Living A Riveting Opera

DER FREISCHUTZ

On this virginal, dawning day, it is not the first words that I commit to the empty page that matter the most, it is the deeep, slow breath which precedes them.  Said breath was essential, because the World inside me is so thick with vines, intricate root systems and underbrush…. My breath is my machete. Slicing to the heart of the jungle within.

 

Life never ceases to blow my mind… with its genius capacity to direct, orchestrate, inspire.  Doors swinging open and slamming shut.

 

Ten days ago,  I wrote you a love letter from  hell…. Since then, I have been desperately groping at the cryptic, mystic contours of infinite space, where inner and outer environment swirl, bleed, blur… endeavoring to make “sense” of it…. find Due North… Discover a secret moonlit path that sings against my bare, sentient feet.  

 

I have scattered fist-fulls of seeds into the wind… eager to discover which ones will, by God’s Grace-laden intelligence, nestle their way into fertile earth, and sprout into a new and clear direction.  I made a profile on a dog walking/sitting website. Refreshed my profile on urbansitter (the local nanny-placement site). Offered my services of copy writing to heart-centered women entrepreneurs.

 

Almost nothing has come back to me.  Except for a full time nanny gig next week, which pays less than I vowed I would give my time for.  But I took it, because at this point, earning any money trumps making none. Look out ten hour days with Serena AND an energetic two and a half year old boy…. Here come the Graces!… God help us.

 

Something I need you to understand about me…. Is that this is how I grew up.  At Serena’s age, my mom was “doing it alone” amidst the unsaybly expensive Bay Area hustle.   For way too long, I hated her for making that choice. I thought it was totally dumb for her to choose the most expensive spot in California to settle and struggle daily to survive with a young child.  This often involved leaving me in sketchy daycares and with babysitters who frightened me…. And sometimes leaving me alone too. Yes, even at age three, or maybe even two. (I forgive you Mom.)

 

Now Life has guided me back here to soften me with compassion and a deeper cut of insight regarding her choices.  There is no place like the Bay Area. Marin in particular. So much creativity, consciousness, stunning natural beauty.  My friend Samantha took us to the San Francisco zoo on thursday, and my soul *exploded* as we crossed the mythic Golden Gate Bridge, and then traversed the breath-giving coastline that led us to the literal edge of the World.  Endless, white-waving ocean. Unlimited cool, vivifying air to drink deep of and seduce titillated skin. I could lose myself in descriptions of the specialness of this place that I was blessed to spend the weighty majority of my thirty eight years on planet earth.  But I have too much more to say. Guess you’ll have to wait for the ebook. Haha.

 

My  naive surface mind imagined that I was coming back to The Bay to step into deeper relationship/family with Ed.   And that gave me enough solace and courage to leap as my Inner Being directed. But upon landing, I quickly (crushingly) realized this was not the case.  Ed is still fiercely committed to his Other Life. We have only seen him twice in three weeks. I’m sure he would wish that I offered you his extremely valid justifications for this.  But since Athena Graceland is MY domain, I shant. Instead, I will testify that I am delighted to be free this time, for what deeply feels to be “for realz”.

 

Back in January, I made a super-duper-neo-feminist birthday wish- to rise phoenix-goddess-style- in my own Dreams and Life- in abundance and success- and NEVER NEED/WANT A MAN TO SAVE ME AGAIN.

 

But now here I am flailing in the crushingly expensive and perversely indifferent currents of Bay Area economy… Desperately sewing seeds in the way of survival… and unflattering truth be told…. I could REALLY go for a Savior right about now.

 

Giordano.

 

I was sure that we were finished.

 

But HE wasn’t.

 

He has been unrelenting in his communication with me.  Unwavering in his love and desire to be a family with me and Serena.  And little by little, my defenses have eroded. Truth is, I mostly, I kept them intact for Ed.  But the days of “for Ed” are dead.

 

On thursday, Giordano told me he was concerned for me.  My flippant reply was “Haha you wanna save me?”….

