The psyche interacts with the material world in a mysterious way. Studies such as these show how our religious thinking influences the shape of our social environment. The individual psyche also has a relationship with the body. I find that physical distress is often an expression of what goes on in my subconscious mind, indicating where I need healing personally. In this article I offer my reflections on my most recent physical injury (a broken ankle) and consider what I needed to learn about myself in the process of recovery.
The last few months have been a time of overhaul in my working life. Years of searching for ways to work in a meaningful way have culminated to a point where I was challenged to put my ideas into practice. The process has not been as smooth as I had hoped. Apart from the administrative side of organising a new job, one of my biggest challenges has been my vulnerability. Going on my own as a healer requires me to take a stand for what I believe in regardless of whether or not mainstream views endorse energy healing practices. In addition, sharing my writing with the world means that I have to be ready for criticism. I had decided to take the steps and was willing to face whatever would come my way, whether I felt ready for it or not.
Right when I thought I was all set, I broke my ankle while running. The accident presented new trials. The impact it had on my emotional well-being was significant. I could put mind over matter as far as the pain was concerned because I knew that it would not last for ever. But the lack of exercise was not conducive to a happy mood. I felt frustrated having very little control over my physical environment. I had to rely on other people even for simple things – something which I found difficult seeing that I value my independence.
In the run up to the start of my self-employed career as a healer and writer, I have been in constant dialogue with spiritual guidance. Through my dreams and meditations I have received the message that I had to continue taking steps but also be patient while I build up the strength that I would need to put my plans into action. Knowing the boundary between doing my best and trying too hard has been difficult. I still don’t have an answer, but I believe the injury has shown me the fears I had not taken into account.
If I interpret my injury on a symbolic level, I would say that I had wanted to move too fast without taking proper care of myself in the conditions. The accident involved cold temperatures and water, which is symbolic of the realm of emotion. Since I slipped on ice in an attempt to avoid stepping into water, I think there is a message about being willing to face unpleasant feelings. If I had opted for the discomfort of flowing water, I would have avoided the danger of frozen water. Since running is a performance driven sport, I recognise that there is an indication of fear of failure. Although I am no longer so competitive, running represents a way of controlling my mood and my body with the desired outcome of remaining positive and strong.
In my attempt to take charge of my destiny, I have been unwilling to give my weak, vulnerable self an equal say in the matter. Where that part of me has protested that I am not ready, I have pushed her aside in favour of the aspect of me that wants to take control through action. But without all the parts, action can only be so powerful before the segment that takes too much strain breaks. My excessive need for control points back to lack of confidence. Relying on others, which I had to do while my ankle was broken, strengthens trust that there will be support when I need it. I could cut myself some slack in my efforts to get ahead and practise being gentle to myself.
Most injuries heal even though it takes time. I had been impatient for the plaster to be removed, but when the time came closer, I was strangely afraid. I could not remember what it felt like to be able to walk normally and had fallen into a comfort zone within my limitations. My fear was justified: my foot was extremely weak and painful when it no longer had support. But pain is also necessary for recovery. I reflected on how easy it is to become attached to protection even when it no longer serves the healing process. The skill in re-learning how to move efficiently lies in finding the balance between embracing a healthy amount of discomfort and taking care of one’s vulnerable spots. If I had known how to do it properly I might not have broken my ankle to begin with. Hopefully, the experience has taught me the value of my support systems. Hopefully, also, I am learning how to do my best while still being kind to myself.