75. Beyond Fear

BLOG 75—(present reflections tied to August 2000 journal entries about my healing and novel writing journey)—I want to talk about fear. Yes, fear…the kind of fear that’s more than a feeling or moment. The kind that years ago, during my summer of healing in New England, gripped me, held my body like a fist I had to work so hard to open.

“I’m not feeling fear like a character in a story,” I wrote back in August of 2000 on the farm. “I am fear. It owns me and makes me dangerous to myself because I can’t separate my night dreams from my present reality.”

Prior to my New England summer of healing from physical pain, I would never have said that fear owned me. I was so busy running forward toward some promised land, some imagined future, that I had no idea of the fear and fright I carried in my body. It literally ran me, ran my life, and like so many of us, I hadn’t stopped long enough to truly listen to my body’s messages until that summer of 2000.

Then, during hours of healing work, dreams, and meditation, I discovered how paralyzed my soul, my essence, was by fear, by the simple act of being in this world. For some reason I was scared to feel, to embody my life, so I kept attempting to leave my body, running away from myself.

“I was an actor and observer in my dreams in the past,” I wrote back in 2000. “But now, in these situations (and dreams), I am awake and there is no beginning and end. There is just one long moment of life and death in my body, and I’m scared for my life.”

a4673f71c116515340caf78047a35d5dDuring that summer, I would wake up at night feeling unsafe in my own room. And the worst part of it was that the fright in my body was so strong I couldn’t tell the difference between dreams and reality. They were one of the same. And not knowing why I carried such fear made it even more difficult.

No matter how bad it got, though, I stayed with the nightmares, with my program of healing, discovering a world inside that had something dark and ominous to say. After all, I knew I had to experience the nightmares in order to move forward, to walk again, with grace, in this world.

So, bit by bit, I learned how to be here, on this earth, as I gardened, meditated, and discovered peace and quiet. I began healing so much that one night a crow came to visit me in my dreams. It rested, full-feathered and black, on a tree. In my dream, my housemate, Cassie, told me that “it (meaning the crow, which seemed to represent me) has finally recuperated from the torture and pain and now needs to be nurtured. Its wings are able to fly, but the crow needs to be watched, making sure it doesn’t hurt itself again.”

My dream was a clear sign that I was on the right path after almost four years of pain and little mobility since injuring myself in New Mexico. While I was relieved by the progress I had made, I soon had another challenge facing me. I was traveling away from my place of retreat in New England to see my family—my father, mother, sisters, aunts (who were visiting from Argentina), and my nephews—at a reunion in Upper New York State.

The last time I had been with everyone had been three years earlier. I had visited in crutches from my home in Oakland, C95d89adad1bcbd7204bce0f705806471alifornia, and when I went I felt very little support. This time, I was worried I would attacked again for being weak and vulnerable. So, before traveling, I prayed hard, asked spirit, God, to give me the resilience I needed to not only survive my family reunion, but remain true and rooted in myself.

Committed to being real, and honoring and nurturing myself, even in a situation I feared would be cold and difficult, shifted everything during that family reunion. Rather than experience what I had during my last visit with family, I felt strong, clear, and, in some ways, supported. It wasn’t perfect, as few family reunions ever are, but I discovered that I had become a stronger person. Even one of my sisters acknowledged that it was nice to have me back—that I really seemed present in ways I had not been before.

So when I think back to all the fear I carried then, and how I had moved through it to become more fully myself, embodied and alive, I truly understand what it takes to be here on this earth. I get that sometimes we, as humans, walk around as souls afraid to be in our bodies. We don’t always know why we are afraid, or that we even are, but we don’t feel at home. We feel lost, stuck, paralyzed by life.

There is a place beyond fear, though, and that place is inside of us. Deep within. We must be with ourselves, understanding our shadow, the dark places that want to speak to us, and not run anymore. There is no place to go, no promised land, because we are the promised land we’ve run from for too long. We carry our home inside, beyond fear.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about moving beyond fear and coming home. 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

 

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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

68. Shedding my Skin

BLOG 68: July, 2000—A month of swimming, sharing dinners, of poetry, prose, and rich dreams, had passed at Jean’s New Hampshire farmhouse.  During this time of healing, the rituals and practices remained the same. Every week, I visited Denise, my Reiki energy healer, and every morning, especially after sessions with her, I tracked my dreams in my journal. The day after each healing session, I’d feel extremely tender and weak, with my nervous system so intensely heightened that I could feel any subtle changes within me and all around me.

Those mornings I would move slowly, and always—without fail—sit on the earth, in the garden, weeding or tending to the vegetables and plants. The earth soothed me, as I let myself sink into her broad arms, and feel her rich soil sift through my hands. Then, after a day of gentle healing, I continued my walks in the woods, bowing to the trees, listening to my heart, feeling her blocks, her resistance to the beauty around, as I opened, opened, and let myself truly feel for the first time in my adult life. And each week, I walked more, further, as my heart and hips opened.

At thirty years old, I had already experienced almost four years of pain, which ha1239e65497ccec8478b425560ef538d5d brought me to this place, and I was ready for the change that awaited me. So, when nights arrived, and I visited the world of the unconscious, I invited the layers of my unfamiliar self to rise toward my skin, to show me what lay behind the tightness of my body’s pain. And with every energy healing session, I unwound more layers of pain.

The dreams were many. During one, I literally shit out a snake (seems the most direct way to say this!), and was guided to make sure it fully left my body. In the shamanic world, the snake carries a lot of symbolism, especially that of being able to shed its skin and release the past. I took my dream to be about that—about letting go. After that dream, I felt a surge of energy I had never felt before in my tailbone, and after others and intense healing sessions, I woke with tremendous energy in my pelvis, with great sexual energy moving down my legs and into my feet, and up toward my heart.

With all that was happening to me, and fun days with Jean and her family on the farm, it was ironic that one of my greatest fears was feeling empty. As I s891d6d99f266bad7a7b3c16257939e60at still, meditated, and was honest with my feelings, I realized that I had spent so many years fighting, so often struggling or battling hard to be someone, to prove myself, to protect myself from all that had hurt me, that in the end I was most afraid of being empty. I had come to identify myself as the pain, struggle, and fight I had so long lived, that I feared, as I let go of all these layers in my body, I would be left with no center, no I.

Even back then, as I wrote about this, I knew that this “I” that I had become accustomed to was my ego, was the person I had learned to be… not the one I truly was. Living on the farm and being with the earth in all her nurturing love, helped me let go of this old self, this pained way, and make room for a gentler, more giving self. As a friend had once said after undergoing a shamanic journey on behalf of my hip: this journey of pain was about learning to be my gentler self, of not needing to push forward with a scorching, yet unattended fire in the pelvis…to be this gentle love that I was, and yet had left behind, years ago, as a child in the fields of Spain. 

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about shedding our skin and returning to a gentler place connected to the earth. 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