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.

jeanp
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

 

 

 

       

60. Time for Divine Love

BLOG 60—April 28, 2000: “There is no beginning, no end,” I wrote in my journal at my parents’ house in New Jersey 17 years ago. Why? Because I had moved there to heal my hip, and expected to stay for no more than a year before continuing on my life’s path.

“So much time has passed. It’s all become a drawn out affair,” I wrote. “I’ve almost forgotten what I started with…the passion that led me here and hopefully the passion that leads me out of here.”

I had gone out West to discover and invent my life, without limits, and yet I got the wind knocked out of me—got injured—and in my early thirties was living with my parents. “I feel little me wondering if I can do it—can I make it without throwing myself down hard again?” I asked myself.

The irony of life is that, shortly after writing this, a new door to my life opened. I had traveled with a local friend up to New Hampshire, where I had lived years earlier, and where my friend Carl had suggested I take a Shamanic Class studying the Four Directions of the Medicine Wheel. What happened there was nothing short of a miracle.

After class, I had let other students know that I was looking for a place to live in exchange for house-sitting or something similar. I couldn’t afford rent, but I needed a refuge, a place to be with God, so I could finally heal my hip after three years of excruciating pain.

A day after the class completed, and I was already in New Jersey, one of the students overhead a group of poets in a café saying that all they needed to do was find someone who could live with a woman named Jean. The student approached this group and mentioned my name, and soon Jean and I spoke by phone to see if she and her farm house in New Hampshire would be a good fit for me.

a07a67815507524254e67324f69e0d9bIt’s all timing, I say. I still felt incredibly fragile, scared to trust that I could truly walk again as I had years earlier. I was dubious that there was such a thing as divine support in my life. I had lost faith. And yet that’s when this miracle of perfect timing, perfect alignment of everything occurred.

Tonight, as I walked down my dirt road here in New Mexico, I felt sadness, or longing–that “something” I couldn’t quite pinpoint, yet felt throughout the day. It’s strange how that is…that feeling or sensation that chases us all day long…that often chases us out the door, running all over the place, until we finally get back to ourselves. But as I walked, I could feel it, feel its origin.

I returned to the house, and with a glass of wine, sat outside my home, listening to the silence interrupted by soft chimes signing their loving song in the breeze. I reflected on my father and my relationships with men in my life—on the challenges, on the long journey of coming into my own, of becoming the diamond of a woman that I am that was carved out of all the breaking and polishing of that which once was rough, hidden inside harsh stone.

So much of my focus for so long had been on polishing, healing, learning to love this diamond that I was slowly becoming. I h81b442e8291c28a4ad7b50d124503e5aad given so much of my love, my longing to be loved to my father. I had searched so hard for that love in other men that would fill that hollow space that had been inside me.

As I sat below the night sky, open fields in front of me, I sensed my beloved, my life’s partner, bowing down, big, in the field before me. There was an honor, a deep love, an immense respect for my worthiness standing before me, loving me for the diamond I had become. It was humbling to receive.

I cried tonight a cry of love because I could feel this space inside my heart that has held back from finding and being with my beloved. Since my last long-term relationship had ended with immense pain, I had focused on healing my heart and my relationship with my father. And since then, was with my father as he slowly left this world.

But tonight, I see that it’s time. I’m ready. It’s just me that needs to open my heart, to trust, once again, in divine support…to believe that what I have longed for my whole life—to be in a relationship with my beloved partner—is ready to dance her beauty, her divine love into my life.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, 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

 

 

57. Eternal Life Carved into Love

BLOG 57: November, 1999—The tiny white bird that had appeared as an angel had definitely been an omen. Peace and healing had flown into my life on its blue-tipped wings after two-plus years of healing from physical pain at my parent’s house in New Jersey. It was time for me to learn about the medicine of spirit that would become my life’s path.

