Fall Up

Though two years old and a seasoned walker, Em falls down a lot. Our day wouldn't be complete without lots of:

My husband Glade is concerned by her apparent lack of athleticism. How are we going to retire early if she doesn't become a pro tennis player? (Maybe she'll excel at eating contests or speech and debate--her motormouth makes the Gilmore Girls sound downright sluggish.)

I've taken a few spills myself this winter. Icy stairs, slick curbs, underestimating the completion of a staircase. All in a matter of days, actually--it's been a very slippery week. Then there are the emotional pitfalls. Self-confidence crashes, motivation declines, contentment goes out to buy milk and never comes back. Passion for a project dwindles, exercise sounds about as appealing as sticking a needle in your eyeball, relationships require more effort than you ever, ever anticipated...

Why haven't I come to expect this yet? You'd think nature has given me enough hints, with waning and waxing moons, high and low tides, droughts and floods. Why am I surprised when the highest peaks dip into the lowest valleys? They come back up again, though it feels like you'll be forever stuck in the canyon bottom, with only a slit of stars to view. 

When Em falls down she says: 
I fall up! 

She's always supremely surprised and offended, like, how dare gravity do this to me!? Metaphor-addict that I am, I couldn't help but think: what if I could learn to fall up? What if I could skip the part where I get down on myself for falling, and rise sooner and with greater ease, bruised but tenacious--and smarter?

I Fall Up When I:
Use my struggles as a way to encourage and empathize with others
Forgive myself for stumbling  
(we can only offer others the compassion we show ourselves)
Gently own my weaknesses
Don't let setbacks permanently derail me from my goal
Comfort myself in the same way I comfort discouraged friends
Search for alternate routes, discovering new depths of creativity
Accept that sometimes our destinations change
Reconsider my pace--maybe I fell because I was going too fast?

Occasional failure is inevitable, but we decide how to respond to our faltering. Just because you eat five cookies, that doesn't mean you have to polish off the whole bag. I can apologize to Em for indulging my temper, text a friend back even if it's days later, believe that "any demon honestly met becomes a friend." (-Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat) We can ascend with all the grace of a sumo wrestler in high heels and love ourselves for trying.