Category Archives: Video poem series

57–“Virtual Choir 4” from “Frazzle” and “Transcending Boundaries”

Door County in September by Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2013

7/16/13

Virtual Choir 4
Watching screen shots by Elisabeth

To be seen,
to be seen singing,

to allow
sounds to emerge

and release,
to take the step

driven to connect
or belong or create

a tiny piece of beauty,
trusting.

To open heart
and mouth,

let energy go forth
meshing with others

in the same quest,
hoping.

To strive and persist,
to learn and teach,

to wait for the outcome,
patient.

To join without boundaries,
to encourage, to support,

to accept grace and be
generous.

To demonstrate flight,
each a feather on a wing,

at least a little bit…
fearless.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
Copyright 2013

From my books, Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine, and Transcending Boundaries: Inspired by Eric Whitacre and Virtual Choir.

Listen here: https://youtu.be/_scl4qd8Aes (Video begins with an introduction and de-stressing, join in.)

I have been a singer all my life, usually in choirs (church, school, or community). When I first heard about Virtual Choir, created by composer/conductor, Eric Whitacre, I was determined to be part of it. Though I was not a particularly tech savvy person, and very shy as a singer in some ways, I still was moved by the music and the possibility of connection. When Virtual Choir 3 came along, I read all support comments on their Facebook page to see if I could manage it. I learned the music and practiced, putting together a recording setup in my office. I was so affected by all the encouragement from the support team (for other people), I overcame my “issues” and got my video in (alto 2). I was unable to find myself in the final film, but that did not diminish my joy in being part of it all.

When Virtual Choir 4 was announced, I was eager to do it. I donated to the Kickstarter campaign. I practiced to learn my part and upgraded my recording setup. In the final film I found myself right away, which was awesome. When Elisabeth, from Chicago, one of the support crew, decided to help singers find their videos by taking hundreds of screen shots, I watched all of them (no sound, just the faces) and was powerfully moved by all the people I was connected to, from all over the globe.

These videos have gotten millions of views on YouTube. Listen here to VC 3 and here to VC4.

This connection has blossomed into an online community, a Virtual Choir family, that supports each other in hard times and celebrates together in joyful times. When possible they meet in real life and may even sing together. I am blessed to be part of it. Thank you, Eric, and all.

For more poem videos in the series

THROWN AGAIN into the FRAZZLE MACHINE: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transcending Boundaries: Inspired by Eric Whitacre and Virtual Choir

56–“Changes Everything” from “Frazzle”

Bridge Over The Fox River at Night by M D Mikus, Copyright 2012

11/2/13

Changes Everything

It is possible
to forget good exists…

and niceness
or to discount their existence

as if life is a video game
full of unwarranted violence,

inevitable, not even remarkable
anymore, but then remembering

at some point starving for
a little kindness

and receiving without
thought of return

as if we all were neighbors
sometimes in need of a cup of sugar

and that momentary easy connection
changes everything…

back.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2013

From Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing. Listen to the poem here: https://youtu.be/6zpAiDBydGc

This poem is not about going backwards, rather to remember and focus on what we have in common, how everyone needs help or a kind word sometimes. How do we get to there from here?

For now, I decided to keep doing the deeps breaths and “head hug” at the beginning since it helps me and may help others too. Less stressed means better able to focus and affects body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Why not spend a few minutes daily for such a benefit?

For more poem videos

THROWN AGAIN into the FRAZZLE MACHINE: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing

55–Experiment and “Stronger than You Think” from “Frazzle”

Moon Over Water, Egg Harbor by M D Mikus, Copyright 2010

“…In the dark
the seed of light

a path to follow out….”

From “Stronger than You Think,” in my book, Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing. Listen here: https://youtu.be/riXeccP3MMA

For today’s video I am doing an experiment: Before my poetry readings and healing workshops I used to do some easy exercises levels with the group to reduce stress, including for me. Why not try it here?

Begin with three deep “letting go” breaths—in through the nose, out through the mouth, noticing how we felt before and after. Such a simple thing, easy to forget: conscious breathing.

Then let’s do one of the exercises from the sheet, Energetic Life Balancing Waker’s Dozen. These are 13 gentle movements to balance energy levels as a daily practice. They were devised in 1989 (drawn from many disciplines) by Robert Waldon, Ph.D., N.D. and Betty Lou Lieber, Ph.D., M.F.C.C. and used with their permission.

