The falls are sometimes crashes. We may break. And it takes some time to rebound. We need to heal our bones before we can walk again... we need to heal our spirit before we can feel vibrant again. And some never rise.
Look at any social media platform and it is filled with quotes about being strong and resilient and getting up when you fall. When you are down, it is not so easy to do these things. And, at the same time, it does not have to be so hard.
This past weekend was Easter and as I reminded my 6 year old about the story of Easter, she told me she does not think it is a story - she believes Jesus really did rise from the dead. Of course, I told her that it is completely ok to believe whatever she feels she wants to believe. Who am I to say if it is true or false? And then she said that she heard the story at school and was told it was true. My heart sank a little. As much as I want her to believe whatever she wants to believe, I also cringe when I know she's being told what to believe... it's just more conditioning. And this conditioning is one of the things that makes it so hard to rise later in life when we fall.
There are natural responses to difficulties in life. We grieve. We are sad. We are depressed. We are angry. We are lonely. We are anxious. And we are told by society to get up... be strong... you can do it. To me these messages can be well intentioned and even motivating... but they can also cause harm. They tell us to not be sad or depressed or anxious. They tell us to get out of the place we are... because it's not a good place. But who is to say what is a good or bad place? We have been conditioned to believe that these difficult places are bad. Yet, they are part of life. They are natural. And we are all faced with some form of difficulty.
In my experience, forcing myself out of a so-called bad place to feel or look strong was a bandaid solution. It may work in some instances when the fall caused a scratch. But there are other times that we need to be in the sadness, the grief, the depression, the anger, the loneliness, or the anxiety. Giving ourselves permission to be where we are so that we CAN move through it is liberating. Rather than pushing ourselves to be somewhere different and then beating ourselves up because we seem to not be able to get there, we can accept where we are and do what we need to do. When we deny the feelings we have, they don't go away. When we make the effort and choose to move through something, transformation happens.
We rise through acceptance. We rise by allowing ourselves to feel. We rise by allowing it all to pass. Forcing ourselves out of the 'bad place' just keeps us stuck in it. We need to move through it in order to get through it. And we can't move through it without acknowledging we're in it. The so-called negative or bad feelings or situations are not there to ignore. However, nor are they there to stay in.
Our desire to be somewhere different rather than where we are can be strong enough to hold us where we are. When we release the desire to be somewhere else or something else, it is easier to move away from the suffering. It's not necessarily easy... but it's easier than forcing or ignoring or suppressing.
I read this a while back in a tiny little book called 'Now Zen':
"We would rather be ruined than changed,
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die."
I realized I had done that so many times in the past. I sulked in dread because life had changed or gotten hard and I didn't want it to. Not unlike the story of Jesus' death, in life, we are faced with crosses - challenges or choices to make, and when we accept them we can rise. It is our choice and it is empowering to choose. It does not have to be all dreadful. In fact, it may not even be a dreadful situation (although, it may be), rather something we simply do not want, and we are causing our own suffering by denying it. But we do need to go through it and accept it to rise... to find out what is waiting for us on the other side... which may simply be something different, or it may be spectacular. Either way, it eases the suffering.
"You've seen my descent. Now watch my rising."