Maybe You Were Meant To Fall

“Please don’t let me fall. Please don’t let me fall. Please don’t let me fall….”

These are the words that go through my mind whenever I go rock climbing. Yes, I’m secured to a rope. Yes, I have a trustworthy belay partner who would catch me in his arms if he had to. Yes, I’ve done this. Yes, I can do this….Yet, when I’m clinging to the side of a cliff; muscles shaking, fingers aching, and tiny footholds holding the weight of my body, all I can think is…

“Dear God, Please. Don’t let me fall.’

Time after time, climb after climb, this mantra played in my head, until one day, I fell.

And guess what?

It was the very best thing that could have happened to me.

You know why?

Because then I could stop worrying (so much) about falling and focus on the climb.

Now here’s the lesson in this story:

You’re going to fall.
You’re going to fail.
You’re going to have to start all over…

Probably again and again and again.

And I think it’s important for you to know that falling, failing, and starting over is okay.

It’s better than okay.
It’s necessary.
It’s part of growth and expansion and witnessing the miracle of you expanding into YOU.
It’s about glorious evolution: Rise. Fall. Rise again. Bigger, Better, Stronger, Faster….

And here’s another scenario that’s happened to me, too many times to count:

I tune in. I do the work. I trust my heart. I trust my gut. I listen to my intuition like it’s my job. I meditate like a monk, pray like a priest, and do updogs and downdogs like my life depends on it. I step up; show up; and take action….I’m brave, goddamnit….

And you know what happens?

Sometimes, in spite of all my honest efforts, I still fall.

Do I like it?

Nope.

Do I recover?

Eventually.

Do I try again?

Usually.

Do I learn something?

Every.Single.Time.

I learn about listening. I learn about trying. I learn about falling gracefully. I learn about desire vs. want vs. need….but mostly, what I learn is that what I think I want is not always in line with what this life wants for me.

Because no matter how in touch you are; how in tune you are; or how anchored you are to the truth of who you are…sometimes you just don’t know what life has planned for you.

And sometimes you’re not meant to know.

Maybe you were meant to fall.
Maybe you were meant to fail.
Maybe you were meant start all over again and again and again…

You know why?

Because it makes you stronger.
It makes you wiser.
It carves out your courage like a motherf*cker.
It makes you more compassionate; understanding, and honest with yourself and others.
It helps you recognize what you are capable of; really capable of.

And it helps you remember that you don’t have to run the show, because you are being held and supported in the most loving way….

Every time you fall; you will be caught.
Every time you fail; you’ll be redeemed.
Every time you start over, the new beginning will be sweeter than anything you could have ever imagined at the onset.

So the next time you’re out climbing on the proverbial path of life; remember:

Sometimes you are meant to fall.

If only, to remind you,
you’ve been held all along.

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Make Stuff.

I am in awe of children. Not just because they’re amazing, funny, adorable and (mostly) sweet and kind and wonderful…

But because they are creative geniuses.

They create with reckless abandon: Free. Unattached. No rules. No expectations.

They aren’t worried about whether or not it looks ‘right’ or if anyone will ‘get it,’ appreciate it, love it or hate it.

They just do it because it’s fun. That’s all. It’s just fun.

I want to create like that.

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I have a wonderful idea and it looks beautiful and sparkly and perfect as it sits safely inside my head, and then when I try to bring it out, it looks…well…different. Sometimes it loses all of its luster and charm. Sometimes it’s been slaughtered to oblivion by my own lofty expectations. Sometimes it comes out okay, but looks nothing like it did in my imagination. And sometimes it surprises me and comes out even better.

It can be frustrating, but it can also be enchanting, mysterious, and the closest thing to magic that I’ve ever seen.

I wouldn’t consider myself a naturally creative person. I know creative people. I was raised with naturally creative people, and no, I am not one of them. However, that does not mean that I don’t also possess the possibility of creativity…I just have to work a little harder at coaxing it out. So my point is, everybody has the possibility of creativity. Everyone. Including you. The key is to nurture it, honor it, and practice pulling it out of your head and into the world.

What do you like to do? What do you admire that someone else is doing? What do you wish you could do if you had an unlimited source of time and money?

