Permission to Fall: Moving From Fear to Desire

by Chelsey Johnson  Nov 26, 2015
Permission to Fall: Moving From Fear to Desire

"You have to convince them to fall."

I was learning to belay rock climbers, and my teacher - the kind of guy who looks like a movie star but talks like Mark Twain - was explaining to me how to run a ropes course for personal development and team-building.

"Unless they sit back in the harness and realize that it will hold them, they are just climbing to not fall. You have to fall, to live through that fear, in order to climb to go up."

I watched the people. The ones who didn't want to sit back and feel themselves dangle, they climbed fast. Furiously. They got tired. They either burned out and slipped, or they reached the top in collapsing relief.

The people who sat back and really felt what was holding them, they climbed slower. They pushed themselves, but it wasn't frantic. It was determined. They rested when they needed it. They planned, they experienced, they noticed. And when they got to the top, they didn't exude relief, but triumph.

There is something incredibly profound about falling. For me, it means admitting the thing that keeps me alive isn't my strength, wit, or willpower... that something more powerful than myself determines my fate.

These last two months have had a lot of failure. What seemed like a grand adventure has had its moments of defeat. Starting a business, trying to spread Orgasm, learning to live together... I've had ample opportunities to make mistakes. If I rated my success on how often things went off without a hitch, I too would be a failure.

I came here with something to prove, in my ego's idealistic search for fulfillment. I haven't proven what I wanted. I've proven something else - something much more fulfilling.

My biggest fears, one after another, are being realized and I am living through them. Not just living, but connecting, learning, celebrating, enjoying. My old fears - the worst case scenarios - their value wasn't in being avoided. I have learned that I can't control outcomes, all I can do is choose who I am in response. I've proven to myself that I can fail to accomplish something, and still thrive. I still love. I'm still loved. In fact, I probably love more of myself, can feel more for myself, than I did when things came easily.

I feel grateful to fall early in this game, to fall before I'm too tired to keep going.

When I climb now, I'm not climbing to avoid a plummet to my death. I climb because I desire to go higher.

(Photo Credit: Ahn Jun)