This week, last year, I was preparing for surgery.
After an embarrassingly stupid accident with a piece of glass, I sliced my hand and a tendon inside it. (Gross, I know.)
The doctor knew in 2.2 seconds the tendon was ruptured because I couldn’t bend my thumb. At all.
Do you know how important a bendable thumb is? I do. Because there were about 7,923 things I couldn’t do without it. Like write with a pen. Or tie a shoe. Or hold on to anything.
Surgery was the only answer, which meant more than just a cute stint in a kinda-cozy bed with weird socks and a gauze showercap.
It meant 6-8 weeks of recovery. It meant constant dates with a physical therapist. It meant a bulky wrist brace, itchy stitches, and many clumsy moments.
It also meant: sleeping a lot, eating well, and taking long hot baths.
The injury and surgery took me completely out of my everyday routine. I was teaching yoga, but I couldn’t offer hands-on assists to my students. I had to limit my own practice to ultra-gentle, hands-free poses (like these). I had to ask for help constantly (and mostly from my very very patient partner Emily). I had to ask for help, even even when I felt proud, or embarrassed, or both.
Every time I went to physical therapy, we would unwrap the sticky gauze from my hand and I would bite down tears. My hand looked disgusting, and permanently ruined. I felt disgusting, and permanently ruined. My physical therapist would say “Wow! It looks so much better!” and I would glare at her like, “Seriously? Are you kidding?”
There’s no surprise here that… it did heal. The human body is amazing, and so very forgiving. The stitches came off, the scar retreated. Soon I could bend my thumb a little, then a little more.
I started to write, and tie, and hold again.
I reunited with my down dog. And my handstand.
I was grateful.
And I still am: every time I place my hands on the mat or open a jar of pasta sauce, I whisper thank you.
Recently I completed my Reiki 1 certification. Reiki is a beautiful healing art that transmits universal energy through the palms. And as I’ve started to practice giving reiki to others and to myself, I am feeling my hands in a new way.
Last week I was in a private session with a student. I placed my hands on her back in child’s pose. She told me later she could feel the reiki – the energy – through my palms.
Whoa. Really? Yes.
And then it struck me.
The place where I was wounded has become a source of healing.
Isn’t this true, always? Our injuries are our teachers.
They shake us awake. They remind us to appreciate. To not take things for granted. Healing make us stronger.
We are wiser, braver, more conscious, because we were broken.
So here’s this week’s poem:
Yoga Poem for Self Healing
Locate a part of your body, mind, or spirit that is, or has been, injured. (If you’re not sure, look to your heart, as we’ve all surely endured some amount of heartbreak in this life.) Hold your hands over the physical area, or the place where the feeling resonates. Remember the break, the injury, or the pain. Send love to your past-self, who felt the break, the injury, the pain. Now feel the present moment in that space. The strength of your body. The resilience of your heart. If your injury is still current, visualize how it will look and feel when its healed. Repeat silently or aloud to yourself: I am grateful. I am healed. I am grateful. I am healed. I am grateful. I am healed. I am grateful. I am healed. Stay in this healing space as long as you want to.
Before you come out, consider this: how can you share your healing? Can you tell your story, share information, offer compassion? How can you transform your wound into a source of wisdom?
It could be as simple as sharing a comment below.
Love and thumbs up,
[Photos by Austin Ban and Milada Vigerova via Unsplash]