There I was at the end of my holiday in beautiful sunny Brittany, perfect weather, sandy beaches, turquoise clear water just perfect for paddling, and amazingly beautiful scenery. I had one hour left before catching my train home, and I was just contemplating how to spend this time. My head was buried in google maps, but I was still ambling towards the station, and I wasn’t looking where I was going. So it’s not really a surprise that I stumbled – could have happened to anyone. I was a carrying a not-so-heavy back-pack, but it was just heavy enough to topple me – and there I was on the ground – I heard my own cry ‘ Sh…t’ as if from a distance and I was hurting.
Next thing I knew some burly guy was trying to get me to stand up! No, actually I want to get myself together first, and then stand up in my own time, thanks. Suddenly there were 3 of them trying to make me stand up….. Non! I said in my best French. I was not liking this so-called ‘help’!
A moment later there is another guy who showed up, he told us all that he was a fireman and those other guys disappeared as rapidly as they had arrived. The fireman went on to ask me all those formlaic questions, to get me talking, to check I was Ok, that I knew my own name and where I was from, and to check I was am not concussed. I participated in this exercise willingly, understanding this process. He did a great job, and kept telling me that we shoudl get the firemen to check me out. He told me it’s not normal to fall over for no reason ! Well maybe it IS normal to trip up when you aren’t looking where you are going – could have happened to anyone! I asked him if there is a bench nearby that I can sit on, as I was still a bit wobbly at that point. The nice friendly fireman helped me over to the bench that was conveniently placed over there, I felt shaken but not stirred.
Sitting there on the bench, I check myself over,there was a scrape on my knee, and another on my hand, and yes probably a nice big bruise on my cheek bone. I checked in with the whole of my body –I could still feel my toes and the whole of my feet inside my boots, – it felt really good. I could feel the metal texture of the seat beneath my sit bones. Ah, yes, there was something inside me screaming at me, in pain. I guess that must be normal too, given that I had just taken a fall. I became aware of the sunlight behind my closed eyes, the sounds of traffic in teh distance, slow traffic parking nearby and birds singing. And I could feel that ‘I am all here, and I am OK’!
Mostly, if I let myself know it, I felt grateful. I heard this wise and caring voice inside me pointing out that if I did have to fall over, it was much better that it happened here in town where there were people around. Much better than on a remote cliff edge on Ouessant (a mostly unpopulated beautiful island of the coast of Brittany) where I had been few days before. I did indeed have a few scratches, but this little mishap was much milder that other times I had fallen. There were no broken bones, no blood, and people were around – even though the first guy that came along didn’t give me the support I needed right then, I am sure he was well-intentioned.
I sat there for a while, and made space for the shock to be there . What a relief to know there was no need to change anything, and that everything was OK, just exactly as it was. Then I realised that I was hungry, and treated myself to a really nice lunch. Evidently today was not the day to explore this city….. It was time to catch the train and go home, and uncharacteristically for me, I slept most of the way home –so may be falling over wasn’t so bad after all!
I definitely wasn’t hard on myself for this having happened, as I would have been in the past, and I found many small moments of kindness, and tenderness towards myself on the way home. There is one inside me who can be hard on me sometimes – but on this little mishap I felt only self-acceptance and self-kindness. It could have happened to anyone and thank goodness it was so minor!