The beauty of Autumn… cool crisp air, woodstoves, the crunching of leaves as I walk, and the vibrant colours. It always symbolizes a new year for me, a time to plant new seeds and to harvest seeds planted earlier in the year, a time for new beginnings and new adventures. It is a time of transition as we balance the light and the dark. One of my favorite holidays falls in this season – Thanksgiving. A whole holiday devoted to gratitude and being grateful! What could be better?!
This year especially, I have so much to be grateful for. On a beautiful sunny day in May, I blocked a day off work for myself – to refill my cup & to catch up on patient research. I decided to go to a yoga class, and on my way home, a driver did not stop at a stop sign… hitting the front end of my car, and taking me on a journey I will never forget. My 14 year old car was totalled… I walked out of my crumpled car with a scrape on my knee and pretty bad whiplash.
I was now a patient, and entered into a world of insurance companies. They put me in a box where I am a ‘claim number,’ and gave me a diagnosis and timeline of when I should be back to normal. It is so easy to get enveloped in fear in this process. For someone who has lived her whole life “outside the box,” this did not feel true to me. There is power in the dark and light moments of our life. The accident created space for me to slow down and take the time I need to heal. I surrendered to my vulnerability and in that surrender found a deeper strength. With courage, I listened to my body and what it needed, and put myself first.
Healing is an individual and personal journey. It takes as long as it needs to take… there is no timeline. I have always had faith and trust in the body’s wisdom to heal itself when the healing process is supported and honoured. Healing can also be a solitary journey. I identify with others who have “invisible” concerns… I do not have a cast or crutches and on the surface, appear fine.
I started my healing journey by allowing myself to rest. I took two weeks off work immediately after the accident… and slowly am back to work part-time. I reconnected with myself on all levels… respecting that although I was given a diagnosis confined to one part of my physical body, the rest of my body, as well as my emotional and spiritual bodies, were also affected. I recognized that my own self-care came first. I’m not talking about self-care being eating healthy or exercising, but what my soul and heart need to be nurtured. It took a lot of courage to admit I cannot do this on my own. I learned to ask for and receive help from my community (which was – and continues to be – a huge lesson for me!). I am allowing myself to be loved and supported.
I am filled with so much appreciation and gratitude for the care and love I’ve received during this journey, and continue to receive. Acceptance and patience have always been my life lessons, and their presence is strong throughout this process. It was weeks before I could laugh without pain, months before I released tears about the accident, and I still have not been able to drive down the intersection of the accident… and that is ok. I may not be able to go back to the pottery wheel right now, and need to pace myself in yoga class… and that is ok. I’m spending my precious time with myself and with those who nurture my heart… I’m healing… I take time between treatments for my body to integrate the healing… I cocoon myself when I need to… I’m reading the books I’ve been meaning to… I’m colouring :)… I follow Mother Nature as a guide as I witness the transformation in each season… I rest with the questions that naturally arise after a life-changing event… I believe in my heart that “when you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in.”
In conversations with friends and patients since the accident, I realized that we have forgotten how to take time for ourselves, and listen to our bodies. We live in a society which values being busy and how much we can do. We’re encouraged to be strong and push through any event. Why are we so busy? How often do we only rest or take time for ourselves after an illness or injury forces us to? Why is resting only acceptable then?
I know this all sounds easy for me to say… I can only offer what felt true for me during this journey. This holiday, I invite you to ask yourself: Is your cup empty or full? How are you taking care of yourself? What can you add into your life to nourish yourself? Sit quietly and check in with yourself and what you need… the answers will come.
I wish you a beautiful and happy Thanksgiving weekend. Take a moment to be grateful for your many blessings… we have so much to be grateful for.♥