giordano took Forest for the afternoon.  When he brought our beloved child home, he loitered in the entry for some time, neither wanting to stay or go.  It felt sweet and welcome… to have him lingering at my threshold.  Forest showed off his recent bubble blowing skills to his impressed Papa.  Forest has been in a self-appointed full bubble blowing immersion.  He can be fully absorbed in the act of blowing bubbles and then catching them on the wand for a half an hour or more, punctuating our streaming Now Moment with eratic strands of short, tight-lipped exhales.  

Speaking of lips, Giordano kissed me before he left.  It was an urgent, rushed tongue kiss. Neither of our mouths were particularly wet… It felt as if his mind had already made it to the truck and sped away, while his body was simultaneously eager to express its desire and love, and also to catch up with aforementioned mind.  Part of me enjoyed it.  Part of me was bewildered.  And then he was gone and I was blinking in the sputtering exhaust of his figurative roaring tailpipe.  

I feel grief for the sexual self in me who is currently in forced exile.  My erotic energy flows in quiet swells within me… denied a source in which to pour forth.  She carves tick marks into her corroded cell wall, dreaming of a day when She will melt and bleed as sunlight unbounded.  But for today, she’s all unrequited love songs and half hearted suicide notes.  And to Her, I cry out, “Hang in there Lover… I will come back for you.  I will pull you out of the rubble and nurse you with sweet flower nectar from my very own lips.”

Destiny’s Harsh Hand…

It’s been a month since I’ve decanted myself here in Athena Graceland.  It’s five fourteen am. I feel afraid to write because an impressive posse of shadows are running amuck inside me, and I feel like barfing all over this pristine white space.  I feel extra vulnerable lately, like I’ve lost my skin. I’m not in the mood to be judged, or offered your shiny three cents… I almost hid out in my journal instead…

 

But then I realized that this chapter in my unfolding consciousness is essential, and if I don’t publish it here, the story of my Life will contain an insurmountable, irreconcilable gap.  I can’t live with that.

 

Writing and Orgasm.  I can see how they are two faces of the same wild goddess.  Both are eating away at my insides these days as I wander the dark labyrinth of early motherhood in a foreign country with a husband who I only see in the thick witching hours.  With both of these essential expressions of my innermost self imprisoned within me, I am jagged and dangerous. Tiny, winged demons proliferate within the folds of my calloused heart and tense body.  They wait on my tongue to leap out and attack when I speak.  

 

I shouldn’t write that!  So BAD to use my sacred gift of language to declare such warped nonsense.  Sigh. Maybe I should allow my crackling fingers to invoke purity and elevated consciousness.  But then my honesty will be suffocated by the blanket of contrived positivity… and for what? I trust myself to find my way out of this dark maze, through the power of literary alchemy.  One honest though artistically persuaded word at a time. Follow the electric rainbow brick road…

 

Actually, allow me to take a moment and announce a fantastic and certain revelation:

 

It WILL still be there when I get back!!!  Ohhhhh yesss….. 

 

Upon deeper contemplation, I have mined the inevitablity of this.  I AM that I AM. I might be walking a strange and haunted road… a road that I do not understand, and am having difficulty metabolizing… A road that requires layer upon layer of compassion and forgiveness and surrender.  But the psychedelic flame in me will never extinguish. This flame… is the “IT” that I cherish.  

 

Whoa, I just had a flash of a dream from before I awoke.  My home was not really mine… somebody moved in, and brought all their stuff, including a little dog.  I felt angry and resentful. I went into my living room and it was FULL of christmas trees and other holy-day decor.  Someone had slipped in when I was not home, and adorned it. It was lovely… and yet I felt violated. Somehow all this makes complete sense inside me…

 

Yesterday was the first sunny day in… some semblance of forever.  The greyness has been stroking my soul in washes of dull hopelessness.  Serena awoke with fever. But there was no way I could stay inside with this seductive lucidity beaming just beyond my dirty, aged windows… 

 

So I resurrected the stroller that has been folded up and aslumber in front of our house since late spring, when my belly was big and it became too difficult to breathe as I climbed the sort of busy country road beyond my driveway.  When I opened the stroller, it was a teeming jungle of bugs, spiders and even a colony of maggoty looking creatures. But I was unstoppable. I shooed them all away, fastened Serena in, Forest in the ergo, and pushed my impressive load up the broken, mildly trafficy road.  

 

I said “buon giorno” to all the yappy dogs on the route with a high-pitched, chipper, sweet voice.  This quieted them quickly. I realized that dogs, like people, have strange ways of asking for love sometimes.

