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Friday, September 19, 2014

Butterflies, Yoga, Passion, and Gratitude




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

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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Angel In My Soul



Angel In My Soul

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

"You are like the angel in my soul."

Your words 
left unspoken
haunt my dreams

and still I wish for you... 

Wherever you are

love...

Angela Minard 2014©

Photography by~Susan Elizabeth de Witt

Sunday, September 14, 2014

No Apology Necessary



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

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

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

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


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

Painting by~William Adolphe Bouguereau , 1884

Friday, September 12, 2014

Inside



Inside

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

only a dream...

"Close your eyes," you whisper

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

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

inside...

Angela Minard 2014©

Photography by~Jennifer Lawrence

Thursday, September 11, 2014

One



One

How do I explain my inconsistencies 
to the random observer
weaving in and out of my existence
 Should I even worry 
or bother explaining? 

Perhaps not...,
although in this lifetime, 
worry is second nature to me. 

I long for you to see through, and into me...

When I look at you, 
I see beyond the physical body. 

We are all so much more than what we present to the world. 

I have gained a great deal of compassion through suffering. 
I'm not here to compare your pain to mine. 

I  see your sorrow. 
I acknowledge your pain. 
I  feel your soul...

We are one. 

Angela Minard 2014 ©

Photography by~ Cassandra Clare

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Knowing



Knowing

I know very well what wakes me in the night
what makes me hold my breath
what shatters the light
closes my heart
defeats me

Silence

I know very well what brings me to life
what makes me gasp with delight
what breaks through the darkness
Lifts my heart
Nourishes my soul

Love

You also know...

Allow the "knowing" to be who you are
for you have always known

You are breath...
You are light...
You are love...

You know very well...

Angela Minard 2014©

Photography by~ Emma Powell



Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Recovery Milestone



I have reached a huge recovery milestone, and so today is ending with an overflowing amount of gratitude and joy. I have been seeing a nutritionist for 7 years, and today was my final appointment. I truly do not feel I would be alive right now if it had not been for the dedicated treatment team that I have. After a few sessions with my therapist, she insisted that I also seek the help of a nutritionist, and referred me to the amazing woman who would help to guide me through this recovery journey. I was not always the most compliant client, but ultimately, she found techniques to encourage me in a way that was both firm and kind. I was looking through old blog posts, and it is mind boggling the things I have already "forgotten." There were the years that I ate nothing for days on end, and then the day I finally agreed to go in-patient. There were the days weaning myself from laxative abuse, then being able to work towards eating in front of people and weaning myself away from a liquid diet. There were suicide attempts after I was weight restored, accepting a new body, and learning to eat even when my eating disorder screamed at me that I was weak and pathetic. I had been spacing out my appointments for the past year, going every two weeks, and then once a month. I was honestly afraid to stop seeing her, because I was terrified of a relapse. I also had developed a relationship that I trusted and valued, and ending my treatment with her was frightening. I didn't even know until this morning that I was going to tell her I was ready to stop seeing her, but on my way to work, as I was driving, I was thinking about my weight, and how I wanted to lose weight. I pondered this thought for a few moments, caught myself, and almost laughed out loud. I realized that not a day has passed in at least 25 years that the same thought hasn't been turned over at a dizzying speed in my mind. When I couldn't even sit in the bathtub without padding, I didn't think I was thin enough. The difference now is, it is a thought, it passes, and I continue with my day, with my meals, with my life...I may live the rest of my life with that passing thought, but I'm no longer going to starve myself to death over it, or allow that thought to steal my life or my joy. 
I cried on the way to my nutritionists, and then I repaired my make-up in the bathroom before riding the elevator up to her office. I know that if I ever need her, she will be there for me, and she has been referring clients to the yoga studio where I teach. Tonight, she had tears in her eyes as she talked about the progress we have made together, and then she said, 
"You have made a life for yourself worth recovering for." 
I felt the tears sting my eyes, but I fought back, until a smile overtook my tears.

