Categories
Creativity Dance Health Journal Mind body spirit Movement safety story

Free Spirit Quiet Dance Meditation

www.youtube.com/watch

Coming out of my head. Dance is the destination and the journey. ~ Miko

Building stamina, riding the sound waves for inertia. Fancying myself an After cancer dancer 💃🏻 #gratitude grooves #reckless #love #healing #energywork #bxcancer #ptsd #survivor #tao #mikocare #miko

Exercise

Dancing

Free form

Meditation

Healing arts

Categories
Breast cancer Cancer Creativity Dance Health Journal Mind body spirit Movement

Dancing Meditation

Sometimes even for a wordy girl, words aren’t enough without movement. Welcome to a peak at my personal holistic healing practice. 💃🏻🙌🏻🦋

www.youtube.com/watch

Categories
Cancer Creativity Essays Journal

Give Me Authentic

Too squishy. Too mushy. Too deep. Too too.
Am I me? Or am I you?
On 4/20 the daily prompt for bloggers on WordPress.com was:
Authentic.
img_2280
Best American Essays 2004, Editors Louise Menand and  Robert Atwan ~ Credit: Image by Miko

I had just been reading Best American Essays 2004, the first two essays. America, Look At Your Shame! By James Agee; an older piece, the part that stood out to me most at first happened on a bus I began to say (it was a memorable scene to me) – but truthfully the part that stood out to me was the introspective nature of the writing. James was so aware of his own emotions, his own shame, and disgust, as well as that of others he watched in a photograph, in the news, after some riots. I found the honesty refreshing, admirable.

