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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

79. The Power of Presence

BLOG 79—(present reflections tied to November 2000 journal entries about my healing and novel writing journey)—Despite the growing cold of winter’s approach, I walked daily in the woods along the ocean at Odiorne Point, New Hampshire. I had moved closer to the ocean after my summer of healing on an inland farm, yet continued practicing walking meditations. My walks were inspired by lessons I had learned during my shamanic classes, especially when it came to working with my medicine body and its power.

My first shift of attention in my walk was from having to be good—or having to do the right thing—to coming from a place of power that was just so. This meant shifting my attention, my heart’s eyes, so to speak (if you can imagine this), to different chakra centers (energy centers) of my body. So rather than walk the way we normally do—thinking all the time and leading with our head—I led with my third chakra (between my heart and my bellybutton). I let my full attention come from this place (as if my eyes and heart were taking in the world from here) as I trekked through hard, sometimes icy paths alongside low-lying trees and the ocean.

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As I walked from my third chakra, I embodied the spirit of Jaguar, a power animal that has been associated with this energy center in Peruvian shamanism. As Jaguar, with my total attention in my mid section, I immediately began to feel my perspective of this small forest widen around me. I was no longer constrained by seeing the world from a narrow place of above and below. Instead, my energy and senses expanded to encompass the trees. I felt extremely powerful and alive, and realized how I could be in my power and present, while compassionate and dangerous at the same time.

Throughout my walks, I discovered my spirit body, an element of ourselves that we often lose connection with in the modern world. My spirit body was home, embodied in a manner new to me. As I strolled in this manner, I stepped out onto rocks that jutted out over the ocean and sat down, rocking myself in a state of love. I brought in the image of a small house from across the water, and pulled it into my belly. As I did so, I felt a surge of love, of coming home to my power. Then, when I put my hands on my root chakra, I experienced further love in an almost erotic manner. This continued as I touched my knees, my feet. I was experiencing the act of giving my aliveness to myself. It was truly remarkable!

As I sat near the water’s edge, parents walked by, warning their children not to go too far out on the rocks where I was. One unusual girl, though, was eager to walk out onto the rocks where I sat, and her father, less concerned about the danger, urged her not to interrupt me. Upon hearing him, the girl, who had already approached me, stopped in her tracks. “Forgive me for not acknowledging your presence,” she said to me in the most remarkable manner. Surprised by the demeanor of this girl of no more than ten, I told her that I was fine, and to come by. She came forward, free as a bird, with her father following her.

I remained on the rocks watching as this father and daughter team soon returned back to shore. The girl’s father lent her a hand as she jumped off the rocks onto the earth. She seemed independent enough to move without his help, but she gracefully accepted his hand with a “Thank you, father.”

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The whole scene felt like a special omen. The daughter had been like an angel visiting me, confirming my power, acknowledging my presence and how I could remain in a place of compassion and gratitude no matter how powerful or independent I was. It was as if the little girl had been me in that moment.

Like a spiral that comes back around, the lessons of that experience at the ocean of twenty years ago seems timely today as well. Most recently, my sisters came to visit me in New Mexico so the three of us could share time together after my father’s passing. While our visit was rich and full, I was left feeling emotionally stuck and disconnected from myself after they left (I had returned to the role I had played as a child in my family). As the youngest who drummed to a different beat than they did, I felt invisible, as if my unique gifts didn’t matter.

In reading my account at the ocean of years ago, and the story of the little girl who acknowledged me in my power, I understood the medicine of years ago. I had learned then what it meant to truly be in my spirit body, to expand into myself fully, fearless, powerful. In that instance, I had discovered what it felt like to be home, to be love, to be alive in a true way. The little girl and her father had acknowledged me because I had embodied myself fully. I was no longer invisible.

In listening to the lessons that spiraled their way back into my life recently, I saw that I needed to once again, step back into the medicine body that I am, this light that is me. I had fallen into a role that wasn’t me, and I had become invisible, even to the little girl—to myself—who would have been ignored this time given the space I was in.

