The last time I'd gone cross country skiing was a long time ago - maybe 4 years ago? It had been a fun day and, I hadn't fallen down once! I used to downhill ski quite a bit until I was about 11 or 12 years old. But there came a moment in time that I'd had to chose what was more important to me - skiing or dance, and I chose dance. As I'd gotten more serious with my dancing, I couldn't risk the injuries that might accompany skiing. Even all these years later, part of me is still fearful. Fearful of falling, of losing control, of jeopardizing my health, losing my ability to earn money.
It wasn't until I was starting to click my boots into the ski bindings that I felt that twinge of fear rise once more within me. Shit, I thought, I could hurt myself today, in the blink of an eye, in some little insignificant momentary lapse of focus or unfortunate combination of circumstances, I could go DOWN. I glanced up from my skis and saw several of my friends already shushing forward, and in that moment, my resolve strengthened, I smiled and pushed off.
Not 5 minutes in, feeling bright and enthusiastic, though not terribly coordinated, I ate dirt. Or rather, snow. At first, a flush of shame filled me, followed immediately with laughter. HA! I had fallen! I had fallen and I was fine. I picked myself back up and kept going. I fell down at least three more times that day, one of my wipeouts so full on, nearly at the bottom of a pretty extreme downhill incline for cross country skiing, that it shoved snow up my sleeves and inside my gloves. WIth each fall, I laughed, and I rose again. I love it when life offers up it's lessons in such fun packaging.
In this journey we're on, this life we've each been gifted with, we have a choice - move forward into uncharted territory and risk failing, or stay put, complacent. After all if you don't try, you can't fail. Again and again, this theme comes up and is articulated beautifully by so many of our cultures creators, innovators and artists:
Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative.
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.
J. K. Rowling
Like most of you, I've made a resolution or two, (OK, fourteen!), and I'm feeling excited to begin to tackle this year. But, I move forward knowing that along the way, I may fall. And falling, is a good thing. It gives us each a chance for fresh perspective, a vantage point from which to assess and re-assess what it is we are engaged in. When you're down on the ground (either figuratively or literally), you can't help but see things differently, you can't help but feel both humbled by failing and exhilarated by the fact that you are still in one piece.
So, as 2013 is just in it's early days of unfurling, I wish you great gusto, perseverance and humility as you go out and take on this years challenges and resolutions. May we remember to laugh when we're down and to help each other back to our feet when we just can't get up on our own.