Chisel Thou My Life

It’s a good thing I’ve been doing so much spiritual practice for the past three months (not to mention the last ten years), otherwise I’d’ve shot myself by now. Being back in the Bay Area has been brutal. Of course I’m wielding my poetic license pretty viciously right now… But I’m having volatile feelings. I could work to be “even-minded and cheerful”, as the Ananda (Momshram) contingency aspire to be all the time… but I’m gonna let off some steam and tell you all about the colors and textures of hell… and THEN I’ll be even-minded and cheerful.

Athena? Is this the energy you want to extend into the world? Remember, where attention goes, energy flows… No! I don’t want to dump negative energy all over the page. But I am writing to digest my current experience. Which is very challenging. I want to share it honestly, gracefully, eloquently. Tears. Already. Ahhhhhh….

Well, here’s a brief report on me- (it might end up being not-so-brief… I honestly have no idea what’s gonna pour out of me tonight.) For the month of October, I’m staying in Albany (a little swatch of sleepy, urban life, just north of west berkeley) I’m staying with my friend D, her fourteen and sixteen year old sons, and her slovenly ex-husband. I have my own room. It’s tiny. Mostly all it fits is my double bed. Yup. Not even a place to put my clothes, so they’re tossed in a scraggly pile under my bed. Sigh. The room is south-facing, and gets lots of light, despite being snuggled in, on the ground floor. There are french doors that open out to a small, though lovely garden with a fruit-laden apple tree. It is spider season. Oh, and the best part, is that there’s no door!! Ed took me to our favorite sweat shop mecca, Target, and got me a curtain rod and a curtain though, bless his massive mushy (we call his heart a “mushy” because it’s like the mushy persimmons that grow on the tree in his Mama’s back yard). Or is the best part, sharing a wall with the bathroom and hearing the dude take farty shits at all hours of the day and night? Hmmm… debatable.

The rest of the house tends to be a total stye. Especially since D went away for the weekend, and it was just the three dudes and me. The T.V. was on most of the time. Actually BOTH of them were. Wait, WHY am I even writing this? It’s not making me feel good. I was gonna go on to talk about the rotten, crusty dishes that became a not so distant, daunting mountain over the weekend… and then tell you that Ed is tied up eating corned beef and “potatoes athena” with his family right now as my broken heart sings out through my elegant, agile finger tips. How much longer must I tolerate giving him over to his other life, in which there is no space for Athena Grace? A year? Three years? Seems ridiculous to you I bet… but just wait until you love someone like I love him… THEN be the judge. Actually, don’t bother being the judge at all. Just live your best life, and leave mine to me.

I’m writing this, because this is MY JOURNEY. It might be messy and tragic and limping… but it is mine. And I must love it. The bitch of it all, is that I know in my bones that I am a powerful woman, and I can create whatever I want… but… I just can’t seem to find the core of my desire. Like REALLY- WHAT MATTERS??? What is worth giving my whole self to???? I DON’T FUCKING KNOW. And in the mean time, I’m here in my bedroom, listening to Jai Uttal, and typing this pathetic blog, as I plummet into intermittent fits of sob. Shrug. Wise and compassionate types love to say that everyone in the whole world is doing their best. I tend to agree. I guess this is my best right now. Just to meet myself. In naked honesty. And give myself room to deeply feel and inhabit my experience. Heck, that’s really not so bad.

Ed and I went to yoga together on friday. That was fabulous. If only that was more of a commonplace occurrence THEN I’D BE HAPPY. Haha. My poor ego-washed mind. God! Help me be awake!!! Anyway, the teacher, Kimber was talking about saying YES to our dreams, and being TENACIOUS. I loved looking over and sneaking peaks at Ed in his cute athletic shorts and baby blue t-shirt… and I loved bearing witness to Kimber’s playful, heart-full, multi-dimensionally intelligent leadership… But when it came to harnessing and embracing MY DREAM… I came up short. Is everyone supposed to have a dream? It seems like we all “should”.

I guess if I was vivaciously honest about this, I’d hafta say that my dream is to be a spiritual leader. That’s what I see with my inner-vision. But that’s not exactly a dream that I can just pluck off the tree, and chomp down on. Nor a dream that can entice me away from this stream of tears that’s rushing from my cracked heart and burning eyeballs right now. I dream of Christ Consciousness. I dream of living in a state of awakened unity and deep peace. I dream of midwifing a world shaped by love, compassion, peace and soul-joy. I dream of clean water and kindness and harmony.

So what do I DO with all that? I guess I must endure this sublimely awkward phase… And keep my heart lifted up to God. Keep doing my practices. Keep Loving all my sisters and brothers as best I can, even as my world appears dim and constricting. Keep calling on the light. Even just a good old fashioned deep breath is a fantastic start. Maybe I’ll paint my nails silver. Maybe I’ll read the stories of Hanuman, the hindu monkey god, and quintessential sacred servant. Maybe I’ll play harmonium.

