37. Where do Wild and Order Meet?

WHERE DO WILD AND ORDER MEET FOR YOU?

Blog 37: April-June, 1998—“Do you know where sex and love meet? Do you know where wild and order meet? Do you know where thoughts and actions meet, where the sun meets the skimming edge of the earth?”…

I wrote these words from New Jersey, inside my parent’s house in Ho-Ho-Kus, a town half an hour from New York City. At age 30, I was settling into my new home with my parents, adjusting to this insane reality of suffering immense pain when walking, and needing family support to heal. Inside the emotional challenges of living with my parents, I began to build my inner strength and resilience through meditation and writing (writing my novel, and reflecting on life in my journal).

So here I was inside this constricting order (for an artist, the NJ suburbs and my parents’ way of living was a great contrast to mine), determined to remain “awake” to the wild, free spirit that I was. So I continued to write:

“Wild and order meet in a place of art—sacred art. Not just the art of fine pieces mounted on walls for sale, or the art of a solo journeyer’s day in and day out, trying to make sense of his or her life. No, it’s the art of living, the art of bringing together the unity of inside and out that completes us like rivers merging into the sea.

“This is the art that, in its magic-making, cannot distinguish between worlds, cannot distinguish between right and wrong, left and right. In its magic-making, we do not need 557424_171105909691323_1799474373_nto know answers. We do not need to know distinctions. We need only know that we are alive, and that in our aliveness the distinctions between inside and out are only a deeper urge to deny that we are God.”

*My recently published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about this kind of magic. 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 . I will also be celebrating an evening of Child of Duende Storytelling, Spanish Guitar (Ronaldo Baca will be playing Flamenco Guitar), and Tapas at the Corrales Community Library in New Mexico on Thursday, September 22nd at 6:30p.m. http://www.corraleslibrary.org/event/join-local-author-michelle-adam-for-an-exciting-evening-of-storytelling-spanish-guitar-and-tapas-as-she-reads-from-her-new-novel-child-of-duende/ (here’s a link to an article for the event:   http://alibi.com/art/51899/Telling-the-Souls-Truth.html).

WHERE DO WILD AND ORDER MEET FOR YOU?

33. A Confession to Make

WHEN HAVE YOU BEEN TOO NUMB TO FEEL?

Blog 33: Dec. 1997-April 1998—I have a confession to make: when I was in college and my roommate told me that she had been raped during a drunken night in which I was in the same room with her, passed out, I didn’t react. I didn’t feel. I didn’t show compassion. I was numb. I couldn’t feel. I stay removed from the world, separate, untouched.

           Now, in pain, debilitated, with body broken, in a house of lost people in Berkeley, California, I feel. I feel it all. And while it hurts, there’s something liberating in knowing I can feel every bit of the pain and love that’s possible in this world.  It’s as if this brokenness allows me to feel the world again—to feel it all.

           For so much of my life, my heart has been closed in protection. My fear of being hurt, rejected, of being unworthy and unloved cloaked my heart with heavy armor. It was a way I had learned to be, to survive, and yet here I am in California, with nothing left but myself and my heart.

            I watch the world walk by, so many afraid of not surviving, of not making it, of not having things just as they need them, of losing their cloaks, their armor, that have protected them for so long from. They become cold, hardened, and forget to love the stranger that comes to them, crying, in need of compassion, because they are afraid to lose their way, their habit-forming rituals that define them and provide the illusion that they are okay.snowheart-682440

            I feel now, and I am grateful. Yet, I ask for forgiveness for so many times in which I offered a cold heart to another, in which I caused pain to another in my frigidness. And I feel compassion for others for their cold hearts toward me. For, I know they have learned, as I have, to be afraid to feel. From one generation to the next, they have learned to close their hearts in order to survive a world too frightened to feel its own pain and love, too frightened to be truly live.

I kiss their hidden tears, over and over again, honoring the love waiting to break through.