In November, 1999, I was in New York City, taking a workshop with a Peruvian medicine man, Oscar Miro-Quesada. Everything in this world was available for me to be in relationship with, he had said, and it is through relationship that I can access spirit and the teacher and healer I am to become. My ability to love would be directly connected to, and completed affected by, my ability to follow my path as a teacher in this world, he clarified.

Oscar insights were new for the 30-year-old I was then—the one who, during my time in the U.S., had been raised in a material culture. We could give to plants and that plant’s spirit could give back to us in return, he had said. All I needed was to recognize that my love and light affected everything I touched, and in turn it affected me. What we love always gives back, he added, because the act of loving in itself opens us to receive, and in receiving we can trust and allow spirit to move within us.

48ab1c5a9c96f84bf8229947db55b60bInside the hustle and bustle of New York City, Oscar Miro-Quesada shared a message that I have since learned well. Spirit moves through love, he had said, and love is light that reflects off everything it touches. Start with what draws you toward its beauty, he added, and then build gardens from there.

Oscar’s message of years ago was timeless. I especially felt the truth of his words yesterday, on Earth Day, as I awoke with a deep sense of love inside my friends’ home (I was cat-sitting for them). Every corner of their home is filled with furniture, artwork, and relics that they have brought here, to New Mexico, from practically every continent on this earth.

The intricate, indigenous crafting of life into form surrounded me with a sense of origin and love as I looked out toward the Sandia Mountains. It prompted me to think of my recently-deceased father, of his apartment in Argentina filled with antiques from Spain. I had cried so deeply when I had been with him there, feeling the depth of his love for the walls, the furniture, and life of his apartment that he would soon 1d1bc48863c13eb2ef0764a32fb4fd65leave behind. I sensed then that even the furniture and walls would miss him.

Memories of my father’s apartment soon
transported my mind back to my childhood in Spain, where the antiques of my father’s apartments had come from. It was in Spain that the land, her people, and her buildings had been intricately carved into eternity. It was there that I had felt an ancient love tied to origins. People back then, in the late-seventies, had yet to be the consumers that Americans had become; they had yet to see life as an end, as a place to get to. Life remained a relationship crafted with sacred reciprocity and love as Oscar had spoken about.

As I looked out toward the mountains from this place filled with ancient origins, I felt my love for Spain, my father, my ancestors, and their connection to the earth. My father’s apartment still carries his spirit and love so strongly that it’s as if he had never left. It breathes the breath of my ancestors and that place of origin that only comes alive when we love deeply the people, the land, and that in our homes that we have deemed inanimate in this world. This loving relationship to all that has taken form remains as an echo on this earth far beyond our death. It holds eternal life carved out by our love.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, takes place in Spain, a country and people with an ancient history still alive today. 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

Easter Sunday: A Gift of Life

BLOG 56: August, 1999—Sometimes the most remarkable things happen to us to remind us of the magic of the universe—or at least it did on an average day in New Jersey almost twenty years ago.

I had just left the Staples store and was walking to my car, where, to my surprise, stood a bird below my windshield. It was small—the size of my hand—with a tiny head and a curved beak, like that of an eagle, pecking away at the bottom of my windshield. This white tuxedo-tailed bird, with a speck of thinly painted blue at the tip of its tail, was so focused on its task at hand that it barely noticed me approach.

As I got closer, only a foot away, it lifted its head and watched me with delicate eyes. Seemingly comfortable with my presence, I inched closer. It finally moved, although barely, further along the windshield, resuming its pecking task.

Surprised that it didn’t fly away, I carefully entered my car, turned on the motor, and ever so slowly drove out of the Staples parking lot. Despite the car’s motion, this little bird continued pecking my windshield, bit by bit, toward the passenger side of the car. I couldn’t believe it! I drove onto the New Jersey highway of all places and it stayed with me until I got off the highway and crossed a bridge onto a smaller street. The bird only flew away after it had completed its job, pecking the bottom of my windshield from left to right.

