One of my best friends from childhood is a recovering addict. Like many, he went through a long and painful path toward sobriety, and thankfully is now in a beautiful, loving, safe and drug free space.
He is of Japanese American lineage, and this saying he has adopted “Fall seven, stand eight” is a saying that is part of his background that has helped guide him.
I love thinking of this phrase when it comes to recovery and growth in any area of our life.
We so often exalt success, but it is actually in pain, struggle and adversity where we grow. Whenever I meet resilient adults, they always describe a moment or time of great adversity they were faced with, and ultimately, overcame through perseverance, doing things a new way, meeting the challenge.
I am relearning how to surf again after recently returning to Southern California.
The adult part of me really does not like being a beginner.
I don’t like not getting to the right spots to take off on waves, I don’t like being afraid to paddle out in tiny sets. I don’t like looking like a kook.
And yet the larger part of me remembers when I learned to surf as a child. The spaciousness and playfulness. The not having an agenda part. The being at home with where I was.
Surfing is a really good place for me to work with this practice of literally falling and getting back out, going back again and again.
This idea of fall seven, stand eight also speaks to the resilience in our minds, hearts and bodies to bring our fierceness and our tenacity. The very practice of getting back up and going back out after whatever failure we perceive is a process for cultivating our resilience.
Just as our hearts and minds become resilient, so do our tissues. Through use, and creative practice, we transform the tissues in our body. Our cells remodel and adapt based on how we use them.
This is especially true of the musculoskeletal body (the muscles, joints, ligaments, fascia) and the nervous system (especially the brain).
Our movement and exercise, especially when we can stay right on the edge between challenge and failure, is like Gatorade for the cells in our body and brain alike. We learn, adapt and get better at solving problems in our movement sphere from past failures.
Only from our first seven falls, could we ever be ready to stand an eighth time.
May we value and honor our perceived failures.
Happy Moving and Growing!