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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Imagine



Imagine


I wonder if you are riding through the soft green mist of late spring
the color of your eyes...
Closing down my sleepy lids
I breathe in joy
giving it all away
to you...
I drop my head back
lifting my gaze
to the blinding white heavens 
spinning above
the clouds cover the expanse of sky so fully 
I have to imagine the velvety blue beneath
and I do...

Angela Minard 2015©

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ocean Lullaby



Ocean Lullaby

Have you ever been startled
by your own sweet voice 
as you awaken from a dream?
Hauntingly strange
and yet familiar
shattering the silence of sleep
as if you had never forgotten the lyrics 
to your own soul

She 
was 
here
 for
 a
 breath

before slipping beneath the waves
The metallic taste of salt on your tongue
like a symphony before drowning

Angela Minard 2015©

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Ceiling Remembers



The Ceiling Remembers

You can't wait to get me off the phone
and although your voice is sanity
I let you go
because I'm not even sure
who speaks

"Hold still!," she hisses

I'm afraid of the shower in the basement
mold grows...
There is nowhere to get clean

I let you go
because I'm not even sure
who speaks

To my rosary beads:
"Forgive me father, for I have sinned"
over and over
"I will not tell"

Promising to forget
how my eyes do not close
and the ceiling remembers
my secrets

Angela Minard 2015©

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Ashes to Ashes



Ashes to Ashes


How can the heart beat
in so many places
all at once

tiny fire
little star

Constellations 
drowning in a midnight ocean

Pulses of light 
extinguished billions of years ago

Merely a distant echo
to be felt from lifetime to lifetime
without ever connecting 

We illuminate the infinite universe
and with a single exhalation

dust

Angela Minard 2015©

Photography by~ Stephanie Dalton Cowan

Monday, May 4, 2015

Runaway Train



Runaway Train

I will tell you that sometimes
I'm the one who pulls the trigger
observing the destination
like a runaway train that I cannot save

Watching from a distance
I hear
"maybe this time"
"maybe this time"
chugging in my ears
Your mouth opens wide
but I do nothing

There is gravel embedded in your tiny knees
"crying and begging will get you nowhere"
I say
making funny faces until you finally giggle
We are nowhere
together

I learned the hard way
that pickle juice isn't for babies
but we were out of milk
and you were crying so hard

Forever can last months and months
until suddenly
you are in a different place

and the rumbling of the train in your sleep
jolts you
awake

Angela Minard 2015©

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Touch



Touch

I knew exactly where it was hiding
beneath my sternum
 longing to reach inside
fingers searching for the center of the wound
I wanted to press into the ache
until it radiated throughout my entire body
begging to see the poison
some confirmation of damage

I remembered playing my bones
like an instrument in the darkness
my fingertips dipping into the hollowness
I knew exactly where it should have been
but there was nothing to soothe

Now, buried underneath this flesh
breathing its own breath
alive
I still cannot capture
this pain

Angela Minard 2015©

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Shadow Self



The Shadow Self

Searching for hidden meanings 
behind the words
every glance and gesture dissected
proof that you can see
beyond the facade
beneath the complicated orchestration
a dissonant chord 
awaiting resolution

Angela Minard 2015©

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Wilting



Wilting

I reach up to touch my cheek
the warmth
where your fingers had been...
Knowing only my own feelings
desperately thirsty 
for more
My skin must feel like sand
crumbling beneath your hands
quickly turning to dust 
as I walk away
Hearing the smile in your voice
as you greet someone new
I reach up to touch my cheek

Angela Minard 2015©

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Always The Mirror

 
 
There is always the mirror, isn't there?
A reflective distraction technique used to measure every perceived imperfection. We can tell ourselves that mirrors and numbers do not define our worth, but we still stand sideways, checking for bulging bellies, sagging bottoms, and widening hips. We plan extra workouts and elaborate cleanses to replace the thoughts of what we are actually afraid of losing. It certainly isn't extra weight or inches that we are terrified of, but we are masters at convincing ourselves otherwise. Self improvement is a national pastime, so what would we fill our time with if we weren't always so busy fixing the outer shells of who we are? Taking care of our health and wellness is important, although not for reasons of physical beauty, and yet that is what invades our minds with doubt and worry. As diligent as I am about relapse,
eating disorders are sneaky,
and there is always the mirror, isn't there? 
 
