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Monday, December 22, 2014

Awakening



Awakening

How can you ask me to hold on?
I shake my head
but the refusal is weak
placing my hands cautiously into your own
your fingertips pull me back
looking down at your hands
away from your eyes
I search everywhere for you
when you are right in front of me
Your asking fills the empty space
where there was nothing
only a dark, yawning silence
now throbbing
a cacophony to my awakened senses
The frostbitten soul stings 
like a sunburn
when returning to the body
painfully awake...

Angela Minard 2014©

Friday, December 19, 2014

I Continue



"Forgiving is one thing, but abuse survivors should never be expected to forget. We heal through compassion. We forgive through the practice of patience. We love by honoring the pain, and learning to love ourselves. This is hard work..."

I wrote these words on a facebook comment, 
and my therapists voice echoed in my ears. 
I heard her say, 
"You should read your own words." 
It was her nice way of saying, 
"Get it together!" 
I have many wise words, 
and yet I don't always apply these words of wisdom to myself. 
I will cut myself some slack, 
and acknowledge that writing it out is my first step. 
I work through everything at what feels like a snails pace, 
and it frustrates me to no end! 
Healing isn't linear, 
and I've expressed this many times, 
because I'm the one who needs reminding. 
My preferred pace would have been to be done with this nonsense after a few therapy sessions and a few meals. 
Recovery doesn't work that way, 
and even I realize that a lifetime of starving and denial is going to take at least half as many years to work through. 
I'm not sure how this works, 
so I sink and I rise, 
over and over.
This pain...
 I've given up more times than I can count. 
I also continue just as many times. 

I continue...

"We are an ancient sort of resilient. Made for the falling and the rising. Made for rose colored glasses and honeyed lips and finding new home in another. Made for the burning down and rebuilding from ashes. Made for the holy wonder of beginning again."
~ Jeanette LeBlanc

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I Understand



I Understand

The sliver of moon is a mystery
that I don't understand
very much like the science of gravity
and complicated mathematical equations
even my left and right tend to cause
confusion

My heart is the compass

guiding me
home

either an angry fist
clenching my throat
with icy fingers
or an open vessel
overflowing with passion
releasing warm rivers
dream-like pulsing
the thrumming rhythm of life 
or death

this I understand

when I listen...

Angela Minard 2014©

Learning How to Say Goodbye


This constant need for something more is tiresome. I always think that this "one more thing" will be enough, when all that I long for is to feel that I am enough where I am. I have been reflecting on the concept of aparigraha, which is Sanskrit for non-hoarding or non-possessiveness. It is also one of five yamas or personal observances of the yogic path.  I have been reading a book by Rolf Gate's titled Meditations from the Mat, and his thoughts on aparigraha speak volumes to me at this point in my life.

"Aparigraha advises us to travel light while on the spiritual path. We must let go of the old to make room for the new; we must grieve our dead and then let go in order to love the living...More difficult is the aspect of aparigraha that concerns worn out beliefs. Many of the basic assumptions that guide our daily choices are unconscious, unseen...Collectively, these old thoughts and ideas are an energy in our lives that rob us of the moment...just as we take boxes of old clothing to the Salvation Army, we can begin shedding our old ideas. I am not a hoarder, I am a non-relinquisher. I don't want to grieve the loss of anything. Aparigraha is an opportunity to learn how to say goodbye."

It is one of many fears that I have...This fear of doing without, losing people, and losing the dreams that I have worked so hard to build. These fears break my heart, making it difficult to truly enjoy what I do have, and on top of it I feel tremendous guilt for even having these feelings. It frustrates me to know that I need to learn how to relinquish because I'm at a loss on how precisely to accomplish such an elusive feat. If anyone has tips, I would love for you to share them with me!

