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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Feeling Of You



The Feeling Of You

As I bow my head
your scent rises from my skin
surrounded by
the feeling of you

inhaling...
as if I could capture your essence

to carry
like a smooth stone
in the palm of my hand

shivering...
I wrap the comforting weight of your arms
around my shoulders

breathing in the chiming sound
of our laughter

and the lingering warmth
which is
the feeling of you

Angela Minard 2015©

Artwork by~ Amanda Cass
"A Place to Dream"

Friday, July 17, 2015

No One Listens



No One Listens

We pack our emotions into used cardboard boxes
labeling them with permanent black ink
without tender care
no crinkled tissue paper
or newspaper print

We haphazardly toss them
tape them
and try to forget

We arrive at our destinations
slamming car doors
eyes to the pavement
seeing nothing
shoulders caving in on broken hearts

We stride in brightly
 wide smiles and cheerful hellos
fucking liars
hiding behind name brand clothing
make up
job descriptions
dressed up to sound prestigious
fancy fucking words
flow from our lips

We make it sound so pretty,
don't we?

Angela Minard 2015©

Artwork by~ Audrey Kawasaki




Monday, July 13, 2015

The Weight of Fear



I swallow more tears than I shed. 
It is rare for me to have a "good" cry, and I'm being sarcastic when I say that. It is not that I don't cry at all. I almost cry a lot! I feel the tears forming, and I do everything I can to keep them in. 
Because of this, I'm beginning to feel the weight of holding it all inside. There is nothing wrong with my life. I am probably the happiest I have ever been, but even so, my heart races, I have sudden panic attacks, and I become scared of everyone, even the people I adore the most. I do my best to hide these fears, because I understand how irrational they are. Hiding your feelings is a death sentence, or at least it is for me. I build fear like a fortress surrounding myself, and then, to tear it down, I set myself on fire. I'm quite the expert, except that I used to be so numb that I didn't recognize the chaos and damage I was creating in the process of trying to kill the pain. The last time I cried was toward the end of a yoga class over a year ago, and I could feel it coming. I fled to the studio bathroom, sobbing uncontrollably, half hoping that no one would notice, but a dear friend watched me leave class. I crouched down in the stall, unsure of exactly why I was so emotional, but when she wrapped her arms around me, I felt comforted, and more than that, understood, without explanation. I was grateful for her quiet presence. 
Crying alone is lonely! 
In therapy sessions, I try to hold it in even more, because I know I will not be comforted. I suppose they are trained to just sit there and stare at you, saying nothing, and waiting for you to stop. I'm sure it is all about boundaries, or maybe I'm supposed to learn how to self soothe. It is not that my therapist isn't caring, because she is, but it feels awkward.  

I almost cry in yoga all of the time! I understand the emotional need for release, but I feel ashamed of any emotion that I have labeled in my mind as negative. Maybe if I cried more, I would panic less? It is worth a try, I suppose!, so if you see me in tears, simply smile and give me a thumbs up, or even an encouraging hug. I most likely have no idea why I'm crying. Perhaps it is only the left over weight of fear...


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Full



Full

Slipping between shadow and light
lucid dreams
cool sheets
warm pillows
sun seeping between cracks in the blinds
bouncing from floorboard to ceiling
your breath
so soft
 I sigh...
overflowing
we swallow tears
and rise
wading in a river of sparkling stars
between our toes
cool moss
thick winds blow
short lived
stormy summer skies
swollen clouds
swollen eyes
swollen hearts
we are
full

Angela Minard 2015©


"Change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn,
and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass."
~John Steinbeck

