Pema Chödrön, a famous author, says this: “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” Falling and failing are signs that we are truly engaging with life.
I fell again last week. This was the fourth or fifth fall directly onto the concrete sidewalks of downtown Toronto in 12 months. And though I have not hit my head (thankfully), the force of going down so quickly jostled my head enough to leave me concussed.
Each fall was on concrete. Each fall was in downtown Toronto. And each time, several people have come to my aid, gathering up my walking poles (which I use, ostensibly, to help keep me upright), and helping me to get back up on my feet. In those moments, I am grateful to be reminded of the kindness and generosity of my fellow humans.
These falls hurt. I have to take it easy for months after each one, which requires me to access patience and kindness for myself. You can’t recover from a concussion by pushing yourself. It takes time, rest, and a large amount of reflection resulting from avoiding screens (phone, computer, tv). After this latest fall, I had an x-ray done on my left knee as it is more painful than usual. Maybe I broke something, or maybe something is sprained. Either way, rest and modifications to my routine will be required. I spent two days without reading or watching tv (or using the internet – gasp!). I napped and reflected. I gathered my strength.
I get back up, though, every time. For me, this is the only thing to do when you fall. Take the time you need to recover, and then get back up. What’s the alternative? Stay down? No, thank you. Maybe I have nine lives, and maybe I’m just lucky. What I know for sure is that I have a tremendous support system. I also have an innate drive to always move forward. And that is where my luck comes from: support and drive.
Falling, down, resting, repeating is a cycle which applies to so many things. Simply replace “falling down” with “failing,” and you get a pattern that emerges whenever we try something new. When we work towards a goal (for me that would be to walk without injury), it is natural to fail. We’re not born as experts. We fail, hopefully learn, and try again.
Reach out to me in the comments section and let me know how you rise from each fall. Maybe we can learn from each other and build more resilience together. Because here’s the thing: I will fall again. And I will rise again. And so will you.