47. With Grace, Enter the New Year

BLOG 47: January, 1999—I woke up this morning with baby fresh skin—or that’s how it felt. The crumbling, old layers of skin, fraught with fear and uncertainly, shed themselves in my sleep after hours of writing chapters in my novel last night. I woke with less pain than I had had for days, and I attributed it to the fact that I was finally telling a story that had wished to tell itself for a long time.

I lay in bed, feeling a renewed lightness, and a subtle awareness of a peculiar fear I had carried for much of my life. What fear was this? I asked my almost-thirty-year-old self. A fear of accessing my soul, the true “me,” I answered. A fear of receiving guidance (from me or a higher source).

As far back as I could remember, I had carried an immense hunger and longing to connect to that part of me that had disappeared at age eleven—when my family had moved to the United States from Spain. But now, on that morning in New Jersey almost 20 years ago, I knew it was time to let go of my resistance, to let this hunger speak fully, without reservation.

I found it ironic that for so long I had chased magic, wishing to live deeply connected to God, to all of life. I had done so by fleeing the ghost of my soul. I moved quickly, and from one place to another, and yet, all along, I was the one being pursued by my hunger and soul’s longing to speak with me. I was chasing my tail, going nowhere, when all I needed to do was stop, turn around, and look at myself standing there behind me, running after me. “Receiving this magic is less about catching up, but more about letting go and meeting the one who has been chasing me,” I wrote back then.548b33a31a764686370155f7373f9e74.jpg

Today, as we approach a new year, I am, once again, called to stop and turn around to be with my soul—to be with the one who begs me to be still enough to receive her messages.

Maybe, as we all prepare for a new year, it is an opportunity for all of us to let go of our need to run, to flee, to get to a place far beyond us that is always out of reach. Maybe, it’s time to stop chasing our tail, to release what holds us back, and make room to receive what lies behind our hunger—our soul’s story and message.

It seems the great Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda expressed this sentiment most poignantly in his poem, “A Callarse” (“Keeping Quiet”). His words offer a beautiful ending to this last blog entry for 2016, and a graceful way for us all to enter 2017:

“If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.”

Happy New Year! May we all find peace within and celebrate this state of grace with the world!

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46. A Stillness was Born Yesterday… and with that, Happy Holidays!

BLOG 46: December, 1998—“A stillness was born yesterday, wanting everyday more,” I wrote as Christmas approached in my parent’s small home in New Jersey. I continued to write my novel, and search for that place within that struggled to show her face while trying to walk again.

“Where are you going with all this time on your hands?” I asked that part of myself that knew how to be still. “Inside,” it said. “Inside.”

 “And what do you do inside?” I asked.

“I listen. I listen.”

“To what?”

“To myself. To myself,” it said.

“And what do you have to say to yourself?”

“Nothing,” it said. “Nothing.”

“Then why listen to nothing?”

Because I got tired of listening to everything else that did not matter.”

“And why did nothing else matter?” I asked.

“Because it did not know how to feel.”

“So your nothing you listen to are your feelings?” I asked.

“Yes, but only the ones that do not need to speak.”

“Why those?”

“Because they are true. They are happy,” it responded. “Because they know the way home.”

80bf4541fb8d77d2cfd294a0952726aeAlmost 20 years later, I am here again—visiting family in Virginia for this year’s Christmas. But this time I feel an innate happiness with family that comes from being home inside myself…and home with my parents, my Tia Ingrid visiting from Argentina, and my sisters and their families. We are all different (that’s for sure!), but I feel comfortable in my own skin and full in my heart.

It is particularly a special time to come together, given that my father has had many health issues, and my aunt Ingrid is here from Argentina, and all my sisters and their children will be here. There’s no time to waste, since we only have now to count on.

It’s been a delicious time, yet I feel for one of my younger family members who was not able to make it this year. They too are walking that fragile place of becoming comfortable in their own skin, and feeling safe in this world to share that place with others here. I too held back for many years, learning to be comfortable with myself, with who I really was, and not that person others expected me to be. It took time, and strength, and maybe because I was immobile for years…slowing down enough to find that voice, the one that wrote to me almost 20 years ago, wanting me to feel and to love myself in all my difference.

*Make Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit a gift for the holidays! 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

So Let’s Celebrate with an Ole!

December 10, 2016—This past Saturday, to an audience of 35 enthusiastic listeners, I introduced “duende”, the spirit of the earth, and the essence of my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit. I did so after a month of post-election shock and blues that called me to speak fuller and more passionately than in the past. I wished to share hope, and bring a full spirit of who we are capable of being as Flamenco Guitarist and Singer Ronaldo Baca and I wove together storytelling, Flamenco, and Cante Hondo (deep song).

 “Like a soft, subtle breeze that inches her way into our lives, bit by bit, increasing her intensity and presence, the darkness of winter arrives,” I began with these words. “The moon rises to light up the cooler nights and we begin to celebrate an inner world, an unseen world that, ironically, in the darkness, may be easier to glimpse, to experience than in the bright light of summer.”

