77. This Tree Grows Roots in Winter

BLOG 77—(present reflections tied to September 2000 journal entries about my healing and novel writing journey)—I used to walk along the forest path that lay across from the New England farmhouse where I lived in my early 30’s during my summer of 2000. Almost every day—when I wasn’t in too much pain from energy sessions intended to heal my hips—I walked the woods, learning to open my heart to life.

It was a meditation, a healing practice, a lesson in receiving and breathing in life beyond the pain that limited my mobility. I began with one hundred feet in early summer, and then, step by step, I reached three miles at summer’s end.

When I began this meditation journey, I soon realized how easy it was for me to not feel, to close myself to nature and life around me. Inner voices, thoughts, and tightness in my breath surfaced easily, and I could feel how much my emotions of the past blocked me from being present to the trees or anything else. Yet I listened, bowed to the forest and breathed in a kind of Namaste in order to open my heart despite my limitations.

During one of my walks in late September, I reflected on my earlier years growing up in New Jersey, where my family had lived after leaving Spain. I had been eleven back then, and it had been so hard to connect with the forest and earth that surrounded our house. The trees felt too still for me, too heavy and dark, closing in on me in comparison to the wide-open desert lands I had so loved in Spain. During those years in New Jersey, the forest had represented the density and disconnect I had felt in my life back in the United States.

As I walked the woods in late September of 2000, I was once again reminded of how the forest had been a place of restriction, of not being able to move from and with the emotional pain of my past that had now taken physical form. “The trees were not an escape or a source of love back then because they were like me, stuck with being with what was, of being where a seed had first been planted,” I wrote in my journal during that summer in New England in which I had chosen to be with my constriction I had carried for so many years.

The forest became my place of healing, of learning to open my heart to everything and no longer try to escape. It became a place to feel my fear of rootedness, of relationship, of intimacy. I felt the betrayal I had carried in my heart, the deep distrust in others I had held as a teenager, and that unsafe place of being rooted with my family and having nowhere to go.

Ironically, that day I walked in the woods in late September presented me with three snakes along my path. One of them literally blocked the path and seemed to be saying, “Don’t go any further—be with what you are sensing.” As I did so, I began to feel, for the first time, that I didn’t need to fear being rooted anymore.

“I can be rooted in myself and be safe if I stand for mys8d9f3a29417c5772fddb425161b6a720.jpgelf no matter where I am, “I wrote in my journal back then. “The trees are a great lesson in going deep within the earth and also reaching toward the sky. It’s not about moving forward. It’s about moving upward and out, into the darkness and light inside one being, one breath, and I can feel protected and lifted inside this space.”

Today, at the beginning of winter here in New Mexico, these words seem to resonate strongly. Isn’t this the time for us, inside this darkness, to listen to that place inside where the seeds of spring are sown? Now is no different than that summer in New England so long ago when I wrote that “the roots and the darkness are the stories, the dreams that become realized in the light. The soul needs darkness to dream, and light to realize itself.”

This past weekend, as I sat with my love, reflecting on what we wanted to call forth in this New Year, I began to feel, more than anything, my desire to sink into that still place where winter offers us her cold fingers, yet warm hearth. I felt called to return to that place of dreaming, of meditation, of listening, so insights become the roots of the tree I am …the roots that, in springtime, will help me grow new branches reaching even further up toward the light.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about discovering, inside the earth, the spirit that we are. 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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Remembering Christmas Eve

Poem in honor of childhood memories of the holidays, and my father, who left this world earlier this year (break from regular blog): 

We used to watch 
the candles burn
to a tip as 
Mahalia Jackson 
melted our hearts 
with song,
deep with longing. 

We used to walk 
to mass at midnight
under falling snow
because church
was nature and
the ritual of
being together.

We used to sing 
songs in German,
English, and 
childlike play, 
my father eagerly
singing 
Five Golden Rings 
because that's all
he knew and 
it was his special
verse to share. 

Holidays where about
coming together,
and slowing down 
long enough to let
the night arrive,
inch by inch,
on Christmas Eve ... and never leave us.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about coming home to that place of ritual and connectedness. It’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page or at  http://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

76. Spirit Walking, Spirit Waking

BLOG 76—(present reflections tied to August 2000 journal entries about my healing and novel writing journey)—Last Sunday I gave a talk at a healing fair where I asked people to inquire into who they really were. Who are we beyond what we do, think, or how we’ve learn to act? I invited listeners to travel through their life’s stories as if they were water that changes form over time. I wanted the audience to experience what it’s like to be with one’s life and self as a fluid, ever-changing life force, rather than a solid identity imprisoned by judgment and beliefs.

