The Spaces in Between: where God Lives

BLOG 96—(present reflections tied to May 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—Where does FEAR and TIGHTNESS come from? Why is it that back in 2001, I had so much tightness in my body that I could barely move without great pain? What had paralyzed my legs and the rest of me far beyond the groin-pull injury I had begun with?

As I lay on the floor in a movement and breath workshop I took back in 2001 (an ironic situation since it pained me to move after having injured myself in dance years earlier), I asked myself this very question. I could feel the deep sadness and helplessness I felt of carrying so much pain, and of my deep desire to feel supported yet not feeling supported. My shoulders were all tight, my neck, my jaw, and every part of me wanted so much to ground me from the pain of not being supported.

I saw back then that so much of my tightness came from not only a physical state of not feeling supported but an emotional one as well. How often do we tighten because we are afraid, afraid that if we don’t hold on, if we don’t push forward and remain strong, that there will be no one there to catch us, to hold us? So, we grip tight. We fear. We contract. And the pain worsens. We carry this old belief, as I did, from my childhood, that I was all alone, that I couldn’t afford to let go of the tightness I had built up in body and soul.

cb7ae4103631dcc2d04b9322436e2a3bYet, ironically, in order to heal, in order to let God, or that divine energy we call God, move through us, we actually have to let go, to soften our grip, and let life in. That’s when the creative flow and restoration returns. That’s when we feel the divine within us, and it is this very energy that holds us.

Back in 2001, when I took a workshop in Continuum Movement with its founder Emily Conrad (who helped people recover from paralysis), I discovered the amazing truth of this. Emily had told us, “Our organism is not bound by its form. It functions in form but is not bound by it. When our system can reorganize itself, it can remain healthy. Being able to let go and let new forms arise always brings us to a higher form.”

Today, as I look at what I had written down during her workshop, I am amazed at the immense wisdom she shared and how it holds so true during these co-vid days. “All movement is limited by fear,” she said, while making reference to the fact that, when we speed up or are stressed, our molecules have to come together (and inversely, when we slow down, there is space between the molecules that makes room for new things to come in). “You have to trust that the universe is within you,” she added.

70110421351603f967f44f3f387c6a33           How ironic is it that we, as a world, have most recently been asked to slow down, or at least more than ever before? And why? So new life can come in? So God can come in? So we can come into balance after years of being so contracted and not feeling held in our rush to dominate and survive? And what is it that is possible now?

Lately, I’ve been meditating more than ever, and tapping into that abundance of the universe that exists inside and out. I’ve been making more space between the molecules inside me so I can feel life, God, that essence and energy that exist in the spaces between the molecules, between the in and out breath, and inside the empty, still points. It’s where I want to be and stay, because if I don’t, the tightness returns, the constriction blocks my heart from feeling held, and I feel separate from God and this amazing universe. I am no longer able to walk the unique path that I am here to walk.

So, if you find yourself contracting, fearing, separating from the magic of this world during these co-vid days, take a breath, feel that space of God between the molecules, the stars, of your body and soul, and return home. You are held. We are all held by this divine force that knows exactly how to move with ease and grace in the world during this time and at all times.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of returning home to the earth inside and all around us (Help me reach a goal of selling 100 books in the month of July!). It’s now available in Spanish as Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espiritu. The English version can be ordered on this Amazon Page  and in Spanish at https://www.amazon.com/dp/0997247193  (or visit www.michelleadam.net). My novel will soon be published by the Spanish publisher, Corona Borealis, and the Portuguese publisher, Edições Mahatma. It can be ordered at a local bookstore or directly from me (for those outside of the U.S.) as well. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

95. Stop. Breathe. Grieve

BLOG 95—(present reflections tied to May 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—I received a text, followed by the local news last Thursday evening: our New Mexico schools would close for three weeks.

As a teacher, I was relieved. After all, the schools, especially at this time of the year, had already become a cesspool of germs, and with the Corona Virus it was just one too many unknowns to deal with. But when I read the news of schools closing, I was hit with a much bigger emotion: GRIEF. I felt like I had tapped into a collective unconscious energy, and my own part in it.

The grief I felt was like a soft wind or water that filled in every crevice of my being that remained with me briefly. Then, like everyone else, I joined in the frenetic activities of hoarding food, medicine, and whatever else we needed to disappear into our shelters that would protect us from this germ war. And I called friends, checked the news, and kept abreast of the latest updates.

But the grief remained, and when I slowed down, I could feel it again. I felt the grief of the world, for thosef96a6e2d7f02c7d8ff8870bc78acbbfb sick and dying, for those without the resources and friends to help them through this, for the emptiness we would feel, and for all of our lives forever altered. I sensed a kind of death, an end–for now–to all the running and running of this world. And inside this space, I  felt we would need to look at ourselves, and reflect on what this crazy modern-living paradigm has been all about.

