27. May an Angel Carry this Pollen into the World

IN STANDING STILL, WHAT GIFT OF YOURS EMERGED?

Blog 27: Dec. 1997-April 1998—Living in the hills of Oakland, California, was too much heaven for my hips after months of painfully traveling up and down five flights of stairs to survive. Looking out through immense windows of my idyllic home perched above the Bay and, in the distance, the San Francisco Bridge, was breathtaking, but I couldn’t live in this paradise anymore.

Reluctantly I moved into a home with four to five other housemates in the Berkeley lowlands, by a BART (subway) station. The woman who owned the house lived there too, and despite the fact that her name was Faith, I soon discovered that she wasn’t anything like her name.

I had been weak, vulnerable, and had sought a place I could afford that would also be supportive of my disabled and painful condition. She initially pretended to be caring, but, as her true nature revealed itself, and my other housemates struggled with feeling alone in this cold, sterile home, I found myself spending more and more time in my bedroom. I meditated in front of a beautiful plant under my skylight. It was the closest experience I had to being out in nature—that, in addition to sitting in the hot tub outside in the weed-infested yard. There I sang poems to the trees, finding the courage and heart to believe in a magic I wasn’t living.

2ac3abe815ba6b1db5bb294691e01666      I missed New Mexico, being able walk and being still with the earth as I had been in the desert. I especially missed a time I had had there with my friend, Eric. We had wandered upon sandstone cliffs that looked out over the badlands in all directions, and there we sang into the land that echoed its beauty back to us inside a golden, pink sunset. About it, I wrote:

“I close my eyes and my tears wet my cheeks as I recall our moment sitting inside what seemed the infinite. There was an eternal stillness even in our echo, in hearing ourselves as part of the summer silence under the stars. Back then, I still walked with innocent hunger.

“Now I surrender, sad, toward my fate. I no longer believe in miracles, in unusual miracles that appear as bold statements I had always looked for. Instead, I expect no miracle except the miracle of surrendering to my circumstances. I have nothing left to do. Layers of proving myself have peeled off my body. My soul is resting. Now, I don’t care about the politics of living. I am a flower, rooted, waiting for the pollen within me to be picked up by an angel and brought into the world.”

IN STANDING STILL, WHAT GIFT OF YOURS EMERGED?

(Check out my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit at www.childofduende.com)

 

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A Night of Gypsy Dance (novel excerpt)

JOIN IN FLAMENCO with my novel CHILD OF DUENDE (blog intermission):

Duende stepped reluctantly deeper into the tavern. A short, stocky Gypsy man began to sing in Spanish. He called out the anguish of a people who swore they would never forget the beating of their hearts. One, two, three. One, two, three. “I am Gypsy, and this port carries the tears of my people…aya… aya…” His voice elbowed its way through the room. “Aya… aya…aya… my warm tears fall in a cold sea.” The man sang from the deepest part of his throat, producing a sound like the bow off the strings of a reverberating cello. (Child of Duende Website)

“Paquito, Paquito,” the crowd cheered, but Duende remained still, watching at least a dozen spirits dancing fiercely in a circle around her, almost dizzying her by the time Paquito ended his song and broke the spell she was under.

“Come here, darling,” the singer said, his voice as full as the ocean. 

Timidly, Duende stepped toward Paquito, who took her hand and introduced her to Graciela, the dancer. “Show her how to dance Gypsy,” he told her, releasing Duende’s hand. His sweat remained in her palm and thickened with her own. All eyes were on her.

Graciela moved forward with her masklike face—black eyebrows, blood red lips; her wrists wrapped in multiple colorful bracelets resting on her waist. With her hair pulled back in a ponytail, stretching her mouth into a broad smile, she lifted her arms as her hands hit each other, making a loud, clanging sound. The woman smiled through her missing teeth. Graciela’s eyes held Duende’s gaze. The girl stared, frozen, waiting for some signal to call her into action. The woman nodded a subtle invitation to begin and lifted her skirt to her knees. 

