Aaaaah I crashed my scooter and banged the very top of my head! Ow! Got myself a little brain bruise!
Rewind. Last night I arrived on Koh Phagnon island in Thailand, just as the sun was setting. My Air BNB landlord met me at the dock, riding a scooter with an adorable dog on the back. After checking me into the house, across the road from a small beach, he suggested we procure a scooter for me, so I could have freedom to roam when I woke up in the morning.
It sounded like a good idea. I had ridden a scooter once, when I was 21, on Santorini island in Greece. How hard could it be?
got in a scooter accident (due to a faulty left brake and an accidental acceleration when attempting to engage the right brake). He took me up the street, where I handed over my passport, and requested their best scooter. I wanted solid brakes. New Condition. None of that janky shit.
Apparently the woman interpreted this as wanting their highest end “scooter,” which was actually a sleek black motorcycle. I didn’t know the difference, or how much horsepower this sucker would have. So I obliviously took the bike, paid my money, and said thanks.
They didn’t give me a helmet. They gave me no instruction other than “Pull on this to accelerate, pull on this to brake.” Of course, this was my fault, for not insisting on further instruction. But I was tired. We were only a few hundred yards up the street from my house. I had done it once before with no problem. I figured I could always take a lesson the next morning. The decision making process was flawed, but I was groggy and admittedly wasn’t thinking clearly.
Little did I know that Koh Phagnon roads are tiny and covered in sand. And that this “scooter” was really a wild stallion. My landlord took off impatiently as the owner quickly showed me the features, eager to get rid of me and close up shop. We were going just up the road, what could possibly go wrong?
I turned the key and went to follow my landlord. Sure enough, 100 yards up the road, we had to go around a sharp turn in the road, and my worst nightmare became a reality.
My scooter accelerated out of control as i went around a sharp curve and fumbled at the questionable brake. I was headed for a deep ravine, with a large sign hanging over it. Time went into slow motion. I tried to brake, desperately, but somehow my bike started accelerating faster and faster towards the ravine.
“This is it,” I thought. So this is how I go. I distinctly remember thinking “Well, I had a good run,” and feeling almost relieved that this human experience was about to end, and I was about to be released back into the blissful mystery.
When I realized the braking wasn’t working, in a split second, every muscle in my body melted into surrender. I watched the sign approaching with increasing speed, yet everything moved in a fascinating soup of slow motion.
I somehow swerved to the side, just as the scooter headed straight into the ravine. My head went ***BANG*** and head-butted straight into a big thick wooden sign. The bike continued further forward into a deep ditch.
I totally knocked down the whole sign, and my head put a hole right through it. Wowsers. Yep. That happened! (I am a Capricorn, so I’d like to think it was my inner goat coming out to play)
The whole experience was kind of fascinating. As I flew through the air, I remember twisting myself so that I landed on the grass, just inches from the ditch. My body went limp and (surprisingly gracefully) melted into a puddle on the ground.
It was my first accident.
It must have taken about 10 seconds, from start to finish, but to me it felt like a 2 minute ordeal. I was watching the whole thing happen from an Eckhart Tolle, slow-mo observer space.
I was fully present as my inner observer had narrated the experience … “Wow, it feels amazing to ride with the wind on my face! The air tastes so salty, and I feel so free! I love this! Oh, hmm this brake on the left doesn’t seem to be slowing me down. Oh, hmm, I am now somehow accelerating straight into that bigass sign. Oh, wow, this is really happening right now.”
“Wow. This is fascinating. My body is melting into a puddle of serene acceptance and intense presence. Wow, I didn’t realize how good I am at surrender! ***IMPACT**** Oh wow, so this is the feeling of my brain clunking into my skull (“aww sweet little brain , it will all be ok, stay calm, I love you”)
“Oh, wow this is like in the Matrix movie! Here my body is, flying, in slow motion, through the air…. (would this technically be called ‘hurtling through the air’ right now?)…. Gosh I love words… Boy, I hope my brain doesn’t start bleeding … Gosh I hope this doesn’t affect my ability to write or play music… Am I going to survive this? If I do, maybe it will be a blessing and will make me more creative, or suddenly able to speak a new language, or play a new instrument?”
“Oh wow, I feel so surrendered and peaceful , collapsed here in a puddle on the ground, I just want to go to sleep”
“oh wow there are 30 strangers gathered around right now”…
“Oh my god, Mark is going to be so mad at me”
My best friend, mentor, and personal earth angel, Mark, had sternly forbidden me to rent a motorscooter. He is an extremely intelligent, intuitive human. I almost always listen to his guidance.
Facepalm. I had been warned.
Did I mention I managed to take down the whole huge sign, with my head? The bike had to be dragged out of the deep ditch / mini ravine. Thank god for the sign being in the way – it stopped my body from following the bike.
It’s the little miracles that count! At least I was not at the bottom of a ditch, covered in briars, having flown god-knows-how-far through the air! I had no broken bones, although a headache was slowly spreading its way across my bruised skull.
This was wonderful! What a miracle!!
