Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Zen Lessons from a Broken Ankle: Happy Anniversary

It's only been 7 days since I broke my ankle while vacationing in Maine and yet I feel like I have been stuck in this chair for weeks. I had so much work to do in the studio when I got back from vacation that I was stressing about work the whole time I was away. Two silk paintings needed to be mounted, then framed and shipped out immediately. I needed to complete 2 more silk paintings on a deadline. I had to make and mat a custom sized large print for a customer also on a deadline and I needed to make fall and winter prints for all my galleries in time for the seasonal change out.  I also had signed up for the The Sketchbook Project and had not even started working on my sketchbook since it arrived. And on and on it went, a long and overwhelming list that marched through my brain everyday like a maniacal mantra.

Then on the last day of vacation I broke my ankle while dashing across the street to catch the sunrise over the Atlantic ocean one more time. So now I can't do any work for a few months and all of that worrying about how will I ever get it all done when I get home was for naught!! I was far from "being present in the moment" that morning, I wasn't fully there with my husband enjoying his company and the magnificent ocean and  sunrise.

Don and I were on vacation celebrating our anniversary a week early. We had gone to the spot where we spent our honeymoon 19 years earlier.  My mind was racing with millions of stressful thoughts of things I wanted to do before we left, what needed to be done to pack up the RV, what I needed to launch into as soon as I got home and so on. We were briskly walking towards the beach and the sun had already risen in a cloudless sky so the light was blinding. I turned to say something to Don and down I went, having never even seen the step down from the curb. I laid in the road for a while dazed and then got up and promptly fainted and fell to the ground again.

For the first 3 days after I got my cast, walker and wheelchair I was filled with regret and remorse over that fated step.  Feelings of overwhelming sadness would wash over me and I cried a lot....over everything.  I had to cancel orders, postpone deliveries,and notify galleries that I was basically shut down for the busiest 2 seasons of the year; Fall Foliage and the Winter Holiday season. As the days pressed on  was also discovering that recovering from the broken ankle is further complicated by my Lyme disease and autoimmune disease issues.

The first few days I was battling the wheel chair and walker. At one point I even flung the walker across the room in a fit of rage. Other times I have gotten my self stuck in the wheelchair in the narrow hallway between the bathroom, dinning room and studio doorways having to make dozens of micro-movements to get myself free from my hallway prison. For a person who has never been accused of being patient this was a crash course in slowing down and letting go.

Today  is the actual date of our 19th anniversary, I am stuck in a recliner during the day and sleeping on a bed in the dinning room downstairs at night. Don is off at work today and will be sleeping in our bed upstairs tonight  but that hardly matters as long as we have each other and as long as we both have our health. He has been calling down to me every night before he goes to sleep and every morning when he wakes up and I have been answering back......."I love you too sweetheart".  None of the other stuff matters.


  1. Sometimes life chucks such horrible incidents at us to give you time to put things in perspective. Sounds absolutely dreadful, but your ending lines really brought a tear to the eye. I do hope you recover soon.
    Incidentally, your mention of the sketchbook project inspired me to join up myself, the husband and my best pal!
    Be positive.

  2. Thank You Anonymous! I am so glad you are doing the sketchbook project! Let me now if it can be viewed online at some point.

  3. It'll soon be a faded memory! I broke mine ice skating sometime back in 1991, I now have tons of hardware in my body because of that break. I was on crutches for a full year because my bones were stubborn and refused to heal.

    Use this time to create something beautiful, this could be God's way of making you slow down and focus!

  4. I forgot to add during that year I created a LOT of wonderful small quilts, my grandmother taught me how to crochet OVER THE PHONE, and yes the Lord did use that time to make me rethink my life.