You know how that goes. Life hits you in the face, you get knocked down and need to breathe. Some people pop right up and usually I do too. Not letting on that anything is wrong except to people who know me well.
2019 called me on my ego.
First my grandmother was passing ( it took 5 days for her to pass). This bright warrior of our family was working on her ceramics until life had other choices. Brave until the end.
Then my youngest child graduated from high school. Many people dismiss this parenting transition as " you should be glad, no more kids". Yet I have been actively parenting for 34 years, the very definition of who I am and have been suddenly changed. I am just now beginning to create my own lifestyle that doesn't worry about how my next decision will impact my family or ability to care for them.
Then the cat who really helped me through my grandmother's death was killed. I was unusually close to this cat ( we have all has one of those pets) and the fact she didn't leave my side as Nana was passing made her loss all the worse. I searched for her for days, hopeful to find her, then her body was returned to Animal Services as a passed animal. I saw her from afar and said my goodbyes, cried the whole rest of the day and many days after that.
My health was declining and I had no idea as to why. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with both congestive heart failure and a prediabetic condition. While I was grateful to know what was wrong, it terrified me to know that I am now a person who has to be on medication , potentially for the rest of my life.
My father had a stroke a couple of years ago and was in very fragile health, needing open heart surgery. I went to New York and spent some time with this man who I really didn't know well before the trip.
My Aunt who we used to say was our hotline to God also died this year. I felt like maybe God might not care for our family, like a layer of protection was missing.
My best friend in the whole world, the person I lean on the most, is moving to Florida.
So much loss, it almost made me numb. I kept so much to myself as the losses piled up. Friends who judged me left my life. The loneliness got louder. Even people I feel are close to me had no time for me, even when they didn't know anything was wrong.
That's when the decisions were made. In that place.
For one, now I know why my yoga was so hard, my heart wasn't working well. As an aging yogi, the challenges of the changing body are meant to be worked with, yet in our youth oriented society, I am often seen as irrelevant.
So I decided that through the last year, I would live. Not just keep existing as I as been, but really living. I have no other choice. Oh wait, I do. I could give in and let my self fall into the abyss of doctors, pills , testing and fear. That isn't what I want and not how I choose to live.
I know teach a better yoga class because of also working out at the gym 5 to 6 days a week. My thoughts about food are that it is fuel and my emotional eating has come to a stand still. The ways that I always thought I should eat, I have begun and the change is easy. When I drink all the water I am asked to, take my medication, watch my eating and go to the gym for stress management, it is easy. None, and I do mean none of the changes are to lose weight. I have tried that several times and never felt any success. But every time I go to the gym, my blood pressure lowers and is now more normal. The yoga reminds me of my breath in a whole new way and I am hella stronger. My breathing is better.
But more than that, in 2019 , I found love. Not a partner, but the knowledge of how many people actually love me. So many people helped me get to see my father that it was nothing short of a miracle. The whole trip was a miracle band aid that this heart and soul needed. I value friendships deeper and am working to overcome my fears to make new friends.
Being a woman who doesn't believe in New Year's resolutions, I am not saying anything about " now in 2020". I will continue to carry the amazing gifts that have been given to me in 2019, feeling the support and love of my family and friends. Learning to talk more, have more coffee dates with friends and reach out.
I will continue to move my body, work on the blockages in my life and bring in more beauty, more appreciation and more warrior spirit.
I am grateful , not for the losses, but for all the lessons that prepared me for one of the most difficult times in my life.
May you find your inner peace and strength in times of trouble. And may you reach out and know you are blessed with the next breath.
Sandra Kozlowski is the author of Building Blocks of Recovery available on this site or on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Indie Bound Books, Ebay, Half Priced Books, Books A Million. and Orca Books. She is also a singing bowl musician with her CD , Singing for the Soul ( also available here or on Amazon.)
Sandra Kozlowski, CDP, CAAR, AAS, RHY 200
Curvy Yoga Certified, Y12SR Certified, Yoga for All Certified
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