Well… there’s a little slice of my wobbly life.

That reminds me of this spiritual talk I’ve been listening to a lot lately, by one of Yogananda’s oldest living disciples (I THINK he’s still alive…), Brother Anandamoy. He talks about this one dude in their God-posse, who was in charge of leading the prayer at their weekly meeting. Every week, he’d offer the same prayer, “God, chisel Thou my life, according to Thy desire.” Brother Anandamoy thought this dude was asking for trouble… Because once God start’s chiseling, pieces of our identity start to crumble off… and most of us freak out, let go of God, and scramble for the worthless, broken pieces, when REALLY we should let the stupid pieces go, and HOLD ON TO GOD.

Well, gosh… I suppose God knows what HeSheIt’s doing… So I’m just gonna let them fly. Because ya know what? My heart prays that prayer often. And today is the day that I get right with the clumsy process. (Again.)

Ahhhh… I’m glad we had this talk.

Om. Peace. Amen.

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Superconsciousness And Loving My Mom

I think I’ll write about how much I love my mom. Because everything else that is rushing through my mind is making my heart clench. I don’t know why… I mean, everything that is on my mind is awesome… if you boil it all down. I have been breaking a sweat since I started my Spiritual Counseling class here at the Momshram. It seems simple enough, right? You go to class, they dispense information, you stay awake and take good notes, go home and get on with your life… NOPE. As it turns out, being a spiritual counselor requires abiding in a superconscious state, which then lifts the counselee into alignment with their own innate wisdom. So, yeah, they taught us tools… but none of those tools are worth a damn if I am abiding in my small, separate self.

Superconsciousness is God-mind. Unity consciousness. The sphere where reality is not relative. I am you, and you are me, and we are seemingly individuated drops dissolved in the infinite ocean of love. That’s awesome, right? Like why on earth would my heart be clenched? Well… my best guess is because all of the ideas about myself and life that are rooted in my small, separate self are on the brink of death and they don’t appreciate that. And I have believed for so long, that that is who I am and I don’t want to die!! But really, I DO. I want to be free. I want to remember myself as the Ocean.

The last thing I’ll say about this, before I start gushing about my superlative mother, is that being a spiritual counselor is not something you do for an hour, and then fall back into darkness, separation, delusion. No! It requires vigilant practice!! In every new moment, we have a fresh choice (no, not the restaurant, dummy!)… to be identified with our limitations, fears, judgments… or to lift our consciousness up into heaven within. Like Jesus said, “Let thine eye be single, and thy whole body shall be full of light.” He’s talking about the third (spiritual) eye; the point between your eyebrows; your sixth chakra. Through practicing inhabiting this sacred center all week, I realize that I can not live there AND live in my head, in the past, in my deluded hopes…

Superconsciousness is a gentle home. It makes no demands. And being an inward ambassador of eternity, naturally, it speaks in a tenderized whisper. When it speaks. Often it doesn’t say anything at all. The Self is ever content, ever peaceful, ever free. So you can see how easily it can be drowned out by the relentless, dramatic antics of the ego.

To be a spiritual counselor, is to LIVE in spiritual practice. But thankfully, not spiritual perfect! God, if that was the case, we’d all be screwed. But everyone can practice! I guess at a soul level, we all ARE practicing. Hmmm… Sometimes that sure doesn’t SEEM like the case. Most of us seem to be clutching dam hard at the fringes of oblivion. But heck, I’m not gonna go there. Sri Yukteswar said to leave some mysteries for when we’re Self Realized. I think because on the spiritual path, simplicity and practicality go a long way. For example, I keep reminding myself to pause and lift my inward gaze to the point between my eyebrows- simple, yet potent… Like, really, what else IS there to do, beyond being willing to relinquish all that *seems* so compelling, and simply be awake. Gosh, it seems so easy. And it IS. For a fleeting moment. Until I get swept away in the rapids of my untrained and flailing mind.

But anyway, MY MOM IS AWESOME! It’s been exquisite to be on this leg of my journey… and get to spend so much time with her. I mean, dig this: we share a bedroom (with matching german fairytale single beds)! Yes, for six weeks over the summer, then a two week break, and now another two weeks and counting, we have been living together in hella intimate quarters. Every day, I feel amazed and grateful that this brings us closer, when it could so *conceivably* drive us further apart. You know… by being way too up in each other’s shit. But we’re so harmonious! She doesn’t get jalepeno my business, nor do I get all up in hers. But we both enjoy coming together for little segments of the day and sharing conversation, life and laughter (and sometimes I cry too). I bet if you drew some of each of our blood and looked at it under a powerful microscope, you’d see the same sense of humor splashing about in both sanguinary samples. We can laugh together in a way that is unique to us; like being the only two members of a highly exclusive and totally fabulous club.

