How Ankle Surgery Changed My Life

I’m laying here writing this with my left foot wrapped in a light blue cast and propped up on innumerable pillows. A week ago, I had ankle surgery to repair a tendon that had ruptured from too many strenuous workouts in the wrong shoes. I knew I would need surgery a year ago but couldn’t bear the thought of being completely laid up for three weeks and in need of complete care. I tried many different types of energy work and though my ankle did get better, it never fully recovered. I finally decided that enough was enough and went in for surgery.

What has surprised me and amazed me are the incredible lessons and gifts I’ve received from this entire ordeal. I was terrified of the idea of a stranger cutting into my body, wearing a hard cast and using crutches for three weeks, and being completely dependent on others for my basic needs. Those of you who know me understand that independence is something I strive for in every aspect of my life. I have no problem living alone, traveling alone, seeing movies alone, or eating alone in fancy restaurants. I relish the fact that I am able to happily be alone and take care of all my own needs.

However, ankle surgery threw me a curveball. For an entire week, I needed people to help me up from chairs, into bed, to fetch me water, to cook me food, to help me dress, and to help me bathe. Nothing scares an über independent woman more than to have so many needs. The idea of not being able to take care of myself and actually having to (gasp!) ask for help had me anxious for two months prior to the surgery. However, something miraculous happened. What absolutely blew my mind and heart wide open is that so many people willingly showed up to take care of me without me even having to ask.

From Day 1, I had a wonderful man, many new and old friends, and my supportive family spontaneously show up to stay with me and care for me. Glasses of water were refilled without me even noticing, food was prepared before I was even hungry, coloring books and bubbles were put into my lap to distract me from the pain. I was completely surrounded by love, tenderness, care, and generosity. Even my surgeon has been kind and thoughtful and has even gone out of his way to check on me.

The experience of being dependent on others has been invaluable. It has taught me how to receive. Historically, receiving has been difficult for me, as it is for many people on the spiritual path. Most of us have spent lifetimes giving everything we have away in order to be closer to God. Our culture still tells us that to be spiritual or a good person, we should be constantly giving away our belongings, our energy, and even our very selves to those less fortunate. While this may have been an appropriate step in our spiritual evolution a thousand years ago, times have changed. We are now here to receive the grand abundance of the Universe so we can serve our highest calling and passion. Yet, most of us are quite unskilled at receiving.

Ankle surgery made me receive. For the first time, I have consciously opened my heart and my body to all of the love, care, and gifts that have been offered to me. I have taken all of this into my very cells. And at many times, I have been brought to tears from sheer gratitude.

Ankle surgery has taught me that the more I open to receive, the more love and bounty can come rushing in to meet me. I am learning that my independence comes from interdependence, and not from maintaining a sense of self that is so rigid it keeps energies out.

Energy wants to serve. It wants to serve me and it wants to serve you. All we have to do is open up and allow it in. And though it feels scary to open up to something we don’t fully understand, all sense of fear evaporates when we realize how good it feels to have grace and love fill our very bones. Ankle surgery has been a beautiful experience, and I am thankful to be learning how to receive the glory of the Universe.