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.

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





4 thoughts on “62. Unchartered Pilgrimage of the Heart

  1. Another polished gem, my wonderful friend. If life were a choice of tickets — one to a staid, tedious but safe carousel and the other to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, I know which I would pick (or which would pick me). It sounds as though a choice has been made in your case.

    Life provides us with many rough-hewn angels. I’ve blessed many for their aid, never stopping to think of how helping me benefited them. I’m open now to giving an audience to people I would have overlooked in the past, even if that means opening myself up to a bumper crop of kooks. (I got an email this morning from a man purporting to be the Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, a secret organization that goes back over a thousand years.)

    But let’s get back to your gorgeous writing. What attracts me about it most is that not only do you describe your journey with grace and beauty, you make me ache to accompany you. Now, THAT, mi amiga, is a Gift!

    Much love, Burt

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, once again, Burt. I am grateful for your companionship on this writing journey. May we discover the scruffy, unassuming, hidden gems that we may have overlooked in the sharing of our writing. As in this case, I so enjoyed going back in time to Jean and her photograph. Sometimes there are people in our lives that are so pivotal, yet we forget about, and I am so blessed to have known her and her family and to honor her here. They’ll be more to come on my Skimmilk Farm adventures! And on ours as writers and mischief makers (to quote my teacher Martin Prechtel!)


  2. Hi Michelle,

    I just read this and was so moved – I love your description of the farmhouse and the idea of comfort and healing. I’m sorry to hear about your father. I’d love to bring you some food this August, if you’re around! Let me know.



    Sent from my iPad



    • Nora,

      Wonderful to receive your words and heartfelt experience and regards about losing my father. It’s nothing I’ve been through and comes in waves. I loved the farmhouse too and it was nice to go back into that space. I’d love to see you. What kind of food are you going to bring me? Hmmm….It was weird reading that, since it made me think someone would bring me food as if I were a patient in a hospital. But bring it on! Would be great to see you…that is, if you’re not scared of the duendes any more! lol. Congratulations again on your wedding and marriage. Love the photos I see and would love to have been there.


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