I have also opted to be transparent with her in regards to my emotionally sprawling journey with Ed (whom I am still epically in love with and devoted to). This has been a conscious choice on my part, and has had me totter at the terrifying edge of my vulnerability again and again and again. I face my fears of being misunderstood or judged. And yet I keep choosing to expose my heart and my life to her. Every time, I am met with unconditional love. Not that she doesn’t have judgements. She might. But she does not make them the most important thing. She listens to my heart. And asks questions when she doesn’t understand. And the miracle of it, is that so many times, I have shared with her the places where Ed and I get stuck and are struggling to “see eye to eye”, and Beloved Sumitra is able to recognize an convey how Ed might be feeling/perceiving reality… and where I have NOT been able to hear HIM, I can suddenly hear him through her!!! And when I refer to this as a miracle, I mean it. (Though really, I believe EVERYTHING is a miracle… but let’s not go tumble up that ecstatic rabbit hole right now.)

I often reflect on how amazing it is to be on a spiritual journey with my Ma. Like, how many people GET THAT boon? She is such a great friend, ally, human being. If she was someone ELSE’S mom, I’d be so jealous of them!!! I even love the ways that she “messed up” raising me. Because I have the opportunity to choose forgiveness, and only see her for the love she gives and the love she IS. And likewise with the ways her “mess-ups” impacted me. Again, I have the choice to hold myself with unbounded compassion and perfect faith in the intelligence of the divine wisdom that is unfolding me with every breath.

As a child, my mom always let me eat whatever I wanted off her plate. I see this as a metaphor that extends way beyond the act itself. Jeesh, I would have a much harder time sharing my food… even with someone I love entirely. MY FOOD. Dumb, I know… But deeper than that, it’s the energetics of the gesture. Genuinely selfless giving. From pure love. She gives like this to many in a multiplicity of ways, every day. I have learned so much from her. She has learned so much from me. And we continue to raise each other up in the Light. We always will.

Sometimes I like to think about how one day, she will leave this earth. And how much I will miss her. This makes me savor every second we are blessed to share. Or maybe every tenth second… Because sometimes I fall asleep. But I am practicing waking up more and more. It takes vigilance. But it’s worth it.

Live,
A

It’s Time To Rise!!

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Well I’m gonna give you the GOOD news, because it is so good.
The messiah has returned to earth!!!

And now for the bad news:
Haha tricked you, there IS no bad news. But the news that could be construed as “bad”, by the lazy and the cynics among us, is that the messiah is YOU. And I’m not just saying that because my poetic license is glamorously up to date. I am saying it because this is becoming so blatantly obvious to me. We are each capable of manifesting the unlimited stream of goodness that is always flowing through us right NOW. We are not victims of circumstance or the past. And if we think we are, it is simply because we have not forgiven.

Do not be fooled. Forgiveness is NOT for the “fallible” he or she who has done you wrong. Who suffers for the burdensome grievances you choose to slog along as you trudge down the road of Life? Yep. You.

Listen to me. EVERYTHING is forgivable. Everything. You would not begrudge a tiny child for the myriad times she falls as she learns to walk… so why begrudge any of your brothers or sisters… for we are all but amnesiac divine children stumbling in the dark, that we may find our way Home. When you hold onto an image of another, based on their past behavior, you are confining both your own consciousness and theirs to a prison fabricated by your own misguided imagination.

Of course you can argue with me. And surely you can find ample evidence to illuminate any and every view point you could possibly choose. But honestly, would you rather be right, separate, miserable, alone… or at peace? Will you now choose to know yourself as the Source of Love? I come to Athena Graceland today with fire in my belly and a vision of peace for all wo(man)kind.

I don’t follow politics. Nor do I aspire to. But I know that some bullshitty stuff is going down in Syria. And I know that the U.S. is starting to bear our fangs and thrust war cries in that direction. On Sunday, I was at Stinson Beach with my most excellent girlfriend Deirdre, and we saw a dismal-spirited man standing on the corner with a wilted american flag and a sloppily scrawled sign that begged us to stop behaving like tyrannical infants, and WAKE UP. (Yes, those were my words. I have a proclivity to vivify and summarize.) And YES, I think waking up and collectively choosing something other than war is a fantastic idea!!! I am so enrolled. But here’s what I noticed- that man looked pretty unhappy himself. How is one slumped and scowling man, standing on a street corner in a breath-giving northern california beach town going to save the world? The answer is that he’s not. Nor are any of us who rage against the machine, angrily marching with signs. Because, duh, what you resist, persists. Where attention goes, energy flows. Do you really want peace? Then BE it.

