Easter Sunday: A Gift of Life

BLOG 56: August, 1999—Sometimes the most remarkable things happen to us to remind us of the magic of the universe—or at least it did on an average day in New Jersey almost twenty years ago.

I had just left the Staples store and was walking to my car, where, to my surprise, stood a bird below my windshield. It was small—the size of my hand—with a tiny head and a curved beak, like that of an eagle, pecking away at the bottom of my windshield. This white tuxedo-tailed bird, with a speck of thinly painted blue at the tip of its tail, was so focused on its task at hand that it barely noticed me approach.

As I got closer, only a foot away, it lifted its head and watched me with delicate eyes. Seemingly comfortable with my presence, I inched closer. It finally moved, although barely, further along the windshield, resuming its pecking task.

Surprised that it didn’t fly away, I carefully entered my car, turned on the motor, and ever so slowly drove out of the Staples parking lot. Despite the car’s motion, this little bird continued pecking my windshield, bit by bit, toward the passenger side of the car. I couldn’t believe it! I drove onto the New Jersey highway of all places and it stayed with me until I got off the highway and crossed a bridge onto a smaller street. The bird only flew away after it had completed its job, pecking the bottom of my windshield from left to right.

I felt sad to watch my little blue-tailed bird fly off. Yet I sensed that this angel of sorts had been sent to me to tell me know that I was not alone, and to show me that I would receive the help I needed to clear emotionaafc6856912051e61b3e8fca1c408f927l issues from my hips that had caused years of pain. This little bird had been my messenger, staying with me long enough, pecking from left to right, to clear old energies from my life. Soon I sensed calm and peace would return to my life.

Most recently, with my own father’s passing, I was, once again, reminded of how I am not alone—that there are angels watching over us, guiding us, even if we can’t see them. Several weeks after my father had left this physical world, he came to me in a dream. I was told he was here to watch over me, and others, to help us heal and manifest our dreams.

It seemed odd to me, that in such short time after his death, he would be offering to help to us. After all, there had been so much healing between him and me toward the end of his life. He had learned to be so strong as a child growing up in Germany during World War II, and, later, as a U.S. immigrant who had left his beloved Argentina, the country of his adolescence. He was someone who could be incredibly tough and hurtful, and yet, two weeks after his death, he came to me as an angel of sorts.

It’s ironic and mysterious how life is as we change form and purpose, and the visible becomes invisible. It reminds me to never assume life is just what we see with our logical mind. Today, I marvel at how that little bird came to visit me almost twenty years ago, and how my father has returned as a kind of angel despite the hardships he experienced during his physical life. It seems we are given gifts in mysterious ways, even when we cannot truly see or understand the magic of this universe.a896b05c9b196939315677f29b87bc8c

Today, as we celebrate Easter Sunday, I am reminded that those who once walked upon this earth—flesh and blood—have ascended, and may be with us now to help us, to heal us, and to be our angels. We are reminded, on this Holy Day, that we are never alone.

*This magical white, blue-tipped bird now appears in my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, representing the unseen world that is painting its magic upon life’s canvas. 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

 

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

39. My Wings Circle Around Me in Love

WHEN WAS YOUR LAST SURREAL MOMENT? 

BLOG 39: August, 1998—Four months had passed since living with my parents in a small house in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, a community far away from Oakland, California, and New Mexico, where I had been for several years.  Two years ago, I had left New Jersey, from my parents’ earlier house, to go out west, to discover my wings, only to injure myself and return to this place of family.

Suburban life had always been a challenge for my free spirit, but it had become even more so since   traveling out west and experiencing the openness of the land and sky there. But now, Stefan, a friend I had fallen in love with and had danced with before traveling out west, was visiting. My parents were out of town, and being with him again was like being drunk.

Stefan and I had choreographed and performed a dance together at Omega Institute, a holistic studies center in Rhinebeck, New York State, and while we had gotten very close physically, we had never become full lovers or been in a relationship. He had come to New York from his hometown of Montreal (his parents were Haitian), and although we had become intimate through dance, he had chosen to maintain an element of tension between us that had pulled at me painfully, even when I was out west.

Now as he visited, we went into Brooklyn to see his Caribbean relatives, who were so warm in their touch and way, that I wished I could stay with them longer. But then we went to the ocean, where the piercing grey, blue sky that covered the sand and ocean merged with the orange ball of sun detumblr_mocdvsd18d1rub0hvo1_500scending in the sky. It seemed everyone just sat watching the blue crystal waters of infinity melting inside the sunset.

