June 2020 marks the 5 year anniversary of my bicycle accident.  5 years ago, I was biking to work, when I was unexpectedly hit by a car.  As a result, I endured 1 fracture in my pelvis, elbow, and thumb.  It was the  beginning of a long journey of healing.  Immediately afterward, my focus was on recovering physically.  Now, I realize the healing occurred in other quadrants of my life as well.  

2020 is my 5 year anniversary, but it is also a historic year globally, economically, and personally. We have all had our lives changed and reshaped by the Coronavirus pandemic.  As I reflect on what I’ve learned from my bicycle accident, I can’t help but notice similar lessons from this COVID-19 time. 

The Calm in the Storm when Overwhelmed

When we are faced with sudden changes it can feel overwhelming.  Most of the time, our focus is “how do we fix everything?” and “how do we fix it right now?”

After my accident my whole focus was on getting well as quickly as possible and getting back to normal now. You might have been faced with suddenly homeschooling your kids overnight, and might have been focusing on how do you get back to normal? 

With the challenges of my injury and with COVID-19, I’ve realized I have to focus on what I can control.  The Buddha said, “Stop trying to calm the storm.  Calm yourself, the storm will pass.” When I focus on what I can control and on taking the appropriate actions, I calm myself. 

Barnacle – Having a Healthy Exterior

Barnacles are tough calluses that live on marine animals.  They latch on to the skin and harden requiring heavy filing and scraping to remove. Although that process sounds really intense, healing the human body also requires a clean up routine.  When your cleaning system is in top shape, so is your body.

Considering my accident and COVID-19, the focus on immunity is crucial.  I needed a strong immune system after the accident so that my body could fight off infection and so my fractures could heal.

We can support our immune system with massages or dry brushing to support the lymphatic system.  Drinking plenty of water cleanses the body chemically as well.  Another suggestion is to observe your outside energetics.  Are your friends strengthening your energy or depleting it?  Evaluating your outside circle will help identify any social barnacles.

A, B & C Days

I have two principles: 1. Being proactive is important, and 2. Patience is key when healing the body. 

I want to be proactive, so I have a self-care routine that I try to implement every day.  I call my best days, ‘A’ days. An ‘A’ Day for me includes fasting before 10 AM, being present with clients, and hitting 15,000 steps.

But every day is not a ‘A’ day, because there are days I know my physical and mental strength isn’t what it was the day before. This is where my second principle comes in. I need to be patient with myself. Instead of forcing an ‘A’ day, I have a ‘B’ or ‘C’ day. An example of a ‘B’ Day would be skipping some self-care items, a shortened exercise and a rushed lunch.  A ‘C’ day looks like indulging in chocolate, not getting enough sleep, and feeling like I’m in a rush. Every day isn’t a performance or achievement, be patient with your body and yourself, and just do what you can, where you can.

Give Yourself Some Grace

Every day during my recovery from the accident, I was reminded that there is no “How To” for healing. The message that kept coming to mind was “Give yourself some grace.” Stay aware of what you can do and don’t be critical of yourself. My time of recovery was very uncertain, just as this global pandemic is. The unknown impacts us all differently, so give yourself some grace.  

One of the questions I began to ask myself and others is:  What is the medicine you share with the world?  Everyone has unique gifts only they can deliver.  By giving yourself grace, you put yourself in a position to share your unique medicine with the world. My time of recovery was like the pandemic because I was stuck at home. When I gave myself grace and became present, I found ways to still offer my medicine. 

Joy

This week of the anniversary of my bicycle accident also ends with the 4th of July, when Americans celebrate Independence Day. We’re reminded this year that not everyone is free, and I’m reminded that one of the ways that we can experience freedom is to feel joy. 

During difficult and uncertain times, it’s harder to feel joy. We get weighed down with worry and bogged down by sadness over the way things used to be and wishing that things were back to normal. Pause for a moment and think, what brings you joy right now? This question will help you realize that those moments of joy still exist. And then think about the next two questions: What used to bring you joy? and how can you add more joy to your life? Feeling joy is so important to our resilience and persistence. It allows us to break the cycles of worry and stress, and be present in this moment. 

 

This has been a time of reflection for me, and I was surprised by how many lessons from my accident recovery were the same as the lessons from the coronavirus. Take some time to reflect on your coronavirus lessons, even take a few minutes and write down what you’ve learned. 

Showing 2 comments
  • Cynthia Riggins
    Reply

    Michelle, I too learned a lot of lessons from the death of my husband and Mother, within 2 years of each other, life is full of good and bad times and it’s how we perceive and move through them that is important to maintaining our joy. Thank you for the reminders on grace for ourselves, that may be the toughest lesson I learned, as my faith kept the peaceful feeling throughout.

  • Samantha Hammontree
    Reply

    I love reading the parallels Michelle between life’s most difficult moments and how the takeaways do indeed make us stronger for the next rising difficult moment. I agree that freedom is found in letting yourself experience joy even while others around you aren’t always feeling joy. I’ve often heard and said to my family members, “do not let that person or thing rob you of your joy!”.
    Thank you for the gentle reminders and so grateful you are recovering from this accident and sharing your lessons with others! Bless you friend💛

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