I sliced my finger open on Sunday. Doing something I knew I shouldn’t do. And not for the first time.
The perfect combination: Me (a good but distractible chef), newly sharpened knives, and streaming video on my tablet….
The knife slid right across the pad of my ring finger. A big deep cut. I hear that fingertips are full of nerve endings and super sensitive. I believe it.
I know myself, so I ask the knife sharpener: “Don’t go them all the way; stop at about 80%.” This always gets a raised-eyebrow glance in response. So I describe my past stupidities and ask the knife-whisperer to back off from going all the way. This time — my request was no help. Even knocking 20% off the target bevel made my Japanese cleaver sharp enough to slice like buttah through potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and my fingertip.
First-aid happened. Bandaging happened. Luckily I was making lunch for my sister and brother-in-law, and luckily they were less than 15 minutes away. The frittata got completed by my sister. We all went to the movies with me holding my hand above the level of my heart.
I could, and did (for a while) spend a lot of energy beating myself up for this. But I didn’t (much), because I’ve learned a lot about how we humans operate. We all have blindspots. We all get distracted. And we all make mistakes. If I didn’t make this particular mistake, I’d make another one. This could most definitely have been worse. Or better. Whatever. It happened.
Next day, I tried and tried to show up for business as usual.
On Monday, I tried to sit at my desk and get some work done — as one does — and after a couple of hours I just had to stop. Tapping my ring finger on the keyboard was so pull-all-the-focus painful. Rested. Left it bandaged. Tuesday morning I valiantly planted ass in chair in front of computer again and noticed that, even though my fingertip wasn’t bleeding, tapping on the keys was leaving a trail of blood smear all over the S, W an X keys. When I rebandaged, my finger was all the scary things: swollen, purple, throbbing, with a lot of visible pink tissue that you’re not supposed to see. I decided it was time to go to the health center and get seen. 48+ hours after cutting myself.
I got good marks on the first aid so far, the practitioner glued the wound shut, and told me to stop typing for a few days, to just stop. Of course that sounded really impossible — that’s too much rest! — until I sat down at my desk again that afternoon and tried to work. Too painful.
More rest felt like the only option.
As I got quieter, doing less, and being more still, I began to notice something I haven’t before:
In quiet and stillness, healing happens.
It’s not in my acquired programming to stop, to just stop. I think I’m supposed to be tough and strong (and tougher than most; what f’ed-up I-can-take-anything survivor crap is this?)
Luckily, we human animals already know how to heal. We’re wired with programming that knows exactly what to do (in this case, rest more, do less). Just like the wounded animals you see who plop down to rest and recuperate, who put other activities to the side until healing has happened, for as long as it takes for the wound to stop being the primary focus of every breath.
I rested some more. I surrendered.
Most of Monday, most of Tuesday, and then I decided one more day for good luck and good healing (because it had started to feel really good to let the healing happen. That was Wednesday.
By 6 o’clock that afternoon, I was starting to feel curious about writing something and getting back into my work life. I moved through the rainy windy crazy stormy day we had, gingerly testing my finger and my pain level, and wondering what I was gonna work on first.
An unexpected extension to the staycation.
The lights went out. Ha ha. I watched the lights flicker and flicker some more, and then just go out. No lights. No heat. No internet. Bupkes.
Funny side note: The day before the power went out, for no particular reason, I decided to charge up my headlamp. Which means that when the lights went out last night I had a fully charged headlamp to use. I also felt quite pleased with my practice of keeping my phone and tablet tethered to chargers on the reg. I had a fully charged phone when I lost power last night, which is really good, because the charge lasted me all night long.
Multiple phone calls — no info. Spent much of Thursday either finding a cafe (internet, light, and warmth). wondering what the hell was up with my life, or scrambling to collect coolers, ice, and lanterns, to prepare for another dark and cold night. Finally, 19-1/2 hours after the outage started, power was restored.
Wow. Some week. Some staycation.
I probably shouldn’t call it a staycation. Didn’t feel like much fun. Maybe I should just call it a coddiwomple.
Coddiwomple is one of my favorite words, and it means three things:
- to travel purposefully toward an unknown destination
- to be completely open to limitless possibilities
- to UNpredict your journey
Previously, I’ve coddiwompled by intention. Enjoyed a day of exploration, of meandering, always with a destination in mind.
This last go-round, the mysterious unfolding of my Sunday through Thursday of this week, has been a more unpredictable coddiwomple:
- I didn’t know where I was going, but I was aware of my purpose, even as it shifted and changed. There was a lot of insight in the stillness. From desire to “fix” this, to surrender, to all the things I noticed I thought about this occurrence and the part I played in it (yes, a fair amount of judgement showed up). Immersion in the mystery: What have I done? How long will this last?
- Even when in the stew of self-recrimination, I cracked open. Open to seeing myself as human and okay despite some of my feeling and thinking about my situation.
- I had no clue when and if I’d heal enough to write again, to be in keyboarded conversations, to work on my book. Unpredictable for sure.