Duende looked down at her pants, her little fingers grabbing what material she could. The room remained quiet. The other dancers had stopped moving, their eyes on the girl who now watched Graciela intently. Tap. The dancer pressed the toe of her foot to the ground. Tap. Her heel lifted. Tap. She looked at Duende. Nodded. Duende felt the stiffness of the pants she wore. Her hands shook as she noticed her sneakers. She shrunk in front of this queen and her black-heeled shoes. The room broke into laughter, the crowd clapping, calling out in a clatter of exclamations: “How adorable.” “Look at the little one.” “Look at those shoes.”

But then a loud clap broke the noise. Duende’s heart thumped. Her eyes darted back to Graciela, who directed fierce concentration toward her. Clap. Graciela commanded the room. The girl’s feet pressed forward against the floor, her heels, one at a time, lifted. She fumbled for balance as she looked up at her hands attempting to come together. Clap. She raised her hands to the left, slightly above her, imitating Graciela. Duende didn’t dare take her eyes off the woman.

Again, she clapped, but this time the flats of her palms met like discs of rusted metal. Smack. Graciela’s eyes turned to fire. Look, her eyes insisted. Clap. Her hands cupped slightly to produce a fearless sound. Hollow on the inside. Solid on the outside. The lines of her hands found each other like suction cups.

Duende followed suit, this time producing a sound that echoed the dancer’s. Clap. The corner of Graciela’s mouth revealed a quick grin. Duende let her thin lips stretch across her face, while cupping her palms to clap in time with her feet. Point, clap. Point, clap. Graciela added more. Duende’s eyes remained fixed on Graciela’s. The dancer approved. Never lose your partner’s eyes, she seemed to tell the girl. That night Duende knew at least this. Point, clap. Point, clap. The crowd picked up its pace, becoming louder and louder, cheering olé, before others joined in the dance. Paquito sang and Duende became lost in other people’s movement, and inside a bubble of spirits encircling her in dance and celebration.

26. A Vision of New Life

WHAT BROKE YOU SO YOU COULD BE PIECED BACK TOGETHER AGAIN?

BLOG 26: November, 1997—It’s not a dream or my imagination. It’s a vision as far as I can tell. I see a woman in pure white, with a baby burning in her belly. I get scared. But this lady tells me not to fear, and invites me to take the baby into my arms despite the burning, dark place it is in. I reach out and hold the child, and when I do, something happens. The fire ascends, and somehow, I become the woman in white who has embraced her shadow—who is unafraid of the fire that renews—and who, like phoenix rising from the ashes, becomes anew.

It’s been over a year since I left the East Coast, eager, anxious, longing, and since then I have lived eight months in New Mexico, and currently five months in the hills of Northern California. And I, too, hold a burning sensation in my hips that won’t go away. I write my story that later becomes my novel, Child of Duende, because it’s with words that I can now express this fire, this dance, that lives inside me, eager to tell her story.

Maybe what is happening to me is an awakening, as in my vision…an awakening to duende, this spirit of the earth inside me that the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said, “burns the blood like powdered glass” and “rejects all the sweet geometry we understand.” As I battle my pain, and ache to find myself inside the chaos of all that I have known falling apart, maybe the beginning stages of my novel are telling the story of Lorca’s duende:

“Through the empty archway a wind of the spirit enters, blowing insistently over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents: a wind with the odour of a child’s saliva, crushed grass, and medusa’s veil, announcing the endless baptism of freshly created things.”

WHAT BROKE YOU SO YOU COULD BE PIECED BACK TOGETHER AGAIN?

25. A Chance Encounter Becomes …

HAVE YOUR EVER HAD A CHANCE ENCOUNTER THAT BECAME MORE?  

