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Friday, May 7, 2021

On Display


I’m weary of being on display
for others to assess
inside these walls of my home
as well as when I am brave enough
to cast shadows along the sidewalks
to be vulnerable within a community 
in which at times I feel like an unwanted outsider
my heart often beating wildly outside of my chest
as if wanting to escape the cage of my ribs

and yet there is a steely determination 
to bring YOU
even for a brief moment 
into my world
a desire to speak my truth 
even if it causes myself 
and everyone around me discomfort

My shadows are your shadows
if only you could have enough courage to see 
the mirror of my suffering
to meet my unwavering gaze 

Dare yourself not to look away!

That.is.what.it.means.

To grow together in love

Angela Minard 2021©




Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Spider Spirit

 


I’m resting in the warmth of a late April morning that feels more like summer. Although I’m trying to be still, my mind dances with a partner I haven’t twirled with in such a long time. My eyes watch a small black spider moving robotically against the basement window, mesmerized by its sky blue markings that flash with the movement of sunlight being released from drifting clouds. I feel each jerking motion twitching though my own limbs as if we were one being; connected by earth and firmament. The wind is a roaring voice enveloping each thought

spinning it around in my mind, 

and as my eyelids grow heavy

the thoughts change colors

azure to emerald

fading into the brilliance of iridescent pearls...


Angela Minard 2021©

Monday, May 3, 2021

Not The Cloak

 

Slipping from the edge of a dream into languid consciousness

the heavy hands of apprehension press insistently 

weight bearing fear from sternum to pelvis 

cemented limbs pulsing with a remembrance of familiar terror

plunging into a waking abyss

light body separating into the ethers 

a hovering awareness 

transmuted peace iridescent in its brilliance...


Angela Minard 2021© 

Photography by Josephine Cardin

  • “Know then that the body is merely a garment. Go seek the wearer, not the cloak.”~ Rumi

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Don’t Run Too Far


I still have that picture of you sitting on the school bus 

I remember and know your face as well as I know my own

That far away look in your mossy green eyes

Only we know where we are and where we have been

The straight line of your mouth

chin close to quivering

and the freckles that dance along the bridge of your delicately shaped nose

We both know only too well how to distance ourselves from pain

how to find another self to slip into

like trying on a fancy new dress...

still an old soul

I can still hear your voice

and your cool hand in mine

When you run from the core of who you truly are

please don’t run too far...


Angela Minard 2021©


 

What Will You Choose?


 

Dreaming in watercolor

stained glass images

crystal clear mirage 

the aspects of human nature

bleed my heart 

seeping into the fluidity of my soul

blurring the lines of what it is to be authentic 


are you a lie posing as a teacher?

ask yourself, not your ego

are you compassion and grace?

are you the mirror of truth

or falsifying your name?


Can you see beyond the shining colors

to the depths of human suffering?

Can you offer a warm hand 

or a cold heart?


What will you choose?


Angela Minard 2021©

Watercolor Lotus Flower by Libby May


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Sat Nam~Truth Is Your Name

 


Truth is your name, not the letters behind them, nor your diagnoses, those labels of wife, mother, sister, friend...

Breathe in your grace and exhale the stories that hold you back


Once I knew a quiet and watchful child who held fears hand

befriending a belly that fluttered

her sweet racing heart a constant companion

Insecurity weaved it’s way into every fiber of her tender being; 

a sturdy fabric for such a delicate soul to wear


This is your time to undress without shame

to shrug the heaviness of that old and tattered garment off your weary shoulders

Drape yourself in the finest silks and gossamer threads

Inhale the heady fragrance of peace as you release the hand of fears icy grip


This is your time...


