As an adult adoptee, I’ve learned that inward healing leads to outward recovery. Along the way, I found that the obstacles in my path cause regression. Whenever life presents a new crisis, I’m thrown off balance. Because of last Fall’s serious injury, I experienced not only a physical but an emotional setback… a “pre-adoption recovery” state of mind.
Balance ~ that’s what I lost eleven months ago, when a hiking injury threw me totally out of commission https://tinyurl.com/yb2ruz3k. Months of physical therapy and healing techniques such as acupuncture, Feldenkrais, water aerobics, strength classes at the gym, stationary cycling and neighborhood walks helped lessen the pain from a compression fracture. However, until I faced the main culprit – anger – I would not really get better.
Why anger? I fell during a hike, something that could happen to anyone in difficult terrain. My anger was mainly aimed at myself. For taking my eyes off the tricky uphill path. For a disastrous moment of inattentiveness. For not taking an easier hike, which half of my fellow hikers had opted for on that September 22nd of 2017. My anger was about the injury itself – a compression fracture that would take months to heal and would lead to related lumbar and joint issues.
Anger is a terrible thing. Unless one deals with it, it corrodes. It can seem there is no bottom to the Canyon of Despondency and that one can never escape from this negative emotion. Until I admitted that unresolved issues about adoption were the root of my unhappiness, I was doomed to be under the cloud of angry, hurtful emotions. Only when I looked the demons in the eye could I begin to recover.
I had to admit my sadness that I did not grow up in a biologically related family
Only after meeting my biological parents, (who were not “parent material”) did I fully realize how lucky I was to have been adopted. After five years of being shuffled about in foster care, I landed in a forever home. Adoption adds so much to a child’s life: parents who chose her (or him), security and stability, a room of ones own. But it also takes away: blood ties, growing up with people who share your DNA, a family tree that is connected to you. As a baby, you, the adopted one, resided for nine months in your mother’s womb; you were connected at a primal level.
When I was adopted at age five, which I describe in The Goodbye Baby-Adoption Diaries – I was afraid to ask questions. Instead, I grew up longing to know where I came from, why I was relinquished. Years later, I felt I’d answered the questions and silenced the demons. With my injury, however, the old anger crept back in. Only when I acknowledged my anger and worked to release it did I start to mend. I forgave everything and everybody, including myself. Last week I ended my 11-month layoff. from hiking. With my neighbor Joalie, I hiked up the Tesuque Trail in Santa Fe National Forest to a beautiful lookout point. Because I’d cleaned out my feelings of anger and resentment, the physical knots in my back left me. Being out of pain and back in touch with nature was an incredible reward.
What I learned from my injury and long, slow recovery was the importance of releasing anger. Perhaps it took the injury to make the lesson sink in. I can recommend the following. Do not take a fall, but instead spend time with your inner self to discover who you really are. YOU are worth it!
Join Elaine on alternate Mondays for reflections on adoption and life. Guest bloggers with adoption-related stories are invited to inquire. If you’ve ever had an injury that served up a life lesson, we’d like to hear your story.