92. Let’s Talk about Death (and live 2020!)

BLOG 92— (present reflections tied to March 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—I want to talk about Death. Yes, Death. That one we whisper ever so quietly because she has become a four-letter word in a world that resists surrender. That resists letting go. That resists dying what no longer serves us in order to maintain the pain of living that we’ve become far too accustomed to.

Yes, I want to talk about She who buries us in her salty sweetness, in her forgiving earth, which holds us in her pungent arms awaiting our renewal as we enter into this new year of 2020. Because she is so worthy of holding us, of teaching us to let go of the old, so we can make room for the new. 

Death has visited me often, especially when I healed from tremendous pain 20 years ago. And she taught me to let go, to surrender that which no longer gave life, so I could heal, so I could breathe new life into my already tired body at the tender age of 30. Death taught me that all the patterns of living I had taken on to survive the traumas of life weren’t worth holding onto anymore if I truly wanted to live, if I wished to dance, if I wished to fly with lighter wings toward my freedom.

“This death is so great!” I wrote back in 2001, liberated by surrender. “Imagine, actually being in this space of not waiting for the world to be there for me—to breathe every ounce of love into this world…to breathe it as if it were my last…to breathe—to finally Goddamn breathe!”

“This death is like having a child (a part of yourself16ace472871ece6378ac196cbc849de6) die in your arms and to carry her around with you everywhere you go because she has given you life. She is what reminds you everyday to cry, to give reverence for what was and is. She is the one who gives us humanity and allows us to deepen ourselves,” I reflected 20 years ago. “I needed to hear that silence between two breaths to look at her, to feel the sadness of this child, to forgive her for all her attempts at love, all her attempts at greatness, all the running that left her (and me) empty because she only knew how to live one way. Then, I needed to give her back to that place of vitality from which she grew, to give her an honorable death, to let go of these old ways.”

Today, on this third day of 2020, I listen for that silence between two breaths so  I can once again feel that freedom of death that came to me 20 years ago. So, I can truly feel that space of silence, that thin, subtle place where one brief moment dies, ends, and prepares us for the next moment, the next breath, over and over again. What freedom it is to let go of that last br09a74140cd2a8d68b963b2f7aaf2c365eath—of its weight, its story, its trauma—so we can make room for the next!

Isn’t it time, NOW, in 2020, this year of clear vision, to make room for new breath and possibility, to surrender to those little or big deaths that urgently await us, to hold us in their salty sweetness? And, to remember that “we cannot truly love until we have experienced our own death, for our fear of life is too strong to truly love until we allow death in.”

So, let’s die a little, or maybe a LOT! Let’s stop holding onto our last breath, which has become far too stale with fear, and let’s walk together into 2020 with new breath, new love, new life! 

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 was soon be published by the Spanish publisher Corona Borealis and the Portuguese publisher, Edições Mahatma. 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”: YouTube Video

89. You Keep Quiet and I Will Go

BLOG 89—(present reflections tied to March 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—“For once on the face of the earth, let’s not speak in any language; let’s stop for a second, and not move our arms so much,” wrote the Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda in his poem “A Callarse” more than fifty years ago, when life moved much slower than it does today. He added, “Perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death.”

Today, not only do I still treasure Neruda’s words and poem, but I also love the wisdom that he shares that is so needed in today’s fast-paced world. It reminds me of a time, more than 20 years ago, when I had a chance to truly slow down and experience the rich flavor of stillness that awaited me against my will. I had become injured toward the end of the last century, and despite the perseverance and fight I had learned to muster to push on forward—to keep moving—I was forced to stop, to be with this “huge silence” that, as Neruda spoke of, interrupted “this sadness of never understanding” myself.

I look around me now, as the Polar ice caps melt and California and Australia swim in fires; as we consume more; as the old guard f8c159e8c0b875506c3d009d8b6a8b3aof unbridled greed sinks its claws into more power and wealth; and as more and more of the same short-sighted living leads to the destruction of life for all of us on this planet called Earth. And I look at my own busy life, from teaching, writing, and publishing, and I think how special it was to have truly stopped 20 years ago, to have stepped off of that train of life (even if it was by kicking and screaming) and to have sat still long enough, as Neruda described, to “interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves”

For five years, I struggled to walk, and for five years, beginning in 1996, I was forced to listen to a different voice than that of an American culture whose emphasis has been of movement and growth for its own sake. By March of 2001, when I housesat for friends in New England, and remained writing as I continued to heal from pain, I had already faced what seemed an eternal pain. No way out, I was forced inward. Back then, I reflected—as I do now—on those earlier years of stopping, and what it was that sat below the surface wishing to be heard.

