The other morning on facebook, Livia wrote that her husband is her Krisna.
I thought, Oh, yeah - my husband is my Krisna, too (Krishna being counselor and adviser to Arjuna, and everyone is the Arjuna of their own life story). Feather the dog is the little boy Krisna, stealing butter and charming the ladies. But hold on – counselor? Advisor? What about my wise teacher – maybe he’s my Krisna? Or maybe he, for me, plays the role of the avuncular Brahma, wise and kind, readily pointing out my strengths, patiently nodding at my missteps, even when I’m trying to devour the sun.
Then I got to thinking. Brahma led me to Sarasvati. The magnificent Sarasvati is how against all odds I continue to create myself. How I’m always adding new branches and leaves as well as slowly, almost imperceptibly, but none the less steadily growing my trunk, one strong millimeter at a time. She is that I blossom one season into glorious flowers, then drop them all to reveal frosty brown sticks at another time of year – always at the right moment, the moments perfectly in order, wowing myself and all who behold me with the complex variations on a theme, each one winding eloquently back to one original thought.
Shiva, the destroyer, the universe dancing, is the space in which it all goes down. Shiva is this fucking move to this fucking town, far away from my home and the youthful illusion of my infallibility, right into the arms of an economic downturn in a hostile environment. Shiva is this infertility, and there he met his mistress in the black hole that was what I saw when the bottom fell out out of where I thought I was going. Shiva is the space that held the ten car pileup of one long night in the emergency room, where he called in his dark beloved to provide the blood of transformation, by tearing out the deepest root of visceral motherhood that pulsed, ever so briefly, at my core. And while she clawed and feasted, Shiva held space for the conspiring of demons, the betrayal of the binds of sisterhood and the deconstruction of false loyalties and half truths, that night in the emergency room.
She too, Kali, is the spirit in me that beat Shiva’s odds with pure raw fierce determination. Who won the card game, beheaded the demons, lapped up their spilled blood and danced victoriously on the body of her lover. As me she is Pratiyangire, the limbless everywhere soot-fleshed yellow-eyed fire of trans-maternal rage, and gazing steadily into her terrifying face I learned that I could be my own protector. That I could fight for my own life and win.
And Vishnu, well, Vishnu is the fact that I’m still here. And his beloved Laxmi, with her gentle grace, she shows herself in every face that looks bravely back at mine. As every student, and every teacher, as the humanity in every challenge and in every stroke of incredible good fortune in this indefatigable life. Laxmi, of course, is an endless parade of Laxmis, the unlimited well of more that is so easily discoverable, if only we can remember to marvel at the grand diversity of our successes, and at the exquisite, unbearable sameness of our pain.