81. Blessed Water

BLOG 81—(present reflections tied to November 2000 journal entries about my healing and novel writing journey)—The water came on Valentine’s night, in small droplets as it does here in New Mexico’s desert after long periods of drought. But then, bit by bit, these drops became real rain, unabashed, filling the air with long-awaited moisture that seeped down into the thirsty earth.

That night I stepped outside of my boyfriend’s house to smell the first signs of rain. Actually, we all did, including my boyfriend’s sister who commented on how the earth smelled like sweet fragrance as it absorbed the blessed water. We all smiled, as I imagined so many of us here in New Mexico did to finally have rain after months of unusually warm, dry winter days. Here, when the water comes, it’s like a pregnant woman with her water breaking, and new life announcing itself!

The next day, the gray rain clouds remained with us in this city of Albuquerque, and further north, in Taos, it finally snowed and snowed. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed our gray days, since on the East Coast, where I spent half my childhood, rain was common, and I wanted nothing to do with gray. I didn’t appreciate the water as I do now out here in the desert. I always considered myself a person 907a2a0b13b7f0ebe34c63a159dbace8of fire—I loved the warm days filled with sun and longed for the drier climate I grew up with in Spain.

It took me a long time to really appreciate the water and its essence. It seems I only began to understand its full importance during the fall of 2000, as I continued healing from my hip pain.  I had always willed my way through life, determined to make things happen in a masculine way of living, dominated by fire and force. But, as I worked on healing myself from years of pain and not walking, I felt the need to explore this element, and its place in my life.

One afternoon in 2000, I decided to go on a shamanic journey wit88fbb1d82e00027dcf3a42bfbd5bbddah a friend of mine (a shamanic journey is a process of lucid dreaming, where you go on an inner journey with your imagination and full senses, with intention to find clarity on an issue). I did so to intentionally to connect with the spirit of water, realizing how little I had done so in the past.

In this journey, I traveled to the center of the earth, to the spirit of water residing in a cave. Through this process it seemed I was connecting with my own womb, with the baby that was a part of me, residing within me inside gentle, loving water. As I did so, I experienced a part of myself I had neglected, a fluid, feminine energy that is a universal  part of all of life and the cosmos that flows with no boundary, no limit, no borders.

“When I see a tree, I am a tree. This part of me is in everything I see. It is my universal self mirrored and present in everything,” I wrote in my journal during that autumn of 2000. As I continued on this journey, focusing on the energy of water in my womb, it became a fountain of water, spinning outward, increasingly so as I gave it my attention, so much that my friend and I began to bathe in this water essence that was pure love.

“This entire force of water was magnetic because it flowed outward and was pulled by gravity downward to the roots of the center of the earth,” I wrote in my journal. “Water is everywhere at the same time. It’s like the rays of light that move far, deeply, inside the crevices of life, and is full of surrendered passion.”

As I came out of my journey, and sat with the powerful force of water that I had connected to, I realized how much I had tried to live from a strong fire in my belly, 3dec65763849de2a392ed369c0095d9fabsent of this loving energy of water. I had learned to live like men do, like this extremely masculine culture we live in does. But that day, I saw how it was time to live more from the womb of womanhood—how this soothing, healing, and loving energy is what knows how to connect strongly to all of life, reflecting back ourselves in all we see.

Today, I think about how much we could benefit from this spirit of water, this universal cosmic feminine energy, in our culture of borders, power-hungry leaders that separate us in an effort to dominate, and all the school shootings that kill more and more children and adults. Like here in the desert where the sun dominates the land with is heat, we should call forth more often—in prayer to the feminine—the spirit of water, and her rain and her life-affirming ways to bring healing and remind us of the abundance, love, and ever-flowing connectedness we all carry within us.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about connecting with the wisdom of the earth and universe. 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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68. Shedding my Skin

BLOG 68: July, 2000—A month of swimming, sharing dinners, of poetry, prose, and rich dreams, had passed at Jean’s New Hampshire farmhouse.  During this time of healing, the rituals and practices remained the same. Every week, I visited Denise, my Reiki energy healer, and every morning, especially after sessions with her, I tracked my dreams in my journal. The day after each healing session, I’d feel extremely tender and weak, with my nervous system so intensely heightened that I could feel any subtle changes within me and all around me.

Those mornings I would move slowly, and always—without fail—sit on the earth, in the garden, weeding or tending to the vegetables and plants. The earth soothed me, as I let myself sink into her broad arms, and feel her rich soil sift through my hands. Then, after a day of gentle healing, I continued my walks in the woods, bowing to the trees, listening to my heart, feeling her blocks, her resistance to the beauty around, as I opened, opened, and let myself truly feel for the first time in my adult life. And each week, I walked more, further, as my heart and hips opened.

