It was just any other January day for me in Iowa. It happened to be a Wednesday and a fairly busy client day. Towards late afternoon I was winding down in my office and my thoughts were traveling ahead to a Caucus meeting for Dennis Kucinich supporters I planned to attend that evening. My husband Mark was out of town on a business trip and things were quiet. The phone rang as I was putting the finishing touches on my daily notes and a fairly lengthy discussion followed with a friend over a project we were involved in. During this chat, my cell phone rang. Without interrupting our conversation, I checked to see who was calling and made a mental note to call back, setting the cell next to my computer.
About a half an hour later, I was on my way down to the barn to feed our herd (four horses) and barn kitties their evening meal. My mind was somewhat preoccupied with the evening plans and the phone call that I had just completed as I went mindlessly through my barn chores. As is always the case, the animals are my healers, friends and companions so it wasn’t long before I was patting soft noses and chatting with all my four legged buddies. One of my three barn kitties is more of a loner and his bed is located on top of our hay bales. The other two are firm friends and share a bed on the workbench. As I was heading out the door and ready to turn out the light, I noticed Scout eyeing me from his bed on top of the hay. Feeling he may just need a pat and a little attention, I climbed up the staggered bales along the side of the pile and curled up with him for a bit.
After a time, I readied myself to move along as I noticed that the sun was setting quickly now. I remember actually thinking at this point, Nancy you can climb down the side of the bales as you came up or you can just let yourself easily down right where you are. So, as I have done in the past, I scooted to the edge of the bales on my butt and began to let myself down. The final drop is not more than three or four feet, not very far at all. As I hit the ground I heard several snaps in my leg and fell to the ground.
On my God! I screamed. In that moment I knew that my leg had broken. I rolled over on the ground and tried to lift my leg up. It felt numb. As I lifted it up, I saw to my sheer terror that it was hanging sideways about four inches above my ankle. The tears came, the pain hit and waves of fear shot through me. I reached for my cell phone, which is usually hooked to my waist and it wasn’t there. I clearly saw it sitting on my desk next to my computer. The screams grew loader and the words more emotionally honest.
Shit!!! Fuck!!! Damn It!! Oh no, Oh no, Oh No! I yelled to the horses, cats and my collie Merlin who always accompanies me to the barn for dog treats. I started self-talking out loud at that point.
This is really very bad, I cried. Our barn is a good 1/8-mile from our house up a pretty substantial hill. I knew Mark would not be home for 24 hours and I also knew I could cry and scream until the cows came home and no one would hear me. No one I knew would think anything amiss if I was out of contact for a day or two. I was stuck and I knew it. I tried to hold onto something and stand but there was no way. I collapsed in a pile on the barn floor and just sobbed. So many emotions all at one time. I was hurt, angry and very frightened. I knew to just allow the waves of feelings to wash over me. I even connected then with my little inner child and told her I was sorry. After that, I felt slightly better and a new sense of clarity seemed to prevail. Something in me knew this was up to me and me alone. If I didn’t want to lay in pain for the next 24 hours in the dead of winter, I had to do something and do it right then as night was quickly falling.
As I tried to hold my flopping leg in place, I realized that I couldn’t go anywhere while that was hanging and I could feel the bones hitting against each other. Any other time this may have grossed me out but, at that moment, I knew something had to be done. I began to rip pieces of wood from the pallets on which the hay bales sat. Then I took my scarf and attempted to create somewhat of a splint. I was successful enough that my creative endeavors helped, but I still needed to hold the whole splint in place with my left hand. So, crawling, hopping and rolling were out of the question. I took my right leg and pushed my butt backwards towards the barn door. I was able to scoot a foot or so. This was encouraging so I did that a few more times. I quickly realized how exhausting and painful this was going to be. I had to stop and breath and then begin again. Dragging myself across the barn floor, I finally arrived at the door. As I looked up the hill toward the house, my heart sank. It seemed so far away and impossible. I was afraid. I honestly did not know if I could make it. But the adrenalin kicked in and I scooted another few feet.
I was aware of so many things on that long, difficult journey up the hill to get help. I connected with the horses. They knew something was terribly wrong. At various times during the next hour that it took me to make it to the house, one horse or another would stand vigil holding the space for me. Ears forward, eyes intently on me, I could feel each one send me energy and a knowing of strength that only a horse can understand. They were my sentinels, my guardians. The cats did not approach me, which I found interesting because, under other circumstances, they are such awesome healers. My collie, Merlin, on the other hand, was not only no help but his main concern was the biscuit he usually gets after I feed the horses. He didn’t seem to understand that I was in trouble or if he did, he was playing the role of showing me that I had to do this on my own. At one point, in frustration I yelled to him, Lassie get help. Timmy has fallen in the well! He just sat there looking at me. I burst out laughing which then shifted once again to tears.
Yes, that was it of course. Nancy Joy, the consummate people person had made a soul choice to set up a scary and painful situation and find herself without her usual support team. I am aware that while being a people person is my gift, I also hide from myself by surrounding myself with people. Although that pattern has changed over the years as I have grown more conscious, I must have decided to bring up every fear I had been living in my life during that hour. I was so alone and abandoned. Logically of course, I knew that my husband and friends were still there and that they loved me, but emotionally and physically there was only me. I would reflect on this fear many times during my hospital stay, surgery and recovery. ” Just how often I have been afraid to be alone with just me,” would play like an old life movie through my mind during the very still days to follow. That is not to say that I am not comfortable with my still and silent times connecting with source but I am talking about my everyday 3D life. I can leave this plane and travel the inner universes alone in complete comfort. It is in the here and now that the aloneness frightens me.
