The almost free birth of Forest (part 3)

How in Fuck’s holy name would I survive a twenty minute car ride???

 

Giordano may not have “lost it”… but nor did he have it together…. He asked me if Forest was moving anymore… I reflected on this, and then realized, no, he hasn’t moved for a while.  Still riding the swelling wave of fear that “going to the hospital had catalyzed, now I was paranoid that my baby was in distress.

 

I waddled into the hallway.  I braced myself on the small white desk that abides there (for lack of a better home).  Another vicious contraction and furious push.  Another.  And another.  OMFG.  Rapid fire.  “Good position or NOT, this baby was on his way out.  I took my police pants off again and somehow made it to the living room.

 

I climbed into the ugliest brown armchair you’ve ever seen (I’d been wanting to excommunicate it from our house since the moment it found its way in), braced myself with hands on the wall.  Gave a few more colossal pushes.   COLOSSAL.  I had no other choice.

 

THE RING OF FIRE.

 

The women on video chat had instructed me to “hang out here” for a bit… rather than pushing straight through it… so as not to tear.  Stretch open slowwwwly.

 

I had not met the ring of fire while birthing Serena.  Up until this moment, it was but a dramatic and terrible title.  Well… for those of you who, like me, haven’t a lucid intimacy with this fearsome BEAST…  It truly lives up to its name.  Irreconcilable BURN.  Like a dragon breathing fire on your genitals, burning them to oblivion.

 

I “hung out there” (haha, there was nothing casual or relaxed, as “hanging out” implies…) for maybe two contractions.  Three at most.  And then BAM!  Out popped…. SOMEthing.

 

Giordano was standing behind me, pouring with intensity and panic.

 

He announced it was Forest’s head.  He said Forest looked dead.  Like a damn fool (or maybe just a vulnerable, birthing woman in an altered state), I believed my doom and gloom husband!  Desperate to get his whole body out ASAFP, I pushed again.  And again.  The second time, part of his body slid out.  Third push, VOILA!!  Giordano and I clumsily caught him together.  Blood guuuussssshed out of me, drenching the ugliest chair in the world.  (A dried up, crimson splash still remains on the wall next to the radiator!  I want it to remain forever.)

 

The umbilical cord was wrapped around Forest’s neck one loose time.  I untwisted it.  (I want to “normalize” this occurrence.  Hospital culture would have you believe this is an “emergency situation”.  Rarely.  Many babies get benignly tangled in their cords.  I discovered this on the freebirth podcast, so I was not alarmed in the least.)

 

I held my jumbo, blood-bathed son!  He gasped for breath.  He sputtered, still full of amniotic fluid.  I sucked his nose and mouth.  This didn’t seem to help.  He cried.  (Giordano says he cried immediately… but as I had just pushed a nine pound human through my vagina, my chronology is not quite as crisp.)  Little Forest looked like a “fish out of water”… Alienated by this lickety-split miracle of moving from  spirit to form.  Breath, body, blood, otherness…  Ugh.  (We all must be NUTS to come here and subject our Selves to all this hoopla!)

 

I asked Giordano to hand me a towel.  Of course it was white! Speaking of white, my white tank top was now mostly RED.  The towel too.  I cradled my slimy baby in the rough, line-dried towel.   He was alive!  After he cried for a minute, he quieted and looked around.

 

Watching my newborn son register his arrival on planet earth was perhaps the most incredible moment of my entire life.  (With Serena, the nurse wiped her off with objectionable wet wipes from a package, which caused her to scream her head off for a few solid minutes before passing out on my chest.)  Forest was calm and wide awake.  His open gaze slowed time and silenced mind.  He abided in this sober, wakeful presence for at least an hour.

 

Meanwhile, I cradled him and waddled around the house in a wide-eyed stupor, his umbilical cord still plugged into the depths of my womb.  Blood gratuitously spilled from between my legs, leaving an artistically rendered trail of my haphazard course.

 

Giordano had called his Mama back in the “we are going to the hospital” chapter, asking her to accompany us.  (Apparently the Italian stereotype about men being super attached to their mamas is no joke.  I tease him that she is his first wife.)  Within minutes of Forest’s arrival, in came “Nona”.  This was a plot twist, but it felt right.  Forest called in Family.

 

Hubby-Dearest and his Mama tag-teamed with the mop, cleaning up endless puddles, streams, rivers, dribbles of blood.  (One “pro” of birthing in the hospital, is that the family can just chill and swoon while the “hired help” does the dirty work.  And trust me, it was a lot of dirty work…)  I remember standing at the bathroom sink, cradling Forest, and marveling at my two smeared, bloody footprints.

 

Blood continued to flow like wine rivers after I found my way to bed.  We had been so good about covering the bed with a shower curtain and a janky old duvet cover… I forgot to account for the messy aftermath.  Our *one* pair of summer sheets now shall sing the story of Forest’s birth forever more.

