|Three Pools on the Little North Santiam|
Almost three weeks ago, I injured my right foot. I was in the river barefoot, slipped, and stepped back onto a jagged rock that cut the back of my heel just below the Achilles' tendon. Within a matter of seconds, my camping and hiking vacation ended. My life went from climbing over rocks and traversing narrow forest trails to limping painfully around my house and crawling up the stairs on my hands and knees. This event got me to thinking about myself.
I was unprepared mentally. I was "caught off guard." Surprised. Shocked. Filled with disbelief. I berated myself. The "if only-s" plagued me. The "should have-s" filled my thoughts. I thought about grief and loss and knew that I was experiencing it, but it didn't help knowing. I was angry. I kept wishing for the "what if." But the injury remained as did the pain of it. Acceptance arrived with my ER visit. No more denial or wishing the injury was something other than it was.
Much as I would like to control life, some things are beyond control. These are the things that turn us inside out and reveal what really makes us who we are. I'd like to think that I can handle stuff, but this injury revealed how easily I become disappointed with myself. I was disappointed about something over which I had no control. At least little control (I still keep telling myself that I "should have" worn my water shoes.)
But where was my self-compassion? I was injured and all I could be was disappointed with myself. No compassion. I was in pain, sometimes in agony and not once did I give myself a pat for being brave, for hobbling over the rocks, for staggering back to the car, for cleaning my wound. I grumped at myself. I gave myself no room to be injured, to be wounded. No grace.
I want to remember this. In the midst of grief and loss, I want to be kind to myself. I want to be compassionate to myself. Note to self: It was an accident. No need to place blame on yourself. Just remember--next time, wear the shoes.