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...

"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."

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


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

Artwork by~ Carol Cavalaris

Friday, February 5, 2016

Remember This

Remember This

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

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

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


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

Angela Minard 2016©

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Practice Joy

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

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

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

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

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

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