Category Archives: personal growth

Prompted by Blake’s Question

4/5/20

Prompted by Blake’s Question

in this time of mandatory stay at home

For Stephen

We do what we can
to laugh, to love
to live another day.

And when we learn better
hopefully we do better.
How have you and I stayed

together 48+ years—still friends?
Once the question is out there
I’ve been thinking back

to the roller coaster
our constant notes written and left
to find, funny, sometimes thoughtful

sometimes informative, touching base.
The times we might have split
but worked through it

the relentless medical challenges
job stresses, raising two kids
personal growth, changing, not always

in perfect parallel aligned
“and if I fall behind, wait for me.”
But here we are together

almost half a century after that first January
when we sat side by side in the front row
the first day of a college literature class

had our first conversation of countless many.
Here we are still interested
still laughing, watching out for each other

still loving.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2020

From my poetic journal, a reminder that this week (Jan 17, 1972) is celebrating 49 years together. The quote is a reference to a Bruce Springsteen song.

Unexpected Wave, CA Beach, by M D Mikus, Copyright 2013

After the Wave, taken by Stephen Mikus 2013

After Midge and Catching Up on the News

After Midge and
Catching Up on the News

Every day now
an endurance test
how much can I stand
before I fall
Despair though understandable
is not my friend
No going back to then
ahead the only direction
what we do with
what was broken
maybe always has been
To know enough
but not too much
to buckle the knees in sorrow
unrelenting, unresisting
No, I say again, No
I did not come for this
I did not endure up to now
for this
yet here we are
and yes we did.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2018

Chicago O’Hare International Airport by M D Mikus, Copyright 2010

Self-Kindness

Self-Kindness

For a dear friend (and me)

To let yourself
be yourself
even encourage those aspects
that have been hidden
to come into the sun
even those facets you thought
you could reveal to no one.

To baptize the whole
with kindness
that is enough
you are enough
on your chosen journey
of loving acceptance.
Be gentle and kind to you as if

you were someone else.
Remember you cannot give
from your essence
depleting your core strength
but only from your excess.
So practice just this one thing:
self-kindness

to build the reserves
from which you can draw
in service.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2014

This poem ends my book, Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing. It has been popping into my head for a week, so here it is. For me to remember…and maybe you too?

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

61–“On Imperfection, For Corax” from “Frazzle”

Public Art in Dallas: The Eye, photo by M D Mikus, Copyright 2014

1/28/14

On Imperfection
For Corax

On the other side of darkness
the past looks far away,
and if I didn’t know better,
mostly forgotten.

Live in the now,
isn’t that what they say?
I agree mostly and also intend
to remember my lessons:

not to repeat same old mistakes,
not to let the unconscious pilot the course,
to remember to breathe,
to always be kind and

to forgive, every day forgive
imperfection. For here we learn
by being in form, subject to complex patterns
we cannot sense or anticipate.

If we were perfect—
which we are somewhere—
what would be the point of
choosing to go to Earth-school?

As long as we are here—
those numbered precious days,
those rare allotted minutes—
we have work to do.

Get on with it.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2014

From Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing.
And Transcending Boundaries: Inspired by Eric Whitacre and Virtual Choir.

Listen here: https://youtu.be/E1vMFwdGa_E

Today it was hard to convince myself that making these videos matters. It seemed that anything I can do is insignificant in the face of massive challenges and national upheaval. Yet…none of us is alone. We inspire each other. We each do our part, right? When I considered not recording, I felt heavier, less hopeful. Maybe that is enough of a reason: to feel lighter, to hope, and perhaps inspire hope. For these few moments, let us demonstrate resilience…together. I am grateful for your presence.

Eye in Daylight, Dallas, photo by M D Mikus, Copyright 2014

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

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