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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey


Six Years Later

Apr 01, 2021 08:26AM ● By Nicole Zornitzer

This April 26 will mark six years since I came closer to death than I wish to recall. On that day in 2015, I was wheeled into the unknown by neurosurgeons as I locked eyes with my two children; not knowing if I would see them again.

Yet here I am. I am a survivor, always have been and will continue to be so for all who depend on me. Each day I continue to unravel my purpose here and each year I experience brand new challenges that were not predictable. What I have come to realize is maybe this is just it—this is my life, an ever-changing tapestry of experiences that are both good and bad. A healer once told me that my life will resemble a bell curve with many ups and many downs, and that it is my job to remain sane and strong during it all.

2021 marks the beginning of an adventure that will formally begin in 2025; my hike through the A.T.; otherwise known as the Appalachian Trail. This endeavor is one I have waited many years to come to fruition and it is one that I will not do alone. My son will be there with me; experiencing the wonders of nature and the challenges that will enter our paths. These challenges will be welcomed and test not only my physical ability, but more importantly my mental capacity and psychological stamina. 

My desire to hike 2184 miles through the Appalachian Mountains is one that I have difficulty rationalizing to those who ask. Maybe it is my desire to connect with the earth, to watch the rise of the sun or moon while I bathe in the arms of nature. Quite possibly it is my overwhelming need to feel a sense of utter exhaustion after fulfilling a life-long desire of mine. Maybe it is the excitement I see in my son’s eyes when we discuss our plan. Or maybe, this trip will bring me one step closer to…me.

My life may not be all that different from those reading this. Maybe we are all inquisitive as to the why, the how or the when. What I know is that to wait to accomplish our life’s desires is succumbing to fear. I will not be fearful any longer, and my hope is that nor will you. I hope that through this experience I will understand more about who I am, what I am capable of, what nature will provide for me and what I can truly dispose of literally and figuratively. I hope to connect with a soul that was born in 1972 and has lived more chapters than the author anticipated. I hope that this beautiful earth will provide me with all that I need. I hope to walk 2184 miles back to the most authentic version of me; bare bones and naked.

This life is one that needs to be appreciated, all of it. In summary, I suppose I am tired of wondering “why”; so instead of imagining all of the reasons; I’m going to live them. My wounds come from the same source as my power, and I will love them all equally.

Nicole Zornitzer, ERYT 1000, yoga therapist, founder of Niyama Yoga & Wellness Shala, located in Randolph, New Jersey, and Upper Lake Mohawk in Sparta, New Jersey.


Tick Talk

Spring officially sprung on March 21. We have turned our clocks ahead. We are looking forward to warm winds, sunny skies and the smell of fresh cut grass. The daffodils and tulips have recently bloomed and we are just starting with the yard work that comes with the warmer weather.  Sadly, another season has started ramping up.  Tick season.

•             The best form of protection is prevention. Educating oneself about tick activity and how our behaviors overlap with tick habitats is the first step.

•             According to the NJ DOH, in 2022 Hunterdon County led the state with a Lyme disease incidence rate of 426 cases per 100,000 people. The fact is ticks spend approximately 90% of their lives not on a host but aggressively searching for one, molting to their next stage or over-wintering. This is why a tick remediation program should be implemented on school grounds where NJ DOH deems high risk for tick exposure and subsequent attachment to human hosts.

•             Governor Murphy has signed a bill that mandates tick education in NJ public schools. See this for the details.  Tick education must now be incorporated into K-12 school curriculum. See link:

•             May is a great month to remind the public that tick activity is in full swing. In New Jersey, there are many tickborne diseases that affect residents, including Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Powassan, and Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiosis.

•             For years, the focus has mainly been about protecting ourselves from Lyme disease. But other tick-borne diseases are on the rise in Central Jersey. An increase of incidence of Babesia and Anaplasma are sidelining people too. These two pathogens are scary because they effect our blood cells. Babesia affects the red blood cells and Anaplasma effects the white blood cells.

•             Ticks can be infected with more than one pathogen. When you contract Lyme it is possible to contract more than just that one disease. This is called a co-infection. It is super important to pay attention to your symptoms. See link.

A good resource from the State:


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