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Friday, April 15, 2016

Scream


Scream

Outside my window
the white sky is marbled 
with veins of charcoal
A winter sky in April
From far away
whispered thoughts
drift over the stillness of my body
Startled by the sound of my name being called
I listen intently
holding my breath
until I finally realize it is my own voice calling
Clamping my mouth tightly closed
I breathe purposefully through my nose
in 2,3,4
out 2,3,4,5
until the urge to scream disappears
Droplets of rain occasionally tap the window
as the lyrics to a song by The Clash plays in my head
on repeat...
"Should I stay or should I go
Should I stay or should I go now?"
The rhythm is more upbeat than I feel
I feel 
nothing
but still the question
without a clear answer
So I wait...
continuing to breathe
in 2,3,4,5
out, 2,3,4,5,6,7
I reach for my phone
find your number
wait for the sound
Of your voice 
and eventually 
I scream...

Angela Minard 2016©

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Purgatory



Purgatory

When I was a child
 I would play the "breath holding" game with myself
It wasn't the kind of 
"breath holding to gain attention from parents" game
It was simply a challenge
How long could I deprive myself of air?
 life?
The strangest thing is that the longer you hold your breath
the more alive you feel
The heart beats even louder and more ferociously
The body warms and trembles to stay alive
until eventually the mouth flies open
like an ugly, gasping Piranah
an exhale that feels like failure
worn like shame...
As I grew up
breath holding evolved into food withholding
It was simply a challenge
How long could I deprive myself of food?
Long enough for my heart to beat erratically
for my muscles to cramp
 and to shiver all day
even in the summer
Feeling alive...
this slow act of suicide
How long could I press my fingers into my flesh
before I would feel the pain?
the belly I loathed dotted with perfect thumb sized bruises
Where is this poem leading?
to life?
death?
or somewhere
in between...

Angela Minard 2016©

Artwork~ "Hungry" by Leslie Ann O'Dell

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Tiny Package



Tiny Package

I remember
this
beautiful containment
a neat and tiny package
buzzing numbness
almost like being alive
almost...
I'm tired of my own voice
messy and overflowing
spilling like sticky blood
 never to be washed away
closing my eyes
I reach my stained hands toward you
but I still see her
too much to hold
too much to love
I remember
this
beautiful containment... 

Angela Minard 2016©

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Porcelain




Porcelain

Her heart...
imploding
exploding
there is no other way

escape is merely an illusion
but oh, how she tries

less than a whisper into the darkness
the shadows obscure certainty
tiny fists clutching monstrous deceptions
her heart holds it well

Wide eyes
 close
 open
close
open
as if made of porcelain
a vacant, blinking doll

The most beautiful treasures
are veiled
beneath harsh desert skies
like a mirage
resplendent
and yet seemingly unreachable

to love big
is to get small and quiet
until all you can hear
is the truth

Her heart...
imploding
exploding
there is no other way

Angela Minard 2016©

Friday, March 11, 2016

How You Feel



I am in a strange place in my life, and I'm not even sure if I have the ability to articulate it here. 
Often the reason I write is to help me make better sense of not only this world, but my place within the confusion. 
I haven't written here in a couple of weeks, and at first it was because I wasn't feeling well physically. 
Of course, it is normal for that to carry over into not feeling well emotionally, but that sinking feeling of the blues can be terrifying for someone prone to depression and anxiety. 
My yoga practice is how 
I center myself, and how I reconnect physically and emotionally, but my body was too tired. 
I easily fall into a self-critical thought pattern, and I decided that just because my physical practice was on hiatus, I could still meditate. 
That would be my yoga practice...
I still have so much to learn! 
The problem with sitting in a silent meditation for me, with only my breath, is that I dissociate. 
I'm a pro at leaving my body, so that was not working. 
Instead of using an alternative, I berated myself for not being able to meditate "right." 
I asked a friend from teacher's training, who specializes in meditation, and also happens to be a psychologist, if I should continue to keep trying. 
Even though in my heart, I knew I should find an alternative, like guided meditation, I needed someone else to tell me it was okay, and she did. 
I don't  have to be perfect. 
I need joy to teach yoga, but joy was missing. I get stuck in a feeling, and fear that it will last forever. 
I'm definitely not the most rational person in the world. 
I talk the talk, but I do not always walk the walk. 
I should mention that one by one, our boys are moving out. 
Every morning, I walk by empty bedrooms, and although I love that they are moving toward independence, it is different...
I will be 50 in August...
am I even a grown up? 
I'm still working on that, so it feels incongruous with reality. 
I'm taking my sweet time...
I want everything! 
I want to take care of myself, but to be coddled, and it changes from moment to moment. 
Is this how you feel?
Do you feel like your heart is breaking from joy and pain, and that you don't even know the difference?
Do you? 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

