66. A Portal to Wholeness

BLOG 66: June, 2000—We’ve all traveled through portals to become whole at some point in our lives. Or so it seems, or seemed, during the summer of 2000, when I lived with Jean and her family on her New Hampshire farm, where I had committed a season to healing my hip.

When I refer to portals, I mean rites of passage, or some experience, often immensely challenging and horrific, which forces us to come face to face with our often unconscious fears. In making it through this rite of passage, we shed layers of all we are not, and make room for a new kind of freedom.

While this is what much of my life was about for five-plus years struggling to walk, one specific rite of passage occurred on a farm night in late June, after I had received one of various Reiki energy healing sessions. That night, when I had gone to bed, I couldn’t relax—let alone fall asleep—without being jolted awake by an overwhelming anxiety and fright residing in my hips and pelvis (in the area that I had originally injured while dancing years before).

When I finally fell asleep, it was to bird song and sunrise, and cars driving along the old New England road that lay several feet away from my second-story window. That’s when my nightmare began, revealing what was behind the fright I held in my pelvis.

When I sunk into deep sleep that early morning, I fell into an unsafe space. I was on guard, trying to protect myself, when a man approached me, and began to rape me from behind. I screamed and attempted to coax him away, to no avail. He continued and I screamed, until, sometime later, I was surrounded by a group of bearded men from India who,unlike the first man, were sitting there, encircling me in protection and support. They were angels of sorts.

What was unusual about this nightmare a6b9e50bcb78c75787aaa46519fc70a4is that it didn’t feel like a dream. My entire body experienced the trauma and fright, as if it were occurring in that very room I was in. There was no distinction whatsoever between reality and dream, and my body relived a trauma I had never experienced—or, at least, not in this lifetime. Yet it was real, as real as the pain I had lived in my hips. 

It seemed the nightmare lasted for two or more days, although it was only for three to four hours. It was as if I were hallucinating or on a really bad drug trip. Toward the end of it, though, the building I was in began to collapse—its roof falling down upon me, and with it, hundreds of heavy stones, typical of medieval European monasteries. One of the bearded men surrounding me quickly rushed to my rescue, and, within seconds of a massive stone falling upon me, he pulled me out of the way toward safety.

I abruptly woke up. It must have been one o’clock by the time I sat up in bed, amazed to be alive. I would have died if it had not been for that one man who had saved my life. I was immensely grateful that I had made it to another day. To have been able to live through such a trauma in my body, and to make it to the other side, felt like I had survived one of the most challenging initiations ever. It was as if I had faced my own death and those hidden fears that had debilitated me for far too long.

To add to it, years later, when I was able to walk extensively, yet struggled with pain in my hips, an intuitive (psychic) woman recounted back to me the very nightmare I had 46eb48f3116fa6000c6f6e191f11997elived. This woman, Jodie Foster (no, she was not the actress!), told me that my hip pain had been connected to a past life, and went on to describe an incident of that lifetime that, detail by detail, mirrored my dream. I had been a 17-year-old girl living in southern France, she later said, and I had been raped inside a monastery before dying.

I share this story today because that nightmare in late June of 2000 was one of several I experienced as I received energy healing, and slowly healed my hip. I had never expected energy healing to be so powerful—to open up my body’s consciousness, and help me awaken and release layers of pain that held back my life.

It was remarkable to have traveled through a portal, an initiation of sorts, in which invisible realities dictating my life and my path became visible. In doing so, my sense of what was real and possible in this world of healing and living expanded greatly so I could become a more conscious human being. I had made it through a nightmare, through a journey to other worlds inside me, so I could come home and be whole.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about traveling through our nightmares to a place of renewed hope and joy. 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 

 

65. From Feast to Nightmare

BLOG 65: June, 2000—The sounds of crickets and bullfrogs filled in the silence of the encroaching night as we sat at the long dining room table of the old New England farmhouse, singing musical show tunes. It was no ordinary evening. My elder poet housemate, Jean, and her son John, her granddaughter Emily, and Emily’s mom, Cassie, (and maybe Jean’s other son, Larry, and some girlfriend, as far I can remember!) and I were all enjoying a great feast with a bottle of homemade and homegrown strawberry rhubarb wine gifted to me by the family who had hosted the shamanic workshop I had translated for.

