A friend made this observation the other day, and it’s so delightfully tied to my interests I wonder why I didn’t come up with it sooner:
“Learning how to fail is like learning how to fall in parkour or Aikido.” *
And it is. So much so. In quite a few ways. For starters, there’s learning now to fail/fall without being injured or otherwise taken out. But, even more so, is learning how to fail/fall gracefully, so that we can roll and come right back up.
Then there’s the next level, which is how to be during the failing/falling, without a loss of being present and our peace of mind.** Our spirit doesn’t get taken out either.
Then, as we build our ability and get used to the whole thing, it becomes part of the process. We engage, we vault, we fail/fall, we roll, we examine, adjust, work, grow, and continue.
And we may just begin to get thrown, fall, or fail less often to begin with.
* Or any other martial art…
** My own experience with this is fun/weird/remarkable/unbelievable/did I mention weird? There are these two instances I can remember clearly where I’ve slipped or otherwise fallen during kung fu practice. And both times, I had this amazing moment of realization in the air, as my body hit the horizontal, that was clear and surprisingly calm: “Oh, I’m falling,” it said. And with that, without any need to think or plan, I rolled and was on my feet, no worse for the wear from the fall. It was smooth and fluid and “automatic” and drama-less and I was able to continue my practice right where I’d left off.