A jog at the bottom of the sea

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Last night, to celebrate the full moon, we had a fire outside.  Like the citizens of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, Giordano heisted “massive boulders” he found down the hill from our house and fashioned an impressive fire pit in our yard.  I gathered my crystals from around the house and brought them outside to soak up the lucid lunar rays.

 

I’m wild about men with primal skillz.  When the apocalypse is upon us, like who cares if dude can install the latest version of iPhoto on my computer.  (Though I SORELY need some help with that NOW… haha.) But Giordano is one of those men who can build and fix anything.  He made a mean fire.

 

Sharp autumn wind gusted in dramatic spirals, taunting and provoking our fire, sending its smoke and flames every which way.  At one point, the force of the wind was so fierce and constant, the fire growled like a blowtorch, and blazed florescent yellow like a newborn sun.  This was the moment that I poured my grief, confusion and heartache into the purifying flames. I had much to offer up.

 

This is why I have pilgrimaged to Athena Graceland on my hands and knees this morning… To write myself back into a state of wholeness and peace.  A feeling of deep discomfort has been taking increasingly articulated form and contour for the past week, as the moon has swollen.

 

I hope it’s a spiritual boon to break down like this… rather than a mild crisis.  Before leaving Ananda, I felt like I was going Somewhere: Building a business leading women’s circles, gestating an extraordinary podcast… and then I transported my and Serena’s life to a foreign land, where I can’t even indulge in the simple ecstasy of intimate, philosophically persuaded small talk with “strangers”…  or leave the house to go for a leisurely walk (The road outside is narrow, trafficy and dangerous to walk on. Plus, I left Serena’s fabulous, all-terrain stroller in California.) I feel like a Grimms Brother Princess, locked away in a tower.

 

Obviously, writing a book is my only salvation.  

 

As I move closer to the Realization of this extremely relevant and meaningful dream, I watch it turn to vapor and slip through my long, slender fingers.  I am perplexed as I search inside for a cohesive vision that equals a Book. I imagine this confusion is a form of self sabotage. A genius strategy for the unhealed dimensions of me to stay hidden and SAFE.  

 

Bah-humbug.  Seriously. Like whatever happened to the version of reality where I could simply merge with my computer, gush forth and pound out the inspired and integral streams of my Existence.  This is what I do. And have always done.

 

My “block” is the departure from simply “writing”, to developing a STRUCTURE, and then using my profound literary talent to fill it with FORM.  

 

In the words of the beloved little Engine That Could, “I think I can, I think I can, I THINK I CAN.”  

 

(OMG, I totally have to get that book for Serena…  An aside: It’s so depressing to have only a handful of books for my book-devouring Serena.  We left her collection in Cali. Frown. Plus there ain’t no libraries in these parts with books in english to imbibe…  If any of you are inspired, you could bless us with a rad children’s book by way of Amazon!…)

 

Did I adequately portray my existential angst to you?  I don’t think I did. But it’s been thick and filmy and arduous to endure.  Like going for a jog at the bottom of the sea.

 

At least things are improving with Giordano.  He still triggers the shit out of me pretty regularly… but it doesn’t feel like the end of the world.  We both bounce back from our fiery disputes impressively quick… and when we do, there is a deep love awaiting our return.  I imagine if I had other people around to meet my deep need for Quality Time (my primary Love Language), I probably wouldn’t get so swept away in the masturbatory eddies of hating his guts.  

 

Yesterday morning at the zenith of my suffering, I took Serena outside to forage nettles and red clover.  Misha the cat graciously tagged along. Like good old fashioned magic, the grief vanished. I dissolved in Presence, delighting in the aliveness of Nature all around.  Note to self~ when the discomfort becomes unbearable, (maybe even BEFORE), GO OUTSIDE. Go outside A LOT. Revel in the majesty of the sky. Sink into the soothing, rooted ISness of the earth.  Ugh. Except our harsh and cruel friend, Winter doth approacheth. BLAH. I never wanted to see Her color-drained face again. Jesus deliver me to the tropics.

 

Inside I feel a call to surrender my Life.  My dreams. My need to be “Somebody”… Be sincerely cool with the notion of stripping down to a state of unadulterated BEingNess.  This is subtly terrifying for me. Like if I relax my tremulous body in the uncharted waters of “Nobodyness”, I will die invisible and untethered from the execution of my Dharma.  This could be my deepest fear. One that ebs and breaks like a familiar wave on the sea of my Life Journey.

