It’s now been two weeks since I broke my right wrist, by tripping on a root on a trail in the forest. Not wanting to hurt the dear friend who was walking beside me, instead of correcting for the stumble, I “took the fall.”
The experience has interrupted my usual routines, slowed me way down, and knocked me off balance.
Lately, I’ve been pondering how this learning how to use the left hand as the “dominant” hand while nurturing the usually dominant right hand has offered me the challenge of mastering the same lesson that a child learns, but at a deeper level of complexity.
There is now a right/left learning going on within each arm. I am viewing “right/left” as a fractal, the division between right and left showing up (or being constructed) within each hand because of this injury to the right wrist. Theoretically, this new, learned redundancy should make both arms more complexly functional, and help me adjust to whatever strange interruption streaks across the sky through my dear old body/mind next!
That balance, within each arm, and the new balance required between the arms — and not just the arms, but the two sides of the body, including legs and torso and right/left brains in the mind — is nowhere near done. And, in fact, last night I had a sudden surprising scare which made me realize just how far I am from my old normal, and how far from whatever the new normal is to be.
I was helping my son Colin clean out rabbit cages in the basement. The light was sort of dim. I started to walk to the stairs to get something we needed, and didn’t notice in time a pan on the floor. I stumbled on it, and — I experienced this not quite in slow motion, but just about — all of a sudden that light struck again and streaked me onto the cement floor.
(Why do I speak about a light? This was not a “stroke,” in medical terminology. But somehow, the metaphor of lightning fits.)
Crashed onto my right side — AGAIN. On the eve of the two-week anniversary.
This time I — my higher self (?) my unconscious (?), who knows what part of me, but I am eternally grateful — instinctively shifted the way I fell to protect the still very injured wrist, and instead of landing on the wrist, landed equally on hip and elbow. HARD. Of course I wondered whether I had broken the elbow, broken the hip. It was that hard. Colin was shocked. So was I.
It took me a few minutes to recover my senses, and even longer to recover whatever semblance of balance I have managed to cobble together since the fall in the forest. All the while lying there on the cement, and then gingerly regaining my feet, working my limbs, hoping that my bones had withstood this latest trauma. And realizing, probably half an hour later, after my body/mind had settled (with the help of homeopathic rescue remedy), that it was good I had landed on both elbow and hip. That they distributed my weight enough so that I did not break anything with this second fall.
After decades of not falling, or of falling and rolling, or of catching myself when I fell just in time, or that one astonishing moment of derring-do on a bicycle a few years ago, when my body instinctively avoided hitting a car a high speed by making a 90° turn with the leg straight out, to the side (how did I do that? I had no idea how to do that, but I did, and it saved my life). . . In other words, after decades of thinking that I was immortal and impervious to injury of that type, I have now had my comeuppance. Not even my tai chi practice, which has entrained every cell in my body into full aliveness and systemic organization with every other cell, saved me. (Though perhaps it did account for the capacity to correct last night, so that I not only saved the wrist, but fell on two joints rather than one).
My arrogance has not only disappeared, I have trouble thinking that I will ever be so “upright” again, will ever so naturally know how to correct for impending physical trauma due to falling.
But then I remember that my injury is due to be “completely healed,” says the doc, right around the December 21, 2012 deadline for a thousands of years long cycle to complete and start over again.
I remember that my break has helped me “take a break” from my usual way of interfacing with the matrix of this culture.
I remember that my break is percolating up glimmers of understanding that somehow, I have to actually “break” from this dominant culture. And that my grieving process since my father’s death, in late August, is deeply intertwined with that “break.”
My dear, huge, stern German dad was a kingly paragon of the patriarchy, greatly “accomplished,” both doctor and (Catholic) deacon. How much has my dominant “right” side (and left brain) been modeled on his way, namely his way or the highway? (For years, in my 30s, friends called me “Mother Superior” — joking of course, or were they?)
Conversely, how much has my “right” side (and left brain) roiled in endless rebellion against his way — hitting the highway in order to live my life? Holding my wounded, female, left side (and right brain). Protecting her against further pain. Crippled there, somehow.
In other words, how much was that old balance I managed to cobble together and hold onto for nearly 70 years that of derring-do, bravado, rather than real? Vulnerable? Consciously honoring my own woundedness while resonating in sympathy with others, also wounded?
Now, after last night, I realize that I’ve been given another sign, and another warning. This trauma, this fall from my Sagittarian “high horse” was also blunt and powerful, and yet more nuanced. In falling, I both protected the injured right wrist and distributed my weight enough not to break either the elbow or the hip. But again, just as two weeks ago, sudden trauma to the right side of my body. The side that strides forward into life. Crippled, to some extent, or at least paused, quiescent, waiting. In that pregnant, liminal space where new possibilities arise.
What is next. How do I, personally, interface with this great majesty, the final throes of an historic birthing process for humanity? What is my role? How do I serve?
I await further instructions.