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.

 

The nearly free birth of Forest (Part 1)

Forest

The second one is sposta pop out like a ping pong ball… right?

 

That’s what I thought….

 

I was wrong.

 

It took about the same amount of time laboring to get Forest out, as Serena.  Twelve hours.  But this time, I did it at home.  Alone.

 

Well… alone with Giordano.  Was this intentional?  Yes and no.  I wanted to have a woman/women with me… who would just sit quietly in the corner and hold a streaming vigil of prayer and presence.  But apparently God did NOT want this… since both of the women I asked to be with me were cosmically thwarted from attending.

 

“Free Birth” is the term for birthing without a slew of “trained professionals” getting all up in a birthing mama’s grill.  I was intrigued by this idea while pregnant with Serena… but not nearly courageous enough to trust my deepest inner knowing in the boundlessly deep waters of the feminine mystery that is birth.  So I deferred my inner authority, and opted for the hospital route with her.  Which was perfect.  (Marin General is the creme de la creme of hospitals that truly support natural birth.)

 

But this time, I was familiar with the territory. (As familiar as one can be with the cryptic wilderness of the Divine Feminine! Ha!)  Well, lofty philosophy aside, it’s what I FELT TO DO.  So I spent the months of my maternity gathering information and validation, mostly via birth stories told on the “Free Birth Podcast”, and by the time my tiny man was ready to emerge, I felt ready, and even enthusiastic, to do The Thing!

 

Everyone knows that expectations are the devil.  Of course I tried not to have any.  But this was impossible.  I imagined that as with Serena, I would go into labor on my due date, July 14th.   Or at LEAST by the full moon (lunar eclipse), July 16th.  Nope.  Besides the painful fights with Giordano, those days passed without much fanfare. Only a few egoic efforts to get my labor juices “aflow”… long walks, sex, orgasm… the basics.  But as it turns out, all “magic feathers” and lore aside, birth has its own cosmically informed intelligence, which I boldly hypothesize has NOTHING to do with the overlay of “wizardry” many of us get off on professing.

 

For about five nights straight, I went to bed fondling the precious hope that I would awaken in the night to contractions, as I had with Serena.  At two am on July 18th, my hope materialized.  Elated, I opened my eyes to the juicy, round, beam-dripping moon, dancing beyond my bedroom window.  I savored every twinge of deep, delicious ache in my womb.  God those moments live legendary inside me now… I felt totally alone and yet sweetly intimate with ALL.  My heart steeped in transcendent joy.

 

As with Serena, the contractions stopped when I got out of bed.  My labor had a very keen intelligence, and when I was focused on caring for Serena, it would ebb… After I dropped her off at camp, the waves resumed.  When she returned from camp, another pause.  It wasn’t until my saintly friend Benedetta came and picked Serena up (with her own nearly-newborn and four year old sun in tow) at around 4pm, that labor REALLY went full throttle.

 

I had imagined laboring in the little wooden house, nestled in my garden (which I have adopted as a temple…) but by mid afternoon, it was way too hot in there, and the mattress felt like a granite boulder.  After turning a few too many dizzying circles of indecision, I realized there’s no place like bed.

 

Oh dear… This event occurred exactly two weeks ago, and by now, the whole epic event is a goopy smear in my mind’s eye.  I guess I had a butt-ton of contractions in said bed… It didn’t take long for them to start firing off fast… which made me certain that Forest would soon emerge.

 

I was inspired by the birth story of a woman named Jinti Fell… She had an idyllic, peaceful freebirth in water, with only her husband, three year old daughter and sister present.  She said she concentrated on affirmations of opening and surrender.  So with each contraction, I relaxed my yoni and imagined my cervix blossoming open… melting INto the pain, rather than contracting in reaction to it.  I felt powerful and courageous doing this.

 

Until I hit a point where the contractions were coming so strong and rapid, that I lost access to this enlightened response.  It became a matter of survival.  No holds barred.  I felt that if I gave myself over in melt, I would be eaten alive.  This continued for hours.  I focused on my breath… and alternated between chanting gutterally based AUMs and “blowing through an imaginary straw” with each exhale (Benedetta taught me that technique, touting that when the jaw is relaxed, so is the yoni.  She said her first baby slid right out of her as a result… ummm… I can’t say that was MY experience…)

 

What of my wild card husband?  As I imagined, he was not the Masculine Rock that I wished he could be.  When I looked to him in the heat of intensity, his eyes were perpetually a-wander in far-off lands.  This was no surprise.  A restless, wild mind is his M.O.  Still, I wouldn’t help wishing for his solid, unwavering presence.  But given his nature… he did well.

