Success in the Rubble of the Patriarchy

Recently, I googled “why are Italians so intense”, but I was disappointed by the lack of illumination provided to me by the omniscience of the world wide web.

 

This morning my BFF Anitra sent me an audio message which spoke to this burning curiosity in me.  She said she saw a time-tested latin quote posted somewhere that basically said “go fuck yourself” and mused on how this spoke to the ongoing culture of brutality that is Roman Civilization.  A sprawling history of dominance, beheading, crucifixion, thirst for “power” (as opposed to the real shit, which of coure is L-O-V-E).  Yup.  This feels true inside me.

 

I wonder what sorts of wars and festivals, rites and relations have happened on this very slab of earth, beneath the concrete mass that is now a tragically generic grocery store (at which we frequently shop), massive, double-decker parking lot and cafe (abounding with pretty, seductive morsels fashioned from white flower and white sugar) at which I sit splashing my musings upon the face of a benevolently glowing screen…  I guess the answer to this question could reveal a compelling story no matter which piece of earth one occupies.  Dense paper mache layers of history.  Past, present and FUTURE.  Maybe someday, this little piece of earth will be covered in flowers, gurgling streams and cute, furry animals.   Hopefully it won’t become a nuclear wasteland….

 

That triple paragraph musing didn’t really lead anywhere, as it would have in my “ideal world”… but I DO want it to be recorded in the annals of Herstory that in 2019, Athena Grace struggled (daily) to make amends with an environment which has endured a heavy-handed dose of Patriarchal influence.  A land where she never ceases to be amused and depending on her mood, also repulsed by the dirt-common practice of communication that lives like people shouting at each other.

 

My poor husband… perpetually perplexed by his utterly ordinary way of speaking often making his wife bristle, cower, cry.

 

I reckon no one is exempt from navigating the pitted inner and outer wastelands of Patriarchal damage at this point.  We are so steeped in it, we often don’t even recognize how warped we are.

 

Lately I’ve become too pregnant to “make anything of myself”, careerwise.  I was really giving it a valiant crack.  I intended to get my online women’s circles reignited and pumpin with shakti-sauce.  I feel sad writing that, because I SO want to.  But the reality is, I’m anywhere from tired to exhausted most of the time.  I have a three year old who needs so much of me.  My mom is dead.  My friends and family are an ocean and landmass away.  My husband works all the time.

 

I could suffer about all this… or just lay down my sword and shield and embrace the current weather system of ISness.  Or as Rosymoon perfectly summed it up once upon a time, “Yesness to the ISness is my Business.”  Damn straight Sisterhood.

 

Once again, I watch my deepest dreams and soul-full longings elude me; turn to sacred vapor in my pulsing palm.  To be a famous writer.  To be an inspiring leader of Women, trailblazer of global sanity, unapologetic, fluorescent luminary of Unity Consciousness.

 

But many of the sane and brilliant women whom I surround myself with have been echoing a similar message to me recently… they speak of their own inquiry into the notions of “success” and “fulfillment”.  Is our incessant striving for BIGGER-BETTER-MORE merely the deep scarring of a perverted, collective thought system?

 

It feels so true inside me that I want to BE SOMEBODY.  DO SOMETHING.  Create and generate from the raw passion that I AM.  But… is it not monumental to grow a human with my own body?  And not just ANY old human…. But an awake soul who embodies the potential to guide the world back into sacred balance?  My children will pick up where I left off.  And I have made a lot of progress in the Way of Love and Truth.  In the Way of purging Collective bullshit.  And I will do my BEST not to jam them in constricting boxes.  (God HELP ME forgive myself for all the little ways I fuck up every day… and affirm and reaffirm and celebrate the modest though cumulative successes we accrue.)