I would bet EVERYTHING that if YOU offered your whole-hearted commitment to the purification of your mind, heart and body, such that when you closed your eyes and looked within, you saw an exquisite, endless expanse of softly smiling stillness and perfect, limitless love…

I’m not exactly sure how to finish that sentence. Because I have NOT perfected myself as such. So I can not speak from experience, but only from keen intuition. It is time to stop festering with all the horrifying symptoms of our collective forgetfulness, and dive straight to the ROOT. The root is within YOU. You are a mainline straight to Source. Choose to forgive all. Choose to recognize your small, calcified, limited, separate self as the colossal sham that it it is. Come on. Let’s not waste another second!!!

This morning, on the phone with Ed, he told me that tonight he is having a ride-along with a reporter from the Oakland Tribune. He did not sound too thrilled for this. On the contrary, I bet that if I had’ve checked his diaper in the moment, it would have been filled with warm, sloppy poop! Haha!! But this is no slander on my Sweetheart’s character. It is a useful caricature of an aspect of your own consciousness. And mine. You see, he told me that he wasn’t sure WHO this person was, or what they wanted… hence he didn’t know if it would be a “good” experience, or a “bad” one. And in that moment, I saw my own small, self-serving reflection. And I saw that when my consciousness is surfing that channel… living inside the question of “what can I GET from this other, and from life, itself,”… I am condemning myself to unhappiness.

So I invited him to stop waiting for the world to show up according to his narrow slab of conditions, hopes and expectations, and BE THE GIFT. Be the one to declare unconditional love, to offer sacred, penetrating presence and bottomless kindness FOR ITS OWN SAKE. If we wait for others to bend over backwards and break in order to convey a fabricated demonstration of worthiness, we might be waiting for a loooooooong time. And WE suffer for this.

To put it in the most remedial terms, it feels awesome to be nice.

And I’m not talking about pink-Betty-Crocker-frosting-out-of-the-can, nice. I’m talking about rooted-into-the-center-of-the-planet-and-the-blazing-core-of-the-galaxy-powerful-beyond-measure nice. Nice because you are acting from deep, unobscured alignment with that which you ARE at your core.

This takes practice. Lots of practice. But the good news is that you have an entire human life; an incessant stream of opulent opportunities to practice. Every single day. Right NOW.

Live,
A

I finished my tantra yoga immersion three days ago, and I’m still trying to make sense of it. Compared to the Ananda Yoga teacher training I just finished, this one seemed haphazard and all over the place. Mining the gifts bestowed upon me over the seven days of the training has been like being on a treasure hunt in a midnight labyrinth. Because of who I am, I find this simultaneously frustrating and exhilarating. Heck yes, I like to work! And yet, do I really need to pay a thousand dollars to work so hard? But let’s not hang out in that frivolous mind fuck. I have way more important layers to unpack.

On the second to last day, a woman asked the teacher a question that, like a loose spark, ignited a blazing fire in me. Before I dive in, I want to meander three steps to the left, and say that I was repeatedly turned off by the nature of the questions that many of the students asked the teacher. From my “partial perception”, it seemed like many of the women were so quick to give their power over to the teacher. As if he was not a more mortal, but a Shiva dancing on a heaven-scraping pedestal. This play was reminiscent of the guru-disciple relationship… which I have some genuine reverence for. But the trouble with that, is that Pedro is not a guru. Nor does he portend to be one. He’s a man with a beautiful, truth-seeking soul, a strong, devoted practice and a burning drive to share what he has unearthed within himself. Anyway, lemme keep this plug concise- Stop giving away your power and TRUST YOURSELF. (and yes, I am saying this to myself, as well as to alla y’all.)

And now for the bread and butter of this blog. The woman’s question wasn’t really a question at all… it was more like a deep wound being voiced in a space where she felt safe to share, and hungry for healing. She confessed that she had issue with all of the devotional chanting (and general praises) to Lord Shiva we were doing. She confessed wounding around the masculine, and thus a preference to worship the Goddess. (In retrospect, I’m mildly amused by how Pedro grappled with response to her “question”. I mean what can you say to that, really?)

But hallelujah that our friend brought this issue to light! It is an important topic for us all to explore together, here in Athena Graceland. We ARE living in a sorely imbalanced world, at this time. I am stating the obvious here. We are killing each other, raping the earth, and limping along in a pathetic fever dream of “each man for himself”. It sucks.

BUT MEN ARE NOT TO BLAME.

Yes, you could certainly argue with me. A very convincing case at that. But WHY on earth would you argue for the right to BLAME? Blame blows. As an esteemed ambassador for the New World, I am here to tell you that it is time to cleanse our calcified misgivings in the holy waters of forgiveness.