What inspired me to offer this kind of experience—to be something beyond our limited sense of self—was something I was introduced to more than twenty years ago. That was the first time I had gotten a taste of who I could be. Yet, like so many of us, I struggled for far too many years to unravel the past, the false sense of identities, fears, thoughts, emotions that made it impossible to be like water or anything fluid and life-changing.

When I lived in New England on the farm during my healing summer of 2000, I began to discover this place of limitlessness, of freedom, and flow. My dreams shifted from ones of fear and fright to teaching dreams of possibility. It seemed I often dreamed of a snake, and during one specific dream, I saw a serpent that tucked its body into the shell of a turtle. It drew itself close to me as a lover and began to nibble4da138910d05d0f95b01f9fa6fc6ada7 on my arm as if clearing the old, bit by bit. Slowly, like the turtle, and with immense attention to detail, this snake nibbled away at my past and made room for the person I truly was.

The snake helped clear the way for dreams that soon showed me the possibility of who I am, and we all are, as spirits in bodies. I began to dream much more consciously as I felt, for the first time, my spirit body walking outside of my physical body. Inside my dream, I could tell the difference between my physical and spirit body. With the latter, I was more present to sensations, to the sensory experiences rather than the mind. My mind was there to make sure my spirit was protected and monitored, and ultimately came back to my body, but as my spirit body I got out of my own way and felt the deliciousness of everything. There was no analysis, just pure experience, and I was able to shift my attention from my spirit body to my physical body whenever I needed to (or as some may say, return to my physical body).

33928fcf941d50a40dab55aa7ed9deddDuring one dream, I traveled to my old neighborhood where I had lived as a child. Before doing so, I was asked where I was going, and I said that my body would stay in the room inside that dream, but my spirit would journey back to my childhood town. What happened next was amazing. I began walking inside the room to get momentum so I could fall back into the scene of my old neighborhood. As I gained speed, I lost balance and felt I was sliding down the floor, under the table, and back out. I witnessed that there were different patterns inside each state I was in, and that the one I was going into (my childhood town) was circular, like spirals moving to the center.

“Yet,” I wrote in my journal back then, “because I was traveling through two thick layers of reality, the effort or balance I needed was too great, and the circles broke into a checkered reality that lay behind the circular one.”

What I was shown back then during my dream was that we live in multiple realities at once and can access all of these. We can move from one reality to the next if we are centered enough, if we are able to maintain a certain equilibrium or speed. And these different realities show up like memory centers that are not in our physical reality. We travel to them through flight, through the body’s rele7b763fd54c6b6afc22725cff65cd3aa3ase of the ordinary.

Today, as I read again the lesson’s I learned during my time of stillness and healing, I am amazed at how timeless they are and apply to my life now. We run around so busy these days, with so many of us longing for a more peaceful and meaningful way of being on this earth. We work hard to connect with ourselves and each other, or to even know who we are inside this extremely material society.

What we sometimes forget inside all this noise, though, is that we are fluid like the rivers, oceans, rain, streams… we are ever-changing. Our spirit moves in and out of our body, travels and lives in multiple realities, and is much more powerful and life-affirming than we have been taught to understand. We are the change we long for because we are fluid, we are spirit, and we can manifest that which we long for on this earth.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about embodying fully the spirit that we are. 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

75. Beyond Fear

BLOG 75—(present reflections tied to August 2000 journal entries about my healing and novel writing journey)—I want to talk about fear. Yes, fear…the kind of fear that’s more than a feeling or moment. The kind that years ago, during my summer of healing in New England, gripped me, held my body like a fist I had to work so hard to open.

“I’m not feeling fear like a character in a story,” I wrote back in August of 2000 on the farm. “I am fear. It owns me and makes me dangerous to myself because I can’t separate my night dreams from my present reality.”

Prior to my New England summer of healing from physical pain, I would never have said that fear owned me. I was so busy running forward toward some promised land, some imagined future, that I had no idea of the fear and fright I carried in my body. It literally ran me, ran my life, and like so many of us, I hadn’t stopped long enough to truly listen to my body’s messages until that summer of 2000.

Then, during hours of healing work, dreams, and meditation, I discovered how paralyzed my soul, my essence, was by fear, by the simple act of being in this world. For some reason I was scared to feel, to embody my life, so I kept attempting to leave my body, running away from myself.

“I was an actor and observer in my dreams in the past,” I wrote back in 2000. “But now, in these situations (and dreams), I am awake and there is no beginning and end. There is just one long moment of life and death in my body, and I’m scared for my life.”

a4673f71c116515340caf78047a35d5dDuring that summer, I would wake up at night feeling unsafe in my own room. And the worst part of it was that the fright in my body was so strong I couldn’t tell the difference between dreams and reality. They were one of the same. And not knowing why I carried such fear made it even more difficult.

