what you wish for…
have heard that saying a lot but never really paid much attention to it. Until now, that is! During a moment of sheer desperation, I looked up to the heavens and begged the universe to get me out of a six week teaching programme I was due to start and the universe granted me my wish. “Your wish is my command” she said.
As the words came out of the doctor’s mouth, “You’ll be in that cast for six weeks, no work for you!” I wondered what on earth I had gone and done. The moral of the story is, if you want something, be careful what you wish for and be specific. Our thoughts are more powerful than we think!
As with every story, we have to go back to the beginning. The beginning in this case is Tuesday 28th June 2016. It started out as a very typical morning for me. I got out of bed at 6.50 AM and started getting ready for work. Work for the next six weeks was at the local college, just around the corner, teaching English to foreign teenagers!
My first story, the girl in the cardboard box, ended with me enrolling on a teacher training course. That was back in September 2015. Six months later, I started teaching at a local language school. I was happy, I was finding my feet and getting in to a nice little routine. The only problem was, I really didn’t want to do summer school. I had experienced two days of teaching teenagers a couple of weeks before and it turned out to be a complete nightmare. I promised myself there and then that I wouldn’t do it again. So when my boss asked me to do it, I was horrified but reluctantly agreed. What choice did I have? She wasn’t somebody you could negotiate with and come out not skirmished! You guessed it, another power hungry, controlling, female boss.
I spent that whole weekend telling the universe and all my friends and family I didn’t want to do it. The universe was obviously listening.
I had a shower, ate my breakfast and then got my bags together, ready for the fifteen minute short walk to the college.
Off I went, not a care in the world. The sun was out and it was turning out to be a beautiful morning. Maybe summer was finally here? It was 8.20 AM which meant I should get to college at around 8.40 AM, leaving plenty of time to get the class room set up before the teenagers arrived!
Ten minutes into my walk, I decided to cross over to the other side of the road. The thought came out of the blue. Cross here. With that, I stepped off the pavement, lost my balance, twisted my ankle and ended up on my hands and knees on the road! I don’t know how it happened, all I know is I was mortified and embarrassed beyond belief! I got up as quickly as I could, or at least I tried to, hoping that no one had seen me fall! The shame of it! I managed to get up and hobble to the other side of the road but knew I had hurt myself badly. My foot was swelling on one side and it hurt like hell! I decided to try and get to college to see my boss and explain what had happened. After all, it was only around the corner. It was excruciating but I made it.
When I approached my classroom I saw her and I said “I’ve had an accident” “What kind of accident? She asked. I showed her my foot and she had a total breakdown. At one point I swear I saw steam coming out of her ears! She was in a total state of panic because the students were about to arrive. Imminent chaos, impending doom. All I could think about was the pain cutting through my foot and the waves of nausea that were washing over me. “It’s a disaster”, I said, referring to my foot and what the injury might mean for me. “It certainly is!” she cried, worrying about who would teach the students.
My boss offered to take me to the hospital in an hour, after she had finished what she needed to do. I decided I would make my own arrangements to get there. I telephoned my uncle and he came and picked me up in his car and drove me there.
What an experience that was! Passed from pillar to post! We spent the entire day waiting around. Two X rays and a CT scan later, my worst fears were realised. I had broken a bone in my foot and cracked two others. I was devastated. How on earth was I going to manage? No driving, no yoga, no work. I think we left the hospital at 7 PM that evening and my mum dropped me home to my third floor flat. Great! Ideal place to live when you’re on crutches. Mum made me a cup of tea and left me to it. That’s when the fun really began. When reality set in. How was I meant to get in the shower? How was I meant to have some food or make a drink and carry it back to the dining room? I wasn’t supposed to put any weight on the broken foot which meant hopping. Not great with a cup of tea in your hand. In the end I was reduced to crawling on my hands and knees to get to the dining room. This was going to be fun! I didn’t get much sleep that night. My life as I knew it flashed before me. All I could see was what I couldn’t do, what was taken away, the hardships to come. I know it sounds dramatic but this is how I felt.