BLOG 25: October, 1997—I’m sitting on my bed in the living room of my home in the hills of Oakland, California . I’m not alone. A friend, who is a professional massage therapist, is on my bed as well, giving a massage to Archie, the man I met on the plane ride months ago—the one who inspired me to begin writing what today has become my novel, Child of Duende.

Other friends join me on my bed, or on the couch, or sit nearby. I’m shaking my torso to music blasting “Oops Upside the Head” inside a sequin top I managed to find at a second hand store during my few jaunts outside the house (yes, I’m able to walk, but not far without massive pain). You’d think it were a typical California affair (in December, I end up going to a New Year’s Eve Party where everyone—I mean, everyone—is naked, massaging each other and much more), but it’s actually my birthday. I’ve invited everyone and anyone I know to celebrate my late 20s, and since I’m living out of my bed in the living room, it seems an ideal place to celebrate!

You may wonder how Archie—a man I merely met on a plane—arrived at my birthday party. It’s simple, though. He had given me his card before we parted ways, and I sent an invitation to his Los Angeles address. He thought, what the hell, let’s live it up—as did I—and he arrived with a friend to find himself in my living room receiving massages and having a good time.

The day after my extraordinary birthday celebration, Archie and I meet up to discover if there’s any romance in the cards for us. We talk, on my bed, of course, but nothing goes further than that. He talks baseball and I’m more interested in some deep philosophical, soulful, and romantic encounter. He suggests I drive south with him to Los Angeles and let the wind determine where we go, but I decline. This body of mine can’t handle a trip right now. But we’re both glad that we took a moment out of ordinary time and rational behavior to celebrate life.

HAVE YOUR EVER HAD A CHANCE ENCOUNTER THAT BECAME MORE?  

24. Grateful for my Mother

BACK TO MY REGULAR BLOG (with novel excerpts in between!) 

WHEN DID YOUR MOTHER SHOW UP WHEN YOU REALLY NEEDED HER?

BLOG 24: August-October, 1997—There are times when you are down and out, and have nowhere to go, and then your mother shows up.  This is one of those times. I’m still in the hills of Oakland, California, writing the beginning pieces of what is later to become my novel, and then my mother visits. I’ve been in pain for months now, but only recently told my mother what was happening to me.

I haven’t been out of the house in a while—that is, until my mother arrives. Soon we are traveling to the ocean, sitting along the dunes of these Pacific waters, and my mother shares her own life challenges with me. I’ve never heard my mother tell me in such a heartfelt way what’s happening with her, and I feel an amazing sense of relief. Suddenly my pain and limitations don’t seem so bad, and, in her sharing, I feel connected to my mother in ways I never have. I have my mother back, I think and smile. In her vulnerability, I am able to be with mine.

There’s a lesson I learn in my vulnerability—and in being given the chance to see that in my mom: sometimes, for those of us who are raised to be so tough, being vulnerable is a gift. It brings us back to our humanity and opens a door for us to be with others with compassion and open heart. It allows us to enter into the grace of life, and become more fully ourselves because we are finally listening. .

WHEN DID YOUR MOTHER SHOW UP WHEN YOU REALLY NEEDED HER?

A Journey Below the Sea: an Excerpt from Child of Duende

Duende sat on rocks that jutted out over the sea into the rising early morning mist. She waited for her furry friend to show himself as the sudden wind wrapping its arms around her, tapping her with its long, wiry fingers on her back.

Instead, hundreds of birds trilled their chorus of songs into the much louder waves that broke against the rocks, and Duende, wanting to make her presence known to her friend, joined her own whistle with nature’s song. Within seconds, the sea roared a fierce fountain of water toward the sky, releasing a haunting sound that made Duende jump back. A deep, wide, eternal longing, pulling its anchor into her heart and down toward the seafloor, enveloped her, then echoed against the rocks.

