84. The Way of the Warrior

BLOG 84—(present reflections tied to January 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—The fire burned full and dark that night on the beach when my friend and I watched a car go up in flames under winter’s full moon. Unknowingly, we watched a man take his life, and weeks later, under the full moon, I gathered with shamans to help his lost soul cross to the other side.

Sometimes, in all the challenges we face, we find life unbearable, and like this man, think of ending it all. Yet, once gone, our soul somehow knows there was and is another way…another way beyond the pain and limitations of our earthly experience. We realize that  we can choose the way of the warrior—the way that I had the privilege of seeing with my boyfriend’s mother, before she, herself, made that journey in peace beyond this physical world several weeks ago.

Back in the winter of 2001, when I had witnessed the sad departure of this man on the beach, I wrote about being a warrior. And now, in retrospect, I see the gift in what I wrote then (and maybe found somewhere written, and copied)—the same gift my boyfriend’s mother carried before leaving this physical realm.

“The Way of the Warrior is to know the darkness within ourselves, in others, and in the world, yet to choose to have full heart, to be irrational in the face of it all, and in being irrational, to wear lightness and joy like an outfit, like a mask, that not only covers our face, but is worn by us so every molecular level of ourselves is infused with this outfit. With this choice, we wear our destiny before it wears us.

“It is not why we are confused when a great man falls or acts otherwise, because we have come to believe that this mask is them, when truly the mask they have shape shifted into by choice, can also, by choice, be shape shifted out of. It is their occupation on earth to be of light, of full heart, while they carry within them, more than anyone 75140d825752a853f25863ba0a2d857felse, the truth of their deepest darkness. Their act is a conscious one and requires constant vigilance and discipline. Every time these people carry themselves in this full-hearted manner, it is an exception to the rule and that is why people are drawn to them…we must ask ourselves to be exceptional in this manner and not depend on the hard work of others to give us hope in our own exceptionalism.”

As I read now what I wrote then, I feel honored to have known my boyfriend’s mother for a brief time before she left. She had plenty of hardships in her life–ones that would easily embitter anyone–but she chose to live with kind, giving heart, and to bless those around her with wisdom and love despite it all. She left behind the exceptional legacy of a warrior for her children and others to learn from and follow.

During these times when it’s easy to surrender to cynicism, and choose anger over love, depression and self-pity over the unreasonable hope of the warrior, it is more important than ever to reach into our souls and be warriors of love…to learn from people like my boyfriend’s mother to never give up…to fight for life, for what matters!

This weekend, in Taos, New Mexico, on Saturday, June 23, at 5:30p.m. at SOMOS, I’ll be sharing that spirit of aliveness and celebration of life to Storytelling with my novel, Child of Duende, with Flamenco guitarist and singer Ronaldo Baca and Flamenco dancer Catalina Rio-Fernandez. Come join us and share the news!

Child of Duende TAOS FINAL poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

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77. This Tree Grows Roots in Winter

BLOG 77—(present reflections tied to September 2000 journal entries about my healing and novel writing journey)—I used to walk along the forest path that lay across from the New England farmhouse where I lived in my early 30’s during my summer of 2000. Almost every day—when I wasn’t in too much pain from energy sessions intended to heal my hips—I walked the woods, learning to open my heart to life.

It was a meditation, a healing practice, a lesson in receiving and breathing in life beyond the pain that limited my mobility. I began with one hundred feet in early summer, and then, step by step, I reached three miles at summer’s end.

When I began this meditation journey, I soon realized how easy it was for me to not feel, to close myself to nature and life around me. Inner voices, thoughts, and tightness in my breath surfaced easily, and I could feel how much my emotions of the past blocked me from being present to the trees or anything else. Yet I listened, bowed to the forest and breathed in a kind of Namaste in order to open my heart despite my limitations.

During one of my walks in late September, I reflected on my earlier years growing up in New Jersey, where my family had lived after leaving Spain. I had been eleven back then, and it had been so hard to connect with the forest and earth that surrounded our house. The trees felt too still for me, too heavy and dark, closing in on me in comparison to the wide-open desert lands I had so loved in Spain. During those years in New Jersey, the forest had represented the density and disconnect I had felt in my life back in the United States.