 

As I had requested, he didn’t impose himself in my space.  He made himself available… but hung back until I made a direct request for support.  I felt the wounded place inside me, where I was tentative to ask for help from him… fearing rejection or disconnect.  (By now, our “track record” is brimming with disappointments and blood-bathed conflict…)  But when one is in enough pain, one must transcend the fear of rejection.  I asked him to rub my sacrum, which by now was screaming with ache.

 

At this task, he succeeded beyond measure.  I felt… profoundly felt.  He touched me as if he were inside me.  And at this point, I didn’t care if he was thinking about all the money we owe, or his perpetual craving for pizza, or whatever runs through that man’s mind… I was journeying through a realm of unceasing pain, and he was minimizing my suffering.

 

Until he got hungry.  And then the salvation of his touch withdrew and wandered to the kitchen.  A while later, he returned to the bedroom with a plastic tupperware full of tuna salad.  The smell ruined my life.  He innocently offered me a bite.  DISGUSTING.  I shunned him from the bedroom.  But the smell saturated the warm, thick atmosphere of late July.

 

When he returned (I had no sense of time by now), I asked him to light an incense to mitigate the terrible stench.

 

Then what happened?  Contractions raced through my body like a freight train with never-ending cars.  The sun crept toward the horizon, and eventually sunk into darkness.

 

Broken into twisted Bliss

IMG_1755

I’m gonna write my guts out this morning.  Because it feels like I’ll explode if I don’t. Because this is what I am made for.

 

The pressure inside me is excruciating.  Like I’m in some kind of labor.  I woke up at four in the morning missing California so much, it felt like the prelude to a panic attack (which is a condition I’m not accustomed to).  I called out (audibly) to God to help me, because it was too much to bare.  But God seems to swoop in and help me when I least expect it, rather than when I directly beg.  So I just marinated in the ache… and tried to “coach myself” into a state of surrender and appreciation.

 

I want to go home so bad.  But if I was “home”, would I want to be somewhere else?  Is this an initiation into truly making peace deep down in my soul?  Where hOMe truly is….

 

Probably.

 

I love writing one word paragraphs.  I feel so all powerful.

 

I’ve been doing a weekly facebook live conversation on my Sourced Circles page for the past couple months.  It’s strange… barely anybody tunes in…. And yet I know I must do this.  The fire in my soul says so.  Life is so strange.  Anyway, my point is that each week, I am fortunate to speak with a deeep soul, who illuminates realms that are essential inside ME, if no one else. It’s sorta like taking a quenching swig of soul medicine inside a vacuum.

 

Last week, Tara Divina spoke of the nature of the deepest joy… being eternally entwined with the deepest pain… how in their purest essence, they are ONE.

 

Of course you’ve heard this a million times.  But have you truly introduced rubber and road on your insides?  Lemme take a feel right now.  Right now as my heart is smashed in a million pieces.  Is it ecstasy in paltry disguise?  Are all these unanswerable questions and quench-less longings my most treasured allies?

 

I breathe.

 

Writing it through me, I feel beautiful and right, blessed and heroic.  But when I’m trudging through the tangles of perpetual Relationship dissatisfaction, endless floor-sweeping and dishes to be washed, it doesn’t feel a fraction as sexy.  It feels like being wide awake in a meat grinder.

 

But the birds in spring sing the most exquisite songs….  And the scent of the blossoming lilacs is a secret portal to Heaven.

 

Even though my relationship with Giordano rarely “hits the Spot”, I have mostly surrendered to this.  I guess the current tides of my Life are not about getting my Spot hit.

 

My language *totally* makes sense to ME…. but just in case it doesn’t penetrate you straight to that place of implicit understanding, I will say it a different way.  As far as my marriage goes, I rarely (if ever) rest in a pervasive, peaceful sense of affinity and fulfillment.  I mostly feel lonely and unmet.