No matter how bad it got, though, I stayed with the nightmares, with my program of healing, discovering a world inside that had something dark and ominous to say. After all, I knew I had to experience the nightmares in order to move forward, to walk again, with grace, in this world.

So, bit by bit, I learned how to be here, on this earth, as I gardened, meditated, and discovered peace and quiet. I began healing so much that one night a crow came to visit me in my dreams. It rested, full-feathered and black, on a tree. In my dream, my housemate, Cassie, told me that “it (meaning the crow, which seemed to represent me) has finally recuperated from the torture and pain and now needs to be nurtured. Its wings are able to fly, but the crow needs to be watched, making sure it doesn’t hurt itself again.”

My dream was a clear sign that I was on the right path after almost four years of pain and little mobility since injuring myself in New Mexico. While I was relieved by the progress I had made, I soon had another challenge facing me. I was traveling away from my place of retreat in New England to see my family—my father, mother, sisters, aunts (who were visiting from Argentina), and my nephews—at a reunion in Upper New York State.

The last time I had been with everyone had been three years earlier. I had visited in crutches from my home in Oakland, C95d89adad1bcbd7204bce0f705806471alifornia, and when I went I felt very little support. This time, I was worried I would attacked again for being weak and vulnerable. So, before traveling, I prayed hard, asked spirit, God, to give me the resilience I needed to not only survive my family reunion, but remain true and rooted in myself.

Committed to being real, and honoring and nurturing myself, even in a situation I feared would be cold and difficult, shifted everything during that family reunion. Rather than experience what I had during my last visit with family, I felt strong, clear, and, in some ways, supported. It wasn’t perfect, as few family reunions ever are, but I discovered that I had become a stronger person. Even one of my sisters acknowledged that it was nice to have me back—that I really seemed present in ways I had not been before.

So when I think back to all the fear I carried then, and how I had moved through it to become more fully myself, embodied and alive, I truly understand what it takes to be here on this earth. I get that sometimes we, as humans, walk around as souls afraid to be in our bodies. We don’t always know why we are afraid, or that we even are, but we don’t feel at home. We feel lost, stuck, paralyzed by life.

There is a place beyond fear, though, and that place is inside of us. Deep within. We must be with ourselves, understanding our shadow, the dark places that want to speak to us, and not run anymore. There is no place to go, no promised land, because we are the promised land we’ve run from for too long. We carry our home inside, beyond fear.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about moving beyond fear and coming home. 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

 

74. Be Still Inside Challenging Times

BLOG 74—(present reflections tied to August 2000 journal entries about my healing and novel writing journey)—A friend recently shared a profound dream with me: she was inside her house and animals began entering in droves, one after another. She became scared as they continued to come inside.

But then she saw a Liona wise, divine, and beautiful Lion drawing her away from her fear. Just ask for what you want, the Lion advised her, and she knew in that moment that she had to choose between her fear and the immense beauty and wisdom of the Lion. My friend took the Lion’s advice and her entire demeanor inside her dream changed. She faced the animals, and simply asked them, without fear or doubt, to leave. They did.

While my friend was deeply touched by the message of the dream, it seemed the energy of the Lion and its divine masculine way left its imprint on her soul. She was reminded, as we all need to beespecially in today’s challenging timesthat we carry immense power and heart like the Sacred Lion, and that there is another way to be as we face personal challenges, natural disasters, climate change, and power-hungry patriarchal ways determined to kill us all with short-sighted greed.

When my friend shared her dream, I was surprised. It reminded me so much of my own dream of years ago, during the summer of 2000, when I lived in a farmhouse in New England, spending morning and nights healing, gardening, walking, meditating, and being with myself and God in nature. Just yesterday, I had begun writing about this dream, which, although devoid of a Lion, still held a similar message.

In that medicine 9d4c44a1948fce404dbca5e7181df117dream of August, 2000, I was shown a future like today’s and given insight into how we, as humans, need to approach intense challenges in order to unravel the mess we’ve made.

In my dream, I was with Alberto Taxco, an Ecuadorian Shaman I had translated for only months earlier. He was offering healing to several women. As I watched him perform these healings, I noticed buildings falling down in the distance, and a fire raging through the hills of what seemed to be San Francisco. An earthquake was quickly destroying the entire city.

Within seconds, everyone began running through the streets, including Alberto Taxco and these women, with me trailing behind due to my injured hip. A helicopter soon appeared and lifted Alberto and the women into the sky as I stood there, the fire quickly approaching as buildings continued to fall.

