Thinking we have life all stitched up, that we are heading in the right direction, becomes a salutary reminder, when life trips us up. To be honest, I know there are lessons in all life’s mishaps. However, it is way more helpful to practise acceptance than to fathom the karma!
My simple fall in March this year, followed by surgery with pins and plate to repair a heel fracture, extensive rest and non-weight bearing, and continued ‘painful’ rehab now to walk properly, has taught me a few things!
1. Don’t just get up again!
Of course, when I fell I wanted to get up. To keep going with my day, my commitments, my responsibilities. However, I physically could not, and little did I realise how important it became not to get up (literally!) Being totally limited in all activities of my daily life was particularly frustrating, especially as I am super independent! However, I kept learning again and again that despite our 24/7 message to keep going, I had to stop.
2. The man in the street
‘Walking’ down the street in a glamorous moon boot and on crutches, let alone on a scooter, is rather obvious! I could not move quickly, strangers were intrigued and wished to chat. People I would normally never stop and talk with told me fascinating stories or made me laugh. Strangers were spontaneously kind, thoughtful and helpful. I was continuously reminded how judgemental I can be of strangers and how important it is to drop this to stay connected.
3. Emotional rest – we need it and it’s hard to ask for it
So many aspects of my injury – the timing, the lengthy recovery period, the dependency, being so conspicuous – was exhausting for this introverted yogini! I required even more space and quiet, which was tricky to obtain or to ask for permission. In yoga, we talk about healing through all the intricate layers of our being, the koshas. Giving time and space for my deeper koshas has become an even more important practice for me now.
4. Sometimes pain is necessary
Only in my 20’s, the days of aerobics, did I think that physical pain was good! When I tried to walk again after 3 months in a boot, then I experienced my first true pain post-surgery. And daily, I literally must move through this pain, to regain my mobility. Even then, there are no guarantees. I teach ‘all pain, no gain’ – however, have learnt that sometimes pain is necessary, in all its forms!
5. Never, never, never give up on yourself!
So often students, friends commented on how well I was managing, that I was taking it in my stride – joke! Truly it was tough… There were days, and still now, when I simply dissolve in tears, frustration, unhelpful thinking, wishing to give up.
However, I know that no one can do it for me. I am gifted with many great yogic tools and have a deep inner ‘well’ to tap into the reserves. I also need to keep refilling this ‘well’. Absolutely I have not recovered alone. And if you are my husband, my Swami, my physio, the surgeon, or my close friends and family, a heartfelt thank you.