My mother and I are not big fans of New Years Eve. Have never really seen what the big deal about changing years is (for me birthday is more a time to think about that) and, having put up with her alcoholic sister for decades of our lives, neither of us finds hanging out in rooms full of drunks to be as much fun as many people apparently do. So the big celebration this year involved making popcorn and both of us watching TV in separate rooms.
But this year I have been in a reflective mode through the latter part of fall, marking some bigger changes than most years for a while.
Finally arriving at a place where the inner journeying and physical healing are producing noticeable results outwardly — after years of constant inner transformation and physical progress that moved along but seemed to never end — feels worth noting.
I’m very pleased and excited at my work on the People Power series I’ve been writing here. Feel totally magnetized to it and while I don’t yet see where this path is leading, I definitely feel it’s a path I’m meant to be on and for which SO many things in my life have prepared me.
It’s been a couple of years since I began noticing a bit more stamina. For many years the chronic fatigue left me literally feeling no “there” there — a state one practitioner referred to as having “negative chi”. No matter how much I slept (and for some years it was a LOT) I always felt shaky and exhausted. Now even a moderately good night’s sleep leaves me with the energy to feel pretty normal for a chunk of the day and this year that became more sustained.
With some energy I can count on, this year has been one of trying to take back control of a few more things. Perhaps the biggest change has been in reaching out to make some new friends. I’d worked very hard at networking in my first years here but slowly the groups fell apart, people moved away and by the time my health left me pretty isolated, there were few people to reach out to.
I began with signing up to volunteer with Ahava Center for Spiritual Living’s God’s Pantry group, my first evening being the last Friday of December, 2018. A number of friends are involved at Ahava and I’ve nibbled around the edges for years. Through the volunteer group I’ve been meeting some lovely folks.
Eventually I inched a little closer and am now in a women’s group at ASCL. Not much of a service attendee, I’m occasionally actually showing up for one; really nice to walk into a group of friendly faces. I’ve pushed to attend a few other events here and there along with a few more lunches with old friends. All still a little tentative, but it’s been nice to move out in the world a bit more after this long hibernation. Feels like doors opening, life moving, etc.
The long unwinding of muscles in my face and head still continues, but this year there’s enough opened up to feel my face as SO different There’s still enough tightness I don’t quite know how it feels to have all these muscles in their natural state but one increment at a time I learn more about what healthy muscles in my face feel like. From steely and hard, many of them have transitioned to feeling spongy and flexible. So cool.
Some of the smallest things are among those I note the most. I mentioned a while back getting control over a few things like getting dishes done in the evening. It’s around two years or so now that I’ve gotten it done every single night, never facing a pile of dishes in the morning because I was too tired to do it. The last couple of months I’ve smiled and felt so grateful every time I soap and rinse, pleased to have a record so long I can’t tell you exactly when the streak began.
I’ve added in a regular laundry day. The piles don’t always cooperate by being the right size on the right day, but a lot gets done every week on the same day and just that small regular thing feels so good.
The other big shift has been trying to take control of my schedule. The unwinding, with accompanying sleeplessness, shifted my sleep schedule till it was pretty normal to go to sleep at 5 a.m. and get up at noon or later. For a long time the exhaustion was so bad I just slept whenever I could and made no effort to corral the times.
In the summer I decided my increased stamina meant I could tolerate some even bigger losses of sleep. I started off shifting the schedule by about 2 hours and then managed to get to 3 on a journey to make it 4. Recently the unwinding around my eyes has wreaked such havoc I’ve lost ground back to the 2 hour shift but I’m counting it as a victory to have managed to hang on to that much of the change.
Some days it’s a little weird for me to look at these little shifts and changes as big victories, but compared to life a few years ago, this feels like a major unfurling. Some days I’m still resentful at being handed such a long difficult healing journey. But a lot of the time this year I feel so pleased to see these little changes slowly, slowly, carefully moving me to living a fuller life again, this time as a person with so much more emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health than I ever had before.
Looking forward to even more opening and LIVING in 2020. Hope you all are starting the new year in peace and that this will be your best year ever.