Angela Minard 2021©

Photography by~ Kristina Makeeva

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Always, I Rise

 


Artwork by~ Masaaki Sasomoto

At the height of my eating disorder, when I was entrenched in anorexic behaviors, I also held a full time job working with children with autism and other developmental disabilities. The only time it affected my work was when I took a leave of absence to go into treatment. I have missed work at times for mental health days, and I think that almost everyone at some time in their work history has done that. I would rather take a day for self care than to be sub par at my work. For many people struggling with mental health, routines are a huge part of maintaining normalcy and stability. These days of having extra time on my hands not teaching at the studio have thrown off my routine. I miss the structure, but have found myself feeling more creative, and exploring new ideas. I don’t often embrace change, but it may be time to take more chances, and move out of my comfort zone a bit. I’ve been working on publishing a few volumes of poetry, as well as a memoir, while also finishing up my 300 hr. yoga training. Teaching yoga is still deeply nourishing, and there is always so much to continue learning, which keeps me engaged. I wouldn’t wish having a mental illness on anyone, but working through the challenges and taking steps toward healing is an accomplishment I’m proud to continue. Sometimes I get discouraged, but when I look back on all I’ve been through, these 12 years of overcoming anorexia, and climbing my way through the muck of trauma has been but a drop in the bucket of my 55 years on earth. Even though I have no idea what the future holds, I continue to move forward, often stumbling, but always, I rise. 


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Throat Chakra

 


Weaving the threads of time into a tapestry 

the yellow Canary symbolizes the power to control the voice, feelings, and emotions...

Strum the harp strings of your heart

carrying the echo of your song to the stars and beyond

Your infinite vibration rings strong and true...


Angela Minard 2021© 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

45’s Hellish 4+ years= Anxiety


I wrote a post here about the recent presidential election. I composed it before we knew the outcome, and was so anxious, which is often when I write. I never published it. I knew things were going to be bad, but never dreamed the insurrection on January 6th would be one of the outcomes of 45’s hellish 4 years in office. I actually think the day he was sworn in is when my anxiety started to spiral. I started to feel increasingly unsafe, and I’m guessing that many trauma survivors would agree. Hell, not only trauma survivors, but minorities in general. 

Last year at the beginning of the pandemic, the anxiety that I’ve always struggled with ramped up to disproportionately high levels. I had a horrible panic attack and dissociative episode that landed me in the hospital. I had been off of all psychiatric medications for at least 7 years, but made the choice to resume an antidepressant. It did help the depression, but my anxiety was still fairly high, so with my treatment team, we started exploring some different anti-anxiety meds. It was challenging to find one that didn’t leave me with detrimental side effects. A month ago I tried Gabapentin, which is used to treat everything ranging from seizures and nerve pain, as well as anxiety. I became increasingly agitated while on it, with racing thoughts which then turned into constant suicidal ideation. I made a stupid Facebook post about saying goodbye or leaving Facebook which subsequently made someone call the police for a wellness check. I was too afraid to tell anyone what was going on, so even though I hated that I blasted it on social media, I was in the planning stages of suicide. I’m grateful that it was caught, and had no idea that suicidal ideation was a possible side effect. The fallout from this has sky rocketed the anxiety, but I’m determined to climb my way back to health. I didn’t beat an eating disorder to succumb to the anxiety monster. I’m trying some homeopathic options for anxiety thanks to a dear friend who is a nutritionist, and hopefully now that people are being vaccinated life will begin to return to homeostasis. I even heard that Kansas is beginning to lift the mask mandate, which is encouraging. 

There are also some issues that I’m really going to focus on in the upcoming months, and one is on being a better communicator. I tend to bottle everything up and then eventually lash out in unhealthy ways. It alienates the people I love, and is basically self sabotage. I also want to work on acceptance instead of allowing my traumatic past to rule my life. I have overcome many adversities, and know I am more than strong enough! There is hope in my life and hope in the world despite the social and political unrest, and when I’m feeling stronger I want to be more of an advocate for change. Baby steps...

A Birdsong Lullaby

 











Even when you close your eyes

the chatter doesn’t stop

tap, tap, tapping on your shoulders

incessant chanting in your ears...


