63. Bowing in Grace

BLOG 63: June, 2000—Jean sat in her favorite chair in the kitchen by the screen of an open window.  She blew her cigarette smoke out past the tiny metal mesh, which temporarily protected her New England farmhouse from a few select mosquitoes of early summer. My new near-80-year-old poet and housemate seemed to love looking out the window, reflecting on her next poem, or maybe her many years married, and raising children, or her husband’s recent death.

As I stepped into the dimly lit kitchen, Jean looked up. She greeted me as I prepared to leave for a weekend of translating for an Ecuadorian Shaman who was visiting up north, in the White Mountain area. I had just arrived at her farmhouse several days earlier, but was now traveling two hours north to translate for an organization called Dream Change.  

When I arrived at the home where I’d work, the Ecuadorian Shaman, Alberto Taxo, sat in a corner of the room, legs crossed. He was a good-looking man with long black hair and graying beard. I greeted him, presented myself as the person who would be translating his Spanish to English. He nodded, smiled.

Later, he would tell me stories about growing up under the tutelage of his shaman father, and a lineage of healers along the Andes and Latin America. He’d tell me about his initiation at age 13, when was sent to the mountains to stay three days in a hole dug into the ground. One of those days, Taxo awoke with a snake coiled on his belly, at which point he described being fearless (since snakes can smell fear and attack). Instead he told the snake how beautiful it was and it uncoiled and slithered away. His journey as a shaman continued until his father’s death, 8194dc6334121ca8cc6c17b407f37edewhich provoked grief and anger and two years of living in the streets and temporarily abandoning his healer’s path.

I loved listening to Taxo’s stories. After all, imagine missing out on your childhood, and, at an early age, being ask to carry forth a 500-year-old prophesy of your indigenous ancestors to prepare for an immense change for the earth and humanity, a “Pachacuti”, that would occur at this time in history. This was Taxo’s reality, combined with political work he did, demanding equal rights for Ecuador’s indigenous people.

Beyond his stories and teachings, what struck me most about Taxo was the manner in which he approached life. As I translated for him during various gatherings and healings, he displayed an immense amount of grace and presence. He seemed to bow to all of life—to the trees, to the animals, to the food he ate, to the people he passed—in a state of gratitude and listening. It was a practice I imagined he had learned early on in life—a practice that seemed a stark contrast to our modern-American “let’s move fast and get somewhere or something (and not listen much)” approach to life.

While Taxo was far from perfect (He seemed to have been seduced by modern Western culture in an unhealthy way), I returned to the farmhouse having learned a state of grace and gratitude that would help me heal my injury and heart.

From that weekend forth, I began to walk in the woods, a hundred feet at a time (or as far as I could go with my pain), and 61f49d5902a99d2693d6e1e6bb5b9546did so by bowing down to every tree, every flowering, breathing element in the forest. As I walked, I breathed the trees and their energy field into my heart, and, with every out breath, I bowed to the trees, greeting and honoring them. In doing this kind of mindfulness meditation, I soon discovered how blocked my heart was—how challenging it was for me to truly receive and feel the beauty around me. I also understood that if I continued this practice, I would feel the origins of my blocks and slowly get “out of my head” and open my heart, bit by bit, to feel.

Back then, Taxo’s example offered me my first important lesson of many that would help me walk again—from 50 feet to three miles by the end of the summer on Jean’s farm. It’s a lesson I’ve come back to, time and time again, in my life (even though I’ve gotten lost, plenty of times, in all the daily running around!).

This place of grace—this bowing down to and honoring life—still sits waiting for me, and all us, at all times. These days, I return to this place of grace in the dark of the night, when I sing an offering to the land, to my recently deceased father, and to those I love; when I bow in gratitude and love to my friend and lover; and when I sit still enough to feel this butterfly of transformative love for myself and all of life that sits fluttering in my heart. 