As I walked the woods in late September of 2000, I was once again reminded of how the forest had been a place of restriction, of not being able to move from and with the emotional pain of my past that had now taken physical form. “The trees were not an escape or a source of love back then because they were like me, stuck with being with what was, of being where a seed had first been planted,” I wrote in my journal during that summer in New England in which I had chosen to be with my constriction I had carried for so many years.

The forest became my place of healing, of learning to open my heart to everything and no longer try to escape. It became a place to feel my fear of rootedness, of relationship, of intimacy. I felt the betrayal I had carried in my heart, the deep distrust in others I had held as a teenager, and that unsafe place of being rooted with my family and having nowhere to go.

Ironically, that day I walked in the woods in late September presented me with three snakes along my path. One of them literally blocked the path and seemed to be saying, “Don’t go any further—be with what you are sensing.” As I did so, I began to feel, for the first time, that I didn’t need to fear being rooted anymore.

“I can be rooted in myself and be safe if I stand for mys8d9f3a29417c5772fddb425161b6a720.jpgelf no matter where I am, “I wrote in my journal back then. “The trees are a great lesson in going deep within the earth and also reaching toward the sky. It’s not about moving forward. It’s about moving upward and out, into the darkness and light inside one being, one breath, and I can feel protected and lifted inside this space.”

Today, at the beginning of winter here in New Mexico, these words seem to resonate strongly. Isn’t this the time for us, inside this darkness, to listen to that place inside where the seeds of spring are sown? Now is no different than that summer in New England so long ago when I wrote that “the roots and the darkness are the stories, the dreams that become realized in the light. The soul needs darkness to dream, and light to realize itself.”

This past weekend, as I sat with my love, reflecting on what we wanted to call forth in this New Year, I began to feel, more than anything, my desire to sink into that still place where winter offers us her cold fingers, yet warm hearth. I felt called to return to that place of dreaming, of meditation, of listening, so insights become the roots of the tree I am …the roots that, in springtime, will help me grow new branches reaching even further up toward the light.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about discovering, inside the earth, the spirit that we are. 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

 

 

73. Giving Thanks for My Life and Work

BLOG 73—(present reflections tied to August 2000 journal entries about my healing and novel-writing journey)—Long days and nights of summer mist; consistent poetry workshops on Mondays; daily walks in the woods, every day with more strength and presence; evening feasts to cicada rhythms with visiting family and friends; swimming in the pool; tending to the garden; and meditating, healing my hips, and writing my novel’s story led to a special  moment on August 18 on Skimmilk Farm in New England…

Jean Pedrick and I at Skimmilk Farm (photo of a black & white picture taken by Carl Hyatt in 2000).

… that special night I finished my novel, which back then was simply called Duende. This 80,000 word manuscript began merely as a short story with no goal other than to follow the hunger that lay inside my aching body back in 1996, yet four years later it became my novel. I let out a sigh of amazement as the stars filled the skies on that August night on the farm. And not only was my novel finished, I was also healing my hips and beginning to walk again.

“Last night I finished Duende,” I wrote back then. “I completed my book at about 2 a.m. and then sat in front of my mesa, my altar, taking in the message and love of Duende, the spirit that rests in my bones, that is my bones, wanting to speak. As I wrote the last pieces of my novel, I felt the hunger, the altogether chaos and wildness of that earth-honoring self that I was, that we all are. I sat with that part of myself that surrenders to knowing, to truly understanding; that stands in the middle of the jungle, in that space of not separating from the jungle that is my body, that is myself, crawling its vines, its seemingly chaotic and random living through me, through us…that part that doesn’t try to figure out and dissect what is (for that will kill us), but surrenders to not knowing all the answers; because to know it all would be to separate ourselves from source that is so much bigger and vaster than ourselves and

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Jean Pedrick and I at Skimmilk Farm (photo of a black & white picture taken by Carl Hyatt in 2000).

yet is ourseleves as well. To contain this vastness would be to kill ourselves, to destroy the very part of ourselves that yearns to fly and live and truly taste the truth of our existence. This, I felt, was the duende that led me to write my novel and the very story that wished to teach me and others about an essence of life that we all have access to.