 

Is it not legendarily stupendous that my heart has opened to my husband?… Haha, after ten months and a nearly ripe baby…

 

I DO!  I finally love him!  Pop the chorus of champagne corks…  Ohhh… I miss that obsolete version of me…. Who wore flashy tights and short mini skirts and boots, and launched champagne corks to the moon before swigging the bubbly with (sweetly controlled) abandon.  Not that I ever want to be any manner of drunk again…. Well, yes, I DO.  I want to be GOD-DRUNK.  “Our Lady of God-Drunk Grace”, to be precise (this is the title I have my amazon orders addressed to actually…).  I want to feel less serious.  I want to cut loose and dance around and play about everything, with the gaily gurgling spirit of an Eternal Child.  But Lord Have Mercy, it sure is hard to “get it up”, when you’re trudging pregnant through a parched, scorching desert.  Cue up the fucking violins….

 

But while the violins moan and croon, I will sing to you of how I found love for Giordano….

 

Last week, the density of my Life crushed me again.  And I came damn fucking close to leaving this harsh land of Roman fall-out.  This time, it was not in reaction to cruel, barbaric behavior on the part of my “ball and chain”.  It was simply… EVERYTHING.  Some days I just hate my life.  I miss having friends.  I miss not being able to talk to “strangers”.  It feels so desolate and barren.  And often I feel just as lonely when I’m with Giordano… to no fault of his.  We just don’t jive.  He lives mostly in his intricate, self-proclaimed-genius (perhaps he really is one…) mind.  But in terms of emotional/relational intelligence, he often sucks ass.  But then sometimes he doesn’t.

 

On the heels of weeks melting into months of drowning depression, I told him I was considering going back to California.  He got scared.   And hence mean.  Like a cobra snake puffing up in defense of his precious little serpentine body.  But at some level I was glad, because his meanness justified my intended exit.  My dad told me he’d give me the money to fly home, if I truly felt this was the right choice.

 

But third time IS a charm.  Instead of taking impulsive action, I told Daddy Dearest that I have fucked up ENOUGH times making emotionally impulsive decisions… I needed some time to sit with the offer.  That night I didn’t sleep.  At 3:30am I came back to bed and Giordano awoke.  He asked me what was going on and I started to cry from the immense pressure and ache inside.  He embraced me with his raw, unguarded heart.  I realized this unconditional, saturated holding was my deepest desire.

 

He said he understood me.  He spoke of his played-the-fuck-out pattern to leave before he is abandoned.   He confessed the part of him that has been tempted to walk away before I do.  But he knows that territory better than his own… dick (Which I refer to as his “Best Friend”) and he’s ready to do something new.  Fucking Courageous.

 

I found respect for him that night.  And the entry point into the possibility of Trust.  We acknowledged that we have struggled to trust one another.  And that we both deeply desire to trust.

 

Since then, everything has felt different.  Something crumbled and fell away.  My heart feels soft and open.  Even when I don’t like him….

 

This MUST be “success”.

 

But life still often feels lonely and frustrating (believe me, I AM making concerted effort to count my blessings and savor the little mOMents of grace…).  This must be what if feels like for an ego to unravel.  Uncomfortable and confusing.  But maybe something good is happening….

 

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The Riveting Glory of Impermanence and Failure!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LIFE IS TOTALLY IMPERFECT.  

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

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

Giving it ALL.  

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

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

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

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

Juicy, right?!

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

Oh.  My. Goodness.

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

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

I’m growing.

It’s actually quite pleasant.

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

With Abundant Love from Graceland,

Athena

The Naked Truth of Me.

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I cut off my hair.  I don’t love it.  I did it because my Innermost Self told me to.  When my Desert Island Friend (the friend I’d choose to be stranded on a desert island with), Anitra asked me if I liked it, I replied, “I don’t know.  But I liked the courage it took to trust my inner voice.”  Now, you might think I’m exaggerating or embellishing… but I’m not.  I’ve felt this deep, acute irritation regarding my hair, for a while now.  I kept having mental images and accompanying feelings of shaving it all off… This was totally freakin’ my ego.  I tried to bargain with myself… like, “Oh, Athena… you don’t want to lose your femininity.  Why don’t you keep it long in the front, and shorter in the back….?”  I imagined a cascade of annoying hair, spilling in my face all the time, and it literally seemed like an incessant tussle with the devil.