Brene Brown, known to me for years now as the “Shame Researcher” is one of my modern day heroes; I have spent a lot of time processing my own feelings of shame and guilt, understanding those dark feelings better, becoming less beholden to their damn grip on my psyche.
So shame. That feeling toxic to inspiration, that feeling that blows a not unnoticed deadly smoke that chokes the creativity out of a moment. Brene Brown, I remember hopefully correctly, said shame is toxic to humans. I agree. It is insidious and deadly and it can take its time to put you down or blow your heart to bits in an instant.
James Agee examined these things in himself as he observed others in his essay America, Look At Your Shame! He examined the discomfort, acknowledged the discomfort. And then shared it again. I think that’s how we understand things.
Then there was Envy. Envy was the next essay. But first, funny story about this. Weeks ago I did a tarot card pull for myself (a pull, to me, is one card, maybe more – a spread is a spread). I asked for insight, what could I change or improve.
Envy was the card I pulled. Immediately I felt that I was not envious. And then just as instantly I noticed my own defensiveness. I softened. How am I envious?
A flood of thoughts answered me. Everyone who had managed so far to build their lives in such a way that they were not as dependent as I have felt, not so desperately at the mercy of others, not so brazen as I have been, perhaps not so difficult to love.
Back to Envy, the essay. Author, Kathryn Chetkovich. She writes about the envy found between two writers. Herself and a man she came to love. He had his struggles to be sure, but there was something to be envied in the way he went about his craft while she, to her evaluation, floundered.
Lately I have been reorganizing my life and mind into some form of After Cancer that is some kind of beautiful (because I find power in that aspiration that compels me) – not only beautiful but also practical (sustainable!). There is something in my nature that will not allow me to take a step that does not feel right. Maybe it’s a shyness from old hurts, maybe it’s caution learned from more recent challenges, maybe it is a dogged loyalty to my own intuition that has been a very keen guide through extreme challenges; this is not only an intellectual challenge but that’s my biggest concern; I take some new step literally or figuratively, I feel overjoyed, I express this joy, I become exhausted, I struggle in a temporary role as prisoner of my exhaustion, wordlessly cursing my inadequacies, while also standing on the other side of them comforting me.
Then I think to myself, this is where cognitive dissonance goes to die.
For those who have not spent as much time examining things to do with the psyche, cognitive dissonance is holding two (or more?) opposing beliefs at the same time. I think this makes the soul crack. And without a good handle on our own soul, I think that our nature becomes vulnerable to the whims of passing currents, a slave to circumstance, never quite feeling “all there” but wanting, willing, desperately to feel that “all there” ness. Meanwhile, I think it’s possible as I have done it, to sit back inside oneself and watch the self do this and do that, say this and say that, sometimes believing the very opposite but those beliefs never quite reaching the face or the fingers.
I am not saved by resolution; I am saved by my poker face. It is much easier to bear. Plus it doubles as a kind of organic “botox” for my forehead, which perhaps is a clue to how much I care about those things. Lines in the right places. Lines that tell the story I want to tell. A smile line is no big deal. As long as it is a smile line. Sometimes they have threatened to turn into frown lines, the weight of my own concern pulling the corners of my mouth downward. I could always turn myself upside down and that would be some kind of strange smile if the direction of the corners of our mouth is all that counts in a smile.
Whether what I just wrote is true or not to another way of thinking concerns me but only for a minute; while I wrote it it was true to me. And isn’t it in that state of “nowness” that we find our power?
So if beliefs and ideas change with the stronger challenges of doubt or overwhelm, are they still real? Are they still authentic? Am I still being me?
Am I me when I am envious and admit it? Am I me when I ignore things like that to be present with something else, like what to eat and how pleased I am to find, in spite of my raw ways, kindness after kindness, dressed in many different clothes and weather? Am I me when I keep looking for more, more in me, more in the world around me that feels authentic, that feels me?
Is it authentic to embody something that I see as coming from outside of me, and blend it with me to make it my own? Is it authentic to be silent when words would cut? Is it authentic to craft responses to hurts repeated rehearsing them silently  (maybe people don’t know)? Is it authentic to write from the head without passing it first by the heart? Is it authentic to think less because the world says through some of its spokespeople that is what one should do? But then what about doing less? Is it authentic to be instead of do? And then what will we do, about being?
There was something else I saw about authenticity the day I saw this prompt. Some call now the Age of Authenticity, where we can choose the shadows we confront; more specifically between the shadow of pretense and the shadow of authenticity. I think truth always surfaces, because it has the power of nature at its back, and nature is very efficient; being untruthful is not efficient in the long term because it requires extra bookkeeping, less time accepting the moment and building a strong foundation for a new moment. This split to me makes pretense far less robust than it makes itself out to be. Or am I oversimplifying things?
Perhaps when we split our energy into compartments we gain some fluidity, but what makes this an authentic decision?
A definition of authenticity which one can easily research for themselves today is that it is distinctly unique in origin. Wouldn’t that mean then that work done to discover ones originality (whether the one is a person or another entity such as a business) is work that goes the farthest towards stated goals? Put another way, quirky is currency.
Perhaps I have just jumped the shark, as some might say. But I don’t think so. We can play with idioms and challenge the devil in the details, but I believe authenticity comes from within and how do we know anything besides examining it, testing it, experiencing it from as many sides as we are capable of? And before all that, choosing to, intending to, with all the authenticity of our being to find clarity, to unclip the wings of our stated purpose and fly in alignment with our stated goals, celebrating the new direction with unparalleled dignity and strength.
Authenticity is not learned with words. Words might be a part of the experiencing and refining, the challenging of the intellect to its neighbors to examine more deeply, to shift from rightness to prudence, but only to me because something in those words was accompanied by a feeling – a feeling that, if monitored and acknowledged, adds to a bank of data, information, that can be used to make even more nuanced decisions based on a large body of data that taps into a deeper knowing, that knowledge found before the centers of language are engaged, the centers of language that are vulnerable to deception. Authenticity. It adds to that bank but it also takes from that bank, an honest feedback loop of information and responsiveness from a place of the senses.
So then, as a writer by identity, one who has been more of a ghost than an established author, what role does authenticity play for me now? With feelings so fresh and raw, where do I belong? Is that a question an authentic person would ask? I can determine from my knowledge, but in some kind of usual way of thinking, my mind seeks vacation (I think all survivors could use this time and comfort to become better!); ask the heart, ask the knowing. What is the issue? Perhaps there is no issue, and the question of belonging is my own residual doubt, the vacation waiting for me as I leave my old way of being and embrace a new one.
My own answer to the belonging question is, I belong here. I belong in the present. Whatever stories have been burned into my cells, they are part of the library of data that is me; an ever-expanding, growing, changing, me. I see stories as a vehicle for intentional change. I refine my stories always to help me be more present, more conscious, more honest, authentic, genuine. If it’s pretense then let me call that a game and let me play it with heart.
Is authenticity fixed or fluid, or is it both?
As the cartoonist and author Hugh McLeod of GapingVoid and Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity, quoted:
If change is the only constant, then change is the only value. See the artwork here. 
If change is the only certainty and the only value, then perhaps clues to authenticity can be found more in how and why we change. Because we know it is the most meaningful? Because it will be the soundest financial decision? For no special reason?
Is it a stretch to say that authenticity is an ownership of beliefs and behaviors? Give me authenticity over pretense most days. Except for the ones where pretense tells me what might be on the other side of it. Except for one where the pretense is a charade, a freedom from the details of our mundane stories to explore universal ideas through storytelling.
For that matter give me pretense with authenticity. Put it all in a hat and let me close my eyes and pull out whatever my fingers find. Add it to my own cup of now. Let me drink in the pretense with authenticity, I will make all of it mine.

