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

 

 

42. Be Still To Be With Love

BLOG 42: October, 1998—“The last rays of autumn, before winter’s claustrophobia, force me to find hope elsewhere,” I wrote in my journal almost twenty years ago in my parents’ house in New Jersey. It’s ironic to look this far back into the past and track my writing of a similar season as now, here in New Mexico, where a select few leaves fall, and cooler winds prepare winter’s arrival.

“I try to explain how your visit is meaningful, how the sun is meaningful, and how tomorrow is not an experience I can count on or want to rely on as a scapegoat for today,” I wrote back then about having seen my friend, Eric, who was visiting as he prepared to go into New York City to audition for Opera. “But your mind is elsewhere, wanting, without knowing, the solitude of reading your book, the reassurance that you are prepared for tomorrow with the right notes on the keyboard when you audition for the part. And I sit here, a conversation with myself it seems, wanting to describe what it’s like to be, day in and day out, trapped in a house, without friends or the ability to act on my life…what it’s like to be a victim of solitude.”

“I want to describe what it’s like to depend on people’s stillness to share a few moments of love,” I continued writing. “I say nothing after shallow attempts to speak, because I feel my throat, my eyes tearing, and my understanding that we as so much more than ourselves and each other when we are together…that we are the places we have been, the actions we take, the dreams that we run after like strings pulling us into our past. We are states of mind that intersect and part at different points of understanding. And how now, at this point, I am standing alone, without reason, dreams, place, or action, and I will be none to you unless you know how to sit real still as I have done.”

As I read these words of so long ago, I am amazed by their wisdom, and how, in my vulnerability and limitations, I learned much more about life than all this doing we live. Recently, a week ago, here in New Mexico, I faced the end of a beautiful, yet short relationship. Afterwards, I felt empty and longed to touch and be touched. I didn’t know where to go, what to do, to fill this vacancy. c842c559b6600bae2b90c559a4bf7dd0But, bit by bit—after crying, grieving, and letting go—I inched my way to my meditation altar (mesa, actually), and I sat still. With my breath, I sent white golden light to all of me, and with love, touched the inside of my skin, sending the most delightful hug to all parts of my body that intersect with the outside world. I smiled.

Maybe, I am finally returning to my words of twenty years ago. I am being with myself as I had wished others could be with me…in stillness so I can be the breath of love that fills my entire being. I never realized how delicious my own presence could be for me, how I can be the loving touch I so longed for in all my solitude.

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is the culmination of my healing journey. Check it out on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474233011&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende  or at www.michelleadam.net

41. Big in Love

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO BECOME BIG IN LOVE?

BLOG 41: September, 1998—Another month passed by in New Jersey, with the highway noise bleeding into the background of my consciousness as I unraveled this person I had been. And almost every day and evening I wrote, adding sentences to my novel from an unknown place.

“Writing this book is hard,” I scribbled in my journal. “It’s hard to get to the heart of it. I feel like I am gnawing away at the edge of the bone… My characters also feel small, and they are in a small world. I need to give meat to those seeking, living characters wanting to be what they can be. As a writer, I need to be many more people than me. I need to look inside and understand more than myself.”

As I explored the depths of where my novel wished to go, ideas came to me—inside the music I played and the space I created of eternal night. Some of these ideas seemed so outside myself, so irrational, that I would call a friend and share what was coming to me. Rather than tell me to pull back, and not go there, he always inspired to me to follow this irrational, out-there idea, and to let it tell its story and purpose. That extra prodding from a good friend all3bb1bb45b56a2988fbf4a474dab45607.jpgowed ideas that had begun in my mind to seep into my bones and discover their resonance for a larger story than me.

This journey inward beyond the musings of my mind, would not have been possible if I had not been injured and been guided into a vulnerable, still place within me. It became so clear how I was unraveling that part of me, driven by ego and insecurities to become someone big. Nothing grows grand and beautiful without solid roots, and this time was about growing and feeding those roots of mine so I could create an enriching story. It was also about letting go of the need to push outward when the rich soil of my life lay within.

“I’m always amazed at how I feel this great responsibility to do something big in this world, to affect change, to give in a big way,” I wrote in my journal. “But another part of me wants to live simply, to eliminate all this bigness and just concentrate on breathing and loving.”

Today, years later, I see that it is through breathing each moment in and in loving that we become big. We become big through letting go of that which we are determined to be. We begin to dance, sing, and be the joy we have always been with those we love. Together we can celebrate life and be the gift that makes us so much more than just ourselves.

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO BECOME BIG IN LOVE?

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is the culmination of years of musings and gnawing at the bone. Check it out on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474233011&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende  or at www.michelleadam.net