Back in 2000, I thought I had finished my novel, yet there were many more layers and chapters to write. I don’t regret any of the lengthy process of it. Not one bit. Not the years with several agents who shopped my novel to big publishers with optimistic reviews but no takers. Not the years of rewrites and further rewrites. It all became a part of a journey home to duende, to this spirit inside me that I continue to celebrate every day. The end of my novel then, and the publication of my novel more than a year ago became, in essence, the beginning of my true, fully-realized life.

Today, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, I stay home nursing an intense cold. But I’m grateful.  I am grateful that the life I live now comes from deep within me, that it comes from my spirit, my essence coming first in whatever I do. There’s a sense of peace in this, a sense of knowing there is nowhere I need to go, that the richness of each moment is here, inside me, and around me. If I honor my creative spirit and surrender that which guides me in each moment, all will be okay.

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Photo of a photo taken by Carl Hyatt in 2000.

A few weeks ago, I also offered a Shamanic Writing Workshop with Burt Kempner, a fellow author, and remember feeling gratitude for having completed a successful class. At one point I was with my partner, Gorky, and he was sharing with me how wonderful the class had been. As he said these words, I began to cry a sense of recognizing that I had come home; that I was doing my life’s work on this earth, even if it was bit by bit as I worked a so-called day job. What a gift to be with someone I loved and to share in the harvest of all that I had worked so hard to become!

On this day of Giving Thanks, I give thanks to the fact that I not only published my novel (after completing it 20 years ago!), but that I can share my work and my life’s passion with my partner, family, and friends, near and far, who have seen me grow into the person I have become (and thanks to those who dropped off Thanksgiving food to me!). What a blessing to be surrounded by love and also be guided by a vaster universe that weaves its magic through me and all of us!

Blessings to you All!

Give a gift of magic, spirit, and returning home with Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, for these upcoming holidays! 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

Confessions: A Night of Creative Awakening and a Writing Offering

10/28/2017: I have a confession: yes, I love the night. I really do. (I will return to regular blog shortly) 

Although I adore the sun, I love when his golden light fades into the sunset and modernity’s fierce flame of urgency disappears. Yes, this flame disappears and the feminine darkness invites me into her subtle, soft, creative juices, where I bathe for hours, like a rebel against the insanity of today’s world.

No one is watching when I light a candle of my own inside this dim, but potent night. She reveals to me a restless urge inside, a longing to return to source, and be the creative life-song that comes from within. I sow the seeds that require darkness and the spirits of the night to begin germination inside my belly. I listen to my dreams, to the unraveling

Painting by my ancestor, Frida Kraemer, wife of one of many family artists. I love the sense of freedom of this painting.  

of my consciousness, to places inside, of barbed wire pressing against my heart, my wings. I discover what I must do to untangle this mess we’ve been taught to be, and make way for a new dawn of love, of being the creator of our own destiny.

This morning, I let the sun dance in the sky as I stayed with my dreams, easing my way into daylight. No rush. Nothing to prove as I used to do years ago. I am free. We are free. We can all be free in ways we’ve long forgotten.

Writing has been a path toward this freedom for me, a place of deep meditation with my soul’s longing. I imagine it has also been from my dear author friend and children’s book writer, Burt Kempner, who will be traveling from Florida to here, New Mexico, to offer with me a Shamanic Writing Workshop on Saturday, November 4th, from 2-4:45p.m. at Tortuga Gallery. This is a unique chanceWriting Class with Burt.jpg (1) for Burt and I to work together and offer this journey of the soul and a taste of that freedom I speak of.

If you are in Albuquerque, New Mexico, next Saturday, November 4th, please join us. This may be a one-time offering with Burt, who comes with such an immense heart of the imagination and award-winning talent as a children’s book author and television producer (he has produced shows on PBS, Discovery, History Channel, and CNBC). I also bring with me my own experience leading healing circles and classes, and Flamenco performances with my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, here in New Mexico and in Washington State, California, and Argentina.