“Duende.” She heard her name coming from the depths of the sound. “Duende.” She turned her head in either direction, trying to see or place this voice that resonated from another world. Her friend was nowhere to be seen. Instead she heard, “Come inside.” Where? Duende thought. Inside where? By now the birds had stopped their chanting, or at least Duende could no longer hear them. She stood frozen, her hands clenched, her eyes wide with wonder and fright, inside the warm morning.

“Here,” the voice responded, lifting itself into a high-pitched sound as a large hand rose from the sea’s fountain. Duende shook in shock. “Come on,” she heard again. She continued to look around, smelling the air and sensing for that presence she had become used to. But there was nothing. Just this voice repeating the same request.

As the hand descended into the sea again, Duende closed her eyes, finally letting go of expecting the same as before, and summoned her knowing. She cleared any fear or doubt she may have had about this voice and hand, and let herself fall deep into the vast body of water. She knew how to let her spirit travel in ways most children or adults never understood. When she arrived, he was there. Her friend was waiting.

“Duende, I like your name,” he said slowly, through a gurgle of water and wind, as if he were the sea, but not the kind the girl was accustomed to. His voice came from a deep, dark place, like the longing of a whale’s cry that Duende had heard echo against the rocks and reverberate inside her. “Come with me,” her earth spirit friend said as he faced away from her while turning his long weblike feet toward her, moving the opposite direction she expected him to go.

… An eternal hole opened below them, clearing the soil and sand around them, as the center of the earth sucked them closer and closer, accelerating their journey…“You are going home,” her friend suddenly whispered as they accelerated through the earth’s layers. “Home.

CHECK OUT MORE OF MY NOVEL @ my newly designed Website: www.childofduende.com or www.michelleadam.net or go directly to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1462419536&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende

*My regular Blog will resume soon! I hope you’ve enjoyed this momentary glimpse into my novel, Child of Duende.

 

A Tiny Taste of My Novel

Ρaco’s voice slid deep into the smoke-filled room. Silence sifted into the space between his breaths. Crying with the anguish of a people who had left their homeland centuries ago, he carried a song that still knew its way inside the heartbeat of the earth. Eight-year-old Duende listened. Twenty-eight-year-old Ingrid barely remembered this mysterious melody that came from within.

In the small village of Málaga, on the coast of Spain, where the Mediterranean Sea separated Europe from Africa, from the Arabic cries of “Allah,” and from the Jews’ search for their homeland, Paco and his Gypsy song remained. Duende, raised in this culture, knew this song and its origin, yet Ingrid, tossed into the modern reality of separation, had yet to find her way back.

This is the story of both, woven together by magical vines carrying the blood of the earth and a forgotten way of living.

 

My novel’s prologue provides a taste of my recently released novel, Child of Duende, an adventure of a twenty-eight-year-old German journalist, Ingrid, who returns to her childhood home of Málaga, Spain, to cover a remarkable story: on Señor Ramos’s vineyard, the vines are growing out of control. What’s more, they appear to be bleeding. Can it possibly be true? Ingrid feels a mysterious connection to the increasingly strange events taking place in her hometown, but why?Duende Return Transparent Orange (1).png

As Ingrid’s story interweaves with that of an eight-year-old child, whose grandmother fates her with the name Duende—a word that refers to the spirit of the earth that one must awaken from within—Ingrid embarks on a journey of personal rediscovery. Duende dances with Gypsies; travels below the sea with an earth spirit; speaks with her grandmother’s spirit; and has dreams that deeply transform her reality and Ingrid’s. Ultimately, Ingrid’s return home reveals a truth that has been buried in the ground for millennia. Described by world-renowned teacher and award-winning author Sandra Ingerman as “a beautiful story that will take you into magical and mystical realms,” Child of Duende is a journey home.

**For more information on my novel or on my teaching and healing work, visit my newly-revised website: http://www.michelleadam.net

**Above Illustration is one of several Child of Duende Interior Illustrations by Jenna Kass.

(My regular blog will return soon, with novel passages interspersed. Stay tuned!)