Today is an unusual anniversary for me. A year ago today, I fractured both ankles. For six weeks following, both my legs were in casts. I was first bound to my bed and then to a wheelchair until I learned to walk again. It was one of those experiences that give you a completely different perspective on life, on yourself and others.
A year later, I hope I have discovered all the messages this incident had for me. I have written and shared many of the insights. There were lessons around being caught in love and caring when we fall, living in the now, vulnerability versus autonomy, gratitude and heart coherence, empowerment, and taking care of one’s needs. So-called accidents are not coincidences. Their timing and exact details happen for a reason. So we have to ask, what does the injury or illness prevent us from doing; what does it allow us to do? In what way is our body speaking our mind? Which of our needs have we not been taking care of?
The end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 was a time of many changes for me. My oldest daughter was moving out, which shifted the family dynamics. There was also a lot of disruption and emotional upheaval stirred up in our core family through our extended family. On top of that, some professional changes were unfolding. I had moments of confusion about where I was going and how to meet everybody’s needs. “What ifs…” came up, and the question of “Who am I in the different roles that I am playing?”
The accident happened just a few weeks after I taught the Shadow Energetics workshop, created by my friend Darryl, for the first time on my own. I initially felt I had to fill big shoes, as Darryl is a powerful teacher with a catching laugh and a fabulous sense of humour. I have meanwhile taught the four-day workshop—or part of it—several times and have learned not to fill his shoes but my own. So as much as the processes I am teaching have remained the same, the class is filled with my stories, my sense of humour, and completely new media to present everything differently.
With some of the other lessons, I took my sweet time to learn them entirely, for example, the lesson of noticing when we over-function for others and thus end up feeling unappreciated. A clear reminder of that came up for me around Christmas. We can’t please everybody. All we can do is our best and allow others to be responsible for their emotions.
Other lessons—like fully living in the present and enjoying each moment—I am certain will come back time and again. Life is this wonderful balance of looking ahead to the future and co-creating our tomorrow but living right now and enjoying each moment.
When I encounter somebody in a wheelchair or a walker, I make an extra effort to connect. Being physically disabled can be a life of looking in from the fringe and can feel quite lonely. Even with a temporary disability, I was treated differently; people avoided looking at me and even spoke to the person pushing the wheelchair rather than me. I can only imagine how challenging this must be for others in a more extended situation than mine. Every person who smiled at me or talked to me while I was out and about in the wheelchair made my day.
What remains for me a year later is a deep sense of gratitude for my amazing family, for my body which carries me so well through life and a huge joy at being able to enjoy this springtime outside. I watch each flower blooming, each bud sprouting on the trees with true delight. Here is another spring, another round to learn, grow, and be present with each glorious moment unfolding.
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Angelika, 905-286-9466, firstname.lastname@example.org