"Beauty is not in the face, it is a light in the heart." ~Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Time Is A Wise Teacher



I'm finding it interesting as I travel through my time here on earth, how clearly I can make sense of my journey from the grace of distance. Only weeks ago I was paralyzed with fear, unsure of what I had manifested in my life, and worried about the unknown. My husbands neurology appointment was looming, and fear of the unknown state of his health paired with my own fear of being successful left me frozen in my tracks. My first instinct was to withdraw and check out, which I did for awhile, but all that created was more suffering and anxiety. I made a decision to stop a certain behavior that I won't go into here, but it was harmful, and getting in the way of healing. I'm not sure why I turned this particular corner when I did, but it has left me with a beautiful feeling of lightness. 
Last week, Dave and I went to his appointment, and it was not the news that we wanted to hear. The radiation he had last year to treat his brain tumor didn't work, and his tumor is still growing. This is not what we were expecting to hear, which brought not only fear, but great disappointment. We have been sitting with this news, both dealing with it in our own ways, as well as beginning to make plans for what this will mean in all of our lives as a family. There are changes and transitions that will have to be made, and it can all become overwhelming if we get too far ahead of ourselves. 
Friday evening, I went to the yoga studio to teach my class, and as soon as I pulled into the parking lot of the studio, a wave of peace washed over me. I felt such relief to be able to shift my thoughts to the students in my class, and to simply be present with them. After class, I went to Satsang, which is offered by the owner of the studio. Satsang is an evening that focuses on chanting mantras, healing mudras, and sharing community. The evening was focused on moving energy, manifesting our intentions, and most importantly, finding joy. I could feel the shift within myself as the night came to a close, and I realized the next day what it was that had changed. It wasn't the situation that had changed, but the way in which I chose to look at the situation.  I could allow myself to continue to be paralyzed by my fears of the unknown, creating self destruction through harmful behaviors, or I could choose to see the joy and beauty right in front of me in this very moment. My husband is alive, we have this time together, and it would be wrong not to take advantage of this gift. I am living my dream of teaching yoga, and working with the eating disorder community to help others to heal. I have to trust this journey and the path that I am on, even through doubt and fear. 
Time is such a wise teacher.

Artwork by~ Cassandra Barney

Friday, March 13, 2015

Possibility



My mind has been wandering lately, and I am a gifted daydreamer, if I do say so myself! It wasn't until this week though that I acknowledged what a wonderful and healthy coping skill it is to have. I found myself struggling this week, and through visualizing a safe space, I was able to self soothe and ground myself so that I didn't dissociate. I had moments of dissociation, but it never developed into a full blown episode, and for that, I am grateful. Life is happening, and after so many years of unhealthy coping, the feelings seem to fall like a rain storm. I have my freak out moments! I'm always wanting to know the reasons why I'm feeling a certain way, and if I can't come up with a reason, then I become frustrated, and tend to want to dismiss the feelings. This is where therapy comes in to really piss me off! I want a reason, dammit! I don't want to accept the feelings without a reason! Yeah, something to work on...
This week has worn me out both mentally and physically. I was sick with the flu last week, and I did take a couple of days off work, but I still pushed myself too hard, and was exhausted this week. On top of that, my husband had a car accident, which was not his fault, and luckily he wasn't hurt, but it is extra stress. I kept thinking to myself, "I cannot lose him!" as if this mantra would protect me, but I was scared...
Dave had an MRI last week to check on his brain tumor, and we see his neurologist this Thursday. He feels like something is not right, but I continue to hold positive thoughts, because nothing else does me any good. This week, I was MIA from the yoga studio, partly because my energy level was the lowest it has been in a long time, and partly because yoga helps me to get in touch with my emotions, so possibly I was avoiding my feelings. Today I subbed a Mommy/Baby yoga class, and a prenatal yoga class. After the prenatal class, a mom who had walked in late to the class came up to me in an emotional state, and I could sense that she wanted to talk, so I moved her into the empty studio. She had tears in her eyes as she explained that she was separated from her husband, and was desperate for physical touch. She asked if I could do some massage, and it was an honor. I was so impressed with her courage to ask for what she needed, and I shared that with her afterward. She said that it had been difficult, but something told her that I was a safe person to ask. Talk about emotions! I hugged her, and at that point I don't know who was helping who, but this is why I love yoga! I came home after that, and I felt drained! I was so tired, but I still had another class to teach, so I headed to the studio. I was signing in students, and a student came in with her adult son, who also happened to be diagnosed with Down's Syndrome. She helped him complete the paper work, and I asked him if he had ever taken a yoga class, to which he replied, "Nope!" They were both in the front row when I walked in, and he followed along beautifully. After class his mom said that for some reason she knew that my class was how she wanted to introduce her son to yoga, even though she had no idea that I worked with the special needs population as my day job. My heart is overflowing right now, and that much emotion, even good emotion, is difficult for me. I guess I'm writing to make sense of it all. I look around at my life, at who I am becoming, and I'm amazed and humbled. I don't know if I should bow down and kiss the earth, throw my arms up with joy, or curl into a fetal position, sobbing into my knees. I will make an attempt to embrace it all...
the pain, 
the fear, 
the joy, 
the peace...
The possibility!!! 

