89. You Keep Quiet and I Will Go

BLOG 89—(present reflections tied to March 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—“For once on the face of the earth, let’s not speak in any language; let’s stop for a second, and not move our arms so much,” wrote the Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda in his poem “A Callarse” more than fifty years ago, when life moved much slower than it does today. He added, “Perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death.”

Today, not only do I still treasure Neruda’s words and poem, but I also love the wisdom that he shares that is so needed in today’s fast-paced world. It reminds me of a time, more than 20 years ago, when I had a chance to truly slow down and experience the rich flavor of stillness that awaited me against my will. I had become injured toward the end of the last century, and despite the perseverance and fight I had learned to muster to push on forward—to keep moving—I was forced to stop, to be with this “huge silence” that, as Neruda spoke of, interrupted “this sadness of never understanding” myself.

I look around me now, as the Polar ice caps melt and California and Australia swim in fires; as we consume more; as the old guard f8c159e8c0b875506c3d009d8b6a8b3aof unbridled greed sinks its claws into more power and wealth; and as more and more of the same short-sighted living leads to the destruction of life for all of us on this planet called Earth. And I look at my own busy life, from teaching, writing, and publishing, and I think how special it was to have truly stopped 20 years ago, to have stepped off of that train of life (even if it was by kicking and screaming) and to have sat still long enough, as Neruda described, to “interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves”

For five years, I struggled to walk, and for five years, beginning in 1996, I was forced to listen to a different voice than that of an American culture whose emphasis has been of movement and growth for its own sake. By March of 2001, when I housesat for friends in New England, and remained writing as I continued to heal from pain, I had already faced what seemed an eternal pain. No way out, I was forced inward. Back then, I reflected—as I do now—on those earlier years of stopping, and what it was that sat below the surface wishing to be heard.

Here are a few reflections that may open your eyes to your own inner journey, when that time comes to slow down and be still:

26250e6deeecb99c9a474a9992488892“Permission is in the shadows. Answers are what I have invented, what I have held onto so tightly, in order to fill the silence of myself. The true answers are in the space of waiting for clarity to present its gift to me.”

“There is no judgement when I breathe. I belong to my soul, and I am beginning to realize that I will take care of her,” I wrote back then as an old worn-out part of me was dying (I was only 28 when I began this journey, but I felt much older then). “Love is what we cannot have until we have experienced our own death,” I continued to write. “I have seen death naked in my bed. I have tasted her tears, her deep tears for life. I have felt this deep knowing of what it’s like to not have anything, to have it all taken from you…to be left without fear so I can truly surrender to life and learn to love.”

When I look back at these years, I am humbled at 79fdaa4e6a530c8b5c67dec937036fd1what life’s pain was able to teach me. Those years gave me wisdom and love (and a novel, Child of Duende), which grew within me because I had to face myself, day in and day out, with nowhere to hide. Every time I tried to run from my pain, to solve the problem in front of me, I faced a mirror that was myself…that part of me that is as small as a grain of sand, and as large as the universe…that part of me that is nature, that is life, that is love. Then all the lessons, all the shoulds of this fast-moving train of modern life, shed from my skin, from my bones, to leave me with a delicious taste of a deep silence, a deep stillness where life speaks and continues to speak, even today, when I slow down to listen.

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Pablo Neruda walking along the ocean.

So, as Pablo Neruda wrote at the end of his poem, “Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive.”

“Now I’ll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go.”

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of returning home to the earth inside and all around us. It’s now available in Spanish as Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espiritu, that’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page or at www.michelleadam.net. It will soon be published by the Spanish publisher Corona Borealis and the Portuguese publisher, Edições Mahatma. It can be ordered at a local bookstore or directly from me (for those outside of the U.S.) as well. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video

 

 

72. Vulnerable in a Red Dress

BLOG 72: (present reflections tied to July 2000 journal entries about my healing and novel-writing journey)—When we set out to heal something, deeply, fully, we can never—I mean, never—know what energies, what buried memories, reside in our unconscious, beneath layers upon layers of skin. Shed that skin is all we can do, and is all I could do, back at the New England farmhouse in the summer of 2000.

As I read through journals of those times, I am amazed at what I wrote and experienced. So full, so unedited, so raw and real, with a deep listening that reveals only that which I was ready to feel and hear at the time. Week after week, I went to my shamanic and energy healing sessions, and each time a new layer of skin peeled off to reveal what was next. Patience, listening, being with the earth, being still to feel the thunder that broke under layers of walls protecting my heart for so long. From moments of euphoria and awakening to fear and grief, it was all there as I healed.

I had a friend recently ask me, “When you see these difficult parts that show up, what do you do?” I answered, “nothing.” The old ways of fighting, cutting out the old, discarding it, ignoring it because it doesn’t serve our present world view or longing didn’t work for me back when I healed the worst part of my hip pain. What healed me, was being with it all—all the thund651cec7d0b2bc5cb0d2fba1f6153483eer, pain, and fear—becoming the nurturing mother that holds her child when he or she is in pain.

No judgment, just being with what is, with what resides in our psyche, our bodies that could be of this lifetime, or another, or some energy that maybe, just maybe, comes from the earth, from a collective psyche, working its pain through us. What matters is that we feel it, be with it, hold it, honor that this is what our being, at the deepest level, is trying to show us so we are no longer the fear that locks us down…so we are no longer a prisoner of the very cage we once created to protect us so long ago.

As I read through my journal, I come across an entry of a story I wrote from something I had dreamed, from a fright I held in my body. Why this fright was there, and where it originally came from, I can’t say. But it was there, strong, in my dreams. So I wrote out this fright as a story, so I could be with it and honor what my body spoke as I healed on the farm that summer of 2000. Maybe my story, and my willingness to share this, will inspire you, the reader, to be with your own dreams, experiences, or feelings with no judgment . .. just love.

Here’s a bit of my story, told through my dreams and body:

“There’s a young girl, no older than three, crowded into a corner of a room. It is dark. The only light on is the one in the kitchen, which casts a shadow over the backyard. But this room is bare of light. The girl hovers, holding herself, whispering a cry for help that she knows no one will hear, that she hopes no one will hear, but which soothes her for a moment into believing she is not alone.

“The door closes. There is a figure of a shadow walking toward her as she covers her body with her arms—all wrapped around her, hopelessly looking for a way out. The c14af69c7515c8d9fced9cbfaf37574fwalls appear to narrow in as this man approaches. The man is the wall narrowing in. There is nowhere to hide. Make herself invisible is what she tries to do in her mind’s eye. If she works at it hard enough this man won’t see her, she convinces herself for a few moments. Yet he narrows in.

“Her body screams out, why, why me? It screams and screams, but she’s in no position to do anything about it. The screaming is a trembling, a question that moves through her, that one day will need to be answered. . .

“. . .Years later, she dances with this same man. And there she is, wearing this red dress and heals and knowing she needs to let her hair down, that she needs to give her female self a chance to show up. But it must have made her feel too vulnerable that day, with the dance and the dream. Something was trying to show its face, something she had never expected.”

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about freeing ourselves from the prison walls we’ve created to protect ourselves. 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