When my sister phoned me the next day I burst out crying. Looking back I suppose it was all the shock coming out of my system and it was just so exhausting walking on crutches and trying to get around the flat. My arms and shoulders were already starting to ache. This was only day one.
After that initial upset, I resolved that I would manage just fine, I wasn’t going to let this injury stop me from living my life. I found exercises on the internet and I tried to be as active as normal and not let things get me down. That was fine for a few days until my body screamed, “Give it a rest, I want to sleep and recover”. That’s when I crashed. I was exhausted and gave in to lying around on the sofa and having naps. This was what I had been avoiding. I didn’t want to sit around for six weeks and pile on the weight. I was active, I liked doing regular exercise, but I had to give in, I couldn’t go on as I was. My body won. I surrendered. I let go.
Things were ok for a while. My family and friends rallied round and took me out so I could get some fresh air, get a change of scenery, and go for a coffee. I was feeling positive, upbeat, I could do this! Piece of cake! I was proactive, researching on the internet the best ways to heal broken bones quickly (see how in control I like to be?) I bought natural remedies to apply to my foot such as comfrey oil and arnica cream and bought lots of healing foods. I ate lots of fish, dairy products for the calcium and tried to exercise as much as I could. I tried to remain positive. After all, it could be worse. It was only a broken foot. What about people who suffer multiple injuries or have life altering illnesses? Let’s put things in to perspective I thought and just got on with it.
About half way through the recovery period, things changed for the worst. I hit a really low point. It came out of nowhere. It knocked me for six. Summer was in full swing and everyone was out and about but poor old me, I was stuck in my flat. It wasn’t fair. Why me? That’s when the pity party kicked off in full swing, balloon, party poppers, the whole shebang. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I’d had a garden or a balcony, a bit of outdoor space. I would have been quite content to sit and relax in the sun, reading a book or having a nap. But I didn’t and my home was starting to feel like a prison, it was getting claustrophobic, I was going stir crazy.
I spent one particular weekend in by myself as everyone was busy, they had plans, plans that didn’t include me. Poor old me. They weren’t being horrible they just had their own lives, their own routines. I’ve always been my own worst critic, I’m very hard on myself but on that occasion I was pretty harsh, even by my own standards. I even blamed myself for having the accident. Like I was that powerful! “You should have worn different shoes, you should have crossed over further down the road, if you hadn’t left your old job this wouldn’t have happened, you’re not getting any sick pay, you haven’t got any money, and you used to have money”. The universe listened on in despair, head in hands. “You still need to work on your self love my dear” she sighed. The negative, critical voice in my head wouldn’t let up. SHUT UP ALREADY! Where’s the remote control? Press MUTE. I lost it completely. I felt so low, I cried and cried and cried. “But this is what you wanted”, purred the universe. “You wanted six weeks off and now you’ve got it!” Like I said, be careful what you wish for!
Where were my friends when all this was happening? It’s true what they say, you find out who your real friends are in difficult times. Who shows up for you? Who puts in the effort? It really surprised me how much my physical injury was affecting me emotionally. My emotions were all over the place. It wasn’t only my foot that was in a cast. I was hurting, in pain. Physically and emotionally. Old pain that I thought I’d dealt with came to the surface. I wasn’t only nursing a broken foot, I was broken in other ways too. I missed my life. I missed my independence, going out in the car, my freedom, my yoga class, going for a walk in the park, going shopping, and being out in the sun. I felt like I was grieving, pining for my old life. But also for the life I wanted. I grieved for the friends that weren’t around, that were not stepping up to the mark. I grieved for the social life I didn’t have, the boyfriend I wanted, I pinned for fun, laughter.
