On Tuesday, I fell in the shower and cracked my tailbone… and it was one of the most sacred experiences I have ever had.
Let me explain.
I was groggy, not yet awake, and my mind was spinning. The night before I had had thick dreams about being on trial. My attorney had abandoned me right when it was my time to defend myself and I felt betrayed. I woke up hung-over with fear. I knew something big was unraveling inside of me, and it had to do with my relationship to victimhood.
I got in the shower that morning, barely back in my body, and realized, once the water was running, that my handsoap was on the sink. I stepped out to get it, slipped, and whoosh — landed smack on my tailbone.
My tailbone that had never healed from a break years before. My tailbone that had cost me deep grief and countless dollars at chiropractors and acupuncturists and osteopaths. My tailbone that had caused me years of avoidance of road trips and airplanes and shavasana because of the pain. My tailbone that I had prayed over and injected and journeyed with and that had been fodder for my spiritual growth for more than 8 years.
The first words out of my mouth astounded me. Actually, my first words weren’t words at all, but a reflexive howl of agony (I’m certain this made the neighbors think I had killed someone and forced my cat into hiding for the rest of the day).
Then came the words: “Don’t do this to me!” I screamed at the top of my lungs to the Divine.
Whoa. Even in that state of shock the impact of those words weren’t lost on me.
They meant that I believed, on a subconscious level, that the Divine was punishing me. And that when painful experiences happened it was because the Unseen didn’t have my back.
They meant that I still believed in a childhood fantasy of God. In a reward and punishment model that goes something like this: “When I’m good, good things happen to me.” Or the modern version, which goes like this: “If I’m high vibration, I won’t experience pain.”
Somehow, in that moment, I had the free awareness to be fascinated by the meaning behind those words. I also had the free awareness to know that it was in my best interest to reverse it right then and there.
So I did what every good devotee does in the face of devastation: I got on my knees.
I laid in child’s pose, right there in the shower, with the water running over my back, and breathed, softly and methodically repeating the mantra to myself: “open, open, open, open to God.”
And then a miracle happened: I did.
Instead of constricting around the throbbing pain. Instead of allowing my mind to race into a catastrophic story about what this fall would mean for my tailbone. Instead of clenching and gripping and solidifying the pain, I opened. I softened, placed my forehead down, rested into my back body, and felt through the shock to the warm water running on my back. And then felt through that to the air around me, and through that to the trees outside and the sunshine, and through that to the Unseen world. And I invited the Unseen to penetrate me. And I surrendered.
In that moment I knew that “I”—my ego that I usually identified with—was powerless to heal my body, but that the organic intelligence that courses through my tissues when I’m willing to get out of the way, that knew how to heal.
“I can’t do this,” I said to myself, “but you can.” And I physically handed it all over. The pain, the throbbing, the fear, the thoughts, the shakiness, all of it. Until I was nothing but a pool of emptiness on the bathtub floor.
Eventually I got up and went about my day. I iced and arnica-ed, and went to the best bodyworker I knew. I made my phone calls, and went to work, and cried. But more than that, I kept opening. Every time I began to create a story out of fear, I softened my body and handed it over. The truth is, I didn’t know what would happen next. That part wasn’t up to me.
Later that day I had a call with a virtual women’s group that I’m a part of. The wisdom question we were contemplating for the day was about faith. “What do you have faith in?” the presenter asked us. “And why do you choose to step forward when there’s no guarantee of a result?”
When it was my turn to answer, I recounted my experience in the shower that morning and then found myself saying, “For me, faith isn’t about hope for a result, faith is about faith itself. The reward for opening to the Divine is that we get to be open to the Divine. The reward for opening our hearts is that we get to have an open heart.”
And then I wept, because I knew that it was true. And because all these years that I had been praying for the healing of my physical body, this was really what I had been praying for, to be open. And yes, when we are open, our physical healing flows more effortlessly, and things can sometimes manifest in our lives with more ease.
But these things are just side benefits, bonuses. The real gift is that we get to be cracked open to the Divine.
I don’t know what will happen with my tailbone now. If I’m honest, of course, I have to admit that I hope for it to be radically and completely healed. I am human after all. And, amazingly, I’m in way less pain than I ever imagined I could be after a fall like this. But I’m not confused as to the real gift of this breakthrough. The floodgates to the Unseen are open and I am here, with my mantra, handing it all over, and ready to receive.
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