I certainly did not fight this battle alone! 

Tonight I bow to one of my many teachers. 

Thank you...

Friday, August 29, 2014

Without Words




Without Words

You wait 
without words
after opening my heart
expansive moments 
Finally, with purpose 
gazing up into your eyes
I try to tell you

without words

Sometimes when we say goodbye
I apologize
in silence
for the words
no one should have to hear 
I do not say them

I am sorry, I am sorry,
I am sorry

Resting my head against your warmth
the vibration of your voice fills my body
breathing your laughter as tears threaten
I try to tell you

without words

Angela Minard 2014©

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Night Watch



Night Watch

Sleep is an act of courage 
paired with child-like hope...

You should close your eyes now
before your heart breaks wide apart
falling too deeply between the cracks
to ever be found


Angela Minard 2014©

Monday, August 25, 2014

Shooting Arrows



I let all of my thoughts and feelings ruminate in my mind, turning them over and around, examining them in such great detail, that I often lose sight of the big picture. Not only do I do this with my own thoughts and feelings, but I also do it with the words and actions of other people, misinterpreting and twisting things so as to feel as badly as I can possibly feel about myself. 

Maybe if I allow myself to believe that I'm nothing special, I can excuse myself from all of this hard work...

Am I that lazy? 
Yes, sometimes, perhaps...

I know that I'm cared for by the way that it is shown, and that really is what matters. I make things more complicated than they need to be. I do such a good job of breaking my own heart before anyone else gets a chance, barely even realizing that I'm the one shooting arrows.

I say "barely" because I am becoming aware that this is what I do. Maybe I use it as an excuse to disconnect, but now it hurts too much to continue stumbling down a path that is causing me to suffer. 

I'm tired of being my own worst enemy. It is getting old, it is getting boring, and I have more important things to do with my life than to continue beating up on myself.

"When you've seen beyond yourself, 
then you may find peace of mind is waiting there.
And the time will come when you will see that we are all one.
And life flows on within you and without you."

~Swami Kriyananda

Photograph by Jim Sincock~Letting Go 2012








Saturday, August 23, 2014

Prison



Prison

I know about your boundaries
meant to keep me out
How is it that someone can both come too close
and not close enough?
Inside, inside
Clenching my soul 
You are a prison
clawing at my skin
longing to escape from screaming flesh
Hold me
inside, inside
Whisper softly
when all I hear is her voice
I know what she takes
inside, inside
Boundaries are a prison 
meant to keep me out
Whisper softly
But don't come too close 
Don't come 
inside...

Angela Minard 2014©

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Bright Future


Family Pic 2007


I'm emotional tonight in such a beautiful way, and for many reasons. Our number three son (in the white t-shirt) just moved to college, and he is the first of our children to make this transition. He is a mere forty five minutes from our home, and it would definitely tug more forcefully at my heart if he were further in distance, but it still changes the dynamics of our family, and his constant presence will be missed. I have prepared myself for this inevitable moment since the day he was born, because that is how I am. A piece of me always knew when I had children not to hold on too tightly, because they eventually fly on their own. Today I learned that there really is nothing more rewarding than watching your child soar toward their own destiny, knowing that you helped to raise a kind and loving individual who will contribute greatly to this world. I'm proud of my son, and I'm also proud of us as a family. We have survived some tough times, but I do believe that it has given all of us the strength to persevere and extend compassion to others. 

With gratitude, I move toward a bright future, knowing that change is not only inevitable, but glorious and exciting. I embrace every new experience with an open heart, filled with love and light. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Down For The Count




Down For The Count

I'm not sure what I expect 
when my fingers weep
my words raw
my heart expanding and contracting 
like an angry fist
throwing my punches in your direction
without thinking of the consequences
The stunning truth 
(words mean nothing)
always catches me off guard
The bell rings 
and I stagger back to the center ring
on the ropes
blocking each blow
(nothing)
until I can no longer feel the impact
In fact, realizing 
that I am no longer protecting myself 
I don't know how not
to give up
everything...

