39. My Wings Circle Around Me in Love

WHEN WAS YOUR LAST SURREAL MOMENT? 

BLOG 39: August, 1998—Four months had passed since living with my parents in a small house in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, a community far away from Oakland, California, and New Mexico, where I had been for several years.  Two years ago, I had left New Jersey, from my parents’ earlier house, to go out west, to discover my wings, only to injure myself and return to this place of family.

Suburban life had always been a challenge for my free spirit, but it had become even more so since   traveling out west and experiencing the openness of the land and sky there. But now, Stefan, a friend I had fallen in love with and had danced with before traveling out west, was visiting. My parents were out of town, and being with him again was like being drunk.

Stefan and I had choreographed and performed a dance together at Omega Institute, a holistic studies center in Rhinebeck, New York State, and while we had gotten very close physically, we had never become full lovers or been in a relationship. He had come to New York from his hometown of Montreal (his parents were Haitian), and although we had become intimate through dance, he had chosen to maintain an element of tension between us that had pulled at me painfully, even when I was out west.

Now as he visited, we went into Brooklyn to see his Caribbean relatives, who were so warm in their touch and way, that I wished I could stay with them longer. But then we went to the ocean, where the piercing grey, blue sky that covered the sand and ocean merged with the orange ball of sun detumblr_mocdvsd18d1rub0hvo1_500scending in the sky. It seemed everyone just sat watching the blue crystal waters of infinity melting inside the sunset.

Nature wrapped herself around Stefan and me for these brief moments that erased time, with even the most hurried stopping to observe. “It’s not surreal, it’s very real,” said Stefan as I mentioned to him how surreal it felt. I agreed with his words, yet there was something surreal in that this moment didn’t belong to us alone. It was a collective experience that moved through us inside a dimension that made no distinctions, had no direction to go, no beginning, no end. It was a kind of “now” that erased even presence itself.

As I sat with Stefan in this magical place, I realized that my love for him, or my feelings of in-loveness that I had held onto for so long, had no future, no life beyond these moments. Together we shared a spark that lit up the space between us. But, it was time for me to take that fire and openness I had experienced in the west, and cool those aching parts of myself—the hunger and fear—inside the clear blue skies of the East Coast, and come home to magic within.

So grateful I was for these days with Stefan, for I was able to close an old chapter, and feel my wings circling around me in love for a more mature life of reciprocal joy.      

WHEN WAS YOUR LAST SURREAL MOMENT? 

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, shares a story of coming home. 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

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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?

 

34. The Courage to Keep Going

WHEN HAVE YOU HAD IMMENSE COURAGE TO KEEP GOING?

Blog 34: Dec. 1997-April 1998—I watched a woman grab onto the railing at the YMCA in Berkeley, using it to stabilize her walk, which consisted of one step every minute. Her feet and legs were like those of a Raggedy Anne doll, hard to control and weakening below her.

Like her, I too had been swimming at the YMCA, and was doing what I could to regain my capacity to walk without pain. But the extreme limits and pain I had experienced since injuring myself in New Mexico more than a year ago, and since moving to Berkeley and the Bay Area of California, were becoming too much to bear—or at least until I saw this woman at the YMCA show me what true courage looked like. She helped me be grateful for what I had, even if it was little.

I had been living in a house full of depressed people in Berkeley (which probably included me) and was now seeking another place to live. But, with the high cost of living and limited options, I began to wonder if I’d end up moving back in with my parents in New Jersey. While searching out my options, I wrote, both in my journal and what later would become my novel. Writing became my refuge, and an attempt to clear the cobwebs of this jobless, debilitated place I was in.

I wrote: “Oh, Berkeley, your magical hills and your fog that rolls into the Bay enticed me for a while, until all the forces gathered these soul parts of mine into one unexpected stew. I came for life, and instead I got death. Though, love, at times, visited my bedside, reminding me of hope.

