This post contains a picture of an injured toe. While you’re thinking about whether or not to take the risk of seeing blood (it’s not gory, but perhaps I’m not the best judge of gore) you can search for the shooting star:
Most of you know that I broke my big toe last November. It was a bone-in-five-pieces, no weight-bearing, no driving for six weeks kind of break. It was physically painful, but also, somehow, humiliating. It changed my life.
The other night I was scrolling through my phone pictures trying to make space for video of a kid band concert the next day when I came across this:
Seeing it jolted me like I’d been struck by lightning. I’d completely, totally forgotten that I’d injured a different toe on the same foot earlier the same year. A friend once told me that the universe or your spirit guides (or however this guidance manifests for you) sends you messages. When you fail to hear them they get louder and more disruptive until you have no choice but to listen to them. Two toe injuries on the same foot in the same year? The last one literally knocking me off of my feet? What message had I missed!?
I spent the next few days wracking my brain and scouring the internet for a hint to the message here. Eventually it fell into place. The universe was telling me: WALK ON THE GROUND, NOT IN THE CLOUDS.
Let me tell you how I got this first injury so you’ll understand how I know that this is exactly the message I’d missed.
March 2018. I got to fly to Maui, Hawaii on flight benefits. I got to stay in a house on the beach, to which I was invited as a guest. I got to take a vacation with a very dear aunt who was dying, before she was too sick to travel. I got to spend a week with seven of my very favorite people on earth. I got my parents, who I adore, all to myself – with this living reminder that we don’t get to keep our parents forever. I got to swim in the ocean any time I wanted, snorkel every day, see whales and lizards and birds. I got to watch the sun rise and set every day, and lay in the grass and photograph the stars every night. In the water, we could hear the whales songs. The sun was warm, the ocean was warm. It should have been bliss.
But I was absolutely miserable.
Let me reiterate. I was abysmally, horribly, terminally mis-er-ble.
I’d been sick as a dog all winter. My husband had received work news that we knew would upend our lives, but not how or when. My aunt was dying. I was feeding off relatives’ anxiety. I was paralyzed with anxiety and angst and anger. I spent most of the trip trapped in my head, feeling miserable, perseverating about the woe of my life and seeing very little of the bliss surrounding me.
So one day I’m walking down the beach and I randomly kick a lava rock hidden under the sand and rip half my toenail off.
There I am, 100% in my brain and here’s the universe saying, “RIGHT HERE FRIEND! BEACH!! YOU’RE WALKING ON IT! HEAD OUT OF THE CLOUDS, LOVE! WALK ON THE BEACH!
Unfortunately, I’m sometimes too self-absorbed to listen to the universe so my mental space had to get tremendously worse until one day in November when I broke another toe on the same foot. I was perseverating again (it’s my best-honed skill!) and shaking trash out of my son’s backpack. And there came his laptop, flying straight down on my toe, as if to say “GROUND, BABE! WE WALK ON THE GROUND, NOT IN THE CLOUDS.”
Fortunately, the final break was the impetus I needed to stop living my miserable life in my brain and start walking on the ground again. Later in November I got the ball rolling for a big life change and in 2019 I’ve completed a semester of nursing pre-requisites, gotten my CNA license, gotten a job and I’m now applying for nursing school (and yes, OF COURSE! I’m still taking photography clients. Always!). It’s been a stressful year, but I’m finding that when my brain starts running away I can simply remind it – WALK ON THE GROUND, LOVE, NOT IN THE CLOUDS. And I do. And I really enjoy this new life on the ground.