Angela Minard 2014©

Friday, August 15, 2014

Count To Three



Count To Three

Today I was thinking about
how much I love it when you call me "sweetie" or "babe"
and the tears came
I let them
without stopping them for once
for you...
because I knew that you would want me to try
to allow the feelings

It hurt, 
so I gave myself 3 seconds
1...2...3...

I worry about telling you
how much I love those terms of endearment
because
What if you were to take them away?
And I cried
3...2...1...

I knew that even if you were far way
and I could no longer see you, or touch you,
I could hear those words
reverberating from my soul
to yours
forever... 

 Angela Minard 2014©

"Only trust someone who can see these three things in you: The sorrow behind your smile, the love behind your anger, and the reason behind your silence." ~Unknown

Image~ "The Atonement" by Anca Mitroi

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Another Blog Post About Suicide



I've been sitting here for awhile now, staring at the blank white computer screen with the black cursor blinking at me, waiting for me to type my thoughts on this blog where I have been coming for many years. I'm struggling to put my emotions into words and to make sense of what I'm feeling in the aftermath of the death of Robin Williams. The dialogue on social media has been heartbreaking for me, and for the most part I have kept my distance because it opens up wounds that I'm trying to heal. I have been held in the vice like grip of depression. Twice I attempted to take my own life, and both times I was angry that I didn't succeed. At the time, I certainly could not see my own worth, and believed my husband and children would be better off without me. I had slowly been trying to starve myself for years, so once I had become nutritionally stable and weight restored, I had a whole new ball of wax to begin to deal with, and the descent into hell came quickly. I had numbed all of my emotions through my eating disorder, so on top of dealing with a new body, I was also being bombarded by emotions I had never before allowed. I was seeing a therapist, but I couldn't tell her or anyone else  about my continuous thoughts of wanting to end my life. I tried hard to go to work everyday with a smile on my face, although I felt I was drowning in quick sand, and the effort it took to get through each day became more and more excruciating. You cannot simply tell someone to see their own value, and expect that to happen. Life is not that simple or cut and dried. I'm not a role model, like a few people have suggested, merely because I survived. I didn't want to live, and for months after my attempts, I did not want to be here. I was far from grateful that I was alive. To tell you the truth, I have no idea when I made a conscious decision to live my life, and I certainly didn't do it alone. It was such a painstakingly slow process that I didn't even recognize that the thoughts were dwindling away. I do know that it is damaging for people to hear that suicide is selfish and cowardly. It shuts down communication, and makes it even more difficult for someone who is suffering from suicidal thoughts to reach out. It was the very reason that I couldn't reach out, so if any good is to come from the passing of Robin Williams, I hope it sheds more light on the subject of suicide and mental health, so that more sufferers will get the help they need.  I wish I could tell you that the thought of suicide never crosses my mind, but I would be lying. We all pass judgment at times, and we are all selfish at times, but if we can at least try to be compassionate and understanding, and truly look at where our fear and anger is coming from, this world would be a better place to live. Did anyone else need to write a blog post on this subject? Probably not, but did I need to get these thoughts out of my mind? Yes, I did, and I now feel like I can breathe a bit deeper. 