Then, yesterday, the day of my haircut spread in full bloom.  I sat outside on the uncharacteristically lush (for Nevada City), flower laden deck of the house where Magdelena (the Priestess appointed to do the sacred deed) was housesitting.  My heart wandered an endless desert of grief.  I had cried most of the morning.  Because I longed for closeness with friends… but they all seemed concurrently distant.  And in this desolate inner space, I realized a quintessential role of Mother, is to be your unconditional friend in the face of everything that life is and isn’t.  My heart groped for her and instead drew fistfuls of cold, slippery vastness.  It’s been three months since she disappeared from this dimension, and finally the grief is really hitting me.  My mom is gone for good.  And don’t you DARE get all transcendentally savvy on me, and tell me that she is always with me, or that our souls will find each other a bazillion times over… Because, honestly, like SO THE FUCK WHAT?  I didn’t come into this Athenian Earth Dream to float above it in cushy conceptual realms.

I came here to get down in it.  And feel to the gritty bottom.  And talk about it with at once disturbing and relieving honesty.

And these days, the bottom sure is fuckin gritty.  The poles of my experience are carving me with the technological precision of laser surgery.  On one hand (and I am totally NOT exaggerating), everywhere I turn, I see angels, whose love pours toward and through me with the force of a burst dam.  Seriously, I bear witness to outrageous kindness, sincerity, generosity and sparkling eyes at every turn.  You’d think I was wandering through Heaven or some’m.  (And then Athena winked, and in the lightning flash before logic could strike, you flooded with undeniable knowing.)  I mean, if I was the fall to my knees type, I would probably be living so close to the ground… for the goodness that oozes through every pore of Creation As I Know It.

But all this goodness does not take away the pain.  If I was not such a goddamn heavyweight warrior goddess, I’d probably double over at the pain of my Ma’s absence, cut with the rigorous path of single motherhood and the confusion and searing longing I feel as I await a deeper cut of knowing around my soul-quenching work in the world.  And the continuous blood-letting of having a child with a man who is committed to another family.  A family that wants NOTHING to do with me and Serena.  My cosmic dad said I’m an extraordinary writer EXCEPT when I talk about God or my Baby Daddy.  Now this claim may indeed be valid.  Even though I really DO feel that God is the total shiznit… But I get it, KenPie… If my writing hovers twelve feet off the ground, it runs the risk of turning to dissociative vapor that leaves you  pondering your to-do list, as your eyes wander the forsaken breadcrumb trail of words.  I guess the God issue boils down to the rudimentary, literary gospel of “show not tell”.  My words can drip with divinity without me once mentioning HeSheIt’s hallowed name.  I was not born to regurgitate flashy, etherial nonsense.  I came to get MESSY, bitches!!!!  Just so you could feel less alone, and maybe have a laugh about this whole delicious tangle of imperfection.

And in terms of Baby Daddy…. I can imagine that it gets fuckin stale from over there (actually from in here, too!)…. my skipping record of heartbreak and disappointment… But I come to the page to heal myself.  Digest the pain of this human odyssey. (I like to imagine that someday, I’ll write for YOU… but for now, honestly, I am here out of a raw and driving, selfish need.  Love me or leave me!) I’m getting free… More and more, focusing on what feels nourishing and life-giving and even JAZZY!!!  But still, I am slow cookin’ in the juices of heart-ache and disappointment, like the tastiest, blue ribbon stew.  My soul delights in entering rooms (of experience) with no exit.  Then, the only way “out”, is to completely transform.  What could be better?

So I cut off my hair, because I am quintessentially broken down.  Magdelena said it was not just a haircut.  It was a ritual.  She invited me to pray.  And to strip down to the honest core of my current experience.  Which is not glamorous.  She invited me to let myself be seen as I am.  And especially to see myself.  This face, this soul, this grief, this naked humanity.

But hair is feminine…  Do I look like a boy?  Will men want to fuck me?  Will I be less lovable?  Less magnetic?

These are the fears and concerns I had to step beyond in order to let go.

I move deeper into the experience of dissolution.  This is true alchemy.  Ultimately I trust the process, even though I don’t understand it, and I can’t see what’s on the other side.  This is true power.

I love you, Athena Grace.IMG_6851