Q: Do you ever read self-help? Anything you recommend?
A: I’m a self-help queen, dedicated to continuous improvement. I read books about problems I...
I didn’t mean to fall off down the mountain.
It’s silly, but I was so taken aback by
the stunning view and the sense of
unfettered possibility before me that
I forgot to focus on my footing and over-thought
the simple process of one-foot-in-front-of-the-other
(also, apparently of how-to-stand-still).
So, I tripped and fell, my hands thrown up
in a burst of surprise before I realized that
my center of gravity had been completely
flipped on its head and I was tumbling down
the mountain scape. My shoulder hit the ground,
a rock dug in, and my body immediately curled
into a fetal position: my arms protecting
my head and face as I tried to minimize
the damage of moving that fast at a
speed I could not control.
And my poor little body bounced and
twisted— my knees scraped and bloody
and my arms covered in bruises. At one
point, though, the sound of my body against
the ground became a rhythm: thump, thump,
thump. The chaos turned into a kind of dance
and in a few moments I found my breath and
saw a log in my path. I used the gravity and
power of my fall with the strength of my legs
and flew over; my back arched away from the
ground like the curved arabesque of a pole
vaulter’s. I hit the floor again, but
this time, it felt planned. It felt controlled.
And on the way down, I found grace.
I found the grace to fall into chaos
and do my best to adapt. To turn the
pain into a practice and the unknown into
a kind of power that I surprised even
And on the way down, I found strength.
I saw obstacles in my way and, instead
of continuing to curl into a defensive
position, I used them to propel me forward
to the rhythm of my own tumultuous but
beautiful dance down the slope.
And on the way down, I found joy.
The fall was the closest thing to
complete weightlessness and flying
that I will probably ever feel and,
while scary and painful, it is a moment
that no one can take from me.
So, when I finally skidded to a stop at
the bottom, with my shoes caked in dirt
and my body covered with the scrapes and
bruises of the obstacles I didn’t see
coming (or just couldn’t avoid), I wiped
the mud out of my eyes, pulled a twig out of
my hair, and smiled.