Thirteen soulful lessons came to me not of my own choice; but out of necessity.  You see, I am recovering from a concussion and it’s been a drowsy, dreamy, dreary process.  Certainly, life has moved in slow motion.  As such, I have had the opportunity to rest, take pause, observe.  Within this stillness, higher consciousness bloomed as a gift to soothe my soul.

The following lessons grew evident to me over this period of time.  Perhaps some may be useful for your life situation.  Or you can store a few for safekeeping if ever your life turns topsy-turvy in an instant.  For me, these lessons created calm, gratitude, and hope despite the pain and discomfort of the concussion.

concussion: a blurred beautiful water landscape

1. Listen to your Vessel

Our bodies function as vessels.  Most of the time, I like to imagine I am in charge of the ship.  But ignoring my vessel’s operating manual, cues, and rhythms resulted in a concussion.

As women and mothers oftentimes we push ourselves.  I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).  Diagnosed with mono in my early 20’s, the antibodies never left my system.  Pair that with the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) and it’s a daily struggle to work with my scant energy levels.  Still, I know that midday is the time for me to REST at home for a few hours.  I pushed beyond what my body told me to do.  As a result, I struck my head exceptionally hard on a wooden beam of a gazebo nearing noon.

I will forever hear my doctor’s voice in my head when I push myself past my limit.  “Push, push, push, and you’re going to get worse, worse, worse.”  As I proceed in the future, I will listen more attentively to my vessel and insure I make the accommodations and choices I need to prevent a greater injury.

Motto to live by:

Listen to your body.  Choose wisely.

concussion: a ship to symbolize your body as a vessel

2.  Plug into Being

Once diagnosed with a concussion, you are required to spend 48 hours unplugged with zero cognitive activity.  Yes, this means no TV, computer, reading, cell phone, texting…nothing.  This proved a challenge.

Also, the tidal wave of thoughts and creative ideas that typically greet me, I needed to block them and rest my brain.  In doing so, it opened up the doorway to a genuine look at how I spend my time during the day.  So much of it is doing or experiencing rather than being.

It was work for me to simply be!  Of course, I recognized that being shouldn’t be work.  It should be calm and restorative–the exact opposite of the doing and experiencing.

Motto to live by:

Do.  Experience.  Be.

concussion: a rabbit in stillness to symbolize being

3.  Grief Grows and Flows

Within the first 48 hours of my concussion, grief showed up in unanticipated ways.  Memories floated into consciousness and refused to dissipate until I grieved.  For instance, I hadn’t the proper time last summer to fully grieve for the loss of my friend, George.  But with the concussion I cried, and cried, and cried.  Nonetheless, this weeping felt productive, as if it was leading to inner peace and the sacred holding of cherished moments that matter.  And so when other unexpected memories and moments swam to surface, I allowed them the proper space to be.  I tended to these pockets of grief.

After days of this crying and a bit of distance from it, I marveled at how my body functioned as an emotional maze with buried treasures of grief.  I say treasure because loss belongs in this category.  It shows you that you’ve lived a story and loved.  Watering that story, tending to it, is like holding hands with that person and twirling in the warm rain.  Your connection remains present and love shows up as a reminder that your bond is everlasting.

Motto to live by:

Grieve in the now.  Release.  Remember.  Love.

concussion: rain falling from pine to symbolize grieving

4.  My Pain is my Daughter’s Gain

My daughter, Summer, has autism and so certain things remain fixed in her life.  She loves to “go places” during the summer, and it usually involves rigidity and a certain number of places to boot.  Since I couldn’t drive, it forced flexibility on her as well as heightened her imagination.  As a result, she enjoyed a stay-put 70’s sort of summer in our backyard.

Considering all of my most vivid and charmed memories of childhood happened either in the simplicity of my backyard or my grandmother’s yard, it touched me to see her let loose as a creator.  I watched her blossom memories of her own using her unique inventiveness and creativity.  She even designated a Summer Halloween in July and dressed up to go trick-or-treating in our backyard.

