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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Returning



Returning

On this day
I give to you
Love 
as I know it
from what I have learned
along the way

My heart 
and what extends outward
seeking 
without knowing

Somehow holding you
always
in a warm embrace

On this day 
searching ends

We have returned...

Angela Minard 2016©

Artwork by Pier Toffoletti

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Wanting



Wanting

The physical pain comes first

before memory
before wanting

searing flame
consuming all image

imagined...

When it hurts 
inside

now 
wanting 
you

before you

pain 
without 
want

This wanting

is a different ache
throbbing
from the same place

Why is the womb filled with rot? 

Do you ever wonder

or simply believe 
what you are told? 

"You smell 
like the filth that you are."

Could you please
wrap your arms around me

even with this stench?

Shame is
asking

Shame is 
telling

Shame is

Still 

Here

Wanting...

Angela Minard 2016©

Artwork from randiclark.com

Thursday, July 7, 2016

No More



There is nothing in life that is certain, but most of the time our days flow in a predictable pattern, and that routine is comforting. 
Right now I feel as if I decided to climb into a rain barrel and allowed someone to push me from the edge of Niagara Falls. 
I made the choice to quit a job I had been at for a long time, I brought a puppy into our home, a couple of the boys moved out, and then one moved back in and brought their cat, I'm starting a new job, and I just sprained my foot on my third day at said new job! We need to sell our house, which will be another big change, and none of this is routine. Even good changes can be frightening, and so I find myself slipping into eating disordered behaviors. Relapse is part of recovery, but I thought I was past relapsing. It is difficult not to be disappointed in myself, especially when I'm working in a recovery facility. Beating up on myself is not helpful, and actually gives the eating disorder more power. Silence gives it power as well, and more than anything, I'm trying to let go of shame. 
I have been going through an intense trauma training in order to work in a psychiatric facility, but the training is bringing up my own trauma, which is painful. It makes me doubt myself, and if I have chosen the right path. I feel passionate about teaching yoga as a powerful tool for healing. I know I can help people, but I have to find a way to seperate from my pain while doing this job, otherwise I'm going to be in a world of hurt. 
I have had to slow down while trying to heal my foot, but that gives me more time with myself, more time to ruminate, and so here I am, writing through all of it.
Deep down, I know I can do this, and that everything will work out the way it is meant to happen. I have not arrived in this exact place without a reason. If I expect myself to be perfect, I most certainly will fail. If I believe that others expect perfection, I will also fail. I may tumble all of the way down, beaten and bruised, but smooth waters await if I can have faith and patience through this journey. I can only be honest with myself and others. I don't want to feel alone, and silence is a lonely place to live. It is okay to be exactly where I am, but if I keep it to myself, and hide my struggles, no one can help me. If I've learned anything through this recovery of self, it is that asking for help is crucial for healing to occur. I have so many more tools other than an eating disorder to fall back on, and this blog is one of them. I stopped writing because I was afraid to be honest, and afraid of letting people down. 
No more...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Venus



Venus

I can't speak anymore
of truth
of pain
without my heart lurching 
into the hollow cave 
of my throat
I hear the reverberating echo
of hate
the bitter taste of poison 
on my lips
seething anger fills my belly
You talk and talk and talk
about nothing
while we all 
go hungry

