Today, I visited my 89 year old mother-in-law in a rehab facility. She was a passenger in a horrifying car accident just a week ago which left her trapped in the car. Upside-down, hanging in her seatbelt, she waited for emergency crews to arrive. They broke the glass behind her head and cut her out. She suffered 6 broken ribs, a fractured collarbone, a lacerated liver, pulmonary contusions and cuts and bruises all over her body.
What didn’t break? Her indomitable spirit.
She was transferred from Trauma ICU to a rehab facility late Friday. And today, I took the long drive up to visit. Marguerite has been by her mother’s side since we arrived shortly after the accident. When she first described their new accommodations (the hospital provides an on-site dormitory room for a family member) she jokingly told me, “my mother’s in a country club, and I’m in a convent.” I saw it for myself first hand today. Let me tell you…she was right.
The “country club”, so to speak, was one of the most incredible medical facilities I’ve ever entered. This place of healing, of putting back together is filled with resilient souls, caring, vibrant staff, and an overall attitude of love and light. It’s warm and inviting. It’s a place of patience and nurturing. It’s a wonderful facility to be placed in if you have something to heal.
And don’t we all have something to heal? None of us gets through this life without having been broken emotionally, mentally and/or physically in someway. But it’s how we view those “fractured” places within ourselves that matters most. Do we shower them with love and healing and light? Or do we curse them? Push them away? Ignore them?
I lived for almost ten years without a lower spine. It was not mine, this source of chronic pain, this broken place within me. I ignored it and pushed past the pain it brought me. I cursed the injury. I disowned that part of myself.
It’s only when I learned, through my yoga practice to dance with the brokenness that I became whole again.
When I reluctantly began to embrace that part of myself, paying attention to the signals it provided me and showering it with care and gentleness and love, that’s when it became mine again. And that’s when it began to heal me from the inside out. It was the most profound healing I have experienced.
Like this incredible rehabilitation facility cultivates a sense of joy and love within its walls in which to heal, we too, can make the same choice. We can choose to bless our brokenness; our broken backs, our broken knees, our broken shoulders, our broken hearts and shower them with light. We can choose to embrace them as part of our being. If we listen closely enough, if we pay attention to them, we can learn what they have come to teach us. One of my favorite quotes from the timeless poet, Rumi, "The wound is the place where the light enters you."
It’s taking yoga off the mat. It’s letting those fractured places be a part of us again. Because, quite simply, they already are. We can choose to ignore them, or we can embrace them and welcome them home. And in that place of welcoming…we will allow a greater healing to begin.
(blessings to my mother-in-law, to Marguerite whose devotion is unwavering, and to the staff at the Helen Hayes Rehabilitation Hospital who have them in their care.)
Janice is the owner of Ananda Yoga at 22 Speedwell Avenue in Morristown. Her passion is to people heal their lives from the inside out. She shares her studies of Tantric philosophy through her teachings.