At thirty years old, I had already experienced almost four years of pain, which ha1239e65497ccec8478b425560ef538d5d brought me to this place, and I was ready for the change that awaited me. So, when nights arrived, and I visited the world of the unconscious, I invited the layers of my unfamiliar self to rise toward my skin, to show me what lay behind the tightness of my body’s pain. And with every energy healing session, I unwound more layers of pain.

The dreams were many. During one, I literally shit out a snake (seems the most direct way to say this!), and was guided to make sure it fully left my body. In the shamanic world, the snake carries a lot of symbolism, especially that of being able to shed its skin and release the past. I took my dream to be about that—about letting go. After that dream, I felt a surge of energy I had never felt before in my tailbone, and after others and intense healing sessions, I woke with tremendous energy in my pelvis, with great sexual energy moving down my legs and into my feet, and up toward my heart.

With all that was happening to me, and fun days with Jean and her family on the farm, it was ironic that one of my greatest fears was feeling empty. As I s891d6d99f266bad7a7b3c16257939e60at still, meditated, and was honest with my feelings, I realized that I had spent so many years fighting, so often struggling or battling hard to be someone, to prove myself, to protect myself from all that had hurt me, that in the end I was most afraid of being empty. I had come to identify myself as the pain, struggle, and fight I had so long lived, that I feared, as I let go of all these layers in my body, I would be left with no center, no I.

Even back then, as I wrote about this, I knew that this “I” that I had become accustomed to was my ego, was the person I had learned to be… not the one I truly was. Living on the farm and being with the earth in all her nurturing love, helped me let go of this old self, this pained way, and make room for a gentler, more giving self. As a friend had once said after undergoing a shamanic journey on behalf of my hip: this journey of pain was about learning to be my gentler self, of not needing to push forward with a scorching, yet unattended fire in the pelvis…to be this gentle love that I was, and yet had left behind, years ago, as a child in the fields of Spain. 

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about shedding our skin and returning to a gentler place connected to the earth. 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

      

65. From Feast to Nightmare

BLOG 65: June, 2000—The sounds of crickets and bullfrogs filled in the silence of the encroaching night as we sat at the long dining room table of the old New England farmhouse, singing musical show tunes. It was no ordinary evening. My elder poet housemate, Jean, and her son John, her granddaughter Emily, and Emily’s mom, Cassie, (and maybe Jean’s other son, Larry, and some girlfriend, as far I can remember!) and I were all enjoying a great feast with a bottle of homemade and homegrown strawberry rhubarb wine gifted to me by the family who had hosted the shamanic workshop I had translated for.

One average-sized bottle of this extraordinary potion shared among us was enough to convert us into musical magicians (or at least we thought we were) and unstoppable storytelling and laughter. We took our turns marveling at this wine bottle and its light rose substance inside. Was it possible that so little amount could be so magical? Maybe the nature spirits, the duendes, of our New England mountainside were responsible for having infused every cell of those fermented strawberries and rhubarb patches with immense joy and lightness that lifted our spirits into the night.

Any concerns or stress we may have brought with us to the farmhouse—whether Jean’s loss of her husband, or my aching body and all the uncertainties of my new summer on the farm, or work stresses for those who had arrived here from Boston or New York—flew out the window on nature’s wings. Even Emily and her 13-year-old teenage angst and attitude disappeared inside the laughter and song of my new-found summer family.

Although great feasts and wine became an integral part of my summer on the farm, I continued, like clockwork, visiting Denise, who performed Reiki energy work and shamanic healing on me every week. We focused on healing the pain in my hip, sacrum, and groin that had become debilitating.

After every session, I went back to the farmhouse, altered and exhausted. I tried to go to bed early and fall into a deep, deep sleep that often lingered into early afternoon or later. Then, in a slumber of weakness and altered consciousness, I meditated and sat for hours on the earth, in the garden, sifting earth through my fingers while tending to the sprouting vegetable and herb seedlings.

I will never forget one of those post-Reiki nights of healing that took me on a journey unlike any I had ever experienced. That night, in late June, I couldn’t sleep. My stomach became agitated, my entire sacrum and pelvis throbbed in fear, cd71d209e7ea69f884080638e259c8b8and every little noise seemed to trigger a deep physical response. At one point, as my mind began to drift slightly, I screamed. I screamed out a heightened fright that suddenly gripped my body. I felt as if someone were about to attack me as an unfamiliar reality surfaced from deep within me, taking over any other reality that existed around me.

Feeling intensely frightened, I sat up and focused on grounding myself like a tree into the earth. But when I closed my eyes to imagine this, I merely felt unsafe, cut off from the earth and any sense of security. I lay back down, and called upon an animal ally (something I had been taught to do in my shamanic training). I asked this animal ally to lie between my legs, protecting my groin and pelvis, which, had become very agitated. 

