Last night, my yoga teacher was talking about what things we do to give away our power, and while I have been trying to be a lot better about this, I do find myself giving away my power to people all the time. I’m a people-pleaser. I tell myself that I want other people to be happy (and of course on some level I do), but the reality is that mostly I want to feel good about myself. Sometimes I do things out of a genuine altruism, but many times I’m operating out of a desire to be thought well of or to be indispensable to someone. Yikes – that’s a scary realization.
Then, this morning, as I was reading Gayle Brandeis’ Fruitflesh, I came up against this idea:
Falling is a moment of loss of control, a moment that breaks through all the constructs of how a person is supposed to behave. It flies in the face of upright society. It reminds me that the body has its own agenda, its own humor and vulnerabilities that the mind has no power over. Think of how the world fall is used. We fall in love, we fall to sleep, we fall to pieces, we fall into every dark region of the human heart, every place that operates in a subconscious uncontrolled way. Falling is a subversive, and often hysterical, act. At the same time, it is part of the natural cycle; think about how leaves fall, how they give the tree space for new growth.
So often I feel a very strong need to control things – my time, other people, my writing, especially my writing – but if truth be told, it’s in those moments when I left myself fall, when I drop onto the page, when I release backwards into a relationship, when I give into the desire to cry hard, that I find the most truth.
This morning, I tried what Gayle suggested and wrote with my eyes closed. I don’t know why I’d never tried this before; I find closing my eyes – in yoga, in meetings, etc – to be immensely calming. And when I did it this morning, I found myself a tiny bit and found a place where I’m falling a lot and loving it. As a child (and to be honest, still as an adult) I fell a lot. Now, I find falling to be a humiliating experience, but as a kid, I loved it – there’s something about that loss of control that often brings great things. And so this morning, I wrote about a time of joyous falling, and it was lively writing.
Today, I’m going to let myself fall when the opportunity comes. Not that I’m going to throw myself into a pit or anything. But instead of worrying about how to make myself look good or worrying that I”ll say the wrong thing in a meeting (or any of the other ten meetings I have this week), I’m going to let myself be at east. For it’s only when you tense up as you fall, that you’re liable to get hurt.
Does anyone relate to this idea? Do any of you feel a need to control? How does that hurt or help you? Does anyone want to go skydiving?
– “Falling Water Falls” by dbarronoss.
When I put “falling” into flickr, this is one of the images that came up. And it reminded me of how glorious natural waterfalls are in the way they let themselves tumble over the rocks or cliffs, true to their own nature. This action has proven to have great positive affect on the space around waterfalls:
Waterfalls emit negative ions that cause a person to have feelings of peace and tranquility while also feeling alert and invigorated. Negative ions are produced by the energy of falling water crashing against rocks. As the falling water breaks up into small droplets, electrons which are the negatively charged parts of an atom, are knocked loose from the water atoms. These electrons combine with oxygen atoms charging the air with negative ions. – Waterfalls of Western NC and North GA
So there is great value for us and for those around us if we fall . . . my own little philosophical insight for the day. Take it for what it’s worth.