 

Serena was unusually quiet, which was nice, because mostly when we take walks, she demands that I tell her the same stories over and over again… For the longest time it was the Three Little Pigs.  But these days it is a melange of Finding Nemo, Annie and most recently Moana. (I just bought her the dvd of Moana, because as far as Disney movies go, it is the only one I can tolerate watching too many times to count.)

 

Once I got off the main road, my thoughts softened and ran lightly about the distant, colour-stained rolling hills, leapt about in crisp piles of earthed autumn leaves.  I drank the cool, clean air, became impregnated with bright empty space.

 

It’s always a challenge for me to make friends with Autumn… even though she is a knock-out.  She rouses my unconscious fear of death… Yet her evocative, poetic majesty is undeniable. Breath-giving.  Massive oak trees brushing their brown and yellow leafy crowns against a pristine wash of blue infinity. The Voice Inside whispered to attune to the formless space between…  I breathed it deep, asking for guidance.

 

Why does it mostly seem so difficult to see… this Path that is never not right before my eyes and in my very bones…?  Doors that won’t open, no matter how hard I hurl my desperate body against them… and meanwhile I’m slowish-quick slip-sliding up a twisty hill that could be construed as a goddamn mountain.

 

But I want different.  I am aching for a break from this Italy life.  This married life. Married to a sincere, caring man, from whom I am unable to receive the sustaining nutrients of intimacy.  After sixteen months, the relational deficiencies are starting to weaken me. I need to tap out long enough to replenish. Wrap this tremulous, sweating body of chiseled spiritual muscles in sensuous silk and sip electric pink gatorade held to my lips by a proud, encouraging coach.  Let the heaving in my chest subside as electrolytes whizz and sing through my stillness.  


California…. Give me your elusive, mythic hand.  Pull me close to your ocean, desert, forested, urban, mountainous body.  Let me luxuriate in your free libraries, abounding with BOOKS IN ENGLISH, let me drink from your endless stream of effervescent kombucha, feed me sumptuous nibbles of your raw chocolate laced with maca and reishi mushrooms… Drench me in friendship, deep, soulful conversations, quality time and support.  

 

If me and Serena had visas, and Forest a passport, I would be on a plane yesterday.  But life has filled my pants with boulders and it is hard to move, which I know is part of the Divine Plan… but still I want to spit on it.  I am weary and worn.

 

Giordano is growing.  I don’t need to leave him.  And yet, I am starving. I need to feed myself.  Loving him is like living on spaghetti and pizza.  After a while, this body needs some damn vegetables.  

 

There is so much more to say… the dawning sky is grey… but the wild rainbow flame within blazes now that I have poured myself forth upon the page.  May it light my way through this dark, craggy wilderness which Destiny’s harsh hand is leading me.  

Will It Still Be There When I Get Back?

Back in my experimental drug days (which incidentally spanned across an entire decade), I took ecstasy alone once.  I was quasi living with a weird and sweet old hippy dude, in a room that used to be a “grow room”. The walls were covered with shiny, silver mylar sheets, upon which I was free to paint and write and express myself freely.  I remember a moment in the midst of my heavenly corporeal rushing, where the sky figuratively opened and luminous revelation rained upon me. I grabbed a black sharpie and furiously scrawled it into existence on the wall:

 

“Will it still be there when I get back?”

 

Post trip, I revisited the colorful lotus flowers and butterflies and strands of words that had flown through me… and for the life of me, I could not recall what the hell “it” was, or where I imagined I would be circling back to.

 

And yet… there was something about this relatively cheap and fleeting revelation that has caused it to stay with me for the nearly two decades since its dawning.

 

Now we ride the wild spiral of time to the mOMent fondly known as “today”.  Athena Grace, mostly alone in the foreign, wondrous land of Italy, with two small and miraculous Graces of her own.  Serena’s school recently closed in the mornings, because it was too “outside the box” for the conservative folks of Gualdo Tadino, who are apparently content inside their safe, comfy boxes of public education.  Hence the colorful and fiercely devoted sisters of “Wonderland” did not have enough children for it to be worth their while to say open in the mornings.

 

We asked Giordano’s mama to be with Serena two mornings a week (not much, but definitely better than nuttin), while we figured out another solution.  Raphaella is “a magician”, as Giordano once coined his mama’s Gift with children… They build magical 2D and 3D worlds out of paper and colored markers and leggos of various sizes, in which Serena’s dollies and plastic animals, dinosaurs and insects lavishly inhabit… three hours of pure absorbtion in lavish fantasy scapes.  (Plus 100% Italian immersion.) Serena is in heaven.

 

Just as we were settling into a nutritive rhythm, came the voracious, slobbering beast called “The Olive Harvest”, who has once again consumed every last drop of my already hella absent husband’s time and energy.  And his mama too.  

