41. Big in Love


BLOG 41: September, 1998—Another month passed by in New Jersey, with the highway noise bleeding into the background of my consciousness as I unraveled this person I had been. And almost every day and evening I wrote, adding sentences to my novel from an unknown place.

“Writing this book is hard,” I scribbled in my journal. “It’s hard to get to the heart of it. I feel like I am gnawing away at the edge of the bone… My characters also feel small, and they are in a small world. I need to give meat to those seeking, living characters wanting to be what they can be. As a writer, I need to be many more people than me. I need to look inside and understand more than myself.”

As I explored the depths of where my novel wished to go, ideas came to me—inside the music I played and the space I created of eternal night. Some of these ideas seemed so outside myself, so irrational, that I would call a friend and share what was coming to me. Rather than tell me to pull back, and not go there, he always inspired to me to follow this irrational, out-there idea, and to let it tell its story and purpose. That extra prodding from a good friend all3bb1bb45b56a2988fbf4a474dab45607.jpgowed ideas that had begun in my mind to seep into my bones and discover their resonance for a larger story than me.

This journey inward beyond the musings of my mind, would not have been possible if I had not been injured and been guided into a vulnerable, still place within me. It became so clear how I was unraveling that part of me, driven by ego and insecurities to become someone big. Nothing grows grand and beautiful without solid roots, and this time was about growing and feeding those roots of mine so I could create an enriching story. It was also about letting go of the need to push outward when the rich soil of my life lay within.

“I’m always amazed at how I feel this great responsibility to do something big in this world, to affect change, to give in a big way,” I wrote in my journal. “But another part of me wants to live simply, to eliminate all this bigness and just concentrate on breathing and loving.”

Today, years later, I see that it is through breathing each moment in and in loving that we become big. We become big through letting go of that which we are determined to be. We begin to dance, sing, and be the joy we have always been with those we love. Together we can celebrate life and be the gift that makes us so much more than just ourselves.


*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is the culmination of years of musings and gnawing at the bone. Check it out on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474233011&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende  or at www.michelleadam.net

40. Compassion of a Broken Heart


BLOG 40: August, 1998—The summer rain came and went; the cars on the nearby New Jersey highway hummed incessantly; and the fast paced East Coast life continued as I lived with my parents in an effort to heal the pain in my hip.

I found work as an assistant editor and writer for an Irish magazine whose offices were down the road from us. I then lay on my parent’s couch as I wrote, because chairs were too painful. My father hated seeing me so weak and vulnerable, and would get angry at me for lying down so much and not having the strength or capacity to bike or walk. But I resisted doing what he assumed any 30-year-old should be able to do because too often, if I biked or walked more than a few blocks, my muscles would go into spasm, my right hip and groin would inflame, and I’d have sleepless nights with an overactive nervous system.

That was almost twenty years ago, when I wondered if I would even walk with ease again, as I tried every which way to heal, and hit wall upon wall, wondering why it had to be so hard. That was when, at times, I wished I could just end my life, since living with such disability and pain didn’t seem worth it. I had been like a wild horse, suddenly lame, longing to be put out of my misery.

Today, as I walk and help others heal, I watch my father in his elder years struggling with cancer, with multiple surgeries, and with pain in his left leg that at times seems too much for him to bear. I see him wondering at what point each surgery, each attempt to eliminate pain, is worth it, when he can’t walk like he used to or do what he loves.

A week ago, I was with my father and mother in Virginia, massaging my father’s legs from edema (water retention in his right leg), helping him prepare for his next surgery, his next battle against aging and debilitation. I was there being with the reality of his condition, grateful for the chance to share this time with him and my mother and be a gift of love.img_0910

That night I flew back home to New Mexico, I cried a deep grief, feeling the hopelessness and pain I had once lived and that now I see my father going through. The man who had earlier been so strong, angry, and lacking in compassion for the pain I had lived through, is now the same one feeling that pain for himself. And rather than be angry for what I didn’t receive then, I am grateful that my own limitations and journey broke my heart open to compassion and deep love. I can now be there for my parents, and we can share our love fully while there is time.


*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, tells a story of compassion and love. Check it out on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474233011&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende  or at www.michelleadam.net

39. My Wings Circle Around Me in Love


BLOG 39: August, 1998—Four months had passed since living with my parents in a small house in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, a community far away from Oakland, California, and New Mexico, where I had been for several years.  Two years ago, I had left New Jersey, from my parents’ earlier house, to go out west, to discover my wings, only to injure myself and return to this place of family.

Suburban life had always been a challenge for my free spirit, but it had become even more so since   traveling out west and experiencing the openness of the land and sky there. But now, Stefan, a friend I had fallen in love with and had danced with before traveling out west, was visiting. My parents were out of town, and being with him again was like being drunk.

Stefan and I had choreographed and performed a dance together at Omega Institute, a holistic studies center in Rhinebeck, New York State, and while we had gotten very close physically, we had never become full lovers or been in a relationship. He had come to New York from his hometown of Montreal (his parents were Haitian), and although we had become intimate through dance, he had chosen to maintain an element of tension between us that had pulled at me painfully, even when I was out west.