About Caring



I saw this coming... 
I noticed the fatigue, the aching, the tightness in my chest suggesting a panic attack was imminent. I knew I needed to slow down, and had even planned a spring break breather. Fortunately, or unfortunately, my body is on it's own schedule, and spring break wasn't soon enough. The first sign was an unattractive fever blister, followed by the full blown flu. Thank you, Universe! I get it! There is always a lesson, and as my life came to a halt, I had no choice but to listen. 
I love being a caregiver. If you give me a chance, I will wrap you in a warm hug, and tell you how amazing you are. I'm not nearly as comfortable being the recipient, and that may be an understatement. While being sick, my lovely friends offered support, soup, pep talks, and love. When asked if I needed anything, I refused. It didn't matter. I was still well taken care of. I was embraced with care at every turn. Complete strangers cared for me, and it brought me to tears. I have arthritis in my hips, and I needed a steroid injection. On Monday morning, I went to the pain clinic here in town, ready for the giant, terrifying needle. The nurse who checked me in was soft spoken, and kind. She asked if I wanted a warm blanket while I waited. I said, "No, thank you." She draped a warm blanket over me anyway, placed her hand on mine, and smiled. The doctor and his assistant came in and talked with me. The assistant was a yoga teacher, so we chit chatted about yoga, and then she took me back to the doctor. Everyone was incredibly kind, and that kindness began to swell inside of me. That swelling feeling usually means tears, but I fought the good fight. I had the injection, and afterwards, again they asked if I wanted a blanket, or juice. 
"No, no, I'm fine, but thank you..."
Still, I was covered with a cozy blanket, and handed a cup of orange juice. My blood pressure was taken a few times, and when I was on my way out, the nurse who had been with me the most grinned, and whispered, "What is your favorite color?" She disappeared, and then returned with two pale purple tulips wrapped in green tissue paper. My throat was tight, but I managed to thank her as I left with my husband.  I'm uncomfortable with people caring about me, but it touched me deeply, and it made me think of how often I refuse kindness. Why? It is wonderful! As if that wasn't enough, when I returned to the studio to teach yoga on Thursday, my students were the sweetest! At the end of my class, I found two students cleaning up my room, and sweeping the floor for me. Accepting care feels awkward , but I am deserving of care, and as always, I learn from strangers, as well as my friends, family, and students. 
This life is...
Wow!

"The person you'll have the hardest time opening to and truly loving without reserve is yourself. Once you can do that, you can love the whole universe unconditionally."
~Adyashanti

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Deserving Pain



I have been in pain for weeks, clenching my jaw through yoga practices, and doing the opposite of what I tell my students to do, which is to listen to and honor their bodies. It isn't the first time I have pushed through pain. Emotionally and physically, it is how I lived for a very long time. Although recovered from anorexia, the toll it took on my body has left my bones and joints weak from osteoporosis. I developed osteoarthritis specifically in my hip joints, and eventually they will both need to be replaced. I manage the pain with medication, but occasionally need steroid injections to decrease the inflammation. I have been teaching a lot of classes, and physically exhausting myself. The added pain is wearing me down. I went in to see the orthopedic surgeon, and the nurse took my temperature. I had a fever of 101.8. I have no idea why. I don't have a cold or anything. I just feel exhausted. I love teaching yoga, but it is difficult when you don't feel well. I'm feeling down today because I couldn't get the injection with a fever. I started to beat myself up with negative self talk, as if the anorexia was a choice, and I brought this all on myself. I know better, but I went there for awhile. Eating disorders are mental illnesses, and not a choice. I don't deserve to be in pain, and I worked hard to get where I am today. I gave myself a pep talk, and I know it will all work itself out as long as I don't allow myself to be defeated by my own mind. Impeccable self care is needed, along with compassion and patience. All of those are a challenge for me, but I can do it! 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Labels



