The Art of Patience

The day before Christmas eve, I had a major bike accident.  My bike bag straps got wrapped up in my front wheel and it threw me over the handlebars and in a split second, everything changed.

I remember that day vividly, the burning sensation to the left side of my face as I hit the ground, my body thrown like a rag doll and the splattering feeling when my body hit the ground.  I remember feeling frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t get up from the ground.  My legs and arms not working to pull me up in a sitting position and my head, the wet, warm liquid dripping down my face. I remember voices around me telling me to to not move.

I remember crying out that everything hurt and I need to sit up to make sense of what just happened.  I was cold and shaking.  I remember hearing my boyfriend telling me to not move and a kind person who said she was a doctor to stay very still and that an ambulance was coming.

In that brief moment of impact where my body laid crumpled on the ground, everything became really quiet and then the rush of noise and pain as my face felt it was on fire.

What happened next was that I realized I was alive and everything hurt.

Now that I reflect back on this moment.  It actually reminded me of giving birth to my daughter.  The act of labor and giving birth synonmous to death.  Both acts very violent and sudden.  And in that suddent switch, nothing will be the same again.

Considering all the different scenarios that could of taken place, I think I came out lucky.  Yes, a fractured neck and torn ligaments but I am grateful to the Universe, the bike gods and everything that I hold sacred that I only had a fractured neck. I had a month to reflect on this event and I am truly grateful.

It’s been a month now and these days I am learning the act of patience.  All over again.

Three years ago, I underwent a hip replacement and I recall going through similar motions.  What I want and what I am faced with are two very different things.

I crave people and socializing with people.  I am continously in motion, whether on the bike or looking for the next urban adventure.  These things currently are not in the realm of possibilities for me now as my body recovers.  For example, a simple outing or sitting upright can have it’s challenges.  Turn the wrong way and all the sudden, neck spasms and headaches. My body shuts down and I am left frusrated and learning to slow everything down.

Trying not to anger the spasm gods is high on my list of to dos.  However, being stubborn and persistent by nature, I sometimes need to be knocked down a few notches to remind me that the spasm and pain gods are not to be messed with.  So I am turning inward.  Listening to what my body is telling me and paying attention to all the aches and pains.

And I am also learning to let go of some controls.  Perhaps I can look at it this way.

This accident serves to remind me that I am not alone.  A community of compassionate and caring people rushed to my aid when the my accident occured that fateful afternoon.

Among those that have been my constant is my  boyfriend.  My bike riding and bike loving boyfriend.  But he is more than just my bike riding companion, he is my partner and his compassion through this entire event reminds me that life is precious.

I feel very lucky to have come through this major event in my life with only a fractured neck.  I realized it could of been so much worse.

What did I take away from this experience?

Safety wise – always wear my helmet.  That helmet saved my life.  The crack and dent to the left side a sharp reminder that it did it’s job.

Never going to use front bike bags again.  I now have a keen fear of anything touching my front wheel.  Safety first, 2nd and third.  Double and triple check all my equipment, no matter how insignificant the noise might be.

Love my life and appreciate the little moments around me.  My body will heal.  I will get back on my bike again.  I’ll be able to race down the hill and feel my legs and arms pump life as I climb hills. My lungs will fill up with air and I’ll be able to smell the sweetness of Spring and Summer.

Share in the laughter.  Savor in the quiet of the day. The moment when the dawn peaks over the city, light peaking out over the rooftops.  The quiet purr of a sleeping cat.  The knowledge that I was given another chance to reflect all of this.  In this moment.  Life is precious.


Author: Jung Un Choi

Many years ago I started on this journey to discover myself and to move through the universe through stories and poetry. Along the way, I rediscovered myself through cycling and the art of meditation. This and so much more is where you will find me. Somewhere between dreaming and waking. Between watching and participating.

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