BLOG 85—(present reflections tied to February 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—Have you ever traveled deep into your pain, only to discover it wasn’t yours?…only to discover it was love, an immense love you carried for another so fully that you were carrying their pain inside you?
Back in New England, in the winter of 2001, I embarked on a shamanic journey—a lucid dreaming into my body in search of answers—so I could clear layers of pain I had held in my body since injuring myself years earlier. My friend, Carl Hyatt, helped and guided me with this process that revealed such important teachings that ironically resurfaced again here in New Mexico. Isn’t it always like that—life as the spiral of a tree trunk that returns to the same place we’ve been, but further along in time and maturity?
In my Shamanic Journey in the winter of 2001, I chose to travel back to Spain, to the fields that raised me outside of Madrid. I was about eight back then, the same age as the girl, Duende, of my novel, Child of Duende. My intention was to connect with God and spirit as I had done as a child then.
In my journey, the little girl I had been, Michi, skipped up the road toward the field where I awaited her. She was happy, with her hair pulled back like a Native American girl. She was glad to see me. “All right, show me God!” she demanded in the same way she had asked of the fields and skies of Spain back then.
In response to her request, one hundred or more spirits popped out of all the reeds and light-colored grass of the field. The spirits were holding hands, dancing in circles, and creating ceremony in the space. Yet, Michi folded her arms in resistance, resilience, as if not convinced. She could see the spirits, but then said, “So, what’s the big deal? What’s next?”
As I got closer to her, wondering what was wrong, she took my hands and danced a kind of “Ring around the Rosie” game. She wanted to dance with me and her father (my father!). She didn’t want to be alone. She felt powerless and alone without him. She felt that being in the field had no value, that her need to connect with God had no connection with her family and father…that this part of her was not honored, seen, or validated.
In the journey, Michi wanted validation from her father. She felt this part of her that didn’t belong, that was misplaced, belonging to another family. She felt like something was wrong with her in wanting to be in this field this way, in wanting to connect with God, like there was no room for it in her life. She wanted her father to witness this ritual because her father was connected to these rituals, but denied it in her and intentionally cut her off from this part of herself. He was jealous, angry, and afraid that she wouldn’t need him and be with him if she were allowed to be connected to this ritual of the land. More than anything, he was determined to not let her connect to God, to her tribe, to the land, to her power, to her heart.
As Carl and I continued on this Shamanic Journey, something amazing happened, though. I cried a lot, felt the weight that this little girl I had once been carried. Little Michi was determined to have her father by her side, to share her heart with him, but most of all, to carry his pain for him. Her love was so strong that she was willing to die for him. She was attached to her father, to healing his pain and unhappiness because she wanted to be reminded of her capacity to love in the only relationship that seemed to matter. She felt her reason for living was to heal him, to be there for him…that she belonged to him and not herself.
Little Michi was also carrying an immense responsibility that weighed her down and scared her. She felt overwhelm from the weight of so much responsibility a soul like her felt she needed to carry. She didn’t understand why she had to do so much work. She carried a lot of dark energy that her father had not wanted to give up in order to believe in life again.
As this journey continued, I called in help from spirit. I asked Jesus to help the little girl that was me, and so he arrived and held her in his lap. He told her that she was afraid of being responsible for everything, and that “responsibility is not a heavy thing. It’s light. It’s clean (unlike the weight she was carrying). It was of the heart.”
As Jesus held little Michi, I asked White Buffalo Calf woman, a sacred Lakota woman, to clear the weight from this pain and responsibility I had carried in my heart. She sucked out the responsibility, which was nasty and black like tar, from my chest. She was like eagle and raven sucking out death. And ironically, as she did so, I felt scared, wondering who I was…what was left of me, where my spirit was when the layers of confused self, of attachment and pain I’d so gotten used to, left me.
“Don’t always feel you need to be engaged all the time,” White Buffalo Calf Woman said. “It’s okay to be empty. You need to be empty now in order to receive God. God is here.” She went on to explain that my feeling of responsibility for healing my father stopped me from receiving God, receiving Spirit. That love was receiving the grace of God in whatever form it showed up and not being afraid.”
This journey of so long ago included far more than what I’ve shared. But what’s especially remarkable is that in these past two weeks—during the time in which I had an amazing turnout and strong soulful response to my Storytelling and Flamenco work in Taos, NM (and I felt the gifts of my life’s work echoing back to me—I’ve had pain emerge from my right shoulder (my area of greatest strength). As I’ve been healing my shoulder with my healer Liz Blasingame—opening up my entire body and heart in new ways—I’ve had this immense grief and tiredness of a lifetime (or many lifetimes) come up.
As I’ve done this, Liz has helped me let go of the pain I’ve been carrying in my body that is not mine—to return it to its origin so I can open my heart and truly be free of pain, free to love. Through this process, I’ve felt my shoulder open, my heart open, and I’ve come to terms with how much I’ve really carried that is not mine. Like so many people who are empathic, I’ve come to understand that I’ve absorbed so much pain of the world, rather than feeling it and letting it go…that I’ve taken on the responsibility of the world like a bad habit that has crippled me and made it hard to connect with God, with this bright spirit within me.
During these past days of hot summer in New Mexico, I’ve found myself becoming more still than ever before. I’ve been feeling my soul’s home inside my body, letting my breath and light move through me, while letting go of the weight of the world that is not mine. I’m beginning to trust in a new way…trust myself, trust God, and trust this empty, still place inside me that is home, that is life moving through me with ease.
My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is my story that rose from my journey of healing and from the lips of the earth and my ancestors. 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