93. Do You Have a Dream?

BLOG 93— (present reflections tied to turn-of-the-millennia novel entries)— “I have a dream” are the most memorable words associated with Martin Luther King Jr., the man celebrated today for having had the courage to act on his dreams, no matter how unfathomable at the time. Back then, in the 1960s, he was denounced as an extremist, as so many of us are when our dreams threaten the current establishment. But Martin Luther King Jr. was undeterred and his dream inspired a movement toward equal rights and human dignity for all men and women.

What was your dream as child? What was so “out there,” so unfathomable that you dreamed of as a child that adults had to tell you it was unrealistic? What was that kernel of truth that you knew was right, that you knew honored life, love, and a vision of whom we could possibly be on this earth? What was that? And have you followed that, or have you let your cynical, rational, and weathered, adult mind dissuade you from living this?

While my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, has been out in the world for several years now, old copies of earlier manuscripts sit on my coffee table. Lately, I perused through these pages and was surprisingly moved by the innocence of my 8-year-old character, Duende, and her determination to follow her dreams at all cost. I was also taken aback by my ability as an author to allow myself to be vulnerable enough to follow this young, idealistic voice. What a gift, I thought, to allow this child within to surface in a story destined for adult readers, and to give power to her inn08dc7a06561fb7f7d26ba9351992ee44ocent voice in a cynical world. 

Even as I wrote down Duende’s dreams, and was willing to take her through a crazy maze of circumstances to achieve them, I also wrote down the words of my skeptic adult, represented by another character, Lázaro:

“Why do you think, and so young as you are, that you can save the world, that you can change even one thing, when we have been suffering like this for millennia and always will?”

My adult character, Lázaro, who himself sought redemption through through Duende’s dreams, represents our critical minds that continue to blow out the fire of our dreams. The dreams, which we then forget about as become adults. We forget what Paulo Coelho described as our “Personal Legend” in his extremely popular book, The Alchemist. It’s that dream, that path we are to follow if we are to truly feed the Soul of the World, as Coelho described it, and how my character Duende sought to do in my novel Child of Duende.

That night in which I read through earlier pages of my manuscript of Child of Duende and heard the echo of that childlike innocence in Coelho’s The Alchemist, I reawakened a precious part of myself. I felt that innocence and fire of my dreams to change this world, to make it a better place, rise within me. And I asked myself, “Why, why have we forsaken those dreamsChild of Duende_D7 Bubble_B (3) we had as children, that immense wisdom that we once had that knows there’s a much better place than the one we’ve been born into? Why must we wait for people like Martin Luther King Jr. to lead us, or our younger generation today, like the Greta Thunbergs of the world, to tell us that we, as adults, are not doing enough and need to do more?      

My novel, Child of Duende, came from listening to the voice of that child within me…from being injured and broken enough to shut out the voices of the cynical adult who had forgotten to dream, to feel love for this world and its possibilities.

And now, in the midst of winter here in New Mexico, with time to reflect on our heroes like Martin Luther King Jr. and those who aren’t afraid to dream, I invite all of us to listen again…to listen to that child within…the one who is here to feed the soul of the world with our innocent, daring walk toward our authentic selves. I also invite myself to continue to writing and telling stories that aren’t afraid to dream and follow through on these dreams.  

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 was 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

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







34. The Courage to Keep Going


Blog 34: Dec. 1997-April 1998—I watched a woman grab onto the railing at the YMCA in Berkeley, using it to stabilize her walk, which consisted of one step every minute. Her feet and legs were like those of a Raggedy Anne doll, hard to control and weakening below her.

Like her, I too had been swimming at the YMCA, and was doing what I could to regain my capacity to walk without pain. But the extreme limits and pain I had experienced since injuring myself in New Mexico more than a year ago, and since moving to Berkeley and the Bay Area of California, were becoming too much to bear—or at least until I saw this woman at the YMCA show me what true courage looked like. She helped me be grateful for what I had, even if it was little.

I had been living in a house full of depressed people in Berkeley (which probably included me) and was now seeking another place to live. But, with the high cost of living and limited options, I began to wonder if I’d end up moving back in with my parents in New Jersey. While searching out my options, I wrote, both in my journal and what later would become my novel. Writing became my refuge, and an attempt to clear the cobwebs of this jobless, debilitated place I was in.

I wrote: “Oh, Berkeley, your magical hills and your fog that rolls into the Bay enticed me for a while, until all the forces gathered these soul parts of mine into one unexpected stew. I came for life, and instead I got death. Though, love, at times, visited my bedside, reminding me of hope.

“Oh, Berkeley, you were such a temptation, and now you are this place where my body struggles to speak. It struggles to break free, although it does not know how. Oh, Berkeley, your winds have thrown me to the ground, when what I had asked for was to be able to leap.

“My hunger has followed me out here and has nagged me into this sleep, an uncontrollable sleep. I so want to sleep now, to sleep and dream this story, with an ending that brings vitality and renewed hope for a life of love.”