The fact that the desire is there—whether it speaks to you softly or yells out loud—the fact that it is there at all means that it lives in you; breathes in you; loves in you, and has chosen to be expressed through you.

You’ve just got to open yourself up to receive it, and then release it out into the world.

And yes, there will be fear. You may be too terrified to even approach the possibility of bringing your ideas into the world. But let me tell you something:

It doesn’t matter if you can’t do it well.
It doesn’t matter if it’s been done before.
It doesn’t matter if you’re too old, too young, too big, too small, too busy or too scared…

Do it anyway.
You know why?
Because the joy is in doing it.
The joy is in the process of creating.

Create like a kid;
Make it messy.
Make it bold.
Make it unusual.

Make something that makes everyone who thought they knew you; think twice about how well they really know you.

Who knows what will manifest once you begin? Maybe it will be great. Maybe it will suck. Or maybe it will be better than anything you had ever imagined.

It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you create because you love to create—you were born to create. And the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Follow your passion and honor what pleases you, because when you do, you’ll unleash your potential and ideas will flow like an open faucet.

Paint.
Dance.
Sing.
Compose.
Bake.
Write.
Sew.
Garden.
Draw.
Cook.
Play.
Imagine.

Make up.
Make out.
Make love.
Make a baby.
Make something.

Anything.

Do it badly or do it beautifully.
For only you or everyone else.
Make it big or make it small.

Most importantly, make it fun.

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You’re Right Where You Need To Be

There will be moments in your life when you feel stuck.
Moments when you feel left out; lost; alone; forgotten.
Moments when there are no ideas, no direction, and no pathways.

There will be moments when you can’t stand the skin you’re in.
Your life may spread before you like a giant, starless sky…vast, dark and empty.
You will want to expand; explode, or implode…anything other than this.

These moments may frighten you.

They might make you question everything you know.
Burn it up. Tear it down. Start all over. Run away.
Maybe you should. Maybe you shouldn’t.
My challenge for you, when you encounters these moments, is to stay.

Just stay.

Sit in the dark for a while.
Maybe even accept it.
Maybe even find relief in the unknowing.
Breathe it in; breathe it out.

Because even though you might not see it yet, something is happening.
Birth is happening. Life is happening. Death is happening.
You’re like a whole galaxy of stars that glimmer and fade and glimmer again.

We sink into the dark so we can experience the exquisite return of light.
Your job is to allow the experience of it; whatever it may be.

And listen.

Listen carefully to the quiet unknown.
Listen to the dark.
Listen to the silence.
Listen to the feeling of being lost.

If you’re listening, you won’t miss a thing.
You’ll catch the next spark just as its being born.
The light will burst out from within.
And you’ll be graced with a new path; a brilliant idea; a fresh perspective.

And you’ll realize that you were never lost.
You are always right where you need to be…
Right here.
Right now.

RightWhereYouNeedToBe

A Celebration of the End

A few days after my uncle chose to end his life, he visited me in a dream.

The two of us sat together on a hillside. The surroundings were colored in a drab blend of tan, brown and grey. He wore the thick knit beanie that always adorned his head in the cooler months of the year. My memory of the dream picks up in the middle of a conversation, and as my focus sharpens to remember, he looks at me with the familiar mischievous sparkle in his eyes and says, “…but look what I can do now…”

With that, he shot up into the air; arms at his sides like a cartoon figure, and erupted into a million bright and beautiful colors that blanketed the entire landscape of my dream. I was now standing in the middle of one of his vibrant oil on canvas paintings—one of the magical pieces that he created during the very best part of his manic-depressive cycle.

When I awoke, the joyful feelings of the dream began to intertwine and mix with the reality of my loss; the still-raw, empty sadness that would rise and fall, like the ebb and flow of an angry ocean. The sadness attempted to crush the joy I had felt in the dream….yet joy is stronger than sorrow.

Fear began to mingle with hope;
Sadness danced with joy;
And confusion turned to clarity.

Over time, I started to recognize that the tragic end had opened into a new and beautiful beginning. He had been set free; free from the mood swings; the suffering, and the crazed, manic episodes that plagued his entire adult life.

