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

 

 

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87. Love is Receiving Grace

BLOG 87—(present reflections tied to February 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—“Love is receiving the grace of God in whatever form it shows up and not being afraid to do so,” I wrote in my journal of early 2001 as I continued to heal from an injury that had become chronic. I had been in New Hampshire back then, dog sitting for friends so I could continue to heal my hips and become whole again.

Every day that winter, no matter the weather, I walked in the park along the beach, practicing a walking meditation that helped me open to the blocks that stopped me from being free from pain. Earlier that summer, while living on a farm, receiving Reiki energy work, and studying shamanism, I had been able to go from barely walking to walking three miles a day. Now, with winter covering the land with her ice and cold, I pushed on, committed to transforming my life while also writing my soul’s healing journey in what today has become my novel, Child of Duende (Niña Duende in its Spanish translation).

As part of the shaman’s path, I had learned to journey (what is described as lucid dreaming). During one of my journeys to heal from pain, I received guidance on my relationship with my father, which I had worked on for many years. In this journey, I was a little girl, crying, with immense pain in my chest. As a child in this journey, I had wanted so much to share a space of ritual with the earth with my father. Yet, as I tried to connect with the earth, with God in this form, I felt my father denying me this (and denying himself this). The message that came to me was that he had wanted me to need him, to be there for him, and to hold his pain, and that being in ritual with the land had no value.

As I received this guidance, I saw that as an empathic 05a631afe1333c5a743fdae41af0a168and sensitive person on this earth (and not aware at the time that I was this way), I had carried a deep sense of responsibility for my father’s happiness, and anyone else’s around me. And ironically, this responsibility blocked me from being the person I needed to be—to be in ritual with the land, to receive the give of love that is here for all of us to receive when we are willing and able to be ourselves.

“My feeling of responsibility for healing my father stopped me from receiving God, from receiving spirit,” I wrote in my journal at the time. These are unusual words to hear, since we are so often taught to be responsible for so much. Yet in taking on other people’s pain—that pain which then we carry inside us—we are blocked from living our true lives. In my journey, I could feel my heart heavy with responsibility and pain that was like black tar that needed to be removed (and was removed through that process).

This morning, I awoke feeling heaviness in my heart, as I have in the past days, because lately I have been there for others who are going through immense pain and struggle, and I have felt concerned. While I wouldn’t take away the gift of being there for those I love, I also felt the need today to come back to myself today and be in relationship with God. So, I opened my door to the snow-filled mountains and fields before me. I picked up my drum, called in the directions, and sang my gratitude to the earth and to all of life. I allowed my heart to open again to the gifts that are in my life and to return to the God within me.

In my singing, I received a great lesson today. I realized a great truth: that of gratitude being the doorway to return into balance and peace. I’ll always recall how a shamanic teacher I once af1293cebd71a3e97c4715321fa9acbfhad had said said that when difficult things happen—accidents, injuries, clumsiness, small foils—it’s because we need to come back into balance. And for him, as a Peruvian shaman, it meant creating a Despacho, which, in the mountains of Peru, is a gift offering to spirit to give thanks to all of life that we have been given (and not concentrate on what we don’t have).

This morning, I could feel the truth in this—and not from a logical place of mind, but from within my body. Before singing, I had felt heavy and sad…akin to an emptiness that wanted to feed off of something to feel better, to fill up. Yet, when I sat still enough and then sang, I could feel that this heaviness and sadness were my disconnect from source (and carrying responsibilities that weren’t mine) and it was a whole lot of gratitude that needed to be expressed (not just in words or felt, but sang out as a gift that only humans can give in this way to spirit—to that from which all this life springs).

I felt today that in gratitude we receive and really feel the gifts, and in giving back to source our song, this heaviness inside can also transform to light. I saw that in this culture that feeds so much on life, consuming more and more to feel satiated and feed the addiction of our emptiness, we need to give back, to give back in gratitude for our lives so we can make more room inside ourselves to receive what we are blessed to have (and to let go of being responsible for that which is not ours to carry).

