I’m reading this great book right now about phases of life transitions (meaning we’re all getting older!) called Falling Upwards by Richard Rohr.
One of the things he talks about is that we learn how to recover from falling by falling.
So to fall is to learn, grow, evolve, prosper, fly and ultimately succeed.
Totally counterintuitive but makes perfect sense.
Fall. Fail. Implode. Melt down. Self-Detonate. Collapse. Crumble. Crash. If you’re doing these things because you’re out in the world in a risky way ”“ taking creative leaps, going for things, attempting, being thwarted and denied ”“ eventually something comes out of the forging forward.
I guess that doesn’t seem new. Or maybe it does. As we’ve learned time and time again, failures inherently hold the seeds for your future successes. But you have to be willing to put yourself out there in order to fail (repeatedly) and eventually be victorious.
Falling is the same thing. You just have to get back up.
It is precisely because we fall down ”“ we fall off the bike, or land on our butts when we’re skiing or take a header from our skateboard that we eventually learn what balance feels like. Fall. Get up. Attempt again. Fall. Repeat.
When we don’t allow ourselves to fall, we are actually off-balance.
Think about it. If you continue to live from this presumption that security leads to some future nirvana where everything will be perfect and then you might attempt things, you’ll not only stop taking the risk to fall but you’ll do whatever you can to prevent risks from happening. You’re trapped. And out of balance.
We try to lull ourselves into this suspended state of stasis in which nothing happens. We’re safe, comfortable, in control, but lack the aliveness that comes with risking, leaping and falling.
Culturally, we aren’t taught that falling is a part of our nature. And is important. We’re so full of shame about not presenting ourselves as perfect and having everything together or not having something tangible to show for ourselves that when we do stumble, we wrongly believe we’re the only ones who do so. We’re the loser or f*&k-up or untalented one.
In this social media dominated culture where everyone has control in shaping the stories of how they wish to present themselves to the world, it’s easy to succumb to this belief that struggling and falling on our asses is not what the popular people do. So we try to hide our flaws, pockmarks and imperfections.
Stop living your life behind the digital images that tell only one story ”“ and not the story we want to hear most. Or are the ones that are most inspiring.
Don’t document the story. Live it. And you do that by falling. And remember that each fall is really not a fall down as much as it is toward something. A greater you. A more brave, present and purposeful self.
So fall. Fall upwards.