I didn’t like having to rely on other people. I’m very independent and I like to be in control. This was one thing I wasn’t in control of and I didn’t like it. It was unfamiliar territory for me and I didn’t have a compass or a sat nav. I was lost. I felt vulnerable. I’d been cracked wide open. It was like the universe was telling me and showing me that I couldn’t always control things, that sometimes it was ok to give up a little independence and let people in, let people help you. “Let go”, whispered the universe, “I’ve got you”. I can see now that letting go doesn’t mean you’re not strong, it doesn’t mean you’re weak, or you’ve given up, you’re not giving away your strength and power. There’s a beauty in revealing your vulnerable side, I see that now, the authentic you, instead of always putting on the mask, the brave face. There’s a certain strength in letting go, in surrender, in trust. My body would heal itself, I needed to focus on the other aspects of my life that needed healing.
That particular weekend was like someone put my life under a microscope. It magnified everything, good and bad. It highlighted what could stay and what needed to change. It showed what was missing. It was like holding up a mirror to my life. Some of it wasn’t pretty. I wanted to look away. I was brought to my knees, I felt so alone, removed, cut off, and disconnected.
I’m a firm believer in things happening for you, not to you. Of course it hasn’t always been like that. It’s a learning curve. It’s come with time, with age, with experience. Lots of them. You start to recognise the familiar sign posts, the smoke signals. Is this another life lesson? Is this a gift? It’s about shifting your perspective, altering your view on things. I started to see the injury as a blessing, it was shining a light on my life and illuminating how I could make it better, what changes I needed to make, how to get things moving. It made me realise small things like maybe I should get a flat with a garden. It made me look at my friendships and question the people closest to me.
The whole experience brought a lot of emotions to the surface. I felt disappointed in my friends, the fact that they hadn’t rallied round like my family had done. I had seen them maybe once or twice and this hurt. I also felt a lot of anger. Being on crutches was hard work, it took a lot out of me. My body ached everywhere. My back, my arms, my neck. I had blisters on my hands. Just doing normal every day activities such as hoovering or changing my bed linen left me exhausted. I would feel the anger rising to the surface and I would shout abuse at my foot or the crutches. “Stupid foot”! I cursed. “Damn crutches!”
I had to get myself out of the negative mind-set that I’d fallen into. It would have been quite easy to sit around feeling miserable, not doing any exercise, eating junk food, making excuses, feeling sorry for myself. That would have made the whole experience seem a lot longer (six weeks was a big enough sentence) and let’s face it, feeling miserable is hard work. So that was that. I started reading positive books like The Secret, I watched positive documentaries and films, such as Tony Robbins, I listened to Esther Hicks, I did reiki on my foot, I found fabulous exercises online to do with injuries and I visualised my foot healing, I saw myself running through the park, driving around in the car, being free.
Our thoughts are so powerful and yet we underestimate them and the power they hold. This whole experience has been a valuable learning curve in the law of attraction. We create our reality! I firmly believe that. In two days I am due back at the hospital to have my foot assessed. Has it healed? Has my positive thinking been a healing influence? I will find out!
By having my life taken away for a while, it really made me appreciate it. I would have given anything to be able to go to work, to run along the river, to go and sit under a tree in the park. All the things I took for granted on a daily basis, I value now more than ever. They are more precious than before. We all complain about our families for one reason or another. But they have really showed up for me, they have been there from day one. They are precious. So this is what I mean by changing how you look at things.
We all go through difficult situations, challenging experiences, but the power lies in being able to see what we are being given in that moment. It’s certainly been a valuable lesson in gratitude. What can we take from the experience? What have we learnt about ourselves or other people? Do we have to cut ties with some people in our lives, do we need to treat others better? When you are cracked open, when your life crumbles around you and you dig yourself out from the dirt and the debris, what is left standing? What lies crumbling in the rubble? Where are the strong foundations? Where are the fault lines, the cracks? What do you now value? What do you need to let go of? This is the key.