And now the choice was mine to be set free, also. Free from the sorrow; free from the confusion, and free from wondering why.

And so this is how I choose to remember the end of his life—a celebration of creative expression; joy; abundance; and a reminder of the freedom that he has finally discovered now that he is outside the confines of a physical body that was never strong enough to contain or express the magic he was meant to share.

A celebration of the end, which leads to a celebration of another beginning.

Celebrate the ebb and celebrate the flow;

The dark and the light.
The joy and the sorrow.
The fear and the love.
The mystery and its answer.

Because there is joy in the end, just as there is joy in the beginning.

Truly, it is cause for celebration.

Da

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oil painting by Da

Playing the Edge

Every time I teach, I experience fear.
Every time I share my work: fear.
Every time I say how I feel; start something new; end something old—there is fear.

It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Fear heightens your senses; makes you alert; gives you a pulse you can feel. It brings your awareness into the present moment like nothing else can. The key is to get to know your fear.

Is it survival fear? Truly life and death?

Act. Now.

Is it imagined fear? Unreal outcomes and scenarios living in your head?

Let it go.

Is it expansive fear? Does it stretch, challenge, and help you grow into your power?

Listen up.

Breathe into it. Pause. Breathe again. Move forward, then slightly retreat; forward again; slight retreat. Real growth moves in waves. Play on the edge of your fear—not too much, not too little—just enough to keep expanding.

Step into a new role.
Say how you feel.
Share your work.
Change your course.
Walk away.
Say no.
Say yes.
Ask for help.
Birth.
Death.
Life.

All evoke expansive fear.

And that’s good because expansive fear teeters on the edge of love.

It’s the gateway to something big. The dark before the dawn; the first breath; the last push; the beginning, the end, and the middle.

It’s finally letting yourself be who you are.

If you’re uncomfortable, it’s because you’ve outgrown the space you’re in, and it’s time to expand. Don’t shy away from that type of fear, because it is what teaches you about your own brilliance, strength, dedication and love. It teaches you about you.

Take a tiny step or a giant leap.
Either way, play the edge.

You just might fall in love.

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Photo: Alisa Kozlova

For the poetic version of this piece, hop over to www.emilyparkinsonperry.com

And please come see me on Instagram

with gratitude,

e.

Discipline: The Good and the Bad of it

Meet the deadline. Check the box. Hit the mark.

Structure. Boundaries. Organization.

It’s all good when it helps you stay on course.

It’s not so good when it holds you back.

After I had my first baby, I had an epiphany that sort of went like this: ‘Oh, my body needs to be cared for; my mind needs to be cared for; my heart needs to be cared for…huh…I guess I can’t just sit back and wait for all of that to happen…’

And so it began: my love affair with discipline.

I fell deep.

Every day, no matter what: I did what I thought I had to do to take care of myself—my body, my heart, my mind, my work. Meditate.Yoga.Running.Writing. On task. On course. Disciplined. Dedicated. Devoted.

And it worked really, really great…until it didn’t.

It’s funny how something that is really good for you can shift into something that, well…isn’t anymore.

That’s what happened to me. I found that I had become so rigid in my structure that I was missing out on the spontaneity of life—the joy, the freedom, the expansion. Yet, I was so afraid that if I let things go…even just a tiny bit…everything would collapse.

It took my third child to snap me out of it. Babies have a very unsubtle way of shattering any and all structure. And this one really shook things up. No matter how hard I tried he would not conform to any type of structure, whatsoever. The only thing I could count on was that he would definitely not sleep, eat, or poop on a regular schedule.

So, I had to let go of it all: the yoga, the meditation, the reading, the writing, the running…I grabbed a moment here and there, but for the most part it all just dissolved for a while.

And you know what?

It was one of the very best things that could have happened to me.

You know why?

Because instead of falling apart, it all just fell into place.

Chaotic. Messy. Unstructured. It was a perfect storm.

Since my meditation practice was no longer a scheduled seated event, I practiced all day: while breastfeeding, changing diapers, rocking him to sleep. My writing became quicker, clearer and more focused. The precious moments I spent on the yoga mat were sublime, and despite my significant decline of exercise, I felt healthier and stronger than ever before.

