01/17/2014: FRIDAY PM: I get home from surgery and gingerly hop and shuffle to the back room to retrieve my old friends, the CRUTCHES! Fortunately, since I changed out the handles, I will not be reunited with the messy offspring of crutch dust. I had a strong suspicion that I would not be walking out of surgery and around the house like I normally do despite what my surgeon predicted. As soon as I came out of anesthesia, my foot hurt. I was visited by a few of the wicked electric jolts before sweet Glenda gave me the Fentanyl. Thank goodness for painkillers!
In general, I would say I have a pretty high pain threshold. I’ve been in pain everyday for the past 8 months, ranging, on a scale from 1-10, from a 2 to 13. Fortunately, it hasn’t been earth shattering, mind blowing, waves of horror most of the time. Whenever I can avoid that, I prefer to do so and take the necessary measures for avoidance—rest, elevation, ice and painkillers.
Like most of my life, if [my foot] screams out in pain, I smile and change the subject when in the company of others. My plan this weekend is to keep my foot elevated, take the pain meds for as long as I need and smile and change the subject if necessary. I crawled up the stairs with my crutches Friday night, propped my foot up in bed and settled in for the evening.
Saturday morning when I got out of bed, I tried putting weight on my right foot. It promptly told me that the crutches were going to be needed, probably Sunday as well. I expected this so there was no real adjustment period. Memories of how to get around on one leg started flooding back as soon as I crawled up the stairs on Friday. When I started crutching around yesterday morning, everything came back to me more easily than I thought. Just like riding a bike. Except not. At all. Bathing with one leg out of the tub is on the agenda for today. It’s like going back in a time machine.
There are many things that the crutches quickly reminded me of. Everything is s l o w e r. Spills happen. Carrying things becomes an exercise in dexterity and creativity. Throw rugs are not your friend and will easily take you out. Watch out where you prop up your crutches because someone else may trip over them. Oops, sorry ‘bout that. Relearning these lessons is only strengthening me. I’ve also been visited by the electric jolts more often than I’d like, my body tensing and seizing in pain without warning. Hopefully those guests will be departing soon. I am optimistic of the ultimate outcome.
This is just more of the process necessary for me to heal completely; to grow. I believe I will be even better than I was before the accident both physically and mentally. This experience has given me the opportunity to really delve deeply into places in myself I haven’t been in a while. Like I’ve said before, I view this all as a gift.
I’ve learned much in these last eight months. I owe that in no small part to the extraordinary people who have supported me in this time. They were (are) essential in helping me open up parts of myself that had been tightly closed for a long time. I have always made it a point to gain knowledge from all my experiences and I’d like to share a few things that I have gleaned from this accident.
This all began with a moment of inattention. So, first off—be present. Take in life: look people in the eye and really acknowledge them and your surroundings and notice the details. I practice slowing things down, breathing and noticing my body sensations, a color, a smell, something unusual in the usual. I play with this. When I returned from my New Zealand trip, where I was surrounded by infinite splendor, I challenged myself to find the beauty in every moment. I believe this to still be a worthy challenge.
Another big lesson that I’ve learned and am still practicing is detachment. It is attachment and desires—to outcomes and trying to control people and experiences—that brings us the most suffering. I have learned to let go of trying to control things. Come what may and let it wash over me like a wave. Someone told me once nothing is good or bad, only thinking makes it so. (I looked this up and apparently Shakespeare said this to me via Hamlet.) I do the best I can on any given day and am genuinely content with that. (And yes, I am only human so sometimes when the wave washes over me I feel like I’m drowning. I have found when I relax, I float to the top and am able to breathe again.)
I’ve never been one to enjoy being put in a box, a category, labeled or have people tell me they ‘know who I am’. I could never really explain to people that they don’t really know me because I am ever changing. I live up to my birth sign in that I will always be capricious. I’ve always thought of myself as a shape shifter of sorts and take pride in my ability to adapt to whatever life throws at me. I still believe this true as I wouldn’t be here today without my preternatural ability to adapt to a variety of situations. I recently read this article from The Blue Mountain Center of Meditation that explains this idea in an interesting way and would like to share it with you. (The entire article is worth the read as it also explains the virtues of detachment, so go ahead and click!) It says, in part:
“I once read a good aphorism from Buckminster Fuller. “We are not nouns,” he says pointedly; “we are verbs.” People who are content with rigid images of others are thinking of themselves and others as nouns, as things. Those who keep trying to get closer to others, to understand and appreciate them more all the time, are verbs: active, creative, dynamic, able to change themselves and to make changes in the world they live in.”
I am not a noun. I no longer feel the pressure to ‘be’ something or someone because I already AM. I’ve come to realize (again) that I am perfect just the way I am. As silly as it may sound, over these past several months, I have fallen in love with myself a little more each day by opening myself to the world. I have much more compassion for others and myself and continue to work on fostering that and many other qualities that are necessary to keep me open. Being open consistently is a challenge that I have been working on for years.
People will surprise you. If you let them. I sometimes get the impression that many think they know who I am and therefore what I will do before I am ever even presented with a situation. My secret is, I am always surprising myself—if I am open. When I am open to all possibilities I can see so much better what my options are and where the world wants to take me. It is the difference between living in a fog of ego and having my true self guide me with crystal clear skies. It is the difference between paddling furiously against the current and riding the waves. There is no anxiety, fear or uncertainty. Only perfect love and perfect trust.
I have not followed the conventional course. Indeed, I believe it impossible for me to do so. So I recreate myself each day and follow my heart’s desire. To do anything else would be disaster for me. I have tried and have only ended up in misery and suffering. It took me many years to understand there is no value in comparing myself to others. I have my own path to walk and it is unique. Instead of railing against this and thinking it unfair, difficult and punishing, I have learned to see the beauty in learning how to navigate these waters. There is never a dull day and I am constantly learning about others and myself. When the day comes where I cease to learn and have fun, I believe that will be the day I leave.
Since it is the New Year, I sat down and made a list of qualities I would like to foster in my life this year. I suppose they could be called resolutions as I resolve to work on keeping myself open and these are the tools I will use to do so.
In synchronicity with my motto: Some is Good; More is Better:
I will work on more (giving and receiving) of all these things.
Some ADVENTURE is good; more is better.
Some PASSION is good; more is better.
Some TRAVEL is good; more is better.
Some VULNERABILITY is good; more is better.
Some TIME IN NATURE is good; more is better.
Some INTIMACY is good; more is better.
Some OPTIMAL HEALTH AND MOBILITY is good; more is better.
Some TIME WITH GOOD FRIENDS is good; more is better.
Some GENEROSITY is good; more is better.
Some CREATIVE WORK is good; more is better.
Some COMPASSION is good; more is better.
Some TRYING NEW THINGS is good; more is better.
Some SPONTANEITY is good; more is better.
Some SAYING YES is good; more is better.
Some CULTURE is good; more is better.
Some FREEDOM is good; more is better.
Some DISCIPLINE is good; more is better.
Also included is, of course, doing what I fear the most as well as trusting and going with my gut…which is really just a way of manifesting all the above qualities.
I have many plans in the infancy of their creation that I am excited to bring about in the following months. I am looking forward to collaborating with others and manifesting new experiences. One of my goals is to keep this blog going in whatever direction it may take. Until next time, my friends, keep open and ride the endless waves of possibility!