When escape is not possible

build a nest, and nourish fresh thoughts

while the words find a home to make sense and rest 


Create a refuge;

a collage of fine twigs, downy feathers, and delicate baby’s breath

to line your heart with tender care

finally serenaded to sleep by a birdsong lullaby


Angela Minard 2021© 

Artwork by Lucy Campbell















Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Lie Of Perfection




Each fold and sharp crease between thumbnail and stark white paper
hisses with outrage
refined angles
cutting remarks behind a simpering smile
shooting baskets with the misshapen wads
aim and miss
each paper crane is formed from everything she was told she lacked
her many failures bent into the correct aesthetic shape
forced to acquiesce 
throbbing fingers crimp and tuck
seething warmth rising with each crumpled mistake
these messy pages tell her battled tale...

-the lie of perfection

Angela Minard© 

Artwork by Duy Huynh


Monday, November 9, 2020

Transforming Darkness


Something about the birds today pulled at my heart

quietly tugging my awareness skyward 

Everywhere I went I could feel the fluttering of wings on my skin

like the sweet breath of angels 

caressing the back of my weary neck

Perhaps I had been looking down for too long

the weight of darkness no longer screeching

but continuing to listen intently

as if silence was the monster hiding


While doing yard work on this atypically warm autumn day 

I at first mistook the starlings that caught my eye 

for swirling leaves 

until their musical trilling filled the air

“Look up!” they seemed to be singing insistently 


Pausing to rest

tilting my gaze to the heavens

my eyes widened as I watched in wonder

the transformation 

from onyx starlings to opalescent doves

the honeyed sky dripping like slow rain

weightless...

cradled within the downy wings of protection


-You are safe


Angela Minard© 

Artwork by Duy Huynh

Friday, September 25, 2020

Only I Will Remain

 

The Third Eye by Rutuja Padwal


I’ve been dreaming quite often about being hospitalized due to mental illness. It could be because I’m struggling with my mental health, but I feel like many of us are struggling due to the pandemic. I’m not a stranger to needing inpatient treatment, but I’m not even close to that point at all. When I woke up from that dream this morning, I was acutely aware of how healthy I am compared to years ago. I’m not only healthier, but happier. I remember back to when I was working for the local school district, and barely being able to get out of bed. I was burnt out working with aggressive students, and deeply depressed. Now I am passionate about my work, and thankful that I survived that period of my life. I think that my schedule is in flux, and that throws me off. I also know that eventually it will be more consistent again, and so I work on being patient and compassionate with myself. I still see my therapist virtually, which is better than not seeing her at all, but of course it’s not the same. We all want things to go back to normal, and the fact is that it may be awhile, or perhaps never, and that is difficult to come to terms with at times. Because of my sexual assault, and being gagged during it, wearing a mask is extremely challenging. I have worked hard to increase the amount of time I can tolerate it, but it always causes anxiety. I would rather go nowhere than to wear one, but that’s not always an option. It’s funny how that trauma, which I had really worked through, can still side swipe me, and that makes me angry. This political climate wears on me; the hate, the anger, the inequality, the racism, and on and on...aren’t we all afraid? I know I am...


I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” 

~Frank Herbert


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Beyond the Pose






















planting my hands firmly into the ground

and flipping upside down

shifting perspectives

exploring the perimeters 

a compass leading in all directions

Inhale

expanding freedom

Exhale

releasing into gravity 

the outlines disappear

diving into presence 

hold on tight

savor the moment

and then let it go

dancing with breath

leaning into life...


Angela Minard© 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Lucky White Rabbit


Lately when my mind drops me into the past, it is big and loud, like suddenly being slapped, sharp and stinging...too much in my body, too much hurt. I look around, and I remember the dream where I hide under the bed, shivering on the cold wood floor. A small white bunny hops under the bed to join me, and I’m no longer alone or scared. The end. Only it’s not the end, is it? It’s not a dream. I confuse waking and dreaming because that is how I survived, but even now it is blurry, past and present, real or illusion, hiding under the bed...