“Oh, Berkeley, you were such a temptation, and now you are this place where my body struggles to speak. It struggles to break free, although it does not know how. Oh, Berkeley, your winds have thrown me to the ground, when what I had asked for was to be able to leap.

“My hunger has followed me out here and has nagged me into this sleep, an uncontrollable sleep. I so want to sleep now, to sleep and dream this story, with an ending that brings vitality and renewed hope for a life of love.”

WHEN HAVE YOU HAD IMMENSE COURAGE TO KEEP GOING?

33. A Confession to Make

WHEN HAVE YOU BEEN TOO NUMB TO FEEL?

Blog 33: Dec. 1997-April 1998—I have a confession to make: when I was in college and my roommate told me that she had been raped during a drunken night in which I was in the same room with her, passed out, I didn’t react. I didn’t feel. I didn’t show compassion. I was numb. I couldn’t feel. I stay removed from the world, separate, untouched.

           Now, in pain, debilitated, with body broken, in a house of lost people in Berkeley, California, I feel. I feel it all. And while it hurts, there’s something liberating in knowing I can feel every bit of the pain and love that’s possible in this world.  It’s as if this brokenness allows me to feel the world again—to feel it all.

           For so much of my life, my heart has been closed in protection. My fear of being hurt, rejected, of being unworthy and unloved cloaked my heart with heavy armor. It was a way I had learned to be, to survive, and yet here I am in California, with nothing left but myself and my heart.

            I watch the world walk by, so many afraid of not surviving, of not making it, of not having things just as they need them, of losing their cloaks, their armor, that have protected them for so long from. They become cold, hardened, and forget to love the stranger that comes to them, crying, in need of compassion, because they are afraid to lose their way, their habit-forming rituals that define them and provide the illusion that they are okay.snowheart-682440

            I feel now, and I am grateful. Yet, I ask for forgiveness for so many times in which I offered a cold heart to another, in which I caused pain to another in my frigidness. And I feel compassion for others for their cold hearts toward me. For, I know they have learned, as I have, to be afraid to feel. From one generation to the next, they have learned to close their hearts in order to survive a world too frightened to feel its own pain and love, too frightened to be truly live.

I kiss their hidden tears, over and over again, honoring the love waiting to break through.

WHEN HAVE YOU BEEN TOO NUMB TO FEEL?

32. Time to Be Like Buddha

HAVE YOU EVER FELT YOUR SOUL—OR A PART OF IT—LEAVE YOUR BODY?

Blog 32: Dec. 1997-April 1998—Days turn into weeks, and weeks into months, as I live in a house in Berkeley, California with five other people that seem, for the most part, discontent. Although I long to leave, and even seek out other options, my body won’t cooperate with any kind of movement. The message for me is to “be like Buddha,” so I sit and be with where I am no matter how painful.

I reflect on who I have been in my journal. I write, “I used to feel that I didn’t feel. I used to think that I couldn’t love. I would try so hard to feel love, but I couldn’t. It hurt so much. It hurt me so much to think I could not feel. I did not understand all the tears late at night, all the anguish in trying to tune into my heart.”

Now that I am injured, I feel pain (how can I not?), I feel love, and I realize that it never was true that I couldn’t feel. The truth was that I didn’t honor how I felt. I didn’t know how to listen to my heart, how to trust myself, because I was so busy being strong, proving myself, and on some level, leaving my body, not wanting to be here because it was too painful.

I continue to write in my journal, “This pain, this heat moving through my bd3f697970790656d76d951b75a139723ody takes my soul away. My soul is trying to come back, but for some reason it is scared. My soul is scared to be with me. When I wake up the next morning, I can feel how little power I have in my body. It’s as if my breathing is outside of me. And I sense that my soul has been trying to leave my body since birth. It has little interest in being on this earth, yet another part of me that knows I am meant to be here, and is bringing me back, back, to this place of Buddha that needs to feel the pain, that understands better than this.