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”: YouTube Video

Remembering: Goodbye with Love (a break from my regular blog)

(1/13/2019): The memories came flooding back to me today…holding my father’s hand, still warm with a gentle pulse, as I lay my head down at his side on the hospital bed inside the living room. He was finally sleeping after the on-and-off pain he endured due to the melanoma that spread blisters up his legs and the immense pain in his legs due to some ailment doctors could never pinpoint.

My father and I had been through so much in those last years of his life—trying to stitch together the pain of earlier years into peace and love. And here he was, in early February, this month two years ago, fighting for his life that was preparing to go. He knew. I knew it. Or at least his spirit knew it was time, for months earlier, when he lay in the hospital room, the day the doctors diagnosed him with melanoma, he came to me in my dream, and let me know it was time to go.

Today, I relived those last days, last minutes, as if yesterday. He lay in the bed, me listening to every breath, knowing each could be the last. I listened with my heart, the way we listen when we come from that unconditional love that knows how to be present and treasure this present that is still with us for a brief time.

That night, after laying my head next to my father in that eternal stillness, I went to bed. In the quiet of the night, and throughout my sleep, I could feel my father next to me. Actually, I felt as if I had become him, lying there, between the bars of the hospital bed, fragile, clinging to life. There was no separation. And the next morning, when I woke up, I ran to my father’s bed, making sure he was still there.

My father lasted a few more days, long enough to live his 79th birthday on February 20 and to see my cousin, Rogelio, who visited him from Argentina and whom he had awaited for eagerly before departing this world. But that memory remains with me so strong today—of laying my head next to his, and feeling his journey so deeply as if it were mine. And then finally being there with him until the very last breath. 

I didn’t cry that day he left. I couldn’t. 84e0990e9ed9a00cb08dc66604c77fdfA part of me had left as well, so I didn’t feel him gone the way we do when we finally let go and step back into our ordinary lives. There was nothing ordinary about being with someone so dear to me until the very end. There was a tenderness and an appreciation of life that was so profound that I didn’t want to ever let that go.

Yesterday my boyfriend, his sister, and I made a dinner to honor their mother who left this world this past May. We placed two bouquets of white flowers on the table with a place for her to eat as well. She was a beautiful woman, one I felt so honored to have known during the months before her passing. As I felt those last days with my father, laying there next to him toward the very end, I recalled how my boyfriend’s sister lay next to her mother to keep her company in the end.

When we feel the ones we love so close that we can hear their every breath, knowing it could be the last, how do we ever forget that? How do we ever grieve the preciousness of another who has now left for another world?

Today, I feel the grief that lives inside all that love and loss. And I pray for those who have lost someone so dear, as my boyfriend and his sister did more recently, to be able to take that great love and live again as one more angel flies in the sky above us. May we all cry that grief of beauty that has left us, and, in return, bring a bit more heart into this world.

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”: YouTube Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories Carved in Writing: Argentina (a break from my regular blog)

1/18/2019: The gourd sits on my table. A gold-carved design caresses its top. Equally ornate metal straws sit inside. The gourd was once my father’s, used for drinking Yerba Mate, a tea Argentinians drink as a national past-time and obsession.

My father’s bombilla remains with me although he left almost two years ago. It reminds me of him and his beloved Argentina I just came back from after three weeks traveling the country with my love. We flew into Buenos Aires—a city of rich culture, as ornate as my father’s bombilla, but not a place my father raised his family. After celebrating the holidays with friends, we visited my father’s apartment—a place he resided in for many years after working elsewhere in the world…a place where he’d found his “heaven on earth” 20181227_175809.jpgbefore leaving this earth.

A couple now live there, up the old circular stairwell and marble floors, behind the wooden door—of another era, of the “Belle Epoque” style, as my boyfriend pointed out—that leads to what was once his apartment. My father’s love for his apartment was so grand that it seemed the walls sung back to him, and even cried upon his departure. They had swallowed all the joy once shared there—the feasts with friends and family and a place to come together as I had with my father toward the end of his life. They marked an era in my father’s life—beyond the hard work, and years as an immigrant away from the place he loved—where he could truly feel alive, as if for the first time.