In addition, my concussion opened the pathway to strengthening her empathy.  She realized that I couldn’t do everything I used to do for her, and so considered my feelings and wondered what might “make mom happy.”  She loved to buy sunflowers at the farmer’s market for me.  “The flowers will help mommy’s head get better,” she would say.

Motto to live by:

Nature can be the imagination’s playground.

concussion: a girl playing creatively in her backyard

5. A Square Inch of Grass Speaks Volumes about Life

In the throes of a concussion, I couldn’t take my long meditative walks.  Dizzy and prone to falling, I ambled in circles along my backyard.  While doing so, I studied the world beneath my feet.  It reminded me of being a child when I could sit on a patch of grass and examine it, curious and enthralled.  Every square inch echoed a life lesson.

Sometimes we are empowered like the tallest blade of grass, and other times we are struggling to grow. 

We can feel rooted like the soil; or fragile like mushrooms. 

Industry can rule us like the ant that can’t stop working; or we can rest in being like the clover that seemed quite content to be what it was.

Life is a continuum of highs and lows, power and fragility, work and rest.  This sort of meditative walking reinforced these life lessons to me and with them came stillness, curiosity, peace.

Motto to live by:

Study a square inch of grass.  Ground yourself.

concussion: mushrooms in a patch of grass

6.  A Lab is a Protector

My labrador, Cali, did not at first know what to make of me as an invalid.  She stared at me the first few days in hope that I’d magically rise and walk her with zest down the street.  After I fell a few times and reality sunk in, she didn’t leave my side.

Cali followed me everywhere I ventured and rested with me on the couch.  She showered me with unwavering Dog Love.  She revealed to me her faithfulness would never waver.

Motto to live by:

Dog Love is faithful.  Appreciate.

concussion: a dog's paw and a hand

7.  Be Creative about your Creativity

Denying my creativity served as an indomitable task for me during my healing.  In fact, I spent three weeks continuing to write blog posts in opposition to my doctor’s orders.  Finally, it caught up to me.  My body refused to produce one intelligible sentence.  Frustrated, I recognized the prudence in ceasing and resting.

However, I realized my creativity is as essential to my well-being as water.  Ultimately, I decided to negotiate with my creativity.  It told me to feel free to take up something else like photography.

I spent short doses of time taking photos in my backyard.  In doing so, I opened the pathway to a different creative venue.  I didn’t attempt to master it.  Instead, I basked in the contentment and healing energy it provided.

Below is a photo of the only pink rose that blossomed on our bush.  The rose’s isolation mirrored my state of being, just as its glorious pull to the light aligned with my desire to ascend from the negativity of my circumstance to consciousness.

Motto to live by:

When one creative door closes, open up another one.  

concussion: a single rose symbolizing isolation; but also higher consciousness

8.  My Daughter’s Bravery and Endurance is Remarkable

With a concussion, senses are heightened.  Sound is particularly unbearable.  Even the tiniest ting of a fork during dinnertime magnifies ten times over.  Light sensitivity left me scrambling for my sunglasses and closing curtains a good deal of the time.  However, my daughter can’t always create these accommodations as she operates in the world.  The fact that she’s able to maneuver and shine in everyday living is remarkable to me.

This experience allowed me to slip into her flip-flops and walk around, marveling at her tenacity, strength, and endurance.  Now I have developed a greater respect for her sensory overload/meltdowns.  Yes, respect.  Because she’s telling me everything has been too much, and it’s my job to guide her towards comfort and calm as a parent.

Gleaning another human’s experience is always a golden gift.  Understanding follows.  Growth occurs and a deeper connection forms.