But now, when I was able to acknowledge me, and remember, once again, who I was—spirit embodied, home, and powerful—those emotions that made me feel small and invisible had no room to be. I returned to that place that I had been on my walks—that space of no longer having to do the right thing and merely coming from a place of power and love that is just so.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about discovering duende, the spirit of the earth that we are that resides inside us. 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

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

67. From Poetry to Manic Mowing

Recent photos by Emily Kefferstan, 2017

BLOG 67: June, 2000—They met every Monday morning under the shade tree at Skimmilk Farm, Jean’s summer farmhouse in rustic New Hampshire. Dusting the old house, keeping it clean from summers of fun, was less important than Monday mornings when this serious group of poets gathered to muse over mist-covered mornings, cats, Celtic Goddesses, Vulvas, and many more themes that released their aroma into the shade tree.

When Emily, Jean’s 13-year-old granddaughter, didn’t join the poets, I was the youngest there by far, and the only one with a novel. I shared my chapters of my manuscript, Child of Duende, inviting this group, which had met like this for 25 years, to travel with me to Southern Spain, to the coast, where my character Duende was born and raised. For some of the poets, my novel brought them back to earlier days when a Boston Columnist used to write about Duende, this word that the great Spanish Poet Federico Garcia Lorca had described as a magical spirit of the earth from which all life and art arises.

Poetry Mondays were a long-held sacred ritual for Jean and her poets. But the weekends offered a different kind of attraction of sorts. That was when Jean’s other family members, like her simage2on, John, and daughter-in-law, Cassie—Emily’s divorced parents—arrived at the farm to celebrate farm life and help Jean maintain the place. That’s when they’d drive the lawn mower tractor over acres of land; clean out the pool; weed the expansive garden; and just take care of anything that needed caring for.  And after all the chores—or during that time—we’d all take a dip in the pool, relax, and then make elaborate meals from all the fresh vegetables of the garden.

On one of those summer weekends—which I will never forget—Cassie decided to get on the tractor and mow as much lawn as she could as quickly as she could. She could get rather manic, to say the least, and this day was no exception. She got on that tractor right by the nice, clean pool, started it in high gear, and didn’t seem to figure out how to slow it down. Cassie smiled broadly while holding onto the tractor with all of her might as it ran circles around the pool, cutting every blade of grass in sight, tossing them all into the pool. Soon, the pool was filled with fresh green blades, with me yelling for Cassie to stop, and her oblivious of what was happening around her as she continued riding circles on her new toy.

While that was a humorous moment with Cassie, there were others that were harder to bear. Her energy could be extremely invasive and exhausting, and I still remember nights in which I struggled with sleep because of this. She could feel so unsafe to be around, and especially given I was very sensitive to other people’s energies in those days. I was already scared to fall asleep, to drop into frightening dreams—or more clearly nightmares—as I had done nights before, and now there was Cassie to contend with.

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During one of my dreams, in which I allowed myself to sink deeper, I dreamt of my parents. In my dream, my mother kept asking me to sweep things up with the same broom that my father had used to attack me or put me down. It seemed I was asked to be with my father’s abuse while my mother tried to sweep things away, ignoring what was happening in front of her.

When I reflected on my dream, I felt I was being shown a pattern that I had carried within me for a long time—a pattern of accepting abuse, and also cleaning it up and taking care of everyone else but me, just so all could be well. It was as if my weekly energy healing sessions and Cassie’s manic ways had awoken in me an unhealthy dynamic I had grown up with and was ready to release.

My dreams, and at times, frightening evenings, and fun-filled days on the farm, seemed to all blend together to help me see myself, and to offer change—change in my aching hips and pelvis, change in my heart, and change on my soul’s path.