One average-sized bottle of this extraordinary potion shared among us was enough to convert us into musical magicians (or at least we thought we were) and unstoppable storytelling and laughter. We took our turns marveling at this wine bottle and its light rose substance inside. Was it possible that so little amount could be so magical? Maybe the nature spirits, the duendes, of our New England mountainside were responsible for having infused every cell of those fermented strawberries and rhubarb patches with immense joy and lightness that lifted our spirits into the night.

Any concerns or stress we may have brought with us to the farmhouse—whether Jean’s loss of her husband, or my aching body and all the uncertainties of my new summer on the farm, or work stresses for those who had arrived here from Boston or New York—flew out the window on nature’s wings. Even Emily and her 13-year-old teenage angst and attitude disappeared inside the laughter and song of my new-found summer family.

Although great feasts and wine became an integral part of my summer on the farm, I continued, like clockwork, visiting Denise, who performed Reiki energy work and shamanic healing on me every week. We focused on healing the pain in my hip, sacrum, and groin that had become debilitating.

After every session, I went back to the farmhouse, altered and exhausted. I tried to go to bed early and fall into a deep, deep sleep that often lingered into early afternoon or later. Then, in a slumber of weakness and altered consciousness, I meditated and sat for hours on the earth, in the garden, sifting earth through my fingers while tending to the sprouting vegetable and herb seedlings.

I will never forget one of those post-Reiki nights of healing that took me on a journey unlike any I had ever experienced. That night, in late June, I couldn’t sleep. My stomach became agitated, my entire sacrum and pelvis throbbed in fear, cd71d209e7ea69f884080638e259c8b8and every little noise seemed to trigger a deep physical response. At one point, as my mind began to drift slightly, I screamed. I screamed out a heightened fright that suddenly gripped my body. I felt as if someone were about to attack me as an unfamiliar reality surfaced from deep within me, taking over any other reality that existed around me.

Feeling intensely frightened, I sat up and focused on grounding myself like a tree into the earth. But when I closed my eyes to imagine this, I merely felt unsafe, cut off from the earth and any sense of security. I lay back down, and called upon an animal ally (something I had been taught to do in my shamanic training). I asked this animal ally to lie between my legs, protecting my groin and pelvis, which, had become very agitated. 

For anyone reading this, it may seem an odd explanation of an experience that was akin to a bad drug trip or post traumatic stress. But, I had already spent almost four years, to no avail, attempting to heal from my groin pull. I had worked with almost every type of healing modality, including conventional Western medicine, but had never experienced Reiki, which is a kind of energy healing. The impact of this healing surprised me, and went deeper that anything I had tried before. It seemed to begin to move the energy, the life force, which had existed in areas where hardened, endless pain had lived for too long. When this occurred, a deeper reality that resided inside the pain, revealed itself at night, when my inhibitions where low, when that part residing in the unconscious folds of our being comes to the surface to be seen and heard.      

That night of many moons ago, I allowed for my animal guide, a spirit protector, if you will, to protect me from the fright that resided inside me. I gradually fell asleep, but only after moments of drifting off and then suddenly waking to the sound of cars driving by or any other noise that felt like an immense shock through me. Imagine yourself there, your nervous system so sensitive, so heightened to everything, that every noise, every movement around you, jolts you awake. b436871e6116bf8f6cf1672fa1414b92That’s where I remained all night, until the birds began to chirp outside my window, and all of me drifted into a sleep that would be so much more than sleep…that would be a nightmare, to be exact.

The nightmare that followed would offer me one important key to the door of my summer’s healing. But, I will spare the reader this story until my next blog. For now, I can say that there are nightmare’s that are worth having, every bit of them, especially if, in having them, there’s peace and healing on the other side.

