88. My Soul is Tender after Spain

BLOG 88—(present reflections tied to February 2001 journal entries about my healing journey and my return from presenting my novel in Spain)—I returned almost a month ago from Spain, from a book tour with my novel in Spanish, Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espíritu, presented in four cities (Madrid, Murcia, Málaga, and Granada) and six venues. My journey to Spain was a homecoming, a return to the land that had shown me my soul. And this time I came with my novel, written while in the U.S., a kind of exile from that home.

My soul is tender now, not just because my gift as a writer and healer and as the person I am were beautifully received, but because, upon returning home to New Mexico, I now feel a truth I wrestled with almost 20 years ago, when healing from hip pain in New England.

Back then, while in pain and learning to listen to my soul’s voice, I wrote about feeling angry at being asked to “unmask” myself. I had worked with shamans from Ecuador, translating for them in events, and one had told me, ever so subtly, that maybe my whole journey of healing was about become soft again, about softening, which for me was a kind of “unmasking”.

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Me as a little girl in Spain (front, left)

Twenty years ago, that meant becoming that little, vulnerable girl I had once been. “How dare you ask me to soften when I’ve worked so hard to gain the power, strength, and courage I have had to survive,” I wrote in my journal in 2001. “I feel the younger person I was didn’t have any power or value, and that all the power and value I had, I had to build from the ashes of my father’s blaze.”

It’s especially interesting reading those words of long ago, when today, a month since returning from Spain, I awoke from a dream that resonated with what I had written. I dreamed I was in high school again, and I had just come from Spain to the U.S. and felt extremely alone inside those school walls. In my dream, I felt what it had been like back then, entering into an environment that had been so harsh and foreign to me. And I woke up feeling the angst and trauma of it all, while also getting how I had coped back then by shutting down, becoming depressed, numb, and disconnected because it wasn’t safe to feel the pain of being a stranger among all these students I was meant to connect DSC01189with, yet couldn’t. I got how a part of me had, as they say in the shamanic world, lost a part of my soul when I came to the U.S. and needed to survive.

As I lay in bed this morning, feeling all of this, I got so clearly that this is so much what happens to all of us. Every one of us experiences different traumas that we need to survive, and in order to do so, a part of us leaves, shuts down, disappears. We keep on going, appear normal to the outside world, but later, somewhere down the road, we pay the price, because a part of us is locked down, gone, and without this part, we are not whole. And then we hit some big wall in life—as I did with my injury and not being able to walk—and then the journey backwards, toward those moments in which we shut off and dissociate, begins. Because we must go back and retrieve those parts of us that we left somewhere else while we were busy surviving.

This morning, after my dream, I meditated, and I felt my soul’s tenderness. I really felt it. Because I got so clearly that all the places in our lives where we stop feeling, where we have to override our soul’s tenderness, our soul’s beautiful soft body that is as light and agile as the wind or a feather, need to be felt. We need to feel these moments where we weren’t really present, where we checked out, and we need to check back in, with immense compassion for our soul’s beauty and tenderness. We need to feel, and feel, and feel again, and less the fright we felt, and more that soft, vulnerable part of us that we shut down yet wants to be seen…that truly human, big-hearted part of us that we need 65205100_2304147666339710_1329517034966351872_nwith us so we can be our full soul-selves in our bodies. Then, and only then, can we experience true joy for living.

Ironically, when I came back from Spain this time, I met up with a woman who had been in my high school class in New Jersey, yet was now living in New Mexico. And what I discovered is that we had a lot in common and were very much on a similar spiritual path. Yet this time, unlike so many other times I had returned to the U.S. from Spain, I was able to feel that child I once had been who had gotten lost in the U.S.  I returned to New Mexico to make peace with that trauma I had experienced as a child when I had originally come to the U.S. from Spain. And now, that tenderness of my soul, that soft body, can more fully come home inside me.

I see now, that when I, or any of us, feel that sense of agitation, that disconnect in our lives, that it’s really a call to feel that tenderness that is our essence, and inside that space, to feel those parts of ourselves that were left behind and that long to return, to be seen, to be felt, to be whole within us again.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story of returning home to the earth inside and all around us. It’s now available in Spanish as Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espiritu, that’s available on Amazon at Amazon Page or at www.michelleadam.net. It can be ordered at a local bookstore or directly from me (for those outside of the U.S.) as well. Also, watch a brief video on “duende”, “the spirit of the earth” in Spanish: https://youtu.be/FaRK7wOHcJU, and in English: YouTube Video

 

 

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45. Sacred Action: Spirit Inside Flesh (Join Saturday’s Storytelling, Flamenco Guitar & Spanish Tapas Event!)

