55. Honoring Body, Earth, and Air

Blog 55: July, 1999— “I lay out big like New Mexico tonight, the stars speckling the skies in every direction,” I wrote after relaxing outside my parents’ home under New Jersey skies. “It makes me aware of how amazing it is to be walking on this earth. What a gift it is to be inside this wonder—to know that every day we have this, yet we crowd our thoughts and lives with so much that clutters our view.”

Then, it seemed, life felt more alive, more resilient, inside the warmth of summer. I was reminded of what I had once had. I had danced in New York City before becoming injured, and I had lived in New Mexico where the earth and her big skies had invited me to slow down, even though I wasn’t ready.914e43fb9aef1d21aab3d064540aae1e

“When I think of dancing now, I think of an inspiration that followed me, almost stalking me. I still feel how beautiful it was to dance, to take that deep breathe that is dance,” I wrote. “I want to start again, slower this time, with care and love, listening and understanding that this body is my love, my gift. When I do, I will know how a body is, what a body means, how it is mine in more than dance to take care of.”

That day in New Jersey was like today in New Mexico. Storm clouds cleared to reveal snow-covered mountain peaks as the sun melted the cool breeze dancing inside springtime. I stretched, walked with a friend, and enjoyed being in this body that has been through so much—so much of my neglect and taking for granted the gift of what I had been given. I remember how, when I had lived in California (after leaving New Mexico, and before that, New York City), I had felt such immense despair at not being able to get out onto the land…with the idea of not having open skies, trees, fresh air, and water to bathe in when my soul felt weary.

Back then, I had taken for granted my body’s gift—the gift of housing my soul, my life’s force—and, in the pursuit of becoming someone, forgot the importance of my connection to the earth. Now I know how precious both are, and that, in our neglect, it can take a long time to repair the damage we’ve done.

Today, I think about how we, as Americans, have been blessed with living on this breath-taking land once called Turtle Island by Indigenous Americans. Yet, recently, our leader has threatened to roll back protections for land and air. It’s in the name of progress and jobs, President Donald Trump says. Yet there’s no progress when we can’t drink the water, breath the air, and celebrate this body of life we’ve been given.
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There’s no progress when we no longer wake to visible sunrises or share in the diversity of people, plants, and animals that makes this earth so precious.

I reflect on my journey of unraveling the layers of my mind’s clutter so that I can care for my body, my home, and live from a place of greater gratitude for this earth life we have been given. For me, pain cleansed and cleared away layers that maybe, without it, would still be blinding me from the gift of my body and this earth.

Maybe, just maybe, we don’t need so much pain to learn the gift of what we have right here, in front of us, though. Maybe, as we journey together through the troubled maze of our time, we can all let go of the clutter we’ve carried and make room for a more sustainable and healthy earth walk.

*My novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is a story honoring the earth and the spirit of “duende” within. 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

 

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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

 

43. There’s Another Way and It’s Now

BLOG 43: November, 1998—“Those guys there are not moving,” my father said to me in a dream I had while living in my parents’ New Jersey house, healing from immense hip pain and writing my novel. “They are just floating in space and will never get us home.”

I dreamed I was on a blanket—yes a blanket!—floating in outer space, far away from any sign of Earth. My mom was there, along with company men who seemed connected to the agri-corporation my father worked for. I asked these men how we could replenish the crops, and how much it would cost to buy the land back from them. They mentioned a price, which didn’t
sound so bad. Yet it felt like one of those deals that could trap you for a lifetime. I felt like a slave who was trying to buy her freedom (a freedom that was once mine but taken away), which would gradually get more and more expensive and impossible to have.

While I stood on a blanket in outer space, considering this deal, my father suddenly flew by on a jungle-gym-type structure, and pulled me away. Within seconds, I was flying at what seemed the speed of light, clinging onto this contraption. My father began to reassure me that everything would be alright. “Those guys there are not moving,” he said. “They are just floating in space and will never get us home.” He made it clear that they were trying to take us for a ride, and that is was possible to move much faster through space than these men could.

My father and I continued to speed through a kind of wind and stars, creating a bubble of sorts around us. My father told me we had all we needed, and that we didn’t need to buy seeds or land. Then, he showed me a sacred altar, a doorway of sorts, into who we, our family, were. We were holy people who carried a kind of power and protection that didn’t require money or the type of power we fight for on Earth. As he spoke, I understood the path home.

Back then, I logged my dream, not thinking much of it. But, years later, as I continued to write my novel, I came back to it as a revelation that magically wove into my personal and fictional story. And today, I return to this dream, and find its message applicable to our post-election climate.

In my dream, my father (who, ironically, worked for a corporation that helped farmers with their seeds become big-business enterprises that created systems of dependency) reminded me that we are more than these systems that run us—that we determine the fate and speed at which we travel through dimension and time. He had shown me how we can be trapped in a cycle of buying, of paying for that which is already ours.

