Saturday, July 31, 2010

Miami

So, it's just after midnight, May 1, Beltane, my birthday, National Flag Day, etc. I smoke a tiny, tiny amount of pot to celebrate, and I'm definitely high, and I get out my iPod to dance under the lights of an empty cul-de-sac. This is my exercise. This song comes on, a song I've heard, but never really heard before, and two blasphemies hit me in quick succession.

One: God is a pretty girl. I've been praying regularly and by the book since coming back from Atlanta, and I've gotten to a very sweet place of intimacy with God. A fairly standard amorphous spirit-of-the-Universe God, who looks and sounds a little bit like my father. I feel grateful and affectionate and taken care of, and it's very exciting for me. Dancing, I start dancing for God. 

I dance my love, my gratitude, my exaltation. The music is sexy, smooth, and sweet, and God is dancing with me. Riding the music, God is my leader and follower. God is everything not-me, and my every motion is welcomed, matched, and enjoyed by the Universe. And when the face of God appears, I explode. God is the prettiest, cutest, blondest, adoring lover I ever imagined or ever could, pure attractive feminine pleasantness. Holy crushy affection pours all over me, aching and soothing, inspiring. I fall to my knees. I tear up at how right it feels. I keep dancing. I've been thirsty, bleedingly thirsty for years, and it's suddenly clear that sweet, easy love I was thirsty for is just waiting for me to drink and always has been. God loves like I've always wanted someone to love me, wants me and yearns for me, approves of me, is excited by me. I bask in her ready attention, a pink spotlight on every cell of me. She is the object of all my longing, and she is mine.

If I had the right words for it, I wouldn't need so many. In the moment there are no words, but my heart is full. We touch and tingle and love, we are together, and I am very, very happy about it.

And if this all sounds like hooey, it's 'cause it is. I'm not making truth here - I'm trying to capture an experience. God is wonderful, and God loves you, and God doesn't even really exist that much anyway, so why would you bother with a notion of God that doesn't fill you with awesomeness? I hope we'll come back to this, 'cause it comes up again a month or so later, but the point right now is just to enjoy it. Whatever love you feel, but can't target, whatever love you need, but can't feel - God can help with that. I kinda knew that already, maybe, head-wise, but that night it is amazingly clearest.

At that moment, I'm so happy with my discovery that I realize (Blasphemy Two:) I'm glad I yelled at Ma. (Remember, this is still just a couple weeks after that whole blow-up, and my painstaking process of regret and apology.) What I did was wrong. I wouldn't say that it wasn't. But on my birthday, in the streetlight, slowdancing with my girlfriend-Goddess, I finally allow myself the forbidden upside. A lot of learning had followed my crime. I laboried with guilt and sorrow for a fortnight, and really pushed into my shadow. Writing that apology, working to earn Ma's forgiveness, and that of her people... I found a bottom in myself that can't be eroded by transgression. I found a goodness that is mine, that is me, unchanged by the rightness and wrongness of action. And to top it off -  "I want God!" I had yelled at the Mother, and here we are.

I fouled up good in Atlanta; I gave in to childish anger over my spiritual desserts. But that was in me, and maybe it isn't now, and I'm glad I got to see it as I did. So in defiance and gratitude both, I dance harder and thank Ma.

On the day of May 1st,  a couple dozen of us drove down to Miami. Ma taught at a wacky non-church church that night, kind of a fundraiser thing with a fancy reception afterward. I felt a little uncomfortable with the Ashram sales pitch, honestly, but we were there to support Ma. 

I spent most of the evening talking Judaism with one of the ushers. She'd been raised orthodox and grown alienated from it, but she was seeking some kind of spiritual connection for herself. She'd come to this non-church church for that, and maybe kinda found it, but maybe not, too. She was lonely and frustrated, and Jewish practice was really powerful and really painful for her. We snuck into the fancy reception together, and both really enjoyed having a deep conversation with a fellow Jew.

The reception included brief one-on-one visits with Ma, and we ended up being the last two people in line. Usher lady was nervous and scared, but decided she wanted to go first. I couldn't hear what she and Ma said to each other, but she cried and Ma hugged her, and then it was my turn.

I had readied myself to apologize more, but it didn't work out that way. After an evening of warm conversation I thought I'd be calm and collected, but that didn't work out exactly either. Instead of either planned option, I just cried a lot, and that was okay. I couldn't even speak. Ma told me she forgave me, that it was forgiven and forgotten, that if I learned anything it was worth it, and it was time to forgive myself. I felt a huge burden lifted, and I was grateful.

After everything the night before, the idea of "if I learned anything" was amazing and ridiculous. It seemed, even, a little too easy. I had definitely learned something. I'd learned, probably, like two or three things, at least! When the overwhelm of Ma's presence passed, and I could stop crying a little, I started smiling and laughing a lot. Then I felt bad for feeling good about this, when it was still really serious and bad, and I went back to crying again. A friend sat down next to me, and put an arm around my shoulder, and helped me find my way present to a glum kind of neutral.

I caught up with Jewish usher lady, and it turned out that her assignment was also self-forgiveness. We talked another hour or so about how hard that is, and everything else, and accepted that there's still road ahead on the journey. Again, it was nice to get quality time with a member of the Tribe.

Those of us in Ma's contingent washed the dishes and packed up the leftovers and piled into vans heading to the Ashram. I went to sleep that night thinking of Ma's forgiveness, and my pretty girl goddess, and what I had learned from my transgression. A couple days later, I flew up to Boston for a few days to visit Hebrew College. I got to see Rada again, and other friends, hang out with a whole bevy of Jews and Jewesses, and take a big step toward that whole self-forgiveness thing. 

All of that and more... Next time, on Yotam ADVENTURES!!!!!