Insights: Oh, The Places We Go

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Week two of having a broken shoulder brings more lessons to learn. This one may be even harder than the first week: Patience.

The first week I was good at breathing, and becoming kind and allowing the process.  Week two has gone a little differently.

I can get up and cook dinner—well, maybe not. I could drive with one arm…mmm, not really. I don’t need help, I’m good…actually I can’t even have a shower without help.

I have been having a more difficult time with patience, and allowing my shoulder to take the time it needs to heal.

“I want my life back” says the part of me that is mad and childlike, and not very accepting of what has happened.

Yet this is my life and wanting something that is impossible right now is not living in the moment.

I sat there, a few tears running down my checks, feeling sorry for myself and feeling like this is never going to get better. In reality, every day I am improving but because I am not coming from a place of acceptance, and having patience with the process and myself, I am stirring up the emotions. This is normal at this point of recovery and again important to allow this stage of the process, not to get stuck here.

I am sure we are all able to relate to this experience one way or another.  We live in a world that is about instantly getting what we want.  But some things in life are not that simple. A broken shoulder is one of them. This might be recovering from financial struggles or a divorce, a loss of a business, or a child using drugs or a death of someone you love. We all have those pieces in our life where we are challenged by the experience.  We want it to go away because we do not want to feel uncomfortable. Resisting the uncomfortable does not work. We have to go through it, grieve the pain and accept it.  Resisting all of this is just creating more pain.

So after my day of non-acceptance and lack of patience, I woke up the next morning, put on some 1970s classic rock (hopefully I did not wake the neighbors) and made a list of what I needed to get done—what I could get done myself, and what I needed to ask for help to get those things done that I could not do.

Having my friends help me has been part of the joy that comes from suffering.

A quote from ‘The Book of Joy’ by the 14th Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Abrams says “… there is no joy without sorrow, that in fact it is the pain, the suffering that allows us to experience and appreciate the joy. Indeed, the more we turn toward the suffering, our own and others, the more we can turn toward the joy. We accept them both, turning the volume of life up…”

So embracing pain allows us to also experience the wonderful joys of being alive.

When we are emotional, it is a little more difficult to lean into our pain. Putting what is happening into perspective will help.

While I have been lying in bed with my shoulder, I would sometimes hear an ambulance go by. I think about how lucky I am that it was not worse. So many other things could have happened. Looking at the larger scheme of things and my life in general, this is just a bump on my path.

Having a broken shoulder and its ramifications is only a small part of who I am. I just have to adjust my lifestyle for a while. I still get to enjoy many other things that are my life such as reading, my friendships, writing this article and my book, and eating chocolate!

Have you read the book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss? It’s one of my favorites, so let’s end here with some good old Dr. Seuss quotes.

“You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place. (Well, not really useless, just a place that has lots of lessons for us).  The Waiting Place…  And when you’re in a slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done…  Somehow you’ll escape all this waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where boom bands are playing.”

I may be in the waiting place right now, but with some patience and compassion, before long I will be out there and this will just be a lesson learned, a small bump on my journey and away I will go back on to another chapter of my life.

Contact Dr. Shelly Zavala at or [email protected].

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