Listen up. We are all in this together. We must stop dividing ourselves and come together as one human family. We are all children of God. And if the G-word turns you off, don’t choose to get hung up there and miss the message. Love. Love is the creative glue of the universe. And thru the eyes of Love, we all look exactly the same; equally, unsayably magnificent.

Yes, absolutely it is time for women to rise up. Goddess YES! Everywhere I turn, I am surrounded by wise, powerful and beautiful women who are waking from the dream of oppression, and rising up. Together. But if we condemn and despise our men, we are only striking against ourselves.

I was eating my lunch at the Berkeley Bowl on my way to the last day of class… feeling tender and premenstrual… and this dude looked me up and down, and I felt a mild twinge of disgust. I will testify that it sucks to be looked at like a piece of meat. But here’s the thing- men don’t know any better. They have all been trained by a society of low consciousness, where we’ve all passively agreed that it’s acceptable and even desirable to sell sex. And underneath the surface of this lie, we are ALL starving for genuine connection, acceptance, love.

Think about it- what good is it gonna do for me to close my heart to that man, who is simply ignorant. That will only serve to widen the divide. Women- stop condemning men for acting like dopes. It is time for us to come together and remember our wholeness, raise each other up. And from this foundation of unwavering self-love, true power and forgiveness, we must serve as guides and teachers for our men. Stand proud and glorious in who you ARE ,rather than pretending to be who you think you need to be in order to “get love”. We are each the SOURCE of Love. Ask for what you want. Acknowledge, praise and reward men when they get it right. We are all in this together. Just like men would not be here without women, women would not be here without men.

Women and men have different areas of strength and expertise. The time has come to recognize and celebrate our differences, and work together to co-create a balanced healthy world where love prevails.

What stories, misgivings, old wounds must YOU let go of, in order to step into this brave new paradigm of forgiveness and joyful co-operation? Please, on behalf of humanity, (not to mention the thrival of your own heart, body and soul…) LET GO. Let go of hurt and blame, and choose instead the joy of working together to build a world of peace, love and unity. Oh, and listen, don’t wait for others to “earn” your generosity. Live by example. The revolution is YOUR unconditional love.

Live,
A

And What Of King Edward?

I bet you’re wondering how it’s going with my married boyfriend, King Edward. It felt so tenuous, packing up my life and heading to the Momshram to dissolve and then become a butterfly. I think that’s the true test of every Relationship- Is it spacious enough; clear and solid in its foundation, such that both parties have room to grow at their own pace, without appearing as a threat to the other or the whole.

I was afraid. Afraid to let go of what Ed and I had shared up until my departure ( and also relieved to let go of it). Afraid of losing him. Afraid of becoming too powerful. Afraid that if I tuned deeper into God, God would tell me to ditch him. And all of these fears were not so subtle by the time I arrived at Ananda. Like hooded cobra snakes, they slithered right up into my excessively serious face and bared their venomous fangs. Every day while I was in the training, I felt myself stretching, shedding, becoming… And every day, I would call Ed and share. Some days, the sharing was expansive and harmonious. Some days, the sharing created distance and dissonance.

With Ed, I *know* I am in trouble when a grave silence falls upon the line. It didn’t take me long at all to learn that. Silence means that I have tripped a land mine inside him, and he’s in the implosion process. But he’s not ready to talk about it yet. He has to take some space and sort himself out… and return to me after some time, to share his murky depths.

But it’s kinda beautiful, right? That I’ve come to know (AND ACCEPT) him well enough to recognize and make peace with his process. Believe me, it takes immense patience to navigate these realms. But when “they” said “patience is a virtue”, “they” were *not* just blowing smoke out of their booty holes. And if you ask me, true wealth is found in the coin of virtues. I want to be RICH!!! And I AM, by now. Thanks to Ed, and all the practice he gives me!!!!

I think it’s a very key point that I just stumbled on, when I told you that I was afraid that as I became more intimate with God, God would tell me that I should leave Ed. My soul yearns to live fully surrendered to God, that I may be a willing and humble channel for the Light. And too, I yearn to join my life with Ed’s, because our hearts are already joined. But given that he’s already married and still has a fifteen year old prince living at home, it just seems way too complicated some days.

But every time we hit a bump in the road, we both kept showing up. Though I am embarrassed to tell you how many times I went to class with a mangled, bleeding heart… Some might say too many. I say, it is ALL God’s will. And plus, as soon as I shifted my focus to learning, and relaxed into the presence of my classmates- twenty of the most open, loving, kind, supportive, luminous human beings on the planet (!!!!!), plus a slew of brilliant, devoted teachers, the seething wound in my heart would seal up and I would receive a miraculous transfusion of peace and freshly oxygenated surrender. Then later, I’d return to Ed with renewed patience, compassion and commitment to being my best and receiving his best. (And ask me how many times he would astound me by showing up with a rendition of his BEST that was unprecedented and managed to bring me to my humbled and well-lubricated knees!)