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about returning to this state of grace. It’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page  or at www.michelleadam.net. It can be ordered at a local bookstore as well. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

 

 

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62. Unchartered Pilgrimage of the Heart

BLOG 62: June, 2000—I arrived with my friends Carl and Molly at the colonial farmhouse that would be my summer home—my three months with God, the earth, and my broken body and spirit. The old, dark brown house stood only inches away from the cracked, New England road that epitomized what I loved about this part of the country. And on either side of the house were open fields, high wheat grasses on one end, and a large lawn and soon-to-be-tilled garden on the other.

Jean, the owner of this summer house, appeared by the driveway to greet us. Almost 80 years old with formal blazer, short grey hair, and cigarette in hand, she reminded me of the great novelist and friend of Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein. Only thing was that Jean, a poet herself and one of the first women to establish a publishing house for women poets, carried an unusual combination of Boston formality and an unusual earthy “I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks about me” look.

My eyes were drawn to her cigarette as she led my friends and I into the old farmhouse that seemed rather dark despite two floors of rooms with ample windows. Who was this woman I would live with and help out during my summer of healing? I asked myself.

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Jean Pedrick (A photo I took long ago. Beauty!) 

After all, we had never met—only spoke by phone before her son and I met in New York City to scope each other out and make sure his mother and I would be a good fit. I had never thought about there being cigarette smoke wafting up along dark walls filled with ghost-like photographs of times gone by until it reached the room I’d live in or the ancient bed made of actual horse hair I’d sleep on!

I remember looking out the window, toward the road it faced, where my friends drove away after helping me unpack the few items I had. It felt as if my parents had just dropped me off at camp (not that I had experienced this before in my life!) and I was alone in a dark house with a stranger who smoked and seemed rather aloof as Bostonians could be.

I feared I had made a mistake in trusting divine grace to bring me here, yet I eventually fell asleep to the sweet sound of cicadas surrounding the house and trees. mondaysatskimilk3-940x467.jpgThe weeks to follow were the beginning of magic, though, of discovering what’s possible when we show up with clear prayer and intention, and leave the rest up to God. Jean, who died several years later, would become one of numerous angels offering me retreat from the chains of pain I had carried for far too long.

Since those days with Jean and her family, I’ve learned that the grace of God shows her face when we finally surrender and hand over the reins of our limited longing—and when we’re truly ready to receive the gift that awaits us. The form it comes in can be deceiving—as Jean did with cigarette in hand and serious disposition—but it comes, ready to give of itself to the unchartered pilgrimage of our soul.

20170720_191044About a month ago from today, after arriving back to New Mexico from Buenos Aires and our family’s honoring of my recently-deceased father’s life, I met another angel of sorts in man’s clothing. I met an Argentinean man who appeared to me without cigarette in hand :), but with an embracing heart, passion, and laughter. Together we exchanged mystical love poems; shared—with my father’s spirit, it seemed—Argentinean songs he and I both loved; held communion on a moon-filled mesa that whispered of the infinite until early morning; and danced and laughed inside the light-filled rhythm of our newly-discovered bubble.

It’s not every day that life’s holy orchestra offers a song like this one. But it did. It came quickly, weaving these otherworldly energies with mundane realities that soon introduced their challenges to this budding relationship. It forced me to ask myself how to navigate this place where the divine and physical intersect…where tension and beauty lie and give us choice on how to proceed?

This past week, during which time I wrote less, and struggled with overwhelm and 20170720_190824poor health, I battled this reality of receiving divine grace within the limitations of this earth journey. And while I tried to contemplate, analyze, feel, reflect, and be with the tension that built knots inside my heart and that of this relationship (quite a different energy from the heart-opening magic of weeks prior), it seemed to only create more tension, more struggle.

But today, as a double rainbow spread across the sky, and stayed with me long enough to expand my heart’s awe, I felt what I needed to do. As with Jean and her cigarette, dark house, and initial formal and cold demeanor, there was more to this gift than I could see. Much more. What if, when we’ve given up trying to figure things out, and we’ve given up our limited, frightened expectations, we actually hand it over to God, to spirit—this place from which the gift originated? What if, in this case, as in the past, I give my heart much needed space and peace of mind to listen, feel, and be with what this beloved gift is here to offer—and what I am here to receive—on my unchartered pilgrimage of the soul?

