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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Memories Carved in Writing: Argentina (a break from my regular blog)

1/18/2019: The gourd sits on my table. A gold-carved design caresses its top. Equally ornate metal straws sit inside. The gourd was once my father’s, used for drinking Yerba Mate, a tea Argentinians drink as a national past-time and obsession.

My father’s bombilla remains with me although he left almost two years ago. It reminds me of him and his beloved Argentina I just came back from after three weeks traveling the country with my love. We flew into Buenos Aires—a city of rich culture, as ornate as my father’s bombilla, but not a place my father raised his family. After celebrating the holidays with friends, we visited my father’s apartment—a place he resided in for many years after working elsewhere in the world…a place where he’d found his “heaven on earth” 20181227_175809.jpgbefore leaving this earth.

A couple now live there, up the old circular stairwell and marble floors, behind the wooden door—of another era, of the “Belle Epoque” style, as my boyfriend pointed out—that leads to what was once his apartment. My father’s love for his apartment was so grand that it seemed the walls sung back to him, and even cried upon his departure. They had swallowed all the joy once shared there—the feasts with friends and family and a place to come together as I had with my father toward the end of his life. They marked an era in my father’s life—beyond the hard work, and years as an immigrant away from the place he loved—where he could truly feel alive, as if for the first time.

As we visited Buenos Aires, a city whose beauty is comparable to Paris, we felt its struggle, its eternal battle with poverty, corruption, and runaway inflation. How could a place so rich in culture, art, and literature, with an ornate elegance49338783_2038176952936784_1508593347025960960_n carved into its walls as it was in my father’s apartment, struggle to live? Why do so many people like my father, or my boyfriend, have to leave this country to live well?

As we journeyed through Argentina, its complex history traveled with us… from the streets of Buenos Aires, which seemed to have more bookstores than any other city in the world—including Boutique del Libro, where I presented my novel, Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espíritu, for the first time in Spanish—to the mountains and lakes of the south where I fell in love with its duendes, its nature spirits, that they sold as dolls and puppets in stores (I brought back with me these duendes in exchange for copies of my novel I left with them. It’s not every day that I meet others whose creative work, like mine, honors these duendes!).

We also traveled further north, to Córdoba, where my love grew up, to a sacred land that offered a safe place to remember Argentina’s past, to years of military rule, of painful struggles for an entire country that has learned to make the most of what has been.

20190109_174056~2I was reminded, as I plan my next journey to Spain, to my childhood home, where I will share my novel, that the land knows all…that the land that resides within us, always knows what has been, the history of our childhood, of a nation’s struggles, and waits for us to return to her, to remember, to feel the pain and beauty that lies behind it.

I am home now, in New Mexico, here with this ornate gourd sitting on my table. It is a piece of history that carries a spirit, as did the walls of my father’s apartment. It holds a part of my father and the country he so loved that he couldn’t return to until the last chapter of his life.

Aren’t we all like my father’s gourd, carrying a piece of history, a piece of this earth that has lived the good and bad? In late May, I will soon be like my father’s gourd, carrying a piece of history, a piece of love for the land that raised me—for Spain—that I will return to with my novel, Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espíritu, which is about duendes, nature spirits, and the spirit of a place that never leaves us…never leaves us, even if we’ve tried, many times, to leave her.  

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. Click here for its Spanish Version on Amazon , its original English version on this 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”: YouTube Video