 

This surrender is not resignation.  It is a surrender woven with golden threads of faith.  Faith that it is impossible to outrun my Destiny. She is hunting me, and will inevitably devour me.  This achingly slow, no-woman’s-land is somehow essential preparation for my Glorious Becoming….

 

Life always moves along Her own mysterious and perfect spirals of Time.

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I never dreamed it would be like this….

Today I’m wading thigh deep in feelings and questions that I’d rather not share.  I feel vulnerable and out of control, and I’d rather not make waves. I don’t want to be misunderstood or condemned.  But isn’t this tender place where writing actually comes Alive? Maybe. Or maybe I should just roll out my yoga mat, and keep with the private process of silent digestion…

 

Nah.  That feels like hiding.  My inner life is pressing on me from the inside.  The pressure is begging for creative release. But just know that my words are PROCESS.  Not Ultimacy.

 

I’ve been sitting in the YES to marrying Giordano for a few days straight.  I’m still learning how to operate as a highly emotional being in this world.  The best way seems to be to roll through waves of feeling across time, without reacting.  Just being curious and observing. Then, after the wave has made what feels to be a complete arc, I am “qualified” to make a choice, or take an action.  (The antithesis of my knee jerk facebook campaign to get the fuck out of Italy a moon ago.)

 

I’ve ridden this most recent maverick marriage wave across a few days.  I’ve sat with the panoply splash of opinions and perspectives of friends.  And God, let me tell you… this is damn challenging- the work of receiving perceptions, projections, advice of those whom I love and trust… while maintaining a clear connection and knowing of my inner voice/Self.

 

Despite my dumbfounded mind, I feel a sustained YES inside to “tying the knot” with Giordano.  Haha it really might BE a knot. Two lives (plus children and innocent bystanders) all hopelessly kinked up…  

 

Listening to Matt Kahn’s latest youtube video last week, was a turning point for me.  It was called “The Apathy of Options”. The essence was that our notion of myriad choices is actually a function of capitalism and consumer consciousness.  When we are “in the flow”, aligned with Truth, purely relaxed into the moment, the illusion of choices dissolves, and what remains is Destiny’s continuously opening Way.  

 

I can see this being a very controversial perspective.  Choice is such a popular notion amongst the transformational circles I have run with for my entire adult life.  “I choose chocolate because I choose chocolate. Bitches!”

 

Does this possibility of simply riding Destiny’s pre-paved roller coaster track ruffle your feathers???  Good.

 

When I look backwards at the Life that has lived me, it has always been this way-  I have lived a miraculous epic that I could never have imagined or invoked of my own paltry volition.  Something waaaay more immense has called the shots, moved the pieces, conducted the superlative orchestra of Existence.  

 

Moving to Italy and marrying Giordano is no exception.

 

The part that I am struggling to come to terms with, is that I never imagined getting married would be like this.  I thought I’d be “so in love”… Certain that I was with the “man of my dreams”.

 

But as a writer and an ultra-sensitive “experiencer”, I kinda like that it’s not this way.  I come to the table with wildly mixed emotions. A hopeless collision of thoughts. It was epiphanic when I realized that this echoing choir of inner voices and resistances are all trying to save me from future pain and hardship.

 

And yet the track of Destiny continues to smirk as she lures me forward.  In the name of spiritual evolution. In the name of undeniably intimate with my true nature.  In the name of a damn good story.

 

This might sound lame to you, but it’s real for me.  And please don’t thrust your “enlightened council” upon me.  My hopper is already brimming with input. I’m just giving up my raw self for you.  Here goes:

 

I don’t feel like I have any other REAL options right now.  And this comes as a relief. More empowered than victimized.  I’ve relished imagining I could fly back “hOMe”, to California, and get on with my life.  But the truth is that I have no life there. That life is but a flattened flipbook of memories now…. Conflagrated in the mystical act of BEing Alive.

 

What would I do in the Bay Area?  Couch surf (with my almost three year old) for a month at best?  Get a nanny job? Or become a checker at an over-priced health food store and put Serena into preschool full time, so that I could almost afford to pay an exorbitant amount of rent… meanwhile squeezing my creative dreams like juiceless limes, praying for a few tangy drops to splash forth, first thing in the morning or last thing at night?  Continue to grind myself down in hope-stained disappointment that my relentlessly beloved baby daddy is still not available to be the Partner, family and support that I ache for? Wishing that my friends were not so busy in their own survival-based hussle, so that they could be there for me in mine???

 

No thanks.

