I have a chipped bone in my elbow. “How did that happen?” you may ask. Well, like most of my bone fractures, quite by accident. I have had enough of these things to know how it feels. So no, at this time I am not going to be going in for an X-ray just to confirm what I already know. At least it is not all the way broken. I had a friend who had that happen to her at the end of last year. That was not fun for her at all. No, this is a chip or, at the very least, a hairline fracture. The funny (NOT) thing about injuries is that no matter how careful or careless you may be, you can pretty much count on re-injuring it at some point. Just yesterday I hit that elbow on a doorway. It was like having the original injury all over again. Since then it has been excruciating, which is why I am awake at 4:30 A.M. and writing this. I figured that, as long as I am awake anyway, I might as well make the most of it. And I don’t really need my elbow to do my typing.
Baring any weight is out of the question. So is practicing my guitar for my lessons, because that is the elbow that needs to maneuver most while doing chords on the neck of the guitar. At least, with the most awesome teacher on the planet, there is still lots of stuff that I can do for learning more about music in general, let alone guitar playing. Fortunately, I do have a music background, so it is just a matter of dusting off the music reading skills and off we go.
Having bone injuries, of which I have had many, is rather like opening yourself up from the inside out. It completely puts chaos into your day for weeks, sometimes months. Just as you think it might finally be alright, something will happen that lets you know how foolish you were to think so. The pain can be anywhere from consistently constant to spontaneously sporadic. It truly forces you to live in the moment.
While it does this, it also forces you to slow down and consider the consequences of any action you are contemplating. The possibility of re-injury is so great that it is just not worth the risk at times. We could learn a lot about life from every bone injury that we receive. As inconvenient as it is (and as painful as it can be), I do appreciate the fact that a bone injury can be a gift, if we know how to receive that gift.
In a world of completely hectic hustle and bustle, there is definitely something to be said for slowing down. Once we take high performance off the table as an expectation, we are able to become much more reasonable in what we expect of ourselves at any given moment. It is not a matter of thinking that we are weak or incapable. It is a matter of respecting the fact that even the best of us can sometimes break and need time to heal. It is much like the Japanese art of Kintsugi. What is that?
Kintsugi is a Japanese art form in which breaks and repairs are treated as part of the object’s history. Broken ceramics are carefully mended by artisans with a lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. The repairs are visible — yet somehow beautiful. Kintsugi means “golden joinery” in Japanese. This was taken from a Google search for the exact definition.
So the “golden joinery” is something that I find fascinating because it acknowledges that break as part of the history of the piece. This is where humans could really learn from art. So often we try to hide our past injuries, be they mental, emotional, spiritual or physical. Plastic surgery was developed with that as the goal of the profession. To make an injury or adjustment as invisible as possible. But our breaks and scars speak volumes of our resilience as a person. They are part of the story of us. They are evidence that we have lived through something and survived it. We don’t have to wear them with pride if that is not quite where one is. But we don’t have to hide them either. And we can certainly, at the very least, accept them as part of us.
When we learn to slow down in life, as any injury forces us to do, we are able to become more contemplative. While considering the consequences of any rash decisions in action and how that will end up reinjuring us or, at the very least, prolonging our healing, we also begin to apply that theory to our relationships and our work. People often act on rash decisions. There are not many who actually consider the consequences of those actions. And, granted, sometimes we do actually need to just act NOW in order to immediately address situations, especially those that are toxic in nature. But often people are adrenaline junkies and develop the habit of rash decisions in order to get that rush. This is unhealthy. When we look at our lives and take time to consider what our decisions have been, many will find that many of their decisions were based upon a single moment in which the decision was a matter of being swept up in the energy of the event, instead of considering what the long-term repercussions would be. So taking the moment to consider consequences of actions is not a bad thing. It may be inconvenient and it might not give us the same adrenaline rush as a spontaneous decision might. But it can actually serve to keep us safe from harm.
Bone injuries have also always given me the opportunity to reassess what it is that I do or do not feel in my bones. When you feel something in your bones, you are usually onto something. It is part of our complex intuitive process. It isn’t flippant or whimsical. It is deep. It is profound. And it is truth on the deepest level. It is important, however, to remember that it is YOUR truth, on the deepest level. That does not mean that it is true for absolutely everyone else in the world or that it even should be or has to be. It is YOUR truth. No one can take that from you. No one else on the entire planet has to even believe it or accept it. But you can stand strong in what your own personal truth is on the matter. I admire people who do this. It is something that I have done most of my life. Becoming vocal about it was something that came along much later, and much to the chagrin of those around me because it did not necessarily match their truth. But if my truth had to match theirs, it would no longer be my truth. It would become simple dogma. If it happens to match theirs, that is great, but the expectation that it must is not.
What you know in your bones can be exclusively your own inner wisdom. The fact that it is yours alone does not disqualify it in any way, shape or form. If you follow that inner wisdom it will never lead you astray.