Last week I came off my bike. It was spectacular to observe, I’m told by the kind strangers who lifted me off the road. But completely freakish in outcome. For, despite propelling several metres, my front wheel coming off and my face sliding along the asphalt, I wound up with just a popped couple of ribs, some gashes and fancy bruising.
Here’s some extra freakishness: I face planted and face-slid in slow motion, and remember clearly thinking “Bugger, this is not going to be pretty”. But got up and had barely a scratch to my face. Seriously. My sunglasses had taken the full brunt of my fall. They’re shredded; my face is merely bruised!
I find all of this a beautiful thing. This is why…
I’d been starting to work myself up into a frenzy over my competing deadlines on my next book. I was too close to it. I was losing perspective and it was feeling scratchy.
But the thing is, I’d promised myself this was not going to happen this time, that I was going to enjoy the process of making this book, no matter what. I negotiated my contract with my publisher on this, rather than price.
So, just as I was about to hit frenzy mode, I was stopped in my tracks.
I was stopped in a spectacular way so that I would take note.
Of course, I came off lightly. But this only left me even more grateful and thinking, “Someone is taking care of me”. Which made me take an even greater note.
This happens to me a lot. When I act in discordance with myself and life, the universe steps in and forces me to stop. And always in the same way – incapacitating my right leg (the masculine, striving-forward part of the body) and injuring my left shoulder (the bit that protects the feminine, heart area). I’ve split my right knee open four times now. And for extra measure these accidents also take away my means of communication and transport (yep, phone and bike always get injured, this time too).
Even as I flew through the air (in slow-motion), I marveled, “Oh, here we go again…another lesson”. If you’re seasoned at having stacks, you learn to observe how time is suspended as you fly through the air and you’re able to rationalize all kinds of things – how to land, how you’re going to respond, what meetings will be inconvenienced as a result (seriously!). I know this is hard to take, but I was almost smiling to myself in that suspended moment.
The other beautiful factor here: A while ago I promised to myself I would observe my lessons more closely and act on them immediately.
So I did. After I came to and the kind strangers got me vertical, I carried my bike over the road to the fire station and asked them to look after my bike for me, got in a cab and went to work and called my publisher and said I needed to hit the pause button for a bit, to reflect and let things settle. She was totally cool about it.
Three other beautiful things. Once the shock kicked in later in the day, I cried, got my period and slept nine hours, four days in a row…hoorah!
I’m still marveling about all this and am feeling incredibly touched by life. I say this often: We are only ever dealt what we can handle. And if we’re lucky (and observe our lessons closely) we’re often dealt what we need.
Note To Anyone Who Feels Compelled To Give Me A Lecture On Wearing A Helmet: Nope I wasn’t wearing one and I’m glad I wasn’t. If you’d like to know why, feel free to read here or do your own research on the subject to learn about the science and statistics of bike crashes (there’s a reason why every country in the world – apart from Australia – have aborted their mandatory helmet laws).