 

So I’m here with my irritating but entirely devoted Italian Man.  Swimming in a wild, enlivening swirl of mixed feelings. And despite this chaotic and reticent inner climate, the God in me is shining a Green Light.  Italy has claimed me as Her own. The dramatic, psychedelically persuaded, Maxfield Parish clouded, thunder-sprayed skies have seduced me. The pale, crumbly earth drinks my bare feet, as She pours forth her bounty in the name of blessed sustenance.

 

In this shadow-strewn, blessed iteration of my life, I have the support necessary to write a book.  Serena has a dad who truly loves her as his own. Once married, we can apply for government assistance because we have a child.  And this will pay for Serena’s preschool. Ananda preschool. She is so ripe for this developmental leap. Friends, creativity, expansion.

 

During my recent, knee-jerk, fear stained, dramatic upheaval, my friend Joan illuminated in me, a proclivity for living in “fantasy land”.  Well… I feel pretty damn sober now. My priorities are: creating stability for my girl, who is EVERYTHING to me, and writing a fucking awesome book.   When given a life that is richer and more riveting than the best fiction… writing it down is really the only option.

 

And of course, through all of this, I yearn to learn something real and enduring about the nature of love.  

 

Hey God…

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Hey God, I need to talk to you.  I know you’re listening… even if my own BEing is too much of a perpetual chaotic swirl to hear or feel you listening, let alone responding.  But just knowing that you are listening is ENOUGH.

 

I’m scared today, God.  Can you refresh my memory as to WHY you are sending me and Serena back into the expensiver than Thou, outrageously chaotic, painfully paved, relentless traffic, screaming wifi lands of the Bay Area?

 

Because I wanted to go?  Is it THAT simple? Never.  And Who infused me with said want, anyway?  Maybe we should have waited until October. When the first hints of chill creep back into the air, and the Enchanted Yuba River no longer lures with the same siren song….  Shouldn’t we have spent one more summer nestled in the verdant, jungly folds of Balarama’s “Prana Gardens”, plucking sun-warmed, candy-sweet cherry tomatoes from their vine? And what about those shiny, black, bursting berries that Serena and I have been dreaming of with every rain…. Imagining the blessed water soaking into the earth, being voraciously slurped by aggressively purposeful roots who prepare in secret to bust out the sweetes, most resplendent little jewels.

 

Am I going to feel MORE ALONE amidst the urban sprawl…. Surrounded by infinitudes of “important people”, ceaselessly doing “important” things….?  I think that’s my greatest fear.

 

No, actually being able to earn enough money to survive (but God, I’d waaay rather THRIVE) there is my greatest fear.  And yes, I know it’s not “spiritually hip” to run on and on about fears. But I’m over being spiritually hip. I just want you to hear me and LOVE me, God.  And reassure me that you won’t drop me. Ever. And if I fall, you’ll pick me up and hold me closer than ever. That’s what a Mother does for her child.

 

I want community.  I have plenty of friends, all the fuck over the Bay Area…. But good Lord… how much expensive fossil fuel will I have to burn in my ancient, twenty-two-miles-to-the-gallon little Subaru, “Venus Ray”, if I want to bask and bathe in the grace of everyone’s luminous company?  

 

Will you help me make friends in my neighborhood?  Not that I’m tossing the oldies but goodies aside… just seeking calm, rejuvenative balance in my Life.

 

A recurring image flashes in my mind’s eye when I’m reflecting on my Path…. I see myself blindfolded, in total darkness… groping about the contours of my environment… feeling for doors and windows… seeking one that opens when I exert focused will.  

 

And when I find an opening, I know it is my Destiny to be brave and step across the Threshold, into the mysterious world therein.

 

The door into my new Life* in the Bay Area flung the fuck open for me.  No questions asked. Within less than a week of declaring my intention to leap… it was like “Yeah Bitch*, walk on through!”  So…

 

This Royal Bitch is walking on through.  Trust-walking. But not without a shadowed underbelly of apprehension.

 

And now for a few words on Bitch* and Life*.  

 

I like the word “Bitch”, because it is evocative.  Too often, it gets a bad rap. It is construed as a wicked insult to women.  But that’s so thoughtlessly mainstream, if you ask me. Deep within every woman, lives a bitch.  Fierce, venomous and unapologetic. But we have been domesticated to the point of near apocalypse.  We have been programmed to dull our own swords, walk in straight lines and keep our legs pressed together.  We have been hypnotized to fear and reject our own dimensionally vivifying, evocative and intelligent shadows.  Fuck that.

