Most all of us, if we’ve lived any length of time here on earth at all, carry some bodily scars from accidents. Are accidents karma? I certainly believe they are; the scars we carry are constant reminders of those incidents that happened long ago.
When I shave in the morning, I see a small line on my chin where I cut myself on a broken baby bottle back in my infant toddler days. I certainly don’t remember this accident, as I was too young, but my face remembers. It remembers my mother telling me how I fell as a baby with my bottle that broke.
My first self-created scar is on my right knee, where I had the cartilage removed back in 1975. This accident was caused by me, a Western man, trying to be an Eastern man. I’d been practicing yoga heavily and longed to master the full lotus posture; but way too early in the game. From pushing my body too hard, I loosened everything around my knee. Then I twisted it getting out of a small pup tent. Luckily I had insurance, but this was my first time in the hospital with major surgery and being put under. It wouldn’t be my last!
Another three inch long thin scar adorns my right thigh, just above the knee. This scar has the most unusual story behind it of all. Back in 1979, I spent six months in Fiji Islands traveling all over many islands in the archipelago and living with the natives in their villages. As chance would have it, I took a cargo ship on a three day voyage to the remote island paradise of Rotuma. I was the first American hippie musician, looking like Jesus Christ, to ever visit this distant island. It hadn’t been discovered yet. No tourists ever came here and few had even heard the word “Rotuma”. My stay here was special beyond words. When I was riding on the back of a motor scooter with my friend Ian driving, I felt something gently brush against my thigh, above the knee. I didn’t look down at the time and just thought it must have been a leaf that rubbed against me. However, when we finally came to a stop back in the village of Juju, I was bleeding! It looked like a paper cut. What did this? I gave it no thought what so ever until years later; I noticed that it is still there- reminding me of magical Rotuma. This is a happy scar for sure.
Other scars on my body aren’t so happy. I have a scar that extends fifteen inches long from the top of my hip down my femur. There are nineteen screws there holding the eight breaks in my leg together. I fell twenty feet off a roof, breaking my leg and shoulder. The shoulder scar runs from the top of my collar bone down into my arm pit. Both of these are karmic reminders of a horrible time in my life. I had just gotten back with my estranged wife after a year of separation when this accident happened. Those scars remind me of three months in a wheel chair, then crutches and a cane as I learned how to walk again all over. And they remind me of the painful divorce I went through at the same time.
The scars on my left ankle carry five screws underneath, from an accident caused totally by alcohol. Bad karma! In a drunken stupor, I slipped off two steps on my porch, trying desperately not to squash my small Siamese kitten, Mister Blanco. This was a compound fracture with the bone exposed. Of all scars I carry, this accident hurt the worst.
So there you have it. As every picture tells a story, every scar does too. Can you remember the stories behind your scars? Everything speaks to me. Om Namaha Shivaya
Singer/songwriter Rob Rideout is the award winning author of Still Singing, Somehow. He lives on a farm overlooking Colville, WA with his three cats Baba, Maya and Olive. He just released a second book of poetry, based on his song lyrics and has a CD of original songs scheduled for release May 2011. These songs of three decades are meant to accompany both books. Rob’s books can be viewed or purchased @ www.stillsingingsomehow.com He can be contacted there too. Be sure to check out his blog on the home page of his website.