 

Yes, I know that I “should” loooove olive season, because she yields such unparalleled exquisitry.  Spicy, bright green liquid love to drizzle freely upon everything edible. But she chews my already consumed husband up and spits him out into my bed smelling of alcohol and weed in the wee hours of the night, and then beckons him again as the first light smears the sky.

 

And I…

 

Wake each day, replete with a jungle of wild emotions roaring and tearing at me from the inside.  Immense, unbearable longing. My wild, creative Self, desperate to live and express. My body, heart and mind, begging for stimulation, intimacy and holding.  And yet, my days are all weighted with the incessant necessity of domesticity and precious dependants.  

 

I live inside the question of “what if”… what if I just let go into this all-consuming river of rigor that is full-time mothering.  And housekeeping. (The grocery store is my second home) But I want to be so much MORE than just a mother. The wild woman, the (BEST SELLING) writer, the sex priestess, the yogi, the friend, the hermit, the unabashed trail-blazing leader, the ecstatic dancer…. OUR LADY OF GOD-DRUNK GRACE.

 

And so each day is a silent fight.  All those hidden “Me-s”, unwilling to to be steam-rolled by the daily G-R-I-N-D.  And God, is it a grind. I am turning to shimmering, galactic dust. But I won’t let go and be decimated in the jaws of this mundane machine of motherhood.  Because…. If I DO….

 

WILL IT STILL BE THERE WHEN I GET BACK?????????

 

Will I forget how to write and fuck and gallop and dream?  Writing it out, it seems impossible and even ridiculous… To take the Athena Grace out of Athena Grace…. 

 

Surrender.

 

I realize surrender has its own life, intelligence and will.  It’s not like I can just say, “And now for my next wondrous trick, I shall offer my entire self to the psychedelic, dancing flames of my all-consuming Now Moment.  Ladies and Gentlemen, watch in wonder as I dissolve in the oceanic ecstasy of pure, self-less BEing.”  

 

My days ebb and flow with holding on and letting go.  They are exquisite in their own way. I will look back on this chapter with a pervading flood of fondness and gratitude.  The privilege, the holy gift of quality time with my innocent, fully present, creatively ablaze kids. So many moms miss this… because the River of Life sucks them into other compelling currents.  

 

I can already see the woman that Serena is, outside of time.  And I know that time will catch up to the soul-full maturity she exudes.  Her childhood is a marvel. A miracle that leaves me blinking with wonder to behold.  How can such an ancient soul manifest with such lucid innocence? My own childhood is vivified; alive once more inside me.  

 

And Forest.  Even though the rigors of a baby ache and break my body… there is nothing as precious and tender as being charged with a pure, new babe.  Not yet lost and tangled in worlds of words. He speaks with his wide awake eyes, his wide mouthed smiles and his cries. I am drunk, kissing his squishy, bulldog cheeks, drinking his milky breath deep into my lungs.  

 

God I hope….

 

IT will still be there.

 

But the “I” who gets back will surely not be the one who embarked on this Journey.  

 

This must be the ultimate Cosmic Joke. 

 

A bridge between hearts

On the outside, summer has melted into the cool breath of autumn.  The gods have ostentatiously announced this turn by hurling copious lightning bolts and savage booms of thunder upon the green heart of Italy, as Umbria is fondly known.  Deluges of rain drench the earth with abandon.  This transforms the suffocatingly humid air to cool, sweet delicacy.  The trees are still green.  (I am dreading their impending shedding and nakedness…)  The days are no longer unbearably hot.  Just warm and friendly.  But winter winks and whispers from not too far off.

 

On the inside though, my hellish walkabout through emotional, spiritual winter is showing signs of thawing.

 

Forest’s arrival was NOT a graceful transition.  Preparing for birth gets so much hype… but often, the postpartum period gets left to the wolves.  This is mostly how it was for me.  I made a few feeble cries for help… and received a bit of blessed support around the ragged, jagged edges… Mostly in the form of a meal here, and a meal there… But my primary experience as a sudden mother of two with a thrashed and bleeding vagina, and a ripped open heart, was a desolate one.  I do NOT recommend this experience.  If you are pregnant, or intending to become pregnant…. ASK FOR HELP.  Demand help.  Feel wildly worthy of help.  Saturate yourself in support, postpartum.

 

I could get lost in the gory details of my searing postpartum experience, but that’s not what my heart longs to share.  I survived.  My body is resilient and strong.  Now Forest is one and a half months earthside.  And spring is breathing light and warmth upon the barren scapes of my heart and soul.

