58. Checkmate with Ourselves

BLOG 58: January, 2000—I remember now where I was on the eve of this millennium. Do you? I was in Taos, New Mexico, in the mountains somewhere far away from civilization as the entire world braced itself for what we called “Y2K” (when all computers would possibly shut down, and the world as we knew it).

As we all prepared for a Y2K disaster, I was in the middle of nowhere, drumming in the new millennium with my friend Eric Perry and others. I barely remember that time, other than the fact that I had flown out to San Francisco, CA, from my parents house in New Jersey, to pick up my car (I had left it there a few years earlier because I wasn’t physically up to driving it back East after becoming injured). Eric came out to California to drive my car—with me lying down in the back—on a journey East, or at least halfway to New Mexico, where he lived.

When Eric and I arrived in New Mexico, I helped him decorate his room and we visited Acoma Pueblo, a native village on top of a cliff set up for tourists to visit. Due to my long term injury I wasn’t able to walk  much, but enough to see this village and befriend a stray dog who followed us to our car. After the dog looked at us with longing eyes and a guard told us to take him—he didn’t belong to anyone, he said—Eric, who could barely take care of plants, became a dog owner. We named the little one “Acoma.”

By the time New Year’s Eve approached,c31d532e140f6c8af13c69ef86fc2705 the three of us were drumming away in Taos. Despite being out in nature, I remember feeling disconnected—even in Albuquerque where the Sandia Mountains that had once called me were. My body was still struggling to walk, and my soul questioning why I had stopped in the middle of the desert on my way to California almost four years earlier only to break myself and still be struggling. Why had I followed a spiritual call only to be broken and to feel disconnected from all that had initially connected me?

That year, 17 years ago, my father had called me to tell me he would fly out to Albuquerque to drive me and my car back to New Jersey, to my parent’s home.  I accepted and soon my car and I were back with my parents.

It was a strange place to be—in the same place, or worse, than I had been four years earlier. It was only later, when studying with one of my spiritual teachers, Martín Prechtel, that I would understand that space I was in. We’ve grown up inside this “empire,” he’d say, and we’ve learned to live with the empire mind. Yet, he’d explain, there’s another part of us, “the barbarian,” the one who’s wild, free, connected to nature, our nature, that wants to come home.

In a world where we have continuously fled, especially West, there comes a time when we’re forced to stop, he’d say, where we face “check mate.” Neither the Empire mind nor the Barbarian can move as they are in stalemate, seeing the other for the first time and determining how to make peace w540ab52e39f2f19b2fea568f2462612aith one other since both are a part of ourselves (my apologies to my teacher for not sharing this as eloquently as he did!).

As I look back, I see now, that I was in a place of checkmate, unlearning the parts of my mind that had imprisoned me while getting to know this Barbarian part of me that had rarely had a voice. Relearning a way of being, and making peace with what has been, can be long journey—one that isn’t just about this lifetime, but many before, tied to our ancestors and this long earth walk we’ve all made, I later realized.

Today I feel at peace, and I’ve become a beautiful woman who honors her soul’s path. But, I realize that this place of checkmate, this slowing down, and even being stuck for a while, is always with us. We live in a world that demands we keep up while drawing our attention with endless technological inventions and constant marketing. So coming home to the Barbarian part of us, to our freer, more connected nature, requires daily mindfulness. It requires we know that following our soul’s voice is a commitment, and a muscle we must exercise so we don’t become lost inside the hustle and bustle of this empire we live in.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of checkmate, of coming home. Check it out on Amazon: Amazon Page  or at www.michelleadam.net. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

51. Riding Off into “Las Pampas”

BLOG 51: June, 1999—“There are so many times you have been with me, and yet I have not seen you. I feel touched, moved, overwhelmed inside this little heart of mine by the guide you have been so long—an angel so present on this earth, so alive within me, so much a part of me,” I wrote from my parent’s home in New Jersey 18 years ago. “I feel like I have been gone so long, wayward in search of myself—a decade of scraping down every wall to discover this beauty beside and inside of me…this stalwart tree, ever-growing slowly, gracefully upward, as I have stretched out, spreading arms that reach out to embrace the sun, eager to get there.”

These words made up a letter addressed to MAGIC itself, and to a dear friend of mine, a past partner. After all, isn’t magic in both—inside ourselves and in relationship?  While today is a different time, and magic may be too general a word to apply to my present moment here with my ailing father—I’ve been reflecting on what it must be like for him to soon embark on what may be a potentially “magical” journey into the afterlife.

My father has always been quite the scientist, carefully reflecting on the reasonable, proven aspects of life. I wonder now, when he’s in tremendous pain, and asks us to help him die, whether he has a sense of where he’s going (if anywhere at all).

Some years back, after he and I had visited my Argentinean cousin, Carmen, who was extremely frail and dying from a brain tumor, he confessed to me, in his apartment living room, that the idea of death really scared him. It was clear then, as now, that he was reflecting on his own death.

