If hope were a season, it would be Spring. Flowers are budding, bees are buzzing, trees are leafing and birds are building nests. Life picks up its paintbrush and makes a splash across Nature’s canvas. Its message:
“No matter where you are today,
Something new is on its way.”
While Spring gives evidence in the world around us, life flows just as hopefully within us. We usually relate to our physical world as solid and fixed. But it is not — it is alive, active and changing at every level, seen and unseen. Science now demonstrates that everything is energy, particles dancing with each other all the time. And I have learned this lesson in my bones.
One afternoon three years ago, in the fullness of Spring, I went out to buy groceries, stepped up onto a sidewalk and fell. I did not take another step for four months. Unable to stand, as I waited on the curb for the ambulance, I kept my mind focused on the desirable outcome. But I knew the truth. Even in those first five minutes, something in me responded, “Okay. If this is what’s next, let’s go.”
The hospital confirmed the break, and I saw it on the x-ray; the head of my femur was completely severed. To break the femur is to break the largest, strongest bone in the human body. With my new metal plate in place, I waited. For four months, I could not put an ounce of my weight on that leg.
Immobility gave me a lot of time to listen to my body, to pay attention to my life. I got to know the bees that came to my begonias and the turtledoves that courted on my balcony. And I met my body for the first time as my most faithful friend.
Finding hope in the stillness
Coming slowly to stillness through the complications that followed, I got acquainted with hope-made-visible in the amazing body I inhabit. I learned how my body continually transforms matter (in food) into energy, and energy into new cells, tissues and bones. In four months’ time, I watched it knit together my broken femur. But my body’s return to its usual, open, balanced state took a while longer.
Yoga has been a part of my life for almost 40 years. For many of those years, it has been my daily practice to start each day. It is the most intimate way I have to honor my body with love and respect. When I do so regularly, my body responds to me with generosity and resilience.
Because of my regular yoga practice, my physical body was better prepared to cope with this trauma; and it was quick to respond as I gradually returned to it. Gentle yoga stretches and twists deepened with time, and my body soon recognized its familiar reaches. Today, my yoga practice is very close to what it was before I fell. Slowly and gently the right side has regained the flexibility, strength and balance of the left.
Even through the most physically challenging experience of my life, my precious body has given me hope once again to trust that no matter what comes my way, life never stops flowing through me. How I respond determines the quality of my experience of being alive. Even in the winter of difficult experiences, Spring is always blossoming within me.
We asked experts, authors and readers like you to share their stories of Hope. Every day for the next month, you’ll find new tips for optimism on Gaiam Life, the Stream of Consciousness blog and our social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And don’t miss the GaiamTV.com Hope Film Festival, with FREE films all month long.