Artwork by Richard Jesse Watson

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Graceful Transitions


















I thought I had given up blogging, but I do enjoy sending my thoughts out into the ether, out of my head, and yet still somewhere tangible. Life is change, and within the change, a tendency to resist for awhile, and for me at least, eventually a surrender. I can create as much chaos as I resist, but here I am, still participating in life. I stopped writing here during transition from my work with the autism population, and into a yoga therapy job in a behavioral health hospital, and teaching yoga full time, which still is my dream job. Last year the hospital I was working in closed, which was sudden, and a big disappointment. I wondered if I would be able to find enough work to still teach yoga full time, but I was able to find a job in another behavioral health hospital that is so close to my home, so it’s even better, and I still teach some corporate and studio classes, so I feel well rounded in my career. Covid messed with some of my income at first, but like most of the world, I was able to pivot to an online platform. It’s not my favorite way to teach, but I’m grateful to be able to stay connected with students, and continue my work. 
I still struggle with my mental health at times, the eating disorder is something that I live with daily, but I may always have to work to maintain recovery. I’ve come to accept that as my reality. After years of battling suicidal ideation, I haven’t had those thoughts in awhile, which feels amazing! I have ups and downs, but nothing severe, and all is manageable. Writing about my darkness is usually enough of a release to move through to the light. 
In the past year I was blessed with 3 granddaughters, so after all of the male energy I was surrounded with; being a mom to 4 sons, it has been so fun to watch my sons raising daughters, and finally getting to buy girl stuff! I hope that the world will be a safe place for them, and with our political climate, that is a huge concern. Much of my anxiety lately comes from the uncertain times we are in, and I know I’m not alone with those feelings. Transitions are part of the human experience, and so trying to gracefully manage them, or maybe simply giving myself grace when I falter. 
I will end on that note today, and may you as well find grace for yourself through the transitions of your life. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

It’s Why I Tell You


I probably shouldn’t come here 
and tell You

Every fucking feeling that moves

through me

Maybe

I’m not even talking to 

You

around and around in circles 

until I’m spinning 

I haven’t been here in awhile

have I?

I’m sick of coming back.

I should know how to do this by now

everyday Grows slower

Grows darker

like a slow motion dream that I can’t wake up from

I don’t know how to stop it

No one knows

no one knows

It’s why I tell

You


Angela Minard© 


Monday, September 7, 2020

Asylum


I come to this black void and instead of emptiness, there are all of these brilliant colors, like music that I can taste and hear-

I distract myself with the familiar until the words form beneath my fingertips...


My mind flashes back to the “crazy dream.” I’m locked up in an asylum, sensing the depressant quality of being over medicated, with a tenuous grasp on reality. I’m not sure why I return to the texture of this dream-feeling trapped, misunderstood, and denied of comfort and care...it’s a worn out theme.


Eating disorders are like an asylum. Even in recovery, it’s presence looms-black and white, colorless and empty, and even in my sleep, I can feel my body, the weight and density, a liquid mass -trapped.


The Asylum: a place I would like to escape to; where I could be crazy and at the same time a hostage of my body. I would be free to rattle the chains of my own misery, completely abandoned by the outside world. A nightmare or a wish?


I’m in recovery. I eat the food, sometimes without much thought, and at times agonizingly; mouthful by mouthful. 


These are the reasons I eat: my family, my dog, my job. I love those reasons, and more often than not, it’s enough. 


My weight fluctuates depending on my manipulations. I can’t quite seem to leave it alone. I do not trust my body, and have difficulty being neutral, although I try. “I have a body.” That is the goal, even though mostly I’m disgusted by having a body. That disgust transitions on a scale from extreme to tolerable...I have come to accept that the disgust doesn’t have much to do with my weight, and yet the manipulation continues...


Yes, I know it’s a worn out theme. It’s mind numbingly boring, and I despise weight and diet talk. It takes up enough chatter in my own head, and so the distraction is the eating disorder; A cunning asylum, with locked doors, and sometimes thin walls of glass I can see through. 