 

“Sure.  I will.”

 

At first, I only snickered.  

 

But he was evocatively sincere.  

 

So I put the option of taking Serena and flying to his pristine, sprawling, olive tree laden land in the hills above Assisi into the hopper and let it simmer with the rest of my sacred, illuminated mess.  

 

My body still reverberates with sparkling desire when I think of him.  As flawed as he is, his love and desire to be with me and Serena has NEVER wavered since we met in September of last year.   Even after I locked him out of my house and left him high and not-so-dry in driving spring rain… Coldly endured the heart-bludgeoning music of him crying outside my door.

 

My Ma loved to imagine my life as an Opera.  No, not a cheap-assed Soap Opera! A genuine, bonafide OPERA.  And the artistic, elegant, heart-wrenching musical saga weaves ON.  

 

I fear that Ed might throw daggers for me choosing to fly to Italy in August…. But… Fuck him.  If he doesn’t want to create safety and sanctuary for “the love of his life” and his own daughter… Onwards and upwards.

 

I thought I was coming to the Bay Area to follow my dreams.  To grow a business and BE SOMEBODY. But upon cruel meeting of rubber and road… suddenly it looks way more alluring to be held and supported as I care for my daughter with presenc and devotion.  To ditch the concrete and wifi and chemically treated water and return to the pristine vibrance and bounty of Mother Earth. Night sky pulsing with unbounded spray of stars.

 

To go where Orgasmic Meditation and deep sex flow like wine and rivers.

 

And perhaps fulfill my dream of raising a bilingual child.  

 

We’ll see.  I’m getting us one way tickets.  I could be back faster than a blink… or perhaps I’ll never leave.  Life is a Goddamn Mystery, people!!!!

 

I find it utterly hilarious that I’m opting to be saved… after my bold birthday wish….

 

But #1~ Single parenting in this broken world is crushing.  Plain and simple.

 

And #2~ Nothing is black and white.  I will continue to walk my Path no matter what I choose.  Continue to drench you with my heart-stained words… and offer my light and love to this world.  But my daughter comes first.

 

Oh, and #3~ Giordano keeps invoking his dream of co-creating magic.  Working together to build something of value for others in the way of Light.  

 

It’s definitely worth a shot!

 

With ever-scorching honesty and huge LOVE from Graceland,

Athena LMONP

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Poo-poo.

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By now I’m sure you know this… but I’m gonna tell you anyway.  In the beginning, there was the Word.  And the word was “poo-poo”.  If I had a golden Sacagawea dollar for every time I’ve coaxingly uttered those sacred syllables over the recent days….

I feel an urgency-gone-desperation to spew these words out before Serena wakes up, because lately I have had less than nothing for myself, due to her amplified demands on me, combined with the absence of community support.  My Cosmic Dad whisked us away to Costa Rica for the month of August… and everything is foreign and new and unpredictable.  Which basically means that she has taken up permanent residence on my boob.  Yes, I’m exaggerating.  Because I want to convey my feeeeeelings, which primarily consist of overwhelm, isolation, irritation, frustration and even some ferocious, white-hot rage… to name a few.

Actually, (and thank GOD),  those crucifying textures of my current inner-life have been broken up by sporadic expanses of peace, contentment, awe, fascination and other such palatable flavors.   I remember when I used to frequent Chucky Cheese’s as a kid… (In retrospect, what a creepy place!)  I remember this little crawl space under the stage where Mr. Cheese and his robotic band of freaky animals performed their “live show”… Inside was a button you could press, which would set off a strobe light.  I was rapt by the magic of this intense pulsation of light– the way it freeze-framed physical movements into rapid, flip-book successions.  This is how life has felt on our travel odyssey.  Extreme, pulsating vacillations between light and dark.

