Elements for a Healthier Life
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“Walking through the grieving process has taught me some of the grandest lessons of love and compassion.”
-CK Kochis

I look in the mirror and most days I barely recognize myself. The eyes reflecting back at me are my father’s; the same empty stare he had as his dementia transformed into Alzehiemer’s. Lost, yet aware enough to know what’s going on.

The mascara I used to wear daily is applied maybe once a week; maybe. And only if I pretend to care what I look like.

The energy to exercise or move my body physically in order to feel good in my skin and stay in shape seems to have evaporated. It’s as though a piece of me no longer cares what I eat, or how I feel. This part of me seeks solace in comfort foods and withdraws to couch dwelling. For the first time in my life, my favorite blue jeans don’t fit.

I don’t feel motivated to reach out to family or friends. I’m convinced that no one wants to hear my sob story anyway. (Maybe that’s an illusion I hold. Who knows.) Maybe my retreat started when I was asked, ”when does this crying-thing end?” The response I gave was ” never”. I don’t want to burden my son Mason, who is also grieving the loss of his brother; his best friend, companion and the person who served as patriarch of our immediate family since we lost their dad in 2005. I feel like he has enough pain to endure.

Those were the words I used to begin a blog post I shared on August 11th titled ”Traversing Through Grief”. Normally, I think of myself as a very private person; looking back on my life, I would say that I usually do not feel comfortable sharing my feelings or being vulnerable.

Since my son Jeremiah’s death, I have been guided to write and publish four from-the-heart, tear-jerking blog posts. One way I transform my emotions is to handwrite in a journal. (It’s amazing how much brain clutter I can sort out with the almighty pen).

Littered throughout this issue, as well as the previous twelve, is a phrase I began saying about five or six years ago. It helped me endure a job that I dreaded as well as lackluster personal time; it helped me keep a healthy perspective during a not-so-good relationship and has become the mantra I claim for myself.

“Life is an amazing adventure; it was never intended to be lived in gray-scale.”

It reminds me that no matter how emotionally traumatized, or giddy-goofy like a three year old in a toy store, that I feel, that life IS an adventure. Even when we don’t understand why we face certain adversities, I believe our life experiences provide us lessons in contrast. These lessons allows us to determine how we choose to express ourselves internally and externally. Throughout the adventure of our lives, we traverse one situation to the next; naturally adjusting our sails and learning along the way; perhaps noticing the lessons which provide deeper value to our overall wellbeing.

Hindsight is often 20/20. As I continue to learn how to step out of an emotional reactionary state during times of discomfort and unrest, I have begun to comprehend the ‘purpose’ instead of waiting until the event causing me discomfort or unrest is in past tense. I guess you could say, with age comes a deeper wisdom, and my ability to witness how people, places and things are all connected. The web we weave is unique only to us. Since reactions, emotions and personal history is the baseline, how I experience life is different from you. One contributing factor to our behavior is our level of self-love and dedication to self-care.

Experiencing the death of an adult child to suicide has brought me face-to-face with my beliefs of self. As I navigate my grief, I have asked myself all sorts of questions: Was I a good enough mother? Was there more I could have done to prevent or ease his physical and mental pain? I have found it easy to place blame on myself. A lifelong habit of mine, to “blame the redhead.” I do have a wonderful support system, and they have helped me to realize that based on the circumstances, and what I know now, that I could not have changed my son’s choice. But that is difficult to consider and to accept. I am a caregiver. Do you understand how hard it is for me to accept this realization?

I am a caregiver. I am the one who cares, supports, comforts and compassionately holds others in a space of love. Did you catch what I wrote? I compassionately hold OTHERS in a space of love. Without the passing of my son, I don’t believe I would have realized this element of myself. In the past couple of weeks I have stepped aside and taken a heartfelt look at myself. I have been flabbergasted at the extent at which I put others first, how I have devalued my natural skills and talents as a healer, and how much I have been stuck in survival mode.

Step back three years ago to a period when I was frustrated with the direction my life was going. I hired Shann VanderLeek, Life Coach, to help me sort out my wants, desires and to help me find the damned internal compass within my heart to live life in motion. As I sit here writing these words, I realize my passion to guide women with a strong desire to participate in their own lives (and evolves from what feels like surviving the daily routine) has been brewing within me for over ten years (probably longer). My inner guidance led me in this direction while I was emotionally adjusting from my divorce and the unexpected death of my ex-husband five years later. The concept of transforming lives is one of the paths I wander in my journey.

“Walking through the grieving process has taught me some of the grandest lessons of love and compassion.”

The intention I established when I created Elements For A Healthier Life Magazine is to help people find and experience balance in the workplace, relationships, with body movement, spirituality and how we nourish our precious bodies.

The intention I established when I created Elements For A Healthier Life Magazine is to help people find and experience balance in the workplace, relationships, with body movement, spirituality and how we nourish our precious bodies. Over the year as the publisher, I have a clearer vision of how everything in our lives is connected. No matter which element you start the sentence with, “___ directly affects ___, ___, ___ and how I nourish my body. Here’s an example: The workplace directly affects my relationships, body movement, spiritual practices and how I nourish my body. My relationships directly affects the workplace, spiritual practices, body movement and how I nourish my body. What do you feel when you read those statements?

“Change occurs with awareness.”

Through my son’s death, I am expanding the unconditional love I have for who I am, working to be my own caregiver, and implementing the ways I desire to live life in motion. On the healing side of grieving, I cleaned up my diet, am connecting with my support system, wearing mascara, moving my precious body, and settling back into a meditation routine. Life (when you pause and think about it) is an amazing adventure; it was never intended to be lived in gray-scale.

CK Kochis, Publisher of Elements For A Healthier Life Magazine

Cindy (C.K.) Kochis is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who transformed her coaching practice as the foundation of Elements For A Healthier Life. She is providing a community space for people to share their personal stories, professional knowledge and healthy eating options. Cindy is a coach, virtual assistant, author, grandmother and sassy redhead. She self-published “Get A Compass Not A Clock” and “Unleash Your Inner Story”. For more information about Cindy’s services, visit ckkochis.com.

This article was originally published in the March 2017 edition of Elements For A Healthier Life Magazine.

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