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Dancing in the Desert

I’m in the middle of New Mexico. I wrestle with restlessness late at night after days of looking for work and a place to live that’s more creative or affordable than staying with Judith, my current housemate. My challenge is not knowing how long I’ll be here in this desert city of Albuquerque. My plan was to make it to the West Coast, and here I am, rerouted!

While I’m looking for home, I meet Richard, a local New Mexican I begin to spend time with and date. He’s quirky—very smart, and spiritual, but quirky and a bit awkward in his skin. I like him, though.

I also meet Eric, another unique character. I discover him at the university’s student union building. He’s singing opera to piano accompaniment, and when he’s done we both gravitate toward each other. He loves dancing, he says, and I love opera and singing. Within minutes we walk back to his house, with him practicing an Irish accent, and me completely convinced he’s Irish and not from his hometown of Philadelphia. He tells me he came to the desert to heal from his stepfather’s death, and, of all things, to discover his Jewish roots in a place dominated by Spanish Catholic and Native American influences (although, I later learn there are Sephardic—Spanish Jewish—roots deep inside the earth)! When we get to Eric’s small rental, he puts on some old, scratchy records, and we bounce around the house like monkeys dancing our hearts out.

I also encounter Victor in the street. We pass each other, and I ask him if he dances. He tells me “yes” and we go to a local club. I have all this energy from the East Coast, and from New York City specifically, and I seem to attract people like Victor to me in this sleepy city.

While I enjoy dancing out, I miss taking dance classes as I had in NYC. In the mornings, I stretch and then start dancing African Dance to a drumming CD before eating breakfast, and then I join classes at the university. But I battle between being still—reading Alberto Villoldo’s shamanic travels through Perú on Judith’s porch in the dry and warm September sun—and dancing all of this excess, restless energy out of me.

What I do know is that it’s integral for me to be creative. When I am, my energy doubles itself and vibrates with a need to create beauty. I have so much to give, I feel. And this energy I carry is so much bigger than me.

When did you last let go and dance (or play)?



Michelle Adam is an experienced writer, teacher, and healer.  She recently published her novel, Child of Duende, after twenty-plus years as a magazine and newspaper writer. Her articles have appeared in The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine; Hibernia Magazine, an Irish magazine; Vista Magazine, a Hispanic insert of major national newspapers; and multiple other publications.

Michelle has also been a photographer and artist; has taught middle school students Spanish for the past dozen years; and has worked as a healer and shaman. Michelle has created healing and teaching circles of song and sound, assisting others in awakening the spirit of the earth, “duende,” within them, and creating a space for the celebration of life.





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