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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

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Away



Away

I miss you precisely because
I can't see you
so my imagination plays
upon what I do know
Butterfly strokes
You push the water away
palms and feet pressing outward
away, away, away
Your mind pulses with the thoughts
you push
away, away, away
the loneliness that we share
is precisely why I can't see you
but I know each breath you take
each gasping inhale
each grasping exhale
Arms open wide
like butterfly wings
I long for your embrace
as you push me far
away, away, 

away...

Angela Minard 2014©

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lost Girls


Dedicated to all of the women lost to eating disorders, trauma, and depression. 

Lost Girls

We will always wait for you
arms outstretched
fingers reaching
wanting, hoping
the air pulsating, 
throbbing 
our hearts heavy

Plum, orchid, periwinkle
waiting, dripping, bleeding
Unable to lift the weight of your head
away from your neck

Your chin rests against your heart
steady thrumming
like a kitten
you purr

Humming breath

your pulse racing ahead of your words
Breathe, Breathe,
please, breathe

Flashes of you ...

laughing, smiling,
pleading, crying

We are here now 

to keep you safe
our bodies filled with your voice

we will speak...

                                                                      
Angela Minard 2014©

Storm And Light



I tell people how I feel, kind of...
if I love you, I'm certain that you know it...
on the other hand, if you rub me the wrong way, I would never say so. 
Positive emotions therefore are expressed, and everything else...
yep, I do all kinds of other things with those emotions, and almost always, those things are self destructive in some way or another. 
I am apt to take the blame for situations that go awry, whether they are truly my fault or not. It is easier than sticking up for myself or arguing the point, or is it? Lately, I'm doing more sticking up for myself. I speak up more in my job. Hell, I do know what I'm doing! I'm tired of letting people bulldoze over me every chance they get. I can stand up for myself in a way that is respectful, but this approach is lacking in the general population. When I do speak up and express myself, I walk out of work with a much lighter feeling, even if it was difficult and uncomfortable. I learn everyday, better, and more effective ways of communicating. I would love everything to be sunshine and roses, but it takes the sour to appreciate the sweet, and so I remind myself that if everyday ran smoothly, and if I was always skipping around in a state of ecstatic joy, I would no longer appreciate a stormy day. I have had many dark days, and shadows threaten me on a daily basis, but I love hard, I feel deeply, and so I continue to hang on, digging my fingers into the earth, and holding on with everything I have. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Difficult Transitions


"Don't move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move." ~Osho

I have been thinking about fear for most of the day, and it began early this morning when I was practicing yoga with a friend. We were practicing the Ashtanga primary series, and we were in bakasana, also known as crow pose, and my friend floated effortlessly from crow into low plank, which is something I've been working on, but I'm afraid, and the fear doesn't make me move at all. After I read this quote, I tried to practice the transition again, hoping that if I thought loving and joyful thoughts, maybe it would happen, but nope, the fear was still there, and as I hovered in crow, my heart pounding furiously, I stepped one foot back, and then the other, as usual. I attempted three more times before calling it good, but I thought about all of the times in my life that fear had paralyzed me. I have no doubt that I will eventually master this difficult transition, just as I have overcome other fears in my life. I was explaining in my yoga class this morning, that often when we feel we are stuck in our lives, we are actually taking the time to gather strength and courage before leaping into the unknown. I'm more patient with myself than I have ever been in my life, and so I will continue to practice with love and joy, knowing all the while that I have the perseverance to conquer my fears. 

Here



Here

I reach toward 
Emptiness
How can you say 
Nothing? 
I am just beyond your fingertips
Close enough to touch
How do you manage such silence?
I am not convinced
Of your indifference
Even when 
you swallow hope
I am still
Here

Angela Minard 2014©

Photography by~ Donata Wenders

Friday, September 19, 2014

Butterflies, Yoga, Passion, and Gratitude




I have been teaching a lot of yoga in the past two weeks, and I love it! It brings me such pure joy, and when I walk around the room and see all of the beautiful and varied expressions of a pose, and the ways in which yoga emotionally reaches out and touches the soul, it is an honor to witness. Yesterday my eyes kept wandering over to a woman in the front, but way over to the edge of the studio. Every time I looked at her, she had a sweet smile on her face, so after class I told her that I enjoyed seeing her beautiful smile while I was teaching. She looked puzzled for a moment, and then she said, "I didn't even realize I was smiling!" Another student told me after class that she had never closed her eyes so much during a class. What is amazing and wonderful to me is that I didn't tell anyone to close their eyes, or to smile. They were feeling the yoga in their bodies, and being fully present in the moment. This is exactly why I am so drawn to yoga!

