88. My Soul is Tender after Spain

BLOG 88—(present reflections tied to February 2001 journal entries about my healing journey and my return from presenting my novel in Spain)—I returned almost a month ago from Spain, from a book tour with my novel in Spanish, Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espíritu, presented in four cities (Madrid, Murcia, Málaga, and Granada) and six venues. My journey to Spain was a homecoming, a return to the land that had shown me my soul. And this time I came with my novel, written while in the U.S., a kind of exile from that home.

My soul is tender now, not just because my gift as a writer and healer and as the person I am were beautifully received, but because, upon returning home to New Mexico, I now feel a truth I wrestled with almost 20 years ago, when healing from hip pain in New England.

Back then, while in pain and learning to listen to my soul’s voice, I wrote about feeling angry at being asked to “unmask” myself. I had worked with shamans from Ecuador, translating for them in events, and one had told me, ever so subtly, that maybe my whole journey of healing was about become soft again, about softening, which for me was a kind of “unmasking”.

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Me as a little girl in Spain (front, left)

Twenty years ago, that meant becoming that little, vulnerable girl I had once been. “How dare you ask me to soften when I’ve worked so hard to gain the power, strength, and courage I have had to survive,” I wrote in my journal in 2001. “I feel the younger person I was didn’t have any power or value, and that all the power and value I had, I had to build from the ashes of my father’s blaze.”

It’s especially interesting reading those words of long ago, when today, a month since returning from Spain, I awoke from a dream that resonated with what I had written. I dreamed I was in high school again, and I had just come from Spain to the U.S. and felt extremely alone inside those school walls. In my dream, I felt what it had been like back then, entering into an environment that had been so harsh and foreign to me. And I woke up feeling the angst and trauma of it all, while also getting how I had coped back then by shutting down, becoming depressed, numb, and disconnected because it wasn’t safe to feel the pain of being a stranger among all these students I was meant to connect DSC01189with, yet couldn’t. I got how a part of me had, as they say in the shamanic world, lost a part of my soul when I came to the U.S. and needed to survive.

As I lay in bed this morning, feeling all of this, I got so clearly that this is so much what happens to all of us. Every one of us experiences different traumas that we need to survive, and in order to do so, a part of us leaves, shuts down, disappears. We keep on going, appear normal to the outside world, but later, somewhere down the road, we pay the price, because a part of us is locked down, gone, and without this part, we are not whole. And then we hit some big wall in life—as I did with my injury and not being able to walk—and then the journey backwards, toward those moments in which we shut off and dissociate, begins. Because we must go back and retrieve those parts of us that we left somewhere else while we were busy surviving.

This morning, after my dream, I meditated, and I felt my soul’s tenderness. I really felt it. Because I got so clearly that all the places in our lives where we stop feeling, where we have to override our soul’s tenderness, our soul’s beautiful soft body that is as light and agile as the wind or a feather, need to be felt. We need to feel these moments where we weren’t really present, where we checked out, and we need to check back in, with immense compassion for our soul’s beauty and tenderness. We need to feel, and feel, and feel again, and less the fright we felt, and more that soft, vulnerable part of us that we shut down yet wants to be seen…that truly human, big-hearted part of us that we need 65205100_2304147666339710_1329517034966351872_nwith us so we can be our full soul-selves in our bodies. Then, and only then, can we experience true joy for living.

Ironically, when I came back from Spain this time, I met up with a woman who had been in my high school class in New Jersey, yet was now living in New Mexico. And what I discovered is that we had a lot in common and were very much on a similar spiritual path. Yet this time, unlike so many other times I had returned to the U.S. from Spain, I was able to feel that child I once had been who had gotten lost in the U.S.  I returned to New Mexico to make peace with that trauma I had experienced as a child when I had originally come to the U.S. from Spain. And now, that tenderness of my soul, that soft body, can more fully come home inside me.

I see now, that when I, or any of us, feel that sense of agitation, that disconnect in our lives, that it’s really a call to feel that tenderness that is our essence, and inside that space, to feel those parts of ourselves that were left behind and that long to return, to be seen, to be felt, to be whole within us again.

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” in Spanish: https://youtu.be/FaRK7wOHcJU, and in English: YouTube Video

 

 

Niña Duende Travels to Spain

5/20/2019: There’s a place in my life, where the wildflowers once grew in arid fields of piñon, rosemary, and thyme; where the passion reigned in the marketplace; and where, as a child, I awakened a deep connection to the land and the culture. This place, called Spain, I now return, as I once promised myself, to bring a gift of my novel, Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espíritu, and her story that belongs to the land and her people. I’ll be presenting my novel with Flamenco guitar in Madrid, Murcia, Málaga, and Granada. I’m also offering a writing workshop in Málaga. Please join me if you can for this special book tour in the land I love that wrote my story.

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20/5/2019: Hay un lugar en mi vida, donde las flores salvajes crecían en el campo árido de piñon, romero, y tomillo; donde reinaba la pasión en el mercado, y donde, de joven, me despertó una conección sagrada y profunda con su tierra y gente.  Vuelvo a este lugar llamado España, como me prometí, para compartir mi novela, Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espíritu, y su cuento que se pertenece a su tierra y gente. Presentaré mi novela con guitarra de flamenco en Madrid, Murcia, Málaga, y Granada.  También, ofreceré un taller de escritura en Málaga. Favor de acompañarme si puede para este viaje del libro en el país que amo y que escribió mi novela.

