Alone. My favorite word. Ever. Sometimes.

Wouldn’t it be fucking aweful if I died before I got famous as a writer?  As much as my tongue lusts for the taste of faaaame… I’m not feeling the “waste your life becoming a dead prodigy” vibe.  There is this– what are those people who love to flaunt themselves all over the place–exhibitionist, oh yeah…  There is an exhibitionist in me who neeeeeds to liiiiiiive this.  She will not be silenced by masking tape, nor death.  She must cry the words of her heart like a jubilantly bubbling volcano.  

Oh my goddd what am I talking about.  I have written like twelve books today already… and then the salty swagger of my mind has whacked them all down as though they were mere weeds in the orchard.  And here I am now, stoned as I’ve been for the past…. Ummm…. Weeeeeek annnnnnnd God I have fallen off the time space  continuum and I really don’t love it.  I’m not really a stoner at heart I guess.  Well… I DO love to trip.  But I don’t love to recoil deeper into myself.  Oh maybe I do.  But only for a little while.  And then pop out into the euphoric thrill of palpable Togetherness.  

Anyway I’m NOT in love with being stoned and coffee is the magikal friend who hustles and rustles the ride’em wild brain cells; brings them back into an orderly bunch upon their magic carpet.  Yeah this is waaaay too hard.  To write.  But I need to do it.  And say something juicy and profound.

It’s like I’m walking about the Train that is Life and peeking out the picture window where death lurks.  And this seems at first like a scary thing, but it’s really just another window to look out of.  Until you’re off the train…

Anyway I just spoke with my dad.  I wanted to claim this time alone ALL FOR MEEEE…. But… I’m tested every time and made to face that ancient and essential question… when faced with my last mOMent (which perhaps is really the first and the serpent is greedily slurping his slick and slimy tail) would I keep said mOMent alll for my smarmy little SELF…. 

Or would I, for example, answer the phone and share it with my Dad.  And then, if I chose to share it with my dad, as Life would have it… Would I REALLY be “sharing it” with my dad, or would I just pretend to be, while I clutched “it” close to my chest and clenched my heart and hoped for the best.  No.  That’s not such a fulfilling way to have relationships, Athena.  So there I am with my soft coffee buzz melting across the screen of “Reality”.  My dad’s voice on the other end of my smart phone.  

And basically people~ it’s a classic case of two people who would just be better off if they just loved each other (haha this is our quintessential collective classic case)… and…. And what?  What gets in the way for me with my dad?  I guess I want him to be more consistently demonstrative.  And enthusiastic.  And shamelessly adoring.  Haha.  Just laughing because expectations are so unwieldy to carry around.  And if I had to show up that way all the time, I’d be tired for sure!  

This play is so stupid!  And so precious.  THAT is the moral of the story.  Take it to heart people.  We’ve probably all had moments of hating life, cursing our own… part of Her very own dark seduction is this searing hatred.  The liberated and throbbing ecstasy of aversion.  Yes, I have marinated in my own thick, sludgy pool of misgivings and then when this fragile and stunning dream threatens to be torn from my irreverent fingertips and I am uproarious.  Absolutely NOT you CAN’T rip this poetically dripping life from me.  Not yet.  No way.

But back to my dad…

I try to imagine what it’s like for HIM.  Seventy two or whatever… and he’s facing the possibility of losing his forty one year old daughter who lives across the world from him with her two young kids and your relationship was never a sparkling example of sunday skool, Jesus Mary and Joseph kinda love.  I often feel defensive… when he asks me questions about my healing path.  But today I remembered that he is simply seeking connection.  I was gonna throw in some kinda cheap afterthought blow to his character… like that he’s not the expert at creating connection. But then I realized that perhaps he IS.  He has been working the Crap Table for longer’n I been alive.  Such a post does require a hearty dose of connection I believe.  I tend to put myself on a pedestal at times and imagine others as less than divine brilliance (sometimes I put others above and me below, just to keep it fresh)… And through this experience of “sickness”, I can see that when I cast others in the “inferior” intelligence roll, the Play is not so much fun to “play” in…. Let alone “STAR” in.  

