“The real troubles in your life are apt to be things
That never crossed your worried mind
The kind that blindsides you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday”
Baz Luhrmann – The Sunscreen Song
I was blindsided at 11am on an ordinary Monday morning when a rather large farm security sliding gate came off its track and fell on me. 24 hours later an orthopaedic surgeon, standing next to my hospital bed with a bunch of X-Rays and scans in his hand, described the extent of the injuries to my right leg and knee, with the probability of 3 operations to repair bone fractures and extensive ligament damage. Several months of not being able to walk and definitely not drive. While I was expecting him to tell me to wear a knee brace for a couple of week, pop some anti-inflammatories and all would be well. Clearly that wasn’t happening.
Talk about blindsided. WTF? In that moment my “normal” life vanished. I was facing 7 weeks in a leg brace, all weight off the leg while the fractures healed. I had become Bionic Woman with pins and clamps, totally reliant on others to feed and wash me. Life was reduced to one section of our house as stairs were an impossibility. Bedroom, bathroom and lounge were my world for 2 months. Occasional excursions out were military operations with wheelchair, walker and cushions loaded and then carefully manoeuvring myself onto the back seat of the car and stretching out. I really hadn’t planned for any of this!
On the 31st Dec as I reflected on the coming year, I chose the word “Stillness” for 2017. I wanted to slow down, be less busy, observe more, write, reflect. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. On the 24th April I got my wish, as for most of the next 7 weeks I spent my time propped up on my bed looking out at the garden. Hopping anywhere was exhausting and my body, in its healing process, needed rest and sleep. I didn’t even have the energy to read much. Hubby and I tested the “in sickness and in health” vow to the max as overnight he had to take responsibility for cooking, shopping, feeding the animals and taking care of my Mum! For 7 weeks I was forced to opt out of life.
I should have been angry, raging, that the negligence and cost cutting by someone else had caused such chaos and disruption to my life. It would have been easy to sink into negativity, moaning and complaining.
But for the past 18 months I have been part of the Flow Experience This teaches you to go with what life brings you. To literally stop fighting and resisting what is. To surrender. I had to surrender. I had no choice there. Nothing I did or said was going to change the reality of what had happened to me.
What I did have however was a choice in how I dealt with this experience. I asked for Stillness, I got it. Now I could surrender all responsibility. I could only take each day as it came and that also meant facing whatever I was feeling. I had good days and not-so-good days. Days where I cried at the sheer frustration of it all. Days when I slept for hours (sleep is good for healing so I’ve learnt). Days when I just lay and looked out at the view. I let go. Whatever my hubby prepared, I ate. Low carb and no sugar eating routines went out the window. I allowed the flow of the days as they came. Sometimes I declined visitors. At the beginning, 7 weeks of a leg locked in a full brace was a daunting prospect and yet, although I was technically doing nothing, the days seem to fly past and before I knew it I was sitting in my Super Hero’s rooms (Also known as Dr Mncina, orthopaedic surgeon) and he was gently removing the brace while my tears flowed. It was an emotional moment as my damaged and bruised leg saw the light of day.
I’ve had the sweetest moments with Flow – I sang out loud as, for the first time in 2 weeks, I sat in the shower while hot water streamed over me, my leg and brace safely wrapped in a black garbage bag. The day when I could finally sit in the front seat of the car; when I graduated to crutches and could get down the stairs and finally, walk back up instead of going up on my rear. And then the joy of getting into the garden and across to the home office.
I have learnt to be mindful – of every step, every movement, to celebrate every incremental success. Being in Flow also reminded me to focus on the gratitudes of this experience, and there were many. I know because I sat one day and wrote them all down. Flow taught me to be patient. Not to rush anything. To listen to my body. To understand that a healing process cannot be forced and it isn’t linear. It doesn’t march to my drum, as much as I would like it to. I am really not sure how I would have coped with all of this upheaval if I didn’t have the Flow tools at hand. And that’s probably the biggest blessing of all.