 

Don’t get me wrong… Life is demanding, and my body tense from holding and nursing a baby all day, while perpetually juggling the needs, demands and whims of an almost four year old and maintaining the impossible tidiness of a not-so-small house…

 

During my pregnancy, Giordano often expressed a hope that Forest would bring us all closer and balance the dynamics of our family.  Though deep down I shared this wish with him, I still mostly cringed when he spoke it… because it seemed like way too much responsibility to load onto a nine pound human with a soft, open skull.  (He’s twelve pounds by now…)  From my vantage point in this moment, it appears that Forest’s mighty soul IS actually capable of this superhuman feat.

 

It always comes back to the timeless chicken and egg quandary… Does the inside give rise to the outer?… Or…???  But as I grope about in these invisible realms, my intuition says that what we perceive as “inner” and “outer” are but one sentient, infinite ISness.

 

I always have a figurative finger on the pulse of The Collective.  Recently, I felt an intangible shift that was beyond me and my own paltry circumstances. AND at the same time, my said paltry circumstances began to shift…

 

Witnessing the depth of love and care that Giordano has for his son made it increasingly difficult to abide in my cherished, long-standing fantasy of fleeing with my children to the familiar and now legendary land of California The Beautiful.  I still mostly did not like my husband… but this distaste began to pale in the bright luminosity of his paternal love.

 

I challenged myself to practice approving of him… even in the face of my glaring distaste for his ways.  I really CAN be a critical bitch.  Honestly, I’d hate to be on the receiving end of my curdled criticism.  Simultaneously, Giordano became less aggressive.  He began to apologize faster and touch (and actually FEEL) me more.  You could argue that this was a function of my behavioral shift… but my sense is that there was a larger energetic gale at play.

 

Theories and hypotheses aside… more lightness is dawning upon our home and family.  I still don’t luxuriate in the company of my husband… but nor do I drown in distaste and pain, as I oft did before.  Forest is a bridge between our hearts and minds, where before it was mostly impossible to pass.  With this exotic flavor of newfound affinity, anything is possible for us…

 

Concurrent with my nuptial blossoming, I experienced a delicious, pivotal moment in my relationship with Italy.  I was at the grocery store with my kids…

 

Italian people are wild about pregnant women, and even wilder about babies.  Everywhere I turn, I am serenaded by a chorus of impassioned exclamation, “AMORE!”.  Women, and even a few men, lust for a peek at the angelic face of my slumbering baby snuggled against my bosom in his wrap.

 

So there we were, civilizedly foraging for food at the aesthetically mediocre Coop, which is nestled in the archaic heart of Gualdo Tadino, being fawned over by the masses.  An almost young, blue-eyed man offered me front cuts in the intimidatingly long checkout line.  But there was another couple between me and him.  Flustered, I looked to them for a read on the situation.  I was shocked when they both smiled and waved me in front of them, as though it was sheerly autonomic.  A red carpet sprawled open beneath my astonished feet.

 

I attempted and mostly failed to share a friendly conversation with the kind man who instigated the front cuts, but despite the lack of intellectual understanding, my heart and the entire mOMent overflowed with warmth.

 

Pushing the shopping cart into the warm, sunny morning, I had the warm, fuzzy thought, “I like it here in Italy.”  Followed by the stunned realization that I had never had that thought before.  I fondled and reflected upon this new awareness for a bit… and concluded that it was probably a fleeting fluke.  After all, my emotional waves tend to be drastic and dramatic and watery.

 

To my surprise, the feeling has lasted.  I realize that I have adjusted to life over here.  For the first year, I was painfully aware of what was missing.  Foods, friends, family, comfy swings that cradle your butt at the playground, the ability to have a damn conversation….

 

But I’m starting to develop a taste for pizza… I make my own peanut butter.  I found pickles that don’t totally blow.  I brew my own water kefir.  The list goes on… but the moral of the story is that I am synching up with my new environment and life.  I am not devastated by the often silence between Giordano and I when we drive places together.  Sure, in my ideal world it would be swell to love to talk with my husband… but silence is kinda okay too… He DOES put his hand on my leg mostly always…

 

I love our land, abounding with fruits and foragables… I love how safe I feel here.  Serena can wander about freely.  (Not that she does, mostly.  She tends to cling.)  I am able to understand quite a bit of Italian, even if my speaking is butt-ass remedial…

 

Reflecting on my suffering, my dear friend Dara invited me to reflect on my original Desire/intention for coming to Italy.  I had to dig a bit to get back there… but it was FAMILY.  I ached for family.  And now I have it.  Gloriously imperfect, as Life mostly is… but nutritious and beautiful too… if I’m open to it.

 

Given the incessant imperfection of life in/as duality, may I embrace the grace that is always here.  What a shame it would be to awaken to this ever-flawed goodness as I am blinking out of this existence.

 

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