Now as he visited, we went into Brooklyn to see his Caribbean relatives, who were so warm in their touch and way, that I wished I could stay with them longer. But then we went to the ocean, where the piercing grey, blue sky that covered the sand and ocean merged with the orange ball of sun detumblr_mocdvsd18d1rub0hvo1_500scending in the sky. It seemed everyone just sat watching the blue crystal waters of infinity melting inside the sunset.

Nature wrapped herself around Stefan and me for these brief moments that erased time, with even the most hurried stopping to observe. “It’s not surreal, it’s very real,” said Stefan as I mentioned to him how surreal it felt. I agreed with his words, yet there was something surreal in that this moment didn’t belong to us alone. It was a collective experience that moved through us inside a dimension that made no distinctions, had no direction to go, no beginning, no end. It was a kind of “now” that erased even presence itself.

As I sat with Stefan in this magical place, I realized that my love for him, or my feelings of in-loveness that I had held onto for so long, had no future, no life beyond these moments. Together we shared a spark that lit up the space between us. But, it was time for me to take that fire and openness I had experienced in the west, and cool those aching parts of myself—the hunger and fear—inside the clear blue skies of the East Coast, and come home to magic within.

So grateful I was for these days with Stefan, for I was able to close an old chapter, and feel my wings circling around me in love for a more mature life of reciprocal joy.      


*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, shares a story of coming home. Check it out on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474233011&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende  or at www.michelleadam.net

38. In Wildness is the Preservation of the World

Blog 38: April-June, 1998—Naturalist Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “in wildness is the preservation of the world.” His words resonated with me as I contemplated my life back on the East Coast, in my parent’s house in New Jersey. I wondered what, if any, higher reason I had for coming back to the East Coast after two years out West (beyond the fact that I had trouble walking and needed my parent’s help after having injured myself). How would I feel at home in a place that felt so contained and “civilized,” lacking the expansiveness of the West?

I longed for that wild spirit that I had discovered out West and had experienced as a child in Spain, the country that inspired my novel that I continued to write while healing at my parent’s house. Writing out the wildness of my soul helped me survive the suburban life, as did going outside, on the back porch, and taking a few puffs of a clove cigarette while looking up at the sky as cars raced along the highway nearby. The earthy, sweet taste and smell of the cigarette connected me to the ground below.

I also continued to write in my journal: “There is something innately wild in us wanting to breathe the air again. We have protected ourselves from the elements that are mirrors to our humanity, and we have, in ways, become like fearful styrofoam, reacting to our emptiness. Isn’t it because of this that the bullfight, the dancer, and the duende of Spain, attract us so? Isn’t it because that element of freedom is still there?”

“I read tonight about the mountain lion coming back, walking through the malls, killing humans. Is this not what we ultimately fear? Yes, there is order in everything, even among animals and their packs. But there is also danger; there is also wildness that needs to be left alone, to be that part of nature that is so much of ourselves, that is unpredictable and unafraid of death.”

“I look at the face of the mountain lion, and I see myself. I see us. I turn the page of the news and I also see a story of young children killing each other with guns, without remorse, and I feel that these two worlds are not that separate. Is it not our own fear and ignorance of our primitive, natural selves that actually breeds unnecessary violence?”

“It seems we are searching for ways to crack the mirror of our illusionary race of perfected humanness, so we can get a glimpse of what it’s like to be complete—to be both primitive and refined, innocent and enlightened, both lover and seeker, both alive and fearless for just a moment.

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about this kind of wild spirit and freedom. Check it out on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474233011&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende  or at www.michelleadam.net

Duende: A Creative Fusion of Spirit and Matter

September 24, 2016–Last week, I asked, “Where do spirit and matter meet?,”and this week, as I sat down to write, I felt called to answer this question: they meet when we share our soul’s longing and gift with others through creative fusion and love…when we embody our spirit through creative expression.

This is so much what happened at this past Thursday’s Storytelling and Spanish Guitar and Tapas event I had at my local library with Ronaldo Baca, a Flamenco guitarist, who played guitar as I shared my story of passion and love for the Spanish land and culture that inspired my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit. About 45 people joined me and Ronaldo Baca, who had chosen to collaborate with me  because he, too, understood and shared the depth of love I had for the Spanish land and her soul that “raised me.”


My reading began with these words: “There’s a voice inside the earth, subtle, yet there, easing her song, her melody of sweet, nurturing love into every part of our being. This voice–this ancient, primordial song–came to me as a child, from the land in Spain who sang my young child’s soul alive. This evening is dedicated to her and to the novel that I wrote, which comes from her soul.”