 

And LIFE.  To me, “Life” and “God” are synonyms.  Life is God’s profound, undulating body.  Life is how we touch, feel, know God. And therefore, our Selves.  Sure, God’s Queendom of Infinity extends Beyond all that which is that which we know as Life.  But if you think about it, LIFE itself stretches Beyond that which we “know” as Life….

 

Can I truly REST inside the God-ness that IS this Life I AM?  

 

As I posed that fluorescent, flame-dancing question, I became immediately present to tension in my body.  The tension of bracing myself against the Unknown. Bracing myself against the inevitability of the death of my body.  And in a flash was the knowing that trust emerges in a single mOMent, as the willingness to RELAX, surrender all tension.  

 

Oh, I’m celebrating this Revelation with a deeeeep breath!!!

 

God, thank you for Being Here.  For Listening. For breathing me.  For filling me with just enough wisdom and insight to navigate THIS MOMENT.  That’s plenty.

 

Sincerely,

Athena Grace

Potent Reflections by a Heavyweight Goddess

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I own this fucker.

Everyone Dies. And a Funny Ending…

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

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

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

Life is the weirdest.

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

Gold…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s to fully living

and fully dying.

With inspiring grace.

Total faith.

And as much love

as One can muster

from amidst the flames

and purging pain.

xoxo,

Athena Grace

Breathing into Life and Death… and Beyond

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I wonder if the caterpillar mush inside a cocoon cries out, and kicks the cursed walls of its vessel of scared Becoming… because it’s all frustrated, molten passion, bound and tragically wingless.  I bet.

I report this often, but it truly is an ever-new experience:  I just drew in a slow, deep breath… and in doing so, remembered my Self.  It was revelatory.  And I was not expecting it… I was all twisted up in the mental concept of being trapped within the confining walls of my current alchemical “prison”, until an inhale overtook me and I was reborn.  Thank God.  I believe in the queendom and the power and the GLORY of the breath.  I believe that it is a one way ticket to intimacy with Everything.  I believe that we can offer our love to ALL with every exhale, and transform the Fabric of Reality.  Sometimes I forget that I believe this…. which is why I am sooo glad that we are having this little, intimate chat.  I don’t know what I’d do without you!!

I also want to believe that I die with every exhale… but that lofty concept still remains a bit out of my reach… like it’s in a shiny wrapper atop God’s fridge, and I am a toddling infant, merely tantalized by its seductive, untouchable existence.

I was intending to segue into the elusive yet compelling topic of death right about now… but I must admit that this is an intimidating endeavor!  I will take a stab! (Oh haha that’s a pun!)(I’m almost certain that was the first pun I’ve ever served up here in Athena Graceland!  Eight years in…. Wish I had a bell to ring…)  Because it just so happens that another of my latest (kamikaze) missions is to befriend failure!  So this is like a two for one sale– take a stab at death, befriend failure along the way, PLUS, act now and you get a free bonus PUN.

Death.  (I just breathed again.)  I’ve never read The Tibetan Book of the Dead… but I’ve heard whispered rumors that its premise is Life as a practice ground for dying.  Even though I don’t totally understand this, it illuminates a knowing in my soul.  (Gosh, there went another serious breath!  Perhaps it’s a sign that I’m touching on something juicy.)

My abiding, essential spiritual inspiration (I cringe at the title “Spiritual Teacher”, because it has become a fad.  A totally trendy, new age thing to “have”.  And Matt Kahn doesn’t want to be put on a pedestal.  His mission is to awaken the Master in ALL, through the power of Love.  This sounds sensible to me.), Matt Kahn often shares that he spent ten years dying… In orderer to become the clear channel of Infinite Love that he is now.  Between healing sessions he offered, he lay on his couch, wrapped in a blanket, shivering, shaking and… dying.   Glamorous, eh?

I often use that snippet of his story as a reference point… as I come undone.  My whole journey with the father of my daughter has been woven with threads of colossal heartbreak and disappointment… as well as shimmering, sensuous threads of ecstasy and oneness.  Ha!…Sometimes when Serena meets a moment of profound frustration, wisdom smiles through me, singing out, “Oh, the agony and the ecstasy…”  She is such a lucid expression of the human condition.  No filters.  And now, I am mother to my own Innocence, singing the same sentence of unsolvable ISness.  God help me.

The agony and the ecstasy indeed.  But in these excruciating moments, when I am shattered and no one can save me (I hate that!!!), I think of Matt Kahn dying in his blanket, and our favorite Lord and Savior, Jesus dying on the cross… and I remind myself that if I *entirely* relax to the experience, allow it obliterate what is not real, what I no longer need for the Journey ahead… that I might actually be getting “somewhere”.  Somewhere of genuine value.

