This is #4 in our Guest Blogger series by Athena Grace:
Recently, I was having a leisurely wander about the sweet little market in my village, immersed in deep contemplation of all the delicious things I could consume. Naturally, my beloved Serena, three months alive, was snoogled against my chest in the ergo baby carrier. An especially shiny earth-goddess-hippie-chick’s eyes lit upon us, and she launched an all-pervading smile that caused her to glow even brighter. I made a comment about the adorability of my daughter, and was knocked backwards by her correction, that it was our collective adorability that was causing her swoon. I was surprised also by my resistance to simply relaxing into her warm and wide open gaze. I thought I had mastered the fine art of “being seen”…
The old me had… But this ultraviolet spark of a moment, where God leapt out from behind the starched facade of mundanity and playfully awakened the slumberly pilgrim, who somehow got behind the wheel of my starship (as HeSheIt often does), helped me to see that which had been previously concealed by my passive immersion in the ISness. I really had forgotten, or maybe, more tragically slanted, even FORSAKEN my own radiance, since the arrival of my daughter. I never would have imagined that I, Athena Grace, love warrior-esse extraordinaire, would have befallen this tragic fate.
Is it actually tragic? Or is this departure from self as I knew it, actually an intelligent byproduct of a sublimely divine scheme in the evolution of woman? As I embark on this linguistic pilgrimage, left to right, line upon line, I wish for you to know that I honestly am not sure. I hope to unravel this inquiry in a few potent, thoughtful paragraphs, with the God in You, as my blessed witness!
During pregnancy, many times over, I marveled at my own grace-full dissolution. Seriously. It was actually quite refreshing… to feel so… empty. I wonder, is it like that for every woman? All of my energy was consumed by the great task of creating a tiny, human masterpiece (and boy did she turn out gooood!), and there simply wasn’t anything left to generate my personality as I had come to know it. I listened a lot more than I spoke. I could sit still for many slices of eternity. I was oft moved to tears, or at least silent, orchestral awe, by the songs of birds and hearts and moments, the warm, golden syrup of summer sunshine, the nuanced wonders of the world of whirling motion and self-important human doings. My meditations were luxurious voyages to the vast expanse of space withIN. It was this sprawling state of serenity, which inspired my daughter’s name. As I reflect on this potent passage, I feel some wistful, silken grief, realizing that my brief, quiet frolic through “pregnancy enlightenment” is over. My life is no longer a slow river of honey, rushing outside the vicious grip of time. I am Humpty Dumpty’s illustrious bride, shattered, and glued together again, in some newborn semblance of Picasso-esque normalcy. I wish I could have stayed a passively bliss-full nobody forever…
But alas, giving birth, I too was reborn. The same as before… only different. How can I describe this?… I have a new and consuming purpose, which requires courage, steadiness, determination, engagement, will and boundless generosity. As I have previously testified, the nearly impossible feat of giving birth equipped me for the ensuing rigors of motherhood. Brilliant design.
Now, my days are spent gazing upon this tiny being of sheer perfection, and fielding her every need. Well… okay, and somehow, miraculously managing to keep my hOMe tidy, myself fed and clean… and most importantly, rakin’ in the bacon, often with Serena asleep against me (God knows THAT won’t last forever!)… But this does not give me much time at all, to dote on my own inner and outer resplendence. Actually, while we’re on the subject, I will say that during pregnancy, I lost my appetite to wear make-up and jewelry. I stripped down to the naked simplicity of my innate goddesshood. But since Serena, this said appetite for sparkle and dazzle has returned, and this is one way that I make an effort to exist for myself, while living in submerged service to Her Helpless Holiness.
But despite these sporadic, brief and sometimes frantic interludes at the bathroom mirror, I mostly still forget myself. Out in the world, people flock to her, moth and flame style, while I fulfill the humble roll of, at once, displaying and protecting her. I have no qualms about this dynamic. It’s perfectly natural… for people to fervently seek the warm, soft feelings at the sight of a being so fresh from Heaven, marinating in overt divine innocence. I believe at the most immediate and fundamental level, babies remind us of our own indwelling (and mostly forsaken) innocence. This is essential medicine for us, as we flounder in the deep and raucous swells of life on earth.
Now I’m staring into space, fiercely contemplating this departure from the remembrance of my own beauty. When I say beauty, I’m not just talking about my purple mascara-ed lashes, or silky, waving brown hair (which is now falling out by the bushel), or lovely, soft fabrics, slow dancing with my lithe (and now “mama-mooshy”) contours. That’s a piece of it… but it’s also my Presence… my knowing of the power of my gaze, and the Gift of my compassionate, adoring attention. Somehow, in holding up the world for Serena and I, I have misplaced a certain dimension of my boldness… my confidence in the dynamic, poetic instrument of love that I am. At first glance, I feel sad about this. But then I realize there is a deeper knowing of the power of my love emerging… like water underground, versus a paltry, trickling stream. It becomes more evident as I release who I have known myself to be, and trust in my still, silent, ever-new BEing.
My desire is to give voice to my experience, in hopes of speaking the silent hearts of other new mothers… shedding gentle, generous illumination on the sacred undoing that occurs as a result of growing and birthing a whole, succulent human. It seems so casual in a way… because so many of us do it… But at the same time, it is anything BUT casual. It is profoundly transformational alchemy. And I don’t want to fight it… by fighting to “exist”, as I once existed. I want to trust that there is something fundamentally right and intelligent at work here. In naming the experience, and shining the light of my holy awareness on it, bringing spacious, compassionate love to the parts of me that feel fragile, feeble and uncertain right now, I am able to inhabit this layer of evolution with more grace and trust. I actually find it endearing… that my boldness has become shy!
My entire life is given to holding… and in the innermost nooks and crannies of my BEing, I ache to be held. To be cared for… My longing is so tender, my eyes blur with tears and my heart stings as I confess this to you. Maybe I am sheltering this outrageously intimate vulnerability when people look in my eyes?… Maybe this is why I felt something recoil, when the shiny earth-goddess-hippie-chick drank in my goddess light… Because I was afraid she would see this starving beggar in my heart… and laugh at me, or crush it!!! Of course she wouldn’t… but… IT doesn’t know that… Because IT has been crushed before.
And now, here we are. Eleven brief yet potent paragraphs into this deep-diving confessional of my journey (from which I hope you were able to mine essential, shimmering facets of your own soul-full Self…), and I grapple for a tidy, professional conclusion. Ahem. In conclusion, I, Athena Grace, profess the profound humanness of all that each of us navigate as we pulse our intimate way about the scapes of this lucid, holy dream called Life… Thirsting to understand… Looking backwards, with crushingly fond nostalgia… Searching for patterns, rhythms, meaning, PURPOSE. I allow ALL OF IT to move me, change me, unravel me, call me forth… What an amazing invention this whole life-thing is! And I do know one thing– I am (we are) ever-beautiful, whether I (we) flaunt it, or deny it, revel in it or deflect it… It’s ALL God’s miraculous, insouciant play. It is ALL meant to be tasted and savored, lived and let go.
And especially, to be LOVED.