 

Oh.  And Forest’s HEAD.  Whoa, people.  When he first came out, he looked like an asymetrical UNICORN.  His head went on a magical mystery tour to pass through my vag.  Good gracious.  I think I texted or called Karen back and asked her if this was “normal”.  To my profound relief, she affirmed normalcy, and reassured me that it would quickly reshape.  It did.  But Lordy, I wish I had snapped a photo.  It was remarkable.  (I wish I had photos and video of the whole birth…. But there was no one I wanted to invite into my sacred space to play the roll of photographer.  This is a minor tragedy.)  I took a selfie when I got into bed.  Then I asked G to snap a couple more.  The rest must live in the mythic distortion of my and Giordano’s memory.

 

When got back in bed, my body shook violently.  This continued for at least half an hour.  Completely involuntary.

 

I offered Forest my breast and waited for the urge to birth the placenta.  Nearly two hours later, I was still waiting.  I consulted Karen, and she told me to get the thing OUT… so I lightly tugged on the cord, as I pushed.  My placenta was not so jazzed to part ways with my womb, but finally blubbered out into  the plastic, orange bowl.  What a fucking relief.  Now Forest was not attached to the inside of my body any longer, but to a bowl hosting a blob of bloody meat.

 

Next on the thrilling itinerary, Giordano and I burned the umbilical cord.  (This coterizes it, so a clamp is unnecessary.  I also preferred this means of release, for its ceremonial and elemental aspects).  I wanted  to give Forest plenty of time to reabsorb all the goodness the placenta had to offer… and yet, after two and a half hours, I was done with the large-scale production of cords and bowls and bloody organs.

 

The cord burning was the quintessential scene for a movie… though living through it was traumatizing.  Giordano, who by this time was crabby and way less than generous, was holding the candle.  I held the baby and the cord?  G kept scolding me for holding the cord too close to the flame.  He had the patience of a piranha.  Thanks dude.  I guess he forgot that I had just pushed a human out of my vagina, and was still in the process of losing gallons of blood.  I kept asking him to be nice.  But apparently he didn’t have access to this particular virtue at this particular moment.  It probably took eleven minutes.  The longest eleven minutes of my life….

 

Our bedroom now smelled like a barbecue.  The three inches of remaining cord protruded from Forest’s little belly like a white worm. I ate a ripe banana and went to sleep.  It was a little after 4am.

 

Advertisements

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.

 

Sunlight and Sweet Relief

Mmmm somebody at the table next to me is wearing aftershave.  As a kid, I used to relish watching my dad shave before work (swing shift in the casino!).  He’d squirt a shamelessly generous poof of Barasol beard buster shaving cream into his hand, spread it about his five o’clock shadow and go to town with his blue bic razor.  Fast and focused.  I’m sure he could have performed this ritual in the dark.  Then he’d rinse, dry and pat his tender, virgin cheeks with enchanting, blue splash of Aqua Velva.  To my seven year old self, this was the scent of a man.

 

Smell.  So powerful.  A memory orbiting a distant moon, suddenly fallen like a smoldering comet in my nostalgic lap.

 

I’m happy today.  And profusely hoping that I can ride this wave all the way to shore.  Wishing said shore was days away.  One of my earth angels, Dianne, said that with sunlight and a heart that says yes, I am a force to be reckoned with.  I feel that today.

 

I feel that filled with this happiness, I can do ANYTHING.  I feel wealthy and bold and creative.

 

Even though I barely slept.  Sleep is not my forte lately.  Most nights, I fall asleep with Serena in her bed… wake an hour later, pee (at this point, I spend half my life peeing) and then snuggle like a soft, squishy animal into bed with Giordano.  At which point, I rest into the weight of my struggle and the suppressed force of my Desires.  He is exhausted and quickly becomes a virtuoso performance of gentle snores.  I lay in his arms, envious of his ability to relax and release, calling out to an unresponsive God to fucking help me.

 

How’s THAT for glamorous?

 

Quite frankly, in this moment it DOES seem a bit glamorous.  Angels in heaven don’t have such privilege and pleasure.  WE get to swill grit and darkness by the cup-full.  WE get to embody a spectral depth of poetry that cannot be fabricated or feigned.  Of course I can only say this because my Merciful Lord hath lifted me to “the surface” for a generous hit of sunlight and existential relief.  From here, the depth of my Journey looks stunning.

 

I AM so thankful for my people.  If I died in this moment, my heart would explode like a huge cream-filled balloon and your BEingness would shatter and refract as rainbow sunlight in every direction throughout all space.  I’m feeling you all.  Seeing your faces, hearing your unique music curl like incense smoke throughout my Infinity Within.  In the eyes of my ego, I am so imperfect… but in my love for you, I am limitless, pure and perfect.

 

I was suffering because Giordano has been WORKING.  He leaves early in the morning, and returns home at bedtime.  During the day, he sends me loving little audio messages.  Nothing fancy.  He’s not a poet.  Nor excessively feminine.  But his heart is sincere.  This makes me miss him and want more….

 

We planned a sunday trip to the “seaside” (adorably, that’s what he calls “the beach”)  and sweetly anticipated it all week.  I can’t recall a single time since I’ve been in Italy, where we’ve done something together and had a harmonious, nourishing, pleasurable experience… mostly it’s hard to connect, I feel lonely, we fight…

 

But still, I brought my Beginner’s Mind on Sunday.  When the rubber met the road, he was “nervous” (and mean as a biproduct).  And I was like, “Really???  We’ve been anticipating this beautiful day all week, and now THIS is the best you’ve got???”

