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

 

 

 

       

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

 

 

40. Compassion of a Broken Heart

HOW HAVE YOUR STRUGGLES HELPED YOU GROW WINGS OF COMPASSION?

BLOG 40: August, 1998—The summer rain came and went; the cars on the nearby New Jersey highway hummed incessantly; and the fast paced East Coast life continued as I lived with my parents in an effort to heal the pain in my hip.

I found work as an assistant editor and writer for an Irish magazine whose offices were down the road from us. I then lay on my parent’s couch as I wrote, because chairs were too painful. My father hated seeing me so weak and vulnerable, and would get angry at me for lying down so much and not having the strength or capacity to bike or walk. But I resisted doing what he assumed any 30-year-old should be able to do because too often, if I biked or walked more than a few blocks, my muscles would go into spasm, my right hip and groin would inflame, and I’d have sleepless nights with an overactive nervous system.

That was almost twenty years ago, when I wondered if I would even walk with ease again, as I tried every which way to heal, and hit wall upon wall, wondering why it had to be so hard. That was when, at times, I wished I could just end my life, since living with such disability and pain didn’t seem worth it. I had been like a wild horse, suddenly lame, longing to be put out of my misery.

Today, as I walk and help others heal, I watch my father in his elder years struggling with cancer, with multiple surgeries, and with pain in his left leg that at times seems too much for him to bear. I see him wondering at what point each surgery, each attempt to eliminate pain, is worth it, when he can’t walk like he used to or do what he loves.

A week ago, I was with my father and mother in Virginia, massaging my father’s legs from edema (water retention in his right leg), helping him prepare for his next surgery, his next battle against aging and debilitation. I was there being with the reality of his condition, grateful for the chance to share this time with him and my mother and be a gift of love.img_0910

That night I flew back home to New Mexico, I cried a deep grief, feeling the hopelessness and pain I had once lived and that now I see my father going through. The man who had earlier been so strong, angry, and lacking in compassion for the pain I had lived through, is now the same one feeling that pain for himself. And rather than be angry for what I didn’t receive then, I am grateful that my own limitations and journey broke my heart open to compassion and deep love. I can now be there for my parents, and we can share our love fully while there is time.

HOW HAVE YOUR STRUGGLES HELPED YOU GROW WINGS OF COMPASSION?

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, tells a story of compassion and love. 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

31. Being Unloved is a Great Poverty

WHEN HAS LOVE HEALED YOU?

Blog 31: Dec. 1997-April 1998—I am sitting in the hot tub outside my home in Berkeley, California, soaking in the delicious water that calms my body’s pain. I look up at the sky, stars pushing through the clouds and past city lights that obscure a few from my view.

“You are a bloodless sky. You love without wanting,” I later write. “Let me hold you in my belly tonight. Let me feel the coolness of your touch, balancing the heat that leaves my body by the seconds. Let me feel your cool heart balancing this fast moving, fast loving belly of mine.”

For weeks now, I have been with Greg, visiting healers, and then sharing passionate evenings together. Being able to hold each other, and to bring joy, laughter, and passion to my life after months of pain and struggle is sweet relief. My pain and debilitation are bearable when I can feel love and support in my life, just like hunger, poverty, or other physical struggles don’t seem so bad when there’s love and care. It reminds me of what Mother Teresa, who gave so much to the hungry and sick in India, once said: “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

For so much of my life I have pushed people away, protecting myself from people getting too close—getting in the way of my independence, influencing me to be someone I was not. I was always so stubborn to do things my way, to find my own way, and to feel again, to feel my own humanity, because I was raised to distrust my heart, to put my head before my heart.

I came into the world with a big heart, though, and a lot of love, and it’s taken me a long time to come home to myself, to feel again, to feel my humanity. It seems my body, so broken, is reflecting the broken pieces of my heart that have been screaming to come home. Maybe this screaming has been for centuries, lifetimes.

Either way, I am here, no longer wishing to battle between my mind and heart. I am here, hearing my heart, pounding loud, heat in my body, in my soul, ready to let go of the old ways of control, of needing answers, of pushing—ready to love and be loved, to be held, to trust, to discover my way home.

(Don’t forget to check out my novel, Child of Duende, a passionate, magical, spiritual journey of coming home in Spain, at Child of Duende )

WHEN HAS LOVE HEALED YOU?