Nova Scotia·Point of View

How a brain injury revealed the meaning of isolation, loss and acceptance

Chloe Luckett says the tools she used during her brain injury recovery can be applied during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chloe Luckett reflects on how the tools she used during her recovery can apply to the pandemic

Chloe Luckett is shown practising yoga at the skate park on the Halifax Common. (Mo Phùng)

Right now, we're going through a period of uncertainty and change. We asked a few East Coast creators to reflect on their own transformations, in the past or present.

Chloe Luckett is originally from Wolfville, N.S., and now lives in Halifax. Here is her story, in her words.

I think stillness and being present can be one of the hardest things for a lot of us.

That includes being able to accept the feelings that can accompany a lot of experiences we'll all have in life: sadness, frustration, ambiguity, the harder emotions to sit with.

When you try to put a name on this practice, a lot of us call it mindfulness.

It's the act of acknowledging your feelings as they arrive, and just letting them run their course. Practising mindfulness, and continuously learning more about how to use it every day, has been one of the biggest transformations for myself.

In 2016, I had plans to work away, take my Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) wine courses and fulfil my vision of working for my family as a winemaker.

However, that September all of my plans came to a grinding halt.

I was hit by a car while cycling. I sustained a severe brain injury and broke my neck along with several other injuries. The next year consisted of mourning my loss of self, all the plans I had made, and struggling to cope with the emotions.

Chloe Luckett instructs yoga for the Love Your Brain organization. (Contributed by Chloe Luckett)

I soon learned that regardless of injury, you will never be who you were yesterday and the sooner you find acceptance, the more you will move forward. By accepting my injury and the changes it brought, alongside the support of family and friends I made a new plan, to teach yoga for brain injuries.

Almost four years post-injury, I now teach yoga for Brain Injury Nova Scotia and Love Your Brain organization, as well as public classes.

The journey to get here has been full of moments where I was ready to give up. I don't consider myself to be superstitious, but moments I thought were a sign I was following the wrong path. But with the help of an amazing support system and realizing that breakthroughs can happen where you're uncomfortable, I feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be with my career and life now.

The practice of mindfulness has continued to be a tool I use every day, and I think it's more important than ever right now.

The shift and changes that have been brought about by this pandemic have in many instances brought me back to that feeling of isolation that I experienced post-accident, and that's terrifying.

Hardship isn't new

For many people, I think it's an unknown situation that's creating a lot of new feelings that are for the most part unpleasant, and harder to deal with now that many ways we would usually cope are not viable.

However, what's not new, is hardship. Almost everyone in their life has experienced something prior to this that they felt would never pass, but it did. I realize more every day of this isolation that it's so important right now that we all acknowledge we're in a really uncomfortable situation.

Know that it's OK to have days where you don't leave the couch, don't do anything productive, let the feelings happen. But also know that just like sadness or frustration we've had before, the feeling will run its course and eventually give way to something new.

Here are a few things you could think about or try:

  1. Write down or think about one thing you are grateful for every morning when you wake up, and before you go to bed.
  2. Ask yourself what's one positive thing to come from this pandemic that you maybe didn't expect?
  3. Regardless of what happens every day, you will never be the same person as yesterday. Who do you want to be when we come out of this?

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