WHEN HAVE YOU BEEN TOO NUMB TO FEEL?

32. Time to Be Like Buddha

HAVE YOU EVER FELT YOUR SOUL—OR A PART OF IT—LEAVE YOUR BODY?

Blog 32: Dec. 1997-April 1998—Days turn into weeks, and weeks into months, as I live in a house in Berkeley, California with five other people that seem, for the most part, discontent. Although I long to leave, and even seek out other options, my body won’t cooperate with any kind of movement. The message for me is to “be like Buddha,” so I sit and be with where I am no matter how painful.

I reflect on who I have been in my journal. I write, “I used to feel that I didn’t feel. I used to think that I couldn’t love. I would try so hard to feel love, but I couldn’t. It hurt so much. It hurt me so much to think I could not feel. I did not understand all the tears late at night, all the anguish in trying to tune into my heart.”

Now that I am injured, I feel pain (how can I not?), I feel love, and I realize that it never was true that I couldn’t feel. The truth was that I didn’t honor how I felt. I didn’t know how to listen to my heart, how to trust myself, because I was so busy being strong, proving myself, and on some level, leaving my body, not wanting to be here because it was too painful.

I continue to write in my journal, “This pain, this heat moving through my bd3f697970790656d76d951b75a139723ody takes my soul away. My soul is trying to come back, but for some reason it is scared. My soul is scared to be with me. When I wake up the next morning, I can feel how little power I have in my body. It’s as if my breathing is outside of me. And I sense that my soul has been trying to leave my body since birth. It has little interest in being on this earth, yet another part of me that knows I am meant to be here, and is bringing me back, back, to this place of Buddha that needs to feel the pain, that understands better than this.

HAVE YOU EVER FELT YOUR SOUL—OR A PART OF IT—LEAVE YOUR BODY?

Check out my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, at Child of Duende website

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?

 

 

29. Woman is the Possibility of a World Unseen

WHEN DID A FEMININE WAY SHOW YOU THE WAY?

Blog 29: Dec. 1997-April 1998—The secondhand of the clock moves slowly here in the lowlands of Oakland, California. Everything is an effort: walking around the block, determined to walk again; going swimming at the YMCA; shopping; cooking.

When I go to the YMCA, I watch another woman who’s there every time, grabbing onto the low wall, painfully taking baby steps, just so she can make it to the pool. I feel compassion, and sudden gratitude for both her courage to keep going, and my capacity to have the little bit of movement I do in my legs.

When I’m done with my errands, I come back home and write my novel and articles, or I write in my journal or rest. As I reflect on where I’ve been, I realize how much I’ve survived almost 29 years of my life by pushing forward, always aiming to become someone important, driven by the outside world pushing, pulling me to be like a man, to ac8ad5b614f115dc88306f61fdd830057dcomplish, conquer, prove. Yet, here I am, having injured myself, and this pushing, this masculine way, hurting me.

I sit with who I am as a woman, inside a feminine energy that calls for another way. A woman is the possibility of a world unseen,” I write in my journal. “She is the invisible that manifests when all else has forgotten how to be. Woman is the power of all that is new in the world.

“The days of moon come and go in a woman’s body. They bring her rage and a kind of roundness that woman understands—a roundness that extends outward and inward at the same time,” I continue to write. “No one truly owns her. This roundness has no measurement, no length, no beginning, nor end. She learns, however, in the fragile skelet11366228434_971ff72196_mon of her body that once imprisoned her, that she must wait. Her fertility, in all its power, must wait for dusk before it can reveal itself.

“While there is this unbelievable surge in her belly, this
child, with features invisible to the world, will not be born to impulse again—to a preeminent death tomorrow. This child is her love, her understanding that grows flowers in her belly. She must first ride this current of self love before this river can meet the sea.”

WHEN DID A FEMININE WAY SHOW YOU THE WAY?

Check out my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, at  Novel Link!

28. I Am Not Alone

WHEN YOU ARE ALONE, WHERE DO YOU GO?

