In Yoga, our teacher, Alexa Rapier, has always taught us that it is ok to fall.
Why? we would ask. She explained: "it is so that we know our edge. And oftentimes we don't have that far from the mat to fall anyways."
Eighteen months ago, Dad had a sudden episode of too low of blood pressure and when he fainted, his head hit the concrete trail which caused internal brain bleeding. Mom was the only one with him when this occurred so the memory is always fresh and scary for her. Over the next month, Dad underwent three brain surgeries to drain this blood and to fix a bleeding aneurysm in his brain. The lengthy hospitalization left him so physically de-conditioned and weak that he didn't even have enough strength to stand up and his body would sometimes just slide onto the bedroom floor. During these times, the local EMS would come quickly to their condo to help pick Dad up and lay him gently back into his bed since Mom could not physically lift him and Dad could not help her at all.
Because of Mom and I not being strong enough help him to stand back up if he slipped to the ground, we were terrified of him falling. Chairs were even placed strategically around his bed, blocking him so he wouldn't roll off while left unattended.
Six months later, Dad was advancing in his Physical/Occupational/Speech Therapy sessions slowly but surely. Every baby step of progress was pure determination, effort and will on Dad's part.
Mom being his full-time caretaker was grateful for their small one bedroom condo which had been transformed into Dad's own rehabilitation center. Due to Dad making slow but heroic progress, both Mom and I were finding ourselves praying that Dad would not fall which in our minds would be a huge setback and would reset us back to square one with needing surgery again and all of Dad's hard work in therapy would be lost.
So as Dad would manage with assistance to stand up by the bed, we would say, "Be careful Dad. Don't fall. Take your time. Don't rush".
Months later, as Dad would be transferring to a recliner with assistance, we would again say, "Be careful Dad. Don't fall. Take your time. Don't rush".
Months went by without Dad falling. Then it happened. Mom's worst nightmare. Dad fell.
He was attempting to transfer from his wheelchair to the toilet, lost his balance, and fell hard onto the shower door tracks below. Mom didn't know what else to do but hold Dad, cry, and scream loudly out of sheer exhaustion and frustration. Dad cried with her.
She called me later that day and told me what had happened and that Dad had just a bad scrape and bruise on his back from the fall, but she was sad and felt that this was a set back. She cried out in frustration and said, "That is it. I will just need to hire someone full-time to watch Dad as I cook and prepare his meds because someone needs to be with him all the time to prevent him from falling." As she was venting, I didn't know what to say. Until, I remembered what Alexa Rapier, my Yoga teacher, had always taught us: I told Mom:
No, wait. We need to let Dad FALL.
He is learning to walk again like a toddler. Toddlers fall as they are learning to walk. If they don't fall, they won't learn how to walk.
We needed to let Dad FALL.
From that moment on, we because hopeful. Dad became hopeful. He felt free to fall. He even agreed that he needs to FALL...to learn where his edge was.
So from that moment on, we began to tell Dad: "Dad, it's ok to fall. You need to fall. Don't be afraid to fall."
So don't be afraid to fall. It's ok to fall. Whether you are learning a new musical instrument, trying to ride a bike, going back to school, asking your crush for a date.
You see, It's ok to fall. You need to fall. Don't be afraid to fall. The mat is not as far away as you think.
That is how we find our edge and learn to be better.
So thank you Alexa Rapier.
Because of your Yogi wisdom, Dad falls sometimes... but he walks now, too.
As always. Look with Intention,