Gifts of Injury

I broke a rib in early October and launched a (so-far) 6-week living meditation on the gifts of injury. I have colleagues, students and clients who deal with injuries, so I hear about them almost daily. I check in with someone who has plantar fasciitis threatening, or a flared up IT band, or a pulled hamstring. I counsel them to start a dialog with their body and the injury. Listen to what seems to help. Get different experts’ opinions. Try new things. And be patient. So this past six weeks has been time for me to heed all of that myself. Here are some entries I’ve made into the list of gifts of injury.

Teaches us patience.

Helps us reckon with what we can control and what we can’t. For example, we can focus on getting quality sleep and a diet that will support healing. We can’t declare ourselves healed in time for race day.

Encourages us to explore other pursuits. Geniuses and star athletes came to their previously unknown calling via injury.

Shows us the value of rest, which is so invisible and under-valued in our culture.

Leads us to connect with others who have dealt with similar problems. Buddha likes this one–we tap into that deep well of compassion when we realize that there have been others going through what we’re experiencing and or course, so much worse.

Introduces us to experts we might not have valued before. We expand our resources and networks, which has benefits long after injuries have healed.

Makes us appreciate that our accomplishments were earned, and can also give us confidence that we can earn them again.

Shows us how much we love the activity we aren’t able to pursue.

I bet you’ve got something you can add, eh?

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