 

But apparently it was….

 

As is often the case, he didn’t respond when I talked.  He interrupted me.  He complained and ruminated on things not of the Present.  He drank a small bottle of white wine with lunch, like he does on most of his few days off… as if this were a legitimate escape from the burden of his overactive mind.

 

Little by little over the course of the day, my heart closed.  Despite this, I strove to enjoy Serena’s refreshing, innocent company, let the sunlight and warmth recharge me, release my burdens to the salty, undulating sea.  I sort of succeeded… in a decapitated fashion.

 

But LISTEN.  I am NOT telling you all this to defame my husband.  I understand him pretty well… These days, he is living beneath an intensity of pressure that would break most mortals.  Considering this, he’s actually been pretty damn nice.  He’s breaking through some deeep-assed patterns of anger and cruelty.  Doesn’t mean I’m loving it… but my respect for him grows.  This is a big part of what makes me stay.  That, and his love for our unborn sun.  He loves our baby (and Serena) too much for me to leave without giving him a chance.  Though the notion of leaving is an unrelenting devil on my shoulder, who taunts and seduces me until I am stumble drunk on his hollow promises of happiness in distant lands.

 

Last night, we nestled into bed pregnant with The Unspoken.  Instead of passing out, he stayed with me.  Slowly we unraveled some profoundly unwieldy knots.  He impressed me with his capacity to receive my harsh honesty, and stay open.  I wish he was more consistent in this domain.  But perhaps, with practice he will be.  Because he didn’t used to be this good.

 

We talked until we were empty and united.  Then he asked if he could lick my…. Uh-huh.  I have been feeling so sexually shut down these days.  Depression and lack of trust is not exactly an aphrodisiac, as it turns out.  But what did I have to lose???

 

He rocked it.  In general, he has good technique… yet mostly, I feel like HE’S not loving it.  He’s just being courteous.  I’m all for courtesy… but there IS something to be said for The Zone.   The alchemical expanse where giver and receiver melt and meld into one sprawling puddle of pleasure.

 

I’m not gonna give you all the details of my sex life.

 

That’s not my point.  My point is that I don’t believe I should hide the full spectrum honesty of my existence out of shame and cultural conditioning.  Sex should be normalized and healthy and spoken of at LEAST as freely as struggles and fighting.  And another point is that talking shit out is rad.  I mean like super rad… but it can only get a couple so far.  The rest must be said with wordless lips, with touch and lust and passionate, embodied love.  I dare you to argue.

 

I awoke early this morning, and the freshly hatched day was a-flood with sunlight and the exotic, diverse songs of birds.  It also happens to be Giordano’s birthday.  My body was still brimming with pleasure.  I got up and made us coffee, brought it back to bed, and we tandemly geeked on our phones.  (As much as I despise it, my phone is a portal to so many loving connections.  Sigh.)  Oh, modern day romance… not too romantic.  But the Moral of the Story, is that I felt happy.  And leisurely.  Serena slept until 8am.  And I found myself laughing at the “problems” that usually plague me and sink my blessed ship.

 

Then I wrote it all down, and feel Brilliant.

 

May this wash of sweet relief sustain me for…

Days…

Or perhaps lifetimes.

 

Thank you for your LOVE.

Thank you for your Courage.

Thank you for Believing in me.

Thank you for BEing.

 

Love,

Athena

 

Wounded Masculine: Making love to my Beautiful Crucible

I was elated that I finally had time and space to write… and now I am here, staring at the blank page like a newborn gazelle.  I’ve written like twelve blogs in my head since I last gushed my heart and life onto the page. Ooooh, but even the sheer experience of typing a single-file stream of letters is singing me back into realized wholeness.  A wounded soldier, sipping broth from a spoon. Am I a wounded soldier? Haha, maybe! I’m not willing to commit to that persona, but I will happily share my pot of mint tea with It, and let it take a load off in the friendly atmosphere of my psyche!

 

I know what I wanted to say!  I listened to Paul Simon’s album, “Graceland” this morning.  And like always, it was a profound experience. That album lives in my bones and my soul.  My dad had the cassette tape when I was a child… like maybe seven years old. And we played the crap out of it.  (Also the U2 album, “The Joshua Tree”.)

 

I’m awestruck by how deeply music can touch The Soul.

 

Anyway, I’ve been grappling with my “Father Wound” at an especially deep level lately.  Which implies to me that I am ready for the next level of healing and Self-integration.

 

My Daddy.  I’ve always had a searing longing to MATTER to him.  Like not just “matter”…. But MATTER. You know? Like in the most indispensable and essential sense of the word.  But that was not the imprint I was *blessed* to receive. I’ve had little crumb-esque moments of feeling that. And I guess that’s why I create relationships with men that are based in the “currency of crumbs”.