That summer was a summer of extremes—of being with the extremes I carried within me and those I saw around me, and learning to establish new boundaries and ways of caring for myself in loving, healthy ways. I had arrived on the farm ready to heal, ready to truly walk again, and now I was beginning to awaken to the path I would eventually take—the path of a teacher, writer, and healer who would one day help others heal as I had learned to do that summer and beyond.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about nature spirits, Flamenco, and Southern Spain, and returning to a place of renewed hope and joy. 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

62. Unchartered Pilgrimage of the Heart

BLOG 62: June, 2000—I arrived with my friends Carl and Molly at the colonial farmhouse that would be my summer home—my three months with God, the earth, and my broken body and spirit. The old, dark brown house stood only inches away from the cracked, New England road that epitomized what I loved about this part of the country. And on either side of the house were open fields, high wheat grasses on one end, and a large lawn and soon-to-be-tilled garden on the other.

Jean, the owner of this summer house, appeared by the driveway to greet us. Almost 80 years old with formal blazer, short grey hair, and cigarette in hand, she reminded me of the great novelist and friend of Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein. Only thing was that Jean, a poet herself and one of the first women to establish a publishing house for women poets, carried an unusual combination of Boston formality and an unusual earthy “I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks about me” look.

My eyes were drawn to her cigarette as she led my friends and I into the old farmhouse that seemed rather dark despite two floors of rooms with ample windows. Who was this woman I would live with and help out during my summer of healing? I asked myself.

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Jean Pedrick (A photo I took long ago. Beauty!) 

After all, we had never met—only spoke by phone before her son and I met in New York City to scope each other out and make sure his mother and I would be a good fit. I had never thought about there being cigarette smoke wafting up along dark walls filled with ghost-like photographs of times gone by until it reached the room I’d live in or the ancient bed made of actual horse hair I’d sleep on!

I remember looking out the window, toward the road it faced, where my friends drove away after helping me unpack the few items I had. It felt as if my parents had just dropped me off at camp (not that I had experienced this before in my life!) and I was alone in a dark house with a stranger who smoked and seemed rather aloof as Bostonians could be.

I feared I had made a mistake in trusting divine grace to bring me here, yet I eventually fell asleep to the sweet sound of cicadas surrounding the house and trees. mondaysatskimilk3-940x467.jpgThe weeks to follow were the beginning of magic, though, of discovering what’s possible when we show up with clear prayer and intention, and leave the rest up to God. Jean, who died several years later, would become one of numerous angels offering me retreat from the chains of pain I had carried for far too long.

Since those days with Jean and her family, I’ve learned that the grace of God shows her face when we finally surrender and hand over the reins of our limited longing—and when we’re truly ready to receive the gift that awaits us. The form it comes in can be deceiving—as Jean did with cigarette in hand and serious disposition—but it comes, ready to give of itself to the unchartered pilgrimage of our soul.

20170720_191044About a month ago from today, after arriving back to New Mexico from Buenos Aires and our family’s honoring of my recently-deceased father’s life, I met another angel of sorts in man’s clothing. I met an Argentinean man who appeared to me without cigarette in hand :), but with an embracing heart, passion, and laughter. Together we exchanged mystical love poems; shared—with my father’s spirit, it seemed—Argentinean songs he and I both loved; held communion on a moon-filled mesa that whispered of the infinite until early morning; and danced and laughed inside the light-filled rhythm of our newly-discovered bubble.

It’s not every day that life’s holy orchestra offers a song like this one. But it did. It came quickly, weaving these otherworldly energies with mundane realities that soon introduced their challenges to this budding relationship. It forced me to ask myself how to navigate this place where the divine and physical intersect…where tension and beauty lie and give us choice on how to proceed?

This past week, during which time I wrote less, and struggled with overwhelm and 20170720_190824poor health, I battled this reality of receiving divine grace within the limitations of this earth journey. And while I tried to contemplate, analyze, feel, reflect, and be with the tension that built knots inside my heart and that of this relationship (quite a different energy from the heart-opening magic of weeks prior), it seemed to only create more tension, more struggle.