In this almost-three-hour workshop, Burt and I will take you on a journey to awaken your soul’s voice through writing, and help you discover, explore, and write the voices and matrix of ourselves and all of life–the animals, wind, water–that coexist with us on this earth. Our intention is to invite you to experience writing as a process of connecting to the life within and all around us in a shared, rich manner.

My heart is tender, my wings soft, in my offer to join us, Burt Kempner and I, next Saturday. I am honored to share this place of surrender, of the feminine creative force that awakens within us in the night, in the dark, in the stillness that carries our longing for another way. I feel we have all been so busy, running around, doing “life” in this modern, insane way, and I so I look forward to time inward, together, exploring who we really are.

Upcoming Shamanic Writing Workshop information: at 2-4:45 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, at Tortuga Gallery, 901 Edith Blvd., SE, Albuquerque, NM 87012 (Park on Pacific Ave.). No writing experience needed. $30.00. RSVP at writeaway@hotmail.com or 505 923 0649 or at Facebook event page ( Facebook Shamanic Writing Event Page )

Also, for more information on My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, see my Amazon Page  or  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

 

 

62. Unchartered Pilgrimage of the Heart

BLOG 62: June, 2000—I arrived with my friends Carl and Molly at the colonial farmhouse that would be my summer home—my three months with God, the earth, and my broken body and spirit. The old, dark brown house stood only inches away from the cracked, New England road that epitomized what I loved about this part of the country. And on either side of the house were open fields, high wheat grasses on one end, and a large lawn and soon-to-be-tilled garden on the other.

Jean, the owner of this summer house, appeared by the driveway to greet us. Almost 80 years old with formal blazer, short grey hair, and cigarette in hand, she reminded me of the great novelist and friend of Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein. Only thing was that Jean, a poet herself and one of the first women to establish a publishing house for women poets, carried an unusual combination of Boston formality and an unusual earthy “I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks about me” look.

My eyes were drawn to her cigarette as she led my friends and I into the old farmhouse that seemed rather dark despite two floors of rooms with ample windows. Who was this woman I would live with and help out during my summer of healing? I asked myself.

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Jean Pedrick (A photo I took long ago. Beauty!) 

After all, we had never met—only spoke by phone before her son and I met in New York City to scope each other out and make sure his mother and I would be a good fit. I had never thought about there being cigarette smoke wafting up along dark walls filled with ghost-like photographs of times gone by until it reached the room I’d live in or the ancient bed made of actual horse hair I’d sleep on!

I remember looking out the window, toward the road it faced, where my friends drove away after helping me unpack the few items I had. It felt as if my parents had just dropped me off at camp (not that I had experienced this before in my life!) and I was alone in a dark house with a stranger who smoked and seemed rather aloof as Bostonians could be.

I feared I had made a mistake in trusting divine grace to bring me here, yet I eventually fell asleep to the sweet sound of cicadas surrounding the house and trees. mondaysatskimilk3-940x467.jpgThe weeks to follow were the beginning of magic, though, of discovering what’s possible when we show up with clear prayer and intention, and leave the rest up to God. Jean, who died several years later, would become one of numerous angels offering me retreat from the chains of pain I had carried for far too long.

Since those days with Jean and her family, I’ve learned that the grace of God shows her face when we finally surrender and hand over the reins of our limited longing—and when we’re truly ready to receive the gift that awaits us. The form it comes in can be deceiving—as Jean did with cigarette in hand and serious disposition—but it comes, ready to give of itself to the unchartered pilgrimage of our soul.

20170720_191044About a month ago from today, after arriving back to New Mexico from Buenos Aires and our family’s honoring of my recently-deceased father’s life, I met another angel of sorts in man’s clothing. I met an Argentinean man who appeared to me without cigarette in hand :), but with an embracing heart, passion, and laughter. Together we exchanged mystical love poems; shared—with my father’s spirit, it seemed—Argentinean songs he and I both loved; held communion on a moon-filled mesa that whispered of the infinite until early morning; and danced and laughed inside the light-filled rhythm of our newly-discovered bubble.