"I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable." ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh  ~from"Gift From The Sea"


*If you or anyone you know is in need of help please call The National Suicide Hotline 
1-800-273-TALK(8255)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Act Of Contrition



Act Of Contrition

Perhaps it was the early morning downpour
a reminder
making my bones ache
the holes of my heart 
soaking in the poison like a porous sponge
crazy screaming
frantic cleaning
only this flesh remains

Angela Minard 2014©

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Everything



Everything

I think about your smile
when you are amused
and how you hold both of my hands
when you are serious
I think about your arms
wrapped around me
when I'm shaking from the inside out
but mostly
I feel everything 
I feel my swollen heart
how it fills, and spills
I devise ways to cement the cracks
and ways to say goodbye
I see every word
I hear every detail
There is nothing that I miss
and yet
I will miss
everything

Angela Minard 2014©

Photography by~Sofia Ajram

Sunday, July 6, 2014

All I Know


Photography by~ Bahman Farzad

All I Know

I talk to you in my head,
in my dreams
and when the words won't come
I write them down
Always to you...
Eventually I delete your replies
You never write much anyway
Maybe I should keep all of your ellipses and questions
I save your voice mails for awhile,
listening to them when I feel far away
but I can hear you without them
Someday you say I won't need you
and my feelings will be different,
but I don't want them to change
I'm accustomed to this longing
It is all I know

Angela Minard 2014©


"If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, 
return to yourself, to who you are, 
here and now,  and when you get there, 
you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower,
in full bloom, even in a muddy pond,
beautiful and strong."

~Masaru Emoto "The Secret Life Of Water"




We Are Here



Photography by~ Aleksandr Manamis

We are here
at 3:00 a.m.
without words to soothe
 Our wounds oozing 
Sticky, Messy, Gaping Holes
The darkness is not cool against our skin
The shadows do not loom
We are here
Eclipsed
to sit inside our knowing
Without escape


Thursday, July 3, 2014

You Want Me To Write



You Want Me To Write

You want me to write about willow trees
their resilience
or maybe how the limbs bend, but do not break
as if I should compare myself to such graceful beauty
but I cannot...

The willow tree that I lovingly planted in our backyard,
a tiny sapling with tender, delicate leaves
sprouting along narrow yellow branches
is dead now
Too many harsh winters, followed by early springs

She grew so tall, shading our swing set throughout many summers.
Children climbed her enormous trunk, 
and I would shout into the wind for them to be careful

"Please do not fall"
"Please do not break her branches"

Even then I knew she was fragile,
much weaker than she appeared

One late winter morning I awoke to an ice covered wonderland
the sun dancing off of her branches
I sat on the sofa, and as I gazed out the window, 
I heard the painful cracking of her limbs
The weight of the ice, 
finally
too much for her to bear

I cried as I watched, knowing deep within me,
that she would not survive
Maybe I loved her too much
or not enough

You want me to write about willow trees...
Was this what you had in mind?


Angela Minard 2014©

Watercolor painting by David Minard

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Therapy Tales




I have been writing on this blog for about six years now, and I rarely go back through old posts, but I was looking for a poem, and came across a post that I had written a few days before my first suicide attempt. I shared it with my therapist this week. I cannot even count the number of times that she has told me that if I didn't allow myself to feel pain, I would also be unable to feel joy. I wasn't sure that I believed her, but I now realize that all of my suffering was caused by my attempts to deny my feelings. My feelings often overwhelm me, and the depth of my emotions can be frightening, but I'm grateful to be alive. I'm grateful that she didn't give up on me, because she was right...even with the pain, there is an abundance of joy, and I'm blessed to still be here to feel every bit of it. 
Here is the post that I wrote~

I step through your door, into the safe familiarity of pictures and books...the window where I've watched the rain and snow, protected from the bright glare of the sun chasing after me. We have talked, and sat in silence while you wait for my words, of which I've run out. I nod when you speak, agreeable and compliant, because my decision is to resign. I've tried to tell you, but you won't give up, when I've all but begged you to, and yet I continue to cast shadows on your floor. 
"I will believe for you, until you can believe on your own," 
you say with such compassion that my throat constricts, and I cannot seem to swallow so much pain. I tell you that I feel an overwhelming need to apologize. I call you on the phone, but you say that you cannot work with me like this. I'm a petulant child, an angry adolescent, and you refuse to play my games. I'm sorry that I do this, that I reach for you, and then become volatile when you attempt to help me. I reach, I push, I run, I hide, and every week I return to the shelter of you, because I'm afraid that if I don't show up, I'll lose all sense of time. 
You are the touch point within the moments, hours, days that get lost, hoping that you will find me before I fade away. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Eight



