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

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

 

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

 

 

72. Vulnerable in a Red Dress

BLOG 72: (present reflections tied to July 2000 journal entries about my healing and novel-writing journey)—When we set out to heal something, deeply, fully, we can never—I mean, never—know what energies, what buried memories, reside in our unconscious, beneath layers upon layers of skin. Shed that skin is all we can do, and is all I could do, back at the New England farmhouse in the summer of 2000.

As I read through journals of those times, I am amazed at what I wrote and experienced. So full, so unedited, so raw and real, with a deep listening that reveals only that which I was ready to feel and hear at the time. Week after week, I went to my shamanic and energy healing sessions, and each time a new layer of skin peeled off to reveal what was next. Patience, listening, being with the earth, being still to feel the thunder that broke under layers of walls protecting my heart for so long. From moments of euphoria and awakening to fear and grief, it was all there as I healed.

I had a friend recently ask me, “When you see these difficult parts that show up, what do you do?” I answered, “nothing.” The old ways of fighting, cutting out the old, discarding it, ignoring it because it doesn’t serve our present world view or longing didn’t work for me back when I healed the worst part of my hip pain. What healed me, was being with it all—all the thund651cec7d0b2bc5cb0d2fba1f6153483eer, pain, and fear—becoming the nurturing mother that holds her child when he or she is in pain.

No judgment, just being with what is, with what resides in our psyche, our bodies that could be of this lifetime, or another, or some energy that maybe, just maybe, comes from the earth, from a collective psyche, working its pain through us. What matters is that we feel it, be with it, hold it, honor that this is what our being, at the deepest level, is trying to show us so we are no longer the fear that locks us down…so we are no longer a prisoner of the very cage we once created to protect us so long ago.

As I read through my journal, I come across an entry of a story I wrote from something I had dreamed, from a fright I held in my body. Why this fright was there, and where it originally came from, I can’t say. But it was there, strong, in my dreams. So I wrote out this fright as a story, so I could be with it and honor what my body spoke as I healed on the farm that summer of 2000. Maybe my story, and my willingness to share this, will inspire you, the reader, to be with your own dreams, experiences, or feelings with no judgment . .. just love.

Here’s a bit of my story, told through my dreams and body:

“There’s a young girl, no older than three, crowded into a corner of a room. It is dark. The only light on is the one in the kitchen, which casts a shadow over the backyard. But this room is bare of light. The girl hovers, holding herself, whispering a cry for help that she knows no one will hear, that she hopes no one will hear, but which soothes her for a moment into believing she is not alone.

“The door closes. There is a figure of a shadow walking toward her as she covers her body with her arms—all wrapped around her, hopelessly looking for a way out. The c14af69c7515c8d9fced9cbfaf37574fwalls appear to narrow in as this man approaches. The man is the wall narrowing in. There is nowhere to hide. Make herself invisible is what she tries to do in her mind’s eye. If she works at it hard enough this man won’t see her, she convinces herself for a few moments. Yet he narrows in.

“Her body screams out, why, why me? It screams and screams, but she’s in no position to do anything about it. The screaming is a trembling, a question that moves through her, that one day will need to be answered. . .

“. . .Years later, she dances with this same man. And there she is, wearing this red dress and heals and knowing she needs to let her hair down, that she needs to give her female self a chance to show up. But it must have made her feel too vulnerable that day, with the dance and the dream. Something was trying to show its face, something she had never expected.”

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about freeing ourselves from the prison walls we’ve created to protect ourselves. 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

68. Shedding my Skin

BLOG 68: July, 2000—A month of swimming, sharing dinners, of poetry, prose, and rich dreams, had passed at Jean’s New Hampshire farmhouse.  During this time of healing, the rituals and practices remained the same. Every week, I visited Denise, my Reiki energy healer, and every morning, especially after sessions with her, I tracked my dreams in my journal. The day after each healing session, I’d feel extremely tender and weak, with my nervous system so intensely heightened that I could feel any subtle changes within me and all around me.

Those mornings I would move slowly, and always—without fail—sit on the earth, in the garden, weeding or tending to the vegetables and plants. The earth soothed me, as I let myself sink into her broad arms, and feel her rich soil sift through my hands. Then, after a day of gentle healing, I continued my walks in the woods, bowing to the trees, listening to my heart, feeling her blocks, her resistance to the beauty around, as I opened, opened, and let myself truly feel for the first time in my adult life. And each week, I walked more, further, as my heart and hips opened.

At thirty years old, I had already experienced almost four years of pain, which ha1239e65497ccec8478b425560ef538d5d brought me to this place, and I was ready for the change that awaited me. So, when nights arrived, and I visited the world of the unconscious, I invited the layers of my unfamiliar self to rise toward my skin, to show me what lay behind the tightness of my body’s pain. And with every energy healing session, I unwound more layers of pain.

The dreams were many. During one, I literally shit out a snake (seems the most direct way to say this!), and was guided to make sure it fully left my body. In the shamanic world, the snake carries a lot of symbolism, especially that of being able to shed its skin and release the past. I took my dream to be about that—about letting go. After that dream, I felt a surge of energy I had never felt before in my tailbone, and after others and intense healing sessions, I woke with tremendous energy in my pelvis, with great sexual energy moving down my legs and into my feet, and up toward my heart.

