March 14, 2021: Falling Into A Life Lesson
Six weeks ago, I fell on the ice and fractured my sacrum. At first, an initial x-ray missed the injury, but, as the excruciating pain continued, a MRI led to confirmation of a broken lower back. Both medical advice and pain significantly limited any physical activity. The routine of donning a stiff back brace and being mindful of every movement forced a change, one that provided much time for reflection.
Usually I’m very active, my thoughts dashing ahead, giving the body barely time to catch up. I have the tendency of juggling a lot of proverbial plates in order to balance all the ideas and initiatives I want to accomplish. There have been rewards for this behavior personally and professionally, but this has also led to unfortunate mishaps and the labels of being “accident prone” or having an attention disorder. Whirling thoughts, while productive when brainstorming, also supported tendencies to needlessly worry. My creativity or intelligence was never in question, only my ability to focus and “sit still”.
To counteract these tendencies, I’ve read an array of articles and books from both behavioral experts and spiritual leaders on the power of “being present”. Inherent in this practice are the benefits of being fully aware in every moment. The focus on the present, supposedly guides the brain to stop being mired in either past regrets or stuck with anxious thoughts of the future. I’ve also developed a practice of daily meditation which has proven to be calming and helpful in focusing both intentions and thoughts. But to be truly honest, the practice truly came to fruition, when I was forced by the reality of my injury to slow down…..stop…..think….. and be mindful.
“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”― Eckhart Tolle
I had to strip back my movements to the bare minimum….and pay attention as I meandered slowly through each day. Not unlike how this past year of the pandemic has dramatically changed our lives, limiting our behaviors at all levels. We’ve had to make major decisions from how and where we work, how we spend our free time and who we see socially. Due to the injury, I had to drastically change how I planned my activities for each day. Even the simplest act of taking a bath required forethought.
The changes we’ve had to make, in many cases not by choice, are ones that directed the paths we currently are taking in our lives. During this time, we’ve learned valuable lessons on how we handle the adversity life inevitably throws at us. When we are thrown a “curve ball”, do we embrace the challenge and its unexpected results, or do we “hunker down”“ride out the storm” remaining unaware of the nuggets of inspiration or joy that might arise during times of challenge.
During these past six weeks of forced quietude, I’ve grown to appreciate even more, the simple gifts that weave through each day: the sight of a bluebird at the feeder outside my window, caring phone calls from friends, the warming taste of a homemade bowl of soup on a bitterly cold day, the teasing breeze of Spring on its way, and the giggles of a beloved grandchild during a FaceTime call. These are but a few of the moments that have illuminated each day. Having to be still, brought these gifts back into the forefront of my attention, reigniting a sense of gratitude.
While change can be unexpected and out of our control, it can yield unexpected benefits, gifts personal growth and transformation. What have you gained or learned during the challenges of this past year?
As always, thank you for taking the time to read our blog and welcome your thoughts or quotes that inspire you in the comments below. We invite you to share this with someone who might find it meaningful.
Here are a few quotes we found to be inspirational about change:
“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.”― Roy T. Bennett
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”― Lao Tzu
“It’s never too late to change your life for the better. You don’t have to take huge steps to change your life. Making even the smallest changes to your daily routine can make a big difference to your life.”― Roy T. Bennett
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”― Wayne W. Dyer
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”― Steve Maraboli
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”― Rumi
“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.”― Phillip Pullman
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”― Alan Wilson Watts