Seven times down

Seven times down, eight times up… I came across this intriguing title in article in the ToDo Institute’s publication,  30,000 days issue  I highly recommend the piece.  It is an exhortation and encouragement to develop resilience, compassion, courage…

And if there ever was a time that we need to these qualities, now it is certainly one of them.  

The downers: the computer crashes, we lose work we’ve created; the blender explodes all over the kitchen; we miss a plane/train because of crazy traffic…youb know the drills. And then there are the times I feel like I have fallen down personally: not just on my rollerblades with a broken pinky to show for it, but also in not being sufficiently vocally and actively anti-racist, not doing everything I possibly could around cleaning up my finances, or my environmental activities; not having communicated clearly… the list could go on.

This is not to dump on myself. That serves absolutely no useful purpose. On the contrary…the damage is considerable. But these experiences do point to me to the title, Seven times down, eight times up.  After each and every down, there is a chance to get up again. In doing this, I find that gentle reflection invites humility… kindness toward myself, and others.  It gives me an opportunity to take stock, to pick myself up, to assess, to look at the overall balance of my life, to make changes where appropriate.

The Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron has a book with another wonderful title: Start Where You Are. So wherever we are right now regarding hopes, dreams, goals, aspirations . . . this is our starting place. When we’re down, it’s particularly relevant and poignant.

A good way to start where we are, I find, is the Prayer for Serenity, attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, one of my faves. 

So if I have, let’s say, fallen down in some ways… seven times down, eight times up… honest reflection and deep inner listening can help me decide what to accept, what to change…and to deepen in wisdom.  

In closing, I offer a quote from the global prize winning, African teacher, Peter Tabichi:  “If you don’t fail, you don’t learn, and if you don’t learn, you can’t change,”   

I’d love to hear your reflections on falling down and getting up. We’re in this together!

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, andgrowth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook. 🙂

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