 

When I crashed “Penis Ray-Ray”, I asked my Pops for $alvation.  And maaaan, did he deliver. He was so fucking generous. (Between him and the golden net of friends in my life, we were able to resurrect our beloved Fiat, BTW!)  And I should predicate that I AM NOT a trust fund baby. And my Daddy In Shining Armor is not always there to ease the burden of Existing in this capitalist shit show otherwise known as “Modern Life”.  My soul chose the rugged, off-road adventure of being born to financially strapped parents! If I ever find the Emerald City that is Prosperity, I will be an entirely Self-Made Rich Bitch. Which will make it taste all the sweeter.

 

So he gave me money when I neeeeded it.  And that was his best stab at loving me. But concurrently, I was leaving him sincere, soul-bearing. love-filled audio messages… to which he never replied.  I guess this is a new-ish iteration of our relationship. One that has emerged with the advent of smart phones and WhatsApp. I have left him too many audio messages, to which he mostly doesn’t reply.  (To his credit, sometimes I beg him, and then he does.)

 

Intellectually, I know it’s not personal.  Maybe, being a dinosaur, he’s just not a fan of communicating through “modern technology”.  Maybe he’s too busy breaking a sweat in his unrelenting hamster wheel… supporting his wife and twenty year old twins who still live at home.  Et cetera, et cetera.

 

Emotionally… that’s another story.  If I let myself feel the raw truth of it, it’s crushing.  It totally blows. My inner child is cowering in a puddle of her own tears.

 

And then I look at the most relevant men in my life… The two fathers of my children.  

 

Oh wait, time out.  I just experienced a powerful in-the-mOMent wave of grief.  I looked up from this word stew and saw a neighbor woman wheeling a full shopping cart out of the adjacent grocery store.  Her mother is sitting at the table (in the cafe) next to me with the three year old granddaughter. I witnessed this simple play of Life, and was broadsided by sadness that my mom is gone, and will NEVER hang out with Serena, noshing on croissants (my Ma’s favorite), while I perform basic, requisite life tasks.  These emotions seem an indulgent river to swim in. She’s gone and that’s just the way it is. But I’m happy to announce this spontaneous burst of sadness. And to amplify the tragedy, Giordano’s parents, though close in physical proximity, have not proved to be much support in the way of “grandparents”… Maybe when “their own” grandson emerges from the water world of my womb, they will be more… “inspired”.  Or maybe they smoke too much weed to care.

 

And now back to our previously scheduled program.  Men. Serena’s dad. Remains a legend in my heart. Despite how half-assed his participation in our lives has been.  Fuck. What can I say? People are disappointing. AND. Love is love. Especially Soul Love. That’s the shit that’s invincible to circumstances.  Even from across the world, he makes and breaks my heart on a semi-regular basis. And yet…. All I can do is keep giving of my Self. The other day, I told him how much it sucked ass… to give him my heart, again and again, and get met with silence (deja vous).  He said something to the effect of, “Yeah, but it’s your Path to give love… and maybe someday I’ll show up in the fullness you crave.”

 

My gut response was FUCK YOU.

 

But.

 

He is right.  Giving love, without the guarantee of return IS my Path, and my Nature.  Unconditional. And meanwhile, to remember and embody the Truth, that I am one with Source.  I do not need to rely on external sources for love. This Path of Mastery might suck in moments from the view of my flailing ego… but for my deep, badass Soul, it is hella satisfying.  What I find inside is MINE forever. Divine forever. So BRING ON THE TRANSFORMATIONAL FIRE, Bitches.

 

Then there’s my husband*.  Who is laughably flawed. Searingly unsatisfying in his narrow capacity to meet me with any depth of presence, or emotional intelligence.  He is sooo perpetually enraptured by the incessant, swirling eddies of his own “hella compelling” thoughts, that it appears virtually IMPOSSIBLE for him to truly listen to me most of the time.  But… He’s a total wild card. Damn unpredictable. So one out of ten times, I am pleasantly surprised by the felt experience of being heard.

 

*And even if in so many moments, he occurs as emotionally retarded, HE IS SO FUCKING SINCERE IN HIS DESIRE TO GROW, TO IMPROVE, TO LEARN.  And to Love…

 

All that to say that I’m really making love to my own crucible these days.  My surface mind cannot grasp the full implication of the healing that is taking place, as I live through this emotionally stained material with an open, courageous heart.  The deeper me keeps saying “Athena, have FAITH. Faith in the profound Intelligence of Life. Faith that what is rising to the surface, is setting you free. Faith in the strength and power of the LOVE that flows through you from The Beyond.”

 

I believe that it is also mega noteworthy that I am on the precipice of becoming mother to a boy.  It seems that this profound soul is catalyzing deeeep healing of my wounds around The Masculine. I have no fucking idea what “Inner Marriage” actually feels like inside… or how to embrace and integrate my own “inner masculine”.  Or who the fuck “Heavenly Father” actually IS for me. Though I want to know all of this. But I DO know that love is always the Answer and the Way. And I know that I gotta “feel it to heal it.”

 

So I breathe humility into inner discomfort and confusion.  And affirm the Divine Perfection and Grace of all that is arising Inside.