I felt sad to watch my little blue-tailed bird fly off. Yet I sensed that this angel of sorts had been sent to me to tell me know that I was not alone, and to show me that I would receive the help I needed to clear emotionaafc6856912051e61b3e8fca1c408f927l issues from my hips that had caused years of pain. This little bird had been my messenger, staying with me long enough, pecking from left to right, to clear old energies from my life. Soon I sensed calm and peace would return to my life.

Most recently, with my own father’s passing, I was, once again, reminded of how I am not alone—that there are angels watching over us, guiding us, even if we can’t see them. Several weeks after my father had left this physical world, he came to me in a dream. I was told he was here to watch over me, and others, to help us heal and manifest our dreams.

It seemed odd to me, that in such short time after his death, he would be offering to help to us. After all, there had been so much healing between him and me toward the end of his life. He had learned to be so strong as a child growing up in Germany during World War II, and, later, as a U.S. immigrant who had left his beloved Argentina, the country of his adolescence. He was someone who could be incredibly tough and hurtful, and yet, two weeks after his death, he came to me as an angel of sorts.

It’s ironic and mysterious how life is as we change form and purpose, and the visible becomes invisible. It reminds me to never assume life is just what we see with our logical mind. Today, I marvel at how that little bird came to visit me almost twenty years ago, and how my father has returned as a kind of angel despite the hardships he experienced during his physical life. It seems we are given gifts in mysterious ways, even when we cannot truly see or understand the magic of this universe.a896b05c9b196939315677f29b87bc8c

Today, as we celebrate Easter Sunday, I am reminded that those who once walked upon this earth—flesh and blood—have ascended, and may be with us now to help us, to heal us, and to be our angels. We are reminded, on this Holy Day, that we are never alone.

*This magical white, blue-tipped bird now appears in my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, representing the unseen world that is painting its magic upon life’s canvas. 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

 

52. Answer to a Prayer before Saying Goodbye

BLOG 52:  June, 1999—Have you ever written a letter to your father, or someone, with no intention of sharing it? I did, many moons ago, on Father’s Day, as I lived in my parent’s house in New Jersey, healing from physical and emotional pain.  

“It’s strange celebrating Father’s Day with this silence between us,” I wrote. “Your silence, your temper, your not being there when you were really needed in these past few years has made me sad about this family and our relationship. All I’ve ever wanted is for us to learn how to show care and love to each other—to feel that we don’t have to compete against each other, but rather let family be a place where we all feel wanted … I know that you are scared to be vulnerable to show that you have needs and care, but I hope that, as we age, we can make less room for judgment, and more room for enjoying the time we have. I hope there can be years in which you and I, and all of us, can take a few chances and express ourselves as friends.”

This letter to my father never made it into his hands, but my wishes did come true before my father’s recent departure from this world. It was about five years ago that I had called him up, broken-hearted about the relationship I was in at the time, and how I had
learned to be in relationship. I asked him to help me break these old patterns of intimacy (or lack of intimacy) I had learned growing up. It was a bold move on my part, but I was so broken, unable to sleep, that I took a friend’s advice and reached out to my father, toward the origin of my pain.

DSCF1075

“Maybe you can help me,” I had said to him in tears. Without needing to explain too much, my father surprisingly told me he understood, and that the way he and I related had been passed down from his grandfather to his mother to him and then to me (and my siblings).  His next words were life-changing. My father said he regretted, to that day, not having had quality time with his mother before she died (later, I learned that they had had harsh words with each other during his last visit with her in Argentina). In his own subtle way, he let me know that he didn’t want this to happen with us.

The following spring, as my relationship with my then-boyfriend finally came to an end—and upon my request—my father and I shared a month together in his apartment in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he visited a lot since retiring from Corporate America. That was about three years ago, and it became the first time I had quality one-on-one time with my father. We slowly opened our hearts to each other to create a relationship we had never had. It wasn’t easy, but during that time, I discovered my father—big-hearted, alive, and celebrating life with dinners and gatherings with childhood friends and family who were tremendously dear to him.