Last night, I sat with what it would be like to have no imagined sense (or a very existential one) of what we call the afterlife. I’ve always had a strong feeling of spirit, or what life without a body would be like. If anything, I’ve found it much more natural and real to be with the world of spirit than body. But for my father, who prided himself of being very athletic and intelligent, and having 5d0235715e06de38848b7e112c1f3ec8the independence and strength to control his destiny, death may be a different kind of beast for him to face.

If it’s true what a friend of mine once said—that, after death, people see and experience that which they believed to be true in this lifetime…that our beliefs dictate what’s next…or at least for the first part of our journey—then I wondered what current beliefs were dictating my father’s sense of what awaits him. Is the pain I see him going through, both physical and emotional, a part of his battle between his current beliefs and what is to come? Does it have to be this painful leaving this earthly plane as we prepare to shift as the caterpillar does into the butterfly?

As I sat at my father’s bedside one evening, I asked his mother’s spirit, our shared ancestors, and angelic beings to visit him in his sleep to give him a glimpse of what’s possibly next. Then, a beautiful imagine came to mind. My father has always been an adventurous soul, I thought, and he had always said he would have been a “gaucho”, an Argentinean cowboy, if he hadn’t taken a more practical route in life. So, then, why can’t he ride off like a gaucho into the vast grasslands, las Pampas de Argentina, when it’s his time, and begin his adventure beyond his body as one of the greatest freedom he has ever known?

With that, I smiled, and he fell asleep.

*My novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of spirit and coming home. Check it out on Amazon: Amazon Link or at www.michelleadam.net. Also, I’ve created a short new video on duende, the spirit of the earth, and on my novel. Check it out: YouTube Video

 

 

43. There’s Another Way and It’s Now

BLOG 43: November, 1998—“Those guys there are not moving,” my father said to me in a dream I had while living in my parents’ New Jersey house, healing from immense hip pain and writing my novel. “They are just floating in space and will never get us home.”

I dreamed I was on a blanket—yes a blanket!—floating in outer space, far away from any sign of Earth. My mom was there, along with company men who seemed connected to the agri-corporation my father worked for. I asked these men how we could replenish the crops, and how much it would cost to buy the land back from them. They mentioned a price, which didn’t
sound so bad. Yet it felt like one of those deals that could trap you for a lifetime. I felt like a slave who was trying to buy her freedom (a freedom that was once mine but taken away), which would gradually get more and more expensive and impossible to have.

While I stood on a blanket in outer space, considering this deal, my father suddenly flew by on a jungle-gym-type structure, and pulled me away. Within seconds, I was flying at what seemed the speed of light, clinging onto this contraption. My father began to reassure me that everything would be alright. “Those guys there are not moving,” he said. “They are just floating in space and will never get us home.” He made it clear that they were trying to take us for a ride, and that is was possible to move much faster through space than these men could.

My father and I continued to speed through a kind of wind and stars, creating a bubble of sorts around us. My father told me we had all we needed, and that we didn’t need to buy seeds or land. Then, he showed me a sacred altar, a doorway of sorts, into who we, our family, were. We were holy people who carried a kind of power and protection that didn’t require money or the type of power we fight for on Earth. As he spoke, I understood the path home.

Back then, I logged my dream, not thinking much of it. But, years later, as I continued to write my novel, I came back to it as a revelation that magically wove into my personal and fictional story. And today, I return to this dream, and find its message applicable to our post-election climate.

In my dream, my father (who, ironically, worked for a corporation that helped farmers with their seeds become big-business enterprises that created systems of dependency) reminded me that we are more than these systems that run us—that we determine the fate and speed at which we travel through dimension and time. He had shown me how we can be trapped in a cycle of buying, of paying for that which is already ours.

When I reflect on the recent U.S. elections,906001477fc1f5f8c175b1fce3109138 I feel we are also being asked to awaken, to see that the corporate and political structures we considered “business as usual” are beginning to break down—that people are fed up, and seeking an alternative (even if that meant voting for an offensive, loose cannon like Donald Trump, or as radical a primary candidate as Bernie Sanders seemed to some).

If my dream has any relevance today, then maybe we are waking up to how blind we have been to our true freedom and power, and how we have been seeking and paying for that which has always been ours. Maybe this time of fear and uncertainty is a wake up call for us to take sacred action toward becoming the divine humans we are here to be. Maybe we are capable of traveling through space and time to discover a more divinely-guided way home.

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, tells the story of freedom and power we as humans are capable of having. 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

38. In Wildness is the Preservation of the World

Blog 38: April-June, 1998—Naturalist Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “in wildness is the preservation of the world.” His words resonated with me as I contemplated my life back on the East Coast, in my parent’s house in New Jersey. I wondered what, if any, higher reason I had for coming back to the East Coast after two years out West (beyond the fact that I had trouble walking and needed my parent’s help after having injured myself). How would I feel at home in a place that felt so contained and “civilized,” lacking the expansiveness of the West?

I longed for that wild spirit that I had discovered out West and had experienced as a child in Spain, the country that inspired my novel that I continued to write while healing at my parent’s house. Writing out the wildness of my soul helped me survive the suburban life, as did going outside, on the back porch, and taking a few puffs of a clove cigarette while looking up at the sky as cars raced along the highway nearby. The earthy, sweet taste and smell of the cigarette connected me to the ground below.

