Here in Maine we tend to experience all four seasons fully, and with not exception the colder ones. It is in these colder times of the year that snow and slush can tend to freeze up fairly solid, making walking about is not all that easy… and quite often not all that safe depending on the level of ice underfoot.
It is also during the colder times of the year where I will have a strikingly increased amount of conversations about balance… and in particular how one can go about not losing it.
And that is just the thing about balance that can be so hard for some. In order to truly have good balance, you cannot hold too tightly onto it.
Let me explain…
A bit back I had written a little about balance, and how our cultures beliefs about what tends to constitute good balance is quite often off the mark. You are welcome to read that short piece HERE.
If you just want the summary though, I am happy to oblige.
Quite simply good balance is not about being able to remain rigid in a pose. Good balance is having all the options available to stay upright, regardless of how much you may need to wibble or wobble.
Well here I want to share with you a little bit about risk… and how the willingness to take a risk can at times be vital to our ability to reduce the very risk we are concerned with.
So, what exactly is the greatest risk factor for sustaining a fall… for losing ones balance?
Well the literature is quite clear… it is the fear of falling itself.
There is no measure that is more predictive for whether a person is likely to sustain a loss of balance to the level where a problem arises from it… than the level of fear one has around it.
Now, it is not simply your level of fear that seems to heavily contribute to you wiping out on the ice, or falling down the staircase… it is also your personality.
More specifically how neurotic, and how conscientious you are.
You read that right… it is well established that higher levels of neuroticism and a lower levels of conscientiousness are both highly associated with a higher risk of falling.
But do not just believe me… go ahead and read for yourself HERE.
Now, despite what some both have and would suggest, our personalities are quite malleable. They are not fixed, and if you personally have these sorts of tendencies know that they are quite simple to change. Particularly if one truly wants to…
So, this is where it does well for me to circle back to the statement up in the title of this article…
That part about how learning to fall actually makes you steadier…
So how exactly does one do that?
How can you learn how to fall?
It is easy… because there is nothing to learn, nothing to understand.
Just let go.
Ideally, learn to drop into the ground… safely.
To do this you need to cease effort, not increase it.
To sense this, you need to listen for the ground.
You need to get to know it, have a relationship with it… learn to trust it.
As you are able to do this, then you will find that upright life still has its surprises… but what comes up when it comes to the stumbles, trips and missteps that are part and parcel with it… they are truly not all that surprising.
After all, you now live in relation to the ground. The two of you just happen to be rubbing shoulders a bit more roughly than perhaps typical.
However, in order to get to this place you absolutely need to first let go… and listen.
Now I am not implying your best bet for being steady is some version of limp passivity…
Far from it.
This purposeful letting go while listening intently is seen heavily in the special forces, with hostage negotiators, crisis workers and trauma surgeons.
If any of those folks are going to be able to not simply survive their work, but actually thrive while performing their duties… they must learn to relax into the chaos.
Not resist… relax.
They do not pre-plan every little detail.
They have a plan, they both rehearse and master the necessary skills of their job… and then they welcome whatever comes at them regardless.
So let go my freind, and as you fall learn to listen for the ground.
Truly, it is very willing to hold both you and I up, but only if we are willing to fall into it.
Now all the above said, both you and I will absolutely be steadier if we do have the ability to stand on one leg.
Perhaps we could say that this would be one of those necessary skills of the job that is upright living… one of those things that would be good to both rehearse and master
Well, for better or for worse you cannot stop there if you want a comfortable, capable and active life.
If it is a good life you want, then you will probably need to ask far more than simply being able to stand on one leg for a moment or three.
So, if you want to know a bit more about what basic standard of balance that I find is necessary for folks to have an effective level of steadiness through their right and left legs, then click the link below. It is a short video building off the other capacity components I have touched on in other articles, and it will give you a great idea of what seems to be necessary to have enough steadiness for a comfortable, capable life.
If you have any questions about the above, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Regardless, I hope you find the above helpful, and I hope you are comfortable, able and well.