Bravery

Bravery

As I open into my 5th cycle of chemotherapy, I am weeping at the moral courage that these times require and the many ways that people all around are standing up together to address the hatred, the destruction, and the fear that is being poured into the psyches of so many. During the past month here in the Rockies, a few hundred golden warriors from around the world gathered to say no thank you. We are going to take some time to reset, to heal, to remember, to create, to love, and to listen to one another very deeply. Our precious time together was an antidote to these rigorous and often very rough times. As each young person stood and spoke, the shared longing for safe space and healing, for retreat and remembering was sounded by all. We devoted our way too short time to just that. We cultivated our quiet by moving masses of energy, pent up energy longing for liberation, refined energy longing for expression. We built potent bridges to the peaceful places within and between us. It was hard and satisfying work for all.

I was blessed to do my favorite things with some of my most favorite people during these journeys through Surfing The Creative, Youth, Truth & Talent, Heart Of Truth, and the birthing of Global Bridge, a new initiative created with and for refugees finding new homes around the world. I also leaned into a cycle of chemo at the end of our summer camp, probably one of my least favorite things ever. Yet dancing for weeks, journeying together way past the comfort zone into the vast zone of communion and community was the medicine that left the strongest imprint.

And now, every one of us is back into our rigorous real life dances. Sitting by your mama’s side in an under resourced hospital in Kampala, figuring out how to complete high school in Jordan, taking exams in Kenya, creating a memorial for your mama by the sea, running a camp for dozens of pre-teen girls and figuring out how to deal with the lives they will face when they leave, being in a foreign country driving home alone from your night job that will not come close to paying all of your family’s bills, in the wake of extreme violence yet again, writing another brilliant poem about the truth of racism in our country, standing in the no apology zone when your identity is dishonored, the vulnerability of your beloved in a hospital bed without anyone to translate what the doctors are saying about her health and that of your baby’s, wondering about where the funding will come from for your hundreds of students who look to you as father. These are just a few images of lives being lived right now by these young leaders.

The realities are heart breaking. Your resilience is breathtaking.

So as I surrender into another round of chemo, please know that you are all with me. I will not take my privilege lightly. I have access to the best medicine, to doctors of all kinds, to a safe place to rest, to abundant foods, to clean water, to a community that I can call on if I so choose. Here in the chemo lab, I speak up for my health in behalf of all of your family members who may not have that luxury. (Yep, I got them to lower my dosage today in respect of my body’s real needs.) I lean into the poking and burning, knowing that my pain is nothing really. It will pass. I am in prayer with you all, in contemplation about you all, in total and complete celebration of your brilliance. I am trusting that somehow, our dedication to liberation and justice will trump all other delusional agendas seeking power.

Together, we can keep the faith and the focus. The dreams we shared are real. As the Mother said, If you can see it, you can manifest it. So let’s keep our eye on beauty, on the rebalancing of energy and resources, inside and between us, and on the paths forward that are just and inclusive for all. We do not know if we humans can create a more sustainable world, truly tipping the scale to orient towards life before nature does it for us. But we see what is possible. Let’s keep creating that.

Five months ago to this day when I was first diagnosed with a fast moving fallopian tube (ovarian cancer), I made a decision to do everything I could to eradicate this disease and renew my vows with life. I never wavered from my vision. I kept listening deeply within. I sat with the horrific pain. I honored the wisdom of so many who knew better than me about how to proceed. I let go of some funky habits around stress, eating, computer screens. I turned towards the gaps in my life, knowing this was a call to reset, rebalance, and from that place to return.

So join me in being brave. We are not that fragile. We are mighty people with noble souls that must be excavated and expressed despite the really rough challenges of our day to day lives. It is an act of disruption and creation to choose life, to cultivate vision, to pull it off and keep shining.

Cause in the end, we each must face our choices. I have been asked to look closely at mine since death came knocking at my door. It is a profound experience to see where we have kept our soul dates with destiny and where we have not. We still have time! I do too!

Yes I do! The cancer markers in my body continue to be at the low end of normal, staying in the undetectable range.

Thank you chemo. Thank you friends of Spirit. Thank you Elders, colleagues, dancers. Thank you dear family. Thank you friends of all walks and ways around the world.

I am bathing in the magic or our beautiful shared world despite it all. Please enjoy a few more of my favorite photos sharing what some of our dreams look like in manifestation … Images from our summer 2017, a mighty and moving month of life!