I have had this blog now for about 8 years
It began as a recovery journal 
and has evolved into a space for poetry
positive thoughts 
and how yoga was the catalyst for my healing
but it is no longer about my destruction 
My identity is not the many diagnoses I have procured throughout the years
I am not anorexic or a PTSD acronym
depressed or suicidal 
I am not manic or bi-polar 
I am not a label 
I am a person...
sometimes happy
and sometimes sad 
I am scared, overwhelmed, giddy, and devastated 
I am human 
I am joyful, and insecure
doubtful, and filled with hope...
We are all a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors
and when our colors radiate out 
the magnificence blinds me 
My identity is more complex than all of those meaningless descriptors 
and yet we can easily allow ourselves to become trapped inside of empty boxes
We begin to wear these labels as an excuse 
and although they can be necessary for treatment 
they are not meant to be crippling
What if we began describing ourselves by our abilities and not our supposed disabilities?
Try something different
If all you ever talk about are your illnesses 
your pain
and why you can't do something
 trust me; you are pushing people away
and it is not because people don't care
At a certain point
if you do not move beyond those lifeless adjectives
you will drown in them
You deserve a life filled with a mosaic of beautiful colors
so begin painting your world with a new pallete
and see what happens

Artwork by~ Carol Cavalaris






Friday, February 5, 2016

Remember This


Remember This

I imagine radiating joy
as the winter sun pulses
dazzling crystal blue sky
vast and cloudless

I imagine your spirit
smiling on the inside
as the warm bubbles tickle;
rising from your belly 
into my heart
before gently emerging 
dancing across your face

This...This...This...
swells within my heart; breath catching
vibrant and alive
echoing into the silent, empty spaces

Remember
This...
This...
This...

"I am not burdened by your feelings
but rather honored
that of all of the people in your life
you choose me..."

Angela Minard 2016©

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Practice Joy



I have been thinking about joy this week. Even the word "joy" brings about a shift in energy, doesn't it? I instinctively begin reaching, as if I could grasp that beautiful feeling, holding it close. I taught a few yoga classes today, and I read this quote throughout my classes. 

"Difficult times are your greatest opportunity to practice yourself into joy." 
~The Secret Scrolls by Rhonda Byrne

Does that mean you choose joy or happiness? No, not all of the time, or at least I don't think so...

I disagree with telling people that they can choose to be happy. It isn't a light switch that you can turn on and off, and no one would choose depression. Like anything you are striving for in life, it is a practice. Especially when I am in the depths of winter, and the shadows lengthen over me, I pursue those experiences and people that bring me joy. Close your eyes, and breathe joy; Taste joy, smell, joy, touch and remember those times of complete surrender. Anything you are passionate about takes practice. We may have an innate gift or talent, but it still takes refinement to excel in anything. Writing brings me joy. I can lose myself in the process, and is as healing and necessary to me as breathing. I often struggle to stay present. I am a worrier by nature, but the process of observation draws me into the present moment. All five senses are activated, and I feel with the entirety of who I am. I not only see who I am, but everything around me becomes crystal clear as well. It is magical, and I don't take it for granted. I also forget...I fall into the darkness. My breath becomes shallow, I hide in dusty corners, and I forget the light, which is all of the joy I have ever known. It is a practice, this joy I speak of...

When you forget, make a "joy list." Pull it out in times of darkness. Close your eyes, and breathe. Remember joy, cultivate joy, and practice. Difficult times are a wake up call. 
Practice. Joy. 