"If I can let you go as trees let go/Their leaves, so casually, one-by-one/If I can come to know what they do know/Lose what I lose to keep what I keep/The strong root still alive under the snow/Love will endure-if I can let you go." ~May Sarton

Sunday, December 14, 2014

50/50 Chance



50/50 Chance

"My husband is dying"

Your words rush out breathlessly
and you seem surprised
as your fingers caress my cheek
You apologize for my tears 
I will not be sorry 
as our hearts ache together
 You could not hold in your words
anymore than I could conceal my sorrow

a 50/50 chance
living and dying 
breath by breath

Warming my hands
I watch for the fall of your shoulders
a sighing exhale
We breathe together

Our hearts instinctively know 
who to reach toward
needing to touch
needing to be touched

a 50/50 chance
living and dying 
breath by breath

Angela Minard 2014©



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Where I Am



I wanted to write something here to commemorate my year of teacher's training, and becoming a certified yoga instructor...something profound and emotional, but this is merely the beginning of a journey. I have no idea where this journey is taking me, and for once in my life, I'm somewhat okay with not knowing where I'm going. 
I'm grateful to have a job teaching yoga, which doesn't feel like a job at all, but a beautifully wrapped gift that I unwrap every time I teach. I'm more excited than afraid, and I'm still trying to fully comprehend that emotion, because fear has been a constant companion for a long time. My very wise yoga teacher challenged my thinking last weekend when I was talking to her, and she said, "I think you are excited, not afraid..." She wasn't far off, although there was some performance anxiety, and pressure that I put on myself, I was also terribly excited! Once the weekend of testing and teaching my practicum class was over, all that seemed to be left was exhaustion. I was drained, and after all of the build up, it came crashing down with a lot of unexplained feelings. I still need help understanding feelings, so talking to my therapist on Monday gave me some comfort, and talking through my emotions helped me to make sense of everything. Tuesday night I taught, and it was strange how having that certification boosted my confidence, even though my knowledge wasn't any greater than the week before. I'm trying to enjoy this moment, and not get too far ahead of myself, but there is so much to do! 
There is always another dream, 
another idea, 
and another goal to reach toward, 
but for today, 
I'm enjoying where I am. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

From Arguing To Reassurance



I'm in an argumentative mood, and so I'm trying to keep myself quiet and still. Most of these arguments are stirring within, although earlier today I was also arguing with the author of the book I am currently reading. I decided to put it down for awhile.
It could also be that I'm being judgmental and bitchy. 
Sunday evenings often cause my stomach to clench with anticipation and anxiety, and even more so because this coming weekend is my final weekend of yoga teacher's training. The final written test is Friday, and then my practicum class is Sunday afternoon, and even though I have been teaching for months, I'm still nervous. 
Writing is a quiet activity for me because it silences the screaming voice in my head. She is the one who is judgmental and bitchy, and unfortunately I'm along for the ride. 
I taught my yoga class this morning, and later, as I was going over it in my mind, I thought about how I find myself offering the very thing that I need the most. Toward the end of class, everyone was in a restorative heart opening pose, and although I'm not a huge fan of hands on adjustments, I went around to everyone in the room and applied gentle pressure to their shoulders for a few breaths. As I was walking away from one of my students, she whispered, "thank you," and I could feel the tears stinging my eyes. Sometimes all we need is reassurance that everything is going to be okay. 

Everything really is going to be okay...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Haunted Houses


Haunted Houses

I need gentle arms 
soft breath
playful banter
compassionate eyes
confused thoughts
warm hands
you are real, you are real, you are real
not a memory
 remembering hurts
My heart is not a house
I am made up of fragile bones
pulsing blood
beneath tender skin
Don't haunt me
with your memories