Furthermore, letting it all go gave me something else to slip into:

Trust.
Surrender.
Faith.

And ultimately, a lot more freedom.

My suggestion?

Build a structure. Create something that will hold and sustain you; especially as you’re starting something new.

But, be flexible.

Don’t allow discipline to be so rigid that it boxes you in—use it as a springboard so you can soar even higher. Let things slide; let things slip; and take a break now and then, just for the hell of it.

You just might discover that you no longer need that worn-out map of discipline…

…because you’re flying now.

Flying

PHOTO: REUBEN WU

A Message For You

I have to be honest; sometimes pursuing your dream can be, well…really, really hard. Even if you know with every cell in your body that you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing, there are still those moments—those moments when you don’t feel capable of handling all that is required to follow your dream.

I’m not sure there’s any way around it; it’s more a process of moving through it—breathing, observing, releasing tension as it rises—and remembering that it will pass. The creative block will pass; the trial will end; the fear will dissolve. And what you’ll be left with is strength. You’ll be left with more strength than you had before, because you made it through one more wave that tried to knock you over.

I recently moved through one of those waves of fear, and just when I was feeling depleted, discouraged and filled with doubt, I got a message…a simple ‘thank you’ that changed everything I had been battling for a few days prior. It’s all I needed to redirect my focus and clarify my intention.

My challenge for you this week: offer a simple thank you to someone who inspires, or offers you support in some way. Perhaps you could recognize someone close to you—someone that you don’t thank often enough. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture—a simple thank you, a kind note; simple recognition.

If you’re on Instagram, I’ve made it super easy to send a little thank you note. I’ve put one up as a photo. If it resonates with you and you’d like to pass it on to someone else, just tag them in the comments. It’s easy, effective and it might just change the course of their day.

And I want you to know:

You’re amazing, and even if it’s not always recognized, you’re doing amazing things every day. The work you’re putting out into the world makes a difference and means something to people you may never meet. It means something to me.

Thank you for doing what you do.

Thank you for being you.

Thankyou

In Between

We’ve all been there—the dreaded no-man’s land—the space in between; neither here nor there.

Waiting for the call…sorting out emotions…planning the next move… all the waiting, wondering and wandering can sometimes feel unbearable, but here’s the thing about not-knowing what’s next: It usually precedes something big.

You know that moment at the very top of a roller coaster, after you’ve slowly climbed the ascent and you’re about to go down—there’s this pause—and you want to go, but you don’t, but you do…and it’s exciting and scary and before you know it you’ve slipped into the ride of your life?

Well, sometimes the ‘in between’ can feel like that; and the waiting is there because you need a moment to pause, gather yourself, and get clear so that you can finally exhale, release, and let go as you give into the big ride. It’s okay to be in between. In fact, it’s essential for what’s coming up next. If you’re about to enter a new phase, you need some time to get clear about what you want and where you’re going.

Observe your breath for a moment; notice that there’s a pause at the top of an inhale, just before the breath turns around to release and there’s also a pause at the bottom of an exhale, just before the breath turns around to draw in again. Those tiny moments of suspension are the gateways to the energy that sustains everything—they offer you a glimpse into your true self, and act as a reminder to tune into your heart’s desire. It’s hard to get clear about what you want when you’re going, going, going, so those little moments of ‘in between’ give you the time you need to listen to yourself; time to be alone—all one. It’s a time to gather yourself—all the parts of yourself—so you can unite and proceed with clarity and poise.

For the next few days, look for opportunities to practice being ‘in between’, even if it’s as tiny as the wait at a stoplight. Use those tiny moments to practice being okay with the wait. You’ll soon recognize that being still doesn’t have to be uncomfortable; that it can be a welcome reprieve from constant activity. Because when things get moving again, you’ll be glad you took the time….and also, because sometimes the breathless suspension is the best part of the ride.

Breathless

Make it Okay

First, a story:

Long day; the last of too many yoga classes: I was burned out, exhausted and not exactly rooted in my best self.

A student walks up to tell me that she didn’t really like the class; it was too fast, she felt lost, and she liked the other teacher better….ouch.