Angela Minard 2016©

Artwork by annadittmann.tumblr.com

Monday, June 13, 2016

Love Makes Sense



I haven't posted here lately, although I still write everyday. 
I'm feeling more private, and not as open about sharing. 
My navigation system is somewhat faulty at times...
I slept fitfully last night with nightmares of being held down and trapped. 
Those dreams are nothing new, but they often come when I am feeling unsafe in the world. 
The senseless massacre in Orlando weighs heavy on my heart. 
I was reading the listed names of the victims in a news article this morning while in the waiting room of a car dealership having my car serviced, and when I made it to the last name, I suddenly burst into tears. 
The horror hit me right away when the news broke, but it takes time for the reality to sink in. 
Real people, with lives, and families, and possibilities, all gunned down...
Why? 
When tragedies such as this take place, it is a helpless feeling, and of course, it is natural to want the world to make sense. 
Hating what makes someone different from you doesn't make sense. 
Violence doesn't make sense, and I don't care to ever understand. 
Love, compassion, and unity make sense, and so tonight when I teach my restorative yoga class, I hope that through community, we can all spread peaceful energy. 
The only way to begin to heal the world is by beginning with ourselves. 
Teach love and compassion in your home, let your family and friends know how much you love them, educate yourself so that ignorance doesn't stand in the way of understanding and compassion, and when in doubt, be kind anyway. 
"Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu" 
"May all beings everywhere be happy and free."

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wasted




If you close your eyes
am I no longer sitting before you
Can you wish me away
with these words you have heard before
stifling yawn after yawn 
like the wide open, endless yawn of time
wasted...
What good is trying to heal 
Continually ripping the bandage from the wound
too soon
As my silences lengthen
your eyelids flutter
the monotony of our conversations
growing as tiresome
as I am weary
Is this how you leave
or is this how I am leaving
Giving up on both of us 
before you can say goodbye

Angela Minard 2016©

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sometimes Less is More


When I teach yoga
I am realizing that I don't want to be anyone else 
and as a newer teacher 
I'm still refining my "voice" 
I'm sure that will always be the case
as hopefully we are continually growing and changing 
I stumble
and sometimes I'm surprised with what comes out of my mouth
There are moments of WTF did I just say?!! 
and times when I say something so profound
that even I sit up and take notice 
thinking
"Wow, I really needed to hear that today!" 
It is all okay 
because I need to remember that it is not my class anyway
I am simply a guide
My students teach me so much more than I teach them 
When I stumble
it is usually because I want the class to be whatever my version of "perfect" is
Trying to be perfect never works out to my advantage 
We are the one who gets in our own way
Last night
teaching felt especially satisfying
I was at ease
and had decided that I would give a two minute mini Savasana in between each of the Yin postures 
so that the students could take the time to notice the effects of each pose within their bodies
I had so much positive feedback
We didn't have time for as many postures 
but sometimes less is definitely more
During Savasana
(also known as corpse pose)
which is the final resting pose in a yoga class
I always sit and scan the room 
I place my eyes on each and every student
as if sweetly tucking them in for the night
and I wish them peace
And finally 
I wish myself peace
This may be my path
but we all journey together

Photography by~Angela Minard

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Always Remember


This poem is dedicated to my husband, David, on our 26th wedding anniversary
Happy Anniversary, Honey! 
We've got this! 

Always Remember

Remember when you hesitantly asked me to dance?
Surprising you with "Yes"
Looking up into your face
which always reminds me of The Man in the Moon
glowing, open and kind
we awkwardly swayed side to side 
attempting to make small talk over the blaring music

Watching your lips as you spoke
my eyes traveled nervously 
from your mouth
to your feet
back and forth
back and forth

You wore cowboy boots
and I wondered
if you listened 
to country music
The thought amused me
and years later
when I was cleaning out our closet
I came across those same boots
unworn for many years 
turned up at the toes and misshapen
I shook my head
laughingly tossing your forgotten boots in the donation box
Now I almost wish I had kept them...

After our dance
I didn't think about you at all
and not because you didn't interest me
You did...
I forgot because I was scared to want you
Wanting hurt

Calling me two weeks later
asking me to dinner
your voice sounded both shy and hopeful 
and although afraid to say yes this time
I didn't have the heart or will to refuse

Walking down the aisle 
toward you, and a life together
I was petrified, but so in love
Looking into your sweet blue eyes
I silently begged you to see
See me
See us

Loving together
our four baby boys
sleepless nights
summer days
teasing laughter
worried minds
hospital stays
passionate love
occasional misunderstandings 
You are still my favorite companion and friend

"Yes, I will forever"

always remember...

Angela Minard 2016©



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