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is also about an unchartered pilgrimage of the heart. It is available on Amazon at Amazon Page  or at www.michelleadam.net. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

 

 

 

       

61. Divine Order Inside the Dark

BLOG 61: May, 2000—There is Divine Order, I say, with a capital “D” and “O”. I’ve come to witness this clearly during my lifetime. Call it Nature. Call it the Law of Attraction. Call it this world-wide web of energies that makes up this matrix we call life. There are laws that govern life that are beyond that which our rational minds can fathom or express.

During my past blog, I shared a story of what I called “divine magic.” I had requested a place to live in New England where I could heal from years of hip pain, and to my surprise my wish was granted within one day of making it. I needed to move from my parent’s home in New Jersey and go into retreat mode at little to no cost, and the perfect place quickly appeared. That’s divine order…Law of Attraction…whatever you want to call it.

While this kind of magic is the type we all wish for, there’s another reality that plays out in our lives—that is also part of this divine order—which I sense few people really pay attention to. It’s what we call darkness, or unseen energies that may confuse our lives and challenge our notion of reality. It’s what, in today’s world of polarization and duality, we choose to label as the enemy or unwanted, rather than seeing its divine origin and place in our lives.

Back in the Spring of 2000, while I still lived with my parents—and before moving up to New Hampshire to my new home—I had an experience that taught me about darker energies that can hold us back in our 80587d859f632a5b6c47eedbf483c94alives if we don’t pay attention to them. I was up one night watching the movie, “The Sixth Sense,” the story of a young boy who saw ghosts who were stuck between this physical reality and that of the spirit world beyond this plane (and who carried some kind of pain or unresolved issue during this lifetime that prevented them from leaving this earth plane).

Maybe you’ve seen this movie. This boy with a sixth sense was extremely compassionate and sensitive, and because of this ghosts haunted him, asking him to help them, to release them from their hell. By the time the movie came to an end, I was crying furiously. Why? Because something in me sensed strongly that I was like this boy, that I carried with me one of these ghosts, one that clung onto me during my time of weakness and debilitation. I had been open and vulnerable to outside energies that didn’t serve me, but that needed someone to help them. The result was that I was extremely tired for a long time, and didn’t know why.

In the world of shamans and medicine men, these “lost” energies are understood in the same way a doctor understands that our heart pumps blood. So, intuitively I called up my shamanic teacher (I had never had experiences with this before), and she referred me to a shaman who could help me in New York City.

Not knowing what to expect, I went to this NY shaman and told her what I suspected. Within an hour of working with her, I could suddenly feel an actual energy—the shape of a tall, narrow, older man—leave my body, out my crown. It was the strangest, most real experience I had ever had. Until that day, I would never have believed in such a thing as ghosts clinging onto people and draining them of their energies. I too would have thought this was crazy.

I returned home, and felt I could access myself more easily, experience a sense of peace and calm I hadn’t felt in a while. I also felt compassion for this ghost that had clung onto me, because I knew that he had been helped, that his soul could travel home, so to speak.

My experience back then, and today, is that this world we call “the unseen world,” this place we close our eyes to in fear, is merely energ92e0af069ef47fab12a87cbbba964503y. It’s an energy that needs to be addressed with compassion and understanding in order for us to be healthy and whole. It is an energy that comes from divine love that has lost its way inside a Divine Order, inside of its true nature that calls it back to source, to love. I too was lost and needed to find my way back to this divine order, as was this ghost, this spirit, which clung onto me.

Today, after years of learning to clear old energies and dance with these subtler, unseen energies of life, I’ve been able to open more fully to love and this divine place that’s here for us to live. I’ve not had to run anymore from my shadow, or the shadow of the world, because I can see it for what it is: love.

