“If I regarded my life from the point of view of the pessimist, I should be undone.”
~ Helen Keller
I’m laid up with a sprained foot. This is my world during confinement:
In front of me, a pile of pillows to rest my foot above my heart.
Beside me, my calendar and a pad for notes.
I twisted my foot in a spectacular loss of gravity, leaving me airborne in a parking lot under a sprinkling rain for seconds that felt like minutes. My arms flung wide, one hand holding an umbrella like a clown on a wire. No slippery slide. Simply aloft, landing with wild momentous wobbles back on two feet. No thud of a fall, just clear, awful pain in my foot.
Honestly, I thought I was over this sort of thing. My history holds two broken bones, four other sprains, and four surgeries, including a joint replacement in my big toe. Every trauma to my limbs, primarily my feet. Each leaving me disabled for a time. Every thought focused on how I’ll move through the world – sit, bathe, dress, eat, go to the bathroom, step over a threshold, set myself up for productivity with purpose. And in no small measure, planning how I’ll get past it.
I once willed myself to push through, thought myself the exception to doctors’ wisdom. With my husband away, working in other cities most of the time, I also dealt with recovery on my own. No voice of reason reining me in. Some could say being on my own was exactly why I pushed through: I had to. But the truth is I didn’t respect my body. I fed it unprocessed organic food, boosted it with supplements, exercised it, but I did not acknowledge dignity in my injury and trauma. Did not give my body patience or allow it to equilibrate so it could heal. I bullied my body forward, not recognizing I bullied myself in the process. I did not accept my injured self with the same empathy and respect I gave others who are differently abled.
I could spend a lot of time on my journey to understanding I can indeed facilitate that quicker healing if I allow my body to find its breath inside the injury, after the initial shock. What happened is my consciousness changed, including asking for help. Not my regiment of treatment. The last time I broke a bone, as the doctor cleared me for shoes three weeks early, he exclaimed I healed like a child, not as a mature woman. I admit I’m surprised, though, that I’m up on two feet three days after this sprain. Slowly, briefly, carefully, listening to my body for guidance. Taking it as a gift, a hard reminder to slow down, pay attention to the important stuff. Because I’d been pushing myself, again. Not tending to the pains of misalignment. Sometimes you just gotta say Thank You.
Another journey in mindfulness. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
A secret: human figures are recurrent images when I paint
A favorite: sleeping by myself
PS This was my last visit to the bay