Someone might have looked at the fact that I broke my toe (details to follow) three days after Joe presented me with my 40th birthday gift of a three-day retreat to a destination spa where we’d have unlimited fitness and yoga and meditation opportunities as an--oh I don’t know--unconscious effort to sabotage our first ever weekend away from our kids.
That same person might also think that the timing of this particular first broken bone EVER in my life, occurring as it did three days after turning forty, might be my way of creating a physical truth to match my inner anxiety about forty meaning old age and lost vitality--and if you’ve seen me gallumphing about with my inflexible medical boot with the open toes and heavy velcro straps you’d agree that I’m hobbling around like a little old lady (and not like an injured athlete which would be another option).
Regardless it would seem like a lousy thing to have a broken toe.
But I’ve been at the spa now for two days and I’m starting to think of it as a gift.
Because instead of feeling torn between a pilates class and a healing sounds meditation, a nature walk or an inner smile visualization, twenty minutes on a treadmill or twenty minutes with a book and an armchair by a fireplace, I’m simply choosing the inner work. The pieces of inner peace.
I broke my toe on Christmas Eve in my parents’ living room. I was the only one in the room--the room with the tree and the stockings--and it was almost midnight--so the miracle of gifts from Santa was just about to take place (or rather was in the process of taking place)--I was moving swiftly around, taking care of lots of really wonderful thoughtful details and in the midst of all of my generosity and goodness my foot slammed into the wooden leg of the loveseat--and four toes went one way, and the baby toe went the other way.
I heard a loud crack/pop and sank to the floor in agony--the only thing that made the pain bearable was thinking about the baby in Louisiana whose toes were chewed off by the famiy’s pet ferret. Surely that would be worse, ‘at least it’s not a ferret, at least it’s not a ferret.’ That’s how much it hurt, that I had to take that journey in my head.
I limped along nobly for the next few weeks. I reminded people about my toe on occasion, it seemed to be the polite thing to do--”I’m not complaining,” I’d begin, “but I just want to remind you all that I’m still in great pain, but you’d nver know it from how brave I’m being.” It’s important to let people know when you’re exercising such restraint, so they don’t forget to be proud of you and also so they don’t blunder into asking you to do too much. It’s the right thing to do.
Then I stubbed it again--in the kitchen--while moving around swiftly making the children’s school lunches. Yeeeeeeeowwwwwch! that hurt. I put the box of ziploc bags down, dropped the peanut-butter-smeared knife into the sink, and went immediately out to the backyard--a light freezing rain was falling and it was still dark and it was the perfect place to be in that much pain--pain too dark for a brightly lit kitchen, pain too ugly to hold in my body while looking at my son’s beautiful face.
The next day a podiatrist x-rayed my foot and showed me that my toe was truly broken. Broken as in imagine a line going all the way through a classic bone-shaped bone--and then imagine the two halves being together, but slightly off.
And so he wrapped it to immobilize it and gave me the hideous (at least it’s black) medical boot.
And if you want to find me anywhere in this spa just look for that little shoe--all alone outside the sauna, waiting patiently at the edge of the whirlpool, staying dry by a rock near the waterfall, lurking under the towel rack outside the steam room...or listen for the dry rasp of the velcro...that’s where I am.
But don’t bother looking for me in any of the fitness rooms--or on any of the miles of walking trails--because that wouldn’t be good for my toe.
I sent healing energy to the bone this morning in my inner smile meditation class--in the room overlooking the stark barcode of winter trees and the frozen pond beyond. I gathered up the earth’s energy and held the moon in my hands in Tai Chi for Enlightenment--and I don’t have to feel a bit of guilt for the things I’m not doing, because ultimately just being, and just being, and just being is what I need most of all.
7 years ago