 

While my Journey is deeeply personal… I acknowledge the collective nature of what I am experiencing.  The Patriarchy (God bless it) has really fucked us up, collectively speaking. I have not witnessed too many fabulously healthy fathers along my earthly walk-about.  Not to say they don’t exist. THEY DO!!!! They MUST!!! But most men are hurled into adulthood, uninitiated, blind and battered. Taught that it is shameful to feel.  Taught to be tough and do it alone. Taught to work HARD for their piece of the pie, and deny their own needs (except in acts of guilt-ridden secrecy.

 

And now, let’s bareback ride this spiraling story back to Graceland.  That album opens a world inside me where my Dad is Immortal and Perfect.  I realized that this morning as I danced ecstatically around the house. This was a huge victory.  To know that no matter how broken my heart may feel, in relation to my Dad, there lives a place inside of me where he abides in Innocence and Perfect Love.  And I have found the address and the map. Naturally, it is Graceland.

 

That’s enough for now.  Just know I’m over here “doin’ the Work.  Clearing Inner Space for true sovereignty and wholeness to live through me and heal and bless the World.  Invoking a thriving, balanced World, founded on a “happy marriage”. Hella holy matrimony of healthy, integrated Masculine and Feminine.  It’s not an easy job, but it satisfies my Soul.

 

I trust that YOU, too, are toiling gloriously in your own rite.  Bringing your uniquely flavored soul music to the current climate of transformation, death and rebirth rocking planet Earth.  THANK YOU. I appreciate your blood and sweat and salty, devoted love.

 

With Epic Love from Athena Graceland,

Athena Grace

Initiations. Undone, Reshaped… Yay.

I’d better put on lipstick, if I expect to write anything profound and life-changing.  Ok, there. Purple Haze, generously, sensuously slathered. Time to rock and roll.

This morning I peed into a cup and a vial… and then delivered it to the lab, where they would also suck four vials of blood from me.  Right as our little family of three point three, three, three walked through the door, there came a B movie scream, from one of the exam rooms.  At first, it was startling… and then hilarious. I guess the Universe wants me to lighten up.

I struggle with the Italian medical system.  I’m really not a western medicine enthusiast to begin with… but trying to navigate the shit in a foreign language spoken by a generally superstitious crowd makes me uneasy.  But hey, it’s free.

They want to test my blood every forty days.  Pregnancy protocol. To me this is obsessive. While pregnant with Serena, in my forsaken and fabulous California, they tested my blood twice.  Which was plenty. But they fed Giordano a bunch of crap about how “vulnerable” the second trimester is. Ummm okaaaaaay…. They said I am vulnerable to toxoplasmosis (because I have never had it).   Maaaaaybe I’ve never had it not just because I’m “lucky”, but because my body is strong and luminous and knows how to efficiently process what I put into it. I have eaten plenty of raw, dirty, organic vegetables in my life.  And whatever else can cause it.

Almost everything that is said at my doctor visit, I rely on Giordano to translate and regurgitate to me.  This is a pain in his ass, and since communication is not his forte… some things get “lost in translation”.  Sigh. It’s a delicate balance, surrendering to my circumstances, appreciating what is given, AND maintaining the ovaries not to get swept away on other people’s agendas and trips.

On Friday, I’m going to Gubio for an epic ultrasound, where they will look at all my sweet boy’s organs and whatever else they can see with their magic wand.  I’m excited to see my tiny man again! He sure is an active guy. Gulp. Totally different than Serene Serena…. I hope I have it in me to keep up with him.

My badass spiritually connected counselor, Manuela said not to just slap a cool name on him… but to make sure that it is the name he prefers.  With a vibration that matches his essence and life mission. I was gonna name him “Cosmo”, because it was decent as far as generally boring boy names go.  And Giordano and I agreed on it. But upon reflection, I don’t think “Cosmo” is magnificent enough to fit this guy. (No offense to all you Cosmos out there!)

I have this theory that during pregnancy, the soul of the child whom a woman is growing a body for, actively invokes very specific initiations for its mother… Which will cultivate the qualities and strengths this BEing needs, in order to be supported on his/her life journey.  I experienced this with Serena, and I am experiencing it again with “Tiny Man”.

Life is sucking me through the eye of the needle.  I am living mostly on my raw, bloody knees, incessantly digging DEEP, getting still, breathing through my “molten core”, straight into the center of the planet.  I am fierce to realize and awaken the Mighty and Delicate Divinity within me. I am becoming more patient and non-reactive than I ever imagined possible, and surrendering like a Boss.  I am getting right with not being able to fathom WHY.

I’m actually quite proud of myself.  Can you tell?

Mamas out there– Have you experienced this phenomenon of initiation, of which I speak?  

The latest installment of my, ahem, “initiation”, was a minor car accident last week.  Giordano insisted that we needed some “fun”, and wanted to take us to sushi in Perugia.  This aroused elusive fear in my system, but I dismissed it, and submitted to his sweet invitation.  It was the day after Valentine’s Day. We had had a messy fight, followed by a life-giving healing, the night before.  Then right before our ill-fated lunch, a man came to our house to install satellite internet, so that I will be able to reignite my online women’s circles, generate income, passionately serve humanity and build community rooted in authenticity, empowerment and full self expression!  Spring sunlight poured down like benevolent nectar upon the earth. Life felt deliciously “right”.

