Working with clients, I try to operate on the principle that, “There is no me.” My job is to be fully present, available and responsive to the client and what’s going on in the room. I can’t get in the way.
I was struggling with what to write this month. A couple of ideas popped into my head and nothing gelled. And then this morning, the words just flowed. I had to write about me.
Three weeks ago, I slipped on a wet surface in NYC and banged my head. I was lucky to be surrounded by people who responded swiftly and got me to an emergency room. Although I didn’t have a concussion, I was confused. I couldn’t remember my address or the name of the person with whom I was supposed to have lunch. Turns out, I had a fracture in my skull and a hematoma. It’s the kind of news you hear that makes you think you are not going to make it.
When catastrophe strikes, I am reminded of a conversation I had with a wise friend. 15 years ago, I was telling him about my breast cancer diagnosis and lapsing into why me thinking. He listened to me patiently and when I finally took a breath, he asked, “Why not you?” Those three words reframed my experience and helped me transition from victim to learner.
The good news is I am going to be okay. The better news is I have learned a lot. This incident:
- Reaffirmed my belief in the inherent goodness of people;
- Reminded me about how resilient we are; and
- Made me reflect on why I was spared and what I am being called to do. To paraphrase Mary Oliver, I need to be making the most of my one wild and precious life.
My hope is you don’t have to fall and smash your head to learn my lessons. We each have one precious life. I hope you are taking the time to live it to its fullest.