And now back to poo-poo.  Since we landed nine days ago, Serena has been a continuous, willful refusal to let it go.  With the help of gritty, watermelon flavored chewable kid’s laxatives, she pooped once, early on…. And then held on for six, anxiety-laden days.  Encouraging her bowels to move has become my neurotic raison d’être.  I gave her prunes, magnesium, probiotics… with no success… so I graduated to more saline laxative.  Getting her to eat them was the battle of the century.  Which I initially lost.  (She is cultivating a gorgeous will, at nearly twenty-one months earth side.)  But I made a triumphant KO in the second round, when I crushed them up and mixed them with watery orange juice.

God, sometimes I hate moving stories forward.  It can feel so restrictive.  Like, I have been living through copious amounts of miraculous, jagged experience that I long to share with you.  I wish I could write like one of those snakes that unhinges it’s jaw in order to swallow it’s massive prey.  I would unhinge my mind and my fingertips would explode with unobstructed, simultaneous worlds of imagery and feelings that at once harmonized and clashed in a highly compelling fashion, which transformed your consciousness in such a way that it trumped visions of a renowned Holy Virgin.

I’m not quite sure how to do that… so I’ll just keep plugging away at my story with as much honesty and creativity as I can muster.   But if my world WAS spilling simultaneously into your mind, you would see an impressive gaggle of young, hottie surfers (men and women) behind me, speaking myriad languages, waxing their boards with notable focus and a dash of passion.  It’s six fifteen am.  Oh, they just set out for the beach, which is a modest block down the gravel road from our “home” for a whopping ten days, “Casa Zen”.  I can hear Her mighty, crashing roar from my station on the patio downstairs.

Serena has never gone so long without pooping.  Oh, I guess I got derailed before I finished recounting the laundry list of laxatives and suppositories I imposed upon my poor little goddess.  Well, let’s just say it was a “butt load”.  Literally. (the list includes two rounds of glycerine suppositories).  Meanwhile, she refused to sit on the potty at all.  She’d stiffen and yell and put up an impressive fight.  Which of course stirred and stoked the hell fires inside me to unbearable degrees.

Do I have to do a play by play of this bone-crushing saga?

What I want you to know, is that I have felt extremely isolated on this trip… Riding a continuum of Unknown has increased Serena’s demands on me.  And here I am, attempting to hold MYSELF as I navigate the deep waters of losing *the illusion* of control… while constantly being required to hold Serena… through the intensity of crumbling nap schedules and bedtimes, restaurant food that doesn’t appeal to her, pooplessness… to name a few.  I have had too many moments where I want to hurt myself, in response to the excruciating internal pressure.  I keep asking myself why the fuck I was called to this journey to Costa Rica.  The truth is, it was a very clear calling.  The compass of my heart read an unmistakable YES when I tuned in.  Hence, I know I am straight-up dirty dancing with my Destiny.  I just don’t get it.  I thought Destiny was supposed to be laden with glitter and falling balloons and jet streams of happily-ever-after euphoria.

So yesterday, awash with mild jewish neurosis, I opted to take Serena to a clinic down the road, in hopes they’d be able to coax the poop out of her.  The hella young, moderately handsome medic consulted his iPhone, listened to her heartbeat, took her pulse and stuck his white, latex-gloved, pinky finger up her butt to see if there was any obstruction.  Nope.  She was a heart-crushingly willing patient.  I held her and chanted Ganesha’s mantra close to her ear as he performed the invasive procedure.  I shattered when she feebly repeated it, “Om gam ganapatayai namaha”.  OMG.  I love her.

Then, to my disgust, Doctor Boy gave her a watermelon lollipop.  I didn’t know what the fuck to do.  She’s twenty months old for god’s sake.  That’s the last thing she needs, is to curdle her blood chemistry and rot out her teeth.  I let her hold it.  She didn’t know what to make of it, thank God.  (Later, after she’d had as much innocent amusement as one possibly can have with a colorful, crinkly, plastic-adorned ball on a stick, I covertly tossed it in the trash.)  Doctor Boy said I should nurse her less and give her more fruits and watery, fibrous foods, including jars of Gerber mush.  Ummm yeah… no thanks Dude.  I cried out of helplessness and guilt that Ken had to pay fifty bucks for that nonsense.  Serena kissed my heart.

