The Acorn lesson in healing
I barreled out of the house barefoot to run and get my father, and ended up jamming an acorn between my big toe and toe nail. I’m sure I cried bloody murder, and in my young eyes, there was enough blood to prove it. Dad swept me off my feet and rushed me to the bathroom, resting my bloodied legs in the bathtub. He was calm and collected. . . I on the other hand was freaking out. My heart was racing, I went into a full blown sweat, and my breathing shallow and frantic.
Dad was searching through the medicine cabinet and then came towards me with what appeared to be tape of some kind, bandages, and a bottle of what I thought to be rubbing alcohol. “Don’t put that on me, it’ll sting!” I cried. Without hesitation, he told me to close my eyes, and just keep taking really deep breaths. Before I could finish my first “deep breath” that acorn was yanked out from under my toe-nail, and something poured over my foot, I looked down at what appeared to be a tub filled with blood, and in my panic, he said ,” It’s Iodine, it’s red, see!“ and poured more out to prove my blood loss would not be fatal. I believed him. However, up to that moment, I feared a trip to the hospital; poking, prodding, and even surgery! (I know, what a drama queen, eh?) Per request, I resumed my deep breaths while he dressed my wound.
Thoughts drive our emotions!
My heightened panic was a direct result of worrying about what my future might be like. I suspect the pain I was experiencing was also rooted more in my worries than the actual experience of the moment.
Where my attention goes, energy flows!
Focusing on my breath and more specifically, taking deep breaths taught me how to redirect my thoughts. As long as I was focused on my fearful outcomes, my body was in agreement . . . my heart rate increased, my breath was quick and shallow and my anxiety increased. When my attention shifted to breathing with intention, I increased the amount of oxygen to my lungs, slowed my heart rate, and broke my “stress cycle”.
Help from another person opens our situation to resources beyond our awareness.
I learned that day, that my father had served as a medic in the military and previously worked caring for burn victims in a hospital ward. Even without his background if he was unable to manage the situation, he would have called on someone who could. The small scar on my right big toe, was proof of my traumatic experience and retold “swapping horror stories” throughout my childhood. No matter what emergency my parents responded to; my brother’s many broken bones, my sister’s cracked head, the tick burrowed into my head. . . their response was basically the same. I am aware that there are far more horrific injuries many of us have encountered in our lives. My story is not meant to trivialize more harmful situations, or belittle very real problems. It is simply a story to illustrate how to begin to heal what is broken, one step at a time.
Don’t worry, everything will be fine
Take deep breaths and calm down
We’ll get you taken care of…