For those who follow my posts, you’ll notice that I have written very little in the last six months. I could say the reason is I was so full with work, or distracted by the recent presidential election here in the states, or give a number of other reasons why.
Sure, some of that was true. What is also true is that I was distracted by a couple of injuries and writing fell off my list of priorities.
I am doing this post in five installments to take you along with me on how I am working with a new way of being – a new way of walking through the world – literally and figuratively. I am no longer pushing myself to achieve my goals at the costs of paying attention and recalibrating as I go. I am now moving forward at a pace that allows me to be present to digesting my experiences in a more mindful way. This leads me to being in a more optimal state more frequently.
Let’s start at the beginning…. The end of September I went on a hike with a friend. It felt so good to be in the woods and breathe in the fresh air. About 45 minutes into our walk, the big toe on my left foot started to hurt. It was pressing up against my hiking boots. These boots are old friends – 23 years old – so well worn. I didn’t stop but overrode the pain and kept going. When I got home I noticed my entire toenail was shades of black, maroon and red. It appeared to not only be bruised but also had active bleeding under the nail. I chalked it up to not having worn my boots for a while. I lived with this condition for six weeks with some level of pain and discomfort and the active bleeding came and went whenever I walked for long periods of time in any shoes.
Finally I thought I should get it checked out. I went to my internist, who sent me to a podiatrist. She was stumped but gave me an x-ray to rule out a bone spur. She called me and said, “Well the good news is, you don’t have a bone spur. The surprising news is, your toe is broken and has been for sometime (before these symptoms appeared).” She referred me to a surgical podiatrist who eventually removed my toenail, which relieved all the pain and pressure from the build up of blood. As for the broken toe, I don’t have any symptoms, and unless or until I do, we will not do surgery as that is the only way to heal it at this point. For now, my pain is gone and I am walking normally. The origin for the bloody toe remains a mystery.
In the midst of figuring out my toe and limiting how much I walked, I literally walked into my garage door while it was moving, giving myself a concussion. It was a silly accident born from my not paying attention and noticing the door was not yet up so I could walk into the garage.
For the first few weeks, I rested a lot and could not be on electronics much at all. I worked with some of the symptoms – fatigued easy, couldn’t be on the computer for too long, and I needed to work at a slower pace as I was mentally processing a little more slowly. Some people say they didn’t notice and, maybe this is because I usually work and speak very quickly. I noticed a difference for myself. Fortunately, I am all healed now, yet I take the lesson with me and want to bring you along with me as I deconstruct this lesson in subsequent posts.
This post series is for anyone who is a leader, a service professional, a servant leader or a parent – basically anyone who others look to, to lead them and/or take care of them. The adage of putting the oxygen mask on yourself is an old one. What never gets old is that we don’t always do that which we know is good for our well-being. We don’t always care for ourselves in a way that allows us to be fully on and capable of handling all that lies before us. When people look to you for care and direction, you need to make sure you have the clarity, strength, and stamina to be there for them.
My invitation for you today is to reflect on this question: Why don’t you always take good care of yourself? What comes up for you when you reflect on this question? What do you notice?
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Susan is leadership coach and organization effectiveness consultant. She also teaches yoga and meditation – tools to keep one sane in insane times. She helps professionals step up to their fullest leadership and growth potential. At times this means overcoming their greatest fears or trauma and getting out of their own way to get important stuff accomplished. Please contact her for a complimentary strategy session. www.sagelead.com.