"For hours, we lay in it, wanting for nothing, turning blades of grass into butterflies with just the touch of our fingers, whatever we imagined made real by our will and desire."
~Libba Bray

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Where Success is Measured by Failure


Where Success is Measured by Failure


"Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room..."
where no one will know you 
or your history
where you will have zero access 
to anyone you even half way trust
where you will be drugged into oblivion 
pharmaceutical numbness;
where you will miss work
and be forced to lie 
in order to keep your job
where you learn 
to keep your fucking mouth shut
vowing that if it ever gets to this point
again
you will succeed

Angela Minard 2016©


Artwork~ "Incomplete" by thuyngan.deviantart.com

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Beautiful


Beautiful

It is January
and so she counts the days
Three before the deepest sleep
Safe
with you
for awhile
she believes...
Stepping into an early darkness 
 waiting in the parking lot
aching
She doesn't want to drive away
Pausing for a rest
within the emptiness
She is tired
and may not survive 
the days in between
"Describe my face."
"Tell me what you see," you encourage
but the words do not come 
Your eyes; 
the soft color of moss growing along the roots of forest trees in the spring
Your mouth; 
crookedly amused or set in a straight line...
Love 
makes everyone extraordinarily beautiful
She wanted to tell you
Beautiful...

Angela Minard 2016©

Monday, January 18, 2016

Walking Through Fear



I remember standing in line with the heat of the Texas sun flooding down, as I held my brothers small, sweaty hand. We were waiting to see "Grease," and the buttery smell of popcorn rushing out of the air conditioned theater each time someone opened or closed the door made me feel sick to my stomach. I was eleven, and I didn't understand the word "rape." I didn't have the vocabulary at the time for what had happened to me. The timeline in my head is confused, but it must have happened not long before this memory.  We stood in the heat, and I remember feeling lost and numb. As soon as we stepped inside the lobby, I vomited all over the ticket takers shoes. My brother began to cry. I took him into the bathroom, wiped his tears, and scrubbed the splattered bile from my tennis shoes with a useless paper towel. We weren't with an adult, but they let us in without question to see the movie. That probably wouldn't happen in 2016. I dropped into that film as if my life depended on it. I was every song, every line, and every laugh. It was then that I must have decided I no longer wanted to be me. I don't think of that time in my life very often anymore, but I still live with certain fears. A preview for that movie was on the television the other evening, which brought back that particular memory. I was also triggered at the yoga studio because I now teach a 7:00-8:15 p.m. class on Monday nights. I'm nervous to walk to my car in the dark when I close alone. We are located near a Pizza Hut, and often there are a couple of guys out there taking their smoke breaks. I fear groups of men even more than I fear a man who is alone because I was raped by two, and I'm almost certain that while I was being raped, there were other people who knew it was going on. I'm trying, but it causes a lot of anxiety for me. It also brings out some anger, because I'm tired of being afraid. I even thought about giving up that class because of it, and that is ridiculous. I do not want to allow fear to get in the way of living my life. I am not a little girl anymore. Wish me luck tonight as I walk through my fear.


"Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night." ~Sarah Williams

Artwork by~ Akageno Saru

Sunday, January 17, 2016

How We Smiled



How We Smiled

I watch your mouth
how your lips curl 
away from your teeth
a flash of lightening
never reaching your eyes
although your voice
curiously slow and warm
crawls inside my belly 
like a parasite returning to the host
I am not your home
shining your familiar, empty grin
You are a stranger
and yet I search
beneath the facade  
for the real you 
that remembers
how we smiled 

Angela Minard 2016©

Painting~ "Stranger" by Llm Cheol hee

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What is Real?


What is Real?

I am so cold on the inside
that I expect to see my breath as I exhale
but I do not
"What is real?"
"Am I frozen?"
...and so it goes
around and around
as I circle myself like a hawk
ready to dive bomb its prey
the questions creating space
continuing to run further and further
away from the truth
into my own outstretched arms
these arms
withholding comfort
pinching flesh with disgust
avoiding my own gaze
your gaze...
Without knowing
we refuse to see
but the ice is crystalline
magnifying each tormented thought
and what was once numb
ignites
I am so hot on the inside
that I expect to see flames as I exhale
burning flesh
but I do not
"What is real?"

