“Hedy, do you know why you broke your wrist?” asked my friend Adele.
For the answer, let me first quote one of my favorite sayings, which goes like this: “Very few people know that there are special angels whose only job is to make your life uncomfortable so that you will not fall asleep and miss it!”
And so this time I decided to tell you the story of my broken wrist as my Rosh Hashanah 5779 New Year’s message. I am calling it the “Angels of Discomfort.”
So here is what happened:
Yumi and I arrived in England from Israel on Sunday evening, June 17th and found ourselves in a beautiful Conference Hotel outside of London. I made a commitment to myself to dedicate Monday, June 18th, to organizing the conference rooms that we needed to present 4 events, each one demanding a different set up. We had arrived in a magnificent hotel, on stupendous grounds, and with – unbeknownst to me – abominable service. All day long I could not get the assistance that I needed. Annoyance turned into frustration.
And so in the late afternoon, tired and depleted of energy, I invited Yumi to join me in the Bar for some Aperol Spritzes. Not suprisingly, there was no service at the Bar. I was too frustrated to even sit down. My mind was instantaneously hijacked into my inner Neighborhood of Entitlement: “Do you know who I am????”
I was on the Boulevard of Impatience, the Avenue of Resentment and the Alley of Righteousness. And it is with this inner climate that I headed down the stairs, walking… or rather stomping down, and not holding on to the handrail. I missed one step. I found myself falling, and bracing my fall with my hand. When I was on the floor, in excruciating pain, guess who came to visit me right away? The “thieves” of the present moment: The Past and the Future.
The Past said to me:
“Hedy, why did you not hold on to the handrail?”
“Hedy, why did you walk impatiently?”
The Future said to me:
“Hedy, how will you work tomorrow?”
“Hedy, how will you teach your workshops?”
I smiled at both the thieves, and I said to them: “No way will I allow you to rob me from living this very moment fully. I am here on the ground in pain for a much higher purpose then your kvetching!”
An inner peace came over me, a quiet that I had not experienced all day. I lay there immobile, and looked at my hand. I could see that I had dislocated a bone, and the pain told me that I had also fractured it. I was fully present in the moment, paying attention deeply to my body, and allowing myself to moan and groan, and release.
I suddenly noticed a big man towering over me. I asked him: “Do you pray?” he said: “No!” “Then you standing here doesn’t help me,” I said. “Hotel policy!” was all he said. Apparently he was assigned to watch me for liability reasons.
Now Yumi was next to me, and he stayed quietly and tenderly there until I felt that I could get up.
What followed was a journey to the nearest hospital; wonderful friends bringing cheer; a cast and some painkillers.
And then a miraculous thing.
The next day a couple arrived for a two-day Intensive session with me. Their disconnection as a couple was profound. I truly believe that if it weren’t for my utter vulnerability we would not have journeyed as meaningfully as we did. All three of us were in pain. All three of us were open to feel and be present.
The miracle opened further.
At the Couple’s Workshop that Yumi and I presented a few days later, I told the couples that as a result of my needing help, Yumi and I had the opportunity to visit a place we had forgotten about: both of us naked in the shower, with him washing me. How sweet.
At the Presentational Skills Training I led, I told the audience about my fall, and the discovery of my Neighborhood of Entitlement. I shared with them a story about President George Bush visiting an old age Home. He asks the person sitting at Reception in an arrogant, entitled tone: “Do you know who I am???” She answers: “No, but if you don’t remember, you can ask the nurse over there.”
- How does one connect with an audience?
- With a couple in disconnect?
- With oneself and one’s hidden aspects that never would have been seen otherwise?
The “Angels of Discomfort” woke me up to a few essentials to live my life fully and consciously:
- The challenge of doing life with one hand. I never before entered into the meaning of the loss of a limb.
- The Past and the Future as thieves of the Present. How quickly they jump in to rob us of the full experience of the present moment.
- The welcoming of the not-knowing. How could I have known the power of sharing my vulnerability as a guide and leader with a couple, with an audience?
- The embrace of new intimacies with my husband. All the new ways that I needed him, as well as the delicious naked in the shower adventures.
And now, I am still learning. Occupational therapy, physical therapy. A sense of humility at watching the miracle of the body’s innate capacity to heal itself, with a little bit of help from our friends. The woman who is assisting with the recovery of my hand’s normal mobility is called Shay, which in Hebrew means “gift.”
And so on my birthday, on August 19, 2018, I celebrated 74 years of life experience, having entered into an unexpected curriculum. This is a class I did not know that the School of Life was preparing for me to take.
Yumi and I are toasting you for Rosh Hashanah 5779. May we dedicate the Jewish New Year to Humanity and to Tikkun Olam, the Re-pair and Completion of the World. May it be a Year filled with Peace, Prosperity, Joy, Abundance, and Health.
Le Chayim! With Love and Gratitude,
Hedy & Yumi