Ronaldo Baca played and sang a Flamenco Malaguena before I began, and ended with an Alegria.  It was so beautiful and carried such soul and duende–that 14358994_1297863966891868_4847407625166353127_nspontaneous, raw, creative passion–that I felt a great of wave of gratitude come over me. I then told the story of the earth’s spirit, the soul of Spain, and that place within us as a child that is so alive, and full of imagination and room for spirit to rise within us. It was a sweet, honey-filled way to honor Equinox and the first day of autumn.

At the end of the event,  one woman came to me in tears and shared how I had reminded her of her magical childhood–of a time when she and others in her family believed in spirits, in worlds unseen, and lived the richness of her child’s imagination. This evening for her, and for others (including me), was a reminder that there’s an eternal door open to us to walk through, at any time, into this place of magic–of duende14468783_1297864270225171_5534532804577011312_o–that we may have carried as a child…and to live this once again.

Check it out: A Short Clip from Storytelling Event

My novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474769851&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende (or can be ordered through your local bookstore).






37. Where do Wild and Order Meet?


Blog 37: April-June, 1998—“Do you know where sex and love meet? Do you know where wild and order meet? Do you know where thoughts and actions meet, where the sun meets the skimming edge of the earth?”…

I wrote these words from New Jersey, inside my parent’s house in Ho-Ho-Kus, a town half an hour from New York City. At age 30, I was settling into my new home with my parents, adjusting to this insane reality of suffering immense pain when walking, and needing family support to heal. Inside the emotional challenges of living with my parents, I began to build my inner strength and resilience through meditation and writing (writing my novel, and reflecting on life in my journal).

So here I was inside this constricting order (for an artist, the NJ suburbs and my parents’ way of living was a great contrast to mine), determined to remain “awake” to the wild, free spirit that I was. So I continued to write:

“Wild and order meet in a place of art—sacred art. Not just the art of fine pieces mounted on walls for sale, or the art of a solo journeyer’s day in and day out, trying to make sense of his or her life. No, it’s the art of living, the art of bringing together the unity of inside and out that completes us like rivers merging into the sea.

“This is the art that, in its magic-making, cannot distinguish between worlds, cannot distinguish between right and wrong, left and right. In its magic-making, we do not need 557424_171105909691323_1799474373_nto know answers. We do not need to know distinctions. We need only know that we are alive, and that in our aliveness the distinctions between inside and out are only a deeper urge to deny that we are God.”

*My recently published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about this kind of magic. Check it out on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474233011&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende . I will also be celebrating an evening of Child of Duende Storytelling, Spanish Guitar (Ronaldo Baca will be playing Flamenco Guitar), and Tapas at the Corrales Community Library in New Mexico on Thursday, September 22nd at 6:30p.m. http://www.corraleslibrary.org/event/join-local-author-michelle-adam-for-an-exciting-evening-of-storytelling-spanish-guitar-and-tapas-as-she-reads-from-her-new-novel-child-of-duende/ (here’s a link to an article for the event:   http://alibi.com/art/51899/Telling-the-Souls-Truth.html).


36. Change and Constant: Two Sides of the Same Coin


Blog 36: April, 1998—I was back where I had started one and half years ago—at my parents house in the suburbs of New Jersey. Not one bit of me imagined I’d be back or wanted to return. After all, I had left my parent’s house seeking a new life on the West Coast, free from the angst I had felt on the East Coast.

It seemed I returned the same person I had been, though, other than more vulnerable and scared. The protection and walls I had built for myself as a teenager and beyond had crumbled to the ground and all I felt was the shell of my body that ached when I moved.

The first nights at my parent’s house were nightmares. I couldn’t sleep. An immense fright gripped me. I felt unsafe. I didn’t know why, but I couldn’t relax. This was not home. I was not home. Who I needed to become didn’t have a voice here. So I wrote:

“My nerves are throbbing a heartbeat of exhaustion. Where’s the line between pain and love?—that thin line that time breathes between the past and the present, as the future becomes an amalgam of the two. Every day, my body is deciding, crossing the blurry lines of time, of truth and reason. Throbbing, my legs are throbbing. They’ve had enough and yet it’s not over yet. My soul’s on fire, determined for me to hear her cry. I keep listening. Stillness settles in my bones, while my whole body beats a heart that doesn’t stop.

As I returned to the place I had begun, having  changed beyond what I could have imagined—struggling to walk and no longer the tough, willful young lady I had been—it pained me to experience the angst I had lived when with my family and on the East Coast. I was living what the 19th century French critic, journalist and novelist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr once wrote: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” But what for? Why return here? I asked myself.

Maybe I needed to unwind much more than I had ever thought, and I had to return to the place where the winding had begun. And maybe there’s some truth to a recent blogger’s analysis of Jean Baptiste’s epigraph: “Change and constant are two sides of the same coin, one we are rarely taught to see as whole. One without the other should feel like the sound of one hand clapping.” (Sean Owczarek)

If this is true, then maybe change couldn’t occur for me without the constant of family and home to remind me of that which I was changing from.


This blog tells the story behind the writing of my recently published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473572064&sr=8-1&keywords=Child+of+Duende  (more information on my website: http://www.michelleadam.net)