Sometimes the universe shouts something so loudly, you just can’t ignore it.
Two weeks ago, I broke my finger. To be more specific, I chipped and fractured the bone right above the middle knuckle of the middle finger on my left hand. I’ve never broken a bone before except for a toe many, many years ago. When you break a toe, the doctors usually leave it alone. But fingers—I’ve had to keep mine wrapped up with a splint and taped to my left index finger. My broken finger needs a buddy to help it heal.
Even though I’m two weeks in, I still have a few more weeks to go. I can take the splint off to shower, but I have to be extremely careful to avoid bending or bumping my finger—it hurts when I do. And because I’ve technically lost two fingers, my whole left arm has to compensate for it: My shoulder’s hiked up to my ear with tension. I’m sore in places that are not usually sore, like in between my free fingers on my left hand.
I broke my finger when I fell. Face-planted in the dirt right next to a flagstone in my backyard. Now I’m not really complaining about my finger; my injuries could have been worse! What I’ve reflected on—since my fall—is how much I was doing before it. And even with the splint and tape and immobility, I’ve still managed to do some major things.
Writing this newsletter is one of them. Typing without my left index and middle fingers isn’t easy; I’m a touch typist, and now my left ring finger is working overtime. Plus, having to go back over and correct all my misspellings with only two fingers gets frustrating.
The most major thing has been getting my house ready to sell. Before I broke my finger, I put my house on the market. Since then, I’ve had a realtor tour for which I’ve had to prepare—sans two fingers. Imagine 17 realtors arriving en masse and walking through your home all at once. They were only here all of ten minutes, but preparing for that took me a few hours. I had to clear away dog bowls and beds, make sure everything was looking great, and then get out of the house. This weekend, they held an open house. Same thing again, only this time it went on longer. Whew.
I’ve learned how much I use my left hand, but I’ve also realized how adaptable I can be. I can wrap and redress the splint on my own. I can open bottles and jars by holding them between my left wrist and my body. Washing dishes or wringing out a rag is still a challenge, but I’m managing.
But the most important thing I’ve realized is how my injury is making me slow down—even more.
I’d thought I was bringing more purpose and spaciousness into my life. Although I know putting my house up for sale isn’t a small thing, I thought I was taking it at a comfortable pace. Obviously the universe didn’t agree.
So I’m slowing down more. I’m doing less. And what I’ve noticed is I have re-prioritized what brings me joy.
I am focusing my attention on what is most important—and doing that. I’m resting more. I have to. It’s required for my healing. Any activities I do have to be one-handed things, so I’ve started painting again—after I’ve been meaning to start painting for months now. I know: Do what brings me joy first, right? Before my fall, there seemed to be so many other things that needed me instead, so now I’m thrilled that I finally have room in my life to paint.
Finding the blessings even in the difficult moments makes my life richer, deeper and more valuable. I’m grateful for everything—even my splinted finger—and all the lessons the universe teaches me.
I am taking the time to feel more. Feel my body. Meditate and be still. Nap with my dogs. Slow down. It’s not easy for me—I have things to do. And yet I am finding more spaciousness than what I thought I had. I can create more with less.
That is the biggest lesson in all of this. Doing more with less action. Creating more with less. In a way, I needed this, and now I need to allow for more space and more stillness. I’ll keep you posted!