If it wasn’t for you, “I wouldn’t know just how capable I am to pull through”


In my late 20’s I wanted to try skydiving.  I don’t know why – maybe for the same reason I got a tattoo – there was something telling me to go try it.


I started with the tandem and then started free falling lessons.   I was trying to accomplish a lot in my life, so I took some time off to complete the CPA exam.  I returned years later, just completing air tunnel time with some professional jumpers.  It was memorial day weekend and I was jumping and using my new tunnel time lessons quite well.  Many, at the time, didn’t feel the air tunnel helped, but when you get 2 minutes a time in the tunnel to find your balance, learn your body and movement – it helps.  I had an hour in the tunnel total and it was moving me thru the registration for my license fast that weekend.


I remember sitting with another student, Earl; talking about jumping, hanging out all day and waiting for the “Beer Light” as many would hang out, drink and sit by the fire to talk about – skydiving.   On my last jump that Sunday I was coming in to land and was about 30 feet from the ground. I was just about to pull hard to stop when something didn’t feel right and instead I hit the ground at full speed.  I can still remember the shooting feeling of shock up my spine.


Fortunately there was someone there trained in the medical field and he told me not to move.  Witnesses told me that Earl made a turn behind me andcrossed lines with my parachute which then collapsed.  I remember his face, look and expression – I will never forget it. I remember wanting to walk it off but they told me to stay still.  Saving you the rest of the story, I was so glad my Mom told me to wear clean underwear!  I had two vertebrae in the middle of my back that were broken – they were worried with movement it would collapse the spine.  So I went thru 3 weeks of staying still, wearing a back-brace, Vicodin, and as my doctor said “no relations” for months.  I spent a year healing, building, and “yes” I did go back up to jump again and again.


I never heard from Earl again though. I remember in the hospital ER just wanting him to know I knew it was an accident and I’m ok.   However I learned he took off and I never heard from him again.


I was learning at this point of my life that sometimes we don’t return to the same place. Sometimes we never get a moment to talk to someone again.  Often, beyond the physical, is the emotional and mental areas associated with an injury or trauma.  We are taught, as we go thru life, that this will pass.  There is a time for everything – even grief and pain.  Yet how often do we get hurt, keep it to ourselves and quickly move on.  Does time really heal all wounds?


I guess it all depends on the wound, person, cause and where it is at of course.   I’m not trying to determine a timeline, but how long is the healing process?   For the story above that was over 11 years ago.  We set expectations and  “Get back on that horse” becomes the attitude.


Yet it was from this accident that I returned to yoga, after healing, and have stayed with it as it has helped.  Maybe a larger force was sending me on a path I wouldn’t have discovered if it wasn’t for this accident.


Far beyond the physical.  Yoga is very powerful and some postures can raise emotion, as I found out.   Backbends for me only reflected my injury and I didn’t know that at the time.  Instead I would cry and not know why.   I was in a safe place though and just let it go.  Yet the feelings expressed that some part of me was changed and was gone – taken by another’s actions – and was quite hard to deal with.


I remember my teacher Daniel listening to me and he told me that I may never do certain postures; I may never do wheel and did I care?  Blew my mind to think this way.  I grew up with if you tried and tried again you would get there.  Now I had to accept it and more importantly the answer was “no – it didn’t matter”.


When I work with prenatal women I try to get them to stop focusing on the healing timeline.   Emotionally they get tied up with  “plans” and who they wanted to be or were.   It is hard not to compare – after all we see many on social medias, news, magazines doing it – so what’s wrong with me?  We don’t allow for the repair and end up hurting ourselves even more; inside and out.


I know someone who started a new boot-camp program and hurt her hip.  She is “misaligned” as she put it and “mad” with herself.  I offered to her that she must listen to her body, let it heal and instead of just returning all over again – remodel or change with it.


Some injuries are longer than others as the mental takes longer to heal than the physical.  I remember being told that a break-up takes about 7 years to heal.  Why that long?  I don’t know, but I remember just last year when I sat in my car, my ex-boyfriend was jogging in DC and ran in-front of me.  I remember just not feeling anything – no anger, frustration or hate; it just didn’t matter.  That wouldn’t have happened early on; I remember sprinting on the treadmill to “Fighter” at the gym early on after the breakup – I’m sure I had an expression of anger that kept many away.


So forgiveness isn’t about forgetting but healing within; so you don’t hold those feelings of hate, anger, fear inside you.  I have my scars from this life and they reflect a part of me.  I’m not trying to cover, deny, hide or look away from them.


We all make mistakes and to Earl I have offered him my forgiveness and I really hope he has done so himself.