With all that was happening to me, and fun days with Jean and her family on the farm, it was ironic that one of my greatest fears was feeling empty. As I s891d6d99f266bad7a7b3c16257939e60at still, meditated, and was honest with my feelings, I realized that I had spent so many years fighting, so often struggling or battling hard to be someone, to prove myself, to protect myself from all that had hurt me, that in the end I was most afraid of being empty. I had come to identify myself as the pain, struggle, and fight I had so long lived, that I feared, as I let go of all these layers in my body, I would be left with no center, no I.

Even back then, as I wrote about this, I knew that this “I” that I had become accustomed to was my ego, was the person I had learned to be… not the one I truly was. Living on the farm and being with the earth in all her nurturing love, helped me let go of this old self, this pained way, and make room for a gentler, more giving self. As a friend had once said after undergoing a shamanic journey on behalf of my hip: this journey of pain was about learning to be my gentler self, of not needing to push forward with a scorching, yet unattended fire in the pelvis…to be this gentle love that I was, and yet had left behind, years ago, as a child in the fields of Spain. 

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about shedding our skin and returning to a gentler place connected to the earth. 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

      

67. From Poetry to Manic Mowing

Recent photos by Emily Kefferstan, 2017

BLOG 67: June, 2000—They met every Monday morning under the shade tree at Skimmilk Farm, Jean’s summer farmhouse in rustic New Hampshire. Dusting the old house, keeping it clean from summers of fun, was less important than Monday mornings when this serious group of poets gathered to muse over mist-covered mornings, cats, Celtic Goddesses, Vulvas, and many more themes that released their aroma into the shade tree.

When Emily, Jean’s 13-year-old granddaughter, didn’t join the poets, I was the youngest there by far, and the only one with a novel. I shared my chapters of my manuscript, Child of Duende, inviting this group, which had met like this for 25 years, to travel with me to Southern Spain, to the coast, where my character Duende was born and raised. For some of the poets, my novel brought them back to earlier days when a Boston Columnist used to write about Duende, this word that the great Spanish Poet Federico Garcia Lorca had described as a magical spirit of the earth from which all life and art arises.

Poetry Mondays were a long-held sacred ritual for Jean and her poets. But the weekends offered a different kind of attraction of sorts. That was when Jean’s other family members, like her simage2on, John, and daughter-in-law, Cassie—Emily’s divorced parents—arrived at the farm to celebrate farm life and help Jean maintain the place. That’s when they’d drive the lawn mower tractor over acres of land; clean out the pool; weed the expansive garden; and just take care of anything that needed caring for.  And after all the chores—or during that time—we’d all take a dip in the pool, relax, and then make elaborate meals from all the fresh vegetables of the garden.

On one of those summer weekends—which I will never forget—Cassie decided to get on the tractor and mow as much lawn as she could as quickly as she could. She could get rather manic, to say the least, and this day was no exception. She got on that tractor right by the nice, clean pool, started it in high gear, and didn’t seem to figure out how to slow it down. Cassie smiled broadly while holding onto the tractor with all of her might as it ran circles around the pool, cutting every blade of grass in sight, tossing them all into the pool. Soon, the pool was filled with fresh green blades, with me yelling for Cassie to stop, and her oblivious of what was happening around her as she continued riding circles on her new toy.

While that was a humorous moment with Cassie, there were others that were harder to bear. Her energy could be extremely invasive and exhausting, and I still remember nights in which I struggled with sleep because of this. She could feel so unsafe to be around, and especially given I was very sensitive to other people’s energies in those days. I was already scared to fall asleep, to drop into frightening dreams—or more clearly nightmares—as I had done nights before, and now there was Cassie to contend with.

image3

During one of my dreams, in which I allowed myself to sink deeper, I dreamt of my parents. In my dream, my mother kept asking me to sweep things up with the same broom that my father had used to attack me or put me down. It seemed I was asked to be with my father’s abuse while my mother tried to sweep things away, ignoring what was happening in front of her.

When I reflected on my dream, I felt I was being shown a pattern that I had carried within me for a long time—a pattern of accepting abuse, and also cleaning it up and taking care of everyone else but me, just so all could be well. It was as if my weekly energy healing sessions and Cassie’s manic ways had awoken in me an unhealthy dynamic I had grown up with and was ready to release.

My dreams, and at times, frightening evenings, and fun-filled days on the farm, seemed to all blend together to help me see myself, and to offer change—change in my aching hips and pelvis, change in my heart, and change on my soul’s path.

That summer was a summer of extremes—of being with the extremes I carried within me and those I saw around me, and learning to establish new boundaries and ways of caring for myself in loving, healthy ways. I had arrived on the farm ready to heal, ready to truly walk again, and now I was beginning to awaken to the path I would eventually take—the path of a teacher, writer, and healer who would one day help others heal as I had learned to do that summer and beyond.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about nature spirits, Flamenco, and Southern Spain, and returning to a place of renewed hope and joy. 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