Blog 28: Dec. 1997-April 1998—There are times when no amount of wanting, willing, or determination will bring us to that place we wish to go. The past lives in every cell of our body—whether from this lifetime or another—until we are able to hear, feel, be with what is trying to speak its voice through us so that we may, one day, be free.

This was my reality when I moved from my idyllic home in the Oakland Hills of California to a house with multiple unhappy people in the lowlands of Berkeley. I didn’t want to move, but my hips were in too much pain to function in the hills, and I needed a place without stairs that I could afford.

In this space of debilitation I wrote poems, one of which I share here:

I am no more than this, I say,

than the wind that crosses through my room,

 than the tenderness of strangers,

than your voice that at times whispers when it is afraid.

I have been there,

I have frozen my gut,

closed my wounds to the world,

too big, too outside myself.

I have wandered and prayed for love,

have forgotten so many times that I am not alone,

only to stand here,

and to feel this

this nakedness of possibility,

this breeze of flexibility,

this knowing that even in this great weakness,

I am not alone.   

WHEN YOU ARE ALONE, WHERE DO YOU GO?

(Check out my novel, Child of Duende, at NOVEL WEBSITE)

 

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)

 

25. A Chance Encounter Becomes …

HAVE YOUR EVER HAD A CHANCE ENCOUNTER THAT BECAME MORE?  

BLOG 25: October, 1997—I’m sitting on my bed in the living room of my home in the hills of Oakland, California . I’m not alone. A friend, who is a professional massage therapist, is on my bed as well, giving a massage to Archie, the man I met on the plane ride months ago—the one who inspired me to begin writing what today has become my novel, Child of Duende.

Other friends join me on my bed, or on the couch, or sit nearby. I’m shaking my torso to music blasting “Oops Upside the Head” inside a sequin top I managed to find at a second hand store during my few jaunts outside the house (yes, I’m able to walk, but not far without massive pain). You’d think it were a typical California affair (in December, I end up going to a New Year’s Eve Party where everyone—I mean, everyone—is naked, massaging each other and much more), but it’s actually my birthday. I’ve invited everyone and anyone I know to celebrate my late 20s, and since I’m living out of my bed in the living room, it seems an ideal place to celebrate!

You may wonder how Archie—a man I merely met on a plane—arrived at my birthday party. It’s simple, though. He had given me his card before we parted ways, and I sent an invitation to his Los Angeles address. He thought, what the hell, let’s live it up—as did I—and he arrived with a friend to find himself in my living room receiving massages and having a good time.

The day after my extraordinary birthday celebration, Archie and I meet up to discover if there’s any romance in the cards for us. We talk, on my bed, of course, but nothing goes further than that. He talks baseball and I’m more interested in some deep philosophical, soulful, and romantic encounter. He suggests I drive south with him to Los Angeles and let the wind determine where we go, but I decline. This body of mine can’t handle a trip right now. But we’re both glad that we took a moment out of ordinary time and rational behavior to celebrate life.

HAVE YOUR EVER HAD A CHANCE ENCOUNTER THAT BECAME MORE?  

19. Crawling on my Knees

WHEN HAS YOUR STRENGTH BEEN YOUR DOWNFALL?

 BLOG 19: July, 1997—Life has never been the same since my ballet class in San Francisco. I’ve been in perpetual pain, despite the help I received from the chiropractor. When I walk, my hips swell up, becoming inflamed and making it too painful to dance, let alone move around. My injury that began as a groin pull when I stopped in New Mexico for eight months on my way to California has now become a chronic hip problem with little remedy.

Given that I’m in Northern California—the land of every kind of healer—I try them all. From regular doctors, who claim that my x-rays and MRIs are perfect, to the most out-there psychic surgeon visiting from the Philippines. I receive no relief, and in many cases, I only get worse with each treatment I try.

