Not Falling

When is the last time you fell? Was it more like a stumble and you caught yourself or did you go down spread-eagle and land flat out?

I’ve fallen several times over the years. The most recent time was down the stairs. Well, I should say, down the last stair. It easily could have been avoided. You see, I was carrying something in my arms and couldn’t see the bottom step. I thought I was at the landing, but no, I still had one more step to go. I lost my balance, dropped what I was carrying and couldn’t recover quickly enough to catch the railing. So…down I went. Of course, I fell on top of what I’d been carrying, to add insult to my injuries.

My fall also created a commotion because my family was concerned and came to discover me at the bottom of the stairs, splayed out and more than a little upset.

Worse still, there were many suggestions about how my fall could have been averted. Yes, I knew that already.

Later when I was calm and reliving my adventure, I realized that had I not been carrying anything or had I arranged what I was carrying so that I could see forward and downward, I would not have fallen. As we used to say when I was a kid, DUH!

So why had I carried this armful of stuff and risked a potential fall?

The best I could come up with was, ‘I didn’t even think about it, I just did it. I picked up the stuff and started down the stairs, assuming all would be well.’

Here’s the thing. Had I arrived safely I would not have had to consider my actions, but because I’d fallen, I needed to see if there was a teaching in my experience.

I strongly believe there is a teaching in every single action in our lives. We are so often blissfully unaware of this, but if we took a moment, we might see there could be truth in it.

Case in point.

I sat back and considered, could it be that the same thing happens to me emotionally? Am I carrying too much with me, making it hard to see where I’m going?

If I am excessively thinking about or stressing over something in my life and allowing it to overwhelm me emotionally, is it possible that it results in my falling?

My answer is an unequivocable ‘yes’.

Is it possible we all do this?

I can certainly see how I can lose my balance and become unsteady when I am worried, angry, overtired, jealous, distracted or any other emotional state.

Some of these are very heavy loads.

Might it not be a wonderful idea to release some or most of what I carry with me, especially those things that block my view? To let go of or set down objects or thoughts or habits which take up so much space?

The world offers us an overabundance of concerns. How many can we carry without losing our balance and falling?

It’s a difficult question to answer.

I also know it’s an important one for me. Perhaps it is for you as well.

I think I would be wise to consider releasing anything that feels too heavy, knowing it could cause me to fall. Here’s just one example.

There are those in my world who believe I should stay informed. I should read the paper, follow a news feed on my phone or watch the evening news, so that I stay abreast of world events. They don’t seem to understand the cost of this to me. I feel deeply for what others are going through and it weighs on me, heavily. It overwhelms me and pushes me out of balance emotionally and spiritually. And the truth is, there is little, if anything I can do to remedy the world’s situations.

I must choose what to carry with me and what to set aside. If I want to live a beautiful life, I benefit from paying attention to what I am carrying and whether it allows me to stay balanced.

Center of Gravity

As a kid I had an awesome sense of balance. One of my favorite things to do was creek walk. It didn’t matter where and sometimes, it didn’t matter when. I’d even go in cold weather, which could have been considered a little risky, since I spent a good deal of time jumping from one rock to the next. All it would have taken was some moss I didn’t see or an unsteady rock and down I would have gone. Splashing into cold water when you’re a long way from civilization isn’t the smartest idea. But, I didn’t say I was smart, only that I had confidence in my balance.

According to one source, a person’s center of gravity is normally located in front of your sacral bone, at about the second sacral level. In English, this is pretty near your belly button. I don’t know why they couldn’t have just said this, but that’s science for you.

As a grew older my fearless side began to ebb away. I’d spend more time calculating the distance between rocks, and examining the appearance of their steadiness, before making the jump.

Some would say my survival mode kicked in, but I think it’s more than that, after all I was still out there.

I think I couldn’t allow myself to abandon the thrill and joy of the experience. It kept me in touch with a part of the wild world and connected me to the creek in a way that felt primal. I knew even my subdued version was risky, but I couldn’t let go.

You might wonder if I fell. Yes, plenty of times.

You might wonder if I ever got myself into a bad situation, one perhaps beyond my ability to control the outcome. The answer again would be, yes.

One day, I found a beautiful roaring river, and made my way from rock to rock, expecting that I would be able to cross over and back and maybe even stay dry.

Crazy bad idea. I fell in at about the midpoint of the river. Drenched, cold, and stuck, hugging a large protective rock, as torrents of water raged by me. And, it was a long way to the edge and safety.

Now what? I’d lost my physical center of gravity in an epic slow-motion crash into the water, and I feared I’d lost my mental center of gravity along with it.

The first thing I did in that crisis situation was ‘nothing’. I needed to give myself a moment to think and consider my options and get my bearings.

I didn’t have many options. No one was coming to throw me a lifeline or air lift me out of there. And, I couldn’t stay where I was and risk hypothermia. I had to find a way to carefully swim/float from one rock to another, traveling a kind of semi-submerged highway.

The first time I let go, whoosh, I got carried away by the strong current and my body bashed into a huge rock further downstream. I was pretty sure I’d at least cracked a rib, maybe even two. Eventually, I slowly and carefully made my way to the shore and pulled myself up onto dry land. I can tell you it seemed like a very long walk back to my car.

I went back to the inn I was staying at, got into dry clothes and drove to the nearest hospital several miles away. They took some x-rays, confirmed a cracked rib and suggested I stay on shore next time. Good advice, but I probably wouldn’t take.

Not surprisingly, this experience has stayed with me and I often reflect on the value of living a life of balance. It’s important to me to resist the temptation to succumb to overprotective inner fears. I don’t want to be defined by what I can not do.

Equally important, is recognizing when I’m attracted by a sense of danger, whether physical, mental or emotional. Life can be very subtle and it is easy to be drawn away from your center of gravity.

I’ve discovered along the way, that to be truly in balance, I need to live from my spiritual center. To rely on my relationship with the divine to guide me and provide a safe shelter from any storm, even the ones I create. Perhaps, especially those.Note: To make a comment, please click on the Post Name, then scroll to the bottom of the page, write your comment in the box and hit enter