63. Bowing in Grace

BLOG 63: June, 2000—Jean sat in her favorite chair in the kitchen by the screen of an open window.  She blew her cigarette smoke out past the tiny metal mesh, which temporarily protected her New England farmhouse from a few select mosquitoes of early summer. My new near-80-year-old poet and housemate seemed to love looking out the window, reflecting on her next poem, or maybe her many years married, and raising children, or her husband’s recent death.

As I stepped into the dimly lit kitchen, Jean looked up. She greeted me as I prepared to leave for a weekend of translating for an Ecuadorian Shaman who was visiting up north, in the White Mountain area. I had just arrived at her farmhouse several days earlier, but was now traveling two hours north to translate for an organization called Dream Change.  

When I arrived at the home where I’d work, the Ecuadorian Shaman, Alberto Taxo, sat in a corner of the room, legs crossed. He was a good-looking man with long black hair and graying beard. I greeted him, presented myself as the person who would be translating his Spanish to English. He nodded, smiled.

Later, he would tell me stories about growing up under the tutelage of his shaman father, and a lineage of healers along the Andes and Latin America. He’d tell me about his initiation at age 13, when was sent to the mountains to stay three days in a hole dug into the ground. One of those days, Taxo awoke with a snake coiled on his belly, at which point he described being fearless (since snakes can smell fear and attack). Instead he told the snake how beautiful it was and it uncoiled and slithered away. His journey as a shaman continued until his father’s death, 8194dc6334121ca8cc6c17b407f37edewhich provoked grief and anger and two years of living in the streets and temporarily abandoning his healer’s path.

I loved listening to Taxo’s stories. After all, imagine missing out on your childhood, and, at an early age, being ask to carry forth a 500-year-old prophesy of your indigenous ancestors to prepare for an immense change for the earth and humanity, a “Pachacuti”, that would occur at this time in history. This was Taxo’s reality, combined with political work he did, demanding equal rights for Ecuador’s indigenous people.

Beyond his stories and teachings, what struck me most about Taxo was the manner in which he approached life. As I translated for him during various gatherings and healings, he displayed an immense amount of grace and presence. He seemed to bow to all of life—to the trees, to the animals, to the food he ate, to the people he passed—in a state of gratitude and listening. It was a practice I imagined he had learned early on in life—a practice that seemed a stark contrast to our modern-American “let’s move fast and get somewhere or something (and not listen much)” approach to life.

While Taxo was far from perfect (He seemed to have been seduced by modern Western culture in an unhealthy way), I returned to the farmhouse having learned a state of grace and gratitude that would help me heal my injury and heart.

From that weekend forth, I began to walk in the woods, a hundred feet at a time (or as far as I could go with my pain), and 61f49d5902a99d2693d6e1e6bb5b9546did so by bowing down to every tree, every flowering, breathing element in the forest. As I walked, I breathed the trees and their energy field into my heart, and, with every out breath, I bowed to the trees, greeting and honoring them. In doing this kind of mindfulness meditation, I soon discovered how blocked my heart was—how challenging it was for me to truly receive and feel the beauty around me. I also understood that if I continued this practice, I would feel the origins of my blocks and slowly get “out of my head” and open my heart, bit by bit, to feel.

Back then, Taxo’s example offered me my first important lesson of many that would help me walk again—from 50 feet to three miles by the end of the summer on Jean’s farm. It’s a lesson I’ve come back to, time and time again, in my life (even though I’ve gotten lost, plenty of times, in all the daily running around!).

This place of grace—this bowing down to and honoring life—still sits waiting for me, and all us, at all times. These days, I return to this place of grace in the dark of the night, when I sing an offering to the land, to my recently deceased father, and to those I love; when I bow in gratitude and love to my friend and lover; and when I sit still enough to feel this butterfly of transformative love for myself and all of life that sits fluttering in my heart. 

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about returning to this state of grace. 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

 

 

61. Divine Order Inside the Dark

BLOG 61: May, 2000—There is Divine Order, I say, with a capital “D” and “O”. I’ve come to witness this clearly during my lifetime. Call it Nature. Call it the Law of Attraction. Call it this world-wide web of energies that makes up this matrix we call life. There are laws that govern life that are beyond that which our rational minds can fathom or express.

