Open Letter to My Father: (pause from regular blog)

It’s been more than two months since you left, your last breath a cry of life and then you were gone. When I’m still enough to feel and listen, I sense you here with me. In several weeks, though, I imagine I’ll feel your presence even more. That’s when my mother, sisters, and I will be traveling to Buenos Aires, Argentina, staying inside your apartment tucked away inside the old quarters of your city. It once lay above the empanada shop that smelled of oven-baked dough wafting up toward your place, and then the hairdresser’s where I replaced, with decent hair color, that horrific henna hair color that made the top of my head look like a carrot—and which you kept touching to make fun of.

If I remember correctly, the last time I was with you in your beloved Argentina was two spring times ago, before you got too sick to travel. We planned another trip after that, but it wasn’t in the cards. Instead, chemotherapy was. But I still remember how you asked me, quite last minute, to join you in Argentina for that last spring time together. At first I declined, since I had made alternative plans, but then, with your persistence, and lots of maneuvering, we shared our last month in your beloved country together.

That was the time my upper back was in immense pain and you couldn’t walk much more than a block. We were quite the team, eternally riding taxis through Buenos Aires, with you incessantly IMG_1174talking to the drivers and everyone else we met. “Isn’t this city the best city in the world,” you’d tell the taxi driver. You’d sit there in the back with your little black bag you carried everywhere, beaming with joy for your childhood homeland you had returned to.

One of our last taxi rides together was to the fish vendor. Do you remember? Even though walking was a struggle, you insisted we stroll through an open market where you greeted everyone as if you had been there a hundred times. Then we went to your fish vendor to pick up a large, frozen octopus, which you insisted on cooking because your friends considered it one of their favorite delicacies.

We celebrated our last supper in the apartment with your friends, Loli and Herbert, and with your sisters, Ingrid and Dietlinde. What a glorious night. You had worked so hard cooking that octopus, and by the time we sat down to eat, and I dedicated a poem and song to you—and to the brief time we all had to celebrate life together—it seemed all worth it.

While you faced your challenges with age—Parkinson’s, Leukemia, and then Melanoma—there was something special about those final years together. You were no longer the tough, distant father I had known you to be, and your challengIMG_1165es became the gift that opened you to love. I adored how you talked to everyone you met; how you let things go that weren’t important; how you didn’t care about things being perfect anymore. What had become perfect was your giving heart, memorable dinners with precious friends of your childhood, and your unbridled passion for small things (like that ice cream you loved at Adan Restaurant—the one topped with champagne and lemon!).

Maybe when mom, my sisters, and I go back to Buenos Aires later this month, we’ll honor you with a scoop of that fine ice cream; or by taking a trip by taxi; or by greeting the man at the deli across the street, and all the others you used to speak to. What I do know is that family and friends will come together with you, celebrating your life with an abundance of toasts. I’ll make a special Last Supper in your apartment to honor you as well (I’ll even take a picture of it, and make sure you’re in it!), and I’ll do a book reading from my novel Child of Duende with a local Flamenco guitarist in your neighborhood.

It will be the first time that I perform anything outside of this country, let alone in Argentina—and it may be the last there. As much as I’m doing it for myself, when I share the story of Duende to Flamenco guitar, it will be for you as well. You’ll be able to see me there, in your favorite city in the world, en tu Buenos Aires Querido, sharing, as you did, Argentinian Eventmy passion for living this moment, this breath, this spirit of life that is only given to us for this brief moment. I hope you can come, that you can see me, that you can see and feel all of us honoring you where your heart had learned to open so big in your last years of your life, at home, in your Beloved Querido Buenos Aires.

Please join me this May 26 at 5:30p.m. in Buenos Aires (and if you can’t make it, please let friends who can come know) to celebrate storytelling, Flamenco guitar, Garcia Lorca, and my father, Alberto Adam. It’s at Kel Ediciones, Conde 1990, 1428 , Buenos Aires, Belgrano, 54  11 4555 4005,  kelediciones.com, a top 

carrier of books in English in Buenos Aires. 

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

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

 

Celebrating Duende at Barnes and Noble!