For anyone reading this, it may seem an odd explanation of an experience that was akin to a bad drug trip or post traumatic stress. But, I had already spent almost four years, to no avail, attempting to heal from my groin pull. I had worked with almost every type of healing modality, including conventional Western medicine, but had never experienced Reiki, which is a kind of energy healing. The impact of this healing surprised me, and went deeper that anything I had tried before. It seemed to begin to move the energy, the life force, which had existed in areas where hardened, endless pain had lived for too long. When this occurred, a deeper reality that resided inside the pain, revealed itself at night, when my inhibitions where low, when that part residing in the unconscious folds of our being comes to the surface to be seen and heard.      

That night of many moons ago, I allowed for my animal guide, a spirit protector, if you will, to protect me from the fright that resided inside me. I gradually fell asleep, but only after moments of drifting off and then suddenly waking to the sound of cars driving by or any other noise that felt like an immense shock through me. Imagine yourself there, your nervous system so sensitive, so heightened to everything, that every noise, every movement around you, jolts you awake. b436871e6116bf8f6cf1672fa1414b92That’s where I remained all night, until the birds began to chirp outside my window, and all of me drifted into a sleep that would be so much more than sleep…that would be a nightmare, to be exact.

The nightmare that followed would offer me one important key to the door of my summer’s healing. But, I will spare the reader this story until my next blog. For now, I can say that there are nightmare’s that are worth having, every bit of them, especially if, in having them, there’s peace and healing on the other side.

The summer on the farm offered me these extremes—feasts of immense celebration and laughter, and nightmares, that, like an initiation through our greatest fear and fright, ultimately offer another life, another way, filled with immense, hope, love, and joy. I would not have changed any of it, for all of it was necessary to have arrived at this place today, this place of gratitude and grace.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about traveling through our nightmares to a place of renewed hope and joy. 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

51. Riding Off into “Las Pampas”

BLOG 51: June, 1999—“There are so many times you have been with me, and yet I have not seen you. I feel touched, moved, overwhelmed inside this little heart of mine by the guide you have been so long—an angel so present on this earth, so alive within me, so much a part of me,” I wrote from my parent’s home in New Jersey 18 years ago. “I feel like I have been gone so long, wayward in search of myself—a decade of scraping down every wall to discover this beauty beside and inside of me…this stalwart tree, ever-growing slowly, gracefully upward, as I have stretched out, spreading arms that reach out to embrace the sun, eager to get there.”

These words made up a letter addressed to MAGIC itself, and to a dear friend of mine, a past partner. After all, isn’t magic in both—inside ourselves and in relationship?  While today is a different time, and magic may be too general a word to apply to my present moment here with my ailing father—I’ve been reflecting on what it must be like for him to soon embark on what may be a potentially “magical” journey into the afterlife.

My father has always been quite the scientist, carefully reflecting on the reasonable, proven aspects of life. I wonder now, when he’s in tremendous pain, and asks us to help him die, whether he has a sense of where he’s going (if anywhere at all).

Some years back, after he and I had visited my Argentinean cousin, Carmen, who was extremely frail and dying from a brain tumor, he confessed to me, in his apartment living room, that the idea of death really scared him. It was clear then, as now, that he was reflecting on his own death.

Last night, I sat with what it would be like to have no imagined sense (or a very existential one) of what we call the afterlife. I’ve always had a strong feeling of spirit, or what life without a body would be like. If anything, I’ve found it much more natural and real to be with the world of spirit than body. But for my father, who prided himself of being very athletic and intelligent, and having 5d0235715e06de38848b7e112c1f3ec8the independence and strength to control his destiny, death may be a different kind of beast for him to face.

If it’s true what a friend of mine once said—that, after death, people see and experience that which they believed to be true in this lifetime…that our beliefs dictate what’s next…or at least for the first part of our journey—then I wondered what current beliefs were dictating my father’s sense of what awaits him. Is the pain I see him going through, both physical and emotional, a part of his battle between his current beliefs and what is to come? Does it have to be this painful leaving this earthly plane as we prepare to shift as the caterpillar does into the butterfly?

As I sat at my father’s bedside one evening, I asked his mother’s spirit, our shared ancestors, and angelic beings to visit him in his sleep to give him a glimpse of what’s possibly next. Then, a beautiful imagine came to mind. My father has always been an adventurous soul, I thought, and he had always said he would have been a “gaucho”, an Argentinean cowboy, if he hadn’t taken a more practical route in life. So, then, why can’t he ride off like a gaucho into the vast grasslands, las Pampas de Argentina, when it’s his time, and begin his adventure beyond his body as one of the greatest freedom he has ever known?

With that, I smiled, and he fell asleep.

