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A Message from my broken toe

Friday is one of my busiest days. Straight after I drop my kids to school I go to

Rusty’s market to buy vegetables and fruits for the week. I come back home,

unpack the shopping and then start preparing for dinner as I have to take the kids

to dancing after school. Soon afterwards, I have to leave home at around 1:30 pm

to be a reading volunteer for my son’s class...I think you’re getting the picture!

One Friday, I came back home from Rusty’s market. I grabbed an apple from the

fridge and started eating it for my lunch while I was walking down the stairs on the

way to get the shopping from my car. All of a sudden, I had stepped awkwardly

and twisted the outer edge of my right foot underneath the inner side which

resulted in a broken metatarsal.

I always think that everything that happens around us carries a very important

message for us - especially accidents, sickness or injuries. I was wondering what

kind of message I would get from my broken toe.

Just 2 or 3 days after I had the accident I received a book from my mother. That

book explained the simple way of Vipassana meditation. For some reason that I

don’t understand, I always seem to get an inspirational book just at the time that I

really need it. The book that I received from my mother said that we should

imagine that there is a live commentary running inside our heads which informs

us of every action that we take. For example, when we walk, we should talk to

ourselves; first step, right heel, instep and toe; next step, left heel, instep and

toe...

When I read that book I got a flash back of my accident. I didn’t do that at all. I

was eating and walking at the same time and my mind was probably thinking of

something else - such as what I should make for dinner for that night. I didn’t

concentrate on what I was doing. I was doing everything without consciousness. I

wasn’t living in the present. I knew that we have to do every single thing as if in

meditation. When we walk, we just walk. When we eat, we just eat. I knew that.

But I didn’t do it.

When I practice yoga I am learning to spread my consciousness throughout my

whole body. But, very obviously, I was not practising that in my normal life. I do

many things unconsciously. For example, when I change gears while I am driving, I

do it even without thinking.

The first message from my broken toe was that I should be living in the present

and that I should spread my consciousness throughout my whole body, regardless

of what I am doing and whenever and wherever I am doing it. Our modern lifestyle

is so often very busy. This is the reason why we should be doing this.

Four to five days after my accident I began to get pain in my left groin, the outside

of my calf muscles and in my back. This pain was much worse than the pain in my

toe. This happened because I could not walk properly and was limping all the time,

so the rest of body was trying to compensate. I was always conscious about my

posture. I always stand in Mountain Pose – when I am in the kitchen, cooking, or


even when I am waiting in a shopping queue - so my body started screaming. I did

some therapy yoga for that pain and it really helped me a lot. I realise now how

important it is to have proper posture and to always walk properly. That was the

second message from my broken toe.

Only 2 weeks have passed since my accident. I am still looking forward to

receiving more messages from my broken toe...



The Third Message from my Broken Toe


I mentioned, in the last newsletter, that I received two messages from my broken

toe. The first was that I should be living in the present and that I should spread my

consciousness throughout my whole body. The second was how important it is to

have proper posture. After I wrote the article, I was left still wondering how it was

that my toe became so fragile.

After finishing the Nicky Knoff advanced teacher training course last year I have

been practising the advanced syllabus 3 times a week for almost one year. Some

postures are quite challenging and tricky, such as the handstand series,

backbend series and head stand to chatranga dandasana. Although these

postures and sequences can be quite acrobatic, I have never broken any part of

my body before. I was confident that my body was reasonably strong. When I

broke my toe I hadn’t done any acrobatics or anything strange, I just walked down

the stairs and twisted my foot at the bottom. I was so surprised how fragile my toe

was.

When I do yoga practice I spread my consciousness throughout my whole body.

This is one of the Knoff Yoga ‘Principles of Practice’: “Mindfulness”. That’s why my

body becomes stronger and isn’t fragile. When I broke my toe I wasn’t spreading

my consciousness, so I wasn’t aware what I was doing at all. This is why it became

fragile. While I was thinking about strength and fragility, I suddenly realised it was

another message...”Mindfulness makes us strong. Not being mindful makes us

fragile.” This is true for everything - not only our bodies. How I treat my body

reflects how I treat the world and my universe. For example, what I did to my toe is

often what I do to my children.

After my children come back from school the busiest time of day begins. I cook

dinner and both my children start telling me about different things that happened

to them during the day...at the same time. I am chopping vegetables in the

kitchen and pretending to listen to them, but really I just keep saying yes to them

and my mind is not actually paying much attention to them. This is exactly the

same kind of situation as when I broke my toe. I am not paying attention to them

in a mindful way. If I do that to my children, they will feel that they’re not getting

my undivided attention and, therefore, feel that they aren’t being cared about and

become sad. If this continues, they might even feel that they are not loved. Lack

of love makes them very fragile and, in the end, they will be broken – just like my

toe. If I concentrate on listening to them with mindfulness, without doing other

things, they are satisfied and feel that they are loved. That feeling makes them

stronger. If I do everything for my children with mindfulness they feel they are

loved and become stronger.

I misunderstood what love is until just now. I thought loving something or

someone is doing something for them. But if I want to love something, or

someone, the only thing that I need to do is do everything with mindfulness. For

example, when we grow plants if we do everything from digging the hole, planting

the seeds, covering them with dirt and watering them with mindfulness, they will

be very strong plants. We can love anything in this universe by just doing

everything with mindfulness. This is the third message from my broken toe.


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