Angela Minard 2014©

Time For Action




Imagine that you've lost your footing...we all do at times.
The earth beneath our feet shifts, becoming soft, and what seemed certain gives way.
We flail, clawing for something solid to hold on to, and it is within this chaos that we hopefully find some amount of inner strength and peace. It is always there inside each and every one of us, but often we forget to look to ourselves, instead searching for wisdom and comfort from people who are seeking the same truth. Truth is who we already are, strength is who we are. We are wisdom, we are peace, but what is so glaringly simple can also be nearly impossible to see when we allow our own shadows to shroud our beauty, gifts, and light. I'm the master of negative self talk, and constantly look for validation from others that I am worthy. I'm realizing that if I continue living in this way, happiness will be fleeting. Compliments quickly turn into criticism from someone else, so I'm like a pinball bouncing every which way, eventually falling into a dark hole. If I rely on others to build me up, it is like living on a diet of candy, which is not life sustaining. I have to find a way to believe in everything that I am. I'm here for a reason, I have survived for a reason, and instead of believing that I deserved every horrible thing that was done to me, I want to be able to see the victory in my life. It means shutting down the voices of hate that hiss at me every time I turn around. It means shouting, "No, no, no!"  It means that I have to stop hurting myself. This all sounds very good as my fingers fly over the keyboard. I'm determined in this moment, safe behind a computer screen. 

It is time for action.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I Belong



I'm exhausted, and maybe I shouldn't be writing on my blog in this state, but here I am anyway...
I'm in the home stretch of yoga teacher's training, or at least the 200 hr. training, and it seems that my emotions run high on these weekends. I'm passionate about yoga, and how it has helped me to heal. This is not even a fraction of what I still have to learn about yoga, and yet I have been lucky enough to have someone believe in me enough to give me the chance to begin my teaching journey. There are people in my yoga community who don't think I should be teaching, and I didn't realize the competitiveness of this business. I have been hurt recently by people who I believed were my friends, and it makes me sad and uncomfortable. I realize that I have only been practicing yoga for three years, but I am determined, dedicated, and I do believe I have something to offer. Ever since I found my way onto the yoga mat I have made an effort to focus inward, to find peace and solace in the sound of my own breath, and not to let my gaze wander over to the mat next to me. Theodore Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the thief of joy," and I believe that is true. When I teach yoga, I see the varying shapes of the poses in different bodies, and each version is unique and beautiful. For me, yoga has nothing to do with the physicality of the body, and everything to do with what is happening on the inside. I feel my way through each breath, each movement, and there is grief, and joy, sorrow, and playfulness. I'm not sure where I am going, but I belong exactly where I am. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

I Think About...



I think about how I made my way to a yoga studio, and it had nothing to do with making friends or being connected, although that is one of the best things to come out of discovering yoga. I'm not even sure what I was looking for...a way to lose weight without drawing attention to my treatment team that I was trying to find yet another way to abuse my body. I won't lie...I abused yoga in the beginning...I made my way to sometimes three classes a day in an attempt to exercise in a less strenuous and controlled manner, while also restricting my food intake. It didn't take long for me to figure out that my former gymnasts body was still flexible, but not very strong, and the osteoporosis from anorexia was not helping anything. I wanted to be good at yoga, like everything else, but strength played an important role, and starving myself would not get me very far. I practiced during every free moment, also listening to the advice of my teachers. I wanted to be thin, but I also wanted to be strong, and the two together did not make sense in my body. Sometimes I still want a strangers thin, strong body...a body without an ounce of fat, defined muscles, perfect alignment, but that person doesn't exist, at least not for long, in my human form. We are constantly changing, and the female body especially goes through many transformations. Society has convinced us that we should move through it all like movie stars, forgetting that most of us do not have personal trainers and make up artists to get us through our days. I still don't feel great about the body I see in the mirror, but practicing yoga has been the one thing that manages to help me appreciate what my body can do.
I'm a woman, made of flesh, muscle, blood, and bone. 
My body flows through sun salutations, days of soreness, sorrow, laughter, and here I continue to stand, with all of my imperfections. I'm tired of hating my body, and I still haven't quite figured out how to love it, but I will continue to try.
 

Photograhy by~Jackie Heyen

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Naked


Naked

If you were naked
what would you wish 
to see?
Close your eyes 
and think about sand 
like tiny diamonds
sparkling warm 
beneath your feet
the taste of salt 
as you breathe
misty ocean air
covering your body
seaweed clothing
draping blue 
green skin 
alive, alive, alive
If you were naked
what would you wish
to see?