Jan. 25, 2017: Listen to that song, that voice, a call out that comes from the deepest, most moving place of our mysterious soul. Can you really hear it…this llanto, this cry out that has never left us…not during wars, dictatorships, and horrific terror inside our brief, but intense human history?  Can you hear the depth of this LLANTO, this “song of the earth,” this most life-affirming voice of the soul that never quits, that is here today, in this moment, during this unique time of friction and immense change in our human history?

This Saturday, at Barnes and Noble, I will offer a taste of this Llanto, this cry out, this deep soul’s song and melody that is tied to the story and birthplace of my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit. With my novel, I bring to you Gypsies, nature spirits, Flamenco, and a return home to the earth and her wisdom, her Llanto, and cry out. I offer you a taste of that which inspired me to write this novel, which came from a journey of my heart, back to Spain, to the memories of my childhood in high-desert fields that raised me and an ancient culture that has forever left its imprint on my soul.

In traveling along the threads of this ancient culture that wrote the story of my novel, I begin with Spain’s Gypsies who have long carried an enduring spirit of music and dance, of Flamenco, of Deep Song, Cante Hondo. These nomadic, song-wielding, magic-making people, who arrived in Spain from India, brought with them the sounds of the orient, of the Ragas, of indigenous chanting, a kind of prayer that keeps that sweet dialogue between the unseen and seen world alive, honoring the holy and sacred part of being human.

This song of Gypsy wove its fabric into Spain’s Arabic, Jewish, and Catholic roots—even as Fernando and Isabel of Spain set out to explore the Americas and enacted the Inquisition, which kicked out, killed, and tortured Jews, Arab, Gypsies, and non-Christians in Spain. Many Gbarnes-and-noble-event-jan-2017ypsies fled to the mountains, and it was here that they kept their traditions alive. Maybe—as with the negro spirituals, the Blues, and Native American chants, and so many deeply soulful songs—it is this very persecution, these dark times, that help create this ancient sound of longing that rises more fiercely and fully from the depths of our being than ever before, and reminds of our most profound connections.

My novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about this deep longing that cries out for another way…or more clearly…a way home inside this earth place. It is about discovering that, even when we’ve lost our way, and feel despair, there’s a way home, inside, inside of us, and inside the land that calls us on a sacred journey of aliveness.

If you are in New Mexico this Saturday, from 1-3p.m., please join Ronaldo Baca and I for a live weaving of storytelling and Flamenco song and guitar at Barnes and Noble, Coronado Mall, Albuquerque, that promises to stir this ancient Gypsy spirit that knows the way home. And, if you are too far away, check out my recent video, which tells the story of “duende”, the spirit of the earth, tied to my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit! https://youtu.be/yEJoQpKYK3I

Also, check out a limited-time promotion of my paperback novel and a VERY SPECIAL Kindle price of 99 cents on January 28th (the price goes up a dollar every day after) on Amazon: http://a.co/9scIar2

 

38. In Wildness is the Preservation of the World

Blog 38: April-June, 1998—Naturalist Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “in wildness is the preservation of the world.” His words resonated with me as I contemplated my life back on the East Coast, in my parent’s house in New Jersey. I wondered what, if any, higher reason I had for coming back to the East Coast after two years out West (beyond the fact that I had trouble walking and needed my parent’s help after having injured myself). How would I feel at home in a place that felt so contained and “civilized,” lacking the expansiveness of the West?

I longed for that wild spirit that I had discovered out West and had experienced as a child in Spain, the country that inspired my novel that I continued to write while healing at my parent’s house. Writing out the wildness of my soul helped me survive the suburban life, as did going outside, on the back porch, and taking a few puffs of a clove cigarette while looking up at the sky as cars raced along the highway nearby. The earthy, sweet taste and smell of the cigarette connected me to the ground below.

I also continued to write in my journal: “There is something innately wild in us wanting to breathe the air again. We have protected ourselves from the elements that are mirrors to our humanity, and we have, in ways, become like fearful styrofoam, reacting to our emptiness. Isn’t it because of this that the bullfight, the dancer, and the duende of Spain, attract us so? Isn’t it because that element of freedom is still there?”

