This week, I had a not-so-mindful moment where all I was focused on was catching a train to be in time for a meeting. Unfortunately I tripped and fractured my elbow. Whilst it was a small hairline fracture, it made me very thankful for my body and how well it has been serving me. It also made me realise how much work and weight our elbows carry! We take so much for granted each day. I could have gone my whole life ungrateful for my elbows had this incident not occurred. It’s quite easy to forget the complexities of the human body and how its seamless functionality (when it is healthy) allows us to not pay any attention to it at all.
A few things I became really aware of and grateful for in relation to my incapacity were:
1) Feeding myself food: bending at your elbow (like the stereotype dumbbell lifting action) is the movement required in order to feed oneself…thankfully my left elbow is still in good order, even though I’m right-hand dominant
2) Handwriting – your elbow plays a part in providing that seamless movement across a page. My writing unfortunately now looks like a two year old’s
3) Opening bottles and pressing buttons – I really didn’t think this one through and on a very hot evening bought a nice icy cold green tea from Pret A Manger, only to realise I couldn’t open the bottle. Thankfully the friendly staff off Fitzroy Square helped me out. And that click of a mouse…some part of the elbow must be involved as I had been struggling at the beginning of the week
4) Carrying a bag…or the weight of your forearm for that matter – simply cannot happen with a fractured elbow. I have an chimp-like loping bend and swing action going on with my right arm
5) Stretching your arm out / laying it straight for sleep – this suddenly seems like the best thing in the world now that it’s denied to me
I’m thankfully on the mend, but this experience has taught me not to rush as it can result in an unnecessary accident that simply isn’t worth it. Also, we all should be really thankful for every piece of our bodies that works well. There is nothing to make you so thankful as being suddenly limited.
The actual pain itself has taught me a lesson too: that we should be grateful when there is no pain but also grateful when there is pain of this kind. That may sound at odds, but the ache in my arm is a sign it is healing and the pain is a signal that guides me not to overstrain myself. Without it, I could do further damage to myself. By noticing it, I am able to acknowledge it and direct myself towards a safe balance of working but not overworking my arm.
We should have gratitude for the things that we take for granted as there really are many things in this world that aid us through our days and lives, it’s simply a matter of noticing them and marvelling in wonder at the pieces of good fortune that we each have. No one’s life is perfect, but there’s always something – no matter how small – to be grateful for.