Beyond this, I felt a deep grief for having lived a kind of isolation myself–like we are now–during the years when I was injured at the turn of the millennium. And the fear that came from not being able to walk—the fear of never being able to get up again. Of being so alone with my pain in a culture where people had forgotten what it was like to show up for one another. Back then, I was struck with a quote that Mother Teresa had given: “The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.” I understood that sentiment so4f865970620477a06fa460b11d092950 strongly. There wasn’t time for most people to check in, to see how I was, to have compassion for someone in a vulnerable place. And so, back then, 20 years ago, I stepped into my own cocoon, into my own aloneness, and reached out to God for answers that would help me walk again.

In 2001, I had written in my journal about how scared I had been to go to sleep after I received Reiki energy treatments from my shamanic teacher. Because, afterwards, I would have nightmares. The subconscious part of my body would rise up to the surface and tell its story woven into my cells from this lifetime and others. I would wake up, surprised to be alive, after nightmares that included frightening episodes of being unsafe and under attack.

The fear I held back then, which I imagine many feel now, is that the world would never be the same again. 26d6623374ea9f6f7fc065b0f2374f12And it won’t. But, I discovered then, as I feel now, that the GRIEF, that energy below the fear, which I carried, was of having been on the treadmill of life far too long, and feeling an immense loss of soul and self from all of the going, going, going. And in this process of slowing down—whether then or now—there’s this immense grief of being with ourselves, of truly being with ourselves—with the pain, the nightmares, the stories our soul and body long to tell us, to guide us through, so we can come home again.

This grief of what we have left behind has been carried down from our ancestors. It’s a grief for the loneliness and aloneness, for the lack of human compassion and community, for having lost our way without a sense of place or true origin. It’s a GRIEF that longs to bring us home, inside the quiet, away from the noise that has distracted us too long and caused us to do such harm to ourselves and the planet. That’s the Grief that needs to cry itself back onto this precious earth, to fill her with our tears and love, so we can be home, in balance with her and this beautiful life we’ve been given. And this is the time.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of returning home to the earth inside and all around us. It’s now available in Spanish as Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espiritu, that’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page or at www.michelleadam.net. It will soon be published by the Spanish publisher Corona Borealis and the Portuguese publisher, Edições Mahatma. It can be ordered at a local bookstore or directly from me (for those outside of the U.S.) as well. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

Woman in the Mirror

BLOG by Michelle Adam, author of Child of Duende: Today, I remembered it as if it were yesterday. I was in my father’s apartment in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I sat on the bed in one room, in massive pain from the night before when I had pulled my arm backwards to pick something off the floor I had pushed off the night table by accident. My father was in the other room, listening to his news on the television, absorbed in his own world. And I was sitting there, not only in pain from having pulled a muscle, but from having flown this far south from my New Mexico home to be with my father, whose emotional absence in the other room only made me feel more alone.

Those days, almost five years ago, in my father’s world in Buenos Aires, were excruciating. And today, as I felt the same pain in my neck and left shoulder, and realized it will soon be three years since my father’s death (on February 23 to be exact),the memories of my attempts at love and connection with my father came back to me. The pain I carried in Buenos Aires had been a buildup of not having felt seen or loved by my father—or at least him not showing me this—and of feeling this ache show up too often in my relationships with men.

That month in Buenos Aires had been my commitment to change, to building a relationship with my father I had never had. And while those first weeks together were painful, the dam of silence, that wall of communication so thick it hurt, my journey south with my father provided much needed healing. The little girl in me, who had so longed to feel, hear, and receive love from her father, finally did. The few years that remained before his passing became crucial for our relationship to heal, for him to leave this world having given more of himself to his daughter and to those who had waited for him to show love.

Today, as I go further back in time, beyond Buenos Aires, to earlier years, when I was healing from a hip injury (and much greater heart ache), I came across journal entries that spoke so much of this need in me to be loved by my father. It made me reflect on what happens to so many of us, and specifically young girls, when we feel our father’s absence. The messages of what it means to c16750f7959c6ecb1e0875c74459deb8be a girl, and later, what it means to be a woman, become extremely confusing.

Recently, I read a blog that reflected on the Super Bowl halftime show (by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir in the Feminism and Religion Blog) and how so many people reacted strongly to two Latinas who danced for a nation with all their sexuality and womanhood on display. Her blog caused me to think more deeply about this piece of being a woman and how we represent ourselves in the world. And it dovetailed into my own experience as a young girl seeking approval and love from my father, and my journal writings about it in 2001.

That great ache and longing to be loved that I felt as a child—and in Buenos Aires and shared in my journal writings 20 years ago—plays such an important role in whom I would be later in my life. “There is such a desire I carry to make a man happy,” I wrote in my journal of 2001. “There’s this begging to be loved and to be allowed to be loved, this feeling of needing to act a certain way or be a certain way to receive love.”