Authentically, unpretentiously, maybe.

Are you? Am I?

Authentic #dailypost

Book References (with my Amazon affiliate links):

Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity

Best American Essays 2004, Louis Menand, Robert Atwan

 

 

Categories
Breast cancer Cancer Creativity Food Health Mind body spirit

Fun Bag Friday, Food & Cooking Webinar

Today’s stop at inflation station was brief. 

I asked the nurse if it was normal to feel tired after what seemed like a simple procedure. 

It’s mental exhaustion more. I’m physically a little sore but by the time I get home I’m starting to feel zoned out. 

She reminded me I’ve been through a lot of trauma and it’s natural to feel tired.  I don’t mind needles, for example, but now my body’s experienced the knife too, and is just exhausted from everything. But she also said that I’m doing really well. 

Yay. Encouraging to hear. 

This time when the right side was inflated I felt pressure in that breast / chest area, no pain. 

My left side was much more sensitive. The needle stings but it’s not too bad. Just a deep breath in. And pressure on this side too. 

The bottom portion of my tatas will start filling in now. If you remember my silly post mastectomy selfie, there were some folds under the left breast. I was wondering about that. 

Stretch, stretch the muscles. Skin is smoothing out too. 

So hooray. Onto the next topic – food!!! 

In other awesome news, I watched Chef Todd Mohr’s free cooking webinar and loved it! He taught us principles of cooking that are taught in culinary school and how to make your own easy recipes with a formula. And learning to cook with your eye and the thermometer. 

I really enjoyed it, and am looking at food in a new way. I’ve always had a close relationship with my food and explored all kinds of eating – it’s my fuel and also fun! 

But after this latest life experience, I want to revamp my perspectives on food again. 

I really believe that “the new person doesn’t need the old disease” – and I decided to change things I do, even healthy habits, to a new healthy way. 

So more fun with vegetables and plant proteins. I like how vegans and vegetarians use vegetables in creative ways to create interesting tastes and textures, some almost as good tasting as meats and dairy products. Cashew cheese? Yum. 

I still like my meat though and I feel better when I eat it. This just gives me even more to play with for nutritious and healthy ideas. Plus I can include more plant protein and less meat in some dishes for variety plus cost. I like to get really good quality meat. 

Also I find cooking to be meditative, especially with a lot of color, it’s very soothing and uplifting. It can be like alchemy. 

So for my freestyle cooking style (I like cooking with scissors),  I really enjoyed Chef Todd Mohr’s webinar and considering joining his online cooking school at www.webcookingclasses.com

I did find I could brush up on my knife skills too, because “consistency of cut is consistency of cook.” 

Many gems from Chef Todd Mohr. 

I want to explain my thoughts on killing animals for food. I believe we all have certain needs unique to us as individuals that include nutrition. We have evolved and continue to – and many animals eat meat too. I like the cultures that honor the sacrifice of life for life from a loving and respectful place. I feel better when I eat with that mindset, even more so than when I’m not eating meat. But I also understand for health reasons some people don’t eat meat, so listen to your body. Mine knows what’s up, and I’m better off when I listen to it. 

