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

Niña Duende Travels to Spain

5/20/2019: There’s a place in my life, where the wildflowers once grew in arid fields of piñon, rosemary, and thyme; where the passion reigned in the marketplace; and where, as a child, I awakened a deep connection to the land and the culture. This place, called Spain, I now return, as I once promised myself, to bring a gift of my novel, Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espíritu, and her story that belongs to the land and her people. I’ll be presenting my novel with Flamenco guitar in Madrid, Murcia, Málaga, and Granada. I’m also offering a writing workshop in Málaga. Please join me if you can for this special book tour in the land I love that wrote my story.

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20/5/2019: Hay un lugar en mi vida, donde las flores salvajes crecían en el campo árido de piñon, romero, y tomillo; donde reinaba la pasión en el mercado, y donde, de joven, me despertó una conección sagrada y profunda con su tierra y gente.  Vuelvo a este lugar llamado España, como me prometí, para compartir mi novela, Niña Duende: Un Viaje del Espíritu, y su cuento que se pertenece a su tierra y gente. Presentaré mi novela con guitarra de flamenco en Madrid, Murcia, Málaga, y Granada.  También, ofreceré un taller de escritura en Málaga. Favor de acompañarme si puede para este viaje del libro en el país que amo y que escribió mi novela.

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My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of thSpirit, 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”: YouTube Video

85. Love’s Responsibility

BLOG 85—(present reflections tied to February 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—Have you ever traveled deep into your pain, only to discover it wasn’t yours?…only to discover it was love, an immense love you carried for another so fully that you were carrying their pain inside you?

Back in New England, in the winter of 2001, I embarked on a shamanic journey—a lucid dreaming into my body in search of answers—so I could clear layers of pain I had held in my body since injuring myself years earlier. My friend, Carl Hyatt, helped and guided me with this process that revealed such important teachings that ironically resurfaced again here in New Mexico. Isn’t it always like that—life as the spiral of a tree trunk that returns to the same place we’ve been, but further along in time and maturity?

In my Shamanic Journey in the winter of 2001, I chose to travel back to Spain, to the fields that raised me outside of Madrid. I was about eight back then, the same age as the girl, Duende, of my novel, Child of Duende. My intention was to connect with God and spirit as I had done as a child then.

In my journey, the little girl I had been, Michi, skipped up the road toward the field where I awaited her. She was happy, with her hair pulled back like a Native American girl. She was glad to see me. “All right, show me God!” she demanded in the same way she had asked of the fields and skies of Spain back then.

In response to her request, one hundred or more spirits popped out of all the reeds and light-colored grass of the field. The spirits were holding hands, dancing in circles, and creating ceremony in the space. Yet, Michi folded her arms in resistance, resilience, as if not convinced. She could see the spirits, but then said, “So, what’s the big deal? What’s next?”

As I got closer to her, wondering what was wrong, she took my hands and danced a kind of “Ring around the Rosie” game. She wanted to dance with me and her father (my father!). She didn’t want to be alone. She felt powerless and alone without him. She felt that being in the field had no value, that her need to connect with God had no connection with her family and father…that this part of her was not honored, seen, or valida1dd704314d648489ea2aa1570bbf6472ted.

In the journey, Michi wanted validation from her father. She felt this part of her that didn’t belong, that was misplaced, belonging to another family. She felt like something was wrong with her in wanting to be in this field this way, in wanting to connect with God, like there was no room for it in her life. She wanted her father to witness this ritual because her father was connected to these rituals, but denied it in her and intentionally cut her off from this part of herself. He was jealous, angry, and afraid that she wouldn’t need him and be with him if she were allowed to be connected to this ritual of the land. More than anything, he was determined to not let her connect to God, to her tribe, to the land, to her power, to her heart.

As Carl and I continued on this Shamanic Journey, something amazing happened, though. I cried a lot, felt the weight that this little girl I had once been carried. Little Michi was determined to have her father by her side, to share her heart with him, but most of all, to carry his pain for him. Her love was so strong that she was willing to die for him. She was attached to her father, to healing his pain and unhappiness because she wanted to be reminded of her capacity to love in the only relationship that seemed to matter. She felt her reason for living was to heal him, to be there for him…that she belonged to him and not herself.

Little Michi was also carrying an immense responsibility that weighed her down and scared her. She felt overwhelm from the weight of so much responsibility a soul like her felt she needed to carry. She didn’t understand why she had to do so much work. She carried a lot of dark energy that her father had not wanted to give up in order to believe in life again.

As this journey continued, I called in help from spirit. I asked Jesus to help the little girl that was me, and so he arrived and held her in his lap. He told her that she was afraid of being responsible for everything, and that “responsibility is not a heavy thing. It’s light. It’s clean (unlike the weight she was carrying). It was of the heart.”

As Jesus held little Michi, I asked White Buffalo Calf woman, a sacred Lakota woman, to clear the weight from this pain and responsibility I had carried in my heart. She sucked out the responsibility, which was nasty and black like tar, from my chest. She was like eagle and raven sucking out death. And ironically, as she did so, I felt scared, wondering who I was…what was left of me, where my spirit was when the layers of confused self, of attachment and pain I’d so gotten used to, left me.