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Life Lesson



Often I come here, unsure of what to say, only knowing that there are feelings within that I am compelled to put into words, or at least this blog is my feeble attempt. 
As I'm sitting here in front of the computer screen, my sweet husband is softly snoring on the couch, and golf is on the television in the background. It is mid afternoon, cool and rainy, and what should seem peaceful, has me instead filled with worry. 
This is my downfall...
My inability to enjoy the present moment, as it is, without jumping into the future, my fears, and what ifs...
I love so intensely that I'm hyper aware of just how devastating it would be to lose the things I hold close to my heart. The simple sound of rain, while my husband sleeps peacefully near me is so perfect and lovely that it swells inside of me to the point where it can no longer be contained, and yet, I try. I suppose this is what causes my pain, or perhaps the fear that I am not strong enough to survive such tremendous loss. There is no way to prepare for such things, and so why I do this to myself is beyond me. As soon as I acknowledge the amazing gifts in my life, the next thought seems to be fraught with worry that it will all be taken away. 
This is life, 
and it is a guarantee that no one will make it out alive, 
or even unscathed. 
I will lose, 
I will gain,
 and my work here is to continue to notice and be grateful for each magical moment, 
 each magical person that fills my life with this much love. 
The lesson? 
It is not meant to be contained... 


Artwork by- Jimmy Lawlor

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fractured Time



Fractured Time

The world grows loud as you slip away
thoughts like mercury
quickly separating and running back together
images flash
bile rising
as the darkness pools behind your eyes

The return is silent
scenery changing
as if waking inside of a soundless dream

Thirstily gulping handfuls of cold water
icy shame washes through you
Frantically searching your mind
but all that remains 
is the darkness

Angela Minard 2015© 



This darkness is lonely
Desperately weary of living 
like this...


Thursday, June 25, 2015

All You Know



I'm getting over a particularly nasty bout of the stomach flu, so perhaps that is what has me feeling out of sorts. I like for things to make sense...I mean, who doesn't, right? I woke up yesterday feeling lost, which made no logical sense in my mind. I have been heading in a purposeful direction for quite some time, but suddenly I'm grasping. I'm either on the verge of tears or maniacal laughter at any given moment, and I'm exhausted.  A strange interaction that I had on Facebook seems to have triggered something inside of me, which I'm trying to figure out. A woman that I'm "friends" with posted something about how she thought it was a great idea to do drug testing on anyone who is applying for welfare assistance, like applying for welfare isn't humiliating enough!? She asked how others felt about it, and I happen to disagree. I rarely get into discussions like this on Facebook, but feeling strongly,  I made a few comments, in a very calm manner. Many of her comments disturbed me though, one of them being that she has no compassion for drug addicts. It also bothered me that she assumes anyone needing assistance is a drug user. The more I thought about her callous comments, I decided that I didn't care to be "friends" with her, so I unfriended her. As I write this, it sounds childish, and I probably don't screen my friend requests very well. The next morning there was an angry message from her calling me a baby for unfriending her. Ahhh, a "baby!." That is something I often say in my head when I'm beating up on myself, so it was a particularly painful blow. I can call myself a baby, but you fuck off!  After that, I also blocked her, but it left me with a creepy feeling. 

I'm going to be taking a hiatus from Facebook, and I'm definitely deleting the app from my phone. I like to see what is going on in the lives of the people that I'm unable to connect with in person, but I struggle as it is with boundaries. I tend to absorb the energy of the people around me, and take on those feelings as if they were my own. I enjoy connecting with people, sharing my story, and helping others to find their way through this recovery maze, but I don't want to end up losing myself in the process. I've reached my limit. I love where I am in my life. I love who I am becoming, and where I'm going. There is so much more, but I need to protect myself, or I am going to be eaten alive. Social media is wonderful in many ways, but it has a dark side, like everything in life. I've reached a saturation point, and I crave a break. When even your own status updates cause eye rolling, you know you have reached your limit, plus my house is dirty! 

This blog is connected to my Facebook, as well as a couple of other pages that I run, so I will not completely disappear, but I will be limiting my time. I am going to spend the rest of my summer enjoying my family, kissing my dog, teaching yoga, practicing my hugging technique, and sharing my heart in the best way I know how, which is all I know. It is all you know too.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Like the Lotus Flower




