“It Isn’t the Mountains Ahead that Wear You Out…”

“…but the grain of sand in your shoe.”  As far as I know it is my Mother who wrote these lines in my scribbler when I was a child but I don’t know the author.

A Story:

This is a quick summary of what has been happening. I joined the Seniors Ravens Membership, at Carleton University,  along with my friend, at the beginning of the year.  I love my program and the benefits from my strength training and Tai Chi are already noticeable.  I get to go three mornings a week, and because I have a buddy, I don’t skip out. I’ve been feeling pretty darn good about the whole thing.

And then:

Monday night after a wonderful weekend I was walking home under a starry sky. In one split second I was on the ground, four houses from home. Just like that. I was well equipped for icy conditions and treading carefully but even with the best of attention, that black ice snuck up on me. I didn’t see it and with no warning I crashed hard on the pavement.

Immediately I realized my good luck because I didn’t hit my head although I was mostly on my back. In a minute or so, a young man came to my rescue. I carefully wiggled my left leg off of my right, and I could see that there was nothing broken. He pulled me off the black ice to dry pavement and helped me to stand. I got my bearings, he escorted me home, and I did the ICE (ice, compress, elevate) and hoped for the best.

Distress

Distress set in after a sleepless night and an unstable left knee. As morning broke I played out the scenarios of not being able to go to my strength training classes for months; not being able to help my friend; not being able to get to the Dr. or take Rowan to his math class that day and on and on. Even though I was so careful walking and wore excellent space age ice trackers on my boots, and heck, the unfairness of it all. I rely (like all of us) on my body’s ability to move me around. You get the picture of the state of my mind. I was in the pits.

I am telling you this so that we are reminded, as humans, when the unexpected happens we initially and naturally become distressed. No matter how well we are prepared, or how much we meditate, or how together we are, we can all feel lousy when something happens that we don’t like or impacts our lifestyle.

It’s what happens next that can make the difference.

My daughter took the day off work and helped me out and son-in-law, Graeme,  took Rowan to math. Granddaughter Sophie wrote encouraging texts and my friend John loaned me a cane. A friend  made me laugh when he offered to design a new course for me called “Living Crappy with Illness, and the first principle is to take responsibility for moaning loud and often.”

I immediately signed up and cheered up.

I did see the Dr and I do have soft tissue damage that will take a few weeks to heal but guess what?? I can return to my workouts next week but no squats or knee bending. Upper body training that I need most is a go and so is Tai Chi.  Pain provides important information. (I have little pain and advil takes care of it) So I am cautiously optimistic that I will adapt to these changing circumstances, like all of us are called to do, many times in our lives.

Don’t Compare Suffering

Taking a fall and having soft tissue damage is not to be compared to serious illness and accidents that many of us go through. Rather I see my fall as typical of the daily ups and downs of life that everyone experiences. It is normal, don’t you think. We can take nothing for granted. Yet, with a slight shift in perceptive we will soon acknowledge what could have happened and didn’t happen in those circumstances. Along with the wonder of our world and appreciation for our fellow humans as we make our way along, professional and otherwise. It becomes obvious.

A word of advice

Last night my son called and advised that I take it easy for a day or two. “Give yourself a chance to rest, read, put your feet up. A fall shakes us up and we need a little recovery time.” So I did just that today and this is what happened: I sat down in the reading chair, by the window,  this morning but soon dozed off.  Sun was streaming in and it felt just like sunbathing in the middle of winter. Almost like  Hawaii. On the other hand, I don’t ever sunbathe, but this particular morning  blossomed into a spontaneous sense of pure joy in the unexpected luxury of doing absolutely nothing. Just being breathed under the warmth of the sun.

A word of caution

I have written before about the slippery slope of feeling better. You know, we then throw caution to the wind and jump back into our normal routine as though nothing happened at all. I felt so much better this afternoon that I did just that. No harm done but the pain was a reminder that I need to be patient. Take it easy. No bounding around. Small steps. Adjust expectations.

I Get To

For long-time readers of this blog you know I like the difference between “I have to” do something and “I get to do” something. Today I received a slightly different take on this difference and I will adopt it into my own life. The people at Gratefulness.org suggest that when we say something like, “I get to” that we end with “when so many people cannot.”

I will remember this as “I get to” adapt my exercise to my new normal, remembering all the people who cannot do anything because of the severity of their falls, accidents or illnesses.

Last week’s quote is still relevant here:

Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living –  heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful. 
L.R. Knost

Notes

Thank you one and all for doing me the honour of reading this weekly blog. I appreciate it more than you will ever know and I am grateful when I hear that sometimes my borrowed words are helpful and encouraging. Heartfelt thanks. Warmly, Trudy

 

Life is Amazing

Life is amazing:

Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living –  heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful. 
L.R. Knost

I have no idea who L.R. Knost is but someone sent me this quote awhile back and I like it alot.

Notes:

Note 1:) For those of you who have an artistic bent and for those of you who might like to cultivate the same I  suggest an excellent blog to follow. It is called Painters Keys and has been around since 1998.  Well known landscape artist Robert Genn started these “letters,” and when he died his daughter Sara, also an artist and musician continued his work. It is about the creative life and if you are an artist you will find a wealth of information.

However, I am not an artist, and I read this blog regularly and am often inspired and moved by the commentaries on life and the three or so quotes at the end of each posting. I planned to give you the link before now, and this recent post prompted me to do so as I know there are some artists who read my blog.  I suggest you read the “About” page on the website should you take a peak, as Painters Keys has an interesting history. It is also a free site.

Here is the link to the post I recently enjoyed. It is called M.E.L.T.

Note 2:) Are you getting outdoors? I had a beautiful walk with a friend, today, on the Rideau Canal 7.8 KM Skateway. We walked carefully along the side of the skateway and basked in the blue sky, sunshine, and the many skaters enjoying this beautiful and well maintained UNESCO World Heritage Site. And right in our backyard. Once again, being outdoors, when possible, cannot be matched for its common side effects of hope, joy, clarity and goodwill. I hope you get to experience many days of sunshine in the great outdoors.

Note 3:) I so appreciate and enjoy your company and good wishes. Thank you! Thank you! See you next week. Warmly, Trudy

Tulips Today

It seems to me that we can use some tulips this week to remind us that spring will come and hope prevails. There is no rush and no cure for love and loss. Grief takes its own time. Trust it. For now, live into your sorrow.

You will know when its time to throw up the sash and open the windows to the world. There will be lots to do then, to help you on your way.

For now, allow yourself to love and be loved by those who are there. It’s ok to ask a friend to stay with you for a time. This is what we are made for – to care for each other.

Life is too hard to go it alone. Please ask for what you need. We don’t need to put on a brave face. No explanations required. And in the meantime, here is a tiny poem from Rumi, which brings solace to my heart. A different kind of window.

 

The Window by Rumi

Your body is away from me
but there is a window open
from my heart to yours.

From this window, like the moon
I keep sending news secretly.

 

 

Sending love and strength to you all.

Trudy

With so many thanks, for all of your emails and comments this past week. It is an honour for me to be here with you.

A twist of fate, especially for those who love Rumi. CBC has reposted their 2007 recording created for the 800th birthday special celebrating Rumi with Coleman Barks. My son, just sent me the link moments ago so I get to share it with you dear readers. It is 55 minutes so draw up a chair in front of the fire with a glass of wine and enjoy. Click here.   The podcast is directly beneath the Rumi quote.