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

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46. A Stillness was Born Yesterday… and with that, Happy Holidays!

BLOG 46: December, 1998—“A stillness was born yesterday, wanting everyday more,” I wrote as Christmas approached in my parent’s small home in New Jersey. I continued to write my novel, and search for that place within that struggled to show her face while trying to walk again.

“Where are you going with all this time on your hands?” I asked that part of myself that knew how to be still. “Inside,” it said. “Inside.”

 “And what do you do inside?” I asked.

“I listen. I listen.”

“To what?”

“To myself. To myself,” it said.

“And what do you have to say to yourself?”

“Nothing,” it said. “Nothing.”

“Then why listen to nothing?”

Because I got tired of listening to everything else that did not matter.”

“And why did nothing else matter?” I asked.

“Because it did not know how to feel.”

“So your nothing you listen to are your feelings?” I asked.

“Yes, but only the ones that do not need to speak.”

“Why those?”

“Because they are true. They are happy,” it responded. “Because they know the way home.”

80bf4541fb8d77d2cfd294a0952726aeAlmost 20 years later, I am here again—visiting family in Virginia for this year’s Christmas. But this time I feel an innate happiness with family that comes from being home inside myself…and home with my parents, my Tia Ingrid visiting from Argentina, and my sisters and their families. We are all different (that’s for sure!), but I feel comfortable in my own skin and full in my heart.

It is particularly a special time to come together, given that my father has had many health issues, and my aunt Ingrid is here from Argentina, and all my sisters and their children will be here. There’s no time to waste, since we only have now to count on.

It’s been a delicious time, yet I feel for one of my younger family members who was not able to make it this year. They too are walking that fragile place of becoming comfortable in their own skin, and feeling safe in this world to share that place with others here. I too held back for many years, learning to be comfortable with myself, with who I really was, and not that person others expected me to be. It took time, and strength, and maybe because I was immobile for years…slowing down enough to find that voice, the one that wrote to me almost 20 years ago, wanting me to feel and to love myself in all my difference.

*Make Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit a gift for the holidays! 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

15. Sacred Rituals of Ordinary Life

WHAT IS A SACRED RITUAL FOR YOU?

BLOG 15: December, 1996—I’m sitting by the fire in my temporary Santa Fe home in New Mexico’s high desert. Back from a brief trip to California, I’m reading Malidoma Some’s book, Of Water and Spirit. Malidoma’s words transport me to his village of Burkina Faso, West Africa, where he grew up and was later kidnapped by Jesuits who attempted, unsuccessfully, to infuse their values into him before he escaped back home. I’m drawn to Malidoma’s description of his people’s rituals and their deep, deep connection to the unseen world that is intricately and magically woven into their lives. I know that feeling of running from a sterile environment that doesn’t weave the sacred into the ordinary.

I decide not to go home to the East Coast for the holidays this year. I don’t feel my parents are ready to accept the diversity in my life, and I’m not prepared to return.  So, for Christmas, my boyfriend Richard comes up from Albuquerque to visit, along with my friend Eric, who is part Jewish, and his mother who is visiting from Philadelphia. Our eclectic celebration consists of sitting by the fire, exchanging gifts in a silly Yankee Swap (where you pass out cheap, used gifts you don’t want and fight for the best one of the lot), and singing to Eric’s fabulous piano-playing. Eric’s mother has the fortune of getting the gift of a bag of condoms, of all things, and I decide somewhere during that night that I am no longer interested in having a relationship with Richard (it probably didn’t help that Richard, who drove up with Eric and his mother, actually asked Eric’s Jewish mother what she thought of German concentration camps!)

After our indoor festivities, we go out onto Santa Fe’s Canyon Road, a road of galleries that for Christmas Eve is lined with farolitos (paper bags with candles in them) and bonfires where people gather around them singing. Eric eventually gets tired of “baby Jesus songs,” as he puts it, but I’m in awe of the warmth and organic spirit of people gathering together to celebrate life as they have done for centuries. It takes me back to Spain, to when my family and I visited the mountains outside of Granada for Christmas. It was snowing, the smell of fireplace smoke filled the air, and the bells were playing in the distance. My father grabbed my hand, ran me around in circles, proclaiming that Santa Claus was coming. I knew that Santa didn’t exist, but I nonetheless enjoyed the innocent magic of that night that had nothing to do with the modern commercial way of American Christmas.

WHAT IS A SACRED RITUAL FOR YOU?