69. A Container for Spirit

BLOG 69: (reflections from July 2000 journal entries tied to my healing journey)—We stood around the fire under the full moon in a cleared out field of high grasses in New Hampshire. Denise, my Reiki healer and shamanic teacher, placed a stick into the fire and then cleansed the front and back of my hips with it, before blowing Peruvian Agua de Florida, a lavender, rose-water musk, on the same area. Then, a group of us called in the directions, sang, and began ceremony.

Since moving from New Jersey to the farmhouse in New Hampshire in early June, I partook in full moon fires like these. They were based on Denise’s teachings passed down to her from her teacher Alberto Villoldo who had learned from indigenous Peruvian medicine men and women. With every fire, there was a time of release, of throwing out the old, into the fire, and then renewing ourselves and our chakras (energy centers) with the spirit of the fire. This tradition of cleansing and renewal was tied to native traditions that have long believed that the full moon is a time of high energy when the veil between the seen and unseen world is thinnest (and therefore prayers are most powerful).

Partaking in his ritual in a manner I had never done earlier in life was special for me (after all, how many of us in our modern lives take time to consciously let go and cleanse ourselves of the past every month?).51878bda5fa06a6c934ea4c13fe7e4a4 It helped me intensify my intentions with my healing process, and to do so in a manner supported by community and spirit. Being in ceremony, and healing with nature on the farm, also opened a space for me to be with God and my life’s call, which had followed me since I was eight years old in Spain.

As the summer rolled on, and I began to heal, I reflected on this life’s call in relationship to my healing journey. I wrote in my journal: “I feel that all of my life the spirit of things, what which is hidden and unseen for many of us, has always been more important to me than the material, than the concrete in front of me. I have felt frustrated with my longing to live on this earth in a manner I have known to be true but have not actualized. I’ve lived this battle within myself, between spirit and matter—as spirit contained within matter.”

My writing continued as I suddenly became aware of a fear that lay within me and my healing process: “I feel a fear and anger at the possibility that I could heal my hips, and yet return to this same hunger that brought me here—this hunger that feels I will be without a place and way to manifest this fire within that needs to dance and be sensual. That the north—the way of the eagle—which has felt suffocating like the tightness in my hips, will have no room for me, when all I wante89c0ba3e50a9ec59548e3772f8d3a8e is to be in a culture that dances with fire, that knows and manifests magic and sensuality with ease.”

So, here I was, in New England, finally beginning to heal my hips as I had dreamed of doing for years, and I was afraid…afraid of succeeding.

But, as I read my journal now, almost twenty years later, it makes sense. After all, all of my life I had longed to live the fullness of the spirit I felt inside, yet saw no place for. All of my life, I had felt a different call of spirit, of creative passion, than that which I saw around me. So it seemed natural, there in the northeast, in New England, to suddenly struggle with the idea of healing, if, in healing, I still could not find home.

As I reflect on this today, my earlier words remind me of a comment my teacher, Martin Prechtel, made about healing. He pointed out that there is no use healing ourselves if we just throw ourselves back into the culture that injured us to begin with. So, with my hip, back then, and today, I see that I was afraid, because I had yet to find a culture, a way of being with spirit and life, which I could step into as I became whole. And, I had no understanding of how to become the culture, this container of life, which could one day hold the beauty and fullness of my spirit that I could dance into the world.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about awakening this spirit within and finding 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

 

 

15. Sacred Rituals of Ordinary Life

WHAT IS A SACRED RITUAL FOR YOU?

BLOG 15: December, 1996—I’m sitting by the fire in my temporary Santa Fe home in New Mexico’s high desert. Back from a brief trip to California, I’m reading Malidoma Some’s book, Of Water and Spirit. Malidoma’s words transport me to his village of Burkina Faso, West Africa, where he grew up and was later kidnapped by Jesuits who attempted, unsuccessfully, to infuse their values into him before he escaped back home. I’m drawn to Malidoma’s description of his people’s rituals and their deep, deep connection to the unseen world that is intricately and magically woven into their lives. I know that feeling of running from a sterile environment that doesn’t weave the sacred into the ordinary.

I decide not to go home to the East Coast for the holidays this year. I don’t feel my parents are ready to accept the diversity in my life, and I’m not prepared to return.  So, for Christmas, my boyfriend Richard comes up from Albuquerque to visit, along with my friend Eric, who is part Jewish, and his mother who is visiting from Philadelphia. Our eclectic celebration consists of sitting by the fire, exchanging gifts in a silly Yankee Swap (where you pass out cheap, used gifts you don’t want and fight for the best one of the lot), and singing to Eric’s fabulous piano-playing. Eric’s mother has the fortune of getting the gift of a bag of condoms, of all things, and I decide somewhere during that night that I am no longer interested in having a relationship with Richard (it probably didn’t help that Richard, who drove up with Eric and his mother, actually asked Eric’s Jewish mother what she thought of German concentration camps!)

After our indoor festivities, we go out onto Santa Fe’s Canyon Road, a road of galleries that for Christmas Eve is lined with farolitos (paper bags with candles in them) and bonfires where people gather around them singing. Eric eventually gets tired of “baby Jesus songs,” as he puts it, but I’m in awe of the warmth and organic spirit of people gathering together to celebrate life as they have done for centuries. It takes me back to Spain, to when my family and I visited the mountains outside of Granada for Christmas. It was snowing, the smell of fireplace smoke filled the air, and the bells were playing in the distance. My father grabbed my hand, ran me around in circles, proclaiming that Santa Claus was coming. I knew that Santa didn’t exist, but I nonetheless enjoyed the innocent magic of that night that had nothing to do with the modern commercial way of American Christmas.

WHAT IS A SACRED RITUAL FOR YOU?