 

BUT.  In most mOMents, I have made peace with this.  Especially because I look over at Giordano, doing his Giordano dance…. And I see him doing his very, very best.  And I respect that.  I see him boldly flailing at his own Edge.  Being courageous and willing.  I see him breaking a sweat to love me (and Serena) as best he can.  He is rarely mean anymore.  And this allows my heart to bloom a bit.  Not like a summer rose, mind you.  But a shy, early spring bud, still wary of the threat of potential frosts. I honor this delicate space.  I do not need to force bloom.  After living on lock down all winter, a shy bud is euphoria.

 

WHY?…  This question still whips through the infinity within me like a bitter wind… but I let it.  I have no answers.  I have no fucking clue why Life is living me this way.

 

But I am brave.  And willing to feel the feelings that few others have the courage to embrace.  I don’t mean YOU, of course…. I mean the zombie-walking, TV watching, Costco-shopping, Pringles popping, cocktail slogging masses who ritualistically await their daily force-feedings of fabricated media reality.

 

Or maybe I DO mean you… I don’t know WHO feels this deeply.  We all have our role in the Cosmic Choir.  And feeling to the core of IT ALL (and then writing it down) is an essential dimension of mine.  Inhale.  Exhaaaaale.

 

I just wish I could overcome this poverty bullshit.  It’s really shitting on my parade.  I want to get my women’s circles going (not to mention become a famous writer already)… like LAST YEAR…. But becoming a savvy entrepreneur feels like learning chinese.  I have so much to offer.  But how do I get people to give a soaring fuck?

 

A lot of the work is on the INside.  Valuing myself.  TRUSTING myself.  Feeling worthy. Feeling safe enough to dish IT out with abandon.

 

And then, some of it is just straight up consistent, *inSpired* ACTION.  Forward motion.  This builds new muscles.  Creates unstoppable momentum.  But raising a three year old (while concurrently growing another) without much support makes this a fucking FEAT.  It feels like trying to canoe up a sky-scraping, gravel mountain.  I’m doing my best.  I sense that my day will come.  With galactically impeccable timing.  In the meantime, I am being artfully carved; God’s own reed flute.

 

I was gonna end it there, but all this talk of reed flutes naturally made me think of poetry.  Last night I had a sudden craving for David Whyte’s “House of Belonging”, and Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese”.  I read them both to Serena at bedtime.  I don’t think she “got it”.  But my own heart broke so damn good.  The Ocean of uncried tears sloshed and churned inside me.

 

“…this is where I want to love all the things it has taken me so long to learn to love…

 

This is the temple of my adult aloneness and I belong to that aloneness as I belong to my life.”

 

“…whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting- over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”

 

Such perfectly arranged words.  Soul Carving Words.  I relish stroking myself with this shattering Mastery.

 

Abiding deeep within my own heart, I find you there and love you with all that I AM.

 

Xoxo,

Athena

 

First Visit to the “Consultorio”

I finally got it together to see a doctor yesterday.  You know, for the baby.  Actually, here in Italy, it was called the “consultorio”.  This tickles me.  But not as much as the moment two nights ago, when Giordano came into the house with the clothing from the line outside (he was convinced it would rain, despite the forecast’s declaration otherwise), and he said, “The pantaloni, they was rrrigid.”  I am STILL laughing about that one!

 

Anyway, they don’t speak English at the cosultorio, so darling Giordano had to take the morning off of work to accompany us.  We fought a brutal battle in the car on the way, because I was not acting in accordance with his unstated timeline and he thought this was ludicrous.  He felt this gave him license to go on an emotionally charged ridiculing bender.  I did not agree.

 

I explained to him with calm, direct language that when he has an expectation around timelines, it’s best to articulate it with crisp, uncharged lucidity, because even though in HIS mind, his ideas are obvious, I inhabit a different universe.  And vica versa.  My words didn’t make it past the thick armor adorning his aura.  They rolled off like superfluous beads of (olive) oil.

 

This happens with us.  I communicate in what feels to me to be a very mature, generous, responsible fashion, and it gets lost in some sort of nether-worldly cosmic wasteland.  Then I lose it.  FAST.  Suddenly, “Go fuck yourself”s and “Shove it up your ass”es are whizzing and ricocheting about the dense atmosphere of the tiny Fiat, and Serena is innocently marinating in a soupy broth of verbal violence.  I hate confessing this.  I feel disappointed in myself.

 

I had mixed feelings about sharing THAT piece of the “doctor visit”.  But it was an integral part of the “consultorio” experience,  the ecstatic experience that is my marriage, and my soul’s current labyrinthian alchemy.  So I had to give you an honest depth of field.