Nature wrapped herself around Stefan and me for these brief moments that erased time, with even the most hurried stopping to observe. “It’s not surreal, it’s very real,” said Stefan as I mentioned to him how surreal it felt. I agreed with his words, yet there was something surreal in that this moment didn’t belong to us alone. It was a collective experience that moved through us inside a dimension that made no distinctions, had no direction to go, no beginning, no end. It was a kind of “now” that erased even presence itself.

As I sat with Stefan in this magical place, I realized that my love for him, or my feelings of in-loveness that I had held onto for so long, had no future, no life beyond these moments. Together we shared a spark that lit up the space between us. But, it was time for me to take that fire and openness I had experienced in the west, and cool those aching parts of myself—the hunger and fear—inside the clear blue skies of the East Coast, and come home to magic within.

So grateful I was for these days with Stefan, for I was able to close an old chapter, and feel my wings circling around me in love for a more mature life of reciprocal joy.      

WHEN WAS YOUR LAST SURREAL MOMENT? 

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, shares a story of coming home. 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

Duende: A Creative Fusion of Spirit and Matter

September 24, 2016–Last week, I asked, “Where do spirit and matter meet?,”and this week, as I sat down to write, I felt called to answer this question: they meet when we share our soul’s longing and gift with others through creative fusion and love…when we embody our spirit through creative expression.

This is so much what happened at this past Thursday’s Storytelling and Spanish Guitar and Tapas event I had at my local library with Ronaldo Baca, a Flamenco guitarist, who played guitar as I shared my story of passion and love for the Spanish land and culture that inspired my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit. About 45 people joined me and Ronaldo Baca, who had chosen to collaborate with me  because he, too, understood and shared the depth of love I had for the Spanish land and her soul that “raised me.”

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My reading began with these words: “There’s a voice inside the earth, subtle, yet there, easing her song, her melody of sweet, nurturing love into every part of our being. This voice–this ancient, primordial song–came to me as a child, from the land in Spain who sang my young child’s soul alive. This evening is dedicated to her and to the novel that I wrote, which comes from her soul.”

Ronaldo Baca played and sang a Flamenco Malaguena before I began, and ended with an Alegria.  It was so beautiful and carried such soul and duende–that 14358994_1297863966891868_4847407625166353127_nspontaneous, raw, creative passion–that I felt a great of wave of gratitude come over me. I then told the story of the earth’s spirit, the soul of Spain, and that place within us as a child that is so alive, and full of imagination and room for spirit to rise within us. It was a sweet, honey-filled way to honor Equinox and the first day of autumn.

At the end of the event,  one woman came to me in tears and shared how I had reminded her of her magical childhood–of a time when she and others in her family believed in spirits, in worlds unseen, and lived the richness of her child’s imagination. This evening for her, and for others (including me), was a reminder that there’s an eternal door open to us to walk through, at any time, into this place of magic–of duende14468783_1297864270225171_5534532804577011312_o–that we may have carried as a child…and to live this once again.

Check it out: A Short Clip from Storytelling Event

My novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474769851&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende (or can be ordered through your local bookstore).

 

 

 

 

 

12. In Search of Magic

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?

Blog 12: October 22-28, 1986—I can’t keep track of time in this love bubble. What is happening to me? I am becoming completely lost in this place that feels oddly right. This space of nothing. Everything moves through it at an unusually slow pace—slow, but fast. It’s a contradiction, like when they say you have to go slow in order to go fast.

These days I ride on a prayer, especially since making a promise to this wide-open desert of New Mexico to stay here. Given my background as a journalist and photo-journalist, I decide to interview and write articles on Debbie Jaramillo, the first female mayor—and definitely the first Latina mayor—of Santa Fe since it was inhabited by the Spanish 500 years ago. I send my articles to major Latina magazines, which eagerly accept them. But for the most part, I am content living day to day, dancing, making love (with Richard), and going nowhere, really.

But then, suddenly this bubble bursts, and I scream out, banging the floor in rage, asking why in the hell I’m out here. I feel lost and uncomfortable with this feeling. I want something magical to happen, for some insight to explain this odd stop in the middle of the desert. I want to learn from a shaman or someone who can show me how to work through the blocks that keep me resisting the magic I believed in as a child.

From seven to eleven years old, I used to sit in the fields of Spain and pray to God. For some innate reason, I believed in magic, in an invisible world, even though I was raised with little religion. Later, in my mid-twenties, when I danced with my partner, Stefan, I also experienced how we are creators of the magic that exists between us and our relationship to the eternal. I lived that magic, but now, here, in a land so similar to the high mesa terrain of central Spain, I’m lost.

I sit still with myself and ask what it is I really want. I came out west because I longed for more land, more humanity. I wanted love. I had also hoped for home where I didn’t have to fight to live a spiritual life, and where I could find wisdom in the ancient ones.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?