I took the first phone call the night my brother crashed his motorcycle. The friend he was riding with couldn’t get a hold of my mom. Or my dad. Or my brother’s girlfriend.
So he called me instead.
I remember everything about that night. What I was wearing and how my hair looked and the smell of the North Sacramento teen center where I was hosting an event for my summer camp. The shape of my bent knees and the way my right ankle landed in the arch of my left foot, like a ballerina in third position. I stand that way whenever I’m having an important conversation.
It’s instinct, automatic.
On the other line, an unfamiliar voice tells me there’s been an accident. My brother crashed a motorcycle on garden highway. He hurt his ankle and his shoulder and he’s in the ER.
“My brother has a motorcyle?”
There’s a sickness in my stomach when I admit, at first, I rolled my eyes.
The guy sounds calm and centered and his tone feels reassuring.
“But he’s awfully desperate to get a hold of my mom.”
The conversation ends and I get swept back up in the energy of what was happening before my phone rang. It’s noisy and my kids are demanding and minutes later, my racing heartbeat, starts to calm down. Within an hour, I’m laughing and talking over ice cream and grilled cheese sandwiches. Then, I’m three spoonfuls into my extra thick chocolate milkshake when I’m overcome by nausea, and dread. Out of nowhere, and without explanation. That deep, aching, immobilizing sensation, originating in my belly and radiating out.
“I have to leave.”
I throw cash on the table and get in my car. I’m out of the parking lot and on the road and I don’t even know where I’m going.
Somehow, I get there anyway.
At the hospital, my brother is in the ICU.
“I thought he sprained his ankle.”
They let me see him right away and sometimes, I wish they hadn’t. He’s mumbling and delirious and as I make my way to the side of his bed, I see his whole body is bloody. It looks like Law and Order SVU when they first discover the victim. It’s gruesome like I didn’t know was possible in real-life.
I was up every, single hour of that, the worst night of my life.
In the morning, I cry. A lot. I cry driving to camp and for six hours after. I cry into my sweet dog’s fur as we’re both lying in my mom’s bed. I try to sleep, but just keep crying.
The night of my brother’s accident changed everything, for all of us. And in the months that followed, filled with “what could have beens?” and “is this really happening?”, I couldn’t shake the feeling that came over me and my milkshake. The why and the how of it, haunted me.
Six and a half years later it makes a little more sense. I have more experience tuning in to my intuition, my truth, and my authentic self. The places in my body that tell the stories my mind tries to ignore. I’m learning to pay attention. To quiet down and listen. To trust that what comes up as a sensation, has meaning in actions, and decisions and words.
Tightness and illness and fatigue and deprivation tell me something I’m doing isn’t working.
Lightness and inspiration and smiles and laughter and enthusiasm inspire me to do more of everything that fires me up.
When I keep running and stay busy and allow myself to get wrapped up in the energy of what’s already happening, I lose the connection to the message, that’s already in there. My knowing voice is silenced, before ever being heard.
When I take a deep breath, and let myself be still, and let go of the idea that something is wrong or bad or fixable, I connect to the knowledge, the wisdom, that’s already in there.
What I already know emerges, takes over, and shows me the way.