When that little girl longing so much to be loved by her father becomes a woman, what happens to her in relationships? And in this society, where there’s such pressure for women to look good, or be attractive or sexy enough for men (as Trelawney Grenfell-Muir in her Feminism and Religion Blog wrote about) how do women, and especially young women, know how to be themselves and empowered as women (and especially when not having healed that daughter-father wound)? And how does our sexuality come into play in all this?

It can be a confusing mess, I think, and that became very evident in the uproar and ongoing debate about the two Latinas—Shakira and J Lo—dancing and singing at f2175aa7b8c6fd7f126342d9a454e1e6Superbowl half-time. On one hand, these two women owned their sexuality and weren’t afraid to show this. I remember as a young woman how I had worked hard to “own” my own sexuality as a way of owning my own power (not waiting for someone to bring it out in me or to see and love me first). It was a way of owning my own body, or not being afraid to be a woman (and not to be in the shadow of my own insecurities). So, when these two women danced, I saw it as them owning their own sexuality, sensuality and aliveness. At the same time, did the fact that these two women danced in a sexual way take away from others seeing them in their talent and their greater soul essence?

It may be a stretch comparing these two Latinas to my own journey as a woman coming into my own as I healed a lost love with my father. Yet, I feel there’s a piece that still aches in so many of us as women…in our DNA and our lineage…and that is of having grown up in a society and world where what we do, how we do it, and how feminine we are when we do it, is judged every day…where being loved and liked for who we are matters so much yet where the ultimate decision-maker is our father or our patriarchal system.

I think about that little girl who became a woman of twenty years ago, and then the one of 5 years ago, still crying in the other room in my father’s apartment, waiting for his love and approval. How many of us have lived that? How many of us women have sought to define who we are, not just as individuals, but as women in a society that for so long defined us, that told us who we needed to be to receive approval, love, and power?

When we make peace with that part of ourselves… when we come home to the love we are and the beauty we are as ourselves…no matter what the world thinks…then we’ve come to fill the gap in our hearts we’ve spent so long aching to fill. Maybe we will look at a half time show of two Latinas and be able celebrate who they have chosen to be and honor their gift. We will be able to look in the mirror at ourselves and other women around us and love the heck out of what we’ve become. We will also have an immense amount of compassion for this long and arduous journey we’ve taken to get here and simply love ourselves without a need to wait for anyone to do this for us.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of returning home to the earth inside and all around us. It’s now available in Spanish as Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espiritu, that’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page or at www.michelleadam.net. It was soon be published by the Spanish publisher Corona Borealis and the Portuguese publisher, Edições Mahatma. It can be ordered at a local bookstore or directly from me (for those outside of the U.S.) as well. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

 

94. Woman in the Mirror

BLOG 94— (present reflections tied to March, 2001 journal entries, Buenos Aires, and Super Bowl Halftime)—Today, I remembered it as if it were yesterday. I was in my father’s apartment in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I sat on the bed in one room, in massive pain from the night before when I had pulled my arm backwards to pick something off the floor I had pushed off the night table by accident. My father was in the other room, listening to his news on the television, absorbed in his own world. And I was sitting there, not only in pain from having pulled a muscle, but from having flown this far south from my New Mexico home to be with my father, whose emotional absence in the other room only made me feel more alone.

Those days, almost five years ago, in my father’s world in Buenos Aires, were excruciating. And today, as I felt the same pain in my neck and left shoulder, and realized it will soon be three years since my father’s death (on February 23 to be exact),the memories of my attempts at love and connection with my father came back to me. The pain I carried in Buenos Aires had been a buildup of not having felt seen or loved by my father—or at least him not showing me this—and of feeling this ache show up too often in my relationships with men.

That month in Buenos Aires had been my commitment to change, to building a relationship with my father I had never had. And while those first weeks together were painful, the dam of silence, that wall of communication so thick it hurt, my journey south with my father provided much-needed healing. The little girl in me, who had so longed to feel, hear, and receive love from her father, finally did. The few years that remained before his passing became crucial for our relationship to heal, for him to leave this world having given more of himself to his daughter and to those who had waited for him to show love.

Today, as I go further back in time, beyond Buenos Aires, to earlier years, when I was healing from a hip injury (and much greater heart ache), I came across journal entries that spoke so much of this need in me to be loved by my father. It made me reflect on what happens to so many of us, and specifically young girls, when we feel our father’s absence. The messages of what it means to c16750f7959c6ecb1e0875c74459deb8be a girl, and later, what it means to be a woman, become extremely confusing.