Motto to live by:

Respect my daughter’s meltdowns.  Empathize.  Calm.

concussion: a roller coaster symbolizing sensory overload

9.  Pampering Soothes the Soul

My concussion delivered one blissful perk–a nightly half-hour foot rub with essential oils.  My husband mixed a blend of lavender lotion, lavender oil, and chill pill oil together and then heaven began.  Beforehand, I couldn’t sleep through the night due to the head pain.  After we found this dreamy antidote to sleeplessness, I slept peacefully through the night.

Motto to live by:

Lavender is my happy place.  So is my husband.

concussion: lavender for pampering and essential oils

10.  Gratitude is a Gift

When you aren’t operating as normal, it’s easy to slip into bouts of frustration and self-pity.  Whenever I found myself in these zones, I turned to the gift of gratitude.

In doing so, I created detailed lists of everything in my life that fell under gratitude’s worthy umbrella.  Pausing, writing, allowing my list to trickle through my being, sink in, it then became difficult to feel frustrated.  Blessings abound and begin the moment you wake in the morning to face a fresh day, no matter your challenges.

Motto to live by:

Gratitude is the gift of grace.   Count your blessings.

concussion: a gratitude heart

11.  Laughter Releases Negativity

During the second week of my concussion struggle, I injured my back.  I could have broken down in sobs, raged with resentment.  Instead, I laughed in disbelief.  So did my husband.  I told him, “This is a great day.  The back pain is adding spice to my life.”

Everything felt overwhelming; but that laughter healed me quicker than lathering myself with a bucketful of negative emotion.  Indeed, within three to four days my back pain ended.

Motto to live by:

Laugh at life’s hardships.  Heal quicker.

concussion: a couple laughing

12.  Accept and Regrow

A day after I was diagnosed with a concussion, a herd of deer ate all my plants and flowers in the front yard.  Summer and I had spent special time choosing and planting this assortment.  I groaned once, and then chuckled at the irony of it.  I felt exactly like those rundown plants and flowers.

But nature regenerates and so does the body.  As my healing has progressed, the plants and flowers have blossomed once more.  I smile at our symbiotic regrowth.

Motto to live by:

Accept what is for now.  Remember life is ever-changing.

concussion: a fully alive plant

13. Loving is Healing

During my recovery, I have studied my family as they interact from day to day.  I have captured loving moments that matter and planted them in my heart.  Something as simple as watching my husband play tag with my daughter and Cali seemed heaven-sent–the simple sound of their laughter and the breath of their joy.  Relishing in my daughter’s silliness as she jumped through a sprinkler with her shower cap on, it brought me to sweet tears.  And my west coast daughter, Amber, offering her brand of love and attentiveness, it delivered me to a state of deep peace.

Family and friends checked in on me.  Cali devoted herself to me.  I meditated with nature in my backyard.  Life and Love blurred in soulful shades of beauty.

Motto to live by:

Love is life’s greatest healer.

concussion: Love written in sand on a shoreline

Sometimes even as you gaze at a serene river view and bask in your daughter’s happiness, something terrible can happen.  Life can change in a millisecond.  You can endure severe head pain, grow dizzy, be forced to alter the entire way you live.  When that happens, you can curse everything around you and plummet into despair, hindering your healing.  Or you can try to find the hidden blessings and learn, grow, evolve.

While I’m certainly not in the market for another concussion, I did tuck away some life lessons and mottoes.  I intend to put them to use.

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Never be afraid to dive inward.  Your soul will catch you.

soul quote with a full moon and reflection...

quote with a full moon and lake at night...Never be afraid to dive inward. Your soul will catch you.

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If you found this post and have a concussion, here are some tangible things that have helped…

*Physical therapy

*Essential oils for relaxation, anxiety, and depression

*Meditation and creative visualization

*Resting on an acupressure pad–one for my back and one for my neck.

*Standing on the acupressure pad for 5 minutes to relieve head pain.



*Reclining on a heating pad


Restorative Music

I wrote this post while listening to this beautiful music.  Play and reread to enter this writer’s soulful world.