 

But really I imagined starting off by conveying to you the alarm and desperation I felt when I walked into the minimal examination room, and discovered that my doctor was a man.  And not just ANY man, but an remarkably round man in a skin-tight, long-sleeve shirt that unabashedly flaunted his impressively voluptuous man boobs.  Seriously, I’ve never seen such full, perky boobs on a dude before.

 

I was already in a foul mood.  Now I was ready to turn around and run.  I stood frozen in the doorway for a timeless flash.  He gestured for us to enter, and I made my way to one of the blue chairs adjacent to his desk.  Giordano and Serena opted to stand.

 

As soon as he began to speak, my fear dissolved in his generous warmth and light.  He asked in Italian if this was our first visit.  I could understand, but even so, he quickly surmised that I spoke English, and he addressed me directly.  His bright brown eyes smiled through large-lensed glasses as he spoke. “Yes,” I replied.  And what had been fear, turned to innocent fascination in the gracious presence of this unique specimen of a fellow human being.

 

He looked at my belly and said “Five months?”  I flushed with self-consciousness, as I replied “thirteen weeks”.  Then I stood up, and he acknowledged that yeah, I really wasn’t so big… but my stomach was full of gas.  He asked if my digestion was slow.  “Yeah,” I frowned.

 

Before any more of the story slips by, I will testify that while we sat out in the hall waiting for our turn, “Giordano’s Best” returned from behind dense cloud cover.  He kneeled down in front of me, gave me his full attention and actually LISTENED to all that was still writhing and howling inside me.  He always comes around.  But the fanfare that inevitably precedes The Return sucks royal ass.  Juvenile.  Righteous.  Emotionally charged. (All elements which I am adept at hurling too, when my pain is roused, by the way…) But I’m learning how to accept the whole fucking emotional arc.  And bask in the perplexing rightness of the man and the circumstances that I have been given by Amazing Grace, Herself.

 

The next part is exciting!  I didn’t know WHAT was in store for my first visit to the consultorio… But it turned out to be an ultrasound.  Something I have mixed feelings about over all… because it seems a bit invasive and potentially damaging… but suddenly, BAM!  There I was, laying back on the examination table and getting slathered in translucent, blue goop.  And in a blink, there was “Baby Sister” on the little screen!

I felt like we had walked in on a private party.  There he was—the tiniest little person I have ever seen, just grooving to his own celestial beat.  He looked perfectly content, wiggling around without a care in the world.

 

Yes, “HE”.

 

The voluptuous and sweet-hearted doctor was amused that we were referring to this tiny wonder as “Baby Sister” (Serena was convinced she was getting a girl), and I think this spurned his drive to uncover the truth.  He prodded my baby with his “magic wand”, until the teensy creature uncrossed his legs and exposed his adorable little penis.  At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what it was.  It did NOT look like the tidy little crack that Serena displayed during her first (and only) ultrasound. (Doc said we can’t be totally sure until at least five months… but regardless, he was pretty convinced.)

 

I was not surprised.  I had intuited his boy-ness since the beginning, and have been emotionally preparing myself ever since.  But not Giordano and Serena.  Serena almost cried.  Literally.  And Giordano’s heart sank.  Sorry guys.  I was just tickled.  I’m having a little BOY!  What the hell am I gonna do with one???  I guess that’s the fun of it.  Discovering exactly that.  Loving a boy will teach me a lot.  I just hope he’s not a little terror.  I’m not designed to handle that shit.

 

Thankfully, God never fucks up.  Even when it seems sure that HeSheIt must have been hitting the crack pipe.  (Which lately seems like a frequent habit.  But really, I am enrolled in a rigorous, Heavy Weight strength training, and will surely emerge a Champion.)

 

We saw his little hands and feet, his brain, his spine… heard his perfect little heartbeat.  Eternally incinerated are any straggling fantasies of abortion.  This boy is MINE.

 

I must speak to the contrast between this ultrasound, and the one where I first saw beloved Serena.  That was an unbearably heavy day in my heart.  Ed took me.  We had barely been on speaking terms.  I think I was six months along by then.  It was summertime.  He stood at my side with somberness fit for a funeral.  My joy and delight was suffocated in the airless atmosphere of irreconcilable heartbreak.  I needed him by my side.  And yet his presence destroyed me.  After the appointment, we drove to Stinson Beach.  Ed grilled us a steak in the picnic area.  The day was unusually cold and overcast.  Then we walked the beach.  We barely spoke.  I experienced a surprisingly boyish side of Ed, as he delighted in picking up pretty rocks.

