One of the things I learned about gardening long ago was that if you wanted to try and remove a plant or bush that had been there for years, you'd better be prepared for some heavy digging and pulling because the roots were guaranteed to be in there deep. Our long held beliefs can be much the same way no matter how much we have cultivated new ideas and new ways of looking at things.
Case in point. I like to think of myself as a moderately enlightened woman. Sure, I still have some old habits and ideas that I carry over from my growing-up years, but mostly I believe that our thoughts create our reality and who we are is who we say we are. I am honest enough to say that I probably should be in better physical shape than I am right now (okay, no probably about it, I should be), but I'm no where near falling apart either. That changed somewhat on Saturday.
On Saturday I spent the day with my 7 year old granddaughter, Gabby. We spent the morning putting together a mini-greenhouse for my front porch garden all by ourselves ("girls rule and boys drool," we sang out as we hi-fived each other over our mechanical triumph). After messing about in potting soil and seeds for a while, we decided to go for a walk to the garden store to check out the plants and then get some lunch. We were about 3 blocks from my apartment when I turned my head to grab her hand as we were about to cross a side street ... and the next minute I was airborne! The outer edge of my sneaker got caught on a hairline crack in the street and my upper body could not stop the forward momentum. I crashed.
My first thought: did I break anything? Body scan: nope. All parts still working. Second thought: am I hurt? Body scan: yep, banged up knee and elbow, wrenched shoulder ... and unbelievable humiliation. I was able to pull it together for Gabby's sake who by this time was in utter tears and terror that I was not okay. She helped me up and I assured her that some first aid for my scrapes and some ice cream for my pride would fix me up in no time. I limped back home and cleaned myself up. I was more battered that I realized but needed to hang in there for her until her Mom, who was 20+ miles away, could come for her. So we managed to go two doors down to Friendly's for lunch and ice cream where she announced that she was too exhausted to go plant shopping and just wanted to hang out the rest of the day (her way of dealing with stress is Netflix).
After the initial excitement calmed down, my formerly enlightened, new-age thought processes went right down the tubes and my years of conditioning took over: I was a bumbling old lady who can't even go for a walk without tripping over her own feet (never mind that this endless winter combined with cut backs to road repair in our town had resulted in cracked and broken streets everywhere). Now I was going to have to stay put for a while to heal (God knows how long that will take), will have my adult daughter treating me like I'm ancient, and with good cause! Now, keep in mind that I am just turning 65 in July and can still pull out a few yoga poses along with 5 mile walks, thank you. But in that moment, I fell back into that mindset that says 65 is old, used up, incompetent and needs taking care of.
I let that mood keep me down for about 36 hours, a long time for me to be down as the most I usually allow a bad mood to hang on is about 12. I did not even post to my blog on Monday as I normally do since my left shoulder still hurts and typing doesn't feel really good(I am typing this with one hand-Yay Me!). This morning I sat my butt down in a chair (the floor is out until the knee heals) and did a gratitude meditation: I am grateful for this day, and each new day which is the gift of a new beginning. I am grateful that I wasn't hurt more severely, that Gabby is okay, that this will all heal, and that I learned something important. I am not as enlightened as I think I am and I still have a lot of deeply rooted beliefs about who I am regardless of my age or physical condition. I still have work to do. Fortunately we are all still a work in progress.
Today I have mastered one-armed bed making, showering, dish washing, cat box cleaning and breakfast making ... and typing. Yeah, girls rule!
And so it is.