Together …
In bravery and love.
Melissa

LOL

LOL

LOL! Sometimes the best laid plans do not unfold as predicted!

Just after I made the previous post, I went to receive the magical infusions that are designed to make me strong and healthier through this chemo ride. Well, I got sicker than I have been at any point this entire journey through cancer. No one did anything wrong, I am just uniquely sensitive, even to too much of the good stuff. What to do? I said, no thank you to more treatment at that time and headed home to Colorado. My daughter, Mariah Tuffy, was a brave and beautiful protector the whole way through this. What a gift to feel her love!

As a result of this mild descent, my chemo is delayed a week and I am simply gathering my strength back, enjoying the grandkids from Mississippi, preparing the last little details for camp in just over a week, and staying humble.

I am so grateful to be cozied back in the embrace of my people. There truly is no place like home. I am so blessed to be in a community filled with such love and shared devotion. We built it together over decades of love and deep work. Humor. Steadfastness. Vision. Willingness to be in the fire together. Dedication to returning from the depths ever more connected and conscious. So here’s to Family AND Community.

Our extended family is beginning to arrive from near and far. Safe traveling Surfers. We await you with open arms!

LOVE

Keeping on!

Keeping on!

This cancer dance is shifting my life in so many brilliant ways. I love what is happening. Every few weeks, just as I am beginning my next cycle of treatment, I like checking in. So here is what is unfolding now.

On a down to earth note, here is the scoop on what is happening with the cancer level in Melissa’s body. My cancer markers continue to be on the very low end of normal. Due to the awesome work of so many people, including your generous prayers, the amazing docs and healers I have hung around with over the past 3 + months, and of course my body, I am rocking this cancer stuff right out of my reality. Step by step. I have been blessed to meet so many brilliant doctors, most of whom agree with my newly revised treatment plan. I will begin cycle #4 of treatment on Tuesday of this week. For my last three cycles, #’s 4, 5, & 6, I am moving away from the intra-parateneal (IP) chemo and into the IV regiment only. Although it will still be rigorous, it will be so much less invasive to my body. Plus, I will now be receiving many life giving nutrients right into my veins too. It is not only time to continue to eradicate any last cancer cells, but to focus with clear intention on rebuilding my body, allowing for regeneration and life giving energies to take over this blessed vehicle!

My job continues to be to keep the stress in check, eat well, move this body a lot, laugh often, love more deeply, say no thank you to energies that do not align with this goodness, and to feel the gift of resurrection. It is happening. I am joyous!

In fact, this past week I played hooky from chemo and spent a few days with my family. My beloved papa, grandpa Sam as many of you know him to be, turned 93 years old. Such a gift it was to love on him, to celebrate him, to bathe in his humor and depth, and to spend time with all of his closest family members … kids, their spouses, grand children. I have also had the great fortune to be with my beloved, Mark, and his grand children. Attached are a few photos of our mighty crew. Re-prioritizing family is part of the life I am moving towards post cancer. Once my girls went off to college about 6 years ago, my personal family life moved out of my center stage. My life became about work, work, work, work, work, work, work. But here we are, a very diverse and multi-layered family, longing ever more to be close together now that we see how precious life is, not to take for granted. So here’s to Family!

My soul also still loves, loves, loves dancing with the Muse. So work is not to be forgotten. In the next 7 weeks, not only will I go through 3 cycles of chemo, embrace our grandchildren from Mississippi and Canada, but we will also enact our annual summer programs here at Golden Bridge. Please join us for some of the magic. In particular, when the youth arrive from around the world to Surf The Creative, join me in welcoming them at our opening Movement Mass on July 23rd, or celebrate their completion of their rite of passage on July 30th at Movement Mass. Of course, don’t miss our annual Youth, Truth & Talent Show on the 29th. This is our epic event where the creativity of these mighty emerging leaders is shown in innovative ways, bridging cultures, class, race, gender, along with sharing their stories of resilience and brilliance. Nothing like this anywhere else, ever. We will keep you posted about other events, including a very special fundraiser and film showing for our refugee allies, August 5th. Stay tuned.

I love what is happening as a result of this healing crisis. I have had to let go of so much intensity and overworking. As a result of this, our Golden team is stronger than ever. Our love is deepening, and our collective responsibility is rising. And, we continue to dedicate ourselves to living what we teach. This has been not been a walk in the park. It has and continues to be a great dance on the edge …. leading all of us into a more powerful center. May we continue to grow only healthy cells there and together form masses that are moving, life giving, liberating, and just for all!