The summer on the farm offered me these extremes—feasts of immense celebration and laughter, and nightmares, that, like an initiation through our greatest fear and fright, ultimately offer another life, another way, filled with immense, hope, love, and joy. I would not have changed any of it, for all of it was necessary to have arrived at this place today, this place of gratitude and grace.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about traveling through our nightmares to a place of renewed hope and joy. 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

64. My Unpredictable Summer of 2000

BLOG 64: June, 2000—My summer, 17 years ago: weathered New England roads; a two-hundred-year-old-plus farmhouse that was once an old milk farm; an elder poet, Jean, who held poetry workshops every Monday for the past 25 summers; her granddaughter, Emily, and Emily’s mother, Cassie, who spent weekends with us; Jean’s cat, Tristan, handsome, black, and both elegant and wild; a swimming pool; open fields of mowed and wild grasses; dozens of creative, eccentric visitors, including Jean’s two son’s John and Larry; arable land for growing vegetables and herbs; and a nearby creek.

My summer of 2000—akin to Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69″—would be unlike any summer I had ever had or ever would again. What began as an agreement between Jean and I—I would help her in the house and drive her places (she used to say I was “driving Miss Daisy”) in exchange for soul time in her home and on her land so I could heal my hip—turned out to be time living with Jean’s family and many eccentric visitors, celebrating life in all of its greatness and challenges.

I had already begun my daily ritual of walking meditation in the woods and meditation in the mornings and evenings when Emily and her mother, Cassie, arrived at the old farmhouse in Brentwood, New Hampshire. I was slowly becoming familiar with my poet f1308e701ca3ff87135070d529836a11companion, Jean, who had invited me to join her Monday group of poets outside under the shade tree. I began sharing segments of my Child of Duende manuscript, and listening to other poet’s poems. But meeting Emily posed quite the challenge at first.

This thirteen-year-old girl seemed the epitome of a true teenager: a better-than-though attitude; a tendency to put me down even though she didn’t know me from a hole in the wall; a moody disposition; and a great capacity to manipulate her mother and get all the attention she needed. To add to that, she moved into the room next to mine, with a door between us that provided easy access for us to connect, for better or worse (I later discovered the real person she was).

Unfortunately, my first impression of her reminded me of my father, who had also been good at putting me down and making life miserable as I had tried to heal. And here I was, determined to heal from immense pain, yet having to deal with a moody teenager next door! Fortunately, my intention for the summer was clear, and Emily or anyone else wasn’t going to stop me from healing.

While I negotiated the family situation I had moved into, I visited my shamanic teacher and Reiki Master, Denise, for healing sessions. I had already begun studying the Medicine Wheel with her (she was a student of Alberto Villoldo, who had learned indigenous, shamanic teachings from the Q’ero people of Peru), and was now seeing her for private Reiki sessions (hands-on energy healing) with one goal in mind: I would heal my hip by the end of summer.

Without getting ahead of my storytelling of the Summer of 2000, I can say that that summer I learned how important it is to hold intention and trust in the gifts of the universe that don’t come in clean, predictable packages. I learned that, in actuality, these gifts arrive inside unpredictable and chaotic moments rich with healing and life.

A recent gift for me—a relationship that a9e0c8f4a29fc802cfb351a7243d6757has also proved to be anything but clean and predictable—offered itself to me earlier this summer. It arrived as the bold red flowers of the Mexican sage plant outside my house offers its nectar to my fluttering hummingbird friends. Sweet love, tender, passionate, alive, is what it has been. But it’s not what I could have predicted. This relationship has had its own reality filled with human limits and frailty, and has required I receive this gift while honoring my own intentions and truth.

But this summer and that of seventeen years ago have clearly shown me the importance of staying true to our heart and intentions, even if those gifts that show up do so in ways we don’t expect. . . that just because something doesn’t fit our perceptions or vision of what is good and right in that moment, doesn’t mean it’s not a gift for us to receive with great love.

My Summer of 2000 didn’t turn out to be what I had envisioned. Truth be told, it was much more than I could have ever imagined—with all the eccentric, unpredictable, and chaotic energies dancing together to unravel great love and healing. Maybe, just maybe, that will be also hold true for this new relationship and many more of life’s gifts . . .