That’s a huge piece of this thing.  This “sickness”.  Is like groping inside to find that OTHER life.  The one that is an expression of WELLNESS.  The me that is living in Alignment.  AS alignment.  I feel myself reconfiguring… I hope it all works out ok!  Wink…

So my cute dad… It’s sorta understatedly endearing that he flounders and falls short.  The humanness is the point.  I too often forget this, expecting everyone (and myself) to be holier than Thou… and the world becomes a cacophony of crashing cups and plates as porcelain songs and blown glass dances CRASH, here and there and all about!

Something else that I don’t want to talk about is what will happen to Serena if I don’t make it to the other side of this raging river.  Suddenly it’s so like that.  The water is roaring in my ears and I’m screaming out above it… 

Don’t fuckin drop me.  

Yeah I don’t want to talk about what will happen with Serena.  It’s just a Thing.  A very Serious and Important Thing.  And it’s wild… trying to be “good” and “responsible” and face it.  But it’s basically like peeping your head down this corridor of time in which you do not exist.  And at some point along in this humming hallucination, you realize you are dreaming into your own bodily demise and then you hafta ask yourself if that’s really the neighborhood you want to linger in…  

I don’t. 

But also I do… a little bit.  

Enough to add juice and spice to my simmer.  I try to remember who I was… before I had kids.  Before life got so top-heavy.  Before my hope was blue lipped and frigid.  I was all hopped up on magical sauce.  People called me “Peter Pan”.  I had never walked the darkest streets.  Is that true?  No.  I’ve always veered onto dark streets.  But how can anyone have the rooted maturity to inhabit their life as the Unsayable Gift that it is, until they have nearly (or completely) lost (and then found) this tender flame and the breath that Sustains.  God I nominate myself for asking the Rhetorical Question of the Fucking Year.  Can one inhabit such precious innocence without first facing it’s loss?  It sure helps in my case…. Rubbing up against all these rough edges of Life, until I am smooth as FUCK.  

And then WHAT???

Haha ya got me.  And then… I’m smooth as fuck.  And hopefully my smoothness will be of value to you somehow… or not… maybe I was better when I was jagged and I refracted the light with a savage flash, reminiscent of Her merciful eye.  I guess I shant try to run anywhere.  

Actually, THIS is exactly where I want to be.  On my belly on my bed in the afternoon sun ALONE listening to Adey Bell and roaming about the space that ONLY I AM capable of encountering, and fitting it into strings of beaded brilliance that if we are lucky will catch The First Light and strike a bonfire orchestra of Remembrance…  Isn’t it amazing what words and mOMents and bodies can do?  That innocent flashing refraction of the infinite… disguised in hum-drum-mundane costumes.    

I’m smooth and clever as fuck, but I still don’t want to unpack all the feelings around searching for new parents for my daughter who ONLY BELONGS WITH ME.  God, please look through my eyes.  With your outrageous and simple LOVE.  From here, all is well and makes as much sense as it needs to.  

But please God…. help me get across this ferocious river.  Seriously.                 

A Light-hearted Cancer Confessional

Ok, now that I’ve let off the first layer of existential-literary steam… what do I have to say?  

There are so many things I long to tell you….

Like what a terrible word “cancer” seems to be.  I don’t like telling people “I have cancer”, because I think in most minds, people interpret that as “I am storming Death’s Door”.  And really, that is NOT the idea that I’m hot on planting in the minds of the masses.  But maybe cancer came to visit me so that I could help clear its Name.  Maybe cancer is ready to be collectively imbued with more empowered impressions.  Like “my check engine light just flashed on, and I’m gonna have a good look under the hood”.  (Unfortunately, I did not invent that cleverness, the oncological nutritionist I am working with used that analogy in her video this morning.  But it’s good, huh?)  

So yes, they confirmed tumors in my lungs.  Four.  The largest was 3cm.  But I am imagining them SHRINKING.  

