The river was absolutely gorgeous with a thin mist overlying the water. Allowing my friend to walk ahead was a reward with big payoffs when she noticed the beautiful web with a large spider smack at face level in the middle of the path. Gently, she apologized to the spider for ruining its web and moved it to the brush on the side of the path. Had I gone first, I most certainly would have walked face first into Mr. Spider, and what would have ensued would not have been a gentle maneuver, but a violent dance.
I love fall walking. It's a time for rubber boots and rain coats to thwart the wet grasses and revel in the crisping of the air. Everything is damp, yet, refreshing. A mysterious aura surrounds us as our vision is limited due to the fog. Eager to get to the open beach along the river, I keep a steady pace both with my feet and my tongue, talking away. Looking back to make acknowledge a particular wise nugget from my friend, I am enjoying this gift of a day...
And then I slip.
On a Personal Note
I have never known to be very graceful. In fact, I have a reputation for falling up stairs. This is not an easy feat for most people, and I appreciate that I am coordinated in a way that most people are not. Falling up the stairs requires a combination of speed and forward momentum resulting in a rhythmic series of sounds. When heard, my family does not come running, but yells from their respective spaces..."Are you okay?" to which I respond to in the affirmative. Admittedly, I am slightly disappointed to elicit no excitement. When nobody even gets up, you know it is a common occurrence.
Edges of driveways, sidewalks and drop offs tend to be another hazard to the gravity challenged. An accident occurs often when I am busy thinking of what I need to do next and not focusing on the present moment. This usually consists of a trip or a twist of my ankle causing me to tumble onto the ground. This, if anything, is a huge advertisement for mindfulness.
The good thing is that I very rarely hurt myself. I proudly can say when I fell off the edge of the driveway with my then infant son, my mothering instincts kicked in full gear. I saved the baby and scraped my knees. Other than a handful of bloody episodes, my falling career has largely been comedic as opposed to tragic.
Today was no exception. My friend watched in the horrified way that says I know what is happening but there is nothing I can do about it as my rubber-booted foot slipped on the muddy path. Surrounded by tall green grasses, I skied to the right down a grassy curve where I proceeded to twist my way around by trying to regain my balance. I was now facing my friend's direction, still sliding and trying to upright myself.
When you're in the process of falling, time seems to slow down. Everything happens in slow-motion. As a chronic faller, I have become experienced with that point...the point at which you make the decision to stop fighting the fall and just flow with it. You just let go of control and release the outcome to the Universe. All flailing ceases and what occurs is a graceful descent (but not always landing).
Landing at the bottom of the small slope on a pillow of long grasses, I could not do anything, but laugh. My friend as well who is very familiar with my gravity challenges also had a good chuckle. I am currently at that lovely age that is just too old to dwell on damaged pride and too young to break a hip. I jumped back up and proceeded on my walk, but memories of my tumble still elicit a smile...which is in the zone of joy so hardly a waste of time. Nice I can be a consistent source of amusement for myself.
So, what does falling have to do with joy?
Joy is letting go of control and releasing the idea that life needs to flow in a predetermined way for you to be happy. Everything in the Universe is up for unexpected upheaval. In our need for control, we hang on to our idea of how people are supposed to behave, environments are meant to be, or life is meant to unfold. The tighter we cling to this belief system, the more angst and stress I guarantee you will experience. A huge indicator word for when we are living life in this mindset is the word "should." My boss "should' understand. My children "should' behave. My restaurant meal "should" be hot. Traffic "should" be smoother. I "should" have known.
I have a little idea. What if we accept the possibility that nothing in this world will operate in the way we expected? What if we just gave into the fall? What if we flowed with life as much as we could?
When you are able to embrace this concept, you truly have levelled up. You feel resistance "fall" away. You will be open to the magic that surrounds you instead of the narrow focus of "reality."
Metaphorically, letting go may feel initially much like I do in this present moment...uncomfortable. I just don't bounce like I used to, and my joints are a little sore. However, with practice, you may find that by letting go you not only bounce...
You might even fly.
When you surrender and release the illusion of control, you begin to free-fall towards your destiny of a grand reunion with your original self; a self uncorrupted by the world's false lessons of fear and control.
- Bryant McGill