I scooted now five or six feet between each rest period. The rest periods became times of integration as well as regeneration. I was acutely aware that I had chosen a profound initiation and as I tuned into my deeper wisdom, I clearly understood that I had made a choice at that moment on top of the hayloft. I had decided that rather than move slowly and safely on my way, I would jump directly into the lessons I was working on and bring them painfully to my attention. As this awareness came to me, I could see more and more of my uphill struggle and I knew, eventually, I would integrated all the pain and fear with understanding. During the journey, I continued to struggle as I found it very difficult to focus in the present moment. . Each time I was ready to scoot again, my thoughts kept wandering and my feelings surging. I have always taught people on my spiritual journeys to focus as we have climbed pyramids and ruins around the world. I explain that it is imperative not to look up or down but to stay totally focused in the present with each step. That night I realized that it was much easier to accomplish this feat climbing a pyramid than scooting up a hill on a cold January night abandoned and alone while holding an extremely painful leg.
I did fairly well until I would loose my focus and start concentrating on the outcome or how much further I had go. I thought of the ER and what would happen there. I wondered if I would have to have surgery. I worried about my recovery and if I would need to cancel my upcoming retreat and dolphin trip. At those points, I would find myself begin to cry and the fear would overwhelm me again. Later, I recalled that living in the future was the reason I did not remember to take my cell phone off my desk. I was too busy planning what was coming later in the evening and reliving my past conversation with my friend. I am now keenly aware how little of our lives we spend focused on what is going on in a present moment. The path of this initiation permeated all my actions and thoughts. I didn’t understand all its ramifications at the time, but I was aware even in those moments that this was a huge cosmic step for me.
In my drugged stupor later in the hospital after everyone had left me alone, I remember feeling an awesome wash of love for myself embrace me. I remember thinking how incredible this journey was. I was joyful. That feeling was not to last and, of course, there were many painful and frustrating lessons ahead but it was a benchmark and one that keeps returning me to balance. It was a cosmic moment of divine love and understanding for my choice. It was and is a profound recognition of my power and consciousness.
That evening as I continued up the hill, I realized that I had created an even more difficult situation just to make sure I really understood the power of this initiation. Every door in the house was locked with the exception of the driveway door, which was clear on the far side of the house from the barn over a stone driveway. I still had a long and difficult distance to go. My logical mind was busy trying to figure out other less tedious options but, in the end, I found myself scooting over the driveway rocks as the sky turned its final shade of dark.
Finally, I made it through the garage, up the steps and into the house. Not done yet, I continued all the way through the house to our bedroom where the only phone I could pull down lived on our dresser. As I knocked the phone down, I lay back and just took in the moment before dialing. It was poignant with all that lay ahead of me and all that I had accomplished in the past hour.
Very shortly after that moment, I had connected with two wonderful friends who picked up the ball and just took care of me. When I heard the door open and my first friend had arrived, I sunk into relief. As we drove to the hospital the pain and shakes set in and I just allowed them to come. I finally felt safe and no longer alone.
The ER, surgery and hospital stay blurred around me over the next four days. I was heavily sedated and images came and went. I was very aware of lots of color and beautiful flowers in my room. Friends filled the spaces as I drifted in and out of awareness. It was like a parade of beautiful nurturing souls continually arriving and leaving. I would close my eyes for a moment with one group of friends and open them to another. All of these friends were beautiful healers and they laid hands on me, and sent me healing love and energy. One friend was a guardian angel during that day before surgery. Every time I opened my eyes, there she was taking care of me. Although I was in pain, I felt as if I were in a womb of loving protection the entire time. I felt so incredibly blessed during those days and the ones immediately following that I understood my broken leg brought a new depth of understanding about who I am into my life.
The next few weeks at home were hard ones for me, as Nancy Joy the healer and caretaker could do almost nothing for herself. My husband took on twice his daily load and friends came with meals, ran errands and helped us both so much. Lots of frustration and anger came my way also. I did not like being incapacitated. I hated asking for help, as I have always been so independent. My husband was angry too and felt over whelmed. I felt such compassion for all those who deal daily with limitation and restriction. New understandings of others and myself were constantly streaming in. I was changing and I wondered what that would mean in my life.
Today, I am six weeks into my healing and doing very well. As I write this story, I am aware that I have faced and danced with three major life fears I did not even know I had until that January evening. The fear of abandonment, the fear of failure and the fear of living in the present! I see them now as alive and affecting my life. Am dancing with them and embracing the lessons they bring. I am also aware of how much of my self worth and identity is wrapped up in what I do for others and how difficult it is for me to ask for help. I feel I have literally broken away an old foundation that no longer supported me. I am growing new bone as I am growing new inner strength. More will unfold as the days continue into months and months into years, but I am forever changed by my journey up the hill to find myself.
* A special thanks to all my friends and family who reached out to me during this time. I especially want to thank the Quantum Healing practitioners who brought my fears to light for me to embrace and heal.