The School of the Injured Wrist
On the heels of Summer solstice here in California, after a lovely evening walk where I was privileged to see a resident horned owl as well as a king snake meandering through Eucalyptus bark, I write to you, my spirit family. Some of you have asked me about the lessons learned from this current journey with a broken wrist. So I thought to write, record and share some of my reflections and possible learnings.
So first, I’ll cast the scene in which I’m writing. It’s almost dark now at just about 9 PM the day after summer solstice, and I’m sitting outside with my feet in a bath of Epsom salts. A woodpecker called just minutes ago and hummingbirds dashed by as the pink sky of the west descends into gray duskiness. I appreciate my home more and more these days, here in the beauty of the Ojai Valley. If there is a good place to experience a broken bone, Ojai is it! I feel blessed to be able to sit here and welcome the gathering darkness with such gratitude in my heart for the blessings as well as the challenges of these last weeks.
When my sons were teenagers, 3 1/2 years apart, they were circumcised. Though they may not love that I would write this, I have always considered that to be a rite of passage in their lifetime. Similarly, I knew early on after this happened, exactly one month ago yesterday, that I could recognize this as some kind of initiatory experience. Though I’m certain that more is to be revealed, there have been such moments already of revelation. Though there were already pathways that I was following, this “break” has made changes and transmutations more urgent and present-centered. I feel my heart has been opened in so many ways that nearly daily my eyes well up with tears in gratitude and emotion.
Not all has been easy. Fear has grabbed me in so many ways. Though I might know and trust the perfection of all on some deep level, on the human level I still felt myself spiral down with doubt and fear. The gift? Acceptance of my humanness, my acknowledgement of living on many levels of reality. Fear seeps in unwelcome and unbidden yet tended by the mind, my mind. Fear about the unknown, about the repercussions, about the physical results. Yet at the deepest level I could say that there were angels affirming and encouraging me to trust and surrender, giving me messages quickly, affirming and reminding me of the ability of my body to heal itself. I walked to the doctor three days after being in the emergency room. On my way home I stopped by what’s left of a vernal pond and cried tears of weariness, pain and fear. In that moment an elder of the community came and gave guidance and affirmation. She was a 91-year-old angel, chiropractor all her life, who looked at me and said with confidence “the body heals itself. Surgery is good when it’s necessary but your body will heal. It will take longer but it will heal.” And then as I walked further on my way home another angel stopped me, blessed my wrist, and said this will heal without surgery. This was after every doctor thus far had said you need surgery.
In addition, so many more angels in Ojai came to my aid. Whether it was making bone broth, or picking me up at the emergency room, or taking me shopping, or driving me places, so many friends and community members offered their help. How does this feel? It still is overwhelming and brings tears to my eyes. I’ve had friends stay with me at the subsequent doctors’ visits that helped me through some very difficult and stressful times. This was after thinking I would take a bus to the orthopedist and just be there on my own. What was I thinking!
I’ve been told by many, including at the doctors office, that there were so many breaks and fractures that week. I’ve heard some explain this as a transformation of our physical bodies. Of course I would love to feel that my injury is part of some shift on a global scale, some transmutation leading to greater alignment in an evolutionary process, at the risk of sounding grandiose! Again, my experience is on the human level as well as cosmic level!
More gifts? SLOW DOWN! Although I already had felt like I had made great strides in this realm, I am now forced to be home, to find steadiness and rhythm in a more contained environment. Fortunately, I’m able to do my work as program director for the Ojai Foundation from home for the most part. I can walk to one of the best organic food places ever within 10 minutes. I can walk to the nature preserve where snakes, swallows, owls, hawks, bees and so many living relatives greet me, including close by friends who also walk and enjoy the preserve!
I’ve been asked “what do I need a break from?” One answer that has revealed itself is living with such intensity. I find that I can have health and wholeness in my body without intensely exercising or doing so much, that I can work from a steadier and more flowing place where I mix up what I’m doing and flow from one thing to another in a much more natural pace.
I had already been working with the idea of detaching from any identity, including musician, drummer, swimmer, biker, program director, percussionist. One of the lessons that I’ve always felt from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s life Is that he put down his vina at some point and acknowledged that he himself was the instrument of the divine, that he didn’t need any external instrument. I’m realizing more deeply that my womanhood and my expression as a musician is not dependent on these external instruments. So I continue to work with these perceptions, and wonder how the repercussions will shake out. I don’t know why I needed a physical break in order for this to happen, but this is what has happened. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m giving up playing an instruments!
I know many of you have probably asked what Louise Hay would say about a broken wrist or wrist pain. I really didn’t look it up right away because I think some of that work is not so valuable. I have always felt that there are many levels of reality with any situation that we might find ourselves challenged by. The opportunities and lessons can be for many, not for one. The situations are much more complex than a simple meaning. However, eventually I did look it up and saw that flow and movement was connected to wrist injuries. This is a surprise as I’ve been working with the medicine of Saraswati, she who flows, for months, years, lifetimes possibly. So I really can’t tell you whether this is true or not for me right now. I continue to invite and embrace flow, ease, grace in my life, in every aspect. I know that my love and welcoming of the medicine of Saraswati has influenced me deeply, and is why I can feel the grace of this challenge along with its difficulties.
Some other gifts … Finding out about automatic dictation on my phone and on my computer … Being free of playing an instrument while singing in an ecstatic kirtan solstice eve and feeling the freedom and aliveness of that! … Playing didjeridu more and singing harmonics on my cast for a vibratory healing experience! … Feeling the flow of social time and inner quiet time, appreciating both, as friends come and go from my home … Having a direct experience with the medical field, which has directly resulted in looking at fear, and breeding more compassion for those who are in chronic pain … Surrendering to the world of insurance and doctors, which led me to the doctor that I feel was best suited for me … taking pleasure in small crazy ways, such as the hilarity of some of the typos in automatic dictation! … Strengthening my left hand and subsequently right side of the brain, the nonlinear intuitive functions … saving water and still staying clean!
It’s so dark now, as the moon along with Venus and Jupiter will rise a little later this night. So grateful for this time to write and reflect, serenaded by chirping grasshoppers and running water, cool night air and comfort in the darkness. The gifts as well as the challenges will continue I’m sure. I hope my writing might serve in some way. Thank you for reading.
Some recent auto dictation bloopers …
Tripping grasshoppers rather than chirping grasshoppers
In my castle rather than in my cast
Cure time rather than kirtan
Screw this pathway rather than through this pathway … both are true!