I don’t believe that I have a death sentence.  I believe that I am lucky enough to have the searing motivation to do a complete overhaul of my life and wellbeing.  And I am willing.  I am supported beyond my wildest dreams.  

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!…. to the droves of people, both who know me and who do not know me personally, but have heard my story and showered me in money, prayers and love… Thank you for letting my life and the lives of my children matter so deeply to you.  The truth is that it has not mattered to me as much as it does NOW.  Since my teens, I have entertained suicidal notions, because IT’S HARD DOWN HERE.  But number one, MY KIDS NEED ME.  And number two, I *MUST* become KNOWN as a writer whose words touch the hearts and minds of the masses, and liberate the unsightly though wholly lovable humanity we all share.

But I don’t want to waste my whole free hour talking about dumb old cancer.  Ooops, sorry cancer, you’re my new best friend!  Maybe even my torrid Lover.  You will unleash unprecedented wisdom that is now ripening within my soul and I will humbly decant it for ALL.

But for now, I need to tell you what it was like to go into the hospital in unbearable pain, my stomach a tight balloon.  I had NO idea what was in store for me.  Thank GOD.  After a panoply of tests, a semi-circle of surgeons informed me that my colon was completely blocked and they were going to remove a huge chunk of it and then reattach it, so that it was sticking out the side of my belly and I would henceforth poop into a bag.  At least for a few months until I healed enough for them to reunite it with my butthole.

This was THE MOST shocking moment of my life.  

In fact as I tell you about it, my pulse is rising and it’s hard to breathe.  But I want to tell you!  Guess what I did after they dropped that bomb on me….

I asked if I could call Giordano.  

I needed some kind of reality check because the ground had just dropped out from under me.

Surprisingly, he was a bit reassuring (that’s usually not his forte) and he told me to go ahead and surrender to their protocol.  (I had doubts about this!  I still believed that there must be a mistake…)

So they strapped me to a long, hard table, doped me up and sliced me apart.  When I came to again, my body was literally thrashing like a wild animal, against my restraints.  Slowly, I was able to see out of my own eyes again and my understanding washed back in in little spurts.  I thought I must be dreaming.  The circumstances were way too obscure to believe in.  Nurses busied themselves around me, but none provided the emotional support I was desperate for.  They told me (in Italian) to sleep.  This seemed ludicrous.  But then I guess the morphine kicked in.

When I awoke again, it was to a new life.

And here’s the most outrageous detail… the moment I first saw my colon peeping out at me from the left side of my belly.  Are there even any words for such a moment???  Being wide awake… and seeing your insides on the outside.  I guess I was terrified.  This terror slowly dissipated… at an impressive rate.  And now I feel pretty damn cool about my colon sticking out.  It’s a really exquisite organ… deeep red and full of shy, succulent folds.  It doesn’t have a lot of sensation.  It bleeds easily when I clean it.  Does that creep you out?  Yeah, our mortality is such a discombobulating topic.  These vulnerable bodies.  Tender armor of legions of angelic warriors come to realize themSelves amidst a crushingly rugged backdrop.  

Speaking of mortality, I need to confide in you what it’s like to face mine.  That’s no frivolous small talk, eh?  Have you ever sat still in the center of THAT one?  

During the days, my energy is high.  I am eating such a clean and nutritious diet at this point, that I feel amazing.  I am also riding on a luminous magic carpet of prayers and spiritual protection, which is palpable and precious.  I am busy with my children, appointments, research, making the most of delicious nibbles of down-time…

And then comes night.  In the solitary, silent darkness, my own shadows and hidden fears slither in and dance mockingly about me.  I wake frequently in the night.  I feel strange, foreign pangs in my lungs.  I hear my children breathing beside me in the bed.  There is nowhere to run.  I wonder if I will die.  I reach for God and feel Nothing.  Only me.  Forest stirs occasionally and calls out “Mama, Mama…” in his sleep and I tell God that I MUST STAY WITH HIM.  And with Serena.  God I am ENTIRELY WILLING to do what I must to save my precious life.  