“I read tonight about the mountain lion coming back, walking through the malls, killing humans. Is this not what we ultimately fear? Yes, there is order in everything, even among animals and their packs. But there is also danger; there is also wildness that needs to be left alone, to be that part of nature that is so much of ourselves, that is unpredictable and unafraid of death.”

“I look at the face of the mountain lion, and I see myself. I see us. I turn the page of the news and I also see a story of young children killing each other with guns, without remorse, and I feel that these two worlds are not that separate. Is it not our own fear and ignorance of our primitive, natural selves that actually breeds unnecessary violence?”

“It seems we are searching for ways to crack the mirror of our illusionary race of perfected humanness, so we can get a glimpse of what it’s like to be complete—to be both primitive and refined, innocent and enlightened, both lover and seeker, both alive and fearless for just a moment.

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about this kind of wild spirit and freedom. 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  or at www.michelleadam.net

Duende: A Creative Fusion of Spirit and Matter

September 24, 2016–Last week, I asked, “Where do spirit and matter meet?,”and this week, as I sat down to write, I felt called to answer this question: they meet when we share our soul’s longing and gift with others through creative fusion and love…when we embody our spirit through creative expression.

This is so much what happened at this past Thursday’s Storytelling and Spanish Guitar and Tapas event I had at my local library with Ronaldo Baca, a Flamenco guitarist, who played guitar as I shared my story of passion and love for the Spanish land and culture that inspired my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit. About 45 people joined me and Ronaldo Baca, who had chosen to collaborate with me  because he, too, understood and shared the depth of love I had for the Spanish land and her soul that “raised me.”

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My reading began with these words: “There’s a voice inside the earth, subtle, yet there, easing her song, her melody of sweet, nurturing love into every part of our being. This voice–this ancient, primordial song–came to me as a child, from the land in Spain who sang my young child’s soul alive. This evening is dedicated to her and to the novel that I wrote, which comes from her soul.”

Ronaldo Baca played and sang a Flamenco Malaguena before I began, and ended with an Alegria.  It was so beautiful and carried such soul and duende–that 14358994_1297863966891868_4847407625166353127_nspontaneous, raw, creative passion–that I felt a great of wave of gratitude come over me. I then told the story of the earth’s spirit, the soul of Spain, and that place within us as a child that is so alive, and full of imagination and room for spirit to rise within us. It was a sweet, honey-filled way to honor Equinox and the first day of autumn.

At the end of the event,  one woman came to me in tears and shared how I had reminded her of her magical childhood–of a time when she and others in her family believed in spirits, in worlds unseen, and lived the richness of her child’s imagination. This evening for her, and for others (including me), was a reminder that there’s an eternal door open to us to walk through, at any time, into this place of magic–of duende14468783_1297864270225171_5534532804577011312_o–that we may have carried as a child…and to live this once again.

Check it out: A Short Clip from Storytelling Event

My novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474769851&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende (or can be ordered through your local bookstore).

 

 

 

 

 

Honest Journey on Wings of Grace

Why go back in time? Why recount what has come before, when I am here, on the wings of grace with my novel Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit and its sweet reception?

Since January, I’ve been telling my personal story behind my recently published novel. Going back 20 years, I’ve been recounting the strands of thread that, bit by bit, wove the tapestry of my story of a magical girl in Spain, and another who finds her way back home through supernatural vines. But why go back in time?

I find the answer to my question when I offer storytelling events and gatherings where we can share that part of ourselves that longs to fly on the wings of grace and with a passion that is innately inside us all, even if only in the form of embers.

This past week I shared my story, both personal and of my novel, at a local New Mexico bookstore, Bookworks, and was not only blessed by a large turnout, but by people who told their own stories. They were stories of anxiety, pain, and feeling intensely. While we live in a culture that often seeks a light and happy tale, I have found that it is the ache and pain of being alive–and our willingness to feel it along with the joy–that allows us to ultimately to fly on the wings of grace.

So, as I prepare to continue my blog from where I left off-in California, broken and in pain–I bless every inch of this journey that has brought me to this place of freedom and aliveness. As I share in my storytelling and talks, and through my novel, it is “duende,” the spirit of the earth inside me, that has broken me into many pieces, so I could finally embody my life more fully and be the grace that I am. Thank you for all of it.