Taking a Break to heal
It has been a week since my accident and you may have heard by now from me or through the grapevine... Unfortunately, I shattered my tibia and broke my fibula in two. This means that I have canceled the rest of my Europe teaching tour so that I can rest and in time, rehab. I will take the next while to heal myself and I trust I will be stronger and wiser for it. I am sorry to miss those of you who were looking forward to our time together.
Enjoy the good times, learn from the bad times.
Living a life of global adventure, it so happened that I have jumped off one too many rocks into the Mediterranean Sea. Last Sunday during my vacation on Mallorca I went solo on one of my favorite hikes from Soller to Deia where I sunbathed and enjoyed the blessings of island life. I woke up from my sun kissed nap and went to the very popular jumping rock. I made my way to the top, looked down below and as I have done a hundred times in the past 7 years, I jumped with joy and clearly a bit more enthusiasm than required. I overcommitted and crushed my foot onto the sea floor.
It felt as if I hit the floor before I even hit the water. It all happened so fast. I saw it all happen from outside my body. I knew from the very instant that my right ankle was compromised in a devastating way. When I came up for air I shouted, “AYUDAME!” To the guys who had just jumped in before me. For those who don't speak Spanish, that means "HELP ME!".
They swiftly came to my aid and as they swam me back to the shore I yelled to the entire beach, “CALL AN AMBULANCE!” I could see a man on the beach get up and rush to action. I just knew he was on it. Then I held my dangling foot in my hands to stabilize it and prevent any more damage. Luckily, I have thick skin so the wound was contained. Had there been blood or a bone sticking out I don’t think I would have been stable, might have even passed out.
I was pulled to shore while trying to keep my foot in hand. Eventually I landed on a rocky spot where I would wait for an hour before the ambulance arrived. It was an excruciating hour but I stayed present to all that was going on while keeping my ankle still. I cried, I cursed, a laughed, I yelled. Most immediately, I called Ryan.
Finally, the paramedics came with morphine and put my shocked and traumatized bodymind on a stretcher and loaded me into the ambulance. The kind people who were the first to my aid in the moment of emergency stayed by my side, held my hand, collected my things, gave me shade, kept me sane, said goodbye as the doors closed and watched as I drove away.
It was a windy bumpy road through the Tramuntana mountains, Soller, the tunnel and 50 minutes later to Palmasplanas Hospital, the best private hospital in Spain. Ryan was there to meet me upon arrival and slept in my room each night and held my hand each day.
It’s hard to remember what happened next. I was heavily sedated. But when I came to consciousness Ryan was there bedside and I had a temporary cast holding my foot in place. I wouldn’t move again for a couple days. That night was agonizing and the drugs didn’t ease my pain, at least not enough. That was a hard night but with the help of the nurses, morphine and my dear friend who held my hand, laid his head on my heart and talked me off the edge I made it through to the morning.
The next day I woke up in utter shock. I was in a haze of disbelief and pain killers. I kept thinking that I might wake up from this very bad dream. “Why, how, why…I am so sorry” seemed to be the only words that made sense at the time. How could this have happened? What just happened?! FUCK! I am so sorry…It was an accident!
Around noon I was taken into the operating room for surgery. About three and a half hours later I had a new ankle. This ankle is now held together with 13 screws and a plate. Luckily no cast which means I will soon regain access to range of motion. Technology is amazing. I won’t be able to put any pressure on it for two months. in the interim between this critical phase and the rehab phase I will be able to work on slow ROM movements. That’s good news.
After four nights and five days in the hospital I was released. Within that time there were so many tears and little victories. The healing is in the pain. From laying in one position on the hospital bed, being washed with sponges and peeing in a bedpan to taking myself to the toilet, getting myself over to the chair for a new perspective and showering on my own as I sat on a stool with my leg wrapped with plastic and tape. Phew.
I will walk again. I will run, dance and explore. I trust my amazing surgeons, the miracle of modern medicine science and my bodymind’s innate ability to heal and regenerate. So now, now I rest. I take a break, a leave of absence. I stop teaching and take care of myself. Right now, my healing journey is of primary importance.
There are a few things that are getting me through this very challenging time.
One is my mindbody practice. I have been practicing mindfulness and body awareness for a long time. I am healthy in body, mind and heart. I have the tools to mentally, emotionally and physically navigate my current circumstance with my heart open and able to receive. My body is agile, healthy and already healing nicely. My mind is grounded, optimistic and able to channel beneficial mental states of perception to lead me toward my ultimate goal. I know how to cry, release and let go. I have skills to calm my restless mind and I enjoy my own company. I make myself laugh.
Another is mantra. Listening to mantra and chanting mantra has proven to be an invaluable tool. Sound and singing is healing my bones, calming my mind and connecting me to spirit. I can feel it working on a very deep level.
Another is relationship. Friends and family. I have been held and supported every step of the way by those closest to me as well as strangers. Not actual steps, because I can’t walk right now. So I mean phases, moments, transitions. It is the love and generosity of others that helps me find my footing on earth again. It’s the sacrifice others have made to help me that brings tears to my eyes. Tears of joy, gratitude and the ever potent reminder that love is what sustains us. Love is what keeps us together. Love is what heals us. I couldn’t do it without you. Thank you for reaching out and sending your sweet love notes. That you for your support, love and healing light!
Now here I am writing to you in Port de Soller, Mallorca, Spain in my hotel room with a view. I am waiting for my follow up appointment and my mom and a future which is unknown for us all. She arrives tomorrow to help care for me and help me travel to Holland. On Friday I get the staples taken out and more x-rays. In a few months time I will begin to walk with my organic material integrated with metal as I steadily build back my bones and learn to use my foot again. In a year I can get the metal removed. Its a journey and I know I will be stronger for it, wiser and more capable of guiding my students as they embark on their own healing path. We are in this together.
It’s all about the view. How we see the world, how we see ourselves and each other. Our perception changes our reality. Our only real choice is to live, love and serve.
Helen Keller once wrote, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”. I would have to agree.