*My novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of spirit and coming home. Check it out on Amazon: Amazon Link or at www.michelleadam.net. Also, I’ve created a short new video on duende, the spirit of the earth, and on my novel. Check it out: YouTube Video

 

 

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

46. A Stillness was Born Yesterday… and with that, Happy Holidays!

BLOG 46: December, 1998—“A stillness was born yesterday, wanting everyday more,” I wrote as Christmas approached in my parent’s small home in New Jersey. I continued to write my novel, and search for that place within that struggled to show her face while trying to walk again.

“Where are you going with all this time on your hands?” I asked that part of myself that knew how to be still. “Inside,” it said. “Inside.”

 “And what do you do inside?” I asked.

“I listen. I listen.”

“To what?”

“To myself. To myself,” it said.

“And what do you have to say to yourself?”

“Nothing,” it said. “Nothing.”

“Then why listen to nothing?”

Because I got tired of listening to everything else that did not matter.”

“And why did nothing else matter?” I asked.

“Because it did not know how to feel.”

“So your nothing you listen to are your feelings?” I asked.

“Yes, but only the ones that do not need to speak.”

“Why those?”

“Because they are true. They are happy,” it responded. “Because they know the way home.”

80bf4541fb8d77d2cfd294a0952726aeAlmost 20 years later, I am here again—visiting family in Virginia for this year’s Christmas. But this time I feel an innate happiness with family that comes from being home inside myself…and home with my parents, my Tia Ingrid visiting from Argentina, and my sisters and their families. We are all different (that’s for sure!), but I feel comfortable in my own skin and full in my heart.

It is particularly a special time to come together, given that my father has had many health issues, and my aunt Ingrid is here from Argentina, and all my sisters and their children will be here. There’s no time to waste, since we only have now to count on.

It’s been a delicious time, yet I feel for one of my younger family members who was not able to make it this year. They too are walking that fragile place of becoming comfortable in their own skin, and feeling safe in this world to share that place with others here. I too held back for many years, learning to be comfortable with myself, with who I really was, and not that person others expected me to be. It took time, and strength, and maybe because I was immobile for years…slowing down enough to find that voice, the one that wrote to me almost 20 years ago, wanting me to feel and to love myself in all my difference.

*Make Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit a gift for the holidays! 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

So Let’s Celebrate with an Ole!

December 10, 2016—This past Saturday, to an audience of 35 enthusiastic listeners, I introduced “duende”, the spirit of the earth, and the essence of my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit. I did so after a month of post-election shock and blues that called me to speak fuller and more passionately than in the past. I wished to share hope, and bring a full spirit of who we are capable of being as Flamenco Guitarist and Singer Ronaldo Baca and I wove together storytelling, Flamenco, and Cante Hondo (deep song).

 “Like a soft, subtle breeze that inches her way into our lives, bit by bit, increasing her intensity and presence, the darkness of winter arrives,” I began with these words. “The moon rises to light up the cooler nights and we begin to celebrate an inner world, an unseen world that, ironically, in the darkness, may be easier to glimpse, to experience than in the bright light of summer.”

My words continued, dancing in an out of Ronaldo’s Flamenco Guitar playing. “Inside this darkness lies a seed, a potent seed of yet to be dreamed of possibilities, of spirit imbued with a force that we have ignored for far too long in the name of progress, growth, and reaching for the stars.

“But here we are, wondering what’s happening around us. The friction, the breakdown, and break up of that which we’ve held to be true. Our illusions broken as seeds of power and fear, planted long ago, are now emerging. But there’s also another seed, buried deeper inside the earth, and far inside all of us, that seeks to be seen and experienced in the dark of winter… at this time of year and this time of history.

“This journey tonight is an invitation to go to that place, to travel along the threads of ancient culture, to the roots of gypsy and deep song that has never, never lost the resonance and power of its voice despite centuries of persecution. It’s the same sounds we hear in the spirituals, in the blues, in indigenous chants, and in ragas from East India, the original homeland of the Gypsies … it’s that sound of longing (or llanto…a call out) that comes from deep within and that rises more fiercely and fully in the darkness, during times in which we’ve given up hope and we’re crying out for another way.

“This is that time, and I invite you this evening, to go on this journey to a profound place of freedom, of possibility that awaits us in our listening. It is an invitation to experience “duende”, the spirit of the earth that is the very seed of which I speak, and which carries the most ancient seed of knowing. It is an invitation to travel with us, through story, song, and Flamenco guitar, to the world of my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit.

15355716_1142183272543542_3995107497377793370_n“So let’s begin. With an Ole, with a deep breath, with a full sigh, releasing all that we have worked so hard to create, all that we have sought so hard to find and be, so that new life can enter, so the full spirit we carry within can speak and sing.”

The evening was a beautiful, soul-filled one that felt like family remembering who we are together. I invite those of you  reading this blog to make this season one of going deep within and bringing out the gift of who you arethrough voice and spirited actionas a present to life.

*Please share your experiences of being the gift you are during these holidays. (My regular blog will resume after this).

*Make Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit a gift for the holidays! 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