Falling without Failing
Today I had an epic wipe out, and I don’t mean metaphorically.
While walking down a beautiful, sloped (and very icy) trail in the woods with a close friend my legs came out from under me. For a split second, I thought it was one of those stumble-and-catch-yourself-mid-fall stumbles that often happen in the winter (or Spring if you're in Canada) on icy ground, but then I just kept falling. My legs came right out from under me and—paf!—my bottom hit the ground first and then my back slammed down. Before I knew what was happening I was back up, albeit a bit dazed, and was brushing myself off while reassuring my concerned friend that I was fine. We carried on our trek. In hindsight I realized I didn’t experience the urge to cry that often accompanies minor traumas like this one. I didn’t really feel fear, or embarrassed (surprising for a person of mega-pride like me) or even sorry for myself. I simply went through it, picked myself up and carried on. Dazed but not fazed.
I realize that somewhere along the lines I’ve learned to wipe out—like really epically wipe out. I’ve learned—partially through living with Lyme Disease and the life tsunami I’ve experience as a result these past two years—that shit happens. I’ve developed a higher threshold for discomfort and also majorly fine-tuned my ability to endure. It is often said that there is a blessing or gift in every pain. With what I’ve been living, I know this to be true more than ever before.
Several hours later now, there is indeed a growing intense pain in my back and I realize that I did injure myself. I’ve been icing, having a hot bath and lovingly tending to my back. I am ‘being with’ this achy discomfort without fear and without making any unnecessary fear-based stories up about it. In hindsight, I notice that I have the ability to both feel what needs to be felt and also to hold neutral space and not go into unnecessary drama about what’s happening. Both responses are necessary in their own right.
“Falling isn’t failing when we get up and continue.” ~Michael Brown
'Dream of Falling' by Jonathan Ball