Thursday, September 1, 2011

How a Broken Foot Became a Blessing Instead of a Bummer

Most of you know that I write about what I learn as I grow through life instead of just going through it.  You also know that I consider it part of my life’s purpose to share the insights and lessons learned about how life is meant to work as I meet the ups and downs of daily happenings. 

Recently I’ve been thinking about what my dear friend and mentor, the late Dr. Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross, reminded me of, often: “Everything in life happens for a reason.  There are no such things as accidents.” In addition to being the world expert on death and dying, she was also considered one of the most brilliant, heroic and influential women of all time. 

Since I had just experienced an “accident” while on holiday, it was a perfect opportunity to test her teaching and find out what insight(s) I was meant to gain.  It was the middle of the night.  I was at a friend’s townhouse on the bank of a sparkling stream, and I missed two steps entering the sunken living room.  Naturally, my first priority after the fall wasn’t asking what I was to learn from this situation.  It was taking inventory of my body to check out the damage. Amazingly, I realized that except for my right foot, everything else was intact and felt perfectly fine.

I waited until morning to inform my friend, who was sleeping upstairs. By that time, it was obvious that a bone was broken in my foot. This meant we had to leave that idyllic setting and return home – visit the Emergency Room, have x-rays and consultations – and finally be fitted with a cane and a boot to protect my injured right foot.  The post-ER instructions included staying off the foot as much as possible for the next 4-6 weeks.

When I did turn my thoughts to what this experience meant at a learning level, I realized that before I left on our trip I had purchased a book, “The Power of Receiving,” by Amanda Owen which is now on my bedside table. I bought it, I thought, because there was a glowing cover endorsement by someone I know, Dr. Christiane Northrup, who is also one of my favorite bestselling authors.  The subtitle was, “a revolutionary approach to receiving the life you desire and deserve.”

One of the early statements in the book caught my attention and I was hooked. It was something like this:  The world can only give you what you are willing to receive. 

Like everyone else, I have dreams and goals and want to achieve them, so I allowed those words of wisdom to rumble around in my brain. It didn’t take long after the fall to face the following facts: I was now in a somewhat helpless condition, and definitely needed to ask for and receive help. I also knew that asking others for assistance was something I had always resisted like the plague. In following that train of thought, I also realized that I had been a major giver all my life, without much thought given to the concept of receiving.

As I continued reading about giving and receiving, I grasped the reciprocal tie between them. I realized that in all earthly interactions there needs to be a natural ebb and flow, a harmonious balance.  I also got the message that when we get caught up in giving, as I had obviously done, the ego likes that much better than receiving and some of us choose to be magnanimous givers as a result. As the author says, when we’re giving we get to “showcase” our more saintly attributes and our egos love that.

Since my inner knowing resonated with the author’s information, I was eager to put it to the test.  All offers for help in my time of need were gratefully accepted.  This proved to be a thousand times better than my former stance of “suffering in silence,” and feeling like a victim.  All of which I chose because I wouldn’t allow myself to be a nuisance or to put anyone out.  Now I had willing and happy givers who provided delicious food, brought in my mail, emptied the trash, spent time visiting with me, watered my plants and took me to doctor’s appointments. 

The difference in the natural balance of giving and receiving was immediately obvious.  I felt loved and cared for in a way I had never allowed before.  And, like an over-ripe peach my love and gratitude burst forth. I was rewarded with the smiles on the faces of the givers and several special experiences that I hug to my heart.

The first one was with my younger grandchildren who proudly carried in the “bounty” lovingly chosen and beautifully prepared by their mother to “restock Mimi’s pantry and refrigerator.” Then, after my dear sister took me to the doctor, she paused as she opened the car door and asked what else I needed or wanted. All of a sudden, I felt wickedly playful and asked slyly: “What did you have in mind?”  She replied seriously, “I will do anything for you.”  My eyes widened and I said, “Anything?!” She replied, “Yes.”  I was so surprised and stunned by her loving response that I was speechless.  It wasn’t lost on me that neither of these experiences would ever have happened if I hadn’t allowed myself to receive and others to give.

I have known for a long time that we are born to be powerful spiritual beings. But until we become aware of that and free ourselves from invalid beliefs, thoughts, emotions, feelings, needs and life patterns that we hold in our subconscious, we will never know our true selves.  We will also never realize that we deserve to receive good from ourselves and others—including having our dearest dreams and desires fulfilled from an abundant Universe.

While I was writing this essay, my daughter called and asked what I was working on. As soon as she heard the subject, she said spontaneously, “When giving and receiving are in balance, love just occurs.”  I knew immediately that this wasn’t one of her life issues. I also knew that when we choose to honor and live from that natural balance, it is a blessing. When we aren’t even aware of it, it’s a bummer.
Copyright © 2011 by Fern Stewart Welch

The author’s books: “Tea with Elisabeth,” recipient of the 2010 Silver Award for Non-fiction; “You Can Live A Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World”; and “The Heart Knows the Way—How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within,” are available at and other online booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble.