I woke up today with a sharp pain beneath my left shoulder blade, so intense it takes my breath away. I know this pain well–it’s been visiting from time to time since I was 20–residual from a bad car accident years ago. I breathe through the spasms and continue about my morning, stopping first at the car as I remember the gas needs replenishing from our trip to the beach yesterday.
Pulling into the gas station (I’m a rookie with this whole driving on the left side of the road/car thing), I misjudge where the car is in space and clip the gas pump with the left bumper. Everyone at the station turns and gasps, and the attendant comes running outside yelling. I glance at him with a look of defeat and slump over my wheel, not sure whether to cry or laugh as I rest my forehead on my hands. He walks up to me and sees that I’m visibly worked up about all this. A look of sympathy flashes briefly across his eyes and then, without missing a beat, the look is quickly replaced by dollar signs. “It’s okay miss, not to worry. Happens all the time. People are not used to driving on the left. $200 and you’re on your way. Here I’ll help you with the gas, no problem,” he says to me in a thick Indian accent. I fork over the money and head back home, feeling shaken and flustered and a little bit worried about this car that’s not my own.
I pull into the retreat center and everything looks okay (thank goodness), but then my phone rings in my pocket reminding of the other issue present at the moment. I’d been informed yesterday by Nordstrom that the (indulgently-priced) rose gold ring I’d ordered as a Valentine’s Day gift to myself was delivered to the clubhouse of my apartment complex back home rather than to my apartment. The apartment management then informed me it was nowhere to be found, but they’d keep looking and call me back. Now they were calling, but only to inform me of it’s definite absence. “Alright, thanks anyway” I concede & release it from my control. Nothing to be done about it now while I’m all the way across the world, I figure.
I climb the steps inside the center and collapse onto the couch. “February 23rd, you are a total shit day,” I think to myself as I stare out the window at this lotus flower that’s just blossomed overnight, taunting me with its ability to rise from the mud I feel stuck in.
A few moments later my friend Melanie who’s wwoofing here with me from Germany comes in and I tell her what’s happened. Instead of commiserating with me about how much the car situation sucks she smiles peacefully and says “isn’t it so lucky when we hit the small bumps that help us to avoid the bigger ones?” I smile back and realize, yes, she’s right. Maybe that tiny little fender bender needed to happen to prevent one of the fatal accidents New Zealand’s steep and winding roads are known for.
With this realization, everything shifts.
Almost immediately, I get an email from Nordstrom stating they’re sending me another ring free of charge. And then my reading this email is interrupted by another phone call from the apartment management stating they found my ring after all. A few minutes later I’m called into the Octagon because the group holding reiki training at the center wants to gift us each sessions.
Four people circle around me as I lay on this table and everything starts to buzz. One hand slides beneath my back, settles over my spasming muscle and stays there. Two other hands settle onto my feet and another on my heart. I have swelling and pain in my feet today and everyday from old dancing injuries and my heart has felt tight in my chest from everything that’s happened and somehow they know, but they don’t. Afterwards they each tell me how they’re normally called to move about the body but with me they felt pulled to stay right where they were–over each of the places only I know hold pain.
So now I have two rings and I’m alive and there is healing and the car is okay and maybe that lotus isn’t such an asshole after all.
I get up to walk out and I see the mandala they’ve set up at the center of the treatment room–gemstones and angel cards and shells and palo santo flowering out from a candle and hibiscus at its center.
There is mud, yes, but maybe also lotus flowers, if we can just decide that we want to see them.