Angela Minard© 







 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Peaceful Communication



I’m at the point in my life where I know what I want, I know where I’m going, and I’m also clear about who I don’t want around me. I remember early on in my yoga journey looking up to my teachers, believing their teachings, believing that they practiced what they taught. I learned differently quite soon! With eyes wide opened, I also witnessed the lies..., and like any spiritual journey, if your eyes are truly open, you will see, and then find your own path without blindly following anyone. Lessons have been learned, my heart has been a bit bruised along the way, but those painful truths led me to trust in my own authenticity. I’m certainly not perfect, especially as a yoga teacher, but what you see is what you get. I’m honest. If you have an injury, I will tell you I’m not a doctor, I try to walk the walk, which means I’m prone to anger, miscommunication, poor judgment, etc...I don’t pretend to be anything but who I am. If I like you, you will know, and if I don’t, I won’t pretend. I’ll be polite, but not two faced. Say what you mean, and mean what you say...it’s so simple, really...If you don’t want to do something, you don’t need to lie and make up an excuse. Simply say no. If you say you are going to do something, be true to your word. Have honor. You will feel better about yourself in the long run. In this new year, I’ve let go of expectation, which perhaps sounds negative, but is truly freeing. My word for 2020 is “Communication.” That is what I will be working on...clear, mindful, kind, and yet honest communication.

Artwork~Peace by Shirin Donia

Monday, October 28, 2019

Don’t Forget

The me that started this blog over twelve years ago is long gone, although the strength and wisdom was centered deep inside, it took some digging to discover. Starting this blog was also the beginning of healing from sexual trauma and anorexia, although at times it felt as if all of that digging may bury me.
A couple of times it almost did...
I’m not sure why I’m here, writing I mean...
I was driving home from teaching my Monday evening yoga classes, and my mind was wandering as I watched the first snowfall of the season...wandering to the past, and I thought about the pain that I poured out on this blog. Healing is a gift I finally allowed myself. Yoga gave me the gift of embodiment, and I’m grateful that I can pay that gift forward. I rarely visit the past anymore, but when I do it’s from a more forgiving place. I’m not perfect and life is never perfect, but I’m good...life is good. I doubt anyone reads these words, but if you found your way here, take this poem as my gift to you...

Where there is an ache
joy awaits
buried beneath nutrient rich soil
the throbbing heart
the homesickness
the want
is a reminder of what holds you
Here
Right here
Don’t forget...

Angela Minard©


Sunday, July 15, 2018


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Strength and Stability



It is strange how when one part of your body hurts, it affects other area of the body. As a yoga teacher, observing bodies is part of the job, and so I find myself observing my own with curiosity. I’m thinking of ways to help my healing, where I need to focus, and the types of body work I may need. In this way, I am looking forward to the recovery process. I already see the ways this is changing my teaching, and I’m already planning a workshop titled Mindful Strength and Stabilty. I feel excitement for the possible roads of learning this experience is already leading me down. There is always more to learn, and I can’t wait to share it! 
5 more days until surgery! 






Monday, July 9, 2018

Eating Disorder Recovery Update




I wanted to share some of what I'm going through lately while continuing to recover from an eating disorder. The lack of much physical activity in these past couple of months has been triggering. I'm losing muscle tone, and although I don't know exactly what my weight is, I do know what it feels like it's doing. I recognize that I may not be accurate in my assessment, nevertheless I'm not acting on behaviors. My appetite has decreased along with my energy output, but I'm still working hard to adequately nourish my body. I have nausea due to some of the medications I'm temporarily on, so I need to keep something in my stomach.  It is challenging, and the eating disorder is loud. I still struggle with negative body image, but I'm not allowing any of that to cause me to restrict. I want to be strong after surgery, and using behaviors will not help with recovery. I want to get back to teaching yoga as soon as I can. I'm practicing lots of self care, and taking time to do things that also nourish my soul, such as writing, reading, and cultivating a more consistent meditation practice. This may be a small road block, but I actually do believe in myself. I would like to be completely recovered from anorexia, but if that never happens, I will never give up. I will come out even stronger, I have no doubt!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Removing Obstacles