Blog 45: December 9, 1998—Struck by these lines from The Last Temptation of Christ movie I watched almost 20 years ago, I wrote them down:

“The dual substance of Christ—the yearning, so human, so superhuman, of man to attain God…has always been a deep inscrutable mystery to me. My principle anguish and source of all my joys and sorrows from my youth onward has been the incessant, merciless battle between the spirit and the flesh…and my soul is the arena where these two armies have clashed and met.”

This struggle between spirit and matter were deeply tied to the hip pain I experienced back then, when I lived, at age 30, with my parents in New Jersey. In this country of materialism gone rampant, especially back then, I fought to hear my soul’s voice that had become so distant after my family and I had moved from Spain to the United States during my middle school years. My hip injury in my late twenties had granted me the permission and urgency to reawaken this part of me—and my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, became a way for me to express this.

Today, as I prepare for a local Storytelling, Flamenco Guitar, and Spanish Tapas event tied to my novel, I can see more clearly how this battle of spirit with matter, and the ultimate merging of these has become my life’s work. The other day, as I rehearsed with Ronaldo Baca, Flamenco guitarist and singer, we spoke about this energy, and how deeply it is tied to “duende”, the essence of my novel.

The Spanish Poet Federico Garcia Lorca once described “duende” as a work and battle, where we wrestle those demons and dark places of our psyche to uncover, to awaken, to become an artform longing to be born. This “duende,” he said, is the spirit of the earth “one must awaken in the remotest mansions of the blood,” and it is only in doing do so that duende “announces the constant baptism of newly created things.”

Aren’t Lorca’s words similar to that of Nikos Kazantzakis’s words of The Last Temptation of Christ? Isn’t there a battle we all engage in as humans (if we are willing to be honest with ourselves) of merging spirit with matter, of becoming this invisible life force of “duende” that moves through our visible, limited physical reality?

As more people wake up to this life force within themselves, how do we engage in this righteous battle to become most fully spirit within flesh? (I see examples of this in our recent history: at Standing Rock in the Dakotas, the Sioux Nation has been protecting the waters by standing up against Energy Transfer Partners, an oil company building a pipeline which is intended to transport 5550,000 barrels of oil a day to maintain our comfortable lives. Since the U.S. presidential elections, others have taken to the streets in protest of the results, and it seems, so many of us are waking up, realizing we can’t take our freedom and democracy—or what there is left of it—for granted any more).

At this time of immense change and upheaval, how do we take this essence of “duende” and be the conduits through which life can—through sacred action—fully express herself?

How have you become this spirit inside flesh most authentically?

*This Saturday, Ronaldo Baca and I will be offering a journey inside this essence in an inspiring evening of Storytelling, Flamenco Guitar, and Spanish Tapas. It’s this Saturday, Dec. 10th, at 4p.m. at Awaken to Wellness Center, 1704 Moon St NE, Ste 9, Albuquerque.

My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, may also make a great gift this season! It’s available 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  or at www.michelleadam.net

24. Grateful for my Mother

BACK TO MY REGULAR BLOG (with novel excerpts in between!) 

WHEN DID YOUR MOTHER SHOW UP WHEN YOU REALLY NEEDED HER?

BLOG 24: August-October, 1997—There are times when you are down and out, and have nowhere to go, and then your mother shows up.  This is one of those times. I’m still in the hills of Oakland, California, writing the beginning pieces of what is later to become my novel, and then my mother visits. I’ve been in pain for months now, but only recently told my mother what was happening to me.

I haven’t been out of the house in a while—that is, until my mother arrives. Soon we are traveling to the ocean, sitting along the dunes of these Pacific waters, and my mother shares her own life challenges with me. I’ve never heard my mother tell me in such a heartfelt way what’s happening with her, and I feel an amazing sense of relief. Suddenly my pain and limitations don’t seem so bad, and, in her sharing, I feel connected to my mother in ways I never have. I have my mother back, I think and smile. In her vulnerability, I am able to be with mine.

There’s a lesson I learn in my vulnerability—and in being given the chance to see that in my mom: sometimes, for those of us who are raised to be so tough, being vulnerable is a gift. It brings us back to our humanity and opens a door for us to be with others with compassion and open heart. It allows us to enter into the grace of life, and become more fully ourselves because we are finally listening. .

WHEN DID YOUR MOTHER SHOW UP WHEN YOU REALLY NEEDED HER?