They say that the most stunning flower of all, the lotus, grows in the filthiest part of the pond, feeding on its filth to produce its beauty. My therapist also likes to say that strength comes from falling face down, sucking mud, and still being able to rise up and move forward.  I try to remember this when the pain and shame cause me to feel dirty and flawed. I work through it every day, and some days are easier than others, but I am healing and creating beauty through the practice of yoga. There are still days when I put on my yoga clothes, which are not forgiving, by the way, and I look into the mirror, and I don't love what I see. Some days I even think about staying home and hiding instead of walking into a class full of people, where I'm exposed. Recovery is like that. I'm not this women who recovered perfectly from anorexia, and never looks back. I would like to be, but then again, each time I look back, I learn something new about why I sometimes fall into disordered thoughts or behaviors. It is never about weight, or food, or appearance, but what else I'm trying to control or avoid. During those moments in the mirror, when I'm struggling with the bitch in my head, who I know very well is me, I still walk out the door and go to the studio, and I get on my mat. As soon as I center myself, feeling the solid foundation of the earth beneath me, all of that crap falls away. I never feel more beautiful than when I'm flowing with my breath, and it has absolutely nothing to do with what I look like or if the postures are all in perfect alignment. I often tell my students to first feel the posture from the inside. For me, this is where the yoga begins, with breath, creating space in the body, rooting into the present moment, expanding and contracting, dancing with the breath. When you can pinpoint how a posture makes you feel on the inside, you can recreate that feeling anytime you need it. My therapist who doesn't even practice yoga, helped me discover this by moving me through postures during our sessions. She would say, Do a pose that makes you feel strong, or safe, or joyful, or whatever emotion she is helping me to tap into, and it helps because I'm not always skilled at knowing how I'm feeling. I checked out of my life by denying strong emotions for a long time, so it is still new to me, and sometimes I lose my footing. The mud is always there, but I have faith that like the lotus flower, I will not only rise, but bloom. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Destination Unknown



Destination Unknown

warm sun
behind your eyes
pale
golden light
slow and drowsy 
thoughts like honey
flow sweet and smooth
unaware of breath
of body
like a seabird gliding
over sparkling waves 
through a cloudless sky
destination unknown

Angela Minard 2015©


"Don't believe what your eyes are telling you.  All they show is limitation.  Look with your understanding.
 Find out what you already know, and you will see the way to fly." ~ Richard Bach "Jonathan Livingston Seagull"

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Scene of the Crime



Scene of the Crime

I am bleeding
dank, putrid carnage
the rich color of soil
that I have nurtured

I imagined returning to this place
erasing my fingerprints
setting the building on fire
witnessing the devastation 
from afar
as if I was the criminal

There are signs everywhere
and this journey is no different
The highway sign
an unexpected reminder

Throbbing warmth 
pooling suddenly
I shove both hands between my thighs
trying to tell you
Pull over to the side of the road
but instead, 
voice lost
I hold my breath
waiting for the pain to recede

I can smell them...
rotten, burning flesh
the stench of shame

Touching thumb to pinkie finger
ring finger
middle finger
pointer...

I am here
I am here
I am here

I am not the criminal

I look into your eyes
not asking you to turn away
no longer a child reeling with confusion
I am here

I am not the criminal

Angela Minard 2015©

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Imagine



Imagine


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

Angela Minard 2015©

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ocean Lullaby



Ocean Lullaby

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

She 
was 
here
 for
 a
 breath

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

Angela Minard 2015©

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Ceiling Remembers



The Ceiling Remembers

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

"Hold still!," she hisses

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

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

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

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

Angela Minard 2015©

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Ashes to Ashes



Ashes to Ashes


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

tiny fire
little star

Constellations 
drowning in a midnight ocean

Pulses of light 
extinguished billions of years ago

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

We illuminate the infinite universe
and with a single exhalation

dust

Angela Minard 2015©

Photography by~ Stephanie Dalton Cowan

Monday, May 4, 2015

Runaway Train



Runaway Train

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

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

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

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

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

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

Angela Minard 2015©

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Touch



Touch

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

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

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

Angela Minard 2015©

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Shadow Self



The Shadow Self

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

Angela Minard 2015©

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Wilting



Wilting

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

Angela Minard 2015©

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Always The Mirror

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

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Time Is A Wise Teacher



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

Artwork by~ Cassandra Barney

Friday, March 13, 2015

Possibility



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

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

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Your Shoulder



Your Shoulder

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

 Angela Minard 2015©

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Stealing Life


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

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

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