Saturday, February 7, 2015

Where is Your Pearl?

"In the garden by the sea, raking up diamonds for you and me" ~ Pocket Crown
Finding Healing

I broke my fibula (small long bone in lower leg) and sprained ribs on the opposite side just before Christmas, 2014. I slipped on some mud on a trail and ended up in a big pig wallow. Boy, was I muddy! After some initial swearing and frustration over my own stupidity and the ruin of our lovely plans for an afternoon of plein air painting, and with the assistance of 2 sticks and my daughter and husband, I hopped back out to the road and our car. I kept saying to myself, “It’s not broken, it’s not broken, it didn’t happen, it’s NOT broken.” We went straight to the hospital emergency room (35 miles away) and found that it was cracked, but not displaced, and I would not need surgery. “A lucky break,” is how the doctor characterized it.

Well, I’ve always been lucky, but I didn’t feel that lucky right then when I was covered with mud and in a lot of pain.

Primary medical advice was to simply rest, ice, and elevate my leg as much as possible for the next 6-8 weeks. Good advice, and I did that a lot, but I was not going to leave it at that when I know so many alternative healing tools.

The first thing I did was to ask for healing help from all the shamans and healing circles I knew around the world. When I had a follow-up x-ray 10 days later, there was no sign of a crack that had clearly been there just days before. The doctor denied that my leg could heal this fast. “Bones just don’t heal that fast.” I refused to believe this.

I did a lot of conscious breathing and relaxation. I would breathe in healing energy and breathe out with focus on my leg, or imagine the healing flowing in the top of my head and down through my entire body. This was usually effective for diminishing pain, at least for short periods of time. Another effective pattern was to breathe in with my focus on the pain and out with my focus outside my body, usually into wood.

I made friends with my boot/cast and my walker and harmonized their use. I watched funny movies and laughed a lot, even when it hurt my ribs.

I've had some interesting garden journeys around healing this leg and ribs. First off, I had the "Knitting Ladies" return. They were my healers years ago and can knit almost anything back together, including relationships. There are 3 of them and they are good friends. Someone on the Hunatics Facebook group had teeth problems and someone else called in the "Big Bone Dudes" to help, so I asked them in, too. I love those Dudes! They’re a lot of fun and they get along great with the Knitting Ladies. What a party they've been having in my garden!

I got sort of alarmed that I was feeling out of control, shattered, emotionally unstable, and weepy every day. That's not like me and I didn't seem to be able to do anything about it. I breathed, did Dynamind, clung to my 1-minute belief, and mentally redirected my thoughts over and over, but it didn't seem to take. I’d get over it eventually and the next day, the same thing would happen.

 One day I nearly fell over and realized that I was "off balance" both physically and emotionally. For some reason I found that awareness comforting. I wasn’t completely losing it; I was just off balance. Being "off-balance" is hard for a Libra!

I asked Serge about it during Shaman Circle in Second Life and he suggested letting it sweep over me, and then going into my garden to do symbol change work.

I did that the next time it happened. As I walked into my garden along the familiar path, I saw a lot of signs - in Japanese! These turned to English after I laughed and said that this was my garden after all, the signs should be in French or English, languages I can read. All the signs said positive things like "You are healing well!" "You are much loved" "Your leg isn't broken anymore!" "Everything’s working out perfectly!" and “You’re strong!”

So I was getting signs, I just wasn't reading them correctly.

When I went into my garden, all was well and calm, sunny and warm. It was tidy and lush, and a menehune was beckoning to me from my healing hut. I went in and lay down on a cool, ti-leaf covered punee and asked for a symbol of my current state. I got a Brillo pad! Brillos are a tightly coiled wire scrubbing pad with soap inside, pretty heavy-duty. What a tangle! I’ve certainly been wound up. I changed that into a mink massage mitt. (Later I related it to "scrubbing bubbles," which is what my leg feels like when I send healing energy to it - it feels fizzy, like carbonated soda pop.)

Then I heard a voice saying "Where is your pearl? Find your pearl and put it on." So I made my way out of my garden, in search of my pearl, literally. I'm a kind of literal gal.

About 10 years ago, a dear friend gave me a beautiful Tahitian pearl that she'd bought from Aloha International as a donation. I have always worn this pearl since then, only taking it off for massages, and usually putting it back on immediately afterward. When I went into the Emergency Room after I broke my leg, I took it off because I was going to have a chest x-ray. I put it safely in the pocket of my purse and didn't put it back on when I got home. I thought of it several times and still didn't put it back on.

 I immediately went to my purse and got out the pearl and put it on. I felt a sense of well-being that hasn't diminished since, and I have been much better balanced and less weepy and out of control. I also felt more energetic and walked a few steps without crutches the next day.

