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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

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
by your sudden disclosure
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©