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about discovering life’s gifts. 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

 

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

 

 

60. Time for Divine Love

BLOG 60—April 28, 2000: “There is no beginning, no end,” I wrote in my journal at my parents’ house in New Jersey 17 years ago. Why? Because I had moved there to heal my hip, and expected to stay for no more than a year before continuing on my life’s path.

“So much time has passed. It’s all become a drawn out affair,” I wrote. “I’ve almost forgotten what I started with…the passion that led me here and hopefully the passion that leads me out of here.”

I had gone out West to discover and invent my life, without limits, and yet I got the wind knocked out of me—got injured—and in my early thirties was living with my parents. “I feel little me wondering if I can do it—can I make it without throwing myself down hard again?” I asked myself.

The irony of life is that, shortly after writing this, a new door to my life opened. I had traveled with a local friend up to New Hampshire, where I had lived years earlier, and where my friend Carl had suggested I take a Shamanic Class studying the Four Directions of the Medicine Wheel. What happened there was nothing short of a miracle.

After class, I had let other students know that I was looking for a place to live in exchange for house-sitting or something similar. I couldn’t afford rent, but I needed a refuge, a place to be with God, so I could finally heal my hip after three years of excruciating pain.

A day after the class completed, and I was already in New Jersey, one of the students overhead a group of poets in a café saying that all they needed to do was find someone who could live with a woman named Jean. The student approached this group and mentioned my name, and soon Jean and I spoke by phone to see if she and her farm house in New Hampshire would be a good fit for me.

a07a67815507524254e67324f69e0d9bIt’s all timing, I say. I still felt incredibly fragile, scared to trust that I could truly walk again as I had years earlier. I was dubious that there was such a thing as divine support in my life. I had lost faith. And yet that’s when this miracle of perfect timing, perfect alignment of everything occurred.

Tonight, as I walked down my dirt road here in New Mexico, I felt sadness, or longing–that “something” I couldn’t quite pinpoint, yet felt throughout the day. It’s strange how that is…that feeling or sensation that chases us all day long…that often chases us out the door, running all over the place, until we finally get back to ourselves. But as I walked, I could feel it, feel its origin.

I returned to the house, and with a glass of wine, sat outside my home, listening to the silence interrupted by soft chimes signing their loving song in the breeze. I reflected on my father and my relationships with men in my life—on the challenges, on the long journey of coming into my own, of becoming the diamond of a woman that I am that was carved out of all the breaking and polishing of that which once was rough, hidden inside harsh stone.

So much of my focus for so long had been on polishing, healing, learning to love this diamond that I was slowly becoming. I h81b442e8291c28a4ad7b50d124503e5aad given so much of my love, my longing to be loved to my father. I had searched so hard for that love in other men that would fill that hollow space that had been inside me.

As I sat below the night sky, open fields in front of me, I sensed my beloved, my life’s partner, bowing down, big, in the field before me. There was an honor, a deep love, an immense respect for my worthiness standing before me, loving me for the diamond I had become. It was humbling to receive.

I cried tonight a cry of love because I could feel this space inside my heart that has held back from finding and being with my beloved. Since my last long-term relationship had ended with immense pain, I had focused on healing my heart and my relationship with my father. And since then, was with my father as he slowly left this world.

But tonight, I see that it’s time. I’m ready. It’s just me that needs to open my heart, to trust, once again, in divine support…to believe that what I have longed for my whole life—to be in a relationship with my beloved partner—is ready to dance her beauty, her divine love into my life.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, 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

 

 

37. Where do Wild and Order Meet?

WHERE DO WILD AND ORDER MEET FOR YOU?

Blog 37: April-June, 1998—“Do you know where sex and love meet? Do you know where wild and order meet? Do you know where thoughts and actions meet, where the sun meets the skimming edge of the earth?”…

I wrote these words from New Jersey, inside my parent’s house in Ho-Ho-Kus, a town half an hour from New York City. At age 30, I was settling into my new home with my parents, adjusting to this insane reality of suffering immense pain when walking, and needing family support to heal. Inside the emotional challenges of living with my parents, I began to build my inner strength and resilience through meditation and writing (writing my novel, and reflecting on life in my journal).

