The Beauty of Obstacles

Look closely. Can you see the scar on my life line? 


In November of 2009 I had a horrible injury while waitressing.  I fell while holding about 5 glasses in my right hand. I fell forward and landed on my hands on a concrete floor. The glass smashed underneath me and blood instantly pooled on the floor beneath me. My hand puffed up into a giant ball and I was rushed to the emergency room. The glass cut through what they call the "dead man's zone". A horrifying name for an area that when injured damages many important things at once. I cut through my artery (hence the horror movie level blood I left behind), my flexor tendons (control the movement of your fingers), and median nerve (runs from neck to fingers through carpal tunnel). I had to have micro-surgery to put everything back together and then heal. 

Just like the interruption in my "life line", my life was interrupted. Majorly. I couldn't use my right hand. On the first day of Occupational Therapy in January 2010 the bandage came off and I was asked to connect my index finger to my thumb, then middle finger, then ring finger...I sat there and even though my mind was giving the command nothing happened. Nothing moved. I cried in front of my therapist and all of the other patients. No one told me this would happen. For the first time in a long time I was vulnerable, needed help, and had to face a huge obstacle. 

It took therapy 3 times a week PLUS home exercises for a YEAR to get my hand back. On my last day the therapists told me they didn't think I'd ever have the use of my hand back. They thought it would be in a curled hook shape forever. I worked my hardest in that therapy to get my movement back. To get my strength back in each finger and in my wrist. I did every little tiny exercise and worked through the immense pain. 

I also had a gap in my life where I was forced to pause. Before my accident I was working around the clock. Working for myself at a boutique I owned during the day and waitressing at night to afford living in this crazy big city. When I had no choice but to stop, I felt an immense exhaustion. Some of that exhaustion I'm still feeling. Prior to my accident, life had been a series of family dramas, emotional ups and downs, working my ass off, and just trying to get by. Without a large declaration, my injury forced me to change how I reacted to it all. Little by little I started taking better care of myself on ALL levels. I no longer had time or energy for certain things. 

Perhaps this obstacle was exactly what I needed. I can look back on it now and see that, but of course at the time it was difficult. It was difficult to heal, it was work to gain back basic functions, and it was like navigating a mine field as my roles with certain people in my life started to change. That time to pause slowly started to heal many things. Many things I wasn't even aware of. 

The beauty of obstacles that we face, often takes time to see. When you're knee deep in them, just trudging through to make ends meet and survive, it will be very hard to see what benefits can come out of such situations. Give yourself time to look within later and find the gifts. 

The Gifts I Received

  • I learned how to ask for help. I was very independent and self-sufficient before. All of sudden, I couldn't do so many practical things. I was lucky to have my boyfriend (now husband) to help me.

  • As I started the healing process, other non-physical things started to heal. Things I couldn't see but the journey I'm on now definitely began then. When you start bringing self-love into the picture it spreads.

  • It took me three years after my therapy to be able to go to a yoga class and put weight on my wrist. My arm strength was gone. When I did start yoga again I started back at level 1. I lucked out at finding the right studio and teacher and connected the dots between a daily practice and my dedication to hand therapy to gain strength back. I'm still working on achieving pre-accident strength but I know that all it takes is the doing.

  • I also learned about the un-doing. Taking breaks, pressing pause. Working around the clock will force your body to stop whether you like it or not. I re-learned this lesson 6 years later when I left my corporate job. Some gifts need to be repeated to really get it. However, if I hadn't had that accident I wouldn't have been so in tuned with my body to know to stop before it stopped me.

  • When we allow the pause, the healing of all kinds will arrive. I'm now healing other traumas. This is a beautiful thing.

If you're facing an obstacle or feel like you are climbing up hill on an inner healing journey, know that you are where you are meant to be. You will gain strength on the path, even if you fall behind. Healing is not linear but the gains may just surprise you!