Tuesday, May 8, 2007

What It Was Like

The Paris Saga, part 1 of 63.

Beautiful...scary...elegant...impersonal yet welcoming...unexpected moments of grace...of Her light, seeping 'round the edges of phone booths and spring flowers...

it was made clear to me some time ago, first by my guru and then by my dear Guardian Angel, that my spiritual path was not to be one of mountaintops, loin cloths, ashrams, cat-o-nine-tails--you know, the whole bed of nails trip. Which I'm not complaining about! But... my guru warned me that while pretty much anyone could feel holy when withdrawn from the world, it was going to be a different matter to try to stay in Kali's lap while working, loving, eating chocolate, etc. ... that I wasn't going to have the reassurance of saffron robes or vespers, that my mind was going to produce demons that told me I was doing it wrong, couldn't ever do it, wasn't ever going to feel at home anywhere ever, wasn't lovable, didn't know how to live in either the realm of heaven or the realm of earth...

and Kali has dealt with me on these neuroses ever since...a lot of this blog has been about that. I knew that my pilgrimage to Europe's Goddess Capital was supposed to be some kind of exam on this whole tantric deal of living the embodied, "mundane" life while loving the Divine Mother in all Her creation...and it was, and I hope you won't be disappointed to hear that there was no Damascene donkey derailment, no Temple of the Golden Pavilion bursting into flames...but... as Laura said before I went, I had to
be there... sometimes, with a glass of absinthe on my hotel balcony, watching the sunset gild Notre-Dame, that was not at all difficult...sometimes, for reasons I may go into later, it was hellishly, itch-you-can't-scratch difficult and I wanted to quit and that is exactly where God likes to get us so She can cook us a little more, like those chickpeas Rumi wrote about.

Sometimes it was difficult when it shouldn't have been...those mornings I was alone with The
Lady and the Unicorn, for an hour or more, and I was washed in that impossible beauty and that impossibly elegant spiritual allegory...that was also exactly the story I was living, of finding Her through the senses as well as the Spirit...and I would get restless, scared the spell would end and someone would enter the room, that kind of thing, but I kept coming back to the tapestries, the story, myself, the moment...until it didn't matter that the room filled up and people were coughing and taking flash pictures...and now that I'm back, Stonewall feels as exotic as Paris, and the fried chicken from the BiLo down the street is better than the delicacies from the épiceries of the Latin Quarter...for this is my Latin Quarter, and my house is my Notre-Dame...and there is even a Chartres nearby...

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