When I reflect on the recent U.S. elections,906001477fc1f5f8c175b1fce3109138 I feel we are also being asked to awaken, to see that the corporate and political structures we considered “business as usual” are beginning to break down—that people are fed up, and seeking an alternative (even if that meant voting for an offensive, loose cannon like Donald Trump, or as radical a primary candidate as Bernie Sanders seemed to some).

If my dream has any relevance today, then maybe we are waking up to how blind we have been to our true freedom and power, and how we have been seeking and paying for that which has always been ours. Maybe this time of fear and uncertainty is a wake up call for us to take sacred action toward becoming the divine humans we are here to be. Maybe we are capable of traveling through space and time to discover a more divinely-guided way home.

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, tells the story of freedom and power we as humans are capable of having. 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

42. Be Still To Be With Love

BLOG 42: October, 1998—“The last rays of autumn, before winter’s claustrophobia, force me to find hope elsewhere,” I wrote in my journal almost twenty years ago in my parents’ house in New Jersey. It’s ironic to look this far back into the past and track my writing of a similar season as now, here in New Mexico, where a select few leaves fall, and cooler winds prepare winter’s arrival.

“I try to explain how your visit is meaningful, how the sun is meaningful, and how tomorrow is not an experience I can count on or want to rely on as a scapegoat for today,” I wrote back then about having seen my friend, Eric, who was visiting as he prepared to go into New York City to audition for Opera. “But your mind is elsewhere, wanting, without knowing, the solitude of reading your book, the reassurance that you are prepared for tomorrow with the right notes on the keyboard when you audition for the part. And I sit here, a conversation with myself it seems, wanting to describe what it’s like to be, day in and day out, trapped in a house, without friends or the ability to act on my life…what it’s like to be a victim of solitude.”

“I want to describe what it’s like to depend on people’s stillness to share a few moments of love,” I continued writing. “I say nothing after shallow attempts to speak, because I feel my throat, my eyes tearing, and my understanding that we as so much more than ourselves and each other when we are together…that we are the places we have been, the actions we take, the dreams that we run after like strings pulling us into our past. We are states of mind that intersect and part at different points of understanding. And how now, at this point, I am standing alone, without reason, dreams, place, or action, and I will be none to you unless you know how to sit real still as I have done.”

As I read these words of so long ago, I am amazed by their wisdom, and how, in my vulnerability and limitations, I learned much more about life than all this doing we live. Recently, a week ago, here in New Mexico, I faced the end of a beautiful, yet short relationship. Afterwards, I felt empty and longed to touch and be touched. I didn’t know where to go, what to do, to fill this vacancy. c842c559b6600bae2b90c559a4bf7dd0But, bit by bit—after crying, grieving, and letting go—I inched my way to my meditation altar (mesa, actually), and I sat still. With my breath, I sent white golden light to all of me, and with love, touched the inside of my skin, sending the most delightful hug to all parts of my body that intersect with the outside world. I smiled.

Maybe, I am finally returning to my words of twenty years ago. I am being with myself as I had wished others could be with me…in stillness so I can be the breath of love that fills my entire being. I never realized how delicious my own presence could be for me, how I can be the loving touch I so longed for in all my solitude.

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is the culmination of my healing journey. 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

Honoring the Unseen World of Our Ancestors

10/30/2016--Like a soft, subtle breeze that inches her way into our lives, bit by bit, increasing her intensity and presence, the darkness of winter arrives. The moon rises to light up the cooler nights and we begin to celebrate an inner world, an “unseen” world that, ironically, in the darkness, may be easier to glimpse, to experience than in the bright light of summer. (Note, this writing is a break from my regular blog story)

At this time of the year—of ghosts and goblins of Halloween, and spirits taking form inside our imaginations—I shared my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, with a group of mystery writers and readers. It was fitting to do so since my novel sprouted from an energy akin to this time of the year. My novel came from a place of inner journey, where the sun hides, or so it seems, as it creeps down, into the earth, in the early evening, and lights up a place inside of us (inside the earth that we are) that longs to come home to itself. My novel celebrates this inner world, this “unseen world,” which we often call the spirit world or that place from which all life emerges.

Tomorrow’s celebration of Halloween also honors this unseen world. It originated from the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (“sah-win”), a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and a time in which the ancient Gaels believed that the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. The Christians, who gave this hoce0b65a48bcd9204ddb1aaa7b7dc4032liday the name of Halloween, were also celebrating “hallowed evening” or “holy evening,” as a time of honoring the holy; and those who celebrate Dia de los Muertos recognize their ancestors, and those who have walked before them, making a place for them to visit from the “other world.”

After sharing Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit with an audience of thirty earlier this week, I began to feel the leaves of my abundant summer falling to the ground, preparing the soil for new life in the Spring. It was a challenging week for me, and for numerous people I spoke with. But rather than get upset or push through this energy–in the name of progress as we are taught to do in this culture–I listened. I invited friends to gather in ceremony to intimately honor our ancestors and all that has come before, and to prepare the soil for the Spring.