Until…

Giordano was exiting the motorway in Perugia.  He gazed over at me with visceral devotion, which I eagerly drank.  We both looked back at the road and shared a wave of “oh fuck”, as we realized the cars ahead of us were stopped.  Brake. Smash. Fuck. Haha that’s today’s novella knock-off of “Eat, Pray, Love”.

We were all okay.  Actually, Giordano said his back hurt.  But he says that every day… and with the expanding, unwieldy financial burden he is carrying, it’s no surprise.  To me it felt like a mere bumper car ride. Meets demolition derby. Our car looked ruined. Totally smashed front end.  The mercedes we hit looked pristine. A striking blond woman got out and cursed in Italian. Actually, she turned out to be quite angelic.  I wish I had asked her name. I’m sure it was significant.

 

She did all the requisite photography and stuff.  Giordano made phone calls, and I climbed the little grassy hill above the off-ramp with Serena.  She discovered legions of sun-bleached, vacated snail shells, which we collected and organized by size.  I marveled at the perfect spiral they each contained, and imagined that this was a timely though cryptic message from Above.  I prayed hard. To feel God’s perfection in this situation. To stay open and TRUST the Journey. I sent a grounding cord from my root, to the center of the planet.  I held a space of calmness and presence, so that Serena would feel safe. She must’ve, because she shone with innoecent delight and wonder. I felt happy to be alive, and even happier to be her mom.

Turns out our car is salvageable!  All we need is to hand over about nine hundred dollars to the mechanic.  (Who’s name happens to be “Mauricio”… which is the same name as the mechanic my Ma took our little shocking green Fiat to, back in 1984!  Ha!) This sounds all peach-dandy on paper… but in practice, it’s quite a searing situation. Giordano was already pulverized by myriad financial obligations “we” are facing.  This was The Straw….

NO!  We will not break!  God is GOOD. We will triumph.  I started a crowdfunding campaign.  Begging for money basically. Part of me feels shame for this.  But a stronger part of me says it doesn’t hurt to ask. Nor to receive.  So far, I have gathered about three hundred and fifty dollars from my sphere of Earth Angels.  I am so grateful.

If YOU are moved to help us resurrect “Penis Ray-Ray” (our car), you can send a PayPal donation to us at:

athenaheavenlybody@gmail.com

Public transportation in our area is nearly non-existent.  I can only bum rides to and from school for so long… My network of connections here is still minimal.  But rich… I cherish the modest bouquet of souls I call “Friend” over here!

 

My glass is hella full today.  I believe in and invoke the unbounded Goodness that is Godness that is ALLness.  I am savoring the feeling of whispered auspiciousness, awakening and co-creation yet to come.

From my heart to yours… May your faith be great and your love be infinite.

~Athena Grace

 

Savoring my existential knots.

Fever-stricken girl

And dreaming cat beside me

As I ache and type

 

The blog I wrote on this day last year popped up as a facebook memory this morning.  Curious to recall my reality exactly one year ago, I read it. Ingeniously, it began with a “portrait of the moment” haiku.  It was fun to read, so I thought I’d give it another go.

 

Yeah, a shadow has swept across my inner scapes today.  Not unusual. I’ve been in a particularly bipolar experience these days.  One day, deep, dark despair, the next, a respite of inexplicable ecstasy, back to darkness, and then a few consecutive days of muted, lackluster peace.  I’m not bipolar, for the record. Just deeply sensitive. And in some sort of baffling growth period.

 

Serena is sleeping on the couch beside me.  She has a juicy fever. Her first in a long time.  The bug is rampant right now. My immune system is putting up a noble fight.  But I feel wiped out.

 

I didn’t come to the page with a burning agenda…. Other than to get naked and express myself.  Because it has been too long. It is a daily challenge to jam all my priorities and passions into a grain of rice and then thread it through the eye of a needle.  Lately, most mornings I give to toaist energy cultivation practices I am learning in an online course. Given the difficulty of my inner landscapes these days, I need to be reSourced.  Great medicine for me. I have also been meditating more.

 

I gave up meditation after a steady practice for about ten years… because I felt like I was approaching the practice from my spiritual ego, and not getting much out of it anymore.  I just felt hella cool to be a “meditator”. It was a relief to let go of that. Soon after, I got pregnant with Serena, and then I lost the luxury of lavish, lengthy sadhanas in the morning.  Meditation lurked in the shadows of exile. But lately, I can’t deny my need for frequent doses of stillness. Mini vacations from the riveting identification with the endless stream of personalities and circumstances and struggles otherwise known as Life.  Ahhhhh. Nutrient dense shit.

 

Speaking of personalities and circumstances and struggles (OH MY!), here is the current existential knot I am attempting to tease apart:  I have been living in an increasingly constricted state of closure, married to Giordano. I don’t feel emotionally safe to be open. He occurs for me as very inconsistent.  Emotionally unstable. He is living under an insurmountable pile of responsibilities and burdens, and struggles to manage his stress. (God bless him. Seriously.) I rarely feel heard or received by him when I share.  Being heard is a massive need for me and it feels terrible when, all too often, my thoughts and words, desires and feelings are sucked into a black hole. In order to not feel said terrible feeling over and over and over again, I just close up.  Blah.

