Some of you may know that I had a very nasty accident while I was guiding a Short & Sweet walk on Wednesday 9 th October, from Cala Conta to Time and Space (Ibiza Henge) with a group of 40 people.

It was a beautiful clear and sunny day as we set off from Sunset Ashram at 10.00 am. Already a few brave souls were setting themselves up on the beach, making the most of the end of the summer.

After a short stop to explain the story and myths about Es Vedra in the distance, we made our way along the rocky headland to the well known “Rave Cave” which, as the name suggests, was the site for those legendary Ibiza secret parties in the 60’s and 70’s. The cave itself is situated on top of two fisherman’s huts with stunning views from the openings at both ends.

Before descending down to the cave I gathered the group together and explained about the two sets of stairs that would need to be negotiated to reach the base and gave the option for anyone who was not happy to do so to stay at the top and wait in the sunshine, which a handful of people decided to do. I made my way down the concrete steps followed by the rest of the group until we reached the last wooden ladder. I climbed onto the top step and took hold of the handrail post, looking up to explain to the people behind me that the easiest way to go down was backwards as the steps are steep and narrow. At that same moment the handrail post broke away from its base and crashed to the ground below taking me with it. The last thing I remember is the sensation of falling, then nothing.

I remember a voice saying “let’s help you to sit on the steps”. I was confused. For a while I didn’t know where I was or why I was there. I could see people walking around but I didn’t connect them to me. Only gradually did things start to make sense and I remember asking “am I guiding a walk?” “Yes” was the reply. Someone had called an ambulance. Not only did that turn up, but they were accompanied by the fire brigade and the Guardia Civil! So far I haven’t been charged with vandalism!

I know now that my guardian angels were looking after me that day. I fell from the top step of the ladder onto solid concrete. Apart from mild concussion, a lot of bruising and a badly damaged knee, nothing was broken. It could have been so much worse and for that I am immensely grateful and to those wonderful friends who took care of me that day.

So, how does someone whose life in retirement revolves around walking and hiking, cope with not being able to do what they love? The trauma following the accident was a period of self-doubt and if I’m honest, feeling very low. Only last year I suffered a broken ankle and was unable to walk or guide walks for six months, and now this. Why me, why again, what is it telling me? Maybe I didn’t want the answers.

Constant leg pain, painkillers 24/7, no sleep, no appetite, poor concentration, hardly able to walk and yes, feeling very sorry for myself. But slowly, with the love, support, advise and help from my amazing family and friends my determination to heal myself emerged through the fog. I began to see this as an opportunity to grow and turn it into a positive learning experience. I adjusted my already healthy diet to be even more so! Exercise every day to gain back strength
and mobility, a daily Chi Kung healing routine, a whole bunch of the right supplements to aid healing and perhaps most important of all taking more care of myself i.e. resting, and that does not come easy to me!

I’ve noticed a subtle change in myself too. I’m more relaxed, more mindful and appreciative of all the beauty that surrounds me and truly grateful every day for family, friendships and a fulfilled and happy life.

After five weeks my energy levels have returned, and I’m already managing short walks. I am almost pain free and starting to feel really good in myself and healthy again. Is it time to hang up my hiking boots and take up knitting as Toby often jokes? (or is he joking?!) I hope not! My goal is to become stronger and fitter and able to resume guiding the Wednesday Short & Sweet walks in the New Year. Let’s see, watch this space!

“To put one foot in front of the other is one of the most important things we do” and that says it all for me.

Sheila Falconer
November 2019