I’m afraid of dying in the most obvious sense… leaving my body, and no longer having the sacred, galactic privilege of being “Athena Grace”.  I can’t imagine that my soul has ever been such a resplendent character… Even though it has been a long, difficult, lonely and perplexing road, I am such an ingenious divine poem in the flesh… I feel outrageously fortunate to be so wildly expressive, deeply feeling, impassioned, articulate… and especially to love so huge.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Plus, at a more rudimentary level, I’m afraid of pain.  It seems like it might really hurt to leave this body…

But it couldn’t hurt any more that F-ing CHILDBIRTH for God’s sake!!!!!  That was the most excruciating twelve hours of my entire life (not to mention the time-slurring aftermath of having my recklessly torn labia sewn back up… but at least I got to hold my sleeping bundle of heaven through this portion of the torturous joy-ride).  And now that I think about it, I DID die.  So what’s the big deal, Athena??

Maybe I’m afraid to LIVE.  Afraid to FAIL.  Afraid to GIVE EVERYTHING of myself… to offer my voice and my love so vulnerably and risk being rejected or misunderstood.  It’s a trendy stance to take that “it’s not failure we’re truly afraid of, but SUCCESS”… this might be true… but if it is, I can’t access my “fear of success”.  I yearn from my depths to be a famous writer.  To me, this is the ultimate manifestation of soul-full success– to uncork and decant my heart as worlds of words that heal, bless and transform others, for the wellbeing of ALL.   And to be financially supported this way.  God I want to graduate from the janky domain of “just scraping by”… take vacations, cut generous checks to world-elevating charities… and heck, just to not break a sweat about needing a goddamn haircut or winter boots… or new pants that make me feel outrageously awesome and gorgeous.  And what about that raw opal ring I lust for??  Not to mention all of the stuff I want Serena to have access to… like gymnastics, dance, piano lessons, horseback riding, art classes, international travel….

Inhale.

Exhaaaale.

Death.  A couple of mornings ago, I dreamt of my deceased beloved, Dan.  In the dream, he was my longterm substitute teacher.  He wore a cashmere sweater, which perfectly portrays the texture of his soul– soooo soft and gentle and wonderful to touch.  I awoke and cried a surprising sea of tears into the solitary darkness.  I realized that I was grieving the passion that poured forth from me, into our Joining.

In this current, parched, solitary chapter of my walk-about through Infinity, I feel so much passion inside.  My body is aflame, and this potent energy has nowhere to flow.  Naturally, I am exaggerating, because, duh, it’s flowing from my fingertips into your eyeballs, right this second… It’s just that my life is such sacred drudgery these days.  Yes, my passion flows into Serena’s Miraculous Unfurling, too.  And this is beyond wonderful.   I guess it’s just my Poet’s Heart, exploded wide open and groping at the weird fabric of Creation, with the holy mission of “knowing itSelf”.  And when you try to fathom Infinity copping a feel of it’s own boundlessness… you can see that this could be fertile ground for insatiable yearning.  Sigh.  Maybe this relentless holy inferno is just my nature.  Breathe into THAT ONE, Athena…

I want some friggin relief.  I want to make exquisite delicious, soul-merging love… dance into untamed nirvana … swim unbounded in warm, turquoise oceans… roller-skate through Golden Gate Park with Serena on an excruciatingly pristine sunny day… AND ESPECIALLY— pour my passion-stained words into the minds of the masses and explode hearts into zillions of dancing, winged stars.

Death… Maybe it is the courage to inhabit one’s Life with Totality, openness and ignited passion… After all, what of “ourself” can withstand this Ultimacy of Presence?  When one is fully given to each newborn breath, to the shimmering pulsation of NOW… one cannot exist as a collection of limiting habits, beliefs and limitations.  One is….

One IS.

(I guess I still have more to discover about life and death… But I celebrate myself for taking a courageous stab at this wicked, daunting topic!!)

May we all be willing to die to ourselves and emerge as exquisite, winged Masters of Love.

The Ultimate Soul Workout

wonderwoman

Life begins the day you realize it’s meant to be hard.

At least for ME, that’s how it went down.

Being an etherial new-age baby, I struggled a bunch, clutching a dazzling-law-of-attraction-belief that Life was supposed to be easy… and then meeting so many unwieldy mOMents, and intense feelings, and not knowing what to do or be to make my Life submit and behave in the way of ease.  God, it is such an uphill climb.

