69. A Container for Spirit

BLOG 69: (reflections from July 2000 journal entries tied to my healing journey)—We stood around the fire under the full moon in a cleared out field of high grasses in New Hampshire. Denise, my Reiki healer and shamanic teacher, placed a stick into the fire and then cleansed the front and back of my hips with it, before blowing Peruvian Agua de Florida, a lavender, rose-water musk, on the same area. Then, a group of us called in the directions, sang, and began ceremony.

Since moving from New Jersey to the farmhouse in New Hampshire in early June, I partook in full moon fires like these. They were based on Denise’s teachings passed down to her from her teacher Alberto Villoldo who had learned from indigenous Peruvian medicine men and women. With every fire, there was a time of release, of throwing out the old, into the fire, and then renewing ourselves and our chakras (energy centers) with the spirit of the fire. This tradition of cleansing and renewal was tied to native traditions that have long believed that the full moon is a time of high energy when the veil between the seen and unseen world is thinnest (and therefore prayers are most powerful).

Partaking in his ritual in a manner I had never done earlier in life was special for me (after all, how many of us in our modern lives take time to consciously let go and cleanse ourselves of the past every month?).51878bda5fa06a6c934ea4c13fe7e4a4 It helped me intensify my intentions with my healing process, and to do so in a manner supported by community and spirit. Being in ceremony, and healing with nature on the farm, also opened a space for me to be with God and my life’s call, which had followed me since I was eight years old in Spain.

As the summer rolled on, and I began to heal, I reflected on this life’s call in relationship to my healing journey. I wrote in my journal: “I feel that all of my life the spirit of things, what which is hidden and unseen for many of us, has always been more important to me than the material, than the concrete in front of me. I have felt frustrated with my longing to live on this earth in a manner I have known to be true but have not actualized. I’ve lived this battle within myself, between spirit and matter—as spirit contained within matter.”

My writing continued as I suddenly became aware of a fear that lay within me and my healing process: “I feel a fear and anger at the possibility that I could heal my hips, and yet return to this same hunger that brought me here—this hunger that feels I will be without a place and way to manifest this fire within that needs to dance and be sensual. That the north—the way of the eagle—which has felt suffocating like the tightness in my hips, will have no room for me, when all I wante89c0ba3e50a9ec59548e3772f8d3a8e is to be in a culture that dances with fire, that knows and manifests magic and sensuality with ease.”

So, here I was, in New England, finally beginning to heal my hips as I had dreamed of doing for years, and I was afraid…afraid of succeeding.

But, as I read my journal now, almost twenty years later, it makes sense. After all, all of my life I had longed to live the fullness of the spirit I felt inside, yet saw no place for. All of my life, I had felt a different call of spirit, of creative passion, than that which I saw around me. So it seemed natural, there in the northeast, in New England, to suddenly struggle with the idea of healing, if, in healing, I still could not find home.

As I reflect on this today, my earlier words remind me of a comment my teacher, Martin Prechtel, made about healing. He pointed out that there is no use healing ourselves if we just throw ourselves back into the culture that injured us to begin with. So, with my hip, back then, and today, I see that I was afraid, because I had yet to find a culture, a way of being with spirit and life, which I could step into as I became whole. And, I had no understanding of how to become the culture, this container of life, which could one day hold the beauty and fullness of my spirit that I could dance into the world.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about awakening this spirit within and finding home. 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

 

 

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54. I Want to Challenge You

 

Blog 54: June, 1999: I want to challenge you—yes, you, reader of this blog—to ask yourself: “What is my hunger?” Last week, I wrote about hunger, about my hunger of almost 20 years ago, and my current hunger. As I perused my journal last week, as I do every time I write this, I came across a piece of writing on hunger that struck a cord. So, I decided to create Part 2 of last week’s blog. Here it is, beginning with my journal entry from years ago:

“As I write this, I can hear the voices that have challenged my hunger all along,” I wrote in June, 1999. “The voice is that I am alone, that this hunger belongs only to me, and that everyone is quite normal in their view and understanding of the world. This is a strange and pathetic lie that I grew up with, that you many have grown up with: that we have no hunger; that we have no “self” that is incapable of rationalizing the answers to our existence; that we need no answers because we are the pathetic answer that walks this earth pretending to know—pretending to know that we live and die without much more to our existence; pretending that we are not vulnerable, that we do not break, that this world cannot break us and hurt us and teach us to love.”

These words from years ago may seem harsh, yet I grew up in a family where emotions were rarely expressed. My ancestors had fertilized the ground we walked on with potent seeds of stoic strength that they’d grown so they could survive horrid wars, immigration, and challenging life lessons. Yet, this stoicism masked a grief that needed, one day, to be unearthed.

