I hear and feel the crack in my ankle as I crash to the ground.
‘Are you Okay?’ Roger asks.
I get up slowly up and hobble gingerly to the nearest seat. I can feel my left ankle throbbing and don’t need to look at it to know its already swelling. My right knee hurts too where I landed.
A selection of words (not suitable for repeating here) is running through my head, and the loudest are ‘that was a massive hole why didn’t you see it?’
It’s 28th January this year, the day after my birthday. I feel broken, battered and bruised, limping with both legs, immobile, REALLY fed up, low and depressed.
I’ve been here before, many times. I damaged my ankle playing netball at school and this used to happen regularly until I had surgery 15 years ago. It will always be weak because it has fewer ligaments holding it than nature intended. And, because it was a loud crack I’m worried I’ve done some major damage.
I spend a couple of days feeling sorry for myself and then decide I’ve had enough, I realise I know the three steps I can take. They worked before, and last time there was some unexpected magic, maybe that will happen this time too.
Little did I know, but this decision started a chain of events that have forever changed me in many wonderful ways.
Step One, ask for help
I realise that because I was looking too far ahead I didn’t see the hole, so instead I focus on one thing. Ask for help, in a safe place where I know I’ll get kindness and empathy.
So I ask some business colleagues and my lovely friend Helen Rebello suggests Cranio Sacral Therapy (CST) because it can balance your system after a shock. I’d had CST with Helen previously so I’m happy to give it a go and she finds me a lovely lady who lives close by.
Step two, be open to new possibilities.
I’m not going to explain how CST works because I don’t really understand it myself, all I’ll say is you lie on a couch (fully clothed), the therapist touches your head, spine and feet and wonderful things happen. I don’t know whether it helps my ankle, but it helps me a LOT and even after the first session I feel relaxed, peaceful, calm and more balanced.
And, because I’m open to new possibilities something unexpected happens: after a few sessions I discover a magical connection to my body, I realise that I can actually FEEL it and say ‘I AM MY BODY’ something I would never have previously even imagined.
Step three, follow your heart.
With a sprained ankle any yoga which requires standing up and balancing is impossible so this is when I fall in love with Yin. A little while later I start to hear an inner voice, at first it’s a whisper and it’s persistent. I realise it’s my heart and it’s saying; ‘I want to learn more about Yin Yoga, and I feel that Emma Peel can help.’ I decide to follow it.
So we’re back to step one – ask for help. If you read my previous blog you’ll know that Emma said yes to 1-1 lessons. So we’re looping round steps two and three. You get the picture.
My head believes I want to learn how to do the various asanas (seats) but my heart has other plans. It is sneaky, supporting me to relax, to trust, to go with the flow, all those things I’ve resisted until now. And this time I listen and follow it.
Now wait for the magic.
On 28th June, exactly 5 months after I sprained my ankle (and two days after I posted this blog) accompanied by many tears and laughter I achieve something I thought would take me months or even years. I meet Saddle without bolster or cushions, just a couple of blankets. Here I am to prove it, and yes that’s my damaged ankle. And for the record I’ve got right to the ground since, without blankets.
It is MASSIVE, a real breakthrough, one of those where every less than helpful belief I had about myself flies out of the window and sinks to the bottom of Emma’s pond. I feel elated, torn apart and beaten up physically and emotionally, my foundations rocked to the core.
And the biggest shift of all is the belief that ‘I can’t do this’ (whatever this is be it a physical, emotional or actual thing) goes too. I feel really relieved and some fear too (as in, what can I achieve now?).
And as I’m lying there, my heart open and vulnerable, Emma reads this quote which resonates through every fibre of my being and causes a few more tears because I realise that I AM connected to my heart and yes it does feel like home.
To say that the next few days are rocky is an understatement, about half a lifetime of pent up emotions leak out of my eyes and it takes some seriously loud Bruce Springsteen and U2 to get me in the right frame of mind to attend a networking meeting.
Now several weeks later I’m still reassembling a new Lesley, taking my time to integrate new, positive beliefs that support me. I am different now; friends have said that I look lighter and more relaxed. I’m certainly more grounded and comfortable in my own skin, more sensitive to sounds, tastes and colours and mostly I’ve never felt more alive.
I’m at peace with my sprained ankle (which recovered by the way); I would rather have learned the lessons in a less painful way, but if that’s what the Universe has in mind for me, then I’m happy to go with it.
After some reflection I realise that my sprained ankle taught me four things.
Four things I’ve learned
- I’ve discovered some new characteristics I didn’t realise I had. It turns out I have a quiet determination and especially I DO NOT want to stay stuck.
- Those three steps definitely work; asking for help never lets me down and when I trust my heart and don’t try to control things, magic happens.
- If I look too far ahead, there’s more chance of tripping up. It’s best to focus on the next step.
- And this too.
Some questions for you
- Do you feel stuck? If so which of the three steps could you take?
What have you learned about yourself through becoming childless? You changed you, so how could you integrate those changes into who you are now and use them to enhance your life?
Do you know what your heart wants? If you’re still and listen can you hear it?
What’s one small step you could take to follow it?
- And what magic might happen if you do?
Over to you
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