Again, I shared this feedback with Serge in Shaman Circle. His input was that there could be a deeper level of meaning, too. "Mary Kelly wrote a book about the "Path of the Pearl", in which she said the pearl begins with an irritation/problem and the oyster turns it into a thing of beauty/transformation. So, maybe, the question could also be about how you are turning this problem into something that you maybe can learn from and share with others."

I have done that, and offer some practical tips for post-injury care in a previous post.

 I have also thought about the pearly blessings I've received from this injury:

1. My loving husband has taken beautiful care of me, and our relationship is stronger and more loving than ever.

2. My dependence on him has taught me that my worth is not dependent on what I can DO.

3. My friends have been loving and supportive.

4. I have learned to ask for and accept help and healing.

5. I've had the time and space to design and bead many different prototypes for a new product line.

6. I've used different healing modalities and learned some new ones.

7. I've learned to be very present in the moment. I move slowly and (hopefully) gracefully through my life, aware of every step I take.

8. My awareness of and compassion for folks with disabilities has increased.
9. I no longer take for granted simple pleasures like standing at the sink to brush my teeth, making a cup of coffee for my sweetheart, cooking, or watering my garden.

Where is YOUR pearl?

Practical Tips for Post-Orthopedic Injury Care

I recently fractured my fibula and sprained several ribs on the opposite side. I think that possibly because I was a medical administrative professional in a prior life and could understand and speak their language, the doctors and nurses assumed I would know more about how to handle all of this than I actually did.

Well, savvy as I was, I'd never experienced a broken leg, or sitting for weeks at a time, and had no idea of how to proceed. I was just as spacey and shocky and clueless (and then drugged) as any other patient in the emergency room. I ended up feeling like I should have gotten a basic care sheet with ideas on how to handle the practical aspects of immobility.

Practical Suggestions for Post-orthopedic Injury Care

Some of these apply to any time you are injured or immobilized for any length of time.

1. Get full information. It helps to have someone with you who can ask questions, listen to the answers and write things down. When you are in shock or pain, you tend not to remember what you were told. Asking these questions will alleviate anxiety when you get home - and that makes it easier to heal.

You may not receive detailed after-care instructions when you leave. If you do, read them carefully the next day.

- from the Emergency Room before you leave there.
    Where is the nearest pharmacy?
    Are pharmacies open now? (after-hours, on weekends)
    What are the side effects of the drugs you are prescribing?
    How do I use the tools you gave me? (crutches, walker, cane, wheelchair)    
    Why are those tools appropriate for my current physical state?
    What resources are available to help with my care?

- from the doctors you subsequently see
    Formulate questions before your appointment and write them down.
    Write down the answers.
    What can I do? What are my limits?
    How much pain should I reasonably expect?

2. Ask for help. Get as much help and as many helping tools as you can, as soon as possible. Relying on one person to handle your care puts a big stress on that other person. Spread out your care and arrange for respite for your primary care provider. Many people may offer help and care – be specific about what aid you need. Don’t get offended if people don’t follow through or seem to be more interested in their own problems and ailments.

3. If you are unable to lie down and will be mostly sitting, immediately get a doughnut pillow that cradles your butt and relieves pressure.

4. Change position at least hourly. After changing position, massage area lightly if possible. Staying in one position for hours at a time often leads to pressure sores (so-called “bed sores”). Muscles can also harden and circulation lessens if you are not moving around or being massaged regularly.

5. Bone fractures take energy to heal. You may need to eat more calories to sustain healing, and be sure to eat lots of dark leafy greens and calcium-rich foods.

6. Narcotic pain relievers can be enormously useful if they are utilized with caution, care and awareness. They can also be addictive no matter how aware you are that they can be addictive. Your pain may not go away, but you will think about it differently. Use them under medical supervision and in conjunction with other healing methods and other ways of changing your thinking.

Your thinking directly affects your feelings and healing, particularly criticism of yourself or others. When I was critical of my emergency medical care afterwards, I immediately experienced increased pain in my leg. I then blessed them and acknowledged that they did the best they could under the circumstances and that I was grateful for their care. The pain went away immediately.

7. Send loving calming energy to your injured part. Reassure it. Smile into it frequently. Smiling often changes your entire outlook. Changing your posture can also change your outlook.

8. Remember that your worth is not dependent on what you can DO.

9. Patience and gratitude are qualities worth cultivating.

10. Be as kind to yourself as you are to others, and be very kind to everyone.
contains 10 very good tips as well as a description of a much more serious injury and her experiences afterward.