As we visited Buenos Aires, a city whose beauty is comparable to Paris, we felt its struggle, its eternal battle with poverty, corruption, and runaway inflation. How could a place so rich in culture, art, and literature, with an ornate elegance49338783_2038176952936784_1508593347025960960_n carved into its walls as it was in my father’s apartment, struggle to live? Why do so many people like my father, or my boyfriend, have to leave this country to live well?

As we journeyed through Argentina, its complex history traveled with us… from the streets of Buenos Aires, which seemed to have more bookstores than any other city in the world—including Boutique del Libro, where I presented my novel, Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espíritu, for the first time in Spanish—to the mountains and lakes of the south where I fell in love with its duendes, its nature spirits, that they sold as dolls and puppets in stores (I brought back with me these duendes in exchange for copies of my novel I left with them. It’s not every day that I meet others whose creative work, like mine, honors these duendes!).

We also traveled further north, to Córdoba, where my love grew up, to a sacred land that offered a safe place to remember Argentina’s past, to years of military rule, of painful struggles for an entire country that has learned to make the most of what has been.

20190109_174056~2I was reminded, as I plan my next journey to Spain, to my childhood home, where I will share my novel, that the land knows all…that the land that resides within us, always knows what has been, the history of our childhood, of a nation’s struggles, and waits for us to return to her, to remember, to feel the pain and beauty that lies behind it.

I am home now, in New Mexico, here with this ornate gourd sitting on my table. It is a piece of history that carries a spirit, as did the walls of my father’s apartment. It holds a part of my father and the country he so loved that he couldn’t return to until the last chapter of his life.

Aren’t we all like my father’s gourd, carrying a piece of history, a piece of this earth that has lived the good and bad? In late May, I will soon be like my father’s gourd, carrying a piece of history, a piece of love for the land that raised me—for Spain—that I will return to with my novel, Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espíritu, which is about duendes, nature spirits, and the spirit of a place that never leaves us…never leaves us, even if we’ve tried, many times, to leave her.  

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. Click here for its Spanish Version on Amazon , its original English version on this 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”: YouTube Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

86. THE LIE

BLOG 86—(present reflections tied to February 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—At some point in our lives—if we are fortunate enough—we wake up to discover the lie we have been living. What lie?: the lie of being unworthy; the lie that we have nothing to give; the lie that we are an emaciated child, empty, and desperate for the world outside of us to define us or give reason for our lives.

Many seasons ago, in the winter of 2001, I began writing about this lie I had been living. I saw how much I needed to live from the outside-in because I had bought the lie that, without external approval, I was unworthy with nothing to give. It’s a strange feeling to wake up one day and realize this, since I was a confident person with fairly solid self esteem. Yet, I realized that I had been raised to seek approval, to live according to values that belonged to my father, mother, and society, and to determine my worth by other people’s experiences of me. And, in doing so, my energy, my gift to the world, belonged to others before it ever belonged to me. My incapacity to see my own beauty left me open to be fed off of by others, and yet remain empty myself.

“The truth can ultimately never be denied because it will kill us in order to be heard,” I wrote back then as I began shifting that old paradigm. “A lie does not experience eternity; it does not experience abundance; it does not experience life. It relies on death. It feeds off of death. Life’s truth, though, is that we are of spirit and light and love.”

As I reflected further on these lies that had defined me, I also realized how extremely scared I had been to be free, to allow a wild essence within me to express herself. I had gotten injured years before—and became crippled from it—because there was a wild essence, a scream within, that needed to find its way into the world. 725269c69fddaa6786574f563bc089bbYet, this part of me that needed to be heard—my true self—was scared to be without constraints, without very firm and restrictive limits, because I had no connection and roots established in my center. If I allowed for chaos, and the ground below me and life all around me, to show her face, there would be no “I” to hold onto. I had lived for so long relying on the external world to define me and hand me my worthiness, that losing all of it left me frightened of losing my mind and way.

