58. Checkmate with Ourselves

BLOG 58: January, 2000—I remember now where I was on the eve of this millennium. Do you? I was in Taos, New Mexico, in the mountains somewhere far away from civilization as the entire world braced itself for what we called “Y2K” (when all computers would possibly shut down, and the world as we knew it).

As we all prepared for a Y2K disaster, I was in the middle of nowhere, drumming in the new millennium with my friend Eric Perry and others. I barely remember that time, other than the fact that I had flown out to San Francisco, CA, from my parents house in New Jersey, to pick up my car (I had left it there a few years earlier because I wasn’t physically up to driving it back East after becoming injured). Eric came out to California to drive my car—with me lying down in the back—on a journey East, or at least halfway to New Mexico, where he lived.

When Eric and I arrived in New Mexico, I helped him decorate his room and we visited Acoma Pueblo, a native village on top of a cliff set up for tourists to visit. Due to my long term injury I wasn’t able to walk  much, but enough to see this village and befriend a stray dog who followed us to our car. After the dog looked at us with longing eyes and a guard told us to take him—he didn’t belong to anyone, he said—Eric, who could barely take care of plants, became a dog owner. We named the little one “Acoma.”

By the time New Year’s Eve approached,c31d532e140f6c8af13c69ef86fc2705 the three of us were drumming away in Taos. Despite being out in nature, I remember feeling disconnected—even in Albuquerque where the Sandia Mountains that had once called me were. My body was still struggling to walk, and my soul questioning why I had stopped in the middle of the desert on my way to California almost four years earlier only to break myself and still be struggling. Why had I followed a spiritual call only to be broken and to feel disconnected from all that had initially connected me?

That year, 17 years ago, my father had called me to tell me he would fly out to Albuquerque to drive me and my car back to New Jersey, to my parent’s home.  I accepted and soon my car and I were back with my parents.

It was a strange place to be—in the same place, or worse, than I had been four years earlier. It was only later, when studying with one of my spiritual teachers, Martín Prechtel, that I would understand that space I was in. We’ve grown up inside this “empire,” he’d say, and we’ve learned to live with the empire mind. Yet, he’d explain, there’s another part of us, “the barbarian,” the one who’s wild, free, connected to nature, our nature, that wants to come home.

In a world where we have continuously fled, especially West, there comes a time when we’re forced to stop, he’d say, where we face “check mate.” Neither the Empire mind nor the Barbarian can move as they are in stalemate, seeing the other for the first time and determining how to make peace w540ab52e39f2f19b2fea568f2462612aith one other since both are a part of ourselves (my apologies to my teacher for not sharing this as eloquently as he did!).

As I look back, I see now, that I was in a place of checkmate, unlearning the parts of my mind that had imprisoned me while getting to know this Barbarian part of me that had rarely had a voice. Relearning a way of being, and making peace with what has been, can be long journey—one that isn’t just about this lifetime, but many before, tied to our ancestors and this long earth walk we’ve all made, I later realized.

Today I feel at peace, and I’ve become a beautiful woman who honors her soul’s path. But, I realize that this place of checkmate, this slowing down, and even being stuck for a while, is always with us. We live in a world that demands we keep up while drawing our attention with endless technological inventions and constant marketing. So coming home to the Barbarian part of us, to our freer, more connected nature, requires daily mindfulness. It requires we know that following our soul’s voice is a commitment, and a muscle we must exercise so we don’t become lost inside the hustle and bustle of this empire we live in.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of checkmate, of coming 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

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57. Eternal Life Carved into Love

BLOG 57: November, 1999—The tiny white bird that had appeared as an angel had definitely been an omen. Peace and healing had flown into my life on its blue-tipped wings after two-plus years of healing from physical pain at my parent’s house in New Jersey. It was time for me to learn about the medicine of spirit that would become my life’s path.

In November, 1999, I was in New York City, taking a workshop with a Peruvian medicine man, Oscar Miro-Quesada. Everything in this world was available for me to be in relationship with, he had said, and it is through relationship that I can access spirit and the teacher and healer I am to become. My ability to love would be directly connected to, and completed affected by, my ability to follow my path as a teacher in this world, he clarified.

Oscar insights were new for the 30-year-old I was then—the one who, during my time in the U.S., had been raised in a material culture. We could give to plants and that plant’s spirit could give back to us in return, he had said. All I needed was to recognize that my love and light affected everything I touched, and in turn it affected me. What we love always gives back, he added, because the act of loving in itself opens us to receive, and in receiving we can trust and allow spirit to move within us.

48ab1c5a9c96f84bf8229947db55b60bInside the hustle and bustle of New York City, Oscar Miro-Quesada shared a message that I have since learned well. Spirit moves through love, he had said, and love is light that reflects off everything it touches. Start with what draws you toward its beauty, he added, and then build gardens from there.

Oscar’s message of years ago was timeless. I especially felt the truth of his words yesterday, on Earth Day, as I awoke with a deep sense of love inside my friends’ home (I was cat-sitting for them). Every corner of their home is filled with furniture, artwork, and relics that they have brought here, to New Mexico, from practically every continent on this earth.

The intricate, indigenous crafting of life into form surrounded me with a sense of origin and love as I looked out toward the Sandia Mountains. It prompted me to think of my recently-deceased father, of his apartment in Argentina filled with antiques from Spain. I had cried so deeply when I had been with him there, feeling the depth of his love for the walls, the furniture, and life of his apartment that he would soon 1d1bc48863c13eb2ef0764a32fb4fd65leave behind. I sensed then that even the furniture and walls would miss him.

Memories of my father’s apartment soon
transported my mind back to my childhood in Spain, where the antiques of my father’s apartments had come from. It was in Spain that the land, her people, and her buildings had been intricately carved into eternity. It was there that I had felt an ancient love tied to origins. People back then, in the late-seventies, had yet to be the consumers that Americans had become; they had yet to see life as an end, as a place to get to. Life remained a relationship crafted with sacred reciprocity and love as Oscar had spoken about.

As I looked out toward the mountains from this place filled with ancient origins, I felt my love for Spain, my father, my ancestors, and their connection to the earth. My father’s apartment still carries his spirit and love so strongly that it’s as if he had never left. It breathes the breath of my ancestors and that place of origin that only comes alive when we love deeply the people, the land, and that in our homes that we have deemed inanimate in this world. This loving relationship to all that has taken form remains as an echo on this earth far beyond our death. It holds eternal life carved out by our love.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, takes place in Spain, a country and people with an ancient history still alive today. 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

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