The crucial point lurking in this hypothesis though, is that at a soul level, this sloppy, unwieldy struggle one of the Heavenly Lord’s all-time greatest boons.  To incarnate in this arduous dimension is heavyweight strength training!  Who wants to be a gorgeous, sparkling, winged mirage, fluttering insouciantly about in a revealed rendition of Heaven… when you could be attending the BEST costume party in the galaxy… suiting up in a nice dense meat sack and pushing figurative boulders up custom-fashioned metaphorical mountains, developing sweet, spiritual six-packs and bulging biceps of the soul?  We really have our priorities dialed in, down here on earth.

Plus, we get to drink tea and coffee!!!  I bet that is the tipping point for many incarnate angels.

Lately, I’ve been having a hot and heavy wonder what it would be like to inhabit my Life with a relaxed internal poise… a *genuine* and full bodied acceptance of the reality in which I marinate.  Because mostly, there’s this whole consuming layer of experience that occurs like agitation.  Like the cursed grain of sand inside the holy oyster shell of my existence.  A destructive, gnawing idea that I’m partially living the WRONG life.  Just partially.  There are SOME elements that are oh-so-right… Really key ones~ like that I’m Athena Grace… and that I have the *most* awesome baby girl.  Now that I’m endeavoring to articulate it, I realize that I LOOOOVE who I AM… I’m just struggling with the process of ACTUALIZING the raw blueprint of my soul.  And searching for that deep sense of Belonging, of hOMe.  God, I hope there’s a phat pink pearl in the works…

And hence, we come full circle to the opening statement of this gloriously enlightened stream of words~ this is the resistance training that I enthusiastically came to partake in.  How to be this AWESOME, luminous heavenly body IN A MEAT SUIT, and masterfully sculpt Infinite Light into a soul-satisfying, consciousness-liberating, Love-revealing, integrity-infused, breath-giving work of sacred art.  I mean think about it… doesn’t that sound like the BEST vacation for God to take???  Yeah.  Totally.

But in the mean time, here I am… wishing I had the utterly fabulous Partner by my side.  A loving, devoted father for Serena.  I am haunted by visions of being a powerful, spiritual leader and a beloved and widely read writer of grace-stained words that liberate ALL HEARTS.  Feeling stuck in this cloistered spiritual community in the woods, that though wrought with kindness, safety and even friendship… isn’t the path that ignites passion in my heart, or pure resonance in my soul.  I feel guilty typing that… because God… people here have embraced me beyond what I could have hoped for.  Typing that made my eyes sting.  Lemme take a deepie (breath)… and really let this Grace sink in.

Lately, I’ve been asking myself how I’d define Grace… Because it’s my last name, for God’s sake!  And it’s like the air we breathe… invisible, and something we don’t even have to think about… because it’s always nearer to us than our own selves… But… it’s still handy to have a distinguished notion of this essential and beneficent ISness.

Grace…

It’s the Invisible Oceanic Goodness in which we ARE.  We don’t have to earn it… and we couldn’t escape it if we tried.  The tricky part, is that Grace is responsible not only for that which we deem “good” in our lives, but the “bad” stuff too. Under the inescapable, psychedelic umbrella of Grace, EVERYTHING we live is Divinity in action, and is conspiring for the outrageous and triumphant unfurling revelation of the sublime heavenly light within us.

I guess that’s why Hafiz wrote this poem:

Running

Through the streets

Screaming,

Throwing rocks through windows,

Using my own head to ring

Great bells,

Pulling out my hair,

Tearing off my clothes,

Tying everything I own

To a stick,

And setting it on

Fire.

What else can Hafiz do tonight

To celebrate the madness,

The joy,

Of seeing God

Everywhere!

Sigh… Grace is God.  And God is ALL… And yet, knowing all this, I am still perched cozily on my couch in the pale light of dawn, wondering how in the heck to make my life what I want it… digging so deep to crack the code of the mystifying dynamism between effort and surrender.  Is my Destiny inevitable???  Or is it true what Tori Amos told my ex-fiance, the night we met her, shining like a riveting Goddess Mirage?  He asked her, “Do you believe in Destiny?”

Her reply~ “She needs your help.”

I want to help Her…

I want to bench press the World in the name of Love.  In the name of giving EVERYTHING to liberate the flame of passion that burns inside me, such that it ignites the World in holy celebration.

This is the “meaning of Life”.  And it is supposed to be hard!

But it is the most gratifying workout in Existence.

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