So here I was inside this constricting order (for an artist, the NJ suburbs and my parents’ way of living was a great contrast to mine), determined to remain “awake” to the wild, free spirit that I was. So I continued to write:

“Wild and order meet in a place of art—sacred art. Not just the art of fine pieces mounted on walls for sale, or the art of a solo journeyer’s day in and day out, trying to make sense of his or her life. No, it’s the art of living, the art of bringing together the unity of inside and out that completes us like rivers merging into the sea.

“This is the art that, in its magic-making, cannot distinguish between worlds, cannot distinguish between right and wrong, left and right. In its magic-making, we do not need 557424_171105909691323_1799474373_nto know answers. We do not need to know distinctions. We need only know that we are alive, and that in our aliveness the distinctions between inside and out are only a deeper urge to deny that we are God.”

*My recently published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about this kind of magic. Check it out on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474233011&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende . I will also be celebrating an evening of Child of Duende Storytelling, Spanish Guitar (Ronaldo Baca will be playing Flamenco Guitar), and Tapas at the Corrales Community Library in New Mexico on Thursday, September 22nd at 6:30p.m. http://www.corraleslibrary.org/event/join-local-author-michelle-adam-for-an-exciting-evening-of-storytelling-spanish-guitar-and-tapas-as-she-reads-from-her-new-novel-child-of-duende/ (here’s a link to an article for the event:   http://alibi.com/art/51899/Telling-the-Souls-Truth.html).

WHERE DO WILD AND ORDER MEET FOR YOU?

35. Writing Our Way Home

WHAT PART OF YOURSELF SHOWED YOU THE WAY HOME?

Blog 35: Dec. 1997-April 1998—Have you ever discovered, after multiple attempts to run and hide from where you are, that you end up, once again, with yourself, wondering what to do? 

When I lived in Berkeley, California, crippled from pain, and yet still trying to find ways to escape the state I was in, there was one way I consistently came back to myself. It was through writing. Writing became my way of listening, as later my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, became one long listening experience put on paper. It became a soothing way to come home and discover myself beneath the layers of false existence I had learned to become.

In my small room in Berkeley, with a one plant in the corner I’d sit in front of and meditate (or try to) and below a small sunroof that sprinkled light-filled hope into my day, I would write. My right hand asked the question, my left answered. The premise of this approach was that my non-dominant left hand would answer like a child, innocently, and without all the excess verbage and layers we as adults had learned to wrap over our feelings.

I started simply: “How are you feeling now?” my right hand asked, and my left hand wrote: “I don’t want to go on anymore. I want to hide.” The conversation continued:

 –What do you want to hide from?                                  il_570xN.439727466_pj80
–The World.
–Why do you want to hide from the world?
–Because I am scared I will not be loved and seen.
–Why are you scared you will not be loved or seen?
–Because I am so much more than these people see me as.
–What are you that they can’t see?
–I am a river, a stream. I am grass dancing in the wind. I am love, I am alive.
–What do they see you as?
–They see me as little Michelle who can’t do anything practical in this world.
–Why do they see you as that?
–They need me to be able to fit into their little boxes.
–So what are you, Michelle?
–I am a part of an indigenous world. My roots have always been from a simpler place, a place of giving love.

As I got to the end of my writing, my left hand—that of the child—was the one that carried the wisdom for my adult self. “You are trying to bridge two worlds,” she wrote, encouraging the adult me to trust my heart and not give up hope.

It seems ironic, yet so true, that it is the part of us that is most vulnerable and scared that carries the wisdom to bring us home. The famous mystic poet Rumi once wrote in The Lame Goat: “You’ve seen a herd of goats going down to the water. The lame and dreamy goat brings up the rear.”  But, “There are many different kinds of knowing. The lame goat’s kind is a branch that traces back to the roots of presence. Learn from the lame goat, and lead the herd home.”

As in Rumi’s poem, the lame goat that I was led me home …though my writing.

WHAT PART OF YOURSELF SHOWED YOU THE WAY HOME?