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Increasing Consciousness Through Daily Inspirations


Finding New Possibilities After A Setback

Posted on August 23, 2011 at 12:15 AM

Photo by Abdullah Al-Shayea

I was beginning a new fitness pledge as the beautiful days of summer finally arrived in Seattle: longer daily walks, more running, and regular bike rides on a neighborhood trail. Each day I had something planned with an excited commitment to the fresh air and Vitamin D.

Then I had a bad bike accident.

A few days ago, I did a bike cartwheel: fell over the front of the bike, hit my head on the ground (yes,wearing a helmet) and landed on the side of the paved trail. It happened so quickly and felt so out-of-control-scary that shock and adrenaline were running through my body in huge doses. I was thankfully with my boyfriend who had a first aid kit and cellphone. We called 911 because my head hurt and I couldn’t stand up without needing to lie back down.

Three firefighters (all with mustaches) gave me oxygen, checked my vitals and luckily deemed me as “okay and just shaken up from the scare of it.” I was up on my feet ten minutes later, but with a beat up right knee, bad hand bruises and some random scratches here and there.

After flying through the air, I am grateful for many things: Luckily, nothing was broken, sprained or seriously injured. Luckily, I have a great man who can clean out and care for the sensitive injured areas while I bite back tears and focus on deep breathing. Luckily, the whole ordeal wasn’t much, much worse.

So here it is, the most beautiful time of the year, and I have a small limp to contend with that prevents my normal physical movement. I can’t go to Zumba class. I can’t go for my typical long daily walks. I can’t start running again. I can’t even walk up and down stairs in a normal way.  And driving isn’t very comfortable, either.

But I’m not going to just sit around and be immobile – not an option! So I’m taking this most inconvenient incident as an opportunity to think about my daily habits in a new way. What can I do with a tender leg? What are new ways to look at the possibilities? What habit would serve me well now,and in the long run?

I prefer to avoid clichés, but here it goes: when life hands you lemons, how do you make lemon cupcakes with chilled lemon drop cocktails? These out-of-the-blue setbacks happen to us in a variety of ways: unexpected job changes, financial curveballs, unforeseen car maintenance, losing something that is assumed available - the list of inconvenient “everyday” events goes on. And often times, it’s just a matter of looking at things in a new way.

Even though this event is untimely, there are plenty of solutions that will be beneficial in the long run. How can I start new habits after falling and going boom? I’ve found six so far:

1.      Instead of a long one hour walk, I’ve been going on two short walks every day. These 20-30 minute jaunts are slow, but they keep my knee active and prevent it from getting too stiff. And I can’t be stuck in the house during these beautiful summer days. Nope.

2.      I’m now actually using the hand dumbbells that sit in front of the TV as dust collectors. The hand weights seem to rotate in importance (as in, I forget about them by Day Four), so I put them on the couch where I’d sit on them, and therefore can’t miss them. Works like a charm so far.

3.      Since my ability to do cardio is limited, I’m looking at my calorie intake more closely. Instead of one salad a day, I’m trying to have two. Or at least more fruits and veggies overall, which is great timing since our garden is (finally) coming into full bloom. (Err, never mind the amazing lobster-filled ravioli in cream sauce from last night.)

4.      Moving slower reminds me to breathe deeper. Just that simple awareness makes this turtle-time more bearable.

5.      I’m continually appreciating the power of a healing body. It’s truly amazing how the body heals itself with new skin; fights off infection; and generates strength in vulnerable areas. I am doing all I can to help it along with lots of water, more vitamins and rest.

6.      And the most important thing to do every day: not beat myself up for this stupid accident because yes, it was my fault. I made a bad decision on the bike that resulted in this incident and if I could only get those four seconds back… but no. Of course it doesn’t work like that and it doesn’t do any good to think in reverse. (Has nobody invented a time machine yet?...really?)

So now I am having a truly leisurely summer to enjoy. It’s coming up on time for walk #2. After that, I need to look online for a new bike helmet.

Categories: Personal Musings

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