I still get butterflies before I teach, and sometimes I stumble over my words, but I really am learning to let go of whatever minor mistakes happen. The first time my own teacher, Emily Darling took my class, I was extremely nervous! She sent me a text telling me not to be nervous because my own love of yoga would shine through, and that was what was important, and she is right! I'm getting wonderful feedback from students, and last week a student even gave me a beautiful painting that was inspired by my class. I was moved to tears by her offering, and these past few months of teaching have lifted my heart and opened me up with such gratitude that I am allowed to share my passion. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Angel In My Soul



Angel In My Soul

What is this longing that throbs
like an aching wound, a festering splinter
Thoughts that I cannot leave alone
and so I return again and again
opening doors
my eyes searching everywhere
Homesick for a place that I have never been

"You are like the angel in my soul."

Your words 
left unspoken
haunt my dreams

and still I wish for you... 

Wherever you are

love...

Angela Minard 2014©

Photography by~Susan Elizabeth de Witt

Sunday, September 14, 2014

No Apology Necessary



Tonight I yelled, slammed a door, and stomped through the house. Suddenly everything feels messy and out of control, and I want to cry, but there is nothing wrong, nothing that I can pin point, and there is nothing that frustrates me more than not understanding my own feelings. This swirling mixture of anger and sadness often rises from nowhere and I'm quickly caught in the vortex of a violent storm brewing within myself, without any warning. Sometimes I think I'm more afraid of my own emotions than anything else in the entire world. I've been through some frightening, traumatic and violent events in my life, and yet what terrifies me the most is losing control of my emotions, as if the anger and sadness that I unleash could go on and on in an unending torrent of tears and screaming rage. I yelled once, slammed one door, and stomped upstairs to the bedroom, which is a small tantrum, and certainly not as dramatic as what I fear. I have proof that I can control my emotions very well, and yet there is a sense that I have so much more inside that hasn't been released.

I actually wrote the above passage over a month ago, but I didn't post it because I felt a certain amount of shame over my outburst, although there wasn't anyone around to even witness it. 
This week was rough at work, and when talking to my supervisor on the phone, I began to cry. I was unable to hide the tears and emotion in my voice, and I apologized several times for being so unprofessional. I realize that when I'm apologizing for my feelings, I'm primarily apologizing to myself...seeking forgiveness, as if every thought and feeling I have is somehow wrong. As fascinated as I am about these new found emotions, they are also equally terrifying, and my first instinct is to run as far away from them as I can get.

What we hold inside is infinite, so of course there is much more inside to be released. 

Today, as I was teaching my yoga class, I encouraged letting go and making space, and it was then that it struck me that life is a continuous process of filling up and releasing. As I release trapped feelings of grief and anger, I make room for more love, more joy, and more acceptance. I allow and accept so much from everyone else in my life, but extending that same compassion, allowance, and acceptance of myself is something I will continue to work on. 


"I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was the one who seeks, and still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I'm beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn't pleasant, it's not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; It tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves." ~Hermann Hesse

Painting by~William Adolphe Bouguereau , 1884

Friday, September 12, 2014

Inside



Inside

I woke up with dirty feet
clutching a fairy in my aching hands
sharp pain, warm blood

only a dream...

"Close your eyes," you whisper

I want you to take me with you
as you ride 
because I'm afraid 
to close my eyes

My heart gallops
as I wrap my arms around your waist
holding onto your unwavering strength
my left ear pressing against your back
until all I can hear is
inside

inside...

Angela Minard 2014©

Photography by~Jennifer Lawrence