Gathering strength from 2018

Today I’m going to sit with my events and dreams of 2018. Like, everyone’s looking back and listing accomplishments. I thought about doing that…oh, I did this and I did that…blah blah blah…

But it just didn’t feel right. I just wanted to feel where my energy settled in 2018, where my soul went, where I fit in with the trees and the garden’s energy. 

I haven’t done this before: that is, take a look back and feel the year. At the end of a year, I usually look ahead, planning what I want to do the next year, growing towards my goals. 

Today I nourish my soul. I’ve been feeling frustrated that my plans move along at a snail’s pace. I wanted to check if this is really so. 

To begin:  I had a very long illness, with both severe digestive issues and a very badly broken leg.  I lost 35 pounds. I was skinny. I had nightmares, insomnia, waking up with my heart pounding and feeling like I couldn’t breathe..for the first time in my life. 

My illness began in early 2016 and continued throughout 2017.  It was a doozy. Life changing. Someday, when I’m ready, I’ll write about the entire experience of trauma and the illness.  And how my personal experience allowed me a birds-eye view into PTSD’s felt sense, which brought me to work with my clients more deeply. But that’s for later…for now, I’ll just look at 2018. 

 After a long illness and a shattering leg break, I re-opened my private psychotherapy practice in late 2017. Like I said before, for reasons having to do with my long illness, I re-opened up as a trauma therapist. I continued with my trauma training. I completed Laura Parnell’s EMDR curriculum and then began my Somatic Experiencing® training.  The EMDR and particularly, the Somatic Experiencing® training, has been absolutely life-changing. Somatic Experiencing® is body-centered, extremely powerful and sensitive trauma work.  I absolutely love incorporating SE® into my psychotherapy practice. More importantly, I found how much SE® moves my clients along in their healing journey.  It’s profound and spiritual. SE® is taught over three years. I’ve completed Year One. 

I’ve also joined a professional Trauma Supervision Group, which has boosted my understanding of trauma and my practice immeasurably. The supervisor is a Somatic Experiencing® teacher and a well regarded psychologist. And the participants are just a wonderfully supportive peer group of trauma therapists. I am grateful to be included in this professional community. This has been the professional and spiritual energetic support I’ve been craving and I’m glad I now have this. It keeps me grounded, informed and able to witness the trauma I see in my office. 

In 2018, I’ve been focusing on my family. My son needed medical attention and I needed to research and work with him in finding specialists, making the appointments and assessing their collective results.  Because of our medical challenges, as a family, we’ve had to maintain a high level of clean, nourishing food. Our  menu had to change to gluten-free, dairy-free and include lots of fresh vegetables, whole grains, and high quality, low fat protein. So my shopping and cooking habits went through a permanent overhaul. 

My Mom and Dad

Sadly, in 2018, we said good bye to my mother. I read a poem I wrote about our early family life. We gathered from different areas of the country into our home town of Lynbrook. We spent a weekend celebrating her life with a her memorial service and laying her ashes to rest alongside our father, her husband. We celebrated our time together as a family; eating, drinking, toasting, remembering, healing and having fun. 

Earlier I wrote a poem to her as I watched her struggle with Alzehimer’s.

We said hello to my mother-in-law. She wisely decided she needed some additional assistance, so moved up to New Jersey to be closer to her family. 

Adding to the herb garden

In 2018, I spent more time in the garden. I expanded my herb collection and added more irises, echinacea, forsythia and St. John’s Wort.  I started a lemon balm herb patch near the plantain patch and added some ajuga ground cover. On the back hill, I planted some more raspberry bushes at bottom of the hill. Next spring, I look forward to trying to get to the berries before the deer do!! At the top of the sunny back hill, I started a milkweed patch. I hope it provides respite for the monarchs. Next year, I have plans to create a ladder garden, adding some rich soil to develop a nourishing spot to enhance the number of sage and thyme plants in my front yard.

I also spent some time developing aromatherapy lotions and oils and flower essences to enhance relaxation for my clients. Some people respond well to the plant infleunces. Some don’t like it. That’s fine!

We visited family in different parts of the country to keep our experiences and bonds alive.  The beauty of Miami, the lush tropical vegetation was breath-taking, avocados, mangoes and orchids so lush and multi-colored and growing freely in back yards!  New Hampshire was fabulous as always. Glittering lakes, watery flumes, and the granite and quartz mountains and rough trails just totally awe inspiring!  And Austin is a wonderful town, with lots to do, great organic food and interesting desert foliage.  And the New Jersey shore, so beautiful with the sounds and scents of the ocean and bicycle-friendly streets.  It was so fulfilling to be  held in the warm embrace of the love of family and friends and be buoyed up with positive vibes. 

I was cleaning up my office space bit and found a card a dear friend of mine had written to me. It was so inspiring. She brought tears to my eyes. I needed inspiration and finding this card with her caring sentiment, provided me with such. She described my work as being imbued with a good heart, healing hands and empowering counseling. I am touched and grateful. 

I’m glad I did this energetic review of 2018. It feels to me I did alot of good, energetic work. I feel like I did what I needed to do. 

I am not, um, behind, as my planning brain thinks I am. 

I feel like I’ve done quite alot. 

I have much to be grateful for and I want to bring the energy of gratitude into my heart and hold this warmth foremost for 2019. 

I hope to bring into 2019 a good heart, healing hands and empowering counseling.  

Namaste, and be kind to yourself and to others.  

So give yourself space to reflect on the positive energy of the people and work that you have in your life. Appreciate them and appreciate yourself. There’s time to create an inspirational, intentional and goal oriented Vision Board for 2019.

It takes attention and effort to create and maintain emotional and mental health. Namaste, and see you in 2019!

Go on and create yourself an uplifting life! 

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Kathy Morelli

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