- Author: Jalaja Bonheim
How do we achieve wholeness through brokeness and fragility? These are weaknesses. Our society in the US values strength, contribution, “winning.” We don’t accept weakness. Not truly. Look how we treat the mentally ill and disabled. How does acceptance of weakness lead to wholeness? We are all fragile and broken in some way. The post-concussion syndrome is my current brokeness. And, in several ways, I am now more fragile.
When I was injured, I was in the process of training for another marathon. My goal for the year was to qualify for Marathon Maniacs ( http://www.marathonmaniacs.com/). My concussion changed this goal radically. I won’t run another marathon this year. This admission is not made from defeat. It’s from the standpoint of strength; of acceptance. Running is part of my recovery process. I run several days a week at the track and am slowly building my endurance and ability to manage the inevitable discomfort from the concussion. Running is becoming enjoyable again, even with discomfort: the sensation of freedom, the deep, cleansing breaths, the challenge, the joy, the endorphins! And the sense of accomplishment is back! Every time I run, I accomplish something. I challenge myself, I push towards making additional connections in my brain, I run for recovery. I accept the distance I am able to run on any given day. I have total freedom from a training schedule. Running is for running’s sake right now. If I did not have the wisdom to accept my current brokeness, there would be no freedom and no enjoyment in the process. That I cannot train for the marathon would be viewed as a “bad” thing. Knowing myself, I would try to push through the discomfort when I need to rest. I’d try to run those workouts, becoming more frustrated, weaker, angrier as I “failed” to keep the plan. Most likely, I’d set my recovery back, if my actions did not lead to further complications.
When we deny our fragility and brokeness, we deny our humanity. In recognizing and embracing our broken selves, we free ourselves to heal and grow. We become more compassionate towards others, as we understand they are fragile and broken, too. We gain a deeper spiritual understanding of ourselves, each other, and the world. Growth is a continual process in life. We truly start to die when we refuse to grow.