 

This time, I was with my family.  My totally imperfect, but wholly devoted and loving family.  And we were all sharing in a pretty damn PEAK experience.  Each swimming in our own sea of heightened, diverse emotions.  But still, together.

 

I was actually surprised by the magnitude of my quiet joy.  It melted from my center and spread softly across my day, in concentric circles, like a raindrop splashing upon a lake.

 

It was a wham-bam-thank you-ma’am sort of appointment.  The doctor set down his magic wand and walked to his desk.  He said some stuff to Giordano in Italian, as I wiped the blue goop from my belly with the paper towel that he had previously tucked in my pants.  He said to come back next Thursday (which as it goes, is my thirty-ninth birthday), for blood tests.

 

Then we went to another room where a woman informed us of the burocratic hoops we’d have to jump through in order to get full medical coverage for this pregnancy, given that I don’t yet have a family visa.  We would need to go obtain fiscal codes from a different office.

 

All this was transmitted in Italian, of course, and I had only the vaguest notion of what was being said.  Then as soon as we left her office, Giordano was on the phone.  I gathered with his mother.

 

I felt dropped.  Totally alone.  We had just shared a very deep and emotional experience… and then he had received information that I did not understand, pertaining to me… and… he chose to call his MOM???  It would have felt better if he connected with me first and said something like, “Oh my GOD, I’m so excited, I want to call my mom and tell her we are having a boy!  Will you excuse me for a moment?”

I didn’t feel like his partner.  In that moment, I felt like his MOM was his partner.  The one his heart was with.  This weighed on me for the rest of the afternoon… until I found the right moment to share my feelings with him.  To his credit, he received me so generously.  No defense.  Pure empathy and presence.  My husband… He may be an unpolished mother fucker, but he is truly giving his ALL to becoming better.  A better version of HIMSELF.  Not some random schmuck.  He isn’t evolving at my preferred rate.  But I suppose this is for the better too.  Because not being in control of any of it is certainly polishing the fuck out of me.

 

Just think how strong and shiny I will be…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stewing In My Own Hella Succulent Broth

My fingers tread light this morning.  For the past few blogs, they have been leaden.  Two days ago, Benedetta, one of my few cherished friends here in Italy, told me that she needed to distance herself from my “situation”, because… I forget exactly why… but basically, it was too much for her.  

 

I don’t blame her.  It’s too much for me too.  She told me I was “stewing in my own broth”.  Which translates to subconsciously choosing to stay in suffering because it’s familiar and safe.  

 

This stirred my (brothy) pot.  On one hand, I felt hurt, because I honestly feel like I’m doing the best I can to keep my nose and mouth (if not my whole head) above water in most moments, while living with a relentlessly heavy, broken heart.  Another part of me felt relieved and loved. Like she cared enough to say what was hard to say, and stay connected, instead of writing me off and moving toward “better feeling” relationships. I felt so fucking vulnerable.  I need Benedetta.

 

Need.  It’s not the most flattering facet to bring to a relationship.  But the truth is, I DO need her. She is the mother of a three year old (boy), with another baby on the way.  She is challenged by her marriage. And yet she navigates the challenge from a high spiritual octave, using it as fuel to grow herself and find “It” inside.  This is the kind of company I want to keep

 

Honestly, I’m tired of my song and dance, too.  Tired of hearing that I am unhappy. My stories are starting to chafe me.  So? Where do I go from here? Fake it till you make it, kick your heels up, get your saucy groove on for no reason Delight?

 

I was listening to Matt Kahn’s lastest vid this morning.  Which of course was timely as fuck. He said that Life is dishing up hearty portions of rapid transformation right now.  He said that despicable circumstances are Life’s way of initiating us into the integrated realization that WE DO NOT NEED OUR CIRCUMSTANCES TO CHANGE IN ORDER TO LIVE IN JOY, PASSION, FREEDOM and LOVE UNBOUNDED.  

 

Hearing this, my heart burst into a loosened shower of tears.  It was almost six in the morning. Giordano was fresh out of bed, and lay with me.  He pulled me close as I cried. There was something exquisite about the moment. It was so honest and pure.  I was not blaming him for my pain. He was not in my line of fire. There was no drama. Just me breaking under the weight of my struggle and the gravity of my longing.  He, a warm-bodied and silent witness. I feel closer to him for sharing those wordless moments.

