This morning I set about walking my small, backyard labyrinth for the first time since I fell 2 weeks ago and fractured a bone in my right foot.
The first week after the fall I was in a non-removable splint, on crutches with instructions not to put any weight on that foot. Thankfully, last week I was moved into a removable, walking cast/boot. What a difference that has made in my life!
Obviously, with my daily life and routine having been somewhat interrupted since the fall, I have had plenty of time on my hands………. time for frustration, time for self-pity, time for gratitude, time for meditation and self-healing, time to practice patience, time for creative thinking – finding new ways to carry out simple everyday tasks – and even some social time as friends have rallied to visit, take me out, assist with errands, etc.
So this morning, as I stood at the entrance to my labyrinth, the word “recovery” came to mind. I like to set an intention energetically before I walk in.
As I took my first few steps in – very carefully and mindfully as the path is narrow and uneven and my boot big, awkward and not altogether stable – I asked myself “what do I want to recover?”
Yes, the obvious answers came to mind: the ability to walk without pain, drive, be independent again, practice yoga, dance, jog, etc. But that didn’t seem to be the answer I was looking for – there was something more.
I completed my labyrinth walk and went about my day. Setting an intention doesn’t always produce immediate answers or results, Rather, I find it opens up the space for those answers to evolve and emerge over time. Not unlike “recovery” or healing, both of which involve a process. Recovery doesn’t usually happen instantly.
What began to evolve during the day was the awareness that recovery is not so much about returning to a previous state – that would actually require some ability to time-travel – but more about recognizing what you might be carrying that can be released, and what has been lost along the way that can be reclaimed.
I have been looking a lot at the aging process lately. I have watched my 3 children grow into adulthood, each evolving from a place of vulnerability and dependence into their strength, independence and apparent invincibility. At the same time, I have watched my heroic, previously invincible, incredibly strong, now 91 year-old mother transition into a space of vulnerabiity, frailty and increased dependence.
I thought about how many messages we receive along the way in regards to aging: what it means to be 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and on. And when we are expected to stop being those ages: grow up, act your age, you’re not a kid any more, that was OK when you were 20, but not when you’re 40, etc.
And, how those messages, pictures, concepts about aging can affect your enjoyment of life. Just because you are no longer 25, does that mean you have to forget, let go of and distance yourself from the great joys of that age. Being told that we need to move on, grow up and act our age can negatively impact our connection with ourselves, resulting in a disconnect and invalidation of that part of our life: “So glad I’m not a teenager any more – all that emotion, pain, turmoil, arrogance, naivety!”
Falling at this time in my life, as I approach my 60’s, has brought many of those aging pictures glaringly to the surface, and provided a golden opportunity for a little self-examination and introspection – another gift of the amount of unplanned time I have had on my hands.
So, by the evening I had received my answer about what I wanted to recover – JOY! The joy of being each and every age I have experienced and passed through, the joy of recognizing how rich my life is and has been and the ability to bring the JOY of all those former “ME’s” forward into the present moment, into this almost 60 year-old body of mine.
It was also clear to me what I wanted to let go of – the barrage of pictures about who I am, how I should be living, what I should be doing and where I should be that were disconnecting me from myself and my JOY!
What would you like to recover for yourself?