During my past blog, I shared a story of what I called “divine magic.” I had requested a place to live in New England where I could heal from years of hip pain, and to my surprise my wish was granted within one day of making it. I needed to move from my parent’s home in New Jersey and go into retreat mode at little to no cost, and the perfect place quickly appeared. That’s divine order…Law of Attraction…whatever you want to call it.

While this kind of magic is the type we all wish for, there’s another reality that plays out in our lives—that is also part of this divine order—which I sense few people really pay attention to. It’s what we call darkness, or unseen energies that may confuse our lives and challenge our notion of reality. It’s what, in today’s world of polarization and duality, we choose to label as the enemy or unwanted, rather than seeing its divine origin and place in our lives.

Back in the Spring of 2000, while I still lived with my parents—and before moving up to New Hampshire to my new home—I had an experience that taught me about darker energies that can hold us back in our 80587d859f632a5b6c47eedbf483c94alives if we don’t pay attention to them. I was up one night watching the movie, “The Sixth Sense,” the story of a young boy who saw ghosts who were stuck between this physical reality and that of the spirit world beyond this plane (and who carried some kind of pain or unresolved issue during this lifetime that prevented them from leaving this earth plane).

Maybe you’ve seen this movie. This boy with a sixth sense was extremely compassionate and sensitive, and because of this ghosts haunted him, asking him to help them, to release them from their hell. By the time the movie came to an end, I was crying furiously. Why? Because something in me sensed strongly that I was like this boy, that I carried with me one of these ghosts, one that clung onto me during my time of weakness and debilitation. I had been open and vulnerable to outside energies that didn’t serve me, but that needed someone to help them. The result was that I was extremely tired for a long time, and didn’t know why.

In the world of shamans and medicine men, these “lost” energies are understood in the same way a doctor understands that our heart pumps blood. So, intuitively I called up my shamanic teacher (I had never had experiences with this before), and she referred me to a shaman who could help me in New York City.

Not knowing what to expect, I went to this NY shaman and told her what I suspected. Within an hour of working with her, I could suddenly feel an actual energy—the shape of a tall, narrow, older man—leave my body, out my crown. It was the strangest, most real experience I had ever had. Until that day, I would never have believed in such a thing as ghosts clinging onto people and draining them of their energies. I too would have thought this was crazy.

I returned home, and felt I could access myself more easily, experience a sense of peace and calm I hadn’t felt in a while. I also felt compassion for this ghost that had clung onto me, because I knew that he had been helped, that his soul could travel home, so to speak.

My experience back then, and today, is that this world we call “the unseen world,” this place we close our eyes to in fear, is merely energ92e0af069ef47fab12a87cbbba964503y. It’s an energy that needs to be addressed with compassion and understanding in order for us to be healthy and whole. It is an energy that comes from divine love that has lost its way inside a Divine Order, inside of its true nature that calls it back to source, to love. I too was lost and needed to find my way back to this divine order, as was this ghost, this spirit, which clung onto me.

Today, after years of learning to clear old energies and dance with these subtler, unseen energies of life, I’ve been able to open more fully to love and this divine place that’s here for us to live. I’ve not had to run anymore from my shadow, or the shadow of the world, because I can see it for what it is: love.

Just the other night, I walked with a precious companion onto the desert mesa lit up by an almost-full, pregnant moon. We created sacred space under grandmother’s watchful gaze, blessed the divine love that sought a place to be sung into life, and we too felt it—this place of Divine Order where love returns and all of life becomes a magical, timeless dance of God, the infinite.

I realize now, though, that if it had not been for those darker energies, those places I had to look at, be with, help, that had lost their way, I would never have experienced what I did on the mesa—that divine love that is everywhere, waiting for us to sing it into life.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, which is about returning home to this divine love, is available on Amazon at Amazon Page  or at www.michelleadam.net. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth”: YouTube Video