6 months ago a tree dropped a 6ft branch 50 feet onto my noggin. It bloody hurt, a lot, I believe I let out a few choice words. It was somewhat shocking, terrifying and eye watering. Funny thing is I had gone out for a walk to get away from the teenagers, and to walk of a shocking headache.
(Ok not the actual tree but you get the idea!)
The irony was not lost on me! I have heard that when something really serious happens, something which could potentially change everything, maybe even end everything, a calm kind of takes over. You hear people who have had near death experiences say that a kind of stillness comes over them. A feeling of surrender and bliss. Angels sing and they see a white light…..Well that didn’t happen, no siree instead, I had a good cry, a good shake, and I swore a lot.
Amidst the shaking and crying the thought that I may actually die, pop my clogs, move on did cross my mind. And weirdly enough although I was in pain and shock the idea that I might die under the tree was somehow ok! I know that sounds weird, even now it seems weird! But there you are.
The branch was a big ole boy, heavy, gnarled and with a sure aim and clearly on a mission. If the mission was to stop me in my tracks then it succeeded. I was well and truly stopped. A trip to the hospital, neck brace, scan’s showed no life threatening damage hurray! Although six months on I am still under the hospital which is not so good. Weirdly as I was taped down to the bed in my neck brace doctors and nurses popped in to shake my hand and congratulate me on my good luck on, a) not dying and b) not being paralysed. I did think that was a cool way to look at it, glass half full rather than what a crappy thing to happen. I had a serious injury and survived!
Funny thing is that for years I had been saying I needed to slow down, do a little less work, take time out to write, to bake, to walk in the woods, have a dog, but every single time I did slow down fear took over. Fear that I might not be making enough money, that if I didn’t keep generating income that somehow all the goodwill I had built up over my 20 plus years in practice would all dry up.
Fear kept me busy, fear kept me from slowing down and enjoying the ride. Fear gave me the blooming headache.
I would meditate, make mood boards, practise visualizing my perfect work life balance, and I would have mini breakthroughs, moments that meant I could get a taste of what working to live felt like rather than living to work. Don’t get me wrong I love work, and perhaps that was part of the problem why stop doing what you love? And within that loving to work and living to work I found a way to escape some of the difficult stuff that was going on in my personal life. And then that overworking became a habit, a habit I was far to terrified to break.
Then one fine day a lousy headache sent me into the path of a dying tree, a tree that would change the course of my personal history. Nothing would ever be the same again.
Needless to say the impact of the tree has had a seriously detrimental physical effect, my neck and back have suffered severe compression injuries, I have continual headaches, constant neck and back ache, and inability to concentrate for long periods of times.
Funny thing is in my fantasy world I used to dream of my days being made up of walking the dog, writing blogs, working on my novel, seeing 3-4 clients a day and having time to chew the fat with family and friends.
And now thanks to my injury, I now can only see between 3-4 clients a day, any more than that and I get raging headache, and have to take to my bed. I write blogs and have found energy in restructuring my business and seeing my friends.
In the aftermath of the injury I had moments of euphoria when I was just so grateful to be alive, so grateful to still have time with my family and friends, time for me. And I bought myself a dog! It isn’t all happiness and roses though as my dog “Norm the dude” doesn’t like walking, he is a more let’s take a ride in the car and go sit in a coffee bar kind of dog, I’m working on him! I also became braver, I started thinking about the way I wanted my life to be, what I wanted to do, how I was spending my time. This time on this planet is mine, all mine and I will never get it back and I am not going to waste one single moment.
I started moving my focus and then in turn my energy, to the way I wanted my life to look and the way I wanted to feel. And you know what my life started to fall into place. I have never felt happier, more fulfilled or more engaged.
I don’t recommend a bang on the head, I wish I had listened to my inner voice sooner. I wish I hadn’t needed a brush with my own mortality to wake me up to the fact that this moment I am inhabiting is the most precious the most valuable commodity there is.
But I didn’t and the tree did bang me on the head! And actually maybe just maybe it woke me up!