Four years ago I went to Khatmandu, Nepal, with my Buddhist teacher and a few friends. The first few days of the trip were amazing - my teacher's presence seemed to unlock doors that would be otherwise closed and I was tingling with excitement at all the incredible experiences and connections we had made.
Then I fell.
Walking along the noisy, crazy streets surrounding Bodha my mind was lost in the strange meeting I'd just had with a Sadhu (meditating yogis who live close to sacred sites, distinguished by their white painted bodies and decorated eyes, with long dreadlocks and wearing only a dhoti - a loose sarong garment covering the lower body), after meditating in a tiny cave and walking alongside the burning ghats by the river (where ceremonial funeral burnings take place ).
Then I woke up.
I found myself tipping forward - it felt like slow motion - I attempted to correct my balance, and realised I was headed, almost ramrod like, straight for the pavement. I heard and felt the crack as my forehead smacked the ground and the crunch as my teeth shattered. I'll never know why I didnt put out my hands to attempt to break my fall . . .
The rest of my trip was full of hospital and dental visits, repairing my shattered teeth and checking there were no hidden concussions. I found myself wanting to come home - the "honeymoon" was over.
In the end I did end up bringing my flight forward and returning a few days early, deflated and emotional.
I settled in, still haunted by the smack and crack as I had hit the ground, and wondering why I hadnt broken my fall.
Over the next few months, a disturbing development began. I tripped and fell a number of times more - unravelling a hosepipe outside our back door - from a standing position (!), I caught my foot and ended up sprawled on the gravel - no damage this time other than a few bruises. Going up steps I kept catching my foot and losing my balance.
I began to worry something neurological was going on . . .
At the same time, because of the tripping, I began to take extra care when going up and down steps and stairs. And I noticed - just how much I wasn't noticing!! It was almost as if my body was running along ahead of my consciousness - I could see that I was paying no attention to where my feet were landing, and what lay ahead on my path. As I took the time to notice, inevitably I slowed down. A whole different physiological experience took over. I began to feel more spacious, connected - not just to my feet, and the ground, but to my heart, my breathing, my whole body.
And I stopped tripping!
Until a few weeks ago, when I bashed the toes on my right foot, three times over a period of weeks, until the last time a week or so ago, when my toe and foot turned purple, and this time I took myself off to A & E to be checked. I had earlier fractured my toe, but it was healing, and this time I had just burst a blood vessel.
Round the circle of experience I went again - becoming mindful of where I was putting my foot, and what obstacles might be in front of it!! Exactly the same experience - a kind of waking up sensation - a real noticing just how disconnected I was becoming from my environment, and I've stopped bashing my foot!
When was the last time you stubbed your toe, bashed your head on a cupboard door - cracked your elbow on the door jamb? Even walked right into something?!!
Is it time that you slowed down, began to look, began to notice? Are you rushing around, totally disconnected from your body and environment?
If you do decide to commit to noticing, and you do slow down, you may begin to experience some uncomfortable emotional shifts. Very unconsciously we can rush and rush away further from some emotional experience we want to push away, often resulting in a trip or a bash!
So, as always, it's time for some nurturing connection. Perhaps you need to give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you are avoiding? And perhaps you need to give yourself some care.
Practicing the Principles of Solitude - gently, and Acceptance - of yourself - and of course, Nurture Rituals, allows us to have space to process our feelings without being overwhelmed.
And it also looks after our toes and our teeth!!!
So, maybe today, you could watch where you're putting your feet?
And practice the Four Principles instead?!
I'd love to hear how you go on :-) xxx