At one point, an orthopedic doctor explains to me my problem: “You’re too strong,” he tells me. You were able to push through your pain and not feel it, he says, and then goes on to explain that most bodies can handle up to 80 percent not working before hitting a tipping point. At that point the body breaks down completely and it’s hard to turn any damage around, he adds. I had done too much to my right hip by ignoring my groin injury, and this doctor, who works with professional football players, amazingly tells me that my biggest downfall has been that I’m too tough. I have never been accused of that!

I don’t consider taking drugs of any kind to lessen the pain, and instead, I begin living out of my bed, which my housemate suggested I move into the livingroom, one floor below my bedroom in our shared house in the Oakland Hills. It hurts so much to move that I crawl from one room to another—a sight that devastates my friend Jane, who, when she sees me, tells me I remind her of beggars she saw in India who crawled because they had no legs.

I do what I can to survive. I try working, but sitting for more than an hour is extremely painful. The muscles around my hip tighten so much that I want to sit on a small tennis ball all day to break up the tension in my butt.

The man who lives in the loft across from my work sees me in my new crutches and pain and gives me a piece of his Martial Arts wisdom. He tells me that any time he gets injured he gets real still with himself, for days if needed, and becomes clear on the lesson he needs to learn. Once he does, the injury heals. What is my lesson? he asks me. There may be one for me, I think, but either I’m too oblivious, too determined, or it just too late for awareness to change my fate.

WHEN HAS YOUR STRENGTH BEEN YOUR DOWNFALL?

18. The Last Dance: The Last Straw

WHAT WAS THE LAST STRAW THAT BROKE YOU (or said “enough!”)?  

BLOG 18: June-July, 1997—I am sharing dinner with my friend Jane and her girlfriend on the patio of my new home in Oakland, California. With good wine, food, and a view that looks out over the entire San Francisco Bay, it’s hard to imagine a better place to be. We are living in paradise, I think. The water and the outlying mountains feel like a tropical Asian land far away from the Americas.

I am excited to have finally made it here after an eight-month hiatus in New Mexico. I am back on track with my original plan to relocate in this dynamic area of the country. Despite my injury that slowed me down in the desert lands—and my calves that feel as hard as surfboards from having moved all of my belongings up four flights of stairs—I’m now taking modern dance classes in San Francisco and Berkeley. I surrender my body to the music, and move through the pain and tightness in my body, and my limited training among dancers with many more years of experience.

I begin my work as at a temporary agency for artists, helping artists find jobs in creative industries. It’s a nice part of town, along Berkeley’s bay, and in a loft area shared with other artists and residents. When I’m not working, though, I’m in dance studios where, especially in San Francisco, I feel out of my league. Fit, trim, elegant dancers move across the floor with much more grace than I feel I have (or a lot more training to make it look easy).

My passion for dance inspires me to keep going, though, until I take a ballet class. As I am lifting up my right leg and pivoting it around my body, my legs begin to weaken below me. It’s only one movement, but just the perfect one to break my innate strength and stubborn disposition that has kept me going so far since having pulled a tendon or ligament, possibly off the bone, in my inner thigh eight months ago. When I finish the class, I sit on the studio floor and stretch my legs along with other dancers. But I feel it. My body is crying what my eyes dare not show. This was the last straw. My body has had enough.

For weeks after that class, I walk as well as I can. But something is wrong. I feel as if I am walking over my right hip joint. My femur is not moving correctly in my hip socket. The more I walk, the more inflamed my hip becomes, and the less I am able to move. I begin walking with crutches and become desperate to find relief from my pain. I seek out healers, but little helps until my friend Geri drives me out of the city to a highly recommended chiropractor. After looking at my condition, the chiropractor jerks my right leg and returns the femur bone to its correct position.

I was out of alignment; the bone was stuck in the joint. He fixed the issue and my hip feels better, but it seems it never quite returns to the hip I had taken for granted for almost thirty years of my life.

WHAT WAS THE LAST STRAW THAT BROKE YOU (or said, “enough!”)?