Just the other night, I walked with a precious companion onto the desert mesa lit up by an almost-full, pregnant moon. We created sacred space under grandmother’s watchful gaze, blessed the divine love that sought a place to be sung into life, and we too felt it—this place of Divine Order where love returns and all of life becomes a magical, timeless dance of God, the infinite.

I realize now, though, that if it had not been for those darker energies, those places I had to look at, be with, help, that had lost their way, I would never have experienced what I did on the mesa—that divine love that is everywhere, waiting for us to sing it into life.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, which is about returning home to this divine love, is available on Amazon at Amazon Page  or at www.michelleadam.net. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

 

60. Time for Divine Love

BLOG 60—April 28, 2000: “There is no beginning, no end,” I wrote in my journal at my parents’ house in New Jersey 17 years ago. Why? Because I had moved there to heal my hip, and expected to stay for no more than a year before continuing on my life’s path.

“So much time has passed. It’s all become a drawn out affair,” I wrote. “I’ve almost forgotten what I started with…the passion that led me here and hopefully the passion that leads me out of here.”

I had gone out West to discover and invent my life, without limits, and yet I got the wind knocked out of me—got injured—and in my early thirties was living with my parents. “I feel little me wondering if I can do it—can I make it without throwing myself down hard again?” I asked myself.

The irony of life is that, shortly after writing this, a new door to my life opened. I had traveled with a local friend up to New Hampshire, where I had lived years earlier, and where my friend Carl had suggested I take a Shamanic Class studying the Four Directions of the Medicine Wheel. What happened there was nothing short of a miracle.

After class, I had let other students know that I was looking for a place to live in exchange for house-sitting or something similar. I couldn’t afford rent, but I needed a refuge, a place to be with God, so I could finally heal my hip after three years of excruciating pain.

A day after the class completed, and I was already in New Jersey, one of the students overhead a group of poets in a café saying that all they needed to do was find someone who could live with a woman named Jean. The student approached this group and mentioned my name, and soon Jean and I spoke by phone to see if she and her farm house in New Hampshire would be a good fit for me.

a07a67815507524254e67324f69e0d9bIt’s all timing, I say. I still felt incredibly fragile, scared to trust that I could truly walk again as I had years earlier. I was dubious that there was such a thing as divine support in my life. I had lost faith. And yet that’s when this miracle of perfect timing, perfect alignment of everything occurred.

Tonight, as I walked down my dirt road here in New Mexico, I felt sadness, or longing–that “something” I couldn’t quite pinpoint, yet felt throughout the day. It’s strange how that is…that feeling or sensation that chases us all day long…that often chases us out the door, running all over the place, until we finally get back to ourselves. But as I walked, I could feel it, feel its origin.

I returned to the house, and with a glass of wine, sat outside my home, listening to the silence interrupted by soft chimes signing their loving song in the breeze. I reflected on my father and my relationships with men in my life—on the challenges, on the long journey of coming into my own, of becoming the diamond of a woman that I am that was carved out of all the breaking and polishing of that which once was rough, hidden inside harsh stone.

So much of my focus for so long had been on polishing, healing, learning to love this diamond that I was slowly becoming. I h81b442e8291c28a4ad7b50d124503e5aad given so much of my love, my longing to be loved to my father. I had searched so hard for that love in other men that would fill that hollow space that had been inside me.

As I sat below the night sky, open fields in front of me, I sensed my beloved, my life’s partner, bowing down, big, in the field before me. There was an honor, a deep love, an immense respect for my worthiness standing before me, loving me for the diamond I had become. It was humbling to receive.

I cried tonight a cry of love because I could feel this space inside my heart that has held back from finding and being with my beloved. Since my last long-term relationship had ended with immense pain, I had focused on healing my heart and my relationship with my father. And since then, was with my father as he slowly left this world.

But tonight, I see that it’s time. I’m ready. It’s just me that needs to open my heart, to trust, once again, in divine support…to believe that what I have longed for my whole life—to be in a relationship with my beloved partner—is ready to dance her beauty, her divine love into my life.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is available on Amazon at Amazon Page  or at www.michelleadam.net. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video