As our time together came to an end, after two days of my father driving me through the streets of his favorite city in the world, sharing his love, we sat across from each other over a meal. In an unprecedented manner, he told me how special I was and how much his friends had loved me as he did.

IMG_1683The following year, my father insisted we return to Buenos Aires together. I shared songs and poems with him and friends, letting my father know how precious this time was. He reflected back to me how I had finally come into my own after years of searching. That summer was when he also told me he had chronic leukemia (in addition to his Parkinsons and crippling pain)—a disease that would require undergoing months of chemotherapy in the U.S., followed by more treatments and surgery for melanoma, which he later had. Our visit together was one of his last to Argentina before his death.

This past month, when my family and I gathered to be with my ailing father, caring for him for multiple weeks around his hospital bed in my parent’s living room in Virginia, it seemed my letter and his wishes had been answered. The father my sisters and I had known growing up had become less afraid to share his heart, to reach out and finally have a loving relationship with us. Because of his desire to have a fuller relationship with his children than he had experienced or expressed with his mother, he was able to leave this world knowing that he had done something beautiful. On February 23, at 2:03, as my cousin, Domenica, and I held his hands, he left knowing that we had given each other a gift that had become an answer to my letter and our mutual prayer.

*My novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of coming healing and coming home. 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

 

50. Hand Outstretched to God: Time Carves us into Magic

BLOG 50: May 20, 1999—I was angry at my father inside my dream of almost 20 years ago. In that nighttime journey, I had discovered sculptures of Italy’s Renaissance artist Michelangelo below a pile of ice in a freezer. I was angry at my father for directing conversations toward rational conclusions that had nothing to do with the emotions present in the room. Discovering Michelangelo sculptures below frozen items in my dream seemed akin to discovering the magic, beauty, and life that lay below the frozen emotions of that time.

Back then, I carried a truth that lay smothered below a stoic, cold family dynamic where emotions were avoided at all costs. My truth was this: I loved my father so f8a6f93aae60db2e9ec200da2001c08avery much, and I also felt immense hurt and pain (including physical pain) in not being able to share this love with him or feel it from him, or from others in my family. We had learned to be tough and independent, and strong women (I am one of three sisters, and my mother), but we had never learned to express love and that aliveness, which, for me was who I really was and longed to be in this world. I was this sculpture at the bottom of a pile of ice, longing to be carved out into the magical being I was.

Today, the person I was, and the family I once had, has become—with time having carved magic out of stone—a Michelangelo sculpture, so alive, and life-affirming. Just last week, I was with my family—my father, my three sisters, my mother, and my father’s two sisters, Ingrid and Sisi, from Argentina—because my father has been very ill. We all came together to be with him as he lay on a hospital bed in the living room, too weak to stand or take care of himself anymore.

The days together were long, but rich, holding my father’s hands, feeding him, massaging him, and helping with the most mundane of tasks. With his two sisters, he sang songs of their childhood years in Argentina, and when it came to the Argentinean National Anthem, my father’s voice filled the room with a passion I had never heard before. For those moments, all of my father’s weakness and slurred speech left him inside a celebration of the life he had lived and shared. IMG_1639.JPG

Unlike earlier times in his life, he reached out to each of us, shared his love, his gratitude, and pulled us toward him to receive and give love (there were other more challenging moments too!). And at one point, he asked my mother to lie on the narrow, hospital bed with him and they held each other. They made up for words and emotions unspoken during so many years past.

Then, my father asked us all to sit in a circle around him, as we did our best to prop him up at the side of his bed. He told us to ask him anything we needed to ask him. He would answer honestly with a clear “yes” or “no”, he said. There we were, five grown women with my father, trying to ask him questions that he felt were senseless (because we already knew the answers). What he wanted, it seemed, was to clear the air, for us to express any emotions or concerns we carried that needed to be spoken so he could go in peace knowing we were okay.img_1636

It’s as if my father wanted to melt any remaining ice covering these magical Michelangelo sculptures we had all become, and that he too had become. All the pain, all the years, all the wrestling that my father and I, and all of us had done, to become the beautiful God-creations and works of art we now were, had all been worth it. We were finally here to love and live so deeply together, present to life and death, and to each other, during this final leg of my father’s journey on earth.