Here are a few reflections that may open your eyes to your own inner journey, when that time comes to slow down and be still:

26250e6deeecb99c9a474a9992488892“Permission is in the shadows. Answers are what I have invented, what I have held onto so tightly, in order to fill the silence of myself. The true answers are in the space of waiting for clarity to present its gift to me.”

“There is no judgement when I breathe. I belong to my soul, and I am beginning to realize that I will take care of her,” I wrote back then as an old worn-out part of me was dying (I was only 28 when I began this journey, but I felt much older then). “Love is what we cannot have until we have experienced our own death,” I continued to write. “I have seen death naked in my bed. I have tasted her tears, her deep tears for life. I have felt this deep knowing of what it’s like to not have anything, to have it all taken from you…to be left without fear so I can truly surrender to life and learn to love.”

When I look back at these years, I am humbled at 79fdaa4e6a530c8b5c67dec937036fd1what life’s pain was able to teach me. Those years gave me wisdom and love (and a novel, Child of Duende), which grew within me because I had to face myself, day in and day out, with nowhere to hide. Every time I tried to run from my pain, to solve the problem in front of me, I faced a mirror that was myself…that part of me that is as small as a grain of sand, and as large as the universe…that part of me that is nature, that is life, that is love. Then all the lessons, all the shoulds of this fast-moving train of modern life, shed from my skin, from my bones, to leave me with a delicious taste of a deep silence, a deep stillness where life speaks and continues to speak, even today, when I slow down to listen.

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Pablo Neruda walking along the ocean.

So, as Pablo Neruda wrote at the end of his poem, “Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive.”

“Now I’ll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go.”

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 will soon be published by the Spanish publisher Corona Borealis and the Portuguese publisher, Edições Mahatma. 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”: YouTube Video

 

 

70. Falling Apart in our Hands

BLOG 70: (reflections from July 2000 journal entries tied to my healing journey behind my novel)—The thunder rolled in, across the fields of high grass, along the old New England road outside my window. It arrived at where I sat, in front of my mesa, my Peruvian altar. Hail followed, and wind that soon turned into a vicious summer storm of late afternoon.

I had woken up late that day from a night of immense energy moving through me from yesterday’s energy healing session and was only able to fall asleep as the birds began to sing in early morning. When I did sleep, I sunk deep into dreams that unraveled the restlessness in my body.

In my dreams, I went up in a helicopter, and, at the same time, played with a helicopter in my hands. The little helicopter suddenly broke in my hands as the bigger one began descending, seemingly without engine. I prepared to save myself by rolling out of the helicopter as it touched the ground, before crashing. But it landed smoothly and I just walked out.

I observed the dream within the dream, realizing that there was no reason for me to fear crashing because the helicopter in my hand was not holding me—I was holding it and the helicopter holding me would land us both. I sensed that my own creation could break, but my life didn’t depend on my creation one bit as much as it did on the larger helicopter of life that is spirit, God, which guides us in our journey forward in the universe.

I felt a peace that came with knowing I could trust my own creations and choices in life to be held by the larger hand of spirit. Wasn’t life like that, inside my body, where a thunder rose from underneath my pain, to only reveal a peace thereafter?

As I sat meditating, listening to the storm, I surrendered to 6cbe0cbfb7da101ef1d2fd4454fa6f9bit. I allowed the storm to be my body releasing all that sought to hail and thunder to the surface. At one point, I even lay down and allowed my heart to release its unease, its restless, ancient, unnecessary creations through my feet. And then it happened. A silence—the eye of the storm—took over.

This soft, silence illuminated the darkness of my room lit by a few candles as light broke through the storm. Without seeing its source, I felt it filter through the clouds and trees, landing on my mesa, my heart, my room. It was as if the light were everywhere, even inside me, as an internal light took over. I sat with the stones of my mesa—yellow, red, jaguar—and inside the silence, gave my love to each one. The calm that entered my body was like none I had ever felt.

With windows closed and house empty of sound, the absolute stillness was breathtaking. It came as a surprise—a deafening stillness that had nowhere to go but be felt by my entire body. All the breathing and releasing of my pain, of the storm, had found a center of stillness. In riding the storm, I too had arrived at stillness as the light shone from within that had always been there. It just needed to be shaken up to release the anger and noise that had covered it up.

I truly understood, as in my dream, that there was peace in the center, in the place where God, where spirit resides, holding us, even as our creations fall apart in our hands.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about awakening to spirit within. 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

 

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