Yesterday as I buzzed around from one task to another, my back sent a tinge of pain that was echoed from the past. In that moment, I found myself thinking upon when I had my back injury.
Back on October 28th, 2021, I was rushing about and did not see the patch of slippery water on my bathroom floor. In one split second I went from full able bodied to the worst pain I have experienced in my life (and I birthed four children). As I filled a water bottle to pour into my diffuser, I envisioned adding some peppermint in and pulled from the future of what that moment would feel like…to be grounded and calm as I sat down for my next online client session.
Well, I was grounded alright as water dropped from my newly filled cup, I had the briefest of a flashing thought, “be careful, you may slip on that water…” Oh that thought was ever so brief and no sooner had a microsecond passed, my feet went up above my head and down I went in one ungraceful and swift swoosh. I was on the ground and screaming in excruciating pain. I could not collect my thoughts as I instinctively rolled over in a child’s pose and did the best I could to breath through that moment. The body is a wonderful thing, it takes over and does what is needed when survival is at stake. While still very much in pain, I was able to regain my mind enough to think of my client who would be waiting online for me in two short minutes.
I began yelling for my family. I needed help. No one responded. No one was home. I was alone and unable to move. I had my Apple Watch on so, thankfully, I was able to text my oldest daughter for help. Thankfully, she was just pulling up to our home and came running inside. She grabbed my phone and I sent my client what was the most comprehensive message I could fathom. My ethics brain kicked in…”do not tell too much, don’t make your client hold your pain, boundaries Jen…”
Here is what I was able to say,
“I am so sorry. I need to cancel. I was prepping for our session (filling my humidifier) and slipped on some water in my bathroom. On my back right now. I need to reschedule. Will text later.”
See while there are different schools of thoughts on how to communicate with a client when the therapist is the one in pain, I modeled being human and real and in that moment I was being my authentic self…the best I could anyway while in blinding pain as I considered whether to head to the ER or not and I may have…if I could have moved.
See I had slipped on slippery water while I was rushing about from one thing to the next and in between clients. I had let me last client go beyond that 50-minute mark and had mere minutes to tend to my in-between session needs. My mind was in overload and I was not living the lessons I taught so passionately to my clients. I was overbooked and had over extended myself beyond too far. I did not take the care needed in that moment to slow down and pay attention and I was fully in the repercussions of that lesson now.
Vernon Law says, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.”
During that time and through my healing, I came to a realization that my body is in fact more fragile than my yesteryears and did not so easily rebound. I also found myself within a sort of existential crisis of aging and how short life is. Being unable to move freely and do the things I loved was difficult. Why was my body not cooperating?!?!
Paralleling this unfortunate event was a sense of reset into what is important, what direction I wanted to head, and what this included. It took a months to heal and it was one day at a time. I took the first week off from clients as I was unable to walk with ease…let alone sit in one position for each client session. It was a painful lesson.
While healing, I also had to practice some self-compassion between what I wanted to do and what I could actually do and also carry that lesson to today to slow down, do not rush, enjoy this moment—even if things are not where I want them to be. Living a valued based life is, while clichè, about the journey and not the destination.
While I slowly healed through present day, it left a distinct lesson in its wake. My back still aches upon occasion to this day. It now serves as a reminder that—while I am functioning pretty well now—I need to take care of my body, mind, and overall life balance.
I am not perfect- I still fall into the hustle and bustle and the glorification of societal influence and pressure within the glorification of busy. Heck! If I am hustling and bustling within a passion and living within my values bring it on : ) However, today the tinge of echoed back pain serves as a worthy reminder to be followed. It is one day at a time and often moment to moment decisions of which path to take in front of me. My mind tells me, “remember to pace, Jennifer, pace.”
Moral of the Story: avoid the puddles of “water” that lay before you as metaphorical disguises of the glorification of busy. 😊💛