What happened next was amazing. Rather than run, I stood stillabsolutely stilland breathed the whole scene in front of me into my entire being. I seemed 27b1f4d76198f366a2e198ece984618ato surrender to it all, no longer needing to run, and instead became one with the fire. With this, the last building to fall did so only several feet away from me, followed by the fire, which suddenly stopped right before me.

Then, the scene within my dream changed to an earlier one, where I had learned about magic. I had been sitting watching a small canary-like bird and explaining to someone that if you can get the bird to surrender to you then you can carry the medicine of the bird with you. In this scene, the bird flew around me and I caught it in my hand without crushing it or holding it too long. It fluttered softly in my hands as it freely surrendered to me. I soon carried the bird’s magic because I no longer needed to chase it.

Carrying bird medicine, and knowing that I held within me the capacity to transform life, I returned to my dream of San Francisco. Those who had fled to the mountains of Ecuador with Alberto Taxco had returned. They were now in San Francisco and gorgeous stars filled the sky where the fire had earlier been.

When I pointed to the beauty that had replaced the disaster of merely minutes earlier, Alberto Taxco began to dance. He then approached me, and touched my right cheek ever so softly as a kind of ceremonial act, while, above us, two shooting stars fell from the sky onto the horizon of the earlier fire. Alberto smiled as he explained that I was the reason the shooting stars had fallen … that I had caused it.

I too smiled and woke up to write down my dream, and to remember, as I do now, telling this story, that there is power in standing still, in being the medicine that no longer runs from or fears disasters and messes of our lives, but absorbs, and holds a clear energy with what is in front of us so we can be the change agents that invite a new possibility of a star-filled night and shooting stars where once a fire may have raged…that in receiving and acknowledging with our hearts and whole beings what is in front of us, and no longer separating ourselves from the nature we are and are a part of, we can transform the chaos and unease of our lives.

Maybe in these challenging times, our place is to stand still and be of divine heart like the Lion… or be the wings of the bird, open, clear and knowing that, without doubt, we create our future, and that we, in our divine humanity, can be the future we envision.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about awakening this divine knowing within. 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

73. Giving Thanks for My Life and Work

BLOG 73—(present reflections tied to August 2000 journal entries about my healing and novel-writing journey)—Long days and nights of summer mist; consistent poetry workshops on Mondays; daily walks in the woods, every day with more strength and presence; evening feasts to cicada rhythms with visiting family and friends; swimming in the pool; tending to the garden; and meditating, healing my hips, and writing my novel’s story led to a special  moment on August 18 on Skimmilk Farm in New England…

Jean Pedrick and I at Skimmilk Farm (photo of a black & white picture taken by Carl Hyatt in 2000).

… that special night I finished my novel, which back then was simply called Duende. This 80,000 word manuscript began merely as a short story with no goal other than to follow the hunger that lay inside my aching body back in 1996, yet four years later it became my novel. I let out a sigh of amazement as the stars filled the skies on that August night on the farm. And not only was my novel finished, I was also healing my hips and beginning to walk again.

“Last night I finished Duende,” I wrote back then. “I completed my book at about 2 a.m. and then sat in front of my mesa, my altar, taking in the message and love of Duende, the spirit that rests in my bones, that is my bones, wanting to speak. As I wrote the last pieces of my novel, I felt the hunger, the altogether chaos and wildness of that earth-honoring self that I was, that we all are. I sat with that part of myself that surrenders to knowing, to truly understanding; that stands in the middle of the jungle, in that space of not separating from the jungle that is my body, that is myself, crawling its vines, its seemingly chaotic and random living through me, through us…that part that doesn’t try to figure out and dissect what is (for that will kill us), but surrenders to not knowing all the answers; because to know it all would be to separate ourselves from source that is so much bigger and vaster than ourselves and

20171122_173035

Jean Pedrick and I at Skimmilk Farm (photo of a black & white picture taken by Carl Hyatt in 2000).

yet is ourseleves as well. To contain this vastness would be to kill ourselves, to destroy the very part of ourselves that yearns to fly and live and truly taste the truth of our existence. This, I felt, was the duende that led me to write my novel and the very story that wished to teach me and others about an essence of life that we all have access to.

Back in 2000, I thought I had finished my novel, yet there were many more layers and chapters to write. I don’t regret any of the lengthy process of it. Not one bit. Not the years with several agents who shopped my novel to big publishers with optimistic reviews but no takers. Not the years of rewrites and further rewrites. It all became a part of a journey home to duende, to this spirit inside me that I continue to celebrate every day. The end of my novel then, and the publication of my novel more than a year ago became, in essence, the beginning of my true, fully-realized life.