My reaction to the change of season, and my internal seasons, is so different from years ago. Then, when my soul, my life, urged me to slow down, I resisted. I didn’t know how. I pushed through it, injuring myself, hurting myself, and eventually got to a place of writing my novel because I could no longer ignore that which was unseen that wished to speak.

So rather than be like the person I was, I invite you to be with the seasons that we all are, and honor this time of the year for its gift of life and death, of seen and unseen, of blessing that which has come before so that Spring’s soil sprouts a blessed harvest.

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit is 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

41. Big in Love

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO BECOME BIG IN LOVE?

BLOG 41: September, 1998—Another month passed by in New Jersey, with the highway noise bleeding into the background of my consciousness as I unraveled this person I had been. And almost every day and evening I wrote, adding sentences to my novel from an unknown place.

“Writing this book is hard,” I scribbled in my journal. “It’s hard to get to the heart of it. I feel like I am gnawing away at the edge of the bone… My characters also feel small, and they are in a small world. I need to give meat to those seeking, living characters wanting to be what they can be. As a writer, I need to be many more people than me. I need to look inside and understand more than myself.”

As I explored the depths of where my novel wished to go, ideas came to me—inside the music I played and the space I created of eternal night. Some of these ideas seemed so outside myself, so irrational, that I would call a friend and share what was coming to me. Rather than tell me to pull back, and not go there, he always inspired to me to follow this irrational, out-there idea, and to let it tell its story and purpose. That extra prodding from a good friend all3bb1bb45b56a2988fbf4a474dab45607.jpgowed ideas that had begun in my mind to seep into my bones and discover their resonance for a larger story than me.

This journey inward beyond the musings of my mind, would not have been possible if I had not been injured and been guided into a vulnerable, still place within me. It became so clear how I was unraveling that part of me, driven by ego and insecurities to become someone big. Nothing grows grand and beautiful without solid roots, and this time was about growing and feeding those roots of mine so I could create an enriching story. It was also about letting go of the need to push outward when the rich soil of my life lay within.

“I’m always amazed at how I feel this great responsibility to do something big in this world, to affect change, to give in a big way,” I wrote in my journal. “But another part of me wants to live simply, to eliminate all this bigness and just concentrate on breathing and loving.”

Today, years later, I see that it is through breathing each moment in and in loving that we become big. We become big through letting go of that which we are determined to be. We begin to dance, sing, and be the joy we have always been with those we love. Together we can celebrate life and be the gift that makes us so much more than just ourselves.

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO BECOME BIG IN LOVE?

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is the culmination of years of musings and gnawing at the bone. 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

40. Compassion of a Broken Heart

HOW HAVE YOUR STRUGGLES HELPED YOU GROW WINGS OF COMPASSION?

BLOG 40: August, 1998—The summer rain came and went; the cars on the nearby New Jersey highway hummed incessantly; and the fast paced East Coast life continued as I lived with my parents in an effort to heal the pain in my hip.

I found work as an assistant editor and writer for an Irish magazine whose offices were down the road from us. I then lay on my parent’s couch as I wrote, because chairs were too painful. My father hated seeing me so weak and vulnerable, and would get angry at me for lying down so much and not having the strength or capacity to bike or walk. But I resisted doing what he assumed any 30-year-old should be able to do because too often, if I biked or walked more than a few blocks, my muscles would go into spasm, my right hip and groin would inflame, and I’d have sleepless nights with an overactive nervous system.

That was almost twenty years ago, when I wondered if I would even walk with ease again, as I tried every which way to heal, and hit wall upon wall, wondering why it had to be so hard. That was when, at times, I wished I could just end my life, since living with such disability and pain didn’t seem worth it. I had been like a wild horse, suddenly lame, longing to be put out of my misery.

Today, as I walk and help others heal, I watch my father in his elder years struggling with cancer, with multiple surgeries, and with pain in his left leg that at times seems too much for him to bear. I see him wondering at what point each surgery, each attempt to eliminate pain, is worth it, when he can’t walk like he used to or do what he loves.

A week ago, I was with my father and mother in Virginia, massaging my father’s legs from edema (water retention in his right leg), helping him prepare for his next surgery, his next battle against aging and debilitation. I was there being with the reality of his condition, grateful for the chance to share this time with him and my mother and be a gift of love.img_0910

That night I flew back home to New Mexico, I cried a deep grief, feeling the hopelessness and pain I had once lived and that now I see my father going through. The man who had earlier been so strong, angry, and lacking in compassion for the pain I had lived through, is now the same one feeling that pain for himself. And rather than be angry for what I didn’t receive then, I am grateful that my own limitations and journey broke my heart open to compassion and deep love. I can now be there for my parents, and we can share our love fully while there is time.

HOW HAVE YOUR STRUGGLES HELPED YOU GROW WINGS OF COMPASSION?

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, tells a story of compassion and love. 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