“I hope your trip is safe and easy,” was one of the last things my husband said as I was leaving for my road trip to Death Valley, California.
And it was one of the first things to pop into my mind yesterday, right after I slipped and banged my head on an icy wharf in Lincoln City, Oregon.
I was filming the sea lions (you should hear them bark, growl, cough and sneeze!) at 5:30 am on the docks next to the Pacific Seafood fishing plant. I walked carefully down the steep gangplank but wasn’t prepared for the slippery steel plank connecting the ramp to the dock.
BAM! The back of my head slammed against the steel plank, my phone skittered away and I was flat on my back staring up at the stars. I was pretty sure they were literally in the sky, but I did wonder if my brain had exploded into a million pieces.
When life isn’t easy
“It’s not an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons,” I’d said to my husband when he wished me a safe, easy trip. Life isn’t supposed to be easy; we learn this the second we’re born!
Some of us learn it in utero, or remember it from ages ago. Even if our birth was easy and smooth, we certainly picked up signs of struggle within the first 24 hours.
Life is filled with shocks, surprises and setbacks for everyone—whether you’re the doctor in charge of an “ordinary” birth or a sea lion clamoring for fish on a cold dawn morning.
When life knocks you down, take time to breathe. Lie there. Relax your body, look up at the stars, and take a deep breath. Feel your heart beat. Let your mind absorb the shock. Give your soul a chance to catch up.
When you feel ready, sit up. Gather your resources. A phone? Excellent! It didn’t fall in the ocean and disappear into a sea lion’s mouth. Mittens? Great! Warm hands for the journey. A brain that remembers where you are and how to sit up? Fabulous.
You have everything you need to keep going
As I was walking back to my camper van—caressing the goose egg on the back of my head—I had to laugh. Our skulls are amazing! So thick and strong, fierce and protective. And that gelatinous mass our brains float around in? Brilliantly designed to prevent damage when life knocks us down.
Our bodies—our hearts, spirits and lives—want to heal. Sometimes we just need to get out of the way.
Life is better than safe and easy! It’s deep and beautiful.
Before I left Vancouver, I made a video called Feel Guilty for Leaving? 4 Ways to Cope With Disapproval and Criticism.
My blog post is more detailed: Are You Struggling With Guilt for Leaving Your Family?
I also described my experience with a 3 a.m. intruder in How I Survived an Attempted Rape During a Home Invasion.
I also have osteo. You need to get the rest of your body checked even tho your head is fine. Several years ago I fell in my home. Three weeks later, I found out I’d broken a vertebra in my thoracic spine. (I’ve broken lots of bones over the years but the spinal ones will kick your butt or maybe I should say, they certainly have mine.)
Get your bones, esp. your spine checked. Do you get your bone density tested? A bone scan is a walk in the park, but vital for those of us with osteo.
Too many women are unaware.
Thank you, Ginger! I agree; there could be damage that I’m not aware of. I’m curious if you felt pain after you fell in your home? How did you find out you broke a vertebra in your spine?
I had a bone scan about a year ago. That’s how I know I have osteoporosis. It’s worse in some parts of my body than others. I don’t know if my skull was scanned, but if it’s a weak point I don’t know how I’d know if it’s cracked or something. Interesting. I’m glad you commented – I may have to ask my doctor about this.