92. Let’s Talk about Death (and live 2020!)

BLOG 92— (present reflections tied to March 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—I want to talk about Death. Yes, Death. That one we whisper ever so quietly because she has become a four-letter word in a world that resists surrender. That resists letting go. That resists dying what no longer serves us in order to maintain the pain of living that we’ve become far too accustomed to.

Yes, I want to talk about She who buries us in her salty sweetness, in her forgiving earth, which holds us in her pungent arms awaiting our renewal as we enter into this new year of 2020. Because she is so worthy of holding us, of teaching us to let go of the old, so we can make room for the new. 

Death has visited me often, especially when I healed from tremendous pain 20 years ago. And she taught me to let go, to surrender that which no longer gave life, so I could heal, so I could breathe new life into my already tired body at the tender age of 30. Death taught me that all the patterns of living I had taken on to survive the traumas of life weren’t worth holding onto anymore if I truly wanted to live, if I wished to dance, if I wished to fly with lighter wings toward my freedom.

“This death is so great!” I wrote back in 2001, liberated by surrender. “Imagine, actually being in this space of not waiting for the world to be there for me—to breathe every ounce of love into this world…to breathe it as if it were my last…to breathe—to finally Goddamn breathe!”

“This death is like having a child (a part of yourself16ace472871ece6378ac196cbc849de6) die in your arms and to carry her around with you everywhere you go because she has given you life. She is what reminds you everyday to cry, to give reverence for what was and is. She is the one who gives us humanity and allows us to deepen ourselves,” I reflected 20 years ago. “I needed to hear that silence between two breaths to look at her, to feel the sadness of this child, to forgive her for all her attempts at love, all her attempts at greatness, all the running that left her (and me) empty because she only knew how to live one way. Then, I needed to give her back to that place of vitality from which she grew, to give her an honorable death, to let go of these old ways.”

Today, on this third day of 2020, I listen for that silence between two breaths so  I can once again feel that freedom of death that came to me 20 years ago. So, I can truly feel that space of silence, that thin, subtle place where one brief moment dies, ends, and prepares us for the next moment, the next breath, over and over again. What freedom it is to let go of that last br09a74140cd2a8d68b963b2f7aaf2c365eath—of its weight, its story, its trauma—so we can make room for the next!

Isn’t it time, NOW, in 2020, this year of clear vision, to make room for new breath and possibility, to surrender to those little or big deaths that urgently await us, to hold us in their salty sweetness? And, to remember that “we cannot truly love until we have experienced our own death, for our fear of life is too strong to truly love until we allow death in.”

So, let’s die a little, or maybe a LOT! Let’s stop holding onto our last breath, which has become far too stale with fear, and let’s walk together into 2020 with new breath, new love, new life! 

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 was 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

91. The Magic of Loving What Is

BLOG 91— (present reflections tied to March 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—The sun paints the sky in bright pink, orange, and grey-blue streaks as it sets here in New Mexico. Our Sandia mountains reflect the evening like the inside of a watermelon. And on the weekends, after a week of finding play and joy in my work, my shared home, Casa de Duende, becomes a place of retreat with late breakfast on the patio, Friday night movies, and walks above fallen leaves with my love.

Years ago, in my late twenties, when I first came here to New Mexico, I was so much more restless than today. I arrived from the East Coast eager to connect spiritually and to experience magic…to see some apparition appear from behind a burning bush, or to discover I could fly, or at least soar as spirit to places beyond the physical and material limitations that were so rigidly held on the East Coast. I was ready for anything, as long as it was grandiose and magical. What happened though, was anything but this.

In my search for magic, I became broken. The greater my hunger for magic, for something outside of me to fill the emptiness inside, the more I broke. In my journal of March of 2001, I reflected on this search for magic, and how, five year852fdc54dc5f7a0c165483816c2d03c6s prior to that, a strong sense of longing to feel life in a big way, to feel spirit, to feel alive, to fill up from the outside in, led to my injury. In my journal of that spring, I wrote, “I spent all my time chasing magic, when really what I wanted was to open my heart and feel. My heart was the universe and I wanted to be able to tune into my heart, to all that I had felt so numb toward.”

In that March, 2001 journal entry, I concluded that “If I believe my heart has a voice and something to express, then there will be magic in my life that will only grow.”

Five years before my journal entry, in my late twenties—more than 20 years ago—I was called to New Mexico, where I landed, uncertain as to why. What I do know is that back then I longed so desperately for that magic and spiritual connection—that connection to that sense of God I had no name for back then. Today, as I look around me, I see the magic in front of me. It’s in my heart, and my ability to feel and receive the beauty dc5bf5dac0bbd4d9095f9e6e961b86a2.jpgaround me. It’s in watching the sunset, in sharing my life with my love and partner, in many walks and moments with friends, in the laughter, play, and celebration of our lives together.