But today, as a double rainbow spread across the sky, and stayed with me long enough to expand my heart’s awe, I felt what I needed to do. As with Jean and her cigarette, dark house, and initial formal and cold demeanor, there was more to this gift than I could see. Much more. What if, when we’ve given up trying to figure things out, and we’ve given up our limited, frightened expectations, we actually hand it over to God, to spirit—this place from which the gift originated? What if, in this case, as in the past, I give my heart much needed space and peace of mind to listen, feel, and be with what this beloved gift is here to offer—and what I am here to receive—on my unchartered pilgrimage of the soul?

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is also about an unchartered pilgrimage of the heart. It is available on Amazon at Amazon Page  or at www.michelleadam.net. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

 

 

 

       

59. Springtime Without You

BLOG 59—March, 2000: I’m sharing a poem from many springs ago, as I prepare for this spring’s surprises…a grieving of the old…a rebirth:

Spring locks her jaws into the hard earth,

a pitter patter of rain seeking refuge inside.

The windows shut, now open,

the moon peers through rows of empty branches,

Seeing something I don’t—

tulips growing light green stems below the soil,

pink horizons yet to appear over cool blue oceans

transformed by summer lights.

The wolf is a shadow that lingers three steps behind.

I turn to witness that all along I’ve not been alone.

I turn inward, see myself in her shadow.

Sleep in the shadow, rise in the light.

I have seen your love somewhere in this winter night.

Rise with the daffodil, yellow mind,

Springing days of sweet herein,

I see her—that is, springtime—coming.

In about a week, I return to Buenos Aires, to be in mye99b26d974466ec2594813bb5fb281e7 father’s apartment, to let the memories of our times together seep through the walls, and along the streets of this port city. It’s springtime here again—that time of the year I used to spend with my father in Argentina, his childhood home. It was two springtime’s ago I was there, and, I think, two years before that—as the days lengthened here in the north, but inside the shadow of spring, prepared for winter in the southern hemisphere.

I still remember the first time I spent with my father, just he and I, in his beloved Buenos Aires. He had never visited the port city in May, because he would normally be with his Portuguese friends playing golf then.  He had only come to Argentina because I had requested we share time together in his favorite city.

I still remember now, how, as we traipsed around Buenos Aires, he’d often tell me that they missed him there in Portugal, and that one friend had said—and I paraphrase—“The spring flowers don’t bloom the same without you here.”

He repeated those same words back to me, after I had returned to the U.S.. I was driving through the big open lands here in the desert, on my way to a Lakota Sundance, when he called and said, “The spring flowers don’t bloom the same without you here.”

This morning, as I sat still with the reality that I will soon be in Argentina again, in my father’s apartment, but without him, I began to cry. He left us several months back, but it hadn’t really hit me fully until now. I 9629058698ceb27fa8bf177e5d8b15c8.jpghad been with him for many weeks, until the end, in my parent’s home in New Jersey, but I hadn’t slowed down enough to let the grief catch up with me. Maybe I’ve been holding the grief in my lungs, which have been congested for weeks now, and am finally feeling the reality of my father’s loss.

As I reflect on the fact that I’ll be back in Argentina soon, but without my father there, I feel his words echo in my mind. “The spring flowers don’t bloom the same without you here.” But this time, it’s me saying these words to him, as I feel the love that he shared with me and so many others close to him in Buenos Aires.

“Spring time won’t be the same without you there, papá, but I’ll feel your love wherever I go.”   

If you are in Buenos Aires on May 26 at 5:30p.m., please join me (and if you can’t make it, please tell friends who can come) to celebrate storytelling, Flamenco guitar, Garcia Lorca, and my father, Alberto Adam. It’s at Kel Ediciones, Conde 1990, 1428 , Buenos Aires, Belgrano, 54  11 4555 4005,  kelediciones.com, a top carrier of books in English in Buenos Aires. (See my website’s events page for more information: http://www.michelleadam.net/events)

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is also available on Amazon at Amazon Page  or at www.michelleadam.net. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video