Every now and then life presents me an opportunity to realize I’ve changed more than I thought. Two weeks ago I had one of those moments when I wandered into the garage carrying a big bag of books and failed to realize I’d reached the edge with a small drop onto the driveway. I planted my foot on the little ledge just the right way to cause my foot and ankle to twist so much it threw me down. Also close to the door frame, I banged my forehead on that and, with my hands occupied I couldn’t catch myself so my other knee smashed into the cement.
Having had a lot of falls in my life, I remember the aches and pains and recovery process well enough to have a pretty good sense of how bad a fall is. This time, though, while one part of my mind started estimating how catastrophic this had been, another part seemed to quietly decide that it would prefer a different way. Before getting up and moving on with my errand I did some Reiki on the twisted ankle. When I got home the ankle was swollen—though not as badly as I expected—and I had lumps above my nose and on my knee. Although I wanted to just lie around and whine and take Ibuprofen, I decided to see what my triggers of release work would do, so I performed a whole series, including the ankles (gingerly, with less motion than usual). I also set up an appointment for a Bodypatterning treatment the next afternoon.
The next day I awoke feeling amazed at how much less pain and bruising there was compared to other falls of equal magnitude. The bodypatterning helped even more. And I ran into a friend who recommended putting Vaseline around the lump on my face to avoid turning black and blue. Now I’m not going to tell you I had an instantaneous miraculous healing of all wounds. But I just wore an ace bandage for a few days and neither my ankle nor the area around the large lump on my face turned black and blue. All in all far less pain for far less time than any other such fall.
We’re told so many stories about how bad various kinds of accidents are and how badly hurt we are and how long it will take to heal that I think we start incorporating all that into our expectations. Since I seemed to be accident prone as a child I created my own story about it based on some combination of fulfilling the stories of others and my cumulative experience and then re-lived the story each time something happened—kind of an embodiment of Jon Kabat-Zinn‘s Full Catastrophe Living.
After all these years of practice and working to re-train my mind, this was the first time I managed to automatically step aside from an accident like this and choose not to have a catastrophe. In making a different choice and handling it a very different way, an accident that could have kept me laid up for several days was instead a minor ripple. Part of that was the actions I took and part of that had to do with the large part of my mind that held a space of calm and quiet instead of going into freak-out mode, anticipating all the worst case outcomes that could happen. What stories do you tell yourself about accidents or other things you have defined as bad? Does the sense of catastrophe overtake you? Can you make a different choice?
- The Full Catastrophe (timesunion.com)