“Don’t always feel you need tof5bdcabed675eb85f2f74395ba2686a2 be engaged all the time,” White Buffalo Calf Woman said. “It’s okay to be empty. You need to be empty now in order to receive God. God is here.” She went on to explain that my feeling of responsibility for healing my father stopped me from receiving God, receiving Spirit. That love was receiving the grace of God in whatever form it showed up and not being afraid.”

This journey of so long ago included far more than what I’ve shared. But what’s especially remarkable is that in these past two weeks—during the time in which I had an amazing turnout and strong soulful response to my Storytelling and Flamenco work in Taos, NM (and I felt the gifts of my life’s work echoing back to me—I’ve had pain emerge from my right shoulder (my area of greatest strength). As I’ve been healing my shoulder with my healer Liz Blasingame—opening up my entire body and heart in new ways—I’ve had this immense grief and tiredness of a lifetime (or many lifetimes) come up.

As I’ve done this, Liz has helped me let go of the pain I’ve been carrying in my body that is not mine—to return it to its origin so I can open my heart and truly be free of pain, free to love. Through this process, I’ve felt my shoulder open, my heart open, and I’ve come to terms with how much I’ve really carried that is not mine. Like so many people who are empathic, I’ve come to understand that I’ve absorbed so much pain of the world, rather than feeling it and letting it go…that I’ve taken on the responsibility of the world like a bad habit that has crippled me and made it hard to connect with God, with this bright spirit within me.

During these past days of hot summer in New Mexico, I’ve found myself becoming more still than ever before. I’ve been feeling my soul’s home inside my body, letting my breath and light move through me, while letting go of the weight of the world that is not mine. I’m beginning to trust in a new way…trust myself, trust God, and trust this empty, still place inside me that is home, that is life moving through me with ease.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is my story that rose from my journey of healing and from the lips of the earth and my ancestors. 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

77. This Tree Grows Roots in Winter

BLOG 77—(present reflections tied to September 2000 journal entries about my healing and novel writing journey)—I used to walk along the forest path that lay across from the New England farmhouse where I lived in my early 30’s during my summer of 2000. Almost every day—when I wasn’t in too much pain from energy sessions intended to heal my hips—I walked the woods, learning to open my heart to life.

It was a meditation, a healing practice, a lesson in receiving and breathing in life beyond the pain that limited my mobility. I began with one hundred feet in early summer, and then, step by step, I reached three miles at summer’s end.

When I began this meditation journey, I soon realized how easy it was for me to not feel, to close myself to nature and life around me. Inner voices, thoughts, and tightness in my breath surfaced easily, and I could feel how much my emotions of the past blocked me from being present to the trees or anything else. Yet I listened, bowed to the forest and breathed in a kind of Namaste in order to open my heart despite my limitations.

During one of my walks in late September, I reflected on my earlier years growing up in New Jersey, where my family had lived after leaving Spain. I had been eleven back then, and it had been so hard to connect with the forest and earth that surrounded our house. The trees felt too still for me, too heavy and dark, closing in on me in comparison to the wide-open desert lands I had so loved in Spain. During those years in New Jersey, the forest had represented the density and disconnect I had felt in my life back in the United States.

As I walked the woods in late September of 2000, I was once again reminded of how the forest had been a place of restriction, of not being able to move from and with the emotional pain of my past that had now taken physical form. “The trees were not an escape or a source of love back then because they were like me, stuck with being with what was, of being where a seed had first been planted,” I wrote in my journal during that summer in New England in which I had chosen to be with my constriction I had carried for so many years.

The forest became my place of healing, of learning to open my heart to everything and no longer try to escape. It became a place to feel my fear of rootedness, of relationship, of intimacy. I felt the betrayal I had carried in my heart, the deep distrust in others I had held as a teenager, and that unsafe place of being rooted with my family and having nowhere to go.

Ironically, that day I walked in the woods in late September presented me with three snakes along my path. One of them literally blocked the path and seemed to be saying, “Don’t go any further—be with what you are sensing.” As I did so, I began to feel, for the first time, that I didn’t need to fear being rooted anymore.

“I can be rooted in myself and be safe if I stand for mys8d9f3a29417c5772fddb425161b6a720.jpgelf no matter where I am, “I wrote in my journal back then. “The trees are a great lesson in going deep within the earth and also reaching toward the sky. It’s not about moving forward. It’s about moving upward and out, into the darkness and light inside one being, one breath, and I can feel protected and lifted inside this space.”

Today, at the beginning of winter here in New Mexico, these words seem to resonate strongly. Isn’t this the time for us, inside this darkness, to listen to that place inside where the seeds of spring are sown? Now is no different than that summer in New England so long ago when I wrote that “the roots and the darkness are the stories, the dreams that become realized in the light. The soul needs darkness to dream, and light to realize itself.”

This past weekend, as I sat with my love, reflecting on what we wanted to call forth in this New Year, I began to feel, more than anything, my desire to sink into that still place where winter offers us her cold fingers, yet warm hearth. I felt called to return to that place of dreaming, of meditation, of listening, so insights become the roots of the tree I am …the roots that, in springtime, will help me grow new branches reaching even further up toward the light.

My Novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, is about discovering, inside the earth, the spirit that we are. 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

 

 

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

 

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