BACK ON MY FEET
So the day arrived when I was due back to the hospital for my assessment. I felt as though I was going for a job interview or something and I couldn’t sleep the night before. What if it hadn’t healed, what if I needed surgery? I couldn’t be stuck at home for another six weeks that would have pushed me right over the edge!
Unlike the last visit to the hospital I didn’t have to wait any time at all. My name was called and off I went to the X ray room. “This must be how it felt walking to the guillotine”, I thought to myself. Get a grip Sarah it doesn’t compare although if its bad news there’s a possibility of another six weeks sitting in the flat, getting fatter, watching day time television, kill me now!
Five minutes later I was back in the waiting room and then I was called to see the doctor. I awaited his verdict! Drum roll!
That’s when the handsome doctor gave me the good news! My foot was healing and I was able to remove the boot and start walking on it. I was so relieved because this isn’t the news I was expecting! I’m not a jar half empty kind of girl, far from it. But everyone was being so negative, so pessimistic. People would start chatting to me in a coffee shop, asking me what I’d done to my foot. “Oh nothing exciting I’m afraid, no fighting crocodiles or skiing on one leg, just crossing the road on the way to work!” Then they would give me their horror story. “Oh good luck with that! It took me six months to get back on my feet! I had to have surgery after being in a cast for six weeks. The bone hadn’t healed!” Gee thanks for being so positive everyone! I just didn’t know what to expect. I had no idea if the bone had been healing during the six weeks it was in the boot. How could I?
But it had healed and now I had to start getting back to normal, resuming normal every day activities. I didn’t have to wear the boot in bed! Yey! Happy days.
So here I am feeling very grateful and proud of myself. Proud? I’m proud of myself because yet again, I got through another difficult situation. Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I pulled myself together and soldiered on. I saw the warning signs, I recognised I was on the slippery slope to misery and I pulled myself out of it.
Like all wounds they heal with time and this was no exception. The scars are deep, both physical and emotional. The storm has abated but the debris is still visible and in plain sight. What do I do with it? This journey has been a bumpy one, a lonely one, but it has healed my heart and mind. I was laid bare, ripped open but now I can start to put the pieces back together again, to rebuild. It’s time to shake off the dust, wash off the bruises and the hurt, and step out from the ashes, reborn, anew. I’ve had six weeks to analyse my life and I’ve learnt a lot. I now have to do something with that knowledge. I’m going to think about selling my flat and looking for something a bit bigger with a garden. I’m also going to research some local groups in my area with a view to meeting new people. Maybe it’s time to have another look at internet dating? Let’s not get carried away Sarah, one step at a time.
I’ve got a lot to do. I need to learn how to walk again. It sounds like an exaggeration but my foot hasn’t done a lot since it’s been in the boot. My muscles are tight and it hurts when I move it. I need to do the exercises my physiotherapist gave me and build the strength back up. Baby steps. I’m going back to teaching next week so I have to prepare for my lessons and get my work wardrobe ready. I need a haircut too!
Looking back on the whole experience, I’m glad the universe was listening, I’m glad she answered my prayer. The injury was just enough so I’d be off work for six weeks. Summer school is over and I can return to my normal lessons. A heavy price to pay? No, not really, it’s been very illuminating and healing, in more ways than one. The body is a wonderful thing and has healed the injury in a short space of time. I like to think I gave it a helping hand, once I’d gained my composure, that is! The hospital didn’t give me a lot of information, other than wear the boot for six weeks and see you at your next appointment. I really didn’t see the point of sitting around for six weeks and then having to go to physiotherapy sessions. Surely it would be better for my recovery if I started immediately, if I was proactive. So that’s what I did.