It’s not every day that life’s holy orchestra offers a song like this one. But it did. It came quickly, weaving these otherworldly energies with mundane realities that soon introduced their challenges to this budding relationship. It forced me to ask myself how to navigate this place where the divine and physical intersect…where tension and beauty lie and give us choice on how to proceed?

This past week, during which time I wrote less, and struggled with overwhelm and 20170720_190824poor health, I battled this reality of receiving divine grace within the limitations of this earth journey. And while I tried to contemplate, analyze, feel, reflect, and be with the tension that built knots inside my heart and that of this relationship (quite a different energy from the heart-opening magic of weeks prior), it seemed to only create more tension, more struggle.

But today, as a double rainbow spread across the sky, and stayed with me long enough to expand my heart’s awe, I felt what I needed to do. As with Jean and her cigarette, dark house, and initial formal and cold demeanor, there was more to this gift than I could see. Much more. What if, when we’ve given up trying to figure things out, and we’ve given up our limited, frightened expectations, we actually hand it over to God, to spirit—this place from which the gift originated? What if, in this case, as in the past, I give my heart much needed space and peace of mind to listen, feel, and be with what this beloved gift is here to offer—and what I am here to receive—on my unchartered pilgrimage of the soul?

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is also about an unchartered pilgrimage of the heart. It is available on Amazon at Amazon Page  or at www.michelleadam.net. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

 

 

 

       

58. Checkmate with Ourselves

BLOG 58: January, 2000—I remember now where I was on the eve of this millennium. Do you? I was in Taos, New Mexico, in the mountains somewhere far away from civilization as the entire world braced itself for what we called “Y2K” (when all computers would possibly shut down, and the world as we knew it).

As we all prepared for a Y2K disaster, I was in the middle of nowhere, drumming in the new millennium with my friend Eric Perry and others. I barely remember that time, other than the fact that I had flown out to San Francisco, CA, from my parents house in New Jersey, to pick up my car (I had left it there a few years earlier because I wasn’t physically up to driving it back East after becoming injured). Eric came out to California to drive my car—with me lying down in the back—on a journey East, or at least halfway to New Mexico, where he lived.

When Eric and I arrived in New Mexico, I helped him decorate his room and we visited Acoma Pueblo, a native village on top of a cliff set up for tourists to visit. Due to my long term injury I wasn’t able to walk  much, but enough to see this village and befriend a stray dog who followed us to our car. After the dog looked at us with longing eyes and a guard told us to take him—he didn’t belong to anyone, he said—Eric, who could barely take care of plants, became a dog owner. We named the little one “Acoma.”

By the time New Year’s Eve approached,c31d532e140f6c8af13c69ef86fc2705 the three of us were drumming away in Taos. Despite being out in nature, I remember feeling disconnected—even in Albuquerque where the Sandia Mountains that had once called me were. My body was still struggling to walk, and my soul questioning why I had stopped in the middle of the desert on my way to California almost four years earlier only to break myself and still be struggling. Why had I followed a spiritual call only to be broken and to feel disconnected from all that had initially connected me?

That year, 17 years ago, my father had called me to tell me he would fly out to Albuquerque to drive me and my car back to New Jersey, to my parent’s home.  I accepted and soon my car and I were back with my parents.

It was a strange place to be—in the same place, or worse, than I had been four years earlier. It was only later, when studying with one of my spiritual teachers, Martín Prechtel, that I would understand that space I was in. We’ve grown up inside this “empire,” he’d say, and we’ve learned to live with the empire mind. Yet, he’d explain, there’s another part of us, “the barbarian,” the one who’s wild, free, connected to nature, our nature, that wants to come home.

In a world where we have continuously fled, especially West, there comes a time when we’re forced to stop, he’d say, where we face “check mate.” Neither the Empire mind nor the Barbarian can move as they are in stalemate, seeing the other for the first time and determining how to make peace w540ab52e39f2f19b2fea568f2462612aith one other since both are a part of ourselves (my apologies to my teacher for not sharing this as eloquently as he did!).