"When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life."
~Eckhart Tolle

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Your Shoulder



Your Shoulder

If I could close my eyes and sit
with my head resting on your shoulder
in this time and space that is ours
with only our breath
and our words to speak
or to be silent
If I could listen
beyond the chatter of thought
to the memory of your voice
as you let me linger in stillness
trusting that you are here with me
now
and I am always safe
it would no longer be 
a daydream

 Angela Minard 2015©

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Stealing Life


As the date moves closer for the launch of the Eat Breathe Thrive series, I'm more aware than ever of being a positive role model for the eating disorder community, but I will tell you that the yoga community is filled with disordered eating and obsessions with health and fitness. I listen to it every day, and it brings back memories of starving and obsessing over every bite. It breaks my heart. I need to figure out how not to be buried by the sadness. When people start talking about their diets and cleanses, my mind shuts down, mainly to protect myself. I can never go on a cleanse, or restrict in any way because for me that will be a descent back into a hell I never want to return to. I posted about my frustrations on facebook, which maybe wasn't the wisest decision, because it upsets people, but then again, I think that eating disorders are often about secrets, silence, and shame. 

My voice is important...
These conversations are important...

Just because I'm leading a series to help people overcome food and body image issues doesn't mean that I'm 100% confidant with my body. There are still many days of struggle and learning to accept the body that I have now, but I know that I don't ever want to go back to the darkness of anorexia. I have some things to figure out, because I'm not perfect, and not everyone is going to like what I have to say. That is a tough one for me, because unfortunately, I do care about what people think. I let it take up way too much space and importance in my life, and that is something I will be working on. 
I am grateful to be here working on it though, 
because I almost allowed an eating disorder to steal my life. 
Eating disorders steal lives. 
Don't let it steal yours.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Your Name



Your Name

You were lost in my ice storm
Gleaming daggers
dangling from frozen branches
Your name
like the wind
 whispered in my mind
My futile voice called out
the suspension of breath hovering in mid air
hidden within the sound of groaning trees
Silently my heart loved you
 the words 
vanishing