Recently, I read a blog that reflected on the Super Bowl halftime show (by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir in the Feminism and Religion Blog) and how so many people reacted strongly to two Latinas who danced for a nation with all their sexuality and womanhood on display. Her blog caused me to think more deeply about this piece of being a woman and how we represent ourselves in the world. And it dovetailed into my own experience as a young girl seeking approval and love from my father, and my journal writings about it in 2001.

That great ache and longing to be loved that I felt as a child—and in Buenos Aires and shared in my journal writings 20 years ago—plays such an important role in whom I would be later in my life. “There is such a desire I carry to make a man happy,” I wrote in my journal of 2001. “There’s this begging to be loved and to be allowed to be loved, this feeling of needing to act a certain way or be a certain way to receive love.”

When that little girl longing so much to be loved by her father becomes a woman, what happens to her in relationships? And in this society, where there’s such pressure for women to look good, or be attractive or sexy enough for men (as Trelawney Grenfell-Muir in her Feminism and Religion Blog wrote about) how do women, and especially young women, know how to be themselves and empowered as woman (and especially when not having healed that daughter-father wound)? And how does our sexuality come into play in all this?

It can be a confusing mess, I think, and that became very evident in the uproar and ongoing debate about the two Latinas—Shakira and J Lo—dancing and singing at f2175aa7b8c6fd7f126342d9a454e1e6Superbowl half-time. On one hand, these two women owned their sexuality and weren’t afraid to show this. I remember as young woman how I had worked hard to “own” my own sexuality as a way of owning my own power (not waiting for someone to bring it out in me or to see and love me first). It was a way of owning my own body, or not being afraid to be a woman (and not to be in the shadow of my own insecurities). So, when these two women danced, I saw it as them owning their own sexuality, sensuality and aliveness. At the same time, did the fact that these two women danced in a sexual way take away from others seeing them in their talent and their greater soul essence?

It may be a stretch comparing these two Latinas to my own journey as a woman coming into my own as I healed a lost love with my father. Yet, I feel there’s a piece that still aches in so many of us as women…in our DNA and our lineage…and that is of having grown up in a society and world where what we do, how we do it, and how feminine we are when we do it, is judged every day…where being loved and liked for who we are matters…where the ultimate decision-maker is our father or our patriarchal system.

I think about that little girl who became a woman of twenty ago, and then the one of 5 years ago, still crying in the other room in my father’s apartment, waiting for his love and approval. How many of us have lived that? How many of us women have sought to define who we are, not just as individuals, but as women in a society that for so long defined us, that told us who we needed to be to receive approval, love, and power?

When we make peace with that part of ourselves… when we come home to the love we are and the beauty we are as ourselves…no matter what the world thinks…then we’ve come to fill the gap in our hearts we’ve spent so long aching to fill. Maybe we will look at a half time show of two Latinas and be able celebrate who they have chosen to be and honor their gift. We will be able to look in the mirror at ourselves and other women around us and love the heck out of what we’ve become. We will also have an immense amount of compassion for this long and arduous journey we’ve taken to get here and simply love ourselves without a need to wait for anyone to do this for us.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of returning home to the earth inside and all around us. It’s now available in Spanish as Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espiritu, that’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page or at www.michelleadam.net. It was soon be published by the Spanish publisher Corona Borealis and the Portuguese publisher, Edições Mahatma. It can be ordered at a local bookstore or directly from me (for those outside of the U.S.) as well. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

 

93. Do You Have a Dream?

BLOG 93— (present reflections tied to turn-of-the-millennia novel entries)— “I have a dream” are the most memorable words associated with Martin Luther King Jr., the man celebrated today for having had the courage to act on his dreams, no matter how unfathomable at the time. Back then, in the 1960s, he was denounced as an extremist, as so many of us are when our dreams threaten the current establishment. But Martin Luther King Jr. was undeterred and his dream inspired a movement toward equal rights and human dignity for all men and women.

What was your dream as child? What was so “out there,” so unfathomable that you dreamed of as a child that adults had to tell you it was unrealistic? What was that kernel of truth that you knew was right, that you knew honored life, love, and a vision of whom we could possibly be on this earth? What was that? And have you followed that, or have you let your cynical, rational, and weathered, adult mind dissuade you from living this?

While my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, has been out in the world for several years now, old copies of earlier manuscripts sit on my coffee table. Lately, I perused through these pages and was surprisingly moved by the innocence of my 8-year-old character, Duende, and her determination to follow her dreams at all cost. I was also taken aback by my ability as an author to allow myself to be vulnerable enough to follow this young, idealistic voice. What a gift, I thought, to allow this child within to surface in a story destined for adult readers, and to give power to her inn08dc7a06561fb7f7d26ba9351992ee44ocent voice in a cynical world. 

