Hands up who’s ever been injured? I know I have, plenty. As I type this my ankle is raised to 45° with a bag of frozen veg on top. The nurse at the A&E said its a bad sprain. How did this happen?
Toward the end of my recent travels I began to look for jobs in anticipation of my return. As I was researching agencies and the jobs they have, I came across a martial arts/boxing coach job. Perfect! I excitedly filled out the application form and as soon as I got back paid the agency a visit. Bad news though, the job was gone.
Never mind, optimistic as ever, I knew the right thing would come my way eventually. And it did! I ended up at the very place where this role had been created! Excellent! I like to get involved, get stuck in and here I have been fortunate enough to be linked with the group who are doing these martial arts sessions.
First morning, warming up and we’re jogging around the room. We start doing flying knees, Thai style and, somehow, I come down sideways on my ankle. Full body weight pushing a joint in a direction its not supposed to go. Yeah. The pain was incredible, perhaps the worst I’ve ever felt. I nearly threw up and was immediately drenched in cold sweat. Horrible. Back at home now with my leg raised, I’m thinking I should use this time to write something. What to write about though?
We’ve all experienced illness and injury. We’ve all felt that frustration at being unexpectedly disabled, unable to do normal things. The feeling of weakness and vulnerability that comes from no longer being totally independent. There are valuable lessons to be learned from these trying experiences. Being laid up reminds us that we can’t ever be truly independent; we are a social species and need others to survive. Babies can quite literally die from lack of touch after birth (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/born-love/201003/touching-empathy). The people around us provide us with love, warmth and comfort. Friends tell us hard truths when we need to hear them.
The sense of shame that one can sometimes feel when being looked after is narcisistic at best. Manifesting gratitude instead is transformative, especially as such feelings like gratitude and love are often felt more keenly when you are not quite 100%. We all have memories of clutching onto our mums when we had a fever as kids, desperate for them to stay.
The other thing that we need to maintain during these periods is patience. It’s frustrating to sit still when you have a million things to do. But sit still you must, to heal properly you shall. Sometimes, when we are at the height of anxiety, the clouds suddenly part and the sunlight dazzles us. Have you ever felt that? It’s like a sudden release of pressure. You might find yourself chuckling at how daft you were being a moment before.
Pain puts everything into sharp perspective. Like when you first got a HDTV and marveled at how crisp the picture was. Whether it takes the form of a sprained ankle or flu, suffering strips us down and shows us the truth. This can become a platform for enlightenment, if you let it. Allowing the suffering to be, not fighting it or resenting it or cursing it. Just allowing the natural intelligence of the body to do it’s job and to accept the help of others with grace and gratitude. This can be a beautiful time where you learn to love listening to music again, or pick up that project that you’ve been meaning to finish. Taking the time to finish it with excellence. Taking the time to take your time.