As I watch this modern world and its elites wielding for more power and money, I’m saddened by how much we’ve neglected this life, our earth, and its magic that weaves a colorful fabric into our lives. In our need to fill up with more, to pour more into the emptiness, we allow the forests to burn, temperatures to rise, floods to clean away the excess of all that we live. We neglect the poor, those who have so little and need community and care, and in doing so, bit by bit, we destroy our common home.

Maybe opening our hearts and learning to feel and receive the beauty around us, and to love each other and what we have just a bit more, could be what saves us. Maybe, instead of looking for magic and more to fill the emptiness, we wake up to ourselves, to our beating hearts longing to feel again this love that is here and now.

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 was 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

90. Authentic Power Grows our Roots

BLOG 90— (present reflections tied to March 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—What is power? How do feelings of powerless impact our connection to each other and the earth?

As a child we don’t know what power or being in our power means. We come into the world needing food, water, love…all the basics…and we rely on those who raise us to provide these necessities so we can grow strong. Some of us are more fortunate than others. I see many of my students come from families who nourish them well, yet others struggle to grow in what seems like an asphalt of a childhood.

As part of my journey of healing from pain, when I lived in New England in 2001, I had to look at my own feelings of powerless. The pain in my body and my unconscious need to  not “be well” masked what I soon saw as my inability to feel powerful and strong inside myself. As a young adult in her early thirties, I had to face my own feelings of inadequacy that I had developed as a child and find my own power.

“When someone takes your power away as a child, doesn’t let you be wild—to cry, to scream, even fight some if needed—they are taking away your connection to life,” I wrote in 2001 in my journal, reflecting on what happened to me, and happens for so many of us (whether intended or not) when we are not given the room to experience our own nature as children. “When emotions are not acknowledged, it takes away a piece of our humanity and our connection to the earth… our natur62be35a6bd3a630793e474f5b27c09c0al connection to the earth. It cuts us off from source, like plants attempting to grow from above the ground.”

“Our wildness, our expression of ourselves, is our earth voice,” I added. “We are the energy of the earth. She is mirrored in ourselves. We cannot be civilized without the wild. The light without the shadow will destroy us.”

Today, as we live through immense climate change, extreme politics and societal tensions, I think it’s important we learn to become fully empowered, to be our authentic selves…not just a cog in the wheel, an element of production, or a number in a system. The earth needs us now, as we do her, and it’s time we believe in our unique expression of life. For we are here to care for her, for that which sustains us, and not continue to give our power away to those “in power” who prefer to separate us from each other and the earth. We must reawaken our own roots, to belong, once again, to the earth and all that makes life grow.

But how do we come home to our true power, our trbbf1c341cef414be99bb877731e73d56ue selves? How do we stop giving our power to others and stand inside ourselves with love?

We begin by being honest, in facing our fears and those people or energies inside of us that once denied us permission to express our voice. And then we listen—as I had to do during years of healing—and make room for that unique seed inside us to grow and find its connection back to life and it’s blessed place in this magical matrix.

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 was 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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

87. Love is Receiving Grace

BLOG 87—(present reflections tied to February 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—“Love is receiving the grace of God in whatever form it shows up and not being afraid to do so,” I wrote in my journal of early 2001 as I continued to heal from an injury that had become chronic. I had been in New Hampshire back then, dog sitting for friends so I could continue to heal my hips and become whole again.

Every day that winter, no matter the weather, I walked in the park along the beach, practicing a walking meditation that helped me open to the blocks that stopped me from being free from pain. Earlier that summer, while living on a farm, receiving Reiki energy work, and studying shamanism, I had been able to go from barely walking to walking three miles a day. Now, with winter covering the land with her ice and cold, I pushed on, committed to transforming my life while also writing my soul’s healing journey in what today has become my novel, Child of Duende (Niña Duende in its Spanish translation).

As part of the shaman’s path, I had learned to journey (what is described as lucid dreaming). During one of my journeys to heal from pain, I received guidance on my relationship with my father, which I had worked on for many years. In this journey, I was a little girl, crying, with immense pain in my chest. As a child in this journey, I had wanted so much to share a space of ritual with the earth with my father. Yet, as I tried to connect with the earth, with God in this form, I felt my father denying me this (and denying himself this). The message that came to me was that he had wanted me to need him, to be there for him, and to hold his pain, and that being in ritual with the land had no value.

As I received this guidance, I saw that as an empathic 05a631afe1333c5a743fdae41af0a168and sensitive person on this earth (and not aware at the time that I was this way), I had carried a deep sense of responsibility for my father’s happiness, and anyone else’s around me. And ironically, this responsibility blocked me from being the person I needed to be—to be in ritual with the land, to receive the give of love that is here for all of us to receive when we are willing and able to be ourselves.