My words continued, dancing in an out of Ronaldo’s Flamenco Guitar playing. “Inside this darkness lies a seed, a potent seed of yet to be dreamed of possibilities, of spirit imbued with a force that we have ignored for far too long in the name of progress, growth, and reaching for the stars.

“But here we are, wondering what’s happening around us. The friction, the breakdown, and break up of that which we’ve held to be true. Our illusions broken as seeds of power and fear, planted long ago, are now emerging. But there’s also another seed, buried deeper inside the earth, and far inside all of us, that seeks to be seen and experienced in the dark of winter… at this time of year and this time of history.

“This journey tonight is an invitation to go to that place, to travel along the threads of ancient culture, to the roots of gypsy and deep song that has never, never lost the resonance and power of its voice despite centuries of persecution. It’s the same sounds we hear in the spirituals, in the blues, in indigenous chants, and in ragas from East India, the original homeland of the Gypsies … it’s that sound of longing (or llanto…a call out) that comes from deep within and that rises more fiercely and fully in the darkness, during times in which we’ve given up hope and we’re crying out for another way.

“This is that time, and I invite you this evening, to go on this journey to a profound place of freedom, of possibility that awaits us in our listening. It is an invitation to experience “duende”, the spirit of the earth that is the very seed of which I speak, and which carries the most ancient seed of knowing. It is an invitation to travel with us, through story, song, and Flamenco guitar, to the world of my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit.

15355716_1142183272543542_3995107497377793370_n“So let’s begin. With an Ole, with a deep breath, with a full sigh, releasing all that we have worked so hard to create, all that we have sought so hard to find and be, so that new life can enter, so the full spirit we carry within can speak and sing.”

The evening was a beautiful, soul-filled one that felt like family remembering who we are together. I invite those of you  reading this blog to make this season one of going deep within and bringing out the gift of who you arethrough voice and spirited actionas a present to life.

*Please share your experiences of being the gift you are during these holidays. (My regular blog will resume after this).

*Make Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit a gift for the holidays! 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

 

45. Sacred Action: Spirit Inside Flesh (Join Saturday’s Storytelling, Flamenco Guitar & Spanish Tapas Event!)

Blog 45: December 9, 1998—Struck by these lines from The Last Temptation of Christ movie I watched almost 20 years ago, I wrote them down:

“The dual substance of Christ—the yearning, so human, so superhuman, of man to attain God…has always been a deep inscrutable mystery to me. My principle anguish and source of all my joys and sorrows from my youth onward has been the incessant, merciless battle between the spirit and the flesh…and my soul is the arena where these two armies have clashed and met.”

This struggle between spirit and matter were deeply tied to the hip pain I experienced back then, when I lived, at age 30, with my parents in New Jersey. In this country of materialism gone rampant, especially back then, I fought to hear my soul’s voice that had become so distant after my family and I had moved from Spain to the United States during my middle school years. My hip injury in my late twenties had granted me the permission and urgency to reawaken this part of me—and my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, became a way for me to express this.

Today, as I prepare for a local Storytelling, Flamenco Guitar, and Spanish Tapas event tied to my novel, I can see more clearly how this battle of spirit with matter, and the ultimate merging of these has become my life’s work. The other day, as I rehearsed with Ronaldo Baca, Flamenco guitarist and singer, we spoke about this energy, and how deeply it is tied to “duende”, the essence of my novel.

The Spanish Poet Federico Garcia Lorca once described “duende” as a work and battle, where we wrestle those demons and dark places of our psyche to uncover, to awaken, to become an artform longing to be born. This “duende,” he said, is the spirit of the earth “one must awaken in the remotest mansions of the blood,” and it is only in doing do so that duende “announces the constant baptism of newly created things.”

Aren’t Lorca’s words similar to that of Nikos Kazantzakis’s words of The Last Temptation of Christ? Isn’t there a battle we all engage in as humans (if we are willing to be honest with ourselves) of merging spirit with matter, of becoming this invisible life force of “duende” that moves through our visible, limited physical reality?

As more people wake up to this life force within themselves, how do we engage in this righteous battle to become most fully spirit within flesh? (I see examples of this in our recent history: at Standing Rock in the Dakotas, the Sioux Nation has been protecting the waters by standing up against Energy Transfer Partners, an oil company building a pipeline which is intended to transport 5550,000 barrels of oil a day to maintain our comfortable lives. Since the U.S. presidential elections, others have taken to the streets in protest of the results, and it seems, so many of us are waking up, realizing we can’t take our freedom and democracy—or what there is left of it—for granted any more).

At this time of immense change and upheaval, how do we take this essence of “duende” and be the conduits through which life can—through sacred action—fully express herself?

How have you become this spirit inside flesh most authentically?

*This Saturday, Ronaldo Baca and I will be offering a journey inside this essence in an inspiring evening of Storytelling, Flamenco Guitar, and Spanish Tapas. It’s this Saturday, Dec. 10th, at 4p.m. at Awaken to Wellness Center, 1704 Moon St NE, Ste 9, Albuquerque.

My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, may also make a great gift this season! It’s available 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