I don’t want to get lost in the details of our stumbles through the jungles of intimacy… but I will share that I had a potent victory around surrender. You know those moments with your partner where you disagree on something that *seems* fundamental, and you find yourself in a heated and unpleasant game of offense/defense… and in order to move forward, ONE of you must back down, soften, compromise, let go of the need to be right…. (INSERT ominous music and SCREAM HERE) God… when we rouse each other’s edges in this realm, it can feel so scary. Like I might lose myself, my freedom. Like I might DIE.

A couple of weeks ago, we were *blessed* with one of these situations. Because we have been through it enough times now, and I know how much it blows to butt heads, I decided to *play* a new game… JUST THIS ONCE. I handed Ed the reigns; let him have total control in a realm where in the past, he has felt powerless. I’ll tell you WHAT- It was the smartest thing I ever did. As soon as I let go, he felt heard, honored, respected, considered. And HE let go too. At once the battleground became strewn with flower petals, beneficent sunlight stabbed through the clouds, and the music turned to gushing string quartets. I recommend being the first one to let go. Rather than incurring death (except of that which is unreal in the first place), it vivifies and brightens life and love. At least it has the potential to do this, when offered with pure and loving intent.

So now, five weeks and two days after kissing goodbye, I will testify that Ed and I are more in love than EVER before. I am so pleased to say and feel and know that rather than eroding our connection, my surrender to this calling to greater heights of my Self has brought us deeper, and higher; into new realms of trust, intimacy and partnership.

Ed is everything I could ask for in a partner. I started to list all the qualities I love about him just now… But I got shy and deleted them. Because I realized that I could gush on forever, and it sounded like propaganda. Plus, all these things mean so much to ME… but to YOU, the reader… you might just roll your eyes, or fall asleep all together. So suffice to say, he is the one I choose. I feel met on every level, beyond my wildest dreams (Which is not to say that we don’t struggle. Obviously we DO. It’s how we both choose to SHOW UP in the struggles). We can communicate without saying a word, and he feels every little micro movement of my heart and soul. I will stand by him pure devotion as he slowly, lovingly frees himself from his glorious, karmic tangle. And I will do it JOYFULLY.

Amen.

The End. (Or Not…)

If my life were a porcelain puzzle, somebody just snatched it out of God’s ever-open hand, scrambled to the top of the Statue of Liberty, and cast it down to the platinum dance floor below.  Okay.  That’s extreme.  And my life is not.  In fact, I almost want to start this blog over again.  But the image of the porcelain puzzle is so evocative.  And my life is certainly breaking apart, as it must from time to time.  Om namah Shivaya.

 

But maybe I should’ve begun my entry like this:

 

As I was leaving the Momshram precisely one week ago, my Ma said to her utterly adorable and perfect young cat, Jupi, “Jupi, go say bye to Athena.  She’s gotta go back to Oakland and get back to her soap opera.”  Yes!  I swear to God, she said that.  It poked me in a tender place.  My first reaction was a low-caliber “ouch”.  But after the initial sting, naturally, I had to laugh!  My soap opera… I never even WATCHED soap operas!

 

But if you held up her life alongside mine, like two intricate and masterfully crafted, oversized snowflakes, mine would definitely more closely resemble a soap opera.  Sigh.  Oh well.  I am here to learn lessons of Love… and sometimes the curriculum makes me go, “huh?”… or “whoa!”…or “OUCH!!!!!!”.  (I was thinking of that C&C Music Factory song, “things that make you go hmmm”.  Lordy, the wonders that lie dormant in the folds of the human mind!…)

 

A few years ago, right here in the glowing, literary sanctity of Athena Graceland, I declared myself a tumbling student of the School of Mostly Soft Knocks.  But today, as a turn inward, and consider the lessons of the past year… I feel that there is a better adjective for my knocks of late than “soft”.  No, they’re certainly not hard, either.  But they DO sting, in a way that softness never could.  Neither hard nor soft… I’m gonna go with… The School of Sporadically Stinging Knocks… with some soft ones in between.

 

I think Ed and I might be done for a while.  Maybe.  Although I bought him a tomatillo plant yesterday… and I sure wish I could give it to him!  Maybe he’ll bust through the door of Pizzaiolos any second, pausing in the threshold, a mighty silhouette, John Wayne meets the Terminator… and then stride to my table and take me in his arms and kiss me long and deep and loving, then look in my eyes and say, “I want to keep growing with you, Athena.  I hit a wall, but I trust that love will dissolve it.  And I am willing!”

