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Falling Forward

Welcome to Fall 2020! We made it! Normally when I think of the fall season, I think of falling backward as time falls back during the fall solstice.  This year, instead, what resonated was a sense of falling forward.

The fall forward is a trip, no pun intended.  Our plans and action steps to move forward at a time when so much of our life seems to shift on a continual basis feels more like a fall going in a forward stance.  Truthfully, it feels as though life may have nudged me on the back, pushing me forward while I was attempting to hold my current space.  Can you relate?

It reminds me of being a young child in Northeast DC at my grandmother’s house.  If you did not know how to jump Double Dutch, well you could get your Black card revoked!  I remember being so afraid of these opposing ropes, usually fashioned out of cord because of the weight.  If you jumped between these fast turning cords and  did not get the rhythm  of those cords and they hit, wow they would sting!

To find the rhythm, I would move my body back and forth to get the flow because the trick is the catch the moment when the cord closest to you is down.  That is your invitation to jump in.  Once you are in, just keep the flow going with your body and jump.  Well I would stall. YOU DO  NOT stall in Double Dutch because someone is always waiting for a turn to jump.  It just goes against the rules.

Once I was swaying and testing the patience of everyone and I felt a nudge on my back.  I fell forward into the opposing force of the Double Dutch cords.  I cannot imagine how awkward I looked. Surprisingly, I kept the rhythm! I wish I had a picture of the smile my whole being experienced.

The more I kept the rhythm the rope turners increased the speed of the turns.  This tested the strength of the way I was in relationship with the turning ropes.  What worked? Paying attention to the rhythm of the turn and going with it. 

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Eventually, I got tired or the dance shifted with the rope turners and the rope hit my ankles.  It stung but it did not take me out. I lived and was happy to do my part in creating the experience for the next person. It was like a rite of passage that I clumsily got through.

As I reflect on the experience of falling forward it was the scariest thing to fall toward uncertainty, ambiguity, opposing forces, and fear.  Falling forward was also the most freeing thing instead of the dread of the wait.  Honestly, carrying the wait was heavier and more stressful to my body than being in the moment of action.

The moment of action was filled with wonder, curiosity and fear.  No one could explain the wind that you feel as the rope whips through the air that is the invitation to jump.  No one could explain how it felt for my body to move with instinct before my brain could tell my body to move.  No one could explain the mystery of how the shift in order of operations is everything to this craft.  No one could explain the unleash of creativity and possibility in the moment. It was a lived experience.

You know the life pushers; they get on your nerves until you act.  You do not want to call them when you are trying to find the perfect way or the perfect time, and yet you do because you know you need them.   Sometimes life is the pusher.  When life pushes us, it comes without warning.  We do not feel the footsteps of the approach or sense that someone is near us.  Life pushes us with a gentle nudge, perhaps an inner voice that says, “now, go,” or an event or series of events that turn up the discomfort with staying put.  Sometimes the life push feels like my childhood friend that pushed me in the face of opposing forces, unknown, uncertainty, publicly on display with nowhere to hide, and the only option is to fall forward and do something or face certain pain.

What if I fell, or got hit by the cords during my fall forward?  I did!  Jumping Double Dutch was not my thing as I learned from many times when I fell forward and caught the wrath of the cords.  I also caught the laughs of my friends and watchers; sometimes I laughed too.  What happened over time is that I was known as someone who had the heart of a tryer and eventually the person who cheered everyone on.  Cheering everyone on and sharing what I knew to help; that is my thing.  Now I understand learning to trust my body, spirit and brain is my jam.

There are some life lessons that we fall into.  Some life lessons that require courageous risk.  Some life lessons are experiential only, divinely orchestrated courses.  Some life lessons require switching from one rhythm and falling into another that introduces you to parts of yourself did not know and the bonus of life stoking your sparks of curiosity and wonder.

Happy Fall Forward to each of you.

Dena Wiggins (she/her) is a Best-Selling Transformational Author and MBA informed Purpose Doula. She wholeheartedly believes that purpose is the birthright of humanity and intentionally refers to all of humanity as Purpose Peeps.  Dena’s sweet spot of service is to transform the many ways of living survival as a lifestyle into the many ways of living thriving lives of purpose.  This shift is vital to members of BIPOC communities who have experienced systemic oppression as well as doing our individual and collective parts to the end intentional oppression that is the antithesis of thriving lives of purpose.  Her style is to be a voice of shared experience meeting clients where they are on their sacred path to purpose journeys with empowering frameworks reflective of her lived experiences, Divine guidance, and learnings in–spirituality, facilitation, purpose, and strategy–all working in service of clients delivering their purposeful expression into the world.  Learn more and grow in connection at www.denawiggins.com.