Even as I wrote down Duende’s dreams, and was willing to take her through a crazy maze of circumstances to achieve them, I also wrote down the words of my skeptic adult, represented by another character, Lázaro:

“Why do you think, and so young as you are, that you can save the world, that you can change even one thing, when we have been suffering like this for millennia and always will?”

My adult character, Lázaro, who himself sought redemption through through Duende’s dreams, represents our critical minds that continue to blow out the fire of our dreams. The dreams, which we then forget about as become adults. We forget what Paulo Coelho described as our “Personal Legend” in his extremely popular book, The Alchemist. It’s that dream, that path we are to follow if we are to truly feed the Soul of the World, as Coelho described it, and how my character Duende sought to do in my novel Child of Duende.

That night in which I read through earlier pages of my manuscript of Child of Duende and heard the echo of that childlike innocence in Coelho’s The Alchemist, I reawakened a precious part of myself. I felt that innocence and fire of my dreams to change this world, to make it a better place, rise within me. And I asked myself, “Why, why have we forsaken those dreamsChild of Duende_D7 Bubble_B (3) we had as children, that immense wisdom that we once had that knows there’s a much better place than the one we’ve been born into? Why must we wait for people like Martin Luther King Jr. to lead us, or our younger generation today, like the Greta Thunbergs of the world, to tell us that we, as adults, are not doing enough and need to do more?      

My novel, Child of Duende, came from listening to the voice of that child within me…from being injured and broken enough to shut out the voices of the cynical adult who had forgotten to dream, to feel love for this world and its possibilities.

And now, in the midst of winter here in New Mexico, with time to reflect on our heroes like Martin Luther King Jr. and those who aren’t afraid to dream, I invite all of us to listen again…to listen to that child within…the one who is here to feed the soul of the world with our innocent, daring walk toward our authentic selves. I also invite myself to continue to writing and telling stories that aren’t afraid to dream and follow through on these dreams.  

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of returning home to the earth inside and all around us. It’s now available in Spanish as Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espiritu, that’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page or at www.michelleadam.net. It was soon be published by the Spanish publisher Corona Borealis and the Portuguese publisher, Edições Mahatma. It can be ordered at a local bookstore or directly from me (for those outside of the U.S.) as well. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

92. Let’s Talk about Death (and live 2020!)

BLOG 92— (present reflections tied to March 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—I want to talk about Death. Yes, Death. That one we whisper ever so quietly because she has become a four-letter word in a world that resists surrender. That resists letting go. That resists dying what no longer serves us in order to maintain the pain of living that we’ve become far too accustomed to.

Yes, I want to talk about She who buries us in her salty sweetness, in her forgiving earth, which holds us in her pungent arms awaiting our renewal as we enter into this new year of 2020. Because she is so worthy of holding us, of teaching us to let go of the old, so we can make room for the new. 

Death has visited me often, especially when I healed from tremendous pain 20 years ago. And she taught me to let go, to surrender that which no longer gave life, so I could heal, so I could breathe new life into my already tired body at the tender age of 30. Death taught me that all the patterns of living I had taken on to survive the traumas of life weren’t worth holding onto anymore if I truly wanted to live, if I wished to dance, if I wished to fly with lighter wings toward my freedom.

“This death is so great!” I wrote back in 2001, liberated by surrender. “Imagine, actually being in this space of not waiting for the world to be there for me—to breathe every ounce of love into this world…to breathe it as if it were my last…to breathe—to finally Goddamn breathe!”

“This death is like having a child (a part of yourself16ace472871ece6378ac196cbc849de6) die in your arms and to carry her around with you everywhere you go because she has given you life. She is what reminds you everyday to cry, to give reverence for what was and is. She is the one who gives us humanity and allows us to deepen ourselves,” I reflected 20 years ago. “I needed to hear that silence between two breaths to look at her, to feel the sadness of this child, to forgive her for all her attempts at love, all her attempts at greatness, all the running that left her (and me) empty because she only knew how to live one way. Then, I needed to give her back to that place of vitality from which she grew, to give her an honorable death, to let go of these old ways.”

Today, on this third day of 2020, I listen for that silence between two breaths so  I can once again feel that freedom of death that came to me 20 years ago. So, I can truly feel that space of silence, that thin, subtle place where one brief moment dies, ends, and prepares us for the next moment, the next breath, over and over again. What freedom it is to let go of that last br09a74140cd2a8d68b963b2f7aaf2c365eath—of its weight, its story, its trauma—so we can make room for the next!

Isn’t it time, NOW, in 2020, this year of clear vision, to make room for new breath and possibility, to surrender to those little or big deaths that urgently await us, to hold us in their salty sweetness? And, to remember that “we cannot truly love until we have experienced our own death, for our fear of life is too strong to truly love until we allow death in.”