I bow to you in gratitude for all of your focus with me on that reformation of all masses. Chemo again tomorrow. The dance floor on Sunday. Let’s keep at it!

I love you.
Melissa

To Life!

To Life!

There’s been a lot of conversation and tender wondering about what happens if I die early from this journey through fallopian cancer. The tears I have shed alone and in the gaze of many of you is divine, truly delicious. Like lovers making their vows to one another, there is that feeling of “I got you … forever.” We love each other. Holy communion with friends, family, colleagues, students, so many with whom I have shared the dance. Deep and delicious loving. More intimate, more transparent, more respectful, more truth telling, more fun actually.

But here is the scoop. I am alive, very much so! I honor the power of cancer, but your vast and generous love and prayers coupled with my somatic intelligence and my relationship with Source, provides this life crisis with a whole lot of survival intelligence, intelligence that orients me towards being a post cancer thriver! As I go through this cycle of the cancer healing process, the chemo part, I often feel vibrant and resilient. I do not feel disease inside. Yes, I do feel heat and fatigue. SO MUCH FIRE from the chemo. And I am paying very close attention to the short and long term impacts of that fire on my overall health and on any sneaky cells that want to overpower all of this medicine. But, I aim to live and live long and ever more lovingly.

So here is what is happening. Since my last post, I moved through my second chemo cycle. Each cycle includes three infusions, two intraperitoneal, aka straight into my gut, and one intravenous, right into my bloodstream. I see now that each cycle is a bit more exhausting than the one before. So, during these past 3 infusions, I stayed focused on the horrific sensations shifting daily through my body, along with feeling the power of your love with me and many of our friends of Spirit in attendance too. I focus this way not because I love pain. I do not. But, by being fully present with what is truly happening, it can move along, shift, unwind, sequence through into some kind of reasonable set of sensations. Sometimes, that can take days.

With that rigorous inner focus, during this past second chemo cycle, I was also able to attend my beloved bonus son, Gabriel’s glorious wedding to the lovely Laura. We gracefully integrated two wild and deliciously devoted Puerto Rican cats into our home, Mariah and Magic. We were able to celebrate my brilliant baby daughter, Robin’s 23rd birthday. I was honored to teach a group of my most seasoned students working towards certification and completion as SomaSource Life Cycle practitioners training. Yes, of course, I love seeing so many of you at Movement Mass. And yesterday, I took to the streets of Denver with hundreds of ovarian cancer survivors and their communities to walk for the cure. It was so powerful to be with so many women who have made it through this wicked disease, women who have faced into this one and are now so lovingly welcoming the new comers to this club that none of us ever wanted to join. I was so grateful to be able to be present with this group of mighty souls, walking alongside my phenomenal surgeon, Dr. Pamela Stone, supported by my dear friend Isabelle Tierney.

Indeed, here I am at the front door of the third cycle of this treatment. My ears ring. My hearing and eyesight are truly compromised. My feet threaten to numb out. I am more tired than usual. And, my intestines burn. Prior to surgery in March, I was asked what were my limits in terms of what could be removed or compromised during the operation if need be. I told my doctors, do whatever you need to do to keep orienting me towards life. So wrinkles, less than ideal muscle mass, all that stuff. Who cares. What matters is that I am alive. And the key for all threshold work, except in death itself, is to keep orienting towards life.

So I will. Please join me. First of all, take the best care of yourself that you can. Eat well. Sleep plenty. Laugh often. Cultivate quiet. And if you have some extra, I cherish your prayers, your energetic “you got this,” your belief in the power of love and grace in times like these. I feel you. I am humbled by your support. I am deeply moved by the unseen help that is assisting me through this crazy passageway.

And, I can’t wait to dance with you along the way …
Through the heat … let’s keep the beat, the breath, the song in our souls.
It sounds like this …
TO LIFE! TO LIFE! L’Chaim!
Love you

Melissa Michaels

Naked!

Naked!

Tomorrow, I join with the loving medicine people offering golden fluids to put any last cancer cells lurking around on alert. Be gone. Today was a simple day of iv chemo. Tomorrow is the full on day of chemo into my belly. I am so grateful for this infusion and respectful of its impact. If you are moved, please join me in prayer for all light to pour through the chemo, all love to pump it through, and all grace to help me integrate it. This is day two of my second cycle. Step by step, we are doing it.

YOUR LOVE CARRIES ME, inspires me, gifts me, humbles me, makes me so happy. I love you and thank you for your alliance.

Hair by chemo!

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