Angela Minard 2016©


"Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice. 
From what I've tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire. 
But if it had to perish twice 
I think I know enough of hate 
To say that for destruction ice is also great 
And would suffice." 
~ Robert Frost

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Dream Your Dream 2016



I'm here to write, and I have no idea what will unfold. Sometimes when I come here, I have an idea in my mind, but not this evening. I think I want to actually write about writing. I have read many of my poems in the yoga classes that I teach, and someone usually approaches me after class either asking me if I have a book, or encouraging me to publish a book. It isn't quite that simple. I want to. I even have a somewhat finished manuscript of my poetry and observations, but I have never been brave enough to send it anywhere. Poetry books aren't in high demand in the publishing world. I'm thinking of self publishing, but it costs money that I don't feel like I can spend on something so frivolous.  I have had a few of my poems published either in book or magazine form, but it is certainly a shot in the dark to think someone would publish an entire book of my poems. I've always been one to dream big though, and when I want something badly enough, I go for it because that is the only way dreams become reality. My goal for 2016 is to move in the direction of publishing a book, either on my own, or sending my work out into the world. I will probably end up doing both of those things, and although it may not come to fruition this year, I'm moving in that direction. I have talked about it long enough, and there is no time like the present to begin manifesting that intention. I encourage you all to reach for your dreams this year. Life is too tremulous and uncertain not to send your dreams and desires out into the universe. Yesterday I wrote a post about contentment, and the truth is that I am always reaching for more. Dreams make me feel alive, and striving towards a goal keeps me engaged and motivated. I never want to lose that feeling because I wasted many years barely living my life. I gave up on my dreams, and I gave up on myself. I never want to go back to that desolate and empty existence. 

"Dream Your Dream, 2016!"

"Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. 
They are where they should be. 
Now put the foundations under them." 
~Henry David Thoreau 

Artwork~ "Into the Universe" by Tang Yau Hoong

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Contentment



For the past few years I have spent my New Years Eve at Darling Yoga. My teacher has all of us draw angel cards from a bowl, and these cards have a single word on them. I try to focus on that word throughout the year. Last year, my angel card was "Light." I wrote this post "Light" about how that card felt so perfect. This year the card that I drew was "Contentment", and it too was ideal. It is something that I have been working a great deal with because contentment feels elusive. It probably has something to do with my perfectionism, and never feeling as if I am "good enough." As soon as I reach a goal, I pick it apart...I wonder if I am a fraud, or if everyone will see that I truly don't have a clue as to what I am doing. I struggle with finding contentment with exactly where I am, or comfort with what I have. I find that gratitude comes more easily than contentment. I am most certainly grateful for everything that I have, and the opportunities offered, but I'm not sure that I deserve them. Should I have had to work harder, and am I capable? Those questions make it difficult for me to settle into that warm and content feeling. I also love the action of working toward something, and then once I have it, I seem to want more. I tend to label myself with negative adjectives, because wanting more is selfish and greedy, or at least that is what I have always believed. You can see how I need to work through these falsehoods. I have ideas and patterns that have shaped my beliefs, but I can change them. We all can change when we put our hearts and minds to it. I am changing and growing everyday, but it takes determination and insight. I am learning to be content. Right now it is fleeting, but I notice the feeling. Eventually I'm planning on settling into it completely! 
Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Always Love



I have been thinking about healing
and yoga
and love...
Always love
I cannot practice without intention
I set an intention before every practice
and most of the time it is simply to be present with my breath
From the beginning
I needed change
and devotion
and love
I found all of those things through yoga
but also within myself
Self love has been the most difficult
but I am learning 
I want everyone to love me...
Today my friends son told me he didn't like me
He is five
and yesterday he liked me just fine
During savasana
all of a sudden my eyes flew open
wondering why he didn't like me! 
I'm the child sometimes...
It is normal to seek
to search
and to reach in all directions
How exactly does this work?
I want to do it right...
to be perfect
but perfect is never how we grow
and so it works best when I find compassion for my weaknesses
grace in the midst of making mistakes
and love for all that I am
At times I struggle to breathe...
As a child I had severe asthma
which carried over until my early twenties 
I would have nightmares about suffocating
or being buried alive
I would also have dreams where I couldn't move
or speak
I was trapped in silence
but no more...
I have a voice 
I have a strong body
this breath
and always 
love

Angela Minard 2015©

Artwork by~ Amanda Cass