So, let’s die a little, or maybe a LOT! Let’s stop holding onto our last breath, which has become far too stale with fear, and let’s walk together into 2020 with new breath, new love, new life! 

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of returning home to the earth inside and all around us. It’s now available in Spanish as Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espiritu, that’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page or at www.michelleadam.net. It was soon be published by the Spanish publisher Corona Borealis and the Portuguese publisher, Edições Mahatma. It can be ordered at a local bookstore or directly from me (for those outside of the U.S.) as well. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

91. The Magic of Loving What Is

BLOG 91— (present reflections tied to March 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—The sun paints the sky in bright pink, orange, and grey-blue streaks as it sets here in New Mexico. Our Sandia mountains reflect the evening like the inside of a watermelon. And on the weekends, after a week of finding play and joy in my work, my shared home, Casa de Duende, becomes a place of retreat with late breakfast on the patio, Friday night movies, and walks above fallen leaves with my love.

Years ago, in my late twenties, when I first came here to New Mexico, I was so much more restless than today. I arrived from the East Coast eager to connect spiritually and to experience magic…to see some apparition appear from behind a burning bush, or to discover I could fly, or at least soar as spirit to places beyond the physical and material limitations that were so rigidly held on the East Coast. I was ready for anything, as long as it was grandiose and magical. What happened though, was anything but this.

In my search for magic, I became broken. The greater my hunger for magic, for something outside of me to fill the emptiness inside, the more I broke. In my journal of March of 2001, I reflected on this search for magic, and how, five year852fdc54dc5f7a0c165483816c2d03c6s prior to that, a strong sense of longing to feel life in a big way, to feel spirit, to feel alive, to fill up from the outside in, led to my injury. In my journal of that spring, I wrote, “I spent all my time chasing magic, when really what I wanted was to open my heart and feel. My heart was the universe and I wanted to be able to tune into my heart, to all that I had felt so numb toward.”

In that March, 2001 journal entry, I concluded that “If I believe my heart has a voice and something to express, then there will be magic in my life that will only grow.”

Five years before my journal entry, in my late twenties—more than 20 years ago—I was called to New Mexico, where I landed, uncertain as to why. What I do know is that back then I longed so desperately for that magic and spiritual connection—that connection to that sense of God I had no name for back then. Today, as I look around me, I see the magic in front of me. It’s in my heart, and my ability to feel and receive the beauty dc5bf5dac0bbd4d9095f9e6e961b86a2.jpgaround me. It’s in watching the sunset, in sharing my life with my love and partner, in many walks and moments with friends, in the laughter, play, and celebration of our lives together.

As I watch this modern world and its elites wielding for more power and money, I’m saddened by how much we’ve neglected this life, our earth, and its magic that weaves a colorful fabric into our lives. In our need to fill up with more, to pour more into the emptiness, we allow the forests to burn, temperatures to rise, floods to clean away the excess of all that we live. We neglect the poor, those who have so little and need community and care, and in doing so, bit by bit, we destroy our common home.

Maybe opening our hearts and learning to feel and receive the beauty around us, and to love each other and what we have just a bit more, could be what saves us. Maybe, instead of looking for magic and more to fill the emptiness, we wake up to ourselves, to our beating hearts longing to feel again this love that is here and now.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of returning home to the earth inside and all around us. It’s now available in Spanish as Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espiritu, that’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page or at www.michelleadam.net. It was soon be published by the Spanish publisher Corona Borealis and the Portuguese publisher, Edições Mahatma. It can be ordered at a local bookstore or directly from me (for those outside of the U.S.) as well. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

90. Authentic Power Grows our Roots

BLOG 90— (present reflections tied to March 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—What is power? How do feelings of powerless impact our connection to each other and the earth?

As a child we don’t know what power or being in our power means. We come into the world needing food, water, love…all the basics…and we rely on those who raise us to provide these necessities so we can grow strong. Some of us are more fortunate than others. I see many of my students come from families who nourish them well, yet others struggle to grow in what seems like an asphalt of a childhood.

As part of my journey of healing from pain, when I lived in New England in 2001, I had to look at my own feelings of powerless. The pain in my body and my unconscious need to  not “be well” masked what I soon saw as my inability to feel powerful and strong inside myself. As a young adult in her early thirties, I had to face my own feelings of inadequacy that I had developed as a child and find my own power.

“When someone takes your power away as a child, doesn’t let you be wild—to cry, to scream, even fight some if needed—they are taking away your connection to life,” I wrote in 2001 in my journal, reflecting on what happened to me, and happens for so many of us (whether intended or not) when we are not given the room to experience our own nature as children. “When emotions are not acknowledged, it takes away a piece of our humanity and our connection to the earth… our natur62be35a6bd3a630793e474f5b27c09c0al connection to the earth. It cuts us off from source, like plants attempting to grow from above the ground.”