And now for the ending that indeed reads like a sweet, red cherry.

Yesterday, on our late afternoon wander (to a bookstore, where a book on how to create a compelling, widely read and lucrative blog leapt off the shelf a tackled me, insisting to be mine), when the outrageous thunder, lightening and deluge struck.  We ducked into a charming burger shack and ate a delicious meal, after which Serena began to fuss.  I had a sense that she needed to poop.  She hadn’t peed for hours either.  So I took her to a gravel area at the edge of the restaurant, and encouraged her to squat and pee.  She resisted, but finally succumbed, and proceeded to produce a soft-serve pile of poop… which she sat in and smeared all over her little butt.  This horrified her.  She cried and writhed and got it all over her dress.  I did my best to remain cucumber calm, totally approving and celebratory, as I undressed her, placed her poopy dress in a wad on the wet gravel and procured a clump of wet paper towels to clean her off.  Then, with more paper towels, I picked up the warm, stinky pile of poop and chucked it in some jungly underbrush nearby.

Ken scrambled to pay the check and we made our way back to our room, me carrying naked, stinky Serena on my back, and holding her poopified dress between my thumb and forefinger.

And now for the all-too-obvious and corny punchline:

The story is just as Genesis doth spake…. In the beginning there was the Word.  And the Word was “poo-poo”…………..(insert the creation of the World here)………… And on the sixth day—-

She pooped.

EPILOGUE:

So I successfully banged out the first draft of this blog while she slept this morning.  (A measurable accomplishment which flushed me with grounded euphoria…)  When she woke, she was unusually fussy.  I felt her body shudder, as I held her close.  I asked her if she wanted to sit on the “pot-pot”, to which she slung a bold, stubborn, “NO.”  But her body disagreed.  More firm, soft-serve poop leaked out onto my tank top.  Again I endeavored to remain calm as I carried her to the bathroom and straddled the toilet with her in my arms in the poop position.  I encouraged her to drop Bunny, but she refused and he got smeared with feces.  At this point, her body was hopelessly in charge, to the dismay of her *impressive* will.  Multiverses of poop spewed from her tiny, helpless body.  In multiple rounds.  I couldn’t believe she had THAT MUCH to poop out.  HOLY SHIT indeed.  At a certain point, as I held her on the potty, I noticed her eyes were closed, and her awareness was completely internalized.  Something I’ve never witnessed.  Afterward, I could tell that she was deeply impacted by the experience.  A layer of her innocence seemed to have sloughed off.  For quite some time, she was quiet and just wanted to be held.  Talk about INTENSE.  Now, hours later, she is back to her curious, vivacious self.  And I am soooooo relieved.

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Bowing To My Twenties

Epiphanies at six am?  Unthinkable?  That’s what YOU thought.  But think again, because I just had one!  Clambering around in the kitchen, putting on water for tea and I realized that I have been zealously telling this story called, “I HATED MY TWENTIES!” as though it was the gospel truth.  But guess what?  It’s actually not.  Sure, my twenties were not a drunken collegiate joy ride down a ten year long slip and slide… They were arduous and confusing as fuck.  But… This morning I was appreciating how blessed I was to have studied yoga all through my twenties.  And not just asana, but many facets of yoga.  Philosophy, ayurveda and nutrition, meditation, karma yoga (selfless service)… I love that now I can roll out my mat anywhere and guide myself through a deep, nourishing practice any day of the rainbow, any place under the sky.  I spent so much quality time sucking up spiritual sustenance through an impressively wide straw in my twenties.