 

I really would NOT put that past him.  He’s been growing at such a rapid pace over the past year.  It has been extraordinary to witness.  I feel honored and privileged to have participated thus far.  But maybe like a kid who is growth spurting all over the place, he needs to take a pause so that he doesn’t split his skin open or something…  That would suck.

 

Dost Thou wonders what happened?  Well, I guess, basically, we are from different cultures.  Does that make it impossible for us to meet in love?  I say no way jose!  But it does take a clear recognition that this is the case…. and a willingness to understand and accept one another, given our different wiring and world views.  We would need to agree to disagree on some matters.  And love ourselves enough to be at peace with the inevitable gaps.  Sounds a little bit complicated, doesn’t it?  Well… too bad, because I’m a believer.  I believe that Love is stronger than anything.  And yet… I’m only masochistic to a point.

 

I’m pretty sure he wanted me to cut a certain friendship out of my life, because the man makes him feel… uncomfortable.  Threatened, even.  Whenever this topic rose to the surface, it caused us both a lot of pain.  And the beauty of the human mechanism, is that we are wired to avoid pain, so that we will survive and endure and continue to extend our species through the endless corridors of time.  So we did our best to avoid the topic for some time.  Inhale.  Exhale.

 

Yeah. I need to breathe a lot, because I just got an email from Ed.  And I couldn’t do anything but RIP it open like a kid in a horror movie set on christmas morning.   Yes, that was dramatic again.  But in the name of poetry.  But if I was gonna say it plain, I’d say that reading it made my heart shudder incessantly and my guts twist in a pre-puke-rush.  Lord.  I don’t understand.

 

Basically, I think Ed was asking me to abandon this said friendship, so that he would not need to feel threatened.  I think… I’m still not exactly sure what happened, because my head is spinning and my heart is shedding a waterfall of internal tears.  Anyway, I expressed to him that I will never stop loving the way I love.  No, that doesn’t mean sexualized loving.  Just open, authentic, vulnerable, nourishing connections with quality human beings.  (I loooove what my minister, Reverend E says on occasion- if there is ANYONE who you think of… and a smile does not spread across your face, YOU HAVE WORK TO DO.  That was just a word from our sponsor, btw…)

 

“You must really love that man,” Ed commented when I drew my sacred circle in the sand last night.

 

No… it’s not about “that man”, I told him.  It’s principal.  I need to be trusted and supported in my life and relationships.  I’m not the kind of weak woman who will close her heart off,  just to make her man feel safe and secure.  I love MYSELF, I told him.  I do.  But unfortunately loving myself does NOT mean that I don’t hurt like fuck.  Yes, in case there was any question, I HURT.

 

But I am hurting in God’s embrace.  I feel this in my bones.  And all I can do is surrender.

 

Last night he said “Bye” to me.  Via Facebook messaging.  It was just after nine pm.  I was in bed with the lights out.  Nearing the precipice of slumber.  The word and his finality stung like a hard slap, and then the quiet of death settled like an invisible, suffocating fog, over everything.  I was stunned.  And yet calm.  All I could do was pray to God.  God, please be here with me.  I surrender to You, God.  Be here with me.  And be with Ed.  Let us both find comfort in Love’s embrace.

 

Sleep.  It came flirtatiously near… but no closer.  Instead, I spent the night feeling mostly sober and lucid after a bad acid trip.  I dreamed dreams that woke me with a pounding heart and sweaty sheets.  And yet, still I knew that God was cradling me.

 

Ahhh… here come the tears.  They have been evading me until now.  But I feel dropped.  Like a porcelain puzzle.  Off the Statue of Liberty.  Oh well, NOTHING REAL CAN BE THREATENED.  NOTHING UNREAL EXISTS.  This is from A Course in Miracles.  And I know it’s true.  Even when it doesn’t FEEL that way.  Ahhhh feelings.  They are *NOT* for wusses.  NO WAY.

 

I dunno.  I guess that’s about all I have to say right now…

 

Except I want to say to Edward… Ed, if you change your mind and want to keep growing with me, and consider that there is a beautiful world on the other side of your wall, that is YOURS FOR THE LOVING, I am still here.  You still have much to learn, and I would be honored to hold your and and continue to be your guide, your friend and your lover.  Boner.