 

Living in this state of closure sucks rotten ass.  It feels so foreign to me. I value openness and expansive, fluid self expression.  It’s so easy to justify my closure. It seems natural in the face of having a husband who struggles with Presence, listening and inner stability.  One who does not know how to interact such that another feels “gotten”, “received”, “heard”. (Poor guy… he was never given the grace of feeling gotten, received, heard as a child.  His parents were too busy fighting with one another. So it’s just not in his wiring. He’s trying. I admire that.)

 

I’m typing all this, and it sounds utterly ridiculous.  Like how in Fuck’s Holy Name did I wind up MARRIED to this dude???  Folks, now we are peering into the belly of the beast. The sheer and utter Mystery of Existence.  Giordano and I are strong magnets that have no choice but to smush together. I’ve never felt anything quite like it; so simultaneously essential and despicable. I can only imagine that this is the freshly sharpened knife of karma.  And I’m learning to stop trying to make “sense” of it… and just be humble and gracious as I live it out.

 

But I want to live OPEN.  I want to be unconditionally free in my heart.  And filled to overflowing with Heaven’s sumptuous love-light, so that I am a benevolent outpouring of it under any and all circumstances.  

 

I’m guessing that my wise and fearless soul set out to cultivate my own inner stability to such a degree, that NOTHING and no ONE on the outside could EVER threaten it.  So I found “Mister Right”- someone who cannot save me (though to his credit, he really WANTS to!), cannot hold me the way I yearn to be held. Someone perfectly flawed. And profusely devoted.  Someone who holds on so fucking tight, that it is impossible for me to pull my all-too-familiar knee-jerk bolt at the first sign of discomfort.

 

Anyway, part of this knot, it seems, is a fear in me of being so fully committed to.  Am I afraid of being deeply loved by a man? Because it’s foreign to my wiring?… Do I obsess over the small stuff as a protection mechanism?  A strategy to hold on to my small self?

 

Probably yes.

 

But it’s a knot, because the “small stuff” gets all smeared in with the “big stuff”, and the relationship becomes this imperceptible soupy blob.  I don’t know what is real, or when to give it the fuck up, and when to hold on as an act of self preservation. Probably better to err on the side of giving it the fuck up.  Like one of my life-long idols, the Landmark Wisdom Course leader, Joan Bordow once said, (when giving advice to a woman friend on the eve of her wedding) “The person who lets go of being right first, wins.”  Sounds so simple.

 

But it doesn’t feel like it from the inside.  Well… in certain, select moments it does… but overall… I feel to be in an unruly tangle.  I guess this is why people have therapists. We are all knotted up in our survival strategies, expectations, fears, projections, blah, blah, blah.  

 

I’m glad to be living inside this question.  And not in a rush to figure it out. Just looking deep within, making myself available to growth and revelation, and acknowledging my deep desire to live as Openness.

 

Ahhh, it feels so good to get this shit out on the page.  Blessed BE the sacred alchemy of the written word.

 

May you savor your tangles and twists like the finest wine….

 

Love,

Athena

“Emotionally Retarded Children” ;)

It feels like cheating to tell something that happened more than weeks ago.  I mean that’s how most writers roll. But here in Athena Graceland, my jam is to write what is emotionally alive.  Hot, steaming and still writhing around like a twisted pile of freshly spilled entrails. But the beauty of being not only an Artist, but also the Resident Matriarch of Athena Graceland, is that it’s my prerogative to dance barefoot upon my rules and protocols, as Kali Ma upon her bed of skulls.  Besides, I can be too rhythmic and habitual for my own good. Just as Giordano 😉

 

Even if by now, the Life material I inhabited two weeks ago is but the dead tail of a snuffed out comet, this installment of my story MUST be told.  But only in a whisper, and NOT from a mountaintop. Haha. (And certainly not on Facebook, where my “friends” feel they have infinite license to stand in as armchair asses-ers of my most intimate life material.  Often I enjoy reflection… but this is too vulnerable, and being pregnant, I am a thousand times more sensitive than the empty-wombed version of me.)

 

I did it again.

 

On Christmas Eve, I asked my Cosmic Dad to buy me and Serena one way tickets back to beloved California (which I paid for from the modest funds I received from selling my car).  I was sure I was DONE with the emotional turmoil that semi-rhythmically slaps me down like aggressive waves amidst a winter storm.

 

I must be ultra awake and sensitive as I tread the delicate territory of coloring my stories with poetic, dramatic language, while also managing not to portray Giordano or any of the details in a needlessly crushing slant of light.  It’s for the best that I’m not currently emotionally charged.

 

Cosmic Dad asked me AT LEAST FIVE TIMES if I was SURE.  I understood why. I am a fucking intensely emotional being, who is ever-rocked by passing swells.  I had my eye on this too. Because I’ve already played out the expensive and shameful mistake of buying tickets and then balking once, and it was an excruciating lesson.  To ensure that I was moving from Center, from Clarity, I requested to talk with our counselor, Manuela, before I took any binding actions.

