I’m an extremely private person. Writing about this chapter in my life is not easy for me. However, I believe we must share any pathways to recovery we discover to help others who may be struggling themselves.
If we gain some significant insight on the journey out of darkness (or just grayness), our purpose then becomes, I believe, sharing that insight with others in any way we can.
All of us experience setbacks, tragedies, and disappointments in our lives One way out, perhaps the only way, is to view these difficulties as opportunities for a more peaceful, productive, joyful, and fulfilling rest-of-our-lives. Hence, I am now sharing my experience with you.
How I (Re)Found My Purpose In Life
Journal Entry 1
Sometimes, the Universe kicks us in the ass.
Oh, I had a few nudges, which I completely ignored. That may be why the nudges picked up in frequency and intensity as time went on. Shall I share with you my ultimate ass kicking and where it led me? OK, pull up a chair.
Like most of you, I've had my share of life's tragedies. Mostly, my suffering was for my loved ones, not me directly. The illnesses and deaths of my family over a relatively short period of time were devastating. Watching someone you love suffering is the worst kind of anguish. Unbearable though it is, their ultimate passing leaves a hole in you that never fills.
But life goes on, doesn't it? I became busy with life: struggling, trying to figure it out on my own. Almost completely on my own.
MY UNCONSCIOUS LIFE
I was busy. Oh, so busy. And fearful. I needed to make money, so I went about it in the most frantic, do-everything-all-at-once kind of way. That's when the ass kicking began showing up.
I had gradually entered a period of disfunction and disorganization. I have always been an organized kind of person. An everything-in-it’s place kind of person. Now? Couldn’t find my keys. Couldn’t find my glasses. Lost my purse. Lost my credit cards, etc. My house became messy. I was behind in my bookkeeping. My art room was a disaster.
During this time of increasing disorder and decay, other life tragedies happened. I had already put down my 35-year-old Arab mare. Sunda. Then, Barney, Bill’s old dog, became sick and had to be put down. My gelding, Sundance, at last succumbed to his long struggle with founder. My whole life had been emptied.
BIG AND SMALL BLESSINGS
There were blessings that came, though. All was not loss. I became closer to my beautiful stepdaughters, Leigh and Manette. Hanna, the Chi, showed up at that time. The Universe’s way of softening all the blows? Bill’s daughters and Hanna filled up some of those holes. What blessings! Which is fortunate because the nudges I was telling you about? They got personal. I mean, my person, my body.
What was the state of my mind at this time? A sorry state, that’s what. Anxiety had always been a problem. Now it was off the charts. Worry, anxiety, fear, more worry. You could say my mind was taken over. Completely. What happens when that happens? I will tell you, dear reader.
HELLO. THE UNIVERSE IS CALLING
Because I was lost in my head with what I needed to do and how fast I needed to do it, I was whizzing around at a frantic pace. Because I was not in the present moment, always worried about what I needed to do next when I got done with this, I was not paying attention.
On my way to pick up meds for my sick cat, I rolled right through a stop light that wasn’t lit for me. It was slow motion; I almost came to a stop before hitting the truck turning in front of me. Fortunately, no one was hurt. My Jeep, apparently not so tough after all, was totaled. I was so lost in my head, I wasn’t even aware I was driving.
Should have woken me, right? It only made me more frantic and anxious.
I was trying to prepare for exhibitions in art shows. Bill and I had done them for years. It’s rewarding and can be lucrative, but it’s also very, very hard. And there had been two of us. Now, there’s just me. And I’m older.
Still, I was sure I could do it. I was struggling to create the art, gather display components, setting up the shows, and manning them. Because I was overwhelmed and tired, I started stumbling and falling. I was, again, not paying attention to the present moment, thinking about the next thing to do, and going on well past fatigue. I banged my knees and other parts painfully, fortunately not doing significant damage. But each fall seemed to get worse.
You can see it coming now, can’t you?
The latest blow, the tragic loss of Manette during this time, was profoundly saddening. She was always a pillar of strength and had been there for me when I lost Bill, her father. My physical and psychological toughness was further depleted.
Struggling to get inventory made for the area’s spring shows, I was loading up the cargo trailer with completed products for the show that weekend. It was late. I was dead tired. I was pushing myself to get my stuff loaded so that tomorrow I could just pull out, set up the show, then get home to make a little bit more inventory, etc., etc., etc.
While carrying a box down the steps, I lost my balance, stumbled, or something and fell from the top step, onto the concrete below. I could hear the bones cracking, then cracking some more as I bounced this way and that. My final flop brought my left foot into view as it swung overhead, bent to an unnatural angle, dangling loosely as if it was flying off the end of my leg. The bone sticking through the skin was obvious, though the pain didn’t hit immediately. Just a sickening feeling as I realized what I had done to myself. Then I started screaming.
The Universe had not completely forsaken me. My angelic friends next door heard my screams and came running to my rescue. They held my hand and kept me from going into shock until EMS came. I was now entering the most physically challenging episode of my life. Ever.
A NEW REALITY
Long story short, I had suffered a trimalleolar open break. Meaning, both sides of the ankle, and the small bone in the back were broken, with the inside ankle bone breaking the skin. The good news was it was pristine inside, no shards or loose bits, and no infection. After two surgeries, my ankle was all screwed and bolted back together. I thought maybe not so bad. Eight weeks I’ll be getting out of the cast and back in business.
You see, the worst problem with broken ankles is you can’t put weight on them. And since mine was broken every which way the all around, I wouldn’t be able to put weight on it for three months, which would be followed by months of painful therapy. My hurry-up life had been interrupted.
THE WAY OUT
Now, I’m not going to dwell on the struggle part of “my story”. Suffice it to say, the challenges of day-to-day life were enormous. But, with the help of my friends and emotional support from my stepdaughter, I made it through alive. Because I was forced into immobility and non-doing, I had a lot of time to think and study.
That’s the point of these posts. Through this awful experience, I reached a better place in my life. This journal is how I survived the ass-kicking and got my life onto a better track. Are you interested?
To be continued……. Journal Entry 2.