It’s really such a Gift.  To fondle this forbidden, mostly forsaken edge of life.  With courage and curiosity.  With tremulous flinching desperation.  It will only make me more Real.  More tender.  More awake to what I AM.  

Broken into twisted Bliss

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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

 

The Riveting Glory of Impermanence and Failure!

You know how “They” say to live each mOMent like it’s your last… It’s a totally cool idea.  But mostly it doesn’t work. (Haha, unless I need an excuse to be super impulsive with money!)  In my default mode, I imagine the Journeys I am inside of will sprawl on forever. (Oh, except for the PTSD I’ve developed around sudden loss of people who matter the most in my heart…)

But suddenly, the taste of Impermanence dances on my tongue.   

I have eleven days left here at Ananda.  On the twelfth day, me and the two most important men in my life (little bro and baby daddy) will caravan outa this spiritual utopia, cars and truck brimming with “stuff”.  (As a cosmic gypsy, “stuff” mostly occurs like a boulder in my Ugg boot. But I’ve ditched my art supplies and then suddenly been accosted by the NEED to make art.. And then had no choice but to blow my cash wad on a fresh set of eyeball burning colors of acrylic paint… enough times to feel slightly more sober about what I choose to slog along on my semi-intentional Walk About on Planet Earth.)

Ahem, so in twelve days, mine and Serena’s entire World will change.  I’ll probably hear traffic through my bedroom window, and I won’t be able to see every calmly seductive star in the multiverse, when I step outside in the deep, dark morning.  

For two and a half years, I’ve cried myself to sleep, missing the vast, wild, melodically roaring Ocean.  But yesterday at the Yuba River, I realized that in twelve days, I will have no fewer (figurative) tears. The River had pervaded my soul and I will ache in Her absence.  If you’ve never met Mama Yuba, She is evocatively bracing, steadily singing, rushing crystaline aqua Love. Endlessly generous, she tirelessly resets your cells to their natural state of reverberating Hallelujah.  She suckles your worries, concerns and delusions, as if they were the sweetest milk, ecstatically sweeping them to the winking heart of Oblivion.

I want to run to Her and throw myself IN.  Merge with her wild beauty and stay Forever.  I can see why my Dan chose to die at the streaming hands of a River….

But now salt and sand and crashing waves will be my Salvation.  Negative ions drenching my aura and making me drunk and Restored.  

I confess that I groped for the EXIT the entire time I was here at Ananda.  Feeling confined and isolated. Wait, am I speaking of my time at Ananda, or my whole entire Life?  (It’s interesting to exist in the time of smartphones, because emojis have pervaded my alphabet. I think not only in letters, but also goofy little faces.  I had an urge to insert the smiling face with squinted eyes, squirting tears.)

How come it takes me so fucking long to get to the Meat of my heart and thoughts?  I guess because I must pierce their Skin first. The Meat is that I cried at family kirtan on Friday, because it finally hit me what I was about to lose.  A few years ago, a bunch of souls decided to incarnate together and meet up at Ananda. Serena was one of them. They’ve been together since day one. And even though I have felt to be an Outsider, the Ananda families have embraced and cared for us through very challenging times.

Even though I don’t feel free to spit and swear and talk about sex with *most* of the other moms, I love them and they love me.  

And now I shall burst your bubble of endearing naivety with sobering news:

LIFE IS TOTALLY IMPERFECT.  

Can I just totally jump tracks?  YES, Athena, this is YOUR Queendom of Concealed Heaven, and you are free to express anything and everything!!!  Oh cool, because I really need to confess and digest my recent webinar! Overall, I’m totally proud of myself. It was my first EVER and I gave it my ALL.  

At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about…

Giving it ALL.  

Even though tragedy struck and Zoom suddenly demanded money, right the fuck NOW and then cut me off twenty minutes before the scheduled hour was complete, I still came away with a feeling of exhilaration and healthy pride, that stayed with me the rest of the day.  I was SURE that I had made it into the territory of Light That Possesses No Shadow.