“Our wildness, our expression of ourselves, is our earth voice,” I added. “We are the energy of the earth. She is mirrored in ourselves. We cannot be civilized without the wild. The light without the shadow will destroy us.”

Today, as we live through immense climate change, extreme politics and societal tensions, I think it’s important we learn to become fully empowered, to be our authentic selves…not just a cog in the wheel, an element of production, or a number in a system. The earth needs us now, as we do her, and it’s time we believe in our unique expression of life. For we are here to care for her, for that which sustains us, and not continue to give our power away to those “in power” who prefer to separate us from each other and the earth. We must reawaken our own roots, to belong, once again, to the earth and all that makes life grow.

But how do we come home to our true power, our trbbf1c341cef414be99bb877731e73d56ue selves? How do we stop giving our power to others and stand inside ourselves with love?

We begin by being honest, in facing our fears and those people or energies inside of us that once denied us permission to express our voice. And then we listen—as I had to do during years of healing—and make room for that unique seed inside us to grow and find its connection back to life and it’s blessed place in this magical matrix.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of returning home to the earth inside and all around us. It’s now available in Spanish as Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espiritu, that’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page or at www.michelleadam.net. It was soon be published by the Spanish publisher Corona Borealis and the Portuguese publisher, Edições Mahatma. It can be ordered at a local bookstore or directly from me (for those outside of the U.S.) as well. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

 

 

 

 

89. You Keep Quiet and I Will Go

BLOG 89—(present reflections tied to March 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—“For once on the face of the earth, let’s not speak in any language; let’s stop for a second, and not move our arms so much,” wrote the Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda in his poem “A Callarse” more than fifty years ago, when life moved much slower than it does today. He added, “Perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death.”

Today, not only do I still treasure Neruda’s words and poem, but I also love the wisdom that he shares that is so needed in today’s fast-paced world. It reminds me of a time, more than 20 years ago, when I had a chance to truly slow down and experience the rich flavor of stillness that awaited me against my will. I had become injured toward the end of the last century, and despite the perseverance and fight I had learned to muster to push on forward—to keep moving—I was forced to stop, to be with this “huge silence” that, as Neruda spoke of, interrupted “this sadness of never understanding” myself.

I look around me now, as the Polar ice caps melt and California and Australia swim in fires; as we consume more; as the old guard f8c159e8c0b875506c3d009d8b6a8b3aof unbridled greed sinks its claws into more power and wealth; and as more and more of the same short-sighted living leads to the destruction of life for all of us on this planet called Earth. And I look at my own busy life, from teaching, writing, and publishing, and I think how special it was to have truly stopped 20 years ago, to have stepped off of that train of life (even if it was by kicking and screaming) and to have sat still long enough, as Neruda described, to “interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves”

For five years, I struggled to walk, and for five years, beginning in 1996, I was forced to listen to a different voice than that of an American culture whose emphasis has been of movement and growth for its own sake. By March of 2001, when I housesat for friends in New England, and remained writing as I continued to heal from pain, I had already faced what seemed an eternal pain. No way out, I was forced inward. Back then, I reflected—as I do now—on those earlier years of stopping, and what it was that sat below the surface wishing to be heard.

Here are a few reflections that may open your eyes to your own inner journey, when that time comes to slow down and be still:

26250e6deeecb99c9a474a9992488892“Permission is in the shadows. Answers are what I have invented, what I have held onto so tightly, in order to fill the silence of myself. The true answers are in the space of waiting for clarity to present its gift to me.”

“There is no judgement when I breathe. I belong to my soul, and I am beginning to realize that I will take care of her,” I wrote back then as an old worn-out part of me was dying (I was only 28 when I began this journey, but I felt much older then). “Love is what we cannot have until we have experienced our own death,” I continued to write. “I have seen death naked in my bed. I have tasted her tears, her deep tears for life. I have felt this deep knowing of what it’s like to not have anything, to have it all taken from you…to be left without fear so I can truly surrender to life and learn to love.”

When I look back at these years, I am humbled at 79fdaa4e6a530c8b5c67dec937036fd1what life’s pain was able to teach me. Those years gave me wisdom and love (and a novel, Child of Duende), which grew within me because I had to face myself, day in and day out, with nowhere to hide. Every time I tried to run from my pain, to solve the problem in front of me, I faced a mirror that was myself…that part of me that is as small as a grain of sand, and as large as the universe…that part of me that is nature, that is life, that is love. Then all the lessons, all the shoulds of this fast-moving train of modern life, shed from my skin, from my bones, to leave me with a delicious taste of a deep silence, a deep stillness where life speaks and continues to speak, even today, when I slow down to listen.

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Pablo Neruda walking along the ocean.

So, as Pablo Neruda wrote at the end of his poem, “Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive.”