Angela Minard 2014©

Monday, November 3, 2014

November



November

It begins here
the imperceptible lengthening of shadow
darkness barely far enough ahead
 trying not to stumble over the ominous gloom
her icy fingers reach out
desperate to feed upon light
each morning becomes an excruciating battle
between the dull, grey monotony of ordinary life
versus rare moments of pure and exuberant incandescence
disappointment hangs in the air
frozen exhales suspended like small clouds
the thickening fog swallowing every thought
every breath
until there is nothing
beyond the silence 
of November

Angela Minard 2014©
Photography~Nicholas Bell

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Locking You Out



Locking You Out

I thought about locking you out
when you left me waiting

It wasn't the first time
although this felt different
more real?
less real?

Would I feel as safe
enclosed without you?

I knew the answer...

I imagined you angry
pounding on your door
You would tell me to leave

"Never come back!"

but this is all a lie...
I knew better

I thought about the first time I met you
your eyes soft
voice soft

I found myself
wanting

I thought about locking you out...

Angela Minard 2014©


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nothing Nowhere



Nothing Nowhere

There is nothing 
beyond this fragment of time
 empty spaces
 an entire being  
made up of tiny grey molecules
bouncing around 
like the static on a television screen
without purpose or meaning
walking along the periphery
neither here nor there
an indescribable limbo
perpetually in motion
to nowhere


Angela Minard 2014©

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Now



Now

I've done this assignment before...
How far have you come?
I can see from there to here
truly, I can
but...
does it even matter?

I suppose I'm confused...
if I'm focused on the present moment
"now" is the ultimate goal
but...

This is "now"

Now is being afraid of my mind
the maze of memories that turns today into a mystery
feeling consummately alone
contemplating death
solely not to bring anyone with me
into my living hell

Now is everything
or nothing
depending on my sanity at any given moment
I could go further
be more

Oh, I want, I want...
now
to be quieter
less ashamed
less like there
but I do not know how
to find
now

Angela Minard 2014 ©

Artwork by ~ Fuyuko Matsui  "In The Realm Of Hell"

Friday, October 17, 2014

Impulsive Liberty



Impulsive Liberty

I am terrified
of losing my mind
because it happens
on occasion
when the combination of pain and exhaustion
wears me down
becoming irrational in my thoughts

This momentary insanity
like a shot of adrenaline
jump starts the madness

My brain short circuits
with bouts of nothingness
returning to despair
and it is in those spaces of time 
that I die
over and over again

She is face down
on the bed
I watch her from above
knowing she will not scream out
Hating her for silence
Hating her for fear
and yet wanting her to be free

It is inside of that bedroom
in the darkest of memories
that I try
to help her leave 

Angela Minard 2014©

Photography by~ Victor Schrager

"But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing."

~Maya Angelou

Citadel



Citadel

I push you away
waiting for you to give up
and when you do not
I practically beg you to leave
Pounding my head and clawing at myself
as if I was the demon

There is no escape for me
but you should get out
"You should get out!"
I want to shout
but it is only loud on the inside
where it is safe for me
not for you... 

Angela Minard 2014©

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ten Times



Ten Times

"I'm afraid," 
"I'm afraid,"
"I'm afraid,"
is not even a fraction of the times I've said this phrase to myself

I'm afraid of everything
but you would never know
I jump at sudden noises 
I'm afraid of the dark 
of shadows
being alone 
suffocating 
anger 
drowning 
being chased
being trapped 
hands 
ropes 
whispering 
loud music

No
You would never know...

but what I'm really afraid of
more than anything
is being seen

Don't see my shadows
my anger
my loneliness

Don't see my shame
my shame...

Don't see me
because if you see me
you can't love me
you can't love me 

I'm afraid 
you can't love me

Love Me...

