A Lesson in Stopping

Three weeks ago, I got a concussion. I fell during an acroyoga pose and landed hard on my head. That afternoon, I knew something was wrong – a weird headache, a sudden intolerance for music, and trouble processing information. Basically, I stopped listening anytime Michael said more than 2 sentences.

Monday came and along with it, an important conference call I was leading. At the end of that hour, I hung up the phone and I knew my brain was done for the day. I alerted work that I needed to take a few days off. I packed up and headed to the beach to stare blankly at the ocean for the rest of the day.

Normally, I would have powered through the week and ignored the temptation to give myself some rest. But this time, my brain was in charge and it was clearly saying, “NO MORE.” So I stopped.

Based on my cursory research on concussions, I knew I needed to rest my brain so it could heal. I had to fight the urge to read, do crossword puzzles or write action plans for upcoming projects. I had to resist having deep, complex, internal conversations and debates in my own head. For once, I must ignore the desire to dissect troubling social issues and puzzling behavior of others.

I struggled through every moment of this. I couldn’t turn my mind off. Recent changes in my life had amplified my mental energy to a state of jumbled chaos that needed thoughtful, strategic planning. But the concussion forced a pause in my life.

Gazing upon the ocean, this pause began to make sense. I hadn’t done a good job of taking vacation time I really needed to stay refreshed and energized. I had overwhelmed myself with work projects, new interests, and developing a whole new skill set – some fun, and some for work. I had grown scattered, unfocused, ineffective.

I was upon a major life transition and I was rushing into it from a burned out, chaotic energetic state. A concussion, which forced me to stop, rest, and recharge, was exactly the pause I needed to clear my mind and rejuvenate my spirit.

The concussion, just like any other injury or sickness, was an invitation to pause and rest. It was also an invitation to honor my body. For once, I truly honored the stop sign. I realized that I need to do more of that so that next time, it doesn’t take a concussion for me to give myself the rest and rejuvenation I truly need.

Young woman in towel on beach looking into distance. rear view

istockphoto.com 

 

 

About Epiphany

epiphanies on life and spiritual living as I chase wisdom - one insight at a time.

Posted on April 10, 2015, in Life. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Just a note, people who have suffered an immediate head trauma like this should immediately seek medical advice. It is dangerous to sleep after a concussion, and you should be supervised at all times for at least 24 hours.

    I’m glad you took time out to honor your body and recover, and that you are fine, but I want to make sure people don’t think it’s OK to just rest a head trauma instead of getting IMMEDIATE medical attention. People can die from brain swelling, which just makes them feel sleepy and like they need a nap. They go to bed, and they just never wake up.

    I had a concussion from skiing, and was not allowed to sleep for a certain period of time and had to be supervised to make sure that I didn’t go to sleep and not wake up. Every year or two at the ski hill, we would lose (or almost lose) 1-2 people (usually beginners who fell on the bunny hill) to concussions that they just tried to sleep off.

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  2. Please always suggest medical attention with head injuries. Brain swelling while sleeping can kill you!! If you or anyone else suffers a concussion, you should be supervised and obtain medical direction – not sleep and rest it without being monitored!

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