Angela Minard 2015©

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Thrive Tribe Kansas



I'm not sure when the idea of wanting to become a yoga teacher began to take shape in my mind, but it was within the first six months of having a consistent yoga practice. I had been weight restored and physically recovered from anorexia for two years, but I was still struggling mentally, and still used restriction at times as a way to manage my emotions. I cried through many practices, and the release made room little by little for more acceptance and more forgiveness. I began to appreciate what my body, which had been weak and broken, could accomplish. I toyed with restriction and pushing my body through multiple classes a day, but those were not the practices that filled me with joy. I found that fueling my body also fed my passion for yoga, and I needed to share that passion with others. The transformation that needed to take place happened on the inside, and had nothing to do with my shape, weight, or size. 
I found out about the work that Chelsea Roff was doing with yoga and eating disorders, and how yoga had helped her to heal, and I knew I wanted to be a part of what she was doing. I went to Denver for her training and was even further inspired by her story and beautiful spirit. I couldn't wait to facilitate her program here in Kansas City, and now here it is! The program is a six week series called Eat Breathe Thrive, which integrates yoga, group processing, and community-building exercises, to help individuals overcome food and body image challenges. My dear friend and fellow yoga teacher, Amy Radar, will be co-facilitating. She too struggled with disordered eating and over exercise for many years before discovering the healing powers of yoga. We will be offering this series on Sundays from 4-6 p.m. at Darling Yoga, beginning March 8th-April 19th. You can register at Thrive Tribe Kansas. Spaces are limited, so sign up soon! 



Be your own kind of magic! 

You deserve to heal...
Let go of body shaming, food wars, self loathing,
and come home to you. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Illusions


Illusions

Ahhh...
so I'm talking again to you
or perhaps
it is only the illusion of a confidant
the perfect
silent friend
nodding in agreement
tagging along with my brilliant ideas
nudging me with your elbow
winking in conspiracy
two vagabonds running wild
I will play
along for the ride
knowing deep in my heart
that you are a trickster
masquerading as the nurturing creator
Hiding your wicked smile
as if I could not see
that your nightmares are brighter than my fireworks
screaming white noise
Simply try to close your eyes
Ahhh...
so I'm talking again to you
or perhaps
it is only an illusion...

Angela Minard 2015©

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Effects On The Heart



My job requires me to move around quite frequently to different schools, so I may work with students for a short amount of time, train staff, and then move on. Many of the students that I work with are non verbal, and so most often I do not know how my abrupt departure affects them. At the beginning of the school year, I worked with a first grade boy diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. He is an extremely intelligent and verbal child, who always let me know exactly what he was feeling and thinking! I only worked with him for 4 weeks, but he touched my heart, and telling him that I was leaving was difficult. Since I left, he has been sending me e-mails, and they can be quite heart wrenching. He asks why I left, and if he did something bad to make me leave. He apologizes for any misbehavior, and so when I write back I always try to reassure him that he didn't do anything to cause me to leave. I tell him that he is doing great on his own, and that another student needed my help. The e-mail he sent me this week asked me if I missed him, and if I could come and visit him, so this morning I stopped by and sat with him before school started. We chatted about his favorite subject, the Titanic, and he told me that he printed out the picture of me that he had requested I send him. We took a couple of selfies together on my phone, which I told him I would e-mail, I walked him to his classroom, and gave him a high five before I left. He is such a serious little man, but he looked me square in the eyes, gave me a huge grin, and said, "I knew you missed me!" 
Ahhh, my heart!

Artwork by~ Deborah Wenlock

Goodbye


Goodbye

Before leaving
we schedule appointments
make lists
check and double check
stop the mail
and newspaper delivery
giving a neighbor the garage door code

We pack and repack our suitcases
left with the nagging feeling 
that we have forgotten 
what is important

Before leaving
we linger in doorways
repeatedly glancing in the rear view mirror
smoothing the wrinkles from our clothing
and retracing each mistake 
that brought us to goodbye

Angela Minard 2015©

Photograpy by~ Cherilyn Ferroggiaro "Goodbye Doesn't Mean Forever"

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Behind Your Wings



I don't know what to do with this sadness, and I realize that the main problem is feeling like I need to "do" something with it, or fix it in some way. I want to get around it, under it, over it, and totally away from it. This is how I've lived my life for a long time. I fix things, or ignore things, but allowing is one thing I talk about to others, and yet rarely do for myself. Allowing takes time, and I'm not sure I have the stamina for this much hurt, betrayal, anger, and loss. I cannot even manage a deep breath as I write these words. I want to help everyone else to heal, but can I do the really tough work to heal myself? 