Naturally I couldn’t do my normal yoga routine but I was lucky enough to find a video on the internet by a yoga teacher who had injured her Achilles tendon and was in a cast. There we go! I started off with that routine and it was difficult at first because the boot was so heavy and I was worried about doing some further damage. Within a couple of weeks I could feel that my body wasn’t as toned anymore because of my lack of movement so I started to look for some harder types of exercise. I was fortunate to find a series of videos, again online, by a keep fit trainer who had injured her foot. Bingo! I did these exercises almost on a daily basis, when I had the energy and I can honestly say I feel stronger and more toned than before the injury happened. I’m convinced that these exercise routines have helped my recovery because the muscles haven’t weakened as much as they might have done. I’m grateful for the people who posted their videos and helped me in some way.
I also did a lot of research online about what foods to eat. I selected foods that would specifically strengthen and repair broken bones. I made a lot of fresh fruit smoothies and ate more fruit and vegetables than normal. I read up on natural remedies and used comfrey and arnica to help reduce the swelling and bruising on the foot.
Probably the most powerful weapon in the arsenal was positive thinking. After I had the half way breakdown, I tried to be as positive as possible on a daily basis. I visualised my foot healing. I imagined it healthy and strong and pictured myself doing normal things such as walking and my yoga practice. I wrote positive affirmations that were personal to me. “My body knows how to heal itself, my foot is healthy and strong.”
It’s very easy when you experience a setback such as an injury to think negatively and to give up. I certainly did for a while back there. Of course my injury was limited to my foot. A lot of illnesses and injuries are completely debilitating and somebody might be bed ridden or experience depression as a result. I can only talk about my own experience and what helped me to recover, both physically and emotionally. And of course not everything can be viewed through rose tinted glasses. My dad died of cancer ten years ago. I’d rather he was with us now and hadn’t been taken from us. I don’t see a blessing in that situation. But in some things yes I can, I can only share my experiences with you and show what can be gained, with a little shift in perspective and attitude.
Being off work for six weeks gave me an opportunity to read more, to rest, to spend more time with my family, to look at certain areas in my life, to address issues that were becoming apparent. It gave me the chance to get my first book published, to start writing another, to meditate, to get stronger physically, to let go and heal some emotions that I clearly hadn’t dealt with. The injury gave my buried but not healed emotions a chance to bubble up to the surface where they could be aired, given the light of day, faced head on, acknowledged, forgiven and healed. There’s still work to do, don’t get me wrong. I could feel the anger rising to the surface just now as I attempted to do yoga for the first time in six weeks. Basic postures that I did on a daily basis were impossible for me. That made me sad and I started questioning things again. The universe knows I love yoga, why take that away from me? So you see I still have work to do. I need to learn patience, I need to take things slowly and not to push my body too soon, to respect my body, to be kind to it and to myself. Maybe I will have to approach yoga in a different way for now. I have to let go.
Having an injury meant my life was temporarily taken away and put on hold. Was I taking it for granted? Probably. Was I complaining about things like work, getting up early, being stuck in traffic? Most definitely. Will I watch my words and thoughts more attentively from now on? Hell yes! Like I said at the start of the story, our thoughts are powerful things, they have the power to manifest, so honour them, respect them, and treat them with the upmost care.
What is the overall message I want to share with you six weeks on? Things can change in the blink of an eye. Your life can be taken away in a heartbeat. In my case it was a temporary setback, I have my life back, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. Appreciate what you have, however small. Love your family, even though they can annoy you at times. Be grateful, be thankful, and count your blessings. There is a power in being grateful. If you show gratitude for what you have, the universe will give you more to be grateful for.
And if you don’t like something, if there’s a part of your life that isn’t working for you, that doesn’t make you happy, change it. You hold the power in your life. Step up, make those changes, go after what you want, follow your heart, realise your dreams. You only have one life, it’s valuable, its precious, mould it, breathe life in to it, if it’s not how you want it, demolish it, piece by piece and rebuild it, brick by brick. Know that no matter what you are faced with, whatever happens in life, you will get through it, you are stronger than you think, than you could ever imagine. Know that you are always guided and protected and loved. Love yourself, don’t be so hard on yourself. Shine brightly beautiful being. You matter, you count. And be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.