Today I started writing the introduction for my eBook: From the Pit of Despair to the Pinnacle of Bliss: Let Thankfulness Improve your life day by day.
The introduction was off to a great start, but I had hit a snag, so I went into the kitchen to get a cup of tea.
As I prepared the tea, I focused on thankfulness.
I did all the things I am encouraging YOU to do.
I was being careful, deliberate and intentional (or so I thought).
I was appreciating everything, like the fact that I could walk (HAH! more on that in a minute),
Or the fact that I had safe clean drinking water, and refreshing tea.
I finished my tea and got up to return to work, pivoting quickly on my left foot.
Unfortunately, the spot my foot was pivoting in, was already occupied: by the metal leg of my chair.
My left pinky toe was sticking out from my foot at a 45 degree angle.
I shouted several words which will not be repeated here.
It hurt. A lot.
I pretty much knew it was broken, because I had just been through the same thing with my RIGHT pinky toe, a few months before.
I’d gone through a lot of time, work, and trouble to heal the right pinky toe, and it was just about back to normal.
Why this? Why now?
Why did I have to go through this all again?
I could hear a sarcastic little voice in my head going, “Where’s your ‘I’m thankful for everything NOW, huh?”
Great. Just great.
So how did I handle it?
Well, since I HAD just gone through something similar with my other pinky toe, I knew what to do.
I had plenty of medical tape which I used to tape the 45 degree angle toe to the normal one next to it.
It still hurt, but at least it wasn’t sticking out at an angle.
I called the foot doctor (I only had a foot doctor because of the other recent injury) and got the earliest appointment I could.
I texted my DXH (Dear Ex-Husband) and pointed out to him that I am the biggest idiot in this region of Southern California (he didn’t disagree).
Later he texted me back a photo he’s been holding onto since 2010, showing me standing in Times Square in front of a sign for a theatre show titled “American Idiot”.
I laughed so hard I nearly fell off my chair. (Thankfully I didn’t. That’s enough injuries for one day).
So what is there to be thankful for when you have a repeated injury?
(And let’s face it, repeated injuries don’t just happen to our physical bodies, but also, to our hearts.)
The first feeling of course is pain… which we can be thankful for because it alerts us to the fact that something is wrong.
I once saw an Oprah show about a girl that was born with no ability to feel pain. This dangerous condition caused many problems in her life… she had no way to know if she had touched a hot stove and was burning her skin, etc. So, although pain is not a pleasant sensation, it’s a helpful and important one, truly something to be thankful for.
The next feeling was annoyance, irritation, and frustration. Seriously? I JUST went through this! Again????
But there too, there is much to be thankful for. Because I was now an experienced toe-stubber, I already knew what to do. Last time I stubbed/broke my toe, it took three days for me to figure out if I needed to see a doctor and if so, which one. Last time, I didn’t tape the toe right away because I was not sure that would help, and because I didn’t know how to do it. I did not have a foot doctor, because the one I had seen some years ago for something else, had retired.
But now? Now I was knowledgeable, well-equipped and prepared. I knew the drill.
Was it broken? Probably. I could tell from looking at it and from the way it felt.
Was that a panic requiring a trip to the ER? Probably not. I knew that from having called the ER last time and being told there was nothing they could do but tape it. And I knew what a trip to the ER was likely to cost, from a previous experience there, for something potentially more serious (that turned out to be nothing but left me with a hefty bill).
So even though it was annoying to have to go through this again, at least I was prepared and knew what to do. And that’s a good metaphor for all the painful life lessons we seem to keep learning, and learning, and learning again.
When you go through something more than once, you get better at it.
Practice makes perfect.
It’s not my goal to be excellent at breaking my toes, of course.
But I do want to be excellent at knowing what to do when there’s a problem, and handling it in the most effective way possible.
So that’s something to be thankful for.
But WHY have this problem to begin with?
What’s the deep spiritual meaning behind repeatedly breaking my toes?
Well, first of all, I’m a klutz. I have trouble knowing where the edges of me end and the edges of other things (such as chairs, walls, and doors) begin. Sometimes I only find this out the hard way, by walking into things.