As I look back, I see now, that I was in a place of checkmate, unlearning the parts of my mind that had imprisoned me while getting to know this Barbarian part of me that had rarely had a voice. Relearning a way of being, and making peace with what has been, can be long journey—one that isn’t just about this lifetime, but many before, tied to our ancestors and this long earth walk we’ve all made, I later realized.

Today I feel at peace, and I’ve become a beautiful woman who honors her soul’s path. But, I realize that this place of checkmate, this slowing down, and even being stuck for a while, is always with us. We live in a world that demands we keep up while drawing our attention with endless technological inventions and constant marketing. So coming home to the Barbarian part of us, to our freer, more connected nature, requires daily mindfulness. It requires we know that following our soul’s voice is a commitment, and a muscle we must exercise so we don’t become lost inside the hustle and bustle of this empire we live in.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of checkmate, of coming 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

57. Eternal Life Carved into Love

BLOG 57: November, 1999—The tiny white bird that had appeared as an angel had definitely been an omen. Peace and healing had flown into my life on its blue-tipped wings after two-plus years of healing from physical pain at my parent’s house in New Jersey. It was time for me to learn about the medicine of spirit that would become my life’s path.

In November, 1999, I was in New York City, taking a workshop with a Peruvian medicine man, Oscar Miro-Quesada. Everything in this world was available for me to be in relationship with, he had said, and it is through relationship that I can access spirit and the teacher and healer I am to become. My ability to love would be directly connected to, and completed affected by, my ability to follow my path as a teacher in this world, he clarified.

Oscar insights were new for the 30-year-old I was then—the one who, during my time in the U.S., had been raised in a material culture. We could give to plants and that plant’s spirit could give back to us in return, he had said. All I needed was to recognize that my love and light affected everything I touched, and in turn it affected me. What we love always gives back, he added, because the act of loving in itself opens us to receive, and in receiving we can trust and allow spirit to move within us.

48ab1c5a9c96f84bf8229947db55b60bInside the hustle and bustle of New York City, Oscar Miro-Quesada shared a message that I have since learned well. Spirit moves through love, he had said, and love is light that reflects off everything it touches. Start with what draws you toward its beauty, he added, and then build gardens from there.

Oscar’s message of years ago was timeless. I especially felt the truth of his words yesterday, on Earth Day, as I awoke with a deep sense of love inside my friends’ home (I was cat-sitting for them). Every corner of their home is filled with furniture, artwork, and relics that they have brought here, to New Mexico, from practically every continent on this earth.

The intricate, indigenous crafting of life into form surrounded me with a sense of origin and love as I looked out toward the Sandia Mountains. It prompted me to think of my recently-deceased father, of his apartment in Argentina filled with antiques from Spain. I had cried so deeply when I had been with him there, feeling the depth of his love for the walls, the furniture, and life of his apartment that he would soon 1d1bc48863c13eb2ef0764a32fb4fd65leave behind. I sensed then that even the furniture and walls would miss him.

Memories of my father’s apartment soon
transported my mind back to my childhood in Spain, where the antiques of my father’s apartments had come from. It was in Spain that the land, her people, and her buildings had been intricately carved into eternity. It was there that I had felt an ancient love tied to origins. People back then, in the late-seventies, had yet to be the consumers that Americans had become; they had yet to see life as an end, as a place to get to. Life remained a relationship crafted with sacred reciprocity and love as Oscar had spoken about.

As I looked out toward the mountains from this place filled with ancient origins, I felt my love for Spain, my father, my ancestors, and their connection to the earth. My father’s apartment still carries his spirit and love so strongly that it’s as if he had never left. It breathes the breath of my ancestors and that place of origin that only comes alive when we love deeply the people, the land, and that in our homes that we have deemed inanimate in this world. This loving relationship to all that has taken form remains as an echo on this earth far beyond our death. It holds eternal life carved out by our love.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, takes place in Spain, a country and people with an ancient history still alive today. 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