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Now


Now

In the darkest hours of early winter
before the sky becomes shaded in somber grey
and creatures of the night are silently watching
only the haunted rise and roam
filled with demons
lost without darkness
feeling blindly through the dissonant fog
deftly searching fingertips
you touch, you touch, you touch
and breathe in 
pain
once again
you touch, you touch, you touch
and breathe in
joy
like fire
there is no difference
inhale
exhale
breathe

Angela Minard 2015©

"Allow  beauty to shatter you regularly. The loveliest people are the ones who have been  burnt and broken and torn at the seams, and yet still stand, their open hearts into the world to mend with love again, and again, and again. You must allow yourself to feel your life while your in it."~ Victoria Erickson

Friday, January 2, 2015

At The Party



At The Party

There was this sudden realization...
 My heart
immediately jumping into my throat
 searching everywhere
asking strangers where you were
but they did not know you...
Perhaps I did not know you
after all of this time?
You reappeared like magic
finding me in a panic
sobbing like an abandoned child
"I would never leave you."
"Don't you know that by now?"
Each day I have to believe all over again
as if preparing for a devastating loss
because I remember what it was like
to feel you slipping away 

Angela Minard 2015©

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Light



Last evening my husband and I attended Satsang, (which in Indian philosophy means to be in the company of the "highest truth") at the beloved yoga studio where I practice and now also teach yoga. The studio was filled with many friends, and my amazing husband was beside me. It was a lovely way to celebrate the dawning of a new year, and also honor 2014. We were all asked to draw angel cards toward the end of the evening, so I closed my eyes, reached into the bowl, and drew my card. I held it in my hands for a few moments before glancing down and reading my card. My card had the word "Light" printed on it, and I could feel the tears forming behind my eyes. All year I had been listening to a song by India Arie titled "I Am Light", and had even used that song to close my practicum yoga class because the lyrics hold deep meaning for me. I also thought about the year ahead, and my dream of bringing light to those struggling with eating disorders and body image issues through the practice of yoga. That dream is about to happen in the next month! Another thought that passed through my mind was how most of my life was spent attempting to be physically light, to the point of disappearing and being less than I was truly meant to be. I don't believe that it was an accident that I drew that particular card, and even more amazing was that when we were leaving the studio, I turned on my Spotify playlist, which was on shuffle, and the song "The Light" by Sara Bareilles came on! 

Here are the lyrics to "I Am Light" by India Arie

I am light
I am not the things my family did
I am not the voices in my head
I am not the pieces of the brokenness inside
I am light
I'm not the mistakes that I have made or any of the things that caused me pain
I am not the pieces of the dream I left behind
I am light
I am not the color of my eyes
I am not the skin on the outside
I am not my age,
I am not my race,
my soul inside is all light
I am divinity defined 
I am the God on the inside
I am a star,
a piece of it all
I am light

I feel that listening to this song every day was the affirmation that I needed to begin manifesting and believing in my own light. We have the power within us to change the course of our lives through our own thoughts and what we tell ourselves. I struggle with this on a daily basis, but I also fight back on a daily basis. Give it a try, and see what happens! 

May you all have a blessed and Happy New Year filled with love and light.

xoxoxo Angela 




Sunday, December 28, 2014

What Do You Hear?




I'm slowly and painfully reading through this blog. 

My therapist suggested that I read my own words so that I could hopefully appreciate this trans formative period of my life. I wrote the first sentence of this blog post two days ago, and here I am, still kicking and breathing...Maybe the idea was to simply acknowledge that I've survived. I've mainly survived myself, and don't we all? I was talking to my yoga students this morning about getting out of your own way, because the truth is that we our our own worst enemies most of the time. Our own voice is the voice that haunts us with negative self talk, and re-enactments of failure. I ask myself, "What is it going to take?" "When do YOU believe?" There is this question within..."Is it okay?" 
I want to know if it is somehow wrong to believe in myself, to trust in all that I am, and to nurture myself without feeling guilty. Of course, you say, "Yes,!" but do you truly believe? Can you live in this way, with the freedom to wholeheartedly love yourself? Contemplate this feat...It is bigger than you think, because the enemy sneaks in, unaware...
Be silent, be still...
What do you hear?

"Oh, soul. You worry too much. You have seen your own strength. You have seen your own beauty. You have seen your golden wings. Of anything less, why do you worry? You are, in truth, the soul of the soul of the soul." 
~ Rumi

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