It has been almost a year since my last post, and so much has happened since then. The present moment is dealing with chronic pain, and trying to remind myself that the pain is temporary. I'm having a total hip replacement on July 16th, but I've been dealing with this pain off and on for the last 5 years. In the past 6 month, the pain has been almost debilitating, and affects my quality of life. I'm sleep deprived, and my main self care/coping skill has been gradually stripped away. I am no longer teaching and my practice is dwindling. This is disheartening to say the least. I love my job teaching yoga, but I desperately miss my own practice. Instead of focusing on what I can't do right now, I know I need to cultivate a stronger mindfulness practice. I have a study partner to learn more about the yoga sutras, and practicing a better self care routine. This experience has changed me, and change is challenging! Some of my least favorite qualities have surfaced, like low frustration tolerance, and general bitchiness. I have a renewed sense of gratitude for my body, and realize how much I took for granted. I will come out of this stronger and more compassionate, not only towards myself, but others. I also feel that this adventure will make me a stronger and more knowledgeable yoga instructor. I'm delving into a deeper knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics, and still working on class sequencing and a fall workshop at the studio. Being inactive makes me feel restless, so using my mind is important in being productive and feeling accomplished. We can do more than we often give ourselves credit for, body, mind, and spirit. I may not have an Asana practice right now, but it is the perfect time time to develop a deeper spiritual practice.                                                                                                                 
Wishing you all a peaceful summer filled with magical moments.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Transformed



Transformed

I hold on in my sleep
clenched fists
awakening with aching fingers
empty hands...

"It hurts, it hurts, it hurts," 


I think to myself

drifting back into the same nightmare...
footsteps heavy, looming shadows,
and then the comforting sound of
your voice calling my name

"It hurts," I whisper


as your gracefully opened palms

receive my falling tears
iridescent crystals
spilling through your familiar, outstretched fingers

"I will hold it for you," you repeat softly

until my eyes begin to flutter open

...and for awhile


this pain


beautifully transformed


Angela Minard 2017©

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Stop, Drop, and Roll



I didn't realize how long it has been since I have been here to write
Change often seems to create a sense of suspended animation
where the outer world stays the same 
and yet you and everything you do is completely different 
Sometimes I feel as if I'm observing from the outside...
I wanted to heal
and I think I am healing...
I hope...
I remember a winter about nine years ago
when I barely came out of my bedroom
It was dark on the inside 
and I was too numb to cry
too numb to smile 
too numb to realize that I was dying
Years of lying
of hiding being raped 
swallowing rage 
had eventually caught up
and taken a toll
Self harm
starving
and hating myself had left me empty
My husband asked me to see a therapist
and I did not want to 
but there was a small voice inside that I could still hear through the endless chatter
I remember looking through the Blue Cross/Blue Shield book of mental health providers 
and searching for a therapist who specialized in eating disorders
Offering up the eating disorder like a sacrificial lamb
If I could eat 
that would fix me 
and I could be on my merry way...
I still remember sitting in her office for the first time 
terrified...
Sometimes
in her waiting room
I still feel that way
as if nothing has changed...
They say life will eventually come full circle
and so on a day to day basis 
I stare my demons in the face
in the eyes of the patients I teach yoga to in the hospital
I see and feel their loss of dignity
the heavy burden of shame...
It seems almost impossible at times to overcome
The eating disorder was a symptom
a coping mechanism
and by all means 
not the only one
I carry them all in my back pocket
like a smooth stone
a talisman to ward off uncomfortable feelings
To be honest
I don't know what I'm trying to communicate here
only that I know the danger of being silent
of slipping into darkness 
I'm not sure of the perfect way to heal
and although throwing myself into the fire wasn't what I intended
here I am

Stop, drop, and roll...


"The greatest art is to sit and wait and let it come" ~Yogi Bhajan