Category Archives: Video poem series

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

52–“Listening to Peter Mulvey” by Margaret Dubay Mikus

12/13/10

Listening to Peter Mulvey

The attempt to do something
that matters, that lasts,
meaning something to someone,

moving a heart to tears
of joy or sorrow that is familiar,
speaks to someone

or for someone,
to say something that hasn’t been,
but needs to be.

It could all be for me—
I am someone—but I refer
to the part of me, the connection,

that is someone else.
I am aware all is not light and laughter,
if not evil, then darkness

surely exists.
But in that pitch black
is still a crystal, a seed, a promise.

That is where I live.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2010

From upcoming collection: Resist the Slide into Darkness by Margaret Dubay Mikus. Listen to this poem: https://youtu.be/vS1G_Rgx4R8

I first heard Peter Mulvey at Folkstage, a live radio show on WFMT radio in Chicago, hosted by Rich Warren. Peter’s music, stories, humor, and humanness were more than entertainment, they were nourishment. They moved me and stayed with me, like velcro, inspiring many poems including this one. I’ve seen and heard Peter many times since then, always with the same penetrating effect. My heart is opened in some way by his artistry and generosity. He creates a space of grace. I chose this poem because it says something relevant for today, these times we are in. What music inspires you to be and do better?

For more poem videos in the series

Traveling the Skyway, Sept. 11, 2011 by M D Mikus, Copyright 2011

51–“White Woman from Illinois on Mandela” from “Frazzle”

Sunset in Reverse by Margaret Dubay Mikus, Copyright 2014

“He might be the first to say
he was ordinary,
a man making choices with great clarity,

understanding consequences
to holding hate and anger close,
how one gets burned
and nothing gets accomplished….”

From “White Woman from Illinois on Mandela” in my book, Thrown Again into the Frazzle Machine: Poems of Grace, Hope, and Healing. Listen here: https://youtu.be/hHvHZ7noO94

My internet was down today and I wasn’t sure I could get a post out. I didn’t freak out, but let it go…what will be will be. Yet a way to do it presented itself (in the form of my husband), and I took it. These videos have become my lifeline, kind of, and I needed that.

I read this poem in my voice lesson on Wednesday. Now that I’m choosing what to read each day from all the possibilities, I wanted to pick something that caught the feeling for me, the urgency maybe. I had some ideas, but I waited until the inner voice was clear. And I trusted: Read about “ordinary people” doing extraordinary things. Yes. Isn’t that part of hope, remembering…?

Flag over Harbor, Door County, Wis. by M D Mikus, Copyright 2014

For more poem videos from the series

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