Right now my toe is throbbing.
Last night I went into the small patch of grass in front of our apartment and did some “taekwondo” moves with my son. I’m a pretty frumpy girl these days and let’s just say my ninja skills aren’t what they used to be. There was a small hole hidden by the grass and my foot gave way as I fell to the ground.
“Mommy, are you okay.”
My son ran to my aid and my husband, who was holding our baby, walked over to check me out.
“I’m fine - no problem,” I said, embarrassed, “you guys keep hanging out, I’ll be back in a minute.”
When I got in the house and looked down at my foot, I realized that my toenail was pulled almost completely off, attached only at the edges of my cuticle. It took a few more minutes of excruciating pain before Doctor Hubby removed the rest of my toenail, poured on the “stinging stuff” (as my son likes to call it), and wrapped it up in a heap of gauze and bandages.
So, why in the world am I telling you guys this story? Despite the spasms of discomfort, I was smiling the whole time. My family was noticeably confused at my level of excitement during the screams of “ouch”.
Earlier that morning I sat down on my mats in the living room and turned on Gaia TV to watch a yoga video for the first time in a month. I started with an easy one, to wake up gently. Everything was find as I laid in child’s pose and did the easy stretches. Then the time came for Sun Salutations. I used to LOVE doing Sun Salutations, but this time I just couldn’t do it. Walking or hopping my feet back to my hands after Downward Dog just doesn’t work without a surge of pain or a series of awkward hops.
You see, I’ve had an ingrown toenail on my big toe for months and it was really starting to affect my life.
When my family went to the beach, my “bad toe” as it became called, kept me from racing my son on the sand. When we went out in the grassy field to throw a ball around, I tried to make sure I was far away from scrambling feet - constantly paranoid that someone would step on my toe. Now, it was disrupting my desire to start a daily yoga practice. Something had to change. I sent a prayer out into the universe that I would find a way to fix it, soon.
Then less than 12 hours later there I stood, bloody toe and all, and so incredibly relieved that in a week or so, when it healed - I would be back to my old self again. I would have no more excuses to run, to play ball with my son or to do yoga poses in the morning.
Sometimes the solution to our problem is a painful one. Sometimes it takes a fresh wound to fix an old issue that refuses to go away. Sometimes we have to go through the fire to become stronger. I thought about this metaphor and how often its lesson branches out into so many areas of my life.
Because of the pain of childbirth - the Oxytocin levels in my body reached it’s peak right as I welcomed my daughter into the world. Without enduring those few moments of discomfort, I would have missed out on the intensity of joy that came rushing at me for months afterward.
Even the most traumatic events in my life, lead me to something greater. They gave me a chance to grow. Pain is not the enemy, it’s a signal that alerts your body to a problem. Your body’s little helpers can quickly address the issue and heal it - before it starts to affect the harmony of the whole being. Perhaps it works the same way for all of life’s up and downs.
What painful experiences led to profound healing in your life? I’d love for you to share in the comments below.