© 2019 by Ashley Smith & Milagro Midwestern Spa Collective

Hello new friend,

I'm Ashley and this is me when a professional photographer takes a posed shot:

But you should probably know this is me in fifth grade. And this is me when my hubbs Smitty captures me inhaling a tostada at Taco Via. We keep it real around here, guys.

But not REALLY real, because I could've put those photos right here in the body of this page instead of hiding them behind a link you had to click. Amirite?

Ahem. Anyway....

This is me 10 years ago, just after finishing treatment for non hodgkin's lymphoma. 

Cancer at 31 will change your life if you're lucky enough to keep yours and willing enough to let it. Nothing will freak you out (set you free?) like the hard core reminder you aren't privy to the actual QUANTITY of your remaining days. Amen?

But then I discovered pursuing QUALITY can make QUANTITY somewhat less relevant. And I'm learning I can choose this hard-but-worth-it path. I can choose to bitch and moan about the "daily grind" or I can choose to see existence itself as a mother effing miracle (which it is, if I take five seconds to think about it).

 

I can choose to let this God forsaken, crap-filled chaos of a "culture" determine what's worth my attention or I can choose to say, "Nope. Not today, Satan. I have bigger fish to fry." 

In 2013, I chose the name Milagro for us. And I'm not sure I had any better reasons other than it's a beautiful word (translates as miracle from Spanish) and I was unreasonably charmed by the movie The Milagro Beanfield War

Now I know better. Now I know there's nothing more fascinating to me in all the world than this:

Which is the bigger miracle? 

That nearly 14 billion years ago there was nothing (but also everything) and then boom. The inexplicable expansion began and now here we are with our fingers and our eyeballs and our ear drums and our electrical brains and our musical hearts and our full lungs and our weird feelings. And there was dark and then light and then earth and then life and then tiny organisms we can't classify and now here we are with Sistine Chapels and Beethoven's notes and Mary Oliver's words and Stephen Hawking's mind and Dr. Pepper.

Or that I can spend all my days completely oblivious to this, wrapped up in ego bulls*** about who is more right and how I've been wronged and what I need to buy and WHAT WILL I DO? and what a pain! and how COULD they?

Miraculous, both.

And if a cancer scare wasn't enough to keep me in a perpetual state of never ending awe and gratitude, I'll have to commit to spend my days practicing what will. 

For me, it is slowing down and writing and reading and listening to human stories and meditating on wise words. These are the practices that are worth my days. It's what I have to DO to be the person I want to BE. 

 

Milagro is a place for this. A place to be reminded who you are and what's important. 

 

Because you are a tiny little piece of this magical, spirit-filled, unfathomable universe. And I can't wait to see what you do about that.