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Broken Bone, Twisted Fate, Searching Heart

February 22, 2015

I was just walking.

I did not trip nor fall nor fail to complete some exotic arabesque dance move. I just stood up and began to walk. And in the instant of a heartbeat, my right foot gave way underneath me and the weight of my body crashed down hard on the floor.

The doctor said it was a fluke break of my 5th metatarsal bone. I saw the x-ray in the emergency department. Wow, is that really my foot bone? It was so precisely sliced in a diagonal line with a big gap between the two pieces. I had been walking and dancing on this broken foot for six days before I ended up in ER and realized the gravity of the truth.

“OMG Marcia!”, friends and family members exclaimed. “You must have advanced bone disease” – “your dance days are over” – “and what exactly is your new career plan now”? That was the nature of the conversation coming from them. My head was still spinning with the image of the severed bone. Was that really my foot bone on the x-ray? Not some childhood drawing from a pretend game of doctor and patient?

As the reality set in, my thoughts became very focused, very quickly. This was not a fatal occurrence, but a metaphoric death of my current lifestyle. I gathered the only way for me to stop my frenzied running around 24×7 life-style was this. A broken bone. A cumbersome air cast to immobilize my foot. No possibility of driving for some indeterminate amount of time. No going back to my previously scheduled and finely orchestrated life.

You may not believe in Divine messages. But I do. As Tosha Silver would say: ”this was the Divine igniting a roadside flare to finally get my attention”. This was one that I could not ignore nor deny.

This Divine intervention happened a few days after New Years. I was participating in a five day 5Rhythms® dance journey with about 80 other men and women. We were illuminating what had transpired in 2014 and dancing, meditating and voicing what we wanted to manifest for ourselves in 2015. On that fateful Saturday evening, after a long day of dancing, each of us were gathering art supplies to create a visual collage for our personal vision of 2015. As I got up to get my supplies, I began to walk and suddenly my foot bone just broke. In that instant, everything shifted. Crumpled on the floor, tears streaming down my face, pain radiating through my foot and all through my body, I had received an immediately impactful message. But what exactly was the message?

The compassionate workshop leader, Kate Shela, quickly came to me and looked straight at me as she tended my wound. Her soothing, whispering voice and gentle loving touch on my foot penetrated through my shock and trauma. She met my gaze and spoke her intuitive knowledge to me. “It is not your foot that is the concern, Marcia. It is your heart calling to you to heal what is broken inside of you.” Her words landed solidly into my being. I knew she was correct. My start to 2015 necessitated a mandatory STOP. Here was my opportunity for honoring what was screaming out for attention in my heart.

I did not enter this period of healing with gratitude and acceptance. It became an exhausting, hair raising, roller-coaster ride of ups and downs with my physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. There were many frustrating, humbling and disappointing lessons that came my way because of my restricted mobility.

I dropped into a depression and cloaked myself in a “poor me” neon-flashing-victim sign for all to see. I thought to myself, if you were in my circumstances, you would react this way too! I am a dance teacher with a broken foot! How cruel is that!

Feeling hopelessly and helplessly dependent on others, I persistently asked for help from my family, my friends and my lover. Some were able to show up and assist in whatever way they could, while others just faded into the distance and said: “I hope you get better soon”. I was alone a lot. I could not do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. My independence was severely curtailed. I desperately wanted help and to find a way to be self-reliant and resourced from within.

But here was my reality check. My broken foot left me unable to work at most of my usual jobs. Through the generosity and grace of a friend, I was able to maintain my 5Rhythms® class and one other set of creative dance classes. But these few classes were not enough to support myself financially. Additionally, not being able to drive for an indeterminate number of days, weeks or months was unfathomable to me. I drive everywhere, every day! How could I rely on others to transport my daughter, run my errands, take me out for coffee, etc? Here was my psyche bombarding me with my shadow cast of ego characters, who really wanted to continue to run this dramatic story of doom and gloom and keep me pushing to get everything done, even with a broken foot bone.

The obvious take-home message of my injury was how to embrace my externally enforced stillness and learn from it. In the map of Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms® moving meditation practice, Stillness is the final Rhythm. Gabrielle says “we don’t have to wait until we are 87 to experience Stillness. Any time we are ready we can access the lessons of stillness: wisdom, compassion and inspiration” (Sweat Your Prayers, 1998).

What had I been creating in my daily life over these past months? Could I take this opportunity to tune into what Stillness meant for me in this present moment? Could I now slow down enough to really sense and feel my breath as an inspiration to move and shape what was truly important to me? Could I practice being mindful and open to each passing day, allowing for my intuition, instinct and investigation to be freely expressed through my body? Or would I continue to override the signals that were bombarding me in many of my life situations, routinely leaving me feeling overwhelmed and frozen by my endless hamster wheel of problems in my mind?

There was a warring conflict between my head and my heart and my hara. I love teaching movement to pre-schoolers and parents with young children. I love bringing families together in movement. I love giving professional development seminars to care-givers and educators of young kids. I love teaching the 5Rhythms® moving meditation practice. So why was I in a constant struggle with the universe doing what I loved to do?

As I began to welcome and surrender to my alone time and the stillness, I made a renewed commitment to my spiritual practice. I devoted my early waking moments to reading inspirational literature, doing meditation and praying. It became a treasured part of my day. I started to feel a shift in my attitude. How was the universe supporting me in all of this? Dr. Rick Hanson speaks about finding and actually feeling support from within yourself, rather than looking outside of yourself to others to get your needs met. Was I open to the bounty of nature surrounding me, the physical support of the rest of my healthy body and my inherent desire for harmony and balance in my life?

It was time for me to quiet the loud ego characters that were acting out inappropriately and trying to sabotage this rest period. I decided to pray this prayer from Tosha Silver:

Let what wants to come, come. Let what wants to go, go.
If it is mine, it will stay. If not, whatever is better will replace it.

The spaciousness of my stillness in my body allowed for even more clarity to arise within me. I began to notice a niggling feeling inside of me when I thought of some of the work that I had been doing. I knew it was no longer serving me. It was time to energetically prune the weeds from my over-grown garden of activities. I had to re-program the outdated belief that I have to do more in order to be successful. I was now finally willing to heed the call to let go of some aspects of my life in order to make space for something better and more aligned with my true purpose.

What the universe will manifest when you are in alignment with it is a lot more interesting than what you try to manifest.

I made a decision to mine the gold from this so-called tragedy and to re-frame the experience as a necessary and welcome lesson in surrendering to what is. My spiritual guides said to me: now is your time to re-group and get crystal clear on what you really want to do with this one wild and precious life of mine.

And all it took was an abrupt earthquake from the Divine.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 23, 2015 20:53

    I hear you fully my dear; paying attention to what now surfaces is the Lyrical you have been waiting for. Your lover.

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