*My novel Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit is about this journey of coming home to the magical creations we are. Check it out on Amazon. It’s currently at a Promotional Rate, but this ends soon: 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

48. Set Afire the Old and Renew Life

BLOG 48: January 21, 1999—“Every human being at some time had tragedy enter his life; at that moment, God challenged one to confront Him and to answer His question: “Why dost thou cling to an existence so short and so filled with suffering? What is the meaning of this struggle?”

I wrote down this passage of Paulo Coelho’s The Fifth Mountain as I lived in my parents’ home in New Jersey, recuperating from fierce, chronic hip pain. I had just finished writing a dialogue with my body, in which my body told me it was time to feel and express love, and to let go of my need to control everything. “You need to start moving your energy out,” I wrote.

So, here I was reading Coelho’s words that spoke of a fire, a fire inside that has to be let out, to express its life force and burn away the old habits. He wrote, “The man who did not answer this question [the question posed in the first paragraph] would resign himself, while another, one who sought a meaning to existence, feeling that God has been unjust, would challenge his own destiny…It was at that moment that a fire of a different type descended from the heavens—not the fire that kills but the kind that tears down the ancient walls and imparts to each human being his true possibilities.”

“Cowards never allow their hearts to blaze with this kind of fire; all they desire is for the changed situation to quickly return to what it was before. The brave, however, set afire that which is old and, even at the cost of great internal suffering, abandon everything, including God, and continue forward—God desired that each person take into his hands the responsibility of his own life.”

I see now, as I sit here in New Mexico, years later, looking out at the mountains, music blasting in the background, that this old journey of pain and healing has been about this moment—this place in which a fire blazes inside me with deep knowing of my own light, my own gift that came from the inside out; from letting go of the false pretenses, fears, 6e785453b2dc9a619ab37e3c02b855d3.jpgand doubts; from no longer expecting an external, invisible God to save me; from no longer hiding this love and light inside, and letting it out, and embracing the God-given gift that I am.

Today, when I come across others that are in a place of immense pain as I was, I am able to be there for them with compassion and love

Most recently, I met a woman who had had a stroke 20 years ago, and who had come to a healing clinic where I offer energy healing, along with other practitioners. “I have been dead inside this body for a long time,” this woman said to me, expressing that she was a prisoner inside her body, paralyzed by pain and immobility. She wished she could leave her body and this earth, but said it wasn’t her time.

As I sat across from her, watching her struggle inside her body, observing her fear of being seen, I wondered what had brought her to us. Why come for a healing when she expressed no hope? Any suggestions I offered of hope, she knocked down with her immensely  rational and set mind. This was her life, and there was no changing it, she said.

But as I sat with her longer, I couldn’t help but see this immense light and gift in her presence. She had nowhere to run to, and so her life force, her fire, was beautifully visible to me. I too have been where you are, I told her. I too couldn’t walk, and I too wanted to die, since living without capacity to move, to express my life force, wasn’t living. “But, you carry a very bright light,” I said, “and that light is your gift here in this world. It matters.”

This woman thanked me, but also made it clear that it was merely my mind seeing her, and there was no truth to what I said.  I stayed still with her, feeling immense love for her, despite her resistance, until she finally said, “I would give anything to remove these old thought patterns that come from a horrific childhood.”

That was her fire, her light, willing to step forward, through paralysis, for just one moment, one breath. I was grateful for that moment to be with her. For, it is that fire that belongs to all of us—that says “yes” to life, and gives hope to renewal, to becoming that God-presence that we all are—that is our life force…that is our gift that she shared with me.

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of renewal. 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