I’ve heard that drunk people don’t get as injured in car accidents because their body doesn’t tense up, so they stay limber and loose due to intoxication.
I was stone cold sober, but still, I had somehow managed to fully dissolve into goo. Body intelligence is so fascinating, because that’s exactly what my body did as it realized what was happening. It relaxed everything. (Talk about a great reminder that our body has a VERY sharp intelligence of its own, and a capacity to take care of itself, and also to communicate)
After the shock wore off I got a bit scared! But mostly I felt eerily calm and in good humor.
My Air BnB landlord (who saw the whole thing happen from his scooter in front of me) kindly put me on the back of his bike, and took me to the hospital across the island. We were a bit concerned about a potential concussion or. brain bleed. Fortunately the doctor examined my eyeballs, did a few tests, and didn’t feel I needed a CAT scan.
I am taking this all in as a miracle, and a perfect circumstance. As an invitation from life to slow down and be more present and go deeper into listening to the wisdom of my inner body.
Ever since it happened, I have felt such a soft tenderness moving through me in every moment. I feel raw and vulnerable. And strangely more present in my physical body.
I had been on my way to meet a female friend, a fellow musician, at a restaurant across from my house. I had come to the island specifically because she had asked me to come to the island to celebrate her birthday. She had also wanted us to do a show together for Christmas. Always up for an adventure, and an excuse to get away from the icy temperatures of the US mainland in winter, I had flown across the world to meet her.
I texted her and asked her to meet me at the restaurant once I returned from the hospital. I asked if she was willing to sleep over at my house that night, just in case I did have a concussion, and needed help in the middle of the night.
She was one of those casual friends, who I always supported musically, but who never seemed to put much effort into me reciprocally. I didn’t mind. I am comfortable being in solitude, and love to travel the world alone. But I strive to put effort into building friendships, specifically those that involve other musicians.
She was sleeping on a couch in her friend’s crowded hotel room up the road, so she jumped at the chance to come share my private house with me. It was a win-win for both of us.
I sat against the wall, sipping tea, head throbbing, eyes closed. Feeling the pulse of my body’s healing intelligence, working hard to repair damage. She arrived at the restaurant in loud flurry of pink and gold and leopard print, and barely even asked how I was feeling, or what had happened, before launching into a twenty minute diatribe about her dating life.
I sat there, breathing deeply. Practicing my listening skills. Aware, as always, of her flagrant self-absorption. Yet feeling amused by it. I always saw her as a little child who just needed attention. And I usually didn’t mind providing it.
It felt as if my head bump had suddenly given me clearer vision to see through the energetic imbalances of the human behavioral trips in my life. She had always been all about her, but I had made excuses, overlooked it, feeling compassion for her behavior, knowing that at some point in the past I had played that oblivious role as well. The inner child in all of us just wants to be seen and heard.
I loved her. It was the mama in me. But suddenly, I could see clearly the imbalance in our relationship. And the fact that it was unsustainable.
It was as if all the ways I was de-prioritizing myself and turning a blind eye to people who weren’t aligned with me, had suddenly become clear. I could see clearly, and feel the energy flowing between us, in a one-way cord.
I sat, head throbbing, listening to her go on and on for about an hour. She didn’t ask about my crash once. As usual, she was complaining about being broke, and not having any money, but then she ordered twice as much food as me.
I watched myself reach for the check and offer to pick it up. Observing this tendency to over-give. Realizing that she is fully aware that I often offer to pick up the tab when she complains about having no money. Shaking my head at the excessive food she had ordered, and the fact that she likely was aware I was going to offer to be generous.
I loved to nurture and give, it fed me. But with people like her, it was always a one way street. I always supported her music, and she didn’t support mine. I always listened, but when I tried to talk, she brought the conversation right back to her, and bulldozed through any sense of mutual dialogue.
I watched the gears in my head start to click, as I saw things I had been choosing to ignore, passively, in the past, in the interests of keeping the peace. Wanting friends. Wanting to fit in.
I watched my passive acceptance of a clearly one-sided friendship. Amused. Taking notes.
Then she looked down at her phone and said, “Hey, so there’s this guy on Tinder who’s super cute. He wants to meet up tonight, and I’m dying to get laid, but I can’t bring him back to hook up on my couch! There are already 4 adults and two screaming children in the hotel suite.”
She looked at me.
“You don’t mind if we go meet up with him at a beach bar right now, do you?”
I had flown halfway around the world because she asked me to, and instead of connecting with me, she was focused on getting laid. I didn’t actually mind, but I just added it to my checklist of selfish, inconsiderate behavior. And I felt love in my heart for her, anyway.
We walked up the beach to the bar, where I sat in a chair, third wheeling on their date. I went off the star by the water and do some Qi gong. Staring off into the ocean, breathing deeply, I began to harvest the energy from the ocean air, from the crashing waves, from the electricity in the molecules around me.
I stretched my achy body on the sand under the moonlight. My knee had been bruised badly, so I had been gimping around all night, forced to slow down. Forced to feel all the different areas of my body that were tight and rigid.