“Now I’ll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go.”

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of returning home to the earth inside and all around us. It’s now available in Spanish as Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espiritu, that’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page or at www.michelleadam.net. It will soon be published by the Spanish publisher Corona Borealis and the Portuguese publisher, Edições Mahatma. It can be ordered at a local bookstore or directly from me (for those outside of the U.S.) as well. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

 

 

88. My Soul is Tender after Spain

BLOG 88—(present reflections tied to February 2001 journal entries about my healing journey and my return from presenting my novel in Spain)—I returned almost a month ago from Spain, from a book tour with my novel in Spanish, Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espíritu, presented in four cities (Madrid, Murcia, Málaga, and Granada) and six venues. My journey to Spain was a homecoming, a return to the land that had shown me my soul. And this time I came with my novel, written while in the U.S., a kind of exile from that home.

My soul is tender now, not just because my gift as a writer and healer and as the person I am were beautifully received, but because, upon returning home to New Mexico, I now feel a truth I wrestled with almost 20 years ago, when healing from hip pain in New England.

Back then, while in pain and learning to listen to my soul’s voice, I wrote about feeling angry at being asked to “unmask” myself. I had worked with shamans from Ecuador, translating for them in events, and one had told me, ever so subtly, that maybe my whole journey of healing was about become soft again, about softening, which for me was a kind of “unmasking”.

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Me as a little girl in Spain (front, left)

Twenty years ago, that meant becoming that little, vulnerable girl I had once been. “How dare you ask me to soften when I’ve worked so hard to gain the power, strength, and courage I have had to survive,” I wrote in my journal in 2001. “I feel the younger person I was didn’t have any power or value, and that all the power and value I had, I had to build from the ashes of my father’s blaze.”

It’s especially interesting reading those words of long ago, when today, a month since returning from Spain, I awoke from a dream that resonated with what I had written. I dreamed I was in high school again, and I had just come from Spain to the U.S. and felt extremely alone inside those school walls. In my dream, I felt what it had been like back then, entering into an environment that had been so harsh and foreign to me. And I woke up feeling the angst and trauma of it all, while also getting how I had coped back then by shutting down, becoming depressed, numb, and disconnected because it wasn’t safe to feel the pain of being a stranger among all these students I was meant to connect DSC01189with, yet couldn’t. I got how a part of me had, as they say in the shamanic world, lost a part of my soul when I came to the U.S. and needed to survive.

As I lay in bed this morning, feeling all of this, I got so clearly that this is so much what happens to all of us. Every one of us experiences different traumas that we need to survive, and in order to do so, a part of us leaves, shuts down, disappears. We keep on going, appear normal to the outside world, but later, somewhere down the road, we pay the price, because a part of us is locked down, gone, and without this part, we are not whole. And then we hit some big wall in life—as I did with my injury and not being able to walk—and then the journey backwards, toward those moments in which we shut off and dissociate, begins. Because we must go back and retrieve those parts of us that we left somewhere else while we were busy surviving.

This morning, after my dream, I meditated, and I felt my soul’s tenderness. I really felt it. Because I got so clearly that all the places in our lives where we stop feeling, where we have to override our soul’s tenderness, our soul’s beautiful soft body that is as light and agile as the wind or a feather, need to be felt. We need to feel these moments where we weren’t really present, where we checked out, and we need to check back in, with immense compassion for our soul’s beauty and tenderness. We need to feel, and feel, and feel again, and less the fright we felt, and more that soft, vulnerable part of us that we shut down yet wants to be seen…that truly human, big-hearted part of us that we need 65205100_2304147666339710_1329517034966351872_nwith us so we can be our full soul-selves in our bodies. Then, and only then, can we experience true joy for living.

Ironically, when I came back from Spain this time, I met up with a woman who had been in my high school class in New Jersey, yet was now living in New Mexico. And what I discovered is that we had a lot in common and were very much on a similar spiritual path. Yet this time, unlike so many other times I had returned to the U.S. from Spain, I was able to feel that child I once had been who had gotten lost in the U.S.  I returned to New Mexico to make peace with that trauma I had experienced as a child when I had originally come to the U.S. from Spain. And now, that tenderness of my soul, that soft body, can more fully come home inside me.

I see now, that when I, or any of us, feel that sense of agitation, that disconnect in our lives, that it’s really a call to feel that tenderness that is our essence, and inside that space, to feel those parts of ourselves that were left behind and that long to return, to be seen, to be felt, to be whole within us again.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of returning home to the earth inside and all around us. It’s now available in Spanish as Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espiritu, that’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page or at www.michelleadam.net. It can be ordered at a local bookstore or directly from me (for those outside of the U.S.) as well. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth” in Spanish: https://youtu.be/FaRK7wOHcJU, and in English: YouTube Video