But then, when the webinar guests didn’t show up in the secret facebook group that I created as a space for everyone to share a three minute video revealing where they have been hiding…. My party bus crashed into a glistening desert mirage.  I posted a vid first, to open the way, and model the culture of raw, joyful authenticity. Only my dear friend watched and commented. The other three women blinked out of existence, and I was left to sit alone and feel through the underbelly of my pride and invulnerability.  

In my video I shared how “up until now” (insert mocking emoji face), I had been easily stopped by Perfectionism.  But stepping into leadership, webinars and circle facilitation had opened a portal into newfound freedom to be a beginner, fuck up, and be at the bottom of a massive, mountainous learning curve.  

Interesting to watch myself.  As soon as I realized that (almost) nobody gave a fuck what I had to say, my inner Perfectionist swooped in to “save the day”.  Meaning shut me down, so that I wouldn’t have to feel through unsavory emotions such as shame, humiliation and the deep vulnerability of being accountable for my Passion.

Juicy, right?!

At first, I was EN FUEGO to schedule and plan my next webinar… but then, said dark emotions and thoughts swooped in…. old familiar voices began to resound in my head… The militant dictator, fondly known as “Royal Fuck It”, started to take charge and bark orders.

Oh.  My. Goodness.

Naturally, the only option is to KEEP MOVING FORWARD.  Though it certainly IS mighty gracious of Her Holiness, Royal Fuck It, to be so invested in protecting me from unsavory feelings. (insert batting eyelash emoji)

Maybe it’s time to hit the Tony Robbins channel.  Awaken the damn Giant within.

I’m growing.

It’s actually quite pleasant.

I’ve gotta wrap up for now… but maybe next time I can share with you the strange, simultaneously unsettling and relieving, cumulative disappearance of my spiritual identity.  

With Abundant Love from Graceland,

Athena

Stuck On Fumble

I want to write something different. Lately I feel like I come to Athena Graceland, whining about all that life is, and all that life isn’t. And yes, I believe that life is what I make it. But these days, I feel like a skipping record caught on fumble fuck. I see people on Facebook raving about how awesome life is… and I aggressively suck in on myself, because I feel like I should be saying stuff like that too, given how essentially wise and radiant and caring I am.

I am in darkness. Caught in a hazy dream. Groping desperate and determined at self-imposed walls, in hopes of stumbling upon a massive, stunning, golden door, with an ornate, glowing knob that throbs in anticipation of being turned by my large, elegant hand. It is a dangerous game- looking into a future strictly informed by an out-grown husk of an imagined past. Why am I doing that? Because although it is painfully binding to the vast magnificence fighting to be born through me, it is comfortable like “holy” sweats.

I’m trying to use the tools I learned in spiritual counseling… going inside, getting quiet, lifting myself into a superconscious state. I hate the word “try”. And I prefer not to use the word “hate”. Ugh. See, I keep picking fights with myself, which is totally counter-productive to where I want to go. But the part of me invested in staying stuck, freakin LOVES IT! Anyway, it “seems” like “trying” when I go within, because it’s like visiting a foreign country where I don’t speak the language. Or maybe even another planet, where can’t breathe the air because it’s way too refined for prehistoric beasts such as Athena Grace.

I’ve taken to talking to Yogananda’s photograph in the mornings before I start my yoga and meditation. I’m always amazed at how willing he is to talk with me. Recently, he told me to have compassion for myself. LOADS of it. Like more than even GOD is capable of. And I thought cheerfully to myself, “Wow, I can do that!”. But now, here I am on the playing field, and mustering that kind of compassion is harder than it seemed at first glance. Because I want to be THE BEST. But then the gap between this fuzzy, distorted image of “THE BEST”, and the reality of where I perceive myself to be is comparable to the Grand Canyon. Though I’ve never been there, I imagine it is exponentially immense. But it is also gorgeous. Maybe the massive gap between who I am and who I think I should be is actually one of the seven wonders of the world! Maybe it is a tourist attraction that brings bazillions of humble, everyday people to their knees in awe, because the views are so stunning!