I held my hands over my skull and did reiki on my throbbing brain. It felt like a gift, that this damage had occurred, to force me to do these things that my soul desires to do, all the time, anyway!
When I walked back to the beach chairs where they sat, drinking mimosas, she sighed, “Gosh I just wish there was somewhere we could go to be alone,” and looked at me, meaningfully. I knew what she was after.
I would have much preferred for her to just ask me directly, instead of trying to passive aggressively manipulate me. But I was psychic enough to read her intention, and I wasn’t in the mood to play games.
“You guys can go back and use my space, if you want. I have a little house just across the street.”
She squealed with delight “You’re the best M!” He went off to pay the bill, and she turned to me conspiratorially. “I just need to get laid so bad. My birthday is coming up. I promise we won’t take too long.”
“It’s all good, I want you to have the experience you need,” I said. “Just please be aware that I literally just got in an accident and hit my head. I do have a headache, and I need to rest tonight. But yes, of course you can use my space. I’m lucky to have it all to myself and I want to share my blessing.”
We all walked back across the street together, and I let them into my house. My suitcases still sat, unpacked in the corner. “I’ll be back in an hour,” I said. “It’s 11 pm, so you have until midnight, ok?”
I left and went walking down the deserted street. There were no lights. The beach was rocky and narrow across from my house. I sat on a large boulder and called Mark. He admonished me, as expected, and we laughed together about how I should always, always heed his intuitive warnings.
“No more scooters for you,” he laughed. “Tomorrow let’s get you a car, or one of those small 4 wheel beach cruisers, so you can go explore the island. In the meantime, get some good sleep tonight. You need to heal.”
I didn’t mention to him that my friend was currently in my room, getting laid, while I walked the empty streets alone. He had a lot of opinions about my tendency to over-give and let people take advantage of my generous nature. In fact, he considered it to be his personal dharma to teach me to receive, so that I could balance my giver nature.
As we talked, a pack of wild dogs came up the beach and began barking loudly, trying to chase me off their territory. I went back to the main road, and tried walking up and down the street a bit, but there were no lights, and I was sore and achy. I went back to my porch, and put in earplugs with music, to drown out the orgasmic noises coming from inside my house.
Midnight passed. 12:30 passed. I called out “Hey you guys, wrap it up please.”
“Just a little while longer!” she shouted back out to me, and I sighed, and laid my throbbing body out sideways on the porch couch.
Finally, at 2 in the morning, many orgasms later, she and her one night stand emerged from my house. He stumbled off into the dark, and I raised my eyebrows as I went inside and exhaustedly took out my contacts, ripped off my clothes, and showered off the events of the day.
She peeked her head into the bathroom. “Thanks so much for being so cool! I really needed that.”
As we fells asleep, side by side, she rattled on and on, describing the night’s events. “I didn’t even go down on him,” she laughed. “These days I make a guy worship me, and make it all about my pleasure. That’s what you’ve gotta do. Assert dominance. Maybe I’ll give him pleasure next time if we have a second date.”
Hearing her share her power and control manipulation strategies out loud made me feel so sad for he. She was missing out on the true joy and good karma that came from giving. Not just from trying to get her needs met in every moment. But I didn’t have the energy to try and be a reflective mirror, and help her learn a life lesson in the moment.
Over the last year of knowing each other, she often expressed jealousy towards my abundance, or my talent at instruments she couldn’t play. I tried to tell her that the secret to life blessing you with abundance, is to regularly share what you have. Thus, I play violin and support many other artists. Thus, I often treat people to dinner, or buy them presents.
And this keeps the energy circulating and flowing. She didn’t seem to have ears to hear the wisdom, so I stopped trying to be a teacher and let her walk her path.
I began to doze off mid-conversation, as she chatted on and on, tuning out her voice, and focusing on the throbbing in my brain.
Once you can see clearly, you still need to be brave enough to speak up and either shift the dynamic, or end it. I just didn’t have the energy or willpower to do either thing.
In the meantime, my physical vulnerability, if anything, had made me feel extra soft and tender, vulnerable and caring, full of clear vision for myself and others.
In my usual night time practice, I searched my day for its blessings. I whispered to myself, as I faded off, “Thank you for keeping me alive. Thank you for reminding me to slow down. Thank you for reminding me to do my qi gong and tune into the invisible realm. Thank you for Mark’s generosity and wisdom, please help me to always listen and not ignore the signs.”
åFirst life’s messages knock. Then they bang. Then they bludgeon the door down! POW! Message received.
Thank you life, that I am ok!!! Thank you for the fact that we are alive!!!!
And thank you for newly polished clear vision, with eyes to see what I was previously blind to. May I have the boldness to speak my truth, and draw my boundaries, where I see my generous nature being exploited. That is a life lesson that will require effort.
For now, sleep cometh. I am in awe of the body’s inherent power as a healing machine. And for the wisdom of those who love me, and contribute to my life in balanced, reciprocal ways.
May we listen to the signs. As such, I will likely be bicycling around for the rest of my trip! And I am totally, utterly cool with that.