Today, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, I stay home nursing an intense cold. But I’m grateful.  I am grateful that the life I live now comes from deep within me, that it comes from my spirit, my essence coming first in whatever I do. There’s a sense of peace in this, a sense of knowing there is nowhere I need to go, that the richness of each moment is here, inside me, and around me. If I honor my creative spirit and surrender that which guides me in each moment, all will be okay.

20171122_173316

Photo of a photo taken by Carl Hyatt in 2000.

A few weeks ago, I also offered a Shamanic Writing Workshop with Burt Kempner, a fellow author, and remember feeling gratitude for having completed a successful class. At one point I was with my partner, Gorky, and he was sharing with me how wonderful the class had been. As he said these words, I began to cry a sense of recognizing that I had come home; that I was doing my life’s work on this earth, even if it was bit by bit as I worked a so-called day job. What a gift to be with someone I loved and to share in the harvest of all that I had worked so hard to become!

On this day of Giving Thanks, I give thanks to the fact that I not only published my novel (after completing it 20 years ago!), but that I can share my work and my life’s passion with my partner, family, and friends, near and far, who have seen me grow into the person I have become (and thanks to those who dropped off Thanksgiving food to me!). What a blessing to be surrounded by love and also be guided by a vaster universe that weaves its magic through me and all of us!

Blessings to you All!

Give a gift of magic, spirit, and returning home with Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, for these upcoming holidays! 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

Confessions: A Night of Creative Awakening and a Writing Offering

10/28/2017: I have a confession: yes, I love the night. I really do. (I will return to regular blog shortly) 

Although I adore the sun, I love when his golden light fades into the sunset and modernity’s fierce flame of urgency disappears. Yes, this flame disappears and the feminine darkness invites me into her subtle, soft, creative juices, where I bathe for hours, like a rebel against the insanity of today’s world.

No one is watching when I light a candle of my own inside this dim, but potent night. She reveals to me a restless urge inside, a longing to return to source, and be the creative life-song that comes from within. I sow the seeds that require darkness and the spirits of the night to begin germination inside my belly. I listen to my dreams, to the unraveling

Painting by my ancestor, Frida Kraemer, wife of one of many family artists. I love the sense of freedom of this painting.  

of my consciousness, to places inside, of barbed wire pressing against my heart, my wings. I discover what I must do to untangle this mess we’ve been taught to be, and make way for a new dawn of love, of being the creator of our own destiny.

This morning, I let the sun dance in the sky as I stayed with my dreams, easing my way into daylight. No rush. Nothing to prove as I used to do years ago. I am free. We are free. We can all be free in ways we’ve long forgotten.

Writing has been a path toward this freedom for me, a place of deep meditation with my soul’s longing. I imagine it has also been from my dear author friend and children’s book writer, Burt Kempner, who will be traveling from Florida to here, New Mexico, to offer with me a Shamanic Writing Workshop on Saturday, November 4th, from 2-4:45p.m. at Tortuga Gallery. This is a unique chanceWriting Class with Burt.jpg (1) for Burt and I to work together and offer this journey of the soul and a taste of that freedom I speak of.

If you are in Albuquerque, New Mexico, next Saturday, November 4th, please join us. This may be a one-time offering with Burt, who comes with such an immense heart of the imagination and award-winning talent as a children’s book author and television producer (he has produced shows on PBS, Discovery, History Channel, and CNBC). I also bring with me my own experience leading healing circles and classes, and Flamenco performances with my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, here in New Mexico and in Washington State, California, and Argentina.

In this almost-three-hour workshop, Burt and I will take you on a journey to awaken your soul’s voice through writing, and help you discover, explore, and write the voices and matrix of ourselves and all of life–the animals, wind, water–that coexist with us on this earth. Our intention is to invite you to experience writing as a process of connecting to the life within and all around us in a shared, rich manner.

My heart is tender, my wings soft, in my offer to join us, Burt Kempner and I, next Saturday. I am honored to share this place of surrender, of the feminine creative force that awakens within us in the night, in the dark, in the stillness that carries our longing for another way. I feel we have all been so busy, running around, doing “life” in this modern, insane way, and I so I look forward to time inward, together, exploring who we really are.

Upcoming Shamanic Writing Workshop information: at 2-4:45 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, at Tortuga Gallery, 901 Edith Blvd., SE, Albuquerque, NM 87012 (Park on Pacific Ave.). No writing experience needed. $30.00. RSVP at writeaway@hotmail.com or 505 923 0649 or at Facebook event page ( Facebook Shamanic Writing Event Page )

Also, for more information on My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, see my Amazon Page  or  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