“My feeling of responsibility for healing my father stopped me from receiving God, from receiving spirit,” I wrote in my journal at the time. These are unusual words to hear, since we are so often taught to be responsible for so much. Yet in taking on other people’s pain—that pain which then we carry inside us—we are blocked from living our true lives. In my journey, I could feel my heart heavy with responsibility and pain that was like black tar that needed to be removed (and was removed through that process).

This morning, I awoke feeling heaviness in my heart, as I have in the past days, because lately I have been there for others who are going through immense pain and struggle, and I have felt concerned. While I wouldn’t take away the gift of being there for those I love, I also felt the need today to come back to myself today and be in relationship with God. So, I opened my door to the snow-filled mountains and fields before me. I picked up my drum, called in the directions, and sang my gratitude to the earth and to all of life. I allowed my heart to open again to the gifts that are in my life and to return to the God within me.

In my singing, I received a great lesson today. I realized a great truth: that of gratitude being the doorway to return into balance and peace. I’ll always recall how a shamanic teacher I once af1293cebd71a3e97c4715321fa9acbfhad had said said that when difficult things happen—accidents, injuries, clumsiness, small foils—it’s because we need to come back into balance. And for him, as a Peruvian shaman, it meant creating a Despacho, which, in the mountains of Peru, is a gift offering to spirit to give thanks to all of life that we have been given (and not concentrate on what we don’t have).

This morning, I could feel the truth in this—and not from a logical place of mind, but from within my body. Before singing, I had felt heavy and sad…akin to an emptiness that wanted to feed off of something to feel better, to fill up. Yet, when I sat still enough and then sang, I could feel that this heaviness and sadness were my disconnect from source (and carrying responsibilities that weren’t mine) and it was a whole lot of gratitude that needed to be expressed (not just in words or felt, but sang out as a gift that only humans can give in this way to spirit—to that from which all this life springs).

I felt today that in gratitude we receive and really feel the gifts, and in giving back to source our song, this heaviness inside can also transform to light. I saw that in this culture that feeds so much on life, consuming more and more to feel satiated and feed the addiction of our emptiness, we need to give back, to give back in gratitude for our lives so we can make more room inside ourselves to receive what we are blessed to have (and to let go of being responsible for that which is not ours to carry).

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 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

Remembering: Goodbye with Love (a break from my regular blog)

(1/13/2019): The memories came flooding back to me today…holding my father’s hand, still warm with a gentle pulse, as I lay my head down at his side on the hospital bed inside the living room. He was finally sleeping after the on-and-off pain he endured due to the melanoma that spread blisters up his legs and the immense pain in his legs due to some ailment doctors could never pinpoint.

My father and I had been through so much in those last years of his life—trying to stitch together the pain of earlier years into peace and love. And here he was, in early February, this month two years ago, fighting for his life that was preparing to go. He knew. I knew it. Or at least his spirit knew it was time, for months earlier, when he lay in the hospital room, the day the doctors diagnosed him with melanoma, he came to me in my dream, and let me know it was time to go.

Today, I relived those last days, last minutes, as if yesterday. He lay in the bed, me listening to every breath, knowing each could be the last. I listened with my heart, the way we listen when we come from that unconditional love that knows how to be present and treasure this present that is still with us for a brief time.

That night, after laying my head next to my father in that eternal stillness, I went to bed. In the quiet of the night, and throughout my sleep, I could feel my father next to me. Actually, I felt as if I had become him, lying there, between the bars of the hospital bed, fragile, clinging to life. There was no separation. And the next morning, when I woke up, I ran to my father’s bed, making sure he was still there.

My father lasted a few more days, long enough to live his 79th birthday on February 20 and to see my cousin, Rogelio, who visited him from Argentina and whom he had awaited for eagerly before departing this world. But that memory remains with me so strong today—of laying my head next to his, and feeling his journey so deeply as if it were mine. And then finally being there with him until the very last breath. 

I didn’t cry that day he left. I couldn’t. 84e0990e9ed9a00cb08dc66604c77fdfA part of me had left as well, so I didn’t feel him gone the way we do when we finally let go and step back into our ordinary lives. There was nothing ordinary about being with someone so dear to me until the very end. There was a tenderness and an appreciation of life that was so profound that I didn’t want to ever let that go.

Yesterday my boyfriend, his sister, and I made a dinner to honor their mother who left this world this past May. We placed two bouquets of white flowers on the table with a place for her to eat as well. She was a beautiful woman, one I felt so honored to have known during the months before her passing. As I felt those last days with my father, laying there next to him toward the very end, I recalled how my boyfriend’s sister lay next to her mother to keep her company in the end.

When we feel the ones we love so close that we can hear their every breath, knowing it could be the last, how do we ever forget that? How do we ever grieve the preciousness of another who has now left for another world?

Today, I feel the grief that lives inside all that love and loss. And I pray for those who have lost someone so dear, as my boyfriend and his sister did more recently, to be able to take that great love and live again as one more angel flies in the sky above us. May we all cry that grief of beauty that has left us, and, in return, bring a bit more heart into this world.

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 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