Remembering Christmas Eve

Poem in honor of childhood memories of the holidays, and my father, who left this world earlier this year (break from regular blog): 

We used to watch 
the candles burn
to a tip as 
Mahalia Jackson 
melted our hearts 
with song,
deep with longing. 

We used to walk 
to mass at midnight
under falling snow
because church
was nature and
the ritual of
being together.

We used to sing 
songs in German,
English, and 
childlike play, 
my father eagerly
singing 
Five Golden Rings 
because that's all
he knew and 
it was his special
verse to share. 

Holidays where about
coming together,
and slowing down 
long enough to let
the night arrive,
inch by inch,
on Christmas Eve ... and never leave us.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about coming home to that place of ritual and connectedness. It’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page or at  http://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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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

 

 

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

 

 

7. An Indigenous Longing

How long will it take for our indigenous selves, lost so long ago to the empire of greed and power, to come home? There’s anger among indigenous people—especially among those who grew up with a sense of what it’s like to have an intact relationship with the earth—of what white man (or people of European ancestry) has done to them, to our shared home. But there’s also anger and deep grief that I and others I’ve met carry because of what we lost so long ago, and long to return to—that indigenous part of ourselves that has also been blocked from coming home to more sustainable ways of living on earth. So, the journey continues… img_1514[1].jpg

Blog 7: End of September, 1996—As I write letters to the East, to the land I left behind, I feel fear in my stomach. What is this fear? Is this heavy feeling my doubt, of being entrapped by the past? I feel disconnected in my writing, yet I want to write “I love you” all over the page. This New Mexico land, the Spanish music, and this desert   sun bathe me in contentment. But I feel frustrated because I can’t touch this contentment, I can’t get any closer to it, and I don’t know how to express this.

Last night, I had a dream about running around and not accomplishing a thing. But then I saw a Native American man who abruptly interrupted my dream. He appeared like a flash of light following me, trying to speak to me. There was no escaping this man’s face. There was an immediacy of someone following me, and no matter how many directions I placed my attention, he was there tapping me on the shoulder. In my dream, or maybe it was in reality, I abruptly sat up. The man appeared inside an old photograph, rough on the edges, blurry and lighter in the inside. I sense he’s been trying to catch up to me, follow me, and only at this point did he break through. It’s as if there’s another level of awareness that exists and I can’t avoid it.

Despite my dreams and several attempts by native people to break through and speak to me, I continue moving fast, carrying the old ways with me. I drive around New Mexico, up north toward Taos, where I sleep under stars only to be awakened to a high-pitched cry coming, perhaps, from a fox. I retreat into my tent and feel my civilized fears heightened inside these wide-open New Mexican lands. Maybe I’m not as free as I wish I were. I am here, though, waiting for a miracle, for God to speak—for bushes to suddenly burn and for some prophetic spirit to jump out and show me the way. I am waiting for insights, for clarity to understand my power and the earth’s gift and power that holds me. But I’m moving too quickly to hear, even in my dreams.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR OUR INDIGENOUS SELVES TO COME HOME?