A year ago, I was sitting with a deep (although looking back, seemingly obvious, not sure how I missed it) realization; looking ahead to 2023 the one thing that struck me was that this would be the first year that I would not have Derek in … not one new memory or one moment left to live.
He had been gone just over 3 months and I was limping through my year of firsts; Christmas had come with a 3-day snow storm that literally shut everything down. I didn’t have to go anywhere, see anyone, or worse; pretend to be okay so as not to dampen anyone else’s season … it was the perfect exemption and I was grateful!
Looking back at that version of me today I can only smile; if I could go back and whisper in her ear, I would tell her it’ll be okay; he’s going to be right there with you every minute of every day!
It would be the God’s honest truth, and today as I reflect on 2023 and look forward to 2024, I am reminded of a conversation I had with a Medium friend in early October … I had told her that I wasn’t feeling Derek coming and going the way I had in the earlier part of the year, but I wasn’t not feeling him … what was going on? She sat with my words for a moment I literally watched her lips curl as she smiled and she said; you don’t feel that because he doesn’t leave … and so it is.
I have long abandoned the New Year’s resolution, the big push for January 1st blank canvas and new me rhetoric is so dead to me!
2023 proved to be the year that I would solidify holding my Self in Sacred Ritual and flow with all the Cycles in my daily practices; the moon, the directions, the seasons, my ancestors; they all move within my soul – I don’t ignore them to hold status quo anymore – I am them, I honour them, live them and flow within them!
Yesterday I took part in Mapping Practice and Katona Yoga class with a wonderful teacher who I have leaned into … a lot … this passed year! You know when you can’t fully articulate the resonance, but you know it’s in your best interest to flow with it? This beautiful soul is that for me right now … and yesterday’s class was just what I needed to gently honour letting go of 2023 while striking the match to light up 2024!
We moved and breathed, read poetry and we took part in an exercise that delivered us to our ‘do’ word. That ‘Do’ word was to be your focus for the coming year … perhaps it was something you really needed to improve upon; or as in my case it could also be a gentle nudge that you are in alignment and should continue in that flow.
My ‘Do’ word (and of course for me it’s a phrase – jolotsawords!) was ‘Say Thank You’.
Say Thank You … It’s been 14 years since I began my daily Gratitude Practice and it has without a doubt been the most transformative practice I have ever adopted! It has changed everything; and if I am being totally honest it was the first thing I leaned into when I began my dance with grief 15 months ago!
Like a clumsy two step on repeat this passed year I have sought blame, felt rage and then found solace in gratitude.
Like most everything I have tackled in the past 15 years I went at grief hard … books and podcasts, diving deep into practices and healing rituals, poetry, mediums and oracle cards and of course befriending the crows in my yard – yup it got weird; and I got wiser!
Over and over, I kept hearing/reading how unnatural it was for a parent to have to bury a child, how it was the worst grief imaginable (as if there were some sliding scale of my son’s death trumps your aunt’s death) I think perhaps the most fitting quote I heard was on Anderson Cooper’s Podcast, his mom Gloria Vanderbuilt said ‘It doesn’t just change you – it demolishes you.’ Demolished is 100% how I felt last New Year’s Eve.
A year of holding Derek in my heart later I can’t really say that I don’t still feel demolished … if one was referring to who I was before his death; that person is still demolished for sure, with no apologies! The version of me sitting here preparing to welcome my second calendar year without Derek knows that grief has been a doorway to this new version of me; weirder and wiser for sure! Fully aware that the functionality with which I get through today may well disappear tomorrow and the day after that … without warning!
Stepping back into my business last June was a huge step in the rediscovery of myself, it too took on the clumsy two step and I had several moments along that way that truly sucked; but there were so many more, where showing up messy and honouring my humanness provided the exact container my clients were looking for!
I would be remiss if I didn’t ‘Say Thank You’ to all of the beautiful souls who joined the Herd and I this passed year … we definitely got as good as we gave and we look so forward to everything that 2024 has in store for our growing Kula!
A facebook memory sparked this writing today; a year ago I wrote …
Jo Ann Koniuch
December 31, 2022 ·
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No highlight reel of photos, or words of deep wisdom to close out 2022 … just be kind, to yourself as much as others
ummmm actually ….
2023 isn’t a blank canvas, a fresh start or any of the other romanticized ideals being tossed around this week; don’t buy into the bullshit of ‘good vibes only’.
… 2023 is going to be whatever you make it, days into weeks, into months, it will mean whatever you perceive it to mean, embrace flowing with the unknown, there will be good in the bad if you choose to seek it out and there will be bad in the good if you allow yourself to see the truth … YOU are 2023 … just show up…. be kind and if you only offer one prayer … let it be Thank You because there is always, always, always something to be grateful for! xoxo
So, I have come full circle … let it be; Thank You! I hope that somewhere in your day today … this 123123 day … you will take a moment, not so much to set goals and intentions for 2024 but to reflect on 2023, be amazed with how far you have come, celebrate your beautiful journey, make yourself the Sacred Ritual today!
I’m not sure that Joy will fill my heart, but I know that gratitude does … in a few hours the clock will strike midnight, the calendar will flip (except the one that will forever sit at September 23 on my altar) and 2024 will open it’s door … come as you are, be kind, just show up … weirder and wiser!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, 2023 … I have no complaints! Xo