I have a new yoga teacher. She is a willowy blonde goddess, improbably flexible and radiant in all ways. She is also funny and nice, goddamn it. Me and my posse of yoga girls have a bit of a girl crush, as we try and emulate her grace and strength. Last night she had us trying some fiendishly difficult arm balances (Parsva Bakasana if you are interested). Demonstrating this asymmetrically balance effortlessly, a picture of poise right down to her perfectly pointed toes, she encouraged us to follow.
“How hard can it be?” we muttered trying to get to grips with it. Pretty hard as it turns out. We persevered, the sound of the chilled yoga tunes almost entirely drowned out by the noise of arses and foreheads hitting the floor. Annoying. Difficult. Tiring. Hot. Very easy to give up and put it in the Too Hard Basket. Just wait it out till she moves onto the next pose. But then? But then she says this:
Oh, lady that is good. You don’t just have beautiful arms but much wisdom too.
I think this is a core principle of life. If we could love falling more we would all go further and do more. The fear of falling stops so many of us from trying things that could be amazing, if only we would accept it was going to be harder than we thought, take longer than we thought and we probably will fall on our ass a few times. We pull ourselves up short of training for that new career; jumping into that new relationship; creating that side hustle business; volunteering for the things we have never done before; trying the scary but cool new hobby, all the time. If we are not going to be good at it quickly we can stop ourselves from starting. We fail to commit because we are scared of falling. We don’t want to hurt ourselves. We don’t want to be seen to fail again. We don’t want to go through the learning process where we are going to fall far more often than we nail it.
And the thing is, the fall is generally not as bad as we think. The fall is just part of getting out of our comfort zone. Trying something or someone new. Falling is actually an intrinsic part of the process of anything new, not a reason not to commit in the first place.
Look around at the things you are proud of that you have accomplished. Look at those who have accomplished things which you would like to emulate. Some of the time it’s down to aptitude or luck but much of the time the only difference between us and them is that they have been willing to let themselves fall, and not judge themselves for it. That they have learned to love the fall. That it’s been a badge of their commitment not a signal of their failure. Falling means you took a risk. It means you showed up. It means you didn’t quit. Falling doesn’t mean failing. Falling means you committed. How would life be different if you learned to love the fall?