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My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of thSpirit, 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

A Night of Gypsy Dance (novel excerpt)

JOIN IN FLAMENCO with my novel CHILD OF DUENDE (blog intermission):

Duende stepped reluctantly deeper into the tavern. A short, stocky Gypsy man began to sing in Spanish. He called out the anguish of a people who swore they would never forget the beating of their hearts. One, two, three. One, two, three. “I am Gypsy, and this port carries the tears of my people…aya… aya…” His voice elbowed its way through the room. “Aya… aya…aya… my warm tears fall in a cold sea.” The man sang from the deepest part of his throat, producing a sound like the bow off the strings of a reverberating cello. (Child of Duende Website)

“Paquito, Paquito,” the crowd cheered, but Duende remained still, watching at least a dozen spirits dancing fiercely in a circle around her, almost dizzying her by the time Paquito ended his song and broke the spell she was under.

“Come here, darling,” the singer said, his voice as full as the ocean. 

Timidly, Duende stepped toward Paquito, who took her hand and introduced her to Graciela, the dancer. “Show her how to dance Gypsy,” he told her, releasing Duende’s hand. His sweat remained in her palm and thickened with her own. All eyes were on her.

Graciela moved forward with her masklike face—black eyebrows, blood red lips; her wrists wrapped in multiple colorful bracelets resting on her waist. With her hair pulled back in a ponytail, stretching her mouth into a broad smile, she lifted her arms as her hands hit each other, making a loud, clanging sound. The woman smiled through her missing teeth. Graciela’s eyes held Duende’s gaze. The girl stared, frozen, waiting for some signal to call her into action. The woman nodded a subtle invitation to begin and lifted her skirt to her knees. 

Duende looked down at her pants, her little fingers grabbing what material she could. The room remained quiet. The other dancers had stopped moving, their eyes on the girl who now watched Graciela intently. Tap. The dancer pressed the toe of her foot to the ground. Tap. Her heel lifted. Tap. She looked at Duende. Nodded. Duende felt the stiffness of the pants she wore. Her hands shook as she noticed her sneakers. She shrunk in front of this queen and her black-heeled shoes. The room broke into laughter, the crowd clapping, calling out in a clatter of exclamations: “How adorable.” “Look at the little one.” “Look at those shoes.”

But then a loud clap broke the noise. Duende’s heart thumped. Her eyes darted back to Graciela, who directed fierce concentration toward her. Clap. Graciela commanded the room. The girl’s feet pressed forward against the floor, her heels, one at a time, lifted. She fumbled for balance as she looked up at her hands attempting to come together. Clap. She raised her hands to the left, slightly above her, imitating Graciela. Duende didn’t dare take her eyes off the woman.

Again, she clapped, but this time the flats of her palms met like discs of rusted metal. Smack. Graciela’s eyes turned to fire. Look, her eyes insisted. Clap. Her hands cupped slightly to produce a fearless sound. Hollow on the inside. Solid on the outside. The lines of her hands found each other like suction cups.

Duende followed suit, this time producing a sound that echoed the dancer’s. Clap. The corner of Graciela’s mouth revealed a quick grin. Duende let her thin lips stretch across her face, while cupping her palms to clap in time with her feet. Point, clap. Point, clap. Graciela added more. Duende’s eyes remained fixed on Graciela’s. The dancer approved. Never lose your partner’s eyes, she seemed to tell the girl. That night Duende knew at least this. Point, clap. Point, clap. The crowd picked up its pace, becoming louder and louder, cheering olé, before others joined in the dance. Paquito sang and Duende became lost in other people’s movement, and inside a bubble of spirits encircling her in dance and celebration.

A Tiny Taste of My Novel

Ρaco’s voice slid deep into the smoke-filled room. Silence sifted into the space between his breaths. Crying with the anguish of a people who had left their homeland centuries ago, he carried a song that still knew its way inside the heartbeat of the earth. Eight-year-old Duende listened. Twenty-eight-year-old Ingrid barely remembered this mysterious melody that came from within.

In the small village of Málaga, on the coast of Spain, where the Mediterranean Sea separated Europe from Africa, from the Arabic cries of “Allah,” and from the Jews’ search for their homeland, Paco and his Gypsy song remained. Duende, raised in this culture, knew this song and its origin, yet Ingrid, tossed into the modern reality of separation, had yet to find her way back.

This is the story of both, woven together by magical vines carrying the blood of the earth and a forgotten way of living.

 

My novel’s prologue provides a taste of my recently released novel, Child of Duende, an adventure of a twenty-eight-year-old German journalist, Ingrid, who returns to her childhood home of Málaga, Spain, to cover a remarkable story: on Señor Ramos’s vineyard, the vines are growing out of control. What’s more, they appear to be bleeding. Can it possibly be true? Ingrid feels a mysterious connection to the increasingly strange events taking place in her hometown, but why?Duende Return Transparent Orange (1).png

As Ingrid’s story interweaves with that of an eight-year-old child, whose grandmother fates her with the name Duende—a word that refers to the spirit of the earth that one must awaken from within—Ingrid embarks on a journey of personal rediscovery. Duende dances with Gypsies; travels below the sea with an earth spirit; speaks with her grandmother’s spirit; and has dreams that deeply transform her reality and Ingrid’s. Ultimately, Ingrid’s return home reveals a truth that has been buried in the ground for millennia. Described by world-renowned teacher and award-winning author Sandra Ingerman as “a beautiful story that will take you into magical and mystical realms,” Child of Duende is a journey home.

**For more information on my novel or on my teaching and healing work, visit my newly-revised website: http://www.michelleadam.net

**Above Illustration is one of several Child of Duende Interior Illustrations by Jenna Kass.

(My regular blog will return soon, with novel passages interspersed. Stay tuned!)