Once again, all signposts in my life are pointing in the same direction. They are telling me that now is not the time for action, but rather for stillness, for waiting, for watching and learning.

I injured my hip flexor a few weeks ago now, and the recovery has been agonizingly slow. Somehow, in almost ten years of running and practicing yoga, I have managed to avoid many serious injuries. I’ve fallen a couple times while running, which put me out of commission for a week or two each time, and then there was the Rodney Yee back injury incident last year. (My friend and I were laughing so hard during the video — “OMG he said buttock flesh!” — that I wasn’t paying attention to the pose and threw my back out so badly I could barely walk. Watch out for that buttock flesh!)

Other than that, this is by far the worst injury I’ve ever sustained. Quite simply, it is making me insane. Most people welcome any excuse to be inactive, and so do I, for about oh, five minutes or so. But soon I start to get antsy, then jumpy, and pretty soon I am crawling out of my skin. I am like a shark — I need perpetual motion to survive. So sitting still and resting for long enough to heal an injury is not really an option.

In fact, pretty much the only time I know I need to stop or slow down is when my body forcibly requires me to do so. When my grandmother was in the hospital last year, my husband took me out for a walk around the grounds every half hour or so to work out my nerves. It wasn’t until two weeks later, when a terrible cold kept me in bed for almost a full week, that I was finally able to fully surrender to the grief and shock of her sudden departure.

So OK, I get it already: this is another one of those times when I need to slow down and look at life through a different, less frenetic lens. And if I’m not going to do it voluntarily, then my body will do it for me, thank you very much.

But it’s more than just my body yelling at me right now, it’s my whole life. Suddenly, everything is making it very obvious that this is the time to slow the hell down and recover a bit before the next crisis comes along. So after two months, I have finally stopped spending all my energy beating myself up for not working and accepted that this is the best thing I could be doing (or rather, not doing) right now. At last, I am able to relax into the rhythm of having my own life once again, undefined by someone else’s hours or priorities.

I know, I know — rough life, right? But really, at first it made me very nervous that I didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything. There’s a lot of safety in knowing exactly where and what you need to be for forty hours a week. It significantly cuts down on the number of decisions you need to make in life, because most of them are made for you. And trust me, for a long time, that was a very good thing for me.

Now that I have managed to accept this newfound stillness in my life, I have discovered that it holds great promise — if only I can stop fidgeting long enough to actually pay attention. That is the true challenge. It’s so easy to fill all my “free” time with other trivialities and make them into absolutely essential items of business: the garden, exercise, studying for class, etc.

But really, when it comes down to it, none of those things matter right now. The question of where to plant my new hellebore is definitely not an issue of life and death (except perhaps for the poor hellebore itself). No, there are plenty of the latter in my life right now, which does have the added benefit of teaching me how to tell the difference.

So I can say with total confidence that right now, what matters is simply the stillness in my life, letting it be and breathe in the space between crises. This is where the growth comes from, the strength that will get me through the next set of difficulties, and on into the rest of my life. Now if only I could actually learn from my injury is trying to tell me, and sit still long enough to really listen — that would be a real triumph.

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