After my hike in Harper’s Ferry two weeks ago, I was really pumped for hiking every weekend, and this blog and adding a weight vest to my workouts to train for hiking a stretch of the AT. And then a few days after the hike, I was leaving a friend’s house, missed a step and badly sprained my left ankle. There was a lot of rest, ice, compression, elevation and Ibuprofen. I was forced to take a pause, on my workouts, hiking and to slow down in general and rest with my foot propped up. While all this rest was taking place, I still had my dog to walk, food to cook, kids to pick up after, and stairs to climb up and down. Vulnerability is the most uncomfortable emotional state for me. I felt alone, very single, and resentful that I created this situation for myself, and the ways I have found to make me feel like a strong, single mom were unavailable to me with an injured ankle/foot.
I was recently gifted with a gold necklace with the pause symbol on it. It came with a card that reads, “She finds herself awake again, all throughout the night – when the evening blurs into the morning sky, and peace is not in sight. The room is quiet but her thoughts are loud, her mind lost in the wild of her worries. Struggling in silence, she keeps waiting for the exhale, for her fears to pass – but there’s a battle within her mind, there’s a war inside her heart. Taking a moment to pause, she allows herself to rest – regaining her peace and strength with each and every breath. Letting her chest rise and fall, she takes each thought in and slowly lets them go – realizing that grace can still find her, even if steady breathing is all that she can do in this moment of clarity, she realizes that her anxiety does not define her – her worries do not hold her worth. Being okay does not always mean being alright. It’s ok to come undone, for it’s only in the darkness that she can discover the power of her own light.” (Bryan Anthonys Pause necklace). Instead of listening to this advice, I did a terrible thing to try to make myself feel alright, when it had been a perfectly fine time to not feel alright, and take a long pause. I acted out of fear and I regret what I did. I had still been ok. The difference between the two has never been more clear to me. Knowing this will help me pause next time, and resume in any place other than out of fear.
I laced up my hiking boots today and went to Patapsco State Park with my “gym mom” and her best friend of 40 plus years. I did too much of the talking, as I tend to do. I did spend a little time not talking; long enough to appreciate the echo of a woodpecker, appreciate how the snow remained in the elevation, watch as the current of a small stream smoothed the edges of rocks over time. I found myself in awe of the bond between the two women I was with. Their love for one another and deep understanding of the other one you can only get from being vulnerable and open to someone for decades. One has been divorced, the other recently lost her husband unexpectedly. These women have been through “not okay.” They had each other to help them through it. My best friend always has been my soon-to-be-ex since I was twenty. Don’t get me wrong, I have many, wonderful friends, but that intimacy you shared with someone is hard to let go of, especially when you find yourself limping down the road, covered with ice, walking a lab. I survived, I made it through healing a sprain (mostly) and I reminded myself in the woods today that, “it’s only in the darkness that she can discover the power of her own light.” – LGF