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 had in the past, and found many small moments of kindness, and tenderness towards myslef on the way back. There is one inside me who can be hard on me sometimes – but on this little mishap I felt only self-acceptance and seld-kindness. Tt could have happened to anyone and thank goodness it was so minor!