Listening To My Broken Arm…

Listening To My Broken Arm

The Universe Will Stop Us in Our Tracks When We Are Out of Balance

“The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple. and love without measure.” ~Tibetan Proverb

Breaking the humerus of your dominant arm is not at all humorous. But indeed, I did that four weeks ago.

I’m grateful for the deep lessons learned during this time. I have had plenty of time to meditate, as well as the opportunity to see how quickly my body heals when it’s given the space — and some alternative remedies above and beyond traditional medicine.

I’ve been having a Chinese medicine form of gentle massage, tui na, on my arm since the break. Synchronistically, I had invited Dr. Paula Bruno, PhD, L.A.c,, an acupuncturist and herbalist to be on my radio show. When I mentioned to her that I broke my arm just prior to our interview, Bruno, who is also a traditional Chinese bodywork therapist, told me about the treatment she uses for broken bones. After just one treatment, the arm’s-length bruise on the underside of my arm, which was deep dark purple when I went to bed, was back to my normal skin color by morning. I also have been using Tommy Chong’s Nano-CBD oil (no THC in this formula because I live in Texas) for sleep and any pain. Oh, how I wish I had it for the entire pandemic!!!

I haven’t used more than an occasional Tylenol or ibuprofen since about the third day and never filled any of the prescriptions for much stronger pain meds given to me at the emergency room — despite being urged to do so by the healthcare workers, warning me that the pain would be too much to handle. It wasn’t. This made me wonder how the influence of negative expectations imprison people in the expectation of pain and suffering.

Mindfulness throughout this time has been my main priority. I committed to being intentional about the movement of my body to keep the bone from shifting. There’s no cast for the upper arm, so my arm was just in a sling for three weeks. The only time that I became a bit mindless was after having the covid vaccine in my left arm. Feeling soreness and stiffness in the exact same spot on the opposite arm, confused my brain, and I found myself compensating with my broken arm before I caught myself.

The biggest lesson of this bone break is that I need to give myself a break!

I was so appreciative to have work during the pandemic that I was scheduling too many appointments, and I was burning the candle at both ends. The day that I literally flew out of my shoes in my own kitchen and broke my arm, I had a particularly difficult afternoon of work with extremely intense evaluations. I did not pause in between several very emotional sessions, leading me to become disconnected from myself and mindless as I walked into my own kitchen.

How often do we do that? Allow the world’s distractions to disconnect us from ourselves? Walk around mindlessly? Eat mindlessly? I’m afraid, I’ve done this on far too many occasions.



I have gone deeper to see the other ways that I have not given myself a break. I’ve discovered expectations, both mine and ones I perceive from others, to be always productive and “perfect”. Admittedly, I’ve been allowing others to define who I am at times. I’ve not been protective of my own inner power in interactions with others and my own inner “troll”. I’ve not taken the time to just be still. I have immense compassion for others and will continue to speak out against injustice and do what I can to help as many people as I can. But I know that, if we don’t have compassion for ourselves, we won’t have the strength, energy, and power to be able to rise against the injustice against others or to offer compassionate assistance. We often tell caregivers to take care of themselves first or they won’t be able to care for their loved ones. This lesson is for all of us caregivers of humanity and this earth.

We can’t be all things to all people at all times without losing ourselves.

And the metaphor of trying to compensate for a sore arm with my broken arm, that was previously always the strong arm, has not been lost on me. I thought, even when I’m greatly in need of self-care, I jump to take care of others. Plus, there was another lesson learned on this journey. The body is quite capable of healing itself. I was told last week that no surgery is necessary, for the bone has healed after just three weeks! That astounded me.

Now that the world is opening up, I’m committed to putting breaks in my schedule.

Even when things go back to a new normal, whatever that looks like, I’ve learned that it’s important to not be so busy that we don’t have time to find what truly brings us joy, to relax and take care of our own mind and body, or to just appreciate this moment.

I have found that many people are overly busy, even during lockdown, in order to feel “productive” or to avoid painful emotions. Here’s the thing, when we’re running around like the house is on fire, we may look productive, but in the long run, we may not be doing what we’re meant to be doing, taking steps toward our passion. And when we’re running from painful emotions, they will definitely catch up.

And finally, I have learned from my personal experience, that we can only run around and be busy until that lack of balance catches up with us and stops us in our tracks with illness, injury, or burn out. So, before things get back to full-speed, spend some time thinking about what you’re doing that doesn’t serve you….or what were you doing prior to the pandemic that doesn’t serve you. Let those go. Develop some self-care practices to take into the “new normal,” such as meditation, saying “no” (just because things open up doesn’t mean you have to do everything that you’re asked to do), setting limits with other people, a creative practice, appreciating the moment, gratitude, getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, exercising. These were not just practices to get us through the past year. They are habits that we can bring forward into the future.

Wishing you all safety and health on our continued shared journey!

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Dr. Mara Karpel

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Dr. Mara Karpel has been a practicing Clinical Psychologist for over 27 years and is the author of the International…

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