 

Live,

A

The Past: Letting Go Into Unconditional Love

I was cleaning out my closet yesterday afternoon, because I have an aversion to needless “stuff”, and I came upon the scrapbook that my ex-fiance and I compiled over the course of our five years together.  Five years… once upon a time, that seemed like a lot.  But now… well, it’s been five years since we broke up.  Almost exactly five years.  I know, because yesterday, when I opened our scrapbook, I discovered a flattened package of “vanilla-neem” ayurvedic soap, next to which, my sloppy, pink, hand-written caption stated that it was the last box of soap Eric and I shared before we separated!  The date was May fifth, 2008.  I was sublimely tickled by my slanted sentimentality.

 

My intention was to toss the heavy, oversized book (that we stumbled upon at Thrift Town, back in the day), artistically plastered with the past into the trash.  Because why would I haul that around?  Truthfully, I felt crushed a coupla years ago when Eric told me he was gonna trash our Cuba photo album.  And *beyond* crushed when he refused to reach out and take my hand when I proposed continued friendship last year.  In fact, here is an excerpt from the last email he sent me in the fall:

 

“If I have a protective shell up between you and I, it is there for good reason.  For my reasons.  And you are not inside my shell.  You will not be inside my shell again.  It is my place.  For me.  And more and more for Erin.  I don’t say this to try and hurt you, though I can imagine it does hurt.  I only want to be clear on where I am.  And I want you to understand that as well.  If we are to be friends, we must come together from this moment and not from the past.  I feel that you are still loving me from the past.”

 

THE PAST.

 

The past… And here I sit, on this first day of may, twenty thirteen, trying to grasp what it is to let go of the past.  I’d like to think I’m a pretty skilled little bodhisattva, fashionably perched upon the illumined throne of holy nowness… but then… why can I not bring myself to toss this large, heavy book full of countless expressions of our shared love and life?

 

And in service to getting naked upon the page, I must say that it stung me to read that he felt that I was still loving him from the past.  Probably because he’s right.  But god, it bruises my lousy pride to consider that my loving is so remedial that it is founded in the long-dissolved and glorified dream of days now dead and gone.  When I read those words for the second time, I took a long wonder… How DO I love him from the PRESENT?  And I was sad to realize that the answer was simply to hear him.  And accept his desire for space.  So I have been.  But truthfully, I still have more forgiving to do… because I can feel this *subtle* bitter twinge of self-righteousness swirl inside me when I think of him.  Like he’s WRONG and FOOLISH for rejecting my invitation into proactively evolving our love and connection.  I must admit, it really does seem that way.  I mean, I’m ATHENA GRACE LMNOP, for Jesus’s sake!!!  And I love like a heavyweight champ.  Who WOULDN’T want to hit this heart???

 

Eric.  That’s who.  And I have the opportunity to deepen my practice of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.  Ya see?  It’s conditional love if I am waiting for him to want to be my friend.   It’s conditional love if I find fault in his desire for space.  It’s conditional love if I cast myself as the enlightened one, for wanting to stay connected, while casting him as the stingy jerk for choosing to live his life without me in it.  Sigh… I guess I’M the stingy jerk for feeling so perpetually tempted to find fault in his choices.

 

But I spose I oughtn’t shoot the messenger.  People stream through our lives to teach us so many shades of lesson.  I mean, if I was busy white-knuckle grasping the perfect picture of how it is SUPPOSED to be with Eric at this point… then I wouldn’t be available to this profound opportunity to explore what it is to love someone unconditionally; or to fully release the past.  Honestly, these are skills I would REALLY love to master.  I’m looking now at ALL my relationships… yes, every single one… and seeing how easy it is to “love” from memory.  Like Ed and I shared some glorious time together yesterday… and that most recent emotional impression informs how my heart feels about him today.  And my Ma… we have shared so much laughter.  And she is so generous in her practice of accepting me no matter what I choose in my life.  Or even Anitra, who I HAVEN’T connected with in a while… and began to imagine that she STOPPED loving me (AS IF!)… But…

 

All of that is a glorified bushel of shriveled yesterdays, at this point.  How do we do it?  How does one courageously toss every glimmering shell of yesterday into the transformative fires of forgiveness and simply LOVE… without limit; without “reason”?

 

I ask…

 

And then I sit in contemplative quiet… I feel my heart swell and shine with intimate warmth.  My heart says it is very simple.  Too simple.  My heart says I AM love.  Not love the concept.  Love, the radiant, eternal, indwelling presence.  It is my mind who complicates this undeniable, unwavering truth.  So ya know what I’m gonna do?  I’m gonna keep meditating every day.  Sitting and sinking deeper into Silence.  And letting that quiet place teach me; inform my choices and my movement through this seductive river of dream images.  Yes!  I’m signing up for a permanent subscription to simplicity.  Not that this will obliterate the complexity and chaos of the world… But it doesn’t need to.  Nah… it’s just a sweet sanctuary to nestle into from time to time, as I haul my fat, gravitationally challenged ass up the endless summits of this human life.

 

Live,

A

 

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