 

I cried for feeling relentlessly uncomfortable.  For the grief of whatever is dying inside. My spectrum seems to span from bland and lifeless, to hurt, to crushed, to furious.  Am I stewing in my savory broth by writing shit like that? No. Just reporting the weather, with the intention of driving the Graceland Starship to revelatory spiraling galaxies infused with deep, surrendered breaths.  

 

I want so badly… I ACHE in fact, to fully embrace the divine rightness of my Path and Choices.  This endeavor has been an opus for me. Giordano might perceive me as lazy… laying in the fetal position on our folded-out couch in the evenings… But if he only knew the blood and sweat and tears flowing on the inside as I press on to digest this unprecedented life experience.  

 

Listening to Matt Kahn, I touched the tight bud of a Possibility inside me.  The possibility of living anchored in unconditional joy and inner freedom. Can you imagine???  It almost seems unfathomable from this dot on the perceived straight-assed line of my life.

 

But I guess, in Reality, my life is anything BUT a straight-assed line.  It’s a blazing, twisting, grinning spiral of sacred stardust. Part of me already lives in this awakened place.  I am just integrating this state of being, as I clear cumbersome, vomitous buckets of cellular debris from my field.  Heck, YOU might be doing this too. Hooray for YOU! Trust me, I know what hard work it is. Hooray for US!

 

I have been heavily flirting with the notion that I was dropped by Grace and God– a state of consciousness I have not abided in for this long… in a long time.  

 

I’m jealous of people who eat croissants.  Fuckers! My digestion is too sensitive to dump such crap in this body.  God it’s not fair.

 

I digress.  As it turns out, I was NOT dropped by Grace and God.  The hella illustrious Manuela Forte agreed to council Giordano and I, on a pay as we can, IF we can basis.  She said God has been so damn good to her (she didn’t say “damn”, because she’s not a spiritual sailor like Athena Grace.), that she can afford to be flexible.  She just feels Called to help us. This is ANOTHER thing I’m more jealous of. Way more than eating croissants, in fact.

 

I’m jealous of Beings who are so spiritually aligned and fully Given to their dharma, that they LIVE in a streaming state of Grace and Abundance.  I wish I was like that. I guess in a way, I am. I always have what I need. But my consciousness still feels headlocked in survival, and too often, I feel like I’m wandering lost in sketchy neighborhoods.

 

Anyway, I spoke with Beautiful Manuela, via facebook video chat, last thursday morning.  It was a turning point. Like listening to Matt Kahn, I found the location INside, where ALL IS WELL.  Where I am love. Where everything that I am living is Holy Perfection.

 

She wanted to meet with me alone first.  I didn’t understand this, but I trust her.  And yup, it felt so right. Giordano and I will speak with her together soon.  I THINK SHE CAN HELP US… to focus our energies and intention on healing ourselves, so that we can truly evolve AND FUCKING COMMUNICATE LIKE ADULTS and love each other.  

I’m on my knees in gratitude.

 

Now, can I just tell you how desperately I WISH that I had kept my Mom’s recipe for minestrone soup???  (I mean the *actual*, neater-than-Thou, handwritten on an index card recipe that she busted out on those cold nights, when she felt a burst of inspiration to feed everyone in her group house, her favorite, simple, nourishing meal.)  Regret-stained longing is burning me on the inside. I didn’t LOVE her minestrone soup. It seemed pretty plain to me. And it had pasta, which I usually picked out, which was a pain in the ass. But being in the first trimester of pregnancy, and being disgusted my almost everything… Oh her soup sounds fucking heavenly.  Sure, I could freestyle something in the ballpark. But I want to measure shit in cups and teaspoons, according to her gorgeous script. (Which is totally NOT my style, by the way.)

 

If I let myself, I could cry about this.  But I need to pay for my tea, and get my ass to the swimming pool.  I miss my mom so much. Manuela said my Ma is working so hard from The Other Side to help me get free.  I could cry about THIS too. In fact, I AM!

 

What an Epic Fucking Journey this Life is turning out to be.

 

Sending you ALL MY LOVE.  Seriously. Because if your blessed life is anywhere near as messy and challenging as mine these days, YOU NEED IT.  

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