And while I’m at it, I might as well tell you of my enchanted yoga mat.  Someone gave it to me (used) back in ’02 or ’03.  It’s particularly long and light blue, stained brown where my dirty bare feet have over eight years impressed all the dirt they wandered through.  My mat has traveled with me all over this earth.  It saved my life in Cuba.  I remember doing asana amidst billowing laundry hanging to dry in the warm breath of evening on the concrete in the back yard of the modest casa where Eric and I stayed for a few days.  A tiny home that contained FOUR generations of women, from age 9 to age eighty-something.  (Never in my life had I experienced tight knit family like that!)  The mother (as opposed to the grandma or the great grandma) was very curious as she watched me practice… so I showed her some things and when we left their home, we offered her the sivananda yoga book we had been traveling with.  She was delighted.  I wonder if she is practicing now…

My yoga mat has made love with much playa dust on the Nevada desert floor at Burning Man over the years.  (I was mostly the dorky anomaly who went to bed early and woke up early, zealously threading my way to center camp before sunrise to drink coffee, write and then dive into a long, slow, nourishing asana practice.  My yoga mat, which come to think of it, is more like a magic carpet, has flown me to the beloved city of lights, Paris, twice!  I have ritualistically unwound myself in the green grass beneath the Eiffel Tour many times.  And in the south of France, I have rolled it out along the wide sidewalks stretching on, parallel to the turquoise sea, as well as next to ornate, gushing fountains in elaborate jardins.  (Yoga is not a very common place phenomenon in France.  At least it wasn’t when I was there in ’05 and ’06… So mostly I got strange looks and inquisitive queries as I practiced.)  Throughout all my travels, yoga was my portable home.  A resting place that returns me to the infinite space inside where I ever belong.

My yoga mat has been my sanity on otherwise stressful visits with the ex-in-laws in New York and Colorado.  My yoga mat went to Taos, New Mexico to study with Natalie Goldberg once upon a blessed time.  Camping at Lake Tahoe and Mount Shasta.  Not to mention all the times it’s been rolled out and stepped on in mundane old San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland.  Even last night in my “Temple”, (my sacred, beautiful massage and yoga and meditation room) I rolled out my mat and drank deep, sweet sips of a practice that delivered me back safely on the doorstep of the mansion of All Pervading Peace!  Yoga saved my life last night, as my “house” (my life, my sense of self) was burning down.  It still is… but when I come back to yoga, I don’t even mind.  Let me burn!  Purify me once and for all, you Holy All Pervading Fire Breather!!!

Also in my twenties, I spent five beautiful years with Eric.  Yes, it’s true, I was pacing my cage and stringing my days into a longer than sin garland of existential crisis… but still… Eric and I shared so much joy.  SO MUCH LAUGHTER.  We played like blissed out, dissolved children and lived like Life yearns for all Her children to live.  Try to make the world black or white and you will miss all the twisty, prismatic refractions playfully slapping your face and pulling your tangly mane.

In my twenties I immersed myself in the culture of transformational courses.  I did inner work.  I witnessed others bounce between the walls of cultish dogma and true revelation.  (Grin.)  I circled with women, searching thirstily for the woman buried inside of me.  Learning and drinking from so many sacred wells.  I forged friendships that I imagine will stretch on for the rest of this life and beyond (backwards and forward).

My twenties were certainly an uphill climb.  But that’s par for the course for a quadruple Capricorn.  (Sun, moon, rising and mercury… at least according to western astrology…)  I will be climbing mountains for the rest of my God given life.  I’m pretty sure of that.  But just because climbing mountains is strenuous, doesn’t mean you oughtn’t keep trudging upward with your eyes on the prize~ that feeling of expansive mastery, of weighty accomplishment as you let the expansive, lucid view inundate you, your chest heaving and suckling on precious sips of decadent breath.  People climb mountains just for fun all the time.

So did I “hate” my twenties?  No, that is impossible, because hatred is in the eye of the beholder, and this beholder has abolished hatred from her sacred mansion.  This beholder is cleansing her memories with the holy water of gratitude and peace.

Amen.