Category Archives: spirituality

14–“Scene: The Future” by Margaret Dubay Mikus

Some background:
In 2007 I was diagnosed with my third breast cancer tumor following a routine mammogram. Further testing showed I carry a BRCA 2 mutation, one of the genes which can lead to an increased risk of cancer. (My molecular genetics science-self found this to be a very interesting gene–as long as I didn’t think of it as affecting me.) I was stunned. This was 11 years after my previous cancer diagnosis and I thought I was done with all that.

It was summer. I sat on my garden swing in the back of the yard, to let the fear subside. I listened to my inner guidance and let the answer come to me…what to do? After gathering information and consulting with many people: doctors, family, dear friends, I decided to have the bilateral (double) mastectomy. Since I had so much radiation with the previous treatment, the tissue was very scarred and I did not to do reconstruction, a very personal choice. This is the kind of decision that jars you not just at the time, but later, when grief for what is lost can surface unexpectedly.

Writing continued to be essential to me during that time. Although not many of those poems have been published, my chapbook, New Year’s Eve Surgery, has a few poems I collected to give to my medical team. I needed them to know something about me—after all, they would be doing a very personal surgery and had not even met me beforehand. My sister had the idea for the entire medical team to sign my copy of the chapbook and they wrote me amazing healing notes of support. My poems changed the conversations from very medical and impersonal to very human and healing.

What insights came to you through medical experiences?

In Poem 14, “Scene: The Future,” from Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine, I am thinking ahead to a future when cancer treatment may have changed a lot. Listen here: https://youtu.be/05q2-bgEpQo

Listen to more video poems from “Frazzle”

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

Do Not Let Your Heart Close

10/17/16

After New Yorker Podcast

Do not let your heart close
no matter
no matter
I know what is inside and out
the dark desperation you may

never speak of…
yet there it is
no matter
no matter

The shadow that follows
the shadow released into the world
and no one knows what will happen
no matter
no matter

Do not let your heart close in fear
or protection (if you can)
without at least a sliver open
How else can the light get in
how will your light—
yes, even you…and you…
how will your light
activate a germinating seed
becoming a green shoot…a tender bud
a fully realized blossom?

You may despair for a moment
but do not live there.
Why did you choose
to come here and come now?

You don’t remember,
but I do.
Everywhere around you
is something beautiful
some kindness. Be generous.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016

Written a few weeks ago in the midst of that craziness. With some Leonard Cohen influence and so it seemed appropriate for today, to honor his passing.

November 11, 2016, Backyard Sky and Trees, (c) MDMikus

November 8, 2016, Backyard Sky and Trees, Copyright MDMikus

Each Life Is Precious

Washington DC in March Margaret Dubay Mikus  Copyright 2004

  March Petals                                                                                              Margaret Dubay Mikus   Copyright 2004

I have been writing a poetic journal since 1995, begun just after healing from multiple sclerosis. In 1996 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, completing treatment (surgery, chemo, and radiation) in 1997. I kept writing, (by hand, in spiral notebooks), but I was unable to get all of the poems edited and entered into the computer. Time went on and I recovered, facing other challenges over the years, balancing being a mother and wife, running a household, with writing and creative projects. At some point I got back to the process of getting my poems in the computer, organizing them in “Books” of six months of writing each. But I never got all those poems from 1997-98 into my files.

A long time passed. My writing changed, getting better I hope, more streamlined, clearer perhaps. But I held onto the idea that I wanted the complete “set” of poems to access for any future projects. The poems, as is any journal, are like memory. What happened? Who was I then, what inspired me?

Every so often over the years, I pulled out the dusty spiral notebooks and made efforts to get caught up. This week I began again in earnest to get all the poems into usable form. Many of them are clearly for my own use only. This is often the case with writing. But some surprised me. Here is one story I came upon tonight.

3/28/98

Each Life Is Precious

I am grateful
for each and every
hair growing on my head,

for eyes that blink
and open wide, that cry
or crinkle,

for every breath drawn in,
for every cell sent oxygen,
for a full heart beating untended

in time to ancient rhythm.
I am grateful for every day,
every minute each a gift,

for feet and hands and lips,
for knees and elbows and hips,
for skin and nails and toes,

for ears and eyebrows,
neck and shoulders,

for back straight
and thighs strong.

All this awareness
this awakening,

dedicated to the one
who was struck by a lemon-colored cab

right before our shocked eyes,
so hard his shoes flew off,

hit so fast and terrible
the body collapsed and lay flat

like a balloon doll with the air let out
or a scarecrow without its stuffing.

In that second, one easy Friday night
the world changed color.

We drove on, as many others came to help, hospital nearby,
we went on in horror, my head cupped in hands,

but not helpless. I sent healing energy
to support the spirit

so recently jolted from physical reality.
I held his ethereal hand as he shook it off

and kept on traveling.
I rubbed my husband’s shoulders,

he massaged my neck and head,
we spoke in hushed reverent tones

and drove carefully home.
I honor the one who gave us this lesson:

All life, every sometimes grating minute
is precious, beyond any earthly measure.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 1998

Begin Again

Last year was a tough one for me, though it got better as it went along. I will share a little more about that soon. Right now I’d like to share a book with you that is powerfully moving and helpful. Here is the review I posted on Amazon.com.

Review of Spiritual Weightlessness: Free to Create Whatever You Want: Nuggets of Wisdom from the Talks of Pramod by Pramod Uday. https://alturl.com/sgu3p

I couldn’t tell you exactly how I first found Pramod. A few years ago I was following links on the internet and I happened to find one of her podcasts. It came to me at the perfect time. In her calm and soothing voice, she spoke about mindfulness, being fully present and aware, using full enjoyment of a cup of aromatic coffee as a metaphor. I emailed her in support and she responded to my enthusiasm. Every so often I would find another one of her podcast-teachings (maybe posted on Facebook) that resonated in the moment.

Recently, she told me about her new book, Spiritual Weightlessness: Free to Create Whatever You Want. It is a lovely slim volume, designed with lots of spaciousness. Feels good to hold. I thought I could read it in one sitting, but so far, no. After a brief meditation, the first time I opened the book to a “random” page, I could hear her voice reading to me. Perfect. Another day, I intended to read it from beginning to end, but after twenty pages, I was “full.” The last page I read—to stop making rest yet another thing on the list of things to do—was just what I needed to “hear.”

I keep the book at my bedside. One more time I tried to make it to the end so I could tell her what I thought and felt. But still I found what I was looking for in just a few pages. And I set the book down for another day, letting her gently loving words soak into me, urging me to remember to be kind to myself and thus have more to give to others.

This is true healing power, vibrational energy healing, spiritual re-connection. The miracle and mystery is that when one heals, we all heal. She reminds me that no matter what comes, I am powerful, I know what I need to know, I am able, and I am filled with purpose. It is my nature. And to let go of the rest, that does not serve me.

This deceptively small volume is a potent antidote to the often toxic environments that surround us. Let it soak into you. Feel energized and positive about your life path and your ability to follow it, creating what you truly desire. The world needs what you have to offer and Pramod inspires and encourages you on your way. A lovely gift for yourself or friends; I have already ordered more.

by Margaret Dubay Mikus, Ph.D.
Award-winning author of As Easy as Breathing: Reclaiming Power for Healing and Transformation and Letting Go and New Beginnings: A Mother’s Poetic Journey. Selected poems from both books are read on her CD, Full Blooming. More about her on www.FullBlooming.com