The lesson I learned from getting injured on vacation

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I was so very excited. My mom and I had been traveling all through Vietnam, and we eventually made our way to Cambodia. On our final day of our marathon of a vacation we were to be visiting the famed Angkor Wat (on New Year’s Day). I mean…what an amazing way to kick off 2020! This was at the top of my bucket list since I was about 17 years old. Little did I know, 2019 had one last lesson it wanted to teach me while on vacation…I became injured with a sprained ankle.

New Year’s Eve…

Needless to say, between the 90 degree heat and the packed tour schedule, my mom and I were physically exhausted by just mid-day on New Year’s Eve. At dinner I was bubbling over on the inside, knowing that we would be visiting the famed temples. At some point I jumped up and glided through the restaurant and outside, toward the restroom. I felt so dancy, like I was floating through the air. This was when my foot hit a crack in the walkway that was elevated ever so slightly. The side of my foot then rolled under the weight of my leg. I went tumbling down…which was when I heard a “pop”. That’s right. I had sprained my ankle the night before we were to visit Angkor Wat.

My ankle had a lesson it wanted me to learn.

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OW!!! But it hadn’t started changing colors yet!

The Angkor Wat complex covers 402 acres, so needless to say…there was going to be a lot of walking. In the heat. With my big. fat ankle. I started to think there was no way I would be able to make it on our tour. I had traveled all the way to Cambodia, and I will have left without ever experiencing the splendor that is the Angkor Complex.

So that night, on our way home, I sat…crying…with mom consoling me in the back of the car with our driver trying desperately to get us back to our hotel quickly even though traffic was at a stand-still.

I spent New Year’s Eve in tears. Gee, thanks, 2019.

This was something I had ALWAYS wanted to do, and I couldn’t believe that my dream was about to be tossed out all because of my ankle!

I spent some time in contemplation about what I could possibly learn from this situation. I came away with a few things:

1. I WILL NOT allow my past to limit my future. For a bit I thought I’d have to cancel the Angkor Wat trip. Then I thought: hell no! This is something I have ALWAYS wanted to do!

2. Accept help. Our tour guide was amazing. We let him know what happened, and he found a way to make it so that I could enjoy the most amazing parts of Angkor Wat.

3. Slow Down. I tend to want to speed through things. It’s a learned habit, thanks to Westernized upbringing (we have a tendency to want to rush EVERYTHING). With a swollen, painful ankle, I had no choice but to slow down and take it in. I was hobbling along and breathing with my healing ankle as we made it through Bayon, Ta Phrom, and Angkor Wat. If you need help with that, this Body Scan Meditation is perfect!

4. I was forced to pay attention to what my mom needed. I admit…I’ve got a part of my personality that lives to push and strive and experience things at an intense level, making me rather physically competitive and eager to prove my strength and endurance. This part of my personality is great when it’s time to kick anything into high gear (physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually). Unfortunately, it means that I tend to disregard the physical and emotional limitations of those around me. We were in 90 degree heat, and had I been physically capable of doing it, the bull-dozer part of my personality would have insisted in trekking many kilometers, in the dust and heat, with my mom (who was suffering from heat exhaustion and allergies as it was.

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Although it tried to sabotage my trip to Angkor Wat, my rolled ankle was a blessing.

I appreciate that it brought me back down to Earth and helped me to take away these “ahas”.

I am beyond grateful for these lessons. I am grateful for all my body has to teach me every day. I am even more grateful that I had the opportunity to open 2020 with my beautiful mother, and in such a spectacular way…and yes…even though I was injured.

What are your injuries trying to tell you?

Most of the time, when folks find themselves “momentarily incapacitated” (or injured), they may curse at the event that injured them. They may resent the moment that it happened, and allow that moment to continue paint later moments with frustration and despair. The afflicted body part may be screaming for attention and love, when the mind just wants for it to hurry up and heal already.

Think about the last time that you were injured. Besides the pain and anguish it caused, what else could have been the message behind the injury? If you find yourself in a place where you are injured right now, I want to challenge you to get quiet. Send attention and love to your injury. Imagine the cells within it filling with unconditional love and space. Let it know how much you appreciate it showing you what you need to know about the present moment.

And just listen.

If you are interested in reading more about the fascinating ways that your body is always trying to communicate with you, check out this post: Make Better Decisions Through the Mind Body Connection.

This is sometimes easier said than done. Just for practice, you may want to try this Body Scan Meditation.

Let me know if this post was helpful to you by posting in the comments below.

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