“I intend to speak to those whf77ad40934475fcab37c7a5736a3b646o find my words resonating with them. Otherwise, why read? Art is, after all, this wonderful world in which we can share, express, and crawl out to the edge of a limb and cry out our existence so those who are afraid to climb can see that it is alright, that we were meant to climb, to sing, to explore this world that is only ours right now,” I wrote. “I can’t believe that this hunger is not in every breathing soul that exists—from the Buddha who found peace, to the musician who, with all her might, sings
to us a kind of longing that only a song can sometimes do so well. I have seen hunger in my father’s eyes—in the way he cannot keep still, driving wherever he can to find his hunger sated for brief moments. Or in my mother, in her later years, wanting so much to find warmth in companionship.”

Most recently, my father’s hunger was there until the very end of his life, days before he died, on February 23, 2017. He longed to walk, to try one last time, as his legs gave in below him. He longed to join us for a toast and dinner at the table, to be a part of the life. He longed for peace from pain, for some understanding, it seemed, of what awaited him after life. My family and I all longed to be there with my father, to feel the tenderness of his final weeks that had been absent many years earlier. I longed to be there to help my father transition, to breathe every last breath with him, knowing each one could mark the end.

As I sit now, alone, writing, feeling the reality of all that has passed, and of my father who is no longer here, I wonder about this thing we call life. No rational mind, no preset ideas, no justification for my father’s passing—at 79 years old, and no earlier or later—can change or ease this reality of life and death. Despite all I’ve learned about life, and spirit, and all that passes, I still ask myself, “Why?” “Why does all life leave its form to become something else?” “Why do we, as humans, have to feel loss?” There’s a hunger in that. There’s a grief. There’s a stark reality that life is so immensely precious, and that any denial of our hunger to live this life as fully as we know how, now, and no minute later, would be a lie toward life itself.

*My novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of following this hunger 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

 

 

53. Hunger Sleeps Sweet Ashes in my Chest

BLOG 53: June, 1999—Imagine yourself stuck, with little capacity to move, with nowhere to go, nothing to accomplish. Just you. Alone. Would you be able to be still? Would you be still enough inside to feel your spiritual hunger?

Almost twenty years ago, while living in my parents’ home in New Jersey, that was my story. But being still enough to hear my own longing was anything but easy. I struggled to walk, but slowing down inside, being still, remained an immense challenge.

“I hear a voice on the radio in the other room, the sound of a busy world. It distracts me. It makes it hard to hear my hunger. It numbs my existence once more, and builds within me a hunger that so often reappears in extremes, in grand desires to escape the chaos and find a place of stillness to hear myself,” I wrote in my new journal I had just dedicated to hunger itself. “This is the modern world after all. This is the challenge we all face in hearing and addressing our hunger. What once was with us every day as a joyful hunger or longing has become a kind of ravaging ghost that you and I don’t know how to see, yet we feel it grab at us, tease us, make us restless.”

Back then, hunger was a kind of longing for what I couldn’t have in the moment no matter what I did. I wrote, “I can address my hunger by relocating, in my mind, the places where hunger was most awake, most present, and in ways, sweetly: the fields in Spain, the long b6cc3f020432ec5efd545b633828c5b9waiting for God to appear, for a voice to speak to me before a magnificent landscape; driving west out into desert, wide-open skies; or more magnificently, standing on the mountains, the Sandias, watching the bright white clouds, like cotton balls, spreading their wings throughout the entire stone and tree landscape; or driving, driving along the roads of New Mexico, chasing the clouds, with pinks, blues, oranges, purples, tormenting the skies with a surreal godliness that I longed to reach, to hold onto, in my most humble way, by driving, driving, and not slowing down.”

Then, when I found moments to be still enough to feel my hunger, to hear the words that wrote stories into my novel, I traveled inward to faraway lands. “Hunger, she sleeps sweet ashes in my chest, a silence longing for itself,” I wrote the lines of a brief poem. “I hear her stumbling sounds in my heart. I listen and I write.”

With nowhere to go, I wrote, and I allowed words to be my meditation. It’s no different today, as I sit here sharing my reflections of past and present. After a week of moving too quickly for my soul’s pace, and prior, with a month’s time with m1e98d8e0a905478eea6d6f086bf020b7y family and father before his passing, I cherish coming back to this page. Back to you: stillness and hunger.

When I was crippled by pain, my time of
forced meditation—of writing my novel and discovering the story inside “the remotest mansions of my blood”—was a blessing of sorts. I lived inside a cage that required the inside come out. But, now, as I share my novel, travel to be with family, and juggle teaching, writing, and bringing my art into the world, there seems so little time for slowing down. The hunger remains, but its more subtle, less drastic. The hunger is for the quiet, for the listening inside, for a place of presence that can’t be found in all the running around.

It’s found here, though, as I write, as I watch the moon rise, as I let the sound of all this technology, all this doing, be taken over by bird song crawling along the vines in front of my New Mexico home. The song has always been here. The moon, she has always been here lighting the night sky. Yet I am the one who has changed.  In making time, as once I was forced to do, to feel into this stillness that carries my hunger, I can find my way back to me, to all that I has always waited for us inside this presence.

*My novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of following this hunger 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