89. You Keep Quiet and I Will Go

BLOG 89—(present reflections tied to March 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—“For once on the face of the earth, let’s not speak in any language; let’s stop for a second, and not move our arms so much,” wrote the Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda in his poem “A Callarse” more than fifty years ago, when life moved much slower than it does today. He added, “Perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death.”

Today, not only do I still treasure Neruda’s words and poem, but I also love the wisdom that he shares that is so needed in today’s fast-paced world. It reminds me of a time, more than 20 years ago, when I had a chance to truly slow down and experience the rich flavor of stillness that awaited me against my will. I had become injured toward the end of the last century, and despite the perseverance and fight I had learned to muster to push on forward—to keep moving—I was forced to stop, to be with this “huge silence” that, as Neruda spoke of, interrupted “this sadness of never understanding” myself.

I look around me now, as the Polar ice caps melt and California and Australia swim in fires; as we consume more; as the old guard f8c159e8c0b875506c3d009d8b6a8b3aof unbridled greed sinks its claws into more power and wealth; and as more and more of the same short-sighted living leads to the destruction of life for all of us on this planet called Earth. And I look at my own busy life, from teaching, writing, and publishing, and I think how special it was to have truly stopped 20 years ago, to have stepped off of that train of life (even if it was by kicking and screaming) and to have sat still long enough, as Neruda described, to “interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves”

For five years, I struggled to walk, and for five years, beginning in 1996, I was forced to listen to a different voice than that of an American culture whose emphasis has been of movement and growth for its own sake. By March of 2001, when I housesat for friends in New England, and remained writing as I continued to heal from pain, I had already faced what seemed an eternal pain. No way out, I was forced inward. Back then, I reflected—as I do now—on those earlier years of stopping, and what it was that sat below the surface wishing to be heard.

Here are a few reflections that may open your eyes to your own inner journey, when that time comes to slow down and be still:

26250e6deeecb99c9a474a9992488892“Permission is in the shadows. Answers are what I have invented, what I have held onto so tightly, in order to fill the silence of myself. The true answers are in the space of waiting for clarity to present its gift to me.”

“There is no judgement when I breathe. I belong to my soul, and I am beginning to realize that I will take care of her,” I wrote back then as an old worn-out part of me was dying (I was only 28 when I began this journey, but I felt much older then). “Love is what we cannot have until we have experienced our own death,” I continued to write. “I have seen death naked in my bed. I have tasted her tears, her deep tears for life. I have felt this deep knowing of what it’s like to not have anything, to have it all taken from you…to be left without fear so I can truly surrender to life and learn to love.”

When I look back at these years, I am humbled at 79fdaa4e6a530c8b5c67dec937036fd1what life’s pain was able to teach me. Those years gave me wisdom and love (and a novel, Child of Duende), which grew within me because I had to face myself, day in and day out, with nowhere to hide. Every time I tried to run from my pain, to solve the problem in front of me, I faced a mirror that was myself…that part of me that is as small as a grain of sand, and as large as the universe…that part of me that is nature, that is life, that is love. Then all the lessons, all the shoulds of this fast-moving train of modern life, shed from my skin, from my bones, to leave me with a delicious taste of a deep silence, a deep stillness where life speaks and continues to speak, even today, when I slow down to listen.

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Pablo Neruda walking along the ocean.

So, as Pablo Neruda wrote at the end of his poem, “Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive.”

“Now I’ll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go.”

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 will soon be published by the Spanish publisher Corona Borealis and the Portuguese publisher, Edições Mahatma. 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

 

 

86. THE LIE

BLOG 86—(present reflections tied to February 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—At some point in our lives—if we are fortunate enough—we wake up to discover the lie we have been living. What lie?: the lie of being unworthy; the lie that we have nothing to give; the lie that we are an emaciated child, empty, and desperate for the world outside of us to define us or give reason for our lives.

Many seasons ago, in the winter of 2001, I began writing about this lie I had been living. I saw how much I needed to live from the outside-in because I had bought the lie that, without external approval, I was unworthy with nothing to give. It’s a strange feeling to wake up one day and realize this, since I was a confident person with fairly solid self esteem. Yet, I realized that I had been raised to seek approval, to live according to values that belonged to my father, mother, and society, and to determine my worth by other people’s experiences of me. And, in doing so, my energy, my gift to the world, belonged to others before it ever belonged to me. My incapacity to see my own beauty left me open to be fed off of by others, and yet remain empty myself.

“The truth can ultimately never be denied because it will kill us in order to be heard,” I wrote back then as I began shifting that old paradigm. “A lie does not experience eternity; it does not experience abundance; it does not experience life. It relies on death. It feeds off of death. Life’s truth, though, is that we are of spirit and light and love.”

As I reflected further on these lies that had defined me, I also realized how extremely scared I had been to be free, to allow a wild essence within me to express herself. I had gotten injured years before—and became crippled from it—because there was a wild essence, a scream within, that needed to find its way into the world. 725269c69fddaa6786574f563bc089bbYet, this part of me that needed to be heard—my true self—was scared to be without constraints, without very firm and restrictive limits, because I had no connection and roots established in my center. If I allowed for chaos, and the ground below me and life all around me, to show her face, there would be no “I” to hold onto. I had lived for so long relying on the external world to define me and hand me my worthiness, that losing all of it left me frightened of losing my mind and way.

What happens when we wake up from a lie, and discover there’s no compass, there’s no center to return to that holds the truth? What happens when we truly don’t know ourselves and have relied far too long on the external world to be our compass? What happens when we have forgotten that we are made of light and eternal love, and that our soul is resilient?  

What happened for me is that I was left with only one option—to be still and listen to my soul’s voice. What happened was that I spent much of my time writing my novel, and allowing my truth to types its words onto the page so I could come home to myself.

Today, I think about those dear to me who have lost loved ones, whose compass has left this earth, and how they are trying to find their way through the chaos of that which happens when life around us and within us falls apart. The lies, the limitations, the barriers we have created to protect us from ourselves—to give us a reason for living distant from our wild, free selves—disappears.  And yet, if there’s anything I’ve learned, it is that this place of chaos opens the door for our true eternal self to arise, stronger than ever, but this time from within.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is my story that rose from my journey of healing to a place of truth within. 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