Image for post
Image for post

I used to have this idea that I was 1/4 this and 1/8 that. To some extent, it’s true: it’s many Westerners’ common way of quantifying our heritage and acknowledging where our ancestors lived, particularly given the US’s status as home to some many diasporic peoples. I thought that my “whole” was made of many parts, and I felt rather fragmented as a result. I mean, I don’t look Filipino, I don’t speak Gaelic, I didn’t know my Swedish granddad, and I haven’t been to Hungary or Germany. So am I really any of those things? What are the criteria? Am I just an American “Heinz 57” — is that its own culture? …


Miscarriage in another dimension

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jonatán Becerra on Unsplash

TW: medical situations, miscarriage

In a parallel universe, I’m well into my second trimester.

I don’t quite have the fortitude to illustrate that sci-fi timeline for you. But in some other world, my experience of miscarriage would have been very different from what I went through here in this one. In that alternate reality, it all might have happened like this instead:

At my eight-week ultrasound, the one where I hope to hear the heartbeat for the first time, the technician introduces herself warmly and lets me know that the testing will be done trans-vaginally. She makes sure I’m comfortable with that before instructing me to take off my underwear. This dimension still has COVID restrictions and my partner can’t be in the medical center with me, but when the bad news comes, the doctor allows me to call him right away. And then when the doctor offers to contact my ob-gyn for an immediate consult, it happens quickly. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

I’m saying no. Even to the happy noise from kids on scooters or dribbling basketballs. No cell phone talk from that loud lady in the distance who just has one of those voices that cut glass, no ringing binging buzzing phone of my own. No notifications pushed to laptop. No traffic, trucks in reverse, deliveries, or 18-wheelers on the distant highway. No planes overhead. I will also say no to the boosted bass on that car down the block, and to the neighbor’s insistence on gas-powered leaf blowers. Just no.

I long for quiet and it is so very hard to find in the suburbs, just as hard as it was in the city. The places that I go to catch a moment of it are the places that others go, too — and they bring their kids. And the yoga teacher, no matter how much I like her on certain days, usually talks too much or plays that one song I loathe or uses too much essential oil which is really just noise of a different kind. …


Everyone’s susceptible — not just “snowflakes.”

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Spenser Sembrat on Unsplash

My hometown’s Facebook group has been filled with agitation and complaints about people not wearing masks in public. Included in the comments on a recent post like this were two succinct words from an older man: “Stay triggered.” It was intentionally dismissive, which is bad enough on a normal day but horrifying during an international crisis (because ideally, this might be a time when we work together for the common good rather than try to silence each other with pithy insults). …


Or why I suddenly feel like Juliette Binoche

Image for post
Image for post
Photo: Rafael Serafim for Unsplash

I cut my own hair two weeks ago. God knows my hairdresser has nothing to fear from my DIY experiment. I was just sick of the weight and unruliness of it and hacked a few inches off the bottom with my crafting scissors. Desperate times, I guess.

There’s a scene in The English Patient where Juliet Binoche, playing a nurse on the front lines of World War II Europe, cuts her own hair. She’s decided to stay in Italy with the titular burn victim who won’t survive being moved again. As she bunkers down in an abandoned villa, she folds up her uniform in favor of a simple, loose fitting dress and she chops off her long brown hair. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Stanislav Kondratiev on Unsplash

In the face of these unprecedented, ridiculous, amazing, horrifying circumstances, it feels like a lot of old ideas are up for review. One of those old ideas is resilience, a subject I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately. Clearly, we need some. But what will that look like?

I did an informal Facebook poll to see what the word resilience brought up for other people. Some of the definitions that my friends used were things like strength and toughness. Resilience is often seen as plugging away even though the odds might be stacked against you, a sort of perseverance or doggedness. And that doesn’t quite ring true for me in these times because it feels like an armoring, a way of warrioring through. Active doggedness might even be a way to escape what we’re feeling, a procrastination borne of anxiety. What I’m finding as I rattle around my house with my feelings is that armoring isn’t the answer for me. I don’t feel better when I stiffen my upper lip. In fact, that’s kind of exhausting. I feel better when I share real feelings with people who care. When my friends and I ask each other how we’re doing, we don’t want to hear a deflective “Fine fine, I’m being tough. Everything’s good. How are you?” That feels disingenuous somehow. …


This pandemic is unprecedented, but we can learn from past disasters

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

From 2003–08, I worked for a 9/11 recovery foundation. I started that job eighteen months after the towers fell, and was busy every day until the agency closed. Working in long-term disaster recovery was an education in resilience. Seeing where we are with COVID now, I can anticipate the issues that may present in the months to come.

When the news cycles end, when the doctors are on their well-deserved vacations, when the vaccine is out and herd immunity has kicked in, there will still be COVID aftermath. …


Our shared isolation can remind us of who we really are.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Reagan Freeman on Unsplash

“Maybe I’ll sit outside and sing.”

“My hubby and I are going for a nice long drive. No destination — just to be out together.”

“I’m taking an online dance class! I haven’t taken a dance class in years.”

“I get up and do yoga before I work from home, and then I stop for a real lunch.”

“It’s like I’m remembering who I am.”

These are things that my friends have said just in the past few days of social distancing. Who could have predicted two months ago that this would be what we talked about, maybe for the foreseeable future?

I noticed this week that remembering who I am includes generosity. I’m pretty sure that I won’t have any solid income for the next few weeks since my usual clients may not have income themselves, freelance gigs might be harder to come by, and no one knows what day it is anyway. I could freak out and panic like I’ve done so many other times before and dig deep to come up with something to earn some money. But we’re all in this same leaky boat now. Panic won’t change anything. Digging deep feels like unnecessary effort. At the end of whatever tantrum I might throw, I’ll still be here with all of you wondering what comes next so I’ll save that energy and instead consider how I can offer what I do in different ways. It’s a huge relief, really, to unhook finances from my vocation, to pray, create ceremony, and write purely for pleasure. What would I create and how would I share it if money were no object? Those are the things to do now. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Fikri Rasyid on Unsplash

Enough with the toilet paper, everybody. Here are nine other ways to prepare for — and even make use of — a pandemic.

  1. Reach out to folks by phone, Zoom, Skype, or whatever. It can be very easy to isolate right now and we really need human connection. Schedule some chats with people you don’t talk to often enough (you’ll likely have some time now that events are being canceled). Check in on elders by phone, and FaceTime a little extra with your besties. …


What a pandemic can teach us about ourselves

A glitchy photo of water splashing on a person’s palms.
A glitchy photo of water splashing on a person’s palms.
Photo: Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

Given all the CDC warnings and pandemic best practices, my partner wanted to stock up on two weeks’ worth of food. My first thought was “and put it where?” Our pantry is awkward and our fridge sometimes fills up with groceries for even one week, let alone two or three. My second, more shadowy, thought was that I’d see all of this extra food and remember that I’m supposed to be afraid. My third thought was a memory of my years at a 9/11 foundation, where one of our projects was a disaster preparedness initiative. …

About

Mikki Baloy

Shamanic healer, retreat facilitator, and author exploring the sacred with other curious modern people. http://mikkibaloy.com ~ Insta:@mikki.baloy

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store