Angela Minard 2014©

Friday, October 10, 2014

Ophelia



Ophelia

Anything but silent
moving pictures flash before eyes
that cannot see
a mouth that moves without sound
a body dancing joylessly
yet this flesh
which holds everything inside
is painfully alive
crawling over these bones like black earth
nourishing soil
in need of a cleansing rain
the filth collects beneath cracks and crevices
quaking breath
trembling limbs
soot filled lungs gasping for light
searching for salty tears to bathe in
wave upon wave
drifting
away

Angela Minard 2014©


"Ophelia drowned in the water/crushed by her own weight"

Lyrics by Jewel~"Innocence Maintained"

Sharing The Burden



Last night was rough, but I made it through with some help, even though sharing, and being vulnerable was difficult. My husband wasn't home when I came home from work, and the boys were at work. I was on the computer, and perfectly fine until a noise startled me, and immediately sent me into a flashback. I lost all sense of time and place, and was deeply sad and shaken when it was over. I wanted to take a bath, but from experience know that is not helpful for me. I also wanted to drink to escape, which is also not helpful, so I wrote on my blog, even though I wasn't sharing the entire story. When my husband returned, I didn't tell him about the flashback. I usually keep them to myself, although I'm working on opening up more to him. He asked me if I wanted to watch the episode of The Big Bang Theory that he had recorded, so I settled in on the couch next to him. I still had a strong desire to bathe, and felt as if my skin was crawling. I tried to focus on the television, but I couldn't hold in the tears, so he turned off the show to ask me what was wrong. It took a bit of coaxing, but I was able to tell him about the flashback, not in any detail, but at least that I had one. I cried a bit more, and he held me for awhile. It helped to talk to him and share what I was going through, instead of keeping it inside, even though I worry that I'm a burden, and that my pain is too much to handle. I'm off work today, so I'm going to yoga, be with my friends, and try to remind myself that I am not a burden, I am only sharing the burden so that I can find some peace. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sad Or Something



I'm sad, or something...
confounded feelings! 
I need a map to find my way through it all, 
and I would like it all to be explained in precise detail, 
and of course I can't allow myself to be...
I must pick it all apart, 
criticizing myself every step of the way. 

Along with whatever feelings I'm having also comes fear, 
as in, 
"What does this mean?" 
"Am I going to sink into yet another debilitating depression?" 
"How long is this feeling going to last?"
 I want answers, 
and I want them now! 
I'm the only one who has them, 
so I realize I'm not being patient with myself. 

I'm going to search for someone to hug, 
eat some dinner, 
which I've been avoiding, 
and not give into destructive behaviors. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

This Is Love



This Is Love

They will lie
pretending to care
perhaps believing their own chatter
 feigning interest
pretty made up stories
that you will dream about
with breathless anticipation
They will leave you dangling in mid-air
like a disjointed marionette
unable to wipe the sick plastic smile off of your aching face
They will tell you that "this is love," and "this is love,"
until love means nothing but silence, pain,
and empty promises

This is not love...

Angela Minard 2014©

Photography by~ Frank T. Zumbach

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Abandoned



Abandoned

The world spins fast and loud
Swallowed inside
where nothing seems real
The frightening drumming 
like a death warning
a premonition of impending darkness

Looking through stained glass brilliance
intensely colored shadows
 Overwhelming beauty
delivers blinding pain along with confusion

Passing reflections
unrecognizable
the study of unfamiliar eyes
flesh between fingers
Vanishing hunger
the expansiveness of mind and body
disappearing into the vast universe
of silence

Angela Minard 2014©

Photography~ "Stained" by Timothy Neesom

Sometimes I find things in my drafts that I don't remember writing, and so I read my words, all at once foreign and familiar, searching for the pieces of myself that would help me to make sense of who I am.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Anjali



Anjali

I offer you my heart
over and over
simply because I refuse
to give up
and although lifetimes may pass
never to see your face
Your heart will live
forever
within the stardust of my soul

Angela Minard 2014©

"Om Anjali" by Hannah Natali ~Peruvian mineral pigments on linen