79. The Power of Presence

BLOG 79—(present reflections tied to November 2000 journal entries about my healing and novel writing journey)—Despite the growing cold of winter’s approach, I walked daily in the woods along the ocean at Odiorne Point, New Hampshire. I had moved closer to the ocean after my summer of healing on an inland farm, yet continued practicing walking meditations. My walks were inspired by lessons I had learned during my shamanic classes, especially when it came to working with my medicine body and its power.

My first shift of attention in my walk was from having to be good—or having to do the right thing—to coming from a place of power that was just so. This meant shifting my attention, my heart’s eyes, so to speak (if you can imagine this), to different chakra centers (energy centers) of my body. So rather than walk the way we normally do—thinking all the time and leading with our head—I led with my third chakra (between my heart and my bellybutton). I let my full attention come from this place (as if my eyes and heart were taking in the world from here) as I trekked through hard, sometimes icy paths alongside low-lying trees and the ocean.

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As I walked from my third chakra, I embodied the spirit of Jaguar, a power animal that has been associated with this energy center in Peruvian shamanism. As Jaguar, with my total attention in my mid section, I immediately began to feel my perspective of this small forest widen around me. I was no longer constrained by seeing the world from a narrow place of above and below. Instead, my energy and senses expanded to encompass the trees. I felt extremely powerful and alive, and realized how I could be in my power and present, while compassionate and dangerous at the same time.

Throughout my walks, I discovered my spirit body, an element of ourselves that we often lose connection with in the modern world. My spirit body was home, embodied in a manner new to me. As I strolled in this manner, I stepped out onto rocks that jutted out over the ocean and sat down, rocking myself in a state of love. I brought in the image of a small house from across the water, and pulled it into my belly. As I did so, I felt a surge of love, of coming home to my power. Then, when I put my hands on my root chakra, I experienced further love in an almost erotic manner. This continued as I touched my knees, my feet. I was experiencing the act of giving my aliveness to myself. It was truly remarkable!

As I sat near the water’s edge, parents walked by, warning their children not to go too far out on the rocks where I was. One unusual girl, though, was eager to walk out onto the rocks where I sat, and her father, less concerned about the danger, urged her not to interrupt me. Upon hearing him, the girl, who had already approached me, stopped in her tracks. “Forgive me for not acknowledging your presence,” she said to me in the most remarkable manner. Surprised by the demeanor of this girl of no more than ten, I told her that I was fine, and to come by. She came forward, free as a bird, with her father following her.

I remained on the rocks watching as this father and daughter team soon returned back to shore. The girl’s father lent her a hand as she jumped off the rocks onto the earth. She seemed independent enough to move without his help, but she gracefully accepted his hand with a “Thank you, father.”

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The whole scene felt like a special omen. The daughter had been like an angel visiting me, confirming my power, acknowledging my presence and how I could remain in a place of compassion and gratitude no matter how powerful or independent I was. It was as if the little girl had been me in that moment.

Like a spiral that comes back around, the lessons of that experience at the ocean of twenty years ago seems timely today as well. Most recently, my sisters came to visit me in New Mexico so the three of us could share time together after my father’s passing. While our visit was rich and full, I was left feeling emotionally stuck and disconnected from myself after they left (I had returned to the role I had played as a child in my family). As the youngest who drummed to a different beat than they did, I felt invisible, as if my unique gifts didn’t matter.

In reading my account at the ocean of years ago, and the story of the little girl who acknowledged me in my power, I understood the medicine of years ago. I had learned then what it meant to truly be in my spirit body, to expand into myself fully, fearless, powerful. In that instance, I had discovered what it felt like to be home, to be love, to be alive in a true way. The little girl and her father had acknowledged me because I had embodied myself fully. I was no longer invisible.

In listening to the lessons that spiraled their way back into my life recently, I saw that I needed to once again, step back into the medicine body that I am, this light that is me. I had fallen into a role that wasn’t me, and I had become invisible, even to the little girl—to myself—who would have been ignored this time given the space I was in.

But now, when I was able to acknowledge me, and remember, once again, who I was—spirit embodied, home, and powerful—those emotions that made me feel small and invisible had no room to be. I returned to that place that I had been on my walks—that space of no longer having to do the right thing and merely coming from a place of power and love that is just so.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about discovering duende, the spirit of the earth that we are that resides inside us. 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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53. Hunger Sleeps Sweet Ashes in my Chest

BLOG 53: June, 1999—Imagine yourself stuck, with little capacity to move, with nowhere to go, nothing to accomplish. Just you. Alone. Would you be able to be still? Would you be still enough inside to feel your spiritual hunger?

Almost twenty years ago, while living in my parents’ home in New Jersey, that was my story. But being still enough to hear my own longing was anything but easy. I struggled to walk, but slowing down inside, being still, remained an immense challenge.

“I hear a voice on the radio in the other room, the sound of a busy world. It distracts me. It makes it hard to hear my hunger. It numbs my existence once more, and builds within me a hunger that so often reappears in extremes, in grand desires to escape the chaos and find a place of stillness to hear myself,” I wrote in my new journal I had just dedicated to hunger itself. “This is the modern world after all. This is the challenge we all face in hearing and addressing our hunger. What once was with us every day as a joyful hunger or longing has become a kind of ravaging ghost that you and I don’t know how to see, yet we feel it grab at us, tease us, make us restless.”

Back then, hunger was a kind of longing for what I couldn’t have in the moment no matter what I did. I wrote, “I can address my hunger by relocating, in my mind, the places where hunger was most awake, most present, and in ways, sweetly: the fields in Spain, the long b6cc3f020432ec5efd545b633828c5b9waiting for God to appear, for a voice to speak to me before a magnificent landscape; driving west out into desert, wide-open skies; or more magnificently, standing on the mountains, the Sandias, watching the bright white clouds, like cotton balls, spreading their wings throughout the entire stone and tree landscape; or driving, driving along the roads of New Mexico, chasing the clouds, with pinks, blues, oranges, purples, tormenting the skies with a surreal godliness that I longed to reach, to hold onto, in my most humble way, by driving, driving, and not slowing down.”

Then, when I found moments to be still enough to feel my hunger, to hear the words that wrote stories into my novel, I traveled inward to faraway lands. “Hunger, she sleeps sweet ashes in my chest, a silence longing for itself,” I wrote the lines of a brief poem. “I hear her stumbling sounds in my heart. I listen and I write.”

With nowhere to go, I wrote, and I allowed words to be my meditation. It’s no different today, as I sit here sharing my reflections of past and present. After a week of moving too quickly for my soul’s pace, and prior, with a month’s time with m1e98d8e0a905478eea6d6f086bf020b7y family and father before his passing, I cherish coming back to this page. Back to you: stillness and hunger.

When I was crippled by pain, my time of
forced meditation—of writing my novel and discovering the story inside “the remotest mansions of my blood”—was a blessing of sorts. I lived inside a cage that required the inside come out. But, now, as I share my novel, travel to be with family, and juggle teaching, writing, and bringing my art into the world, there seems so little time for slowing down. The hunger remains, but its more subtle, less drastic. The hunger is for the quiet, for the listening inside, for a place of presence that can’t be found in all the running around.

It’s found here, though, as I write, as I watch the moon rise, as I let the sound of all this technology, all this doing, be taken over by bird song crawling along the vines in front of my New Mexico home. The song has always been here. The moon, she has always been here lighting the night sky. Yet I am the one who has changed.  In making time, as once I was forced to do, to feel into this stillness that carries my hunger, I can find my way back to me, to all that I has always waited for us inside this presence.

*My novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of following this hunger 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