I also continued to write in my journal: “There is something innately wild in us wanting to breathe the air again. We have protected ourselves from the elements that are mirrors to our humanity, and we have, in ways, become like fearful styrofoam, reacting to our emptiness. Isn’t it because of this that the bullfight, the dancer, and the duende of Spain, attract us so? Isn’t it because that element of freedom is still there?”

“I read tonight about the mountain lion coming back, walking through the malls, killing humans. Is this not what we ultimately fear? Yes, there is order in everything, even among animals and their packs. But there is also danger; there is also wildness that needs to be left alone, to be that part of nature that is so much of ourselves, that is unpredictable and unafraid of death.”

“I look at the face of the mountain lion, and I see myself. I see us. I turn the page of the news and I also see a story of young children killing each other with guns, without remorse, and I feel that these two worlds are not that separate. Is it not our own fear and ignorance of our primitive, natural selves that actually breeds unnecessary violence?”

“It seems we are searching for ways to crack the mirror of our illusionary race of perfected humanness, so we can get a glimpse of what it’s like to be complete—to be both primitive and refined, innocent and enlightened, both lover and seeker, both alive and fearless for just a moment.

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about this kind of wild spirit and freedom. 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

34. The Courage to Keep Going

WHEN HAVE YOU HAD IMMENSE 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.”

WHEN HAVE YOU HAD IMMENSE COURAGE TO KEEP GOING?

Honest Journey on Wings of Grace

Why go back in time? Why recount what has come before, when I am here, on the wings of grace with my novel Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit and its sweet reception?

Since January, I’ve been telling my personal story behind my recently published novel. Going back 20 years, I’ve been recounting the strands of thread that, bit by bit, wove the tapestry of my story of a magical girl in Spain, and another who finds her way back home through supernatural vines. But why go back in time?

I find the answer to my question when I offer storytelling events and gatherings where we can share that part of ourselves that longs to fly on the wings of grace and with a passion that is innately inside us all, even if only in the form of embers.

This past week I shared my story, both personal and of my novel, at a local New Mexico bookstore, Bookworks, and was not only blessed by a large turnout, but by people who told their own stories. They were stories of anxiety, pain, and feeling intensely. While we live in a culture that often seeks a light and happy tale, I have found that it is the ache and pain of being alive–and our willingness to feel it along with the joy–that allows us to ultimately to fly on the wings of grace.

So, as I prepare to continue my blog from where I left off-in California, broken and in pain–I bless every inch of this journey that has brought me to this place of freedom and aliveness. As I share in my storytelling and talks, and through my novel, it is “duende,” the spirit of the earth inside me, that has broken me into many pieces, so I could finally embody my life more fully and be the grace that I am. Thank you for all of it.

27. May an Angel Carry this Pollen into the World

IN STANDING STILL, WHAT GIFT OF YOURS EMERGED?

Blog 27: Dec. 1997-April 1998—Living in the hills of Oakland, California, was too much heaven for my hips after months of painfully traveling up and down five flights of stairs to survive. Looking out through immense windows of my idyllic home perched above the Bay and, in the distance, the San Francisco Bridge, was breathtaking, but I couldn’t live in this paradise anymore.

Reluctantly I moved into a home with four to five other housemates in the Berkeley lowlands, by a BART (subway) station. The woman who owned the house lived there too, and despite the fact that her name was Faith, I soon discovered that she wasn’t anything like her name.

I had been weak, vulnerable, and had sought a place I could afford that would also be supportive of my disabled and painful condition. She initially pretended to be caring, but, as her true nature revealed itself, and my other housemates struggled with feeling alone in this cold, sterile home, I found myself spending more and more time in my bedroom. I meditated in front of a beautiful plant under my skylight. It was the closest experience I had to being out in nature—that, in addition to sitting in the hot tub outside in the weed-infested yard. There I sang poems to the trees, finding the courage and heart to believe in a magic I wasn’t living.

2ac3abe815ba6b1db5bb294691e01666      I missed New Mexico, being able walk and being still with the earth as I had been in the desert. I especially missed a time I had had there with my friend, Eric. We had wandered upon sandstone cliffs that looked out over the badlands in all directions, and there we sang into the land that echoed its beauty back to us inside a golden, pink sunset. About it, I wrote:

“I close my eyes and my tears wet my cheeks as I recall our moment sitting inside what seemed the infinite. There was an eternal stillness even in our echo, in hearing ourselves as part of the summer silence under the stars. Back then, I still walked with innocent hunger.

“Now I surrender, sad, toward my fate. I no longer believe in miracles, in unusual miracles that appear as bold statements I had always looked for. Instead, I expect no miracle except the miracle of surrendering to my circumstances. I have nothing left to do. Layers of proving myself have peeled off my body. My soul is resting. Now, I don’t care about the politics of living. I am a flower, rooted, waiting for the pollen within me to be picked up by an angel and brought into the world.”

IN STANDING STILL, WHAT GIFT OF YOURS EMERGED?

(Check out my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit at www.childofduende.com)