On the video I demonstrate #7, called “Emotional Stress Release.” (My family calls it the “head hug.”) It’s the first one I learned and I’ve been doing it twice a day for 20 years. At that time I still had multiple sclerosis and I was working with several complementary medical practitioners to cope better. Doing this was a homework assignment to do for 15 minutes twice a day. MS is a very stressful disease and episodes can also be triggered by stress, so this was a good skill to focus on.

Lay one hand gently on the forehead and one on the back of the neck (in contact with the skin). You can do this standing, sitting, or lying down. You can visualize it. You can switch hands. You can do it for someone else (ask first, please). (Mothers intuitively know that it is calming for stressed out children to put your hand on their forehead.) You can do it for however long you have—less than a minute or 15 minutes or more. You can add some affirmations to say while you do the “head hug,” or hum a single tone (not singing). I do it in the morning before getting out of bed and last thing at night. If needed I also do it in the middle of the day as a recharge or power nap (even without sleeping). If I forget, I can feel the difference.

When we are less stressed we have more energy to do what we need to do. And that is very important in these chaotic times. We also have more functional immune systems and are nicer to be around, which benefits everyone.

And that brings us full circle back to our poem: “You Are Stronger than You Think.” Listen here: https://youtu.be/riXeccP3MMA

Seagulls, Door County by Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2010

For more poem videos in the series

THROWN AGAIN into the FRAZZLE MACHINE: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing

54–“Gorecki: Symphony of Sorrowful Songs” from “Transcending Boundaries”

Waterfire, Providence, RI by M D Mikus Copyright 2010

8/26/12

Gorecki: “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”

Thanks for the link, Eric Whitacre

In the stillness
non-essentials fall away
light shines in darkness.

Life is re-built
from mostly re-used bricks
previously battered down.

And in the shadows
music builds for those
with patience to listen

to beauty becoming.
Those who trust long enough
to invest the time

who will breathe with
ascending notes, climb the mountain
be washed clean

come back down to life
transmuted water to wine
and back again.

Intoxication.
Dedication
to feeling.

The Phoenix rising
from everyday ash
willing.

And in the end
a shift in key
a point of light toward

the hoped for
healed reality.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2012

From Transcending Boundaries: Inspired by Eric Whitacre and Virtual Choir

Listen to the poem here: https://youtu.be/Ha3xxshEn6s

Henryk Gorecki was a modern composer (1933-2010) from Poland. His Symphony No. 3—which he called A Symphony of Sorrowful Songs—was composed in 1976 and received a lukewarm reception at the time. It was based on 3 laments, including writing by a teenager to her mother on a cell wall in Gestapo headquarters. Fifteen years later a recording with Dawn Upshaw as soloist became a classical phenomenon. This music is incredibly beautiful and moving, building slowly out of near silence. Patience is rewarded. Truly healing music.

Note: The correct English pronunciation of Gorecki should be “Goo-RET-skee.” I found this out while listening an NPR interview with the composer after I did the recording.

Crossing Michigan Ave., (near Chicago Symphony Center) by M D Mikus, Copyright 2008

For more poem videos in the series

Transcending Boundaries: Inspired by Eric Whitacre and Virtual Choir

53—“After Lisel Mueller” from “As Easy as Breathing”

Peony from my Driveway, Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2007

“…be still enough

to hear direction
even when heart

pounds in the darkness…
sometimes….”

From “After Lisel Mueller” in my book, As Easy as Breathing: Reclaiming Power from Healing and Transformation. (p. 286 in the paperback, also in eBook formats) Listen here: https://youtu.be/p-qpdvOrGaA

Before I wrote this poem in mid-May of 1999 I had been deeply discouraged and had decided to stop writing. Lisel Mueller lived near me and, in 1997, had won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her book, “Alive Together.” I already had tickets to hear her speak, so I decided to go. It was life altering. I learned so much from that one talk/reading. Some of her poems soaked into me as if she wrote them specifically for me, and others not as much. During the book signing Lisel Mueller was gracious and generous, taking unhurried time with each person. It felt like we were all at her house for afternoon tea.

This poem “popped out” as I drove home. (I did pull over to write it down.) And I discovered I was not going to stop writing poems, since “After Lisel Mueller” flowed out from me in one piece just like this. The words were very compelling and clear. My energy shifted, I was recharged in every sense of the word. Later I gave her the poem and she wrote back to me with an encouraging handwritten note. I am grateful still.

Let these words flow over you and recharge you. Breathe out and breathe in…

This poem is also track 35 on my CD. You can listen to all tracks here: Full Blooming: Selections from a Poetic Journal.

For more poem videos in the series