Artwork by~ Gabriel Moreno

Eight


I was taken back to when I was eight years old. 
I am sitting now 
tall and strong...
you would never know...
I don't want to imagine an eight year old girl. 
I squeeze my eyes tight, 
so tightly that sparks of silver shatter the darkness, 
and my breath becomes so ragged that I can't find an end or a beginning. 
I open my eyes and focus on the spinning fan above me. 
I tell myself I'm safe. 
Over and over 
until I am here once again. 
She is tiny, 
 small and afraid. 
Her eyes are large, 
dark pools of fear. 
I don't want to touch her. 
I step away, 
away, 
away...
When I find my way back into my breath, 
my ribs are tired and sore. 
I'm not sure where I am, 
so I rub my fingers together until I can find my way into the room. 
My head is tingling, 
purple lights throbbing from the center of my forehead, 
out beyond my entire being, 
so alive, 
my limbs quivering with each exhale.  
I'm afraid to touch her, 
but your voice tells me to pick her up, 
so tentively I reach out. 
I'm sorry...
I'm sorry...
I'm sorry...
I repeat. 
Tears begin to fall, 
and I swallow deeply. 
I hold her for a moment, 
and then I let her go...

Angela Minard 2014©


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Elevator Dreams


Photograph by~ Lucy Reynolds

Elevator Dreams

I miss you
as soon as I step outside your door
Waiting for the elevator to open wide
is lonely...
only I am left
to hear the echo of my voice
lost inside the darkness
I never want to let go
but I do
trying to be the first to pull away
Quietly I apologize
for everything I am not
I am not
yours...

Angela Minard 2014©

"I unhinge my wishes, stringing them back together with desperation and love and the thin barbed wire of longing until they take on the substance of poems."
~Sarah Elwell

Photograph by~Lucy Reynolds

Friday, June 6, 2014

Are You Comfortable In Your Skin?



What does it mean to be comfortable in your skin? As someone who has both battled an eating disorder, and also have many friends who struggle, it is a common thing to say and to also hear. We think that if we could only be a certain weight, we would be "comfortable," but I will tell you that this is untrue. What we are uncomfortable with has nothing to do with the size of our bodies. What we are uncomfortable with is being present. It is impossible to find comfort when you are continuously running from yourself. How often do we sit with ourselves in silence, being still and aware? Today I took a yoga class with a teacher that I love, but don't often get to take classes from, and she said as we were settling into Downward Facing Dog, "Fill in the blank...I am grateful for...," and immediately I thought, "I feel grateful for my strong and resilient body." Oh, how I made my body suffer, trying to find some shred of comfort...my heart became weak, severe osteoporosis, my hair clogged the drain every time I took a shower, and I was beyond tired. Yes, I was thin, but I was far from comfortable.  I wasn't trying to be comfortable, I was trying not to be...
When we are present, we journey beyond our bodies, into the deepest part of ourselves, and into the truest form of who we are. I began to nurture my body by feeding it, and at first it was painful, and definitely uncomfortable. Discomfort doesn't even begin to describe the intensity I was feeling both emotionally and physically. Re-feeding isn't pretty. Does recovery mean you will always feel at home in the skin you inhabit? NO! The flow of healing isn't linear. There are peaks and valleys, and often we learn the most from those places of supposed inertia. Listen to the silences, and pay attention to your soul. Your soul is speaking...
Be still...

"And so there must be in life something like a catastrophic turning point, when the world we know ceases to exist. A moment that transforms us into a different person from one heartbeat to the next."

~ From "The Art Of Hearing Heartbeats" by Jan Philipp Sendker