I have to bring lightness to this unsavory place I am imagining myself to be in… or else I will soon collapse in the drought of my own self-imposed forgetfulness. This morning, I got in the shower and began to sob and even though I was afraid of upsetting the other residents of Villa Luce (my Ma’s house), I had to go with it, because all this energy welling up in me sought liberation through expression.

Wait, before I go any further, I have to tell you that yesterday I officially became a disciple of Yogananda. I was sure in my heart that this was the right thing to do… but today I am feeling anxious, because now I feel this perpetual self-judgement hanging over my head, like I “SHOULDN’T” be having so many feelings. Like Yoganada doesn’t approve. (Hmmm, interesting. My mom actually DID used to say those very words to me when I was a kid… when she didn’t like the way I was behaving. She’d say in a stern, sing-song voice, “Dawn… Yogananda wouldn’t approve…” Scarry.) But yeah, I feel like he’s standing over my shoulder, watching EVERYTHING I do, and judging me for being too emotional, too free-spirited, too self-indulgent. Shit. I’m gonna hafta evolve into a healthier relationship with my guru… because this is NOT sustainable.

Ahem… so to the projected distaste of my beloved guru, I’m freshly showered and still intermittently spilling with teary sorrow, as I gather my belongings and prepare to head out of the house to find a place to write, when the harp begins to strum, and I realize I am getting a phone call. Who could it be, I wonder… I look and my iPhone screen says “Dad”. Not the first person I’d think to call while my heart is all broken in like five thousand pieces… but I answer it, because it’s been too long, and because God doesn’t make mistakes.

“Hello?” I manage, meekly, between sorrowful peels. “Athena?” he says, probably because I don’t sound like myself. “Yeah,” I reply. “Are you crying?” he asks, which sends me into another upsurge of tearful crooning. I’m laughing to myself as I reflect on the unfolding of our conversation from there; Me, doing my best to speak through waves of unbridled sorrow, and him responding with an all-too-familiar strain of masculine reason, “I can’t understand you when you’re crying like that.”

I just want him to be like, “Oh sweetheart… you are so loved…I’m here with you…” and I’m wondering inside why on earth I chose to answer his call… and simultaneously trying not to take myself or him too seriously. Cuz we’re both just actors in a play called “The Moment”, and I’m honestly not sure if it’s supposed to be a comedy or a tragedy…Meanwhile, he’s walking his five month old yellow lab puppy and he keeps diverting from our conversation to discipline “Koby”, and talk to all the people he’s encountering. Jesus almighty. But I decide to let it all just BE…

And eventually, he comes around, and like a fresh-water spring pouring from the side of a high and glorious mountain, he starts spouting totally kind and wise words to me. Like he’s already proud of me… for being who I am, and being willing to plunge into the Unknown… and that I could simply be practicing my yoga and meditation in a park in Oakland, and people would be drawn to my light… and I must be willing to flaunt what I’ve got so that people know what I have to offer. I’ve learned to have exceedingly low expectations of my dad. But since I let go of the hope of “getting anything from him”, he often surprises me with his love and insight. What I was left with, is a gentle invitation to remember who I am, and what I have to give. And to go for the “Big Prize”, as he refers to whatever “THAT” dream may be for me… And once again, I found myself stunned and surprised by the clarity with which my dad sees me. Considering that I haven’t visited him since last october, and it really didn’t go so well, and we live in universes neither parallel, nor perpendicular… but distant, like stars twinkling from opposite ends of a roomy galaxy.

I was walking to the Crystal Hermitage as we talked. Just as I was approaching it, my dad says, “Well, I’m just about done with my walk, so I gotta get goin…” I smile inwardly at the synchronous perfection. “Yeah, me too,” I affirm. And we lovingly wrap up our call. I am marveling at the intelligence and perfection of God, as I notice that my tears have dried and my heart feels waaay lighter.

Oh yeah, and he also told me that the “Big Prize” is behind door number three. So I shall keep groping about in this sanctified darkness that could only be God’s closet. And I pray that by pure Grace, my hand will eventually encounter that illustrious, throbbing knob.

Live,
A