I was stunned and embarrassed and a little pissed off.

I mumbled an apology, maybe an excuse or two, and she left.

And there I was, alone with full-blown resistance toward myself, the student, and the entire situation. My face was flush, my body felt tight, my mind was spinning, and I just wanted the whole thing to just go away.

For the next few days I went through a series of reactions—I felt sad, irritated, angry; tried to forget it, flung out excuses, pretended not to care, and imagined the things I should have said…

I kept pushing and it kept pushing back.

Finally, after I had grown tired of the wrestling match, I tried a different approach—I invited it in. It wasn’t pleasant and I didn’t like it, but I sat with it anyway. And when I did, I realized that my resistance to the situation was softening. My body softened, my mind stopped spinning, and my heart started to open just a little bit.

When that happened, I started to listen.

What can I learn from this situation?

The student had been right; I was moving too fast, I was unengaged, disconnected, and not teaching from my heart. I didn’t want to accept it, but it was true.
And when I accepted the reality of the situation, I found myself in a space of clarity; a space with options; a space where I could actually facilitate positive change.

And so I did.

The experience became my wake-up call; a call toward positive change and necessary introspection. I reevaluated my schedule and lightened my load. I didn’t love the way the message was delivered, but sometimes it takes a hard hit to get the point across.

My point is this: Acceptance isn’t easy and you don’t have to like it, but if you can drop your resistance to yourself or the situation, you will enter into a space of clarity—a space where you can proceed with wisdom and grace.

If you have resistance toward something; pay attention. Be brave; look at it; invite it in, and most importantly, listen.

And then look at your options with clarity:

“Leave the situation, change the situation or accept it, all else is madness.” –Eckhart Tolle.

Leave it.

Change it.

Accept it.

Whatever you do, don’t let it bind you into a tiny ball of resistance, because when you resist, you’re closing yourself off to the good parts of the experience.

Your practice for the next couple of days is to watch for moments when you slip into resistance—the moments when you don’t like your body; the moments when you’ve been dumped with more work; the moments when you wish you hadn’t said what you said, or heard what you heard. And pay very close attention to the moments that you wish would just go away.

Those moments are the doorways to something bigger—they’re the doorways to greater awareness, greater compassion, greater understanding…..greater versions of you.

Contraction precedes expansion. Moments of non-acceptance aren’t meant to tear you down; they’re meant to teach you how to get bigger; find space; and then proceed from there.

Now it’s your turn. Dive into the work, and see what insights you can find in the moments you wish weren’t there.

And if you can’t quite get to a place of acceptance? Accept that you’re trying and that’s good enough.

Okay

Leap

This is my first official post on this blog, and after weeks and weeks of pulling ideas from my heart, organizing them through my mind, and finally, finally, offering them out into the world, I feel…terrified.

I feel terrified because it doesn’t feel quite ‘finished’ yet.

But that’s just it; creative work is never ‘finished’.

Creativity is always moving, shifting and evolving, so if you’re waiting for some magic moment when you can grab it and say that it is finished; ready; perfect…well, I don’t think it ever happens—not completely anyway.

I think when it comes to creative work; the best you can hope for is ‘enough’. It’s enough. It’s done enough. Good enough. And if you can catch yourself in that space, you had better take the leap before the moment is gone; before the courage to share it slips through your fingers.

How much of your creative work has never been seen by anyone else? And since art is in the eye of the beholder, who’s to say that your work isn’t already perfect to somebody else? Once you offer your creativity out into the world, it doesn’t belong to you anymore anyway. It belongs to everyone, and anyone who lays their eyes upon it gets to own a part of it as they interpret it in their own way.

So if you’re sitting on some creative work or ideas, I encourage you to take the leap. Let it go, and let it be whatever it is meant to be to everyone else.

And here’s the best part: when you release your creative work, you create space for more; and the more it flows through you, the more pure it becomes, and what you hold in your heart will manifest more closely to what you had envisioned it to be.

Don’t look, just jump.

Take the leap.

For one more little boost of inspiration, hop on over to my Make it Manifest Instagram page for a lovely quote by Agnes de Mille.