What happens when we wake up from a lie, and discover there’s no compass, there’s no center to return to that holds the truth? What happens when we truly don’t know ourselves and have relied far too long on the external world to be our compass? What happens when we have forgotten that we are made of light and eternal love, and that our soul is resilient?  

What happened for me is that I was left with only one option—to be still and listen to my soul’s voice. What happened was that I spent much of my time writing my novel, and allowing my truth to types its words onto the page so I could come home to myself.

Today, I think about those dear to me who have lost loved ones, whose compass has left this earth, and how they are trying to find their way through the chaos of that which happens when life around us and within us falls apart. The lies, the limitations, the barriers we have created to protect us from ourselves—to give us a reason for living distant from our wild, free selves—disappears.  And yet, if there’s anything I’ve learned, it is that this place of chaos opens the door for our true eternal self to arise, stronger than ever, but this time from within.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is my story that rose from my journey of healing to a place of truth within. It’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page  or at www.michelleadam.net. It can be ordered at a local bookstore as well. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

85. Love’s Responsibility

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 valida1dd704314d648489ea2aa1570bbf6472ted.

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 tof5bdcabed675eb85f2f74395ba2686a2 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

84. The Way of the Warrior

BLOG 84—(present reflections tied to January 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—The fire burned full and dark that night on the beach when my friend and I watched a car go up in flames under winter’s full moon. Unknowingly, we watched a man take his life, and weeks later, under the full moon, I gathered with shamans to help his lost soul cross to the other side.

Sometimes, in all the challenges we face, we find life unbearable, and like this man, think of ending it all. Yet, once gone, our soul somehow knows there was and is another way…another way beyond the pain and limitations of our earthly experience. We realize that  we can choose the way of the warrior—the way that I had the privilege of seeing with my boyfriend’s mother, before she, herself, made that journey in peace beyond this physical world several weeks ago.

Back in the winter of 2001, when I had witnessed the sad departure of this man on the beach, I wrote about being a warrior. And now, in retrospect, I see the gift in what I wrote then (and maybe found somewhere written, and copied)—the same gift my boyfriend’s mother carried before leaving this physical realm.

“The Way of the Warrior is to know the darkness within ourselves, in others, and in the world, yet to choose to have full heart, to be irrational in the face of it all, and in being irrational, to wear lightness and joy like an outfit, like a mask, that not only covers our face, but is worn by us so every molecular level of ourselves is infused with this outfit. With this choice, we wear our destiny before it wears us.

“It is not why we are confused when a great man falls or acts otherwise, because we have come to believe that this mask is them, when truly the mask they have shape shifted into by choice, can also, by choice, be shape shifted out of. It is their occupation on earth to be of light, of full heart, while they carry within them, more than anyone 75140d825752a853f25863ba0a2d857felse, the truth of their deepest darkness. Their act is a conscious one and requires constant vigilance and discipline. Every time these people carry themselves in this full-hearted manner, it is an exception to the rule and that is why people are drawn to them…we must ask ourselves to be exceptional in this manner and not depend on the hard work of others to give us hope in our own exceptionalism.”

As I read now what I wrote then, I feel honored to have known my boyfriend’s mother for a brief time before she left. She had plenty of hardships in her life–ones that would easily embitter anyone–but she chose to live with kind, giving heart, and to bless those around her with wisdom and love despite it all. She left behind the exceptional legacy of a warrior for her children and others to learn from and follow.

During these times when it’s easy to surrender to cynicism, and choose anger over love, depression and self-pity over the unreasonable hope of the warrior, it is more important than ever to reach into our souls and be warriors of love…to learn from people like my boyfriend’s mother to never give up…to fight for life, for what matters!

This weekend, in Taos, New Mexico, on Saturday, June 23, at 5:30p.m. at SOMOS, I’ll be sharing that spirit of aliveness and celebration of life to Storytelling with my novel, Child of Duende, with Flamenco guitarist and singer Ronaldo Baca and Flamenco dancer Catalina Rio-Fernandez. Come join us and share the news!

Child of Duende TAOS FINAL poster