HAVE YOU EVER FELT YOUR SOUL—OR A PART OF IT—LEAVE YOUR BODY?

Check out my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, at Child of Duende website

31. Being Unloved is a Great Poverty

WHEN HAS LOVE HEALED YOU?

Blog 31: Dec. 1997-April 1998—I am sitting in the hot tub outside my home in Berkeley, California, soaking in the delicious water that calms my body’s pain. I look up at the sky, stars pushing through the clouds and past city lights that obscure a few from my view.

“You are a bloodless sky. You love without wanting,” I later write. “Let me hold you in my belly tonight. Let me feel the coolness of your touch, balancing the heat that leaves my body by the seconds. Let me feel your cool heart balancing this fast moving, fast loving belly of mine.”

For weeks now, I have been with Greg, visiting healers, and then sharing passionate evenings together. Being able to hold each other, and to bring joy, laughter, and passion to my life after months of pain and struggle is sweet relief. My pain and debilitation are bearable when I can feel love and support in my life, just like hunger, poverty, or other physical struggles don’t seem so bad when there’s love and care. It reminds me of what Mother Teresa, who gave so much to the hungry and sick in India, once said: “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

For so much of my life I have pushed people away, protecting myself from people getting too close—getting in the way of my independence, influencing me to be someone I was not. I was always so stubborn to do things my way, to find my own way, and to feel again, to feel my own humanity, because I was raised to distrust my heart, to put my head before my heart.

I came into the world with a big heart, though, and a lot of love, and it’s taken me a long time to come home to myself, to feel again, to feel my humanity. It seems my body, so broken, is reflecting the broken pieces of my heart that have been screaming to come home. Maybe this screaming has been for centuries, lifetimes.

Either way, I am here, no longer wishing to battle between my mind and heart. I am here, hearing my heart, pounding loud, heat in my body, in my soul, ready to let go of the old ways of control, of needing answers, of pushing—ready to love and be loved, to be held, to trust, to discover my way home.

(Don’t forget to check out my novel, Child of Duende, a passionate, magical, spiritual journey of coming home in Spain, at Child of Duende )

WHEN HAS LOVE HEALED YOU?

 

 

30. We Circle Around Ourselves Until Landing in the Middle

Blog 30: Dec. 1997-April 1998—Greg is his name. I meet him at the YMCA in downtown Berkeley, not far from home. He’s a trainer, and I go to him, thinking he can bring strength back to this broken body of mine. Instead, he becomes another angel in my long healing journey.

Soon, Greg and I are visiting every healer known to mankind: osteopaths, energy healers, chiropractors, orthopedics, and yes, psychic surgeons. After seeing a psychic surgeon, I’m laid up in bed for days, barely able to lift myself up. Greg is amazed. Having worked as a nurse in the army, he tells me that I’m behaving just like post-surgery patients he’s seen. And yet, it’s just energy work. We are both surprised.

When Greg and I travel from one healer to another, we laugh a lot. We both have a twisted sense of humor, and our time with healers becomes a pleasant relief from my pain and serious attempt to heal. My body and hip issues don’t go away, but my heart begins to heal. I feel held, cared for, and there’s relief in having someone by my side to laugh with despite it all.What-If-at-TheDailyDoll.com_

I continue to write in my novel and journal, and I find myself reflecting on what it means to be in my center, to be whole no matter what happens.
I write, “If I stand in the center, in the self, and know from this place that I am a part of the whole, then I don’t need to step outside myself. I only need to go deeper inside myself to uncover the universe, because knowing myself is trusting my connection to the whole.”

I draw a circle. Inside the circle, I place a dot somewhere on the right side of the circle. I write, “If I stand here, I am nowhere. I am neither with myself nor the whole.” The center of the circle is where I need to stand, and honor my needs, every day, every minute. “Going inside can take many forms,” I add. “But the first step is stopping, not moving forward, and beginning to move from the center, from myself.”