But back to reinventing my relationship with food – whenever I’m making big life changes I like to revisit the things I do most often and see how I can support myself through the transition physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

Food isn’t just physical, it can play a role mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It’s a good way for me to get in alignment with a new phase or direction in my life cuz I’ve got a new food theme going and I’m thinking about food differently in a way that compliments my new direction. 

Besides, I gotta explore and try new things to keep my creativity up and my imagination active. Food is a great place to start! 

What can we make next…?! 

Most of all, enjoy – and keep your eating and activity level complimentary. What’s your body doing and what does it need. 

A quote I like when it comes to eating (and life) is, “everything in moderation, including moderation.” 

And last but not least, if you aren’t happy with how you eat, don’t guilt yourself and don’t deprive yourself, that just adds heaviness mentally and emotionally.  

Find out why you love that cheat meal or whatever you don’t believe is right for you in the longrun and add new food to try that might hit those spots in a healthier way. 

Slow and steady is the best way to go – but whether you have to do a big life change fast or can take it slow, making it about what new food to eat is more fun than thinking about what you have to give up. 

And more fun is more sustainable. Whatever fun means to you. 

During cancer and trauma that we go through, our bodies deserve fun and goodness. We do too. 

I’m excited to put the principles I learned from Chef Todd Mohr into practice. 

Already looking at food in a new way. And so excited to get my masticating juicer. Might have to whip up some juicy juices over some juicy stories! 

Thanks for reading about my fun bag Friday and my dishing on food! 

Try any new recipes recently? Do share in comments! 

Tata for now,
Miko xo

  

Categories
Creativity story writing

Wacky Wednesday Writing

It feels more like a landing than a launch, I said. 

He said a landing takes more skill. 

That’s a good point, I thought. 

I remember flying in a simulator on a visit to Luke Airforce Base years ago. I landed very smoothly off the runway. I thought I had aimed correctly but what I thot the runway was not. 

Well, at least it was smooth and deliberate. I wished I had confirmed the runway beforehand but not to take a fun afternoon too seriously, I saved it to dwell on later. 

But this is not a simulator. It’s not a plane. It’s a Mother Ship. 

Possibly also her small fleet. 

So landing is different – and it’s taken months to coordinate. 

Making sure we get through the atmosphere safely and land safely. 

And the cargo stays intact. Well, at least  stays out of harm’s way. The cargo is modular and unbreakable but still, it has some weight and some edges. 

Slow and steady. 

This is not easy. Especially because it’s wacky Wednesday. 

And a shape shifting cat is captain. 

Not to worry, there is a team of shape shifting cats who are actually flying this vessel. Fueled by cat naps and gourmet seafood (protein mostly), they ignore, maneuver around or climb over obstacles. 

Some say they can disappear through walls but people think that’s just in their cat dreams. Still… 

But never mind that. It’s not important really, though keeping a very open mind is. Because, as Lord Baron Dewar says, minds are like parachutes and they only function when open. 

Cat nap dreams which are really long meetings in other dimensions, are not as effective if they can’t shift freely. Not to confuse shape shifters with shifty cats. 

Attaining the open beginners mind of an open parachute is like cat carte blanch to do whatever it takes to fulfill the mission and deliver the cargo. 

Flying in the open air I could be on autopilot sometimes. Drifting to the destination. Assuring myself regularly quietly and out loud, with my best “Confucius Say” voice, 

“It matters not how fast you go, only that you do not stop.” 

The Mother Ship begins its final descent. 

Her fleet follows and watches. 

*** 

Wacky Wednesday Writing because alliteration of course. 

And also because allowing wacky now and then helps the creative process. 

I’m kinda liking what’s going on with my wacky here. 

Another infusion treatment today – and may many more goodies find their way to us in all shapes and sizes! 

Tata for now,
Miko xo 

selfie of asian woman in drivers seat smiling at dashboard.
Driving another mother ship.