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

 

 

 

 

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

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

Memories Carved in Writing: Argentina (a break from my regular blog)

1/18/2019: The gourd sits on my table. A gold-carved design caresses its top. Equally ornate metal straws sit inside. The gourd was once my father’s, used for drinking Yerba Mate, a tea Argentinians drink as a national past-time and obsession.

My father’s bombilla remains with me although he left almost two years ago. It reminds me of him and his beloved Argentina I just came back from after three weeks traveling the country with my love. We flew into Buenos Aires—a city of rich culture, as ornate as my father’s bombilla, but not a place my father raised his family. After celebrating the holidays with friends, we visited my father’s apartment—a place he resided in for many years after working elsewhere in the world…a place where he’d found his “heaven on earth” 20181227_175809.jpgbefore leaving this earth.

A couple now live there, up the old circular stairwell and marble floors, behind the wooden door—of another era, of the “Belle Epoque” style, as my boyfriend pointed out—that leads to what was once his apartment. My father’s love for his apartment was so grand that it seemed the walls sung back to him, and even cried upon his departure. They had swallowed all the joy once shared there—the feasts with friends and family and a place to come together as I had with my father toward the end of his life. They marked an era in my father’s life—beyond the hard work, and years as an immigrant away from the place he loved—where he could truly feel alive, as if for the first time.

As we visited Buenos Aires, a city whose beauty is comparable to Paris, we felt its struggle, its eternal battle with poverty, corruption, and runaway inflation. How could a place so rich in culture, art, and literature, with an ornate elegance49338783_2038176952936784_1508593347025960960_n carved into its walls as it was in my father’s apartment, struggle to live? Why do so many people like my father, or my boyfriend, have to leave this country to live well?

As we journeyed through Argentina, its complex history traveled with us… from the streets of Buenos Aires, which seemed to have more bookstores than any other city in the world—including Boutique del Libro, where I presented my novel, Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espíritu, for the first time in Spanish—to the mountains and lakes of the south where I fell in love with its duendes, its nature spirits, that they sold as dolls and puppets in stores (I brought back with me these duendes in exchange for copies of my novel I left with them. It’s not every day that I meet others whose creative work, like mine, honors these duendes!).

We also traveled further north, to Córdoba, where my love grew up, to a sacred land that offered a safe place to remember Argentina’s past, to years of military rule, of painful struggles for an entire country that has learned to make the most of what has been.

20190109_174056~2I was reminded, as I plan my next journey to Spain, to my childhood home, where I will share my novel, that the land knows all…that the land that resides within us, always knows what has been, the history of our childhood, of a nation’s struggles, and waits for us to return to her, to remember, to feel the pain and beauty that lies behind it.

I am home now, in New Mexico, here with this ornate gourd sitting on my table. It is a piece of history that carries a spirit, as did the walls of my father’s apartment. It holds a part of my father and the country he so loved that he couldn’t return to until the last chapter of his life.

Aren’t we all like my father’s gourd, carrying a piece of history, a piece of this earth that has lived the good and bad? In late May, I will soon be like my father’s gourd, carrying a piece of history, a piece of love for the land that raised me—for Spain—that I will return to with my novel, Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espíritu, which is about duendes, nature spirits, and the spirit of a place that never leaves us…never leaves us, even if we’ve tried, many times, to leave her.  

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. Click here for its Spanish Version on Amazon , its original English version on this 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