Hope is in the moment; week 3 broken leg
Week number three with straight splint/broken knee as a mother, yoga instructor, wife, new owner of business, and avid exerciser in order to get those endorphins! Today – yes – SUNSHINE – walked and walked (as advised). 8 miles passed and I felt, “my goodness I’m stronger.” I did my leg exercises and felt the burn, the soreness on both sides of my body, but especially the side that is not injured and compensating. Soreness that I know will help me and make me heal. Walking 2.5 hours this morning mostly through nature trails, listening to music and through the music listening to the early sounds of the birds, the woodpecker, watching dogs out on their early morning walk, noticing colors (of leaves, houses, trees). As I walked I could feel the different textures of the landscape on my feet – soft mud, water puddles (good thing for waterproof shoes!), pavement, dirt road, woody with branches, firm dirt, dried dirt, and finally back to the hardwood floor of my house. I could smell the dampness of the light rain in the beginning of my walk, the smell of wet mud, cow poop behing the Clark, horse manure, and fresh flowers peaking out. My walk was one of peace and mindfulness.
I saw the usual runners; sure there was my usual initial envy (that horrible emotion that cannot be repressed). I realized that instead of ignoring my envy, I let it into my mindfulness walk; the peaceful stride of the runners and the vision that in a couple of weeks I will be nearly healed, but would embrace the recovery process working as hard as allowed. The realization and acceptance and pride in my ability to walk with my one leg up hills, through dirt, through mud, and keep my spirits high and my focus on my senses (and yes some great 80s pop music!) I came home and rather than dwell on the fact that I would have to ice my broken knee for a while and take a skimpy shower without the brace and then lay in bed to do emails and work, I again mindfully took a shower. I’m in love with lavendar and all of my shower products have lavendar. I smelled the steam of the hot shower and the lavendar floating through the air as I washed my body and my hair. I felt my broken knee, without a brace, proud of it; the swelling has nearly disappeared. Massaging my poor calf muscles and hamstring muscles that are locked by the brace, I felt their tension, their soreness, and embraced it. After the shower, the brace had to go back on.
I listened to music and thought of all of the fun things that I could teach in yoga. I got excited and made playlist after playlist. I then read through some new meditation books and really felt at ease as I lay icing my leg in bed. I did not tell myself “how awful this is or how can you be in bed in the middle of the day, you’re so lazy, beds are for sleeping.” Never having been able to veg or nap (except when I was on my months of bedrest during pregnancies), I was able to not loathe my place on the bed, writing away, listening to music, and reading mindfulness and yoga books. I was actually able to create a haven, which I talk about in my yoga classes all of the time (the iced coffee next to me did help!)
My point with this entire run-on of my mindful walk, shower, and making a haven is that humans are adabptable. It really is crazy! When all things seem to be going against you, you fight back, your mind can conquer those negative thoughts and establish a new peace and norm. Let your mind fight those challenges, embrace them, adapt to them, and not just “get through them,” but learn from them. I have never been so in tune with my senses as I take these long walks or so in tune with mindfulness practices and the importance of meditation and mantras. The key is to not just settle for any mantra that is in a book or said in a yoga or mindfulness class, but a mantra that when you repeat it enough times out loud or in your head, over and over, you actually believe.
Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments where my mind gets the better of me. The negative thoughts take over, the envy of the runners and bikers takes over, the frustration of walking up and down the stairs takes over, and not being able to chase around twin girls as they play keep the ball away from me in class; how much I love playing with kids! We are not perfect. Those thoughts come in and they spiral, a long spiral staircase into the abyss of darkness, cynicism, and depression. Those thoughts catastrophize the reality at hand and the mind lunges into fight or flight mode. Our mind is not meant to fight the fierce catastrophization that we can spiral into. We either flee from the problem (many take to their bed and sleep) or others throw adult temper tantrums (no judgment, I do sometimes). The key is to catch yourself before you’re far down the spiral. Have a bag of tricks. A mindful shower, a mindful walk, and mindful snuggle with your family or pet. Let your mind just fight the real challenge; the challenge of the reality and of the moment. You will be surprised how strong and resilient you really can be.
This morning, the sun was shining again. I arrived to my studio to teach the 7-815 class excited that my new clothing was in place and just loving the early morning (I’m not nearly as perky after 7pm!) At 7:15, at last, I realized that perhaps this morning was just too nice and people took to hiking outside or going for a run. No yogi came. I dwelled and judged myself as being a failure in my new business for some minutes, before I laid down my yoga mat and did some brief morning yoga (that I can do with my one leg). I locked up the studio, and started on a walk. I walked around the Clark, listening to my Wednesday morning playlist meant for the yoga class (I love that playlist!) I realized how quickly I was walking, how I must be frustrated and more upset than I was letting myself feel. My body noticed it first as I hoofed it up the hill, left leg straight and relying on my right leg to do most of the work. I got to the meadow part of the Clark and stepped in muddy water (obstacles are hard to avoid with one leg). Today, unlike yesterday, I had not come prepared to walk with my waterproof shoes. I now walked in my once pink asics sneakers with socks wet and almost feeling the sloshing of water with each step. But as you can see from the picture, the view was 200 percent worth it!
Okay, so no one came to class, my feet are soaked…but yet it’s still beautiful and sunny and luckily it’s warm so I need not think about wet feet. I walked to the coffee shop and had a lovely morning with a friend and running into other friends. The heat was starting to get to my leg. My leg was starting to ache. I remembered – ah, I had something nice for myself. I showered (freedom for a moment from the brace) but as I got undressed, the good luck or the evil eye that is superstitiously supposed to ward off evil and be protective; that bracelet broke. It had before. I felt actually lucky that I hadn’t lost it somewhere and I could get it fixed. I drove to town to get my nails done. I told my husband yesterday that the car felt weird and that the tire pressure light had gone on saying low. He had promised to take a look at it and felt that it was very likely the sudden change in weather (after all it was 40 degrees on Monday and 70 on Tuesday!) The car felt funny driving to town, scared me. I parked in town and realized that I had a completely flat tire and that my husband had not looked at my car. 85 degrees out, broken leg, loss of evil eye bracelet, and now a flat tire. Really?
I was talking to a friend today and she expressed that she was quite hopeless and depressed and asked how I’ve been through so many horrendous things and still keep going. How do I have hope? I simply responded because I have to live through the moment. I don’t think about having hope, that would be thinking into the future and I can’t control that (I’ve learned that many times and neither can wearing bracelets with an evil eye control the future!) It’s not that I’m hopeless, it’s just that I can’t keep thinking and directing my attention to what will happen (given my history that would lead me down a spiral staircase into the great abyss). It’s like I tell students in my yoga class and I strongly believe; you live for the moment, which we cannot always control. In a book I’m reading now there’s this great quote:
“Freedom comes through understanding the effects of the conditions we encounter, not through needing them to be different.”
The flat tire on this hot day did throw me into a tizzy where I vented and yelled at my husband (I am a human being after all!) I then walked to the green river – with no towel and no bathing suit and with my knee brace – I went in. Refreshing. The cool water felt so good. Yes, the moment was good. Returning home, my leg was very achy. I needed ice. I needed to lie down and just write my day out on my bed. What a difference today was from yesterday; disappointments, challenges, and more obstacles compared to yesterday. Even my knee protested with achiness and the heat today whereas yesterday it had been feeling somewhat better. Then I sat down here and started reading my book and came across the perfect line to sum up my day or anyone’s crappy day:
“What may look like garbage is actually compost necessary for growth.”