 

We spoke for a good forty minutes.  And my FUCK YES to leaving this alien land where you can’t get a decent fucking dill pickle, a jar of tasty, crunchy peanut butter, a kombucha, or fresh, indonesian coffee beans was full sail, full steam, full throttle, full as a fucking blue harvest moon.  And of course it was not really about food at all. I just needed to convey to you my frustration around this stark, pickle-less existence.

 

It was a searing ache to see my brother.  To return to a world abounding with nourishing friendships and an abundance of transformation-based communities.  A world where I can speak (and LISTEN) with anyone and everyone freely, of all things heart and soul and beyond The Beyond.  Shmooze with the checkers at the grocery store and the seemingly random “extras” in my miraculous movie. EVERY ONE. This is one of my passions, and I feel like a defective, tongue-less lump, here in the pickle-less Land of Amore.  

 

And to be done with the Epic Struggle otherwise known as My Marriage.  Haha. It really IS such a phenomena. Giordano and I have a baffling array of dynamics.  I don’t think I ever “fell in love” with him. He showed up when I needed him. And we “fell” quickly into rolls that resembled family.  I often muse that Life put me into an “arranged marriage”. I will love to expound on this in a future blog.

 

Need.  I hate that word.  But it serves. I was hardened by the arduous path of single motherhood.  On our first date (to the Yuba River), he took Serena from her car seat, as though he had done it a thousand times.  He had the heart of a dad. And the dick of a God. Which I “needed” also.

 

But I digress.  On Christmas eve, Cosmic Dad bought the tickets.  Serena and I stayed at our friend Dhuti’s house. I barely slept.  And not because I was anticipating the clip-clop of mystical hoofs on the rooftop and a belly that shakes when He laughs like a bowl full of jelly.  

 

On Christmas morning, Giordano asked if we would love to spend the day together.  I said YES, as long as he could accept that we were really leaving, and was able to be unconditional,  present and share love. An ambitiously steep invitation, considering I was planning to abandon him, abort his baby, and shatter his dreams of family, leaving him figuratively bleeding profusely from everywhere at once.

 

Leaving was a very hard choice for me to make.  But so was having a baby with a man I don’t often trust, in a country where I don’t speak the language and have only three friends.  I imagined not being able to fully surrender to the love of my new baby, because it represented being trapped and confined to a life of suffering and dysfunction.  

 

Giordano rose to the challenge, but naturally was not able to keep his commitment to simply share love and be present.  He became quickly angry and pouring with poisonous words. I asked him to leave. He did. For a few minutes. Not long enough for my body to recover from the emotional intensity.  He came back. With more. He left again. He came back again.

 

This time he dropped to his knees behind the chair in which I sat in silent overwhelm, wrapped his arms around my waist, held my womb and sobbed sobs of the deepest grief I’ve ever witnessed.  I did my best to stay in my body and be with it. Without adding or subtracting. His expression was entirely pure.

My heart began a slow, continuous tear, straight down the middle.  We went home to see what Santa had brought. A Hello Kitty bicycle with training wheels, for Serena.  We drove to the park so she could ride it. Despite freezing temperatures, the sun was shining. It warmed my face.  Was I really going to leave the new, tiny bike and this budding life behind?

Giordano begged me to stay.  He said he would do anything to support me to go to California in the spring.  He said his family would help us financially. (Which in retrospect was a crock of hope-full bullshit….)  He said all kinds of beautiful and persuasive things. And the ripping feeling inside me increased intolerably.  

As you can see, I chose to flush another eight hundred dollars down the toilet and stay.  I was terrified to tell my Cosmic Dad. Which was an entirely founded fear. He was enraged and lectured us like out-of-line children.  Which honestly felt refreshing. He was unfiltered. A rare gift in a sugar coated world. It was a long lecture, so I won’t give you a play-by-play, but the essence was GROW THE FUCK UP.  (Actually the finest moment was when he called us “Emotionally Retarded Children”!)

And my own “special” message from Cosmic Dad was that he has known me for almost twenty years, and he has never seen me fully commit to ANYTHING.  This hit hOMe. And I wondered… how will I EVER make my dreams come true, if I leave as soon as shit doesn’t feel good? I NEED to realize my dreams.  Need.

Cosmic Dad said if we are really gonna do this, we must surrender to the US of marriage.  Any marriage formed by two MEs will dissolve relatively quickly. (And this gospel was delivered by a man who has been married three times.)

I find this invitation to fully surrender myself to the US both terrifying and thrilling.   

After this recent riveting, shattering, masterbatorily fabricated “peak experience”, we shared four whole days of affinity and understated bliss.  On the fifth day, returned the all-too-familiar feelings of fight or flight that arise when I don’t feel heard or respected. Whoopee.

But we continue to receive support from our personally assigned angel and guide, Manuela.  She is helping us dig to roots of our arguments, to uncover the fears that spawn the aggression.  Powerful. We both have so much fear inside. Naming it is revelatory and transformative.

Yesterday was Sunday.  We went for a walk in the sparking snow together.  We did some heavy lifting and transformed our living room.  We shared our hearts deeply while Serena napped. We made transcendent love.  All day long, I had a glimpse of the possibility of actually liking my husband.  And building and creating a beautiful life together.

I am praying, deep and sincerely to have many more days like this.

  

 

Previous Older Entries