My spatial learning disability has been the source of challenges in my life, but it’s also brought me many blessings. Because there are some things I just can’t do easily, I have been forced to be creative and find workarounds. I don’t take a lot of things for granted that others might.
I will write more about learning differences later on, but for now, we are focusing on the toe.
What is the deep spiritual significance of breaking my left pinky toe? Why did this happen to me NOW?
There is a science to understanding the meaning of the toes, just as there is to understanding the fingers and hands.
The body is a hologram and every part of it contains messages for us.
According to this wonderful blog, the left pinky toe has to do with issues relating to trust
According to the website,
“The left Earth Toe is all about trust and trusting—-trusting the Universe, trusting other people and trusting yourself.”
Well that certainly sheds light on the subject. I was doing my best to have faith and trust in the universe and in my own intuition, about what I am supposed to be doing (focus on thankfulness). I WAS focusing on thankfulness, at the exact moment when I smashed my toe into the chair leg.
So what is the message in that happening?
It seems the universe was trying to bring something to my attention, and was using forceful means because more gentle means had not worked to wake me up.
So, what was THAT all about?
Well… I have not been as regular as I should be, about my prayer and meditation this past week. I’ve been focused on doing things in the outer world, rather than putting my whole faith and trust in God and relying on HIM to show me what I need to do.
The right pinky toe (the one I broke back in January) has to do with issues relating to money and power… issues I was deeply concerned about at that time.
I take the double toe-stub as a wakeup call that I need to put more trust (left pinky toe issue) in God, to show me how to earn money and have power in the world (right pinky toe issue).
My toe will heal in a few weeks or months at the most. I know that from my previous experience. I am thankful for my body’s ability to heal, and for the wise, kind and trained professionals who know how to make things better. (When my right toe was slow in healing I went to acupuncture and physical therapy for it, both of which have made a huge difference). So, I am thankful that I CAN and God willing, WILL heal. I am thankful that this is a relatively minor injury. I am thankful that I did not RE-injure my right pinky toe, which is still healing from before. I am thankful that I am trained and prepared and know what to do to take care of myself in a situation like this.
But most of all, I am thankful that a situation I had not been focusing on enough, has been brought to my attention.
Because the whole point of pain is to bring something to our attention.
I did not realize I was having a problem TRUSTING in myself, in others, and especially in God. Injuries make us realize that we are vulnerable, and have to depend on a network of helpers to make things work for us in the world. In order for our networks to be effective, we have to TRUST that others will be there for us, just as we have to be trustworthy members of the network for others.
Injuring my toe reminds me that other wounds I am carrying may not be completely healed. If we heal a wound without gaining the message it is bringing us, we run the risk of just repeating the injury in a different way. Our wounds have messages for us, as this wonderful book by Robin Norwood points out.
This book will help you understand the deeper meaning behind life’s difficult experiences.
This injury happened as I was trying to figure out the answer to a question for my blog and eBook: how does being thankful make it easier to deal with problems?
I was stuck trying to figure out the answer.
So I got a cup of tea.
And I stubbed my toe.
And I got these answers:
How does being thankful make it easier to deal with problems?
It can be very hard to remember that last lesson. I broke my toe in order to bring that message to you (you’re welcome, lol).
One often breaks much more than a toe: one can break one’s heart, one’s budget, and one’s entire belief system.
That’s why we are starting this journey towards thankfulness from the Pit of Despair, because many of us have been there, and many of us are still there now.
Being thankful isn’t going to solve all of our problems, or make them go away.
But being thankful can give us new ways to deal with the injuries, problems, and challenges that are part of every life.
Being thankful can help us climb out of the pit of despair and make our way to the pinnacle of bliss.
It won’t happen in an instant.
We will take this journey together, step by step, day by day.
I may be limping a little , but that’s ok, because I am thankful for what I learned from this experience today.
I am thankful for being able to share it with you.
And I am excited about our journey, and about how different and beautiful and new everything will look when we get to the top of the mountain, and look out over everything in our world from a perspective of thankfulness.
Are you ready to take this journey with me?