I fell from my motorbike a couple of minutes after driving off from my parking yesterday. Even after I regained consciousness from the fall, I was still confused on what happened. I mean, I was safely driving on this road everyday for the past three weeks.
It happened so fast. One moment, I was confidently gaining speed as I drove a steep downhill and then the next moment, fear hit me upon seeing the familiar, uneven yet, wet [from the rain] part of the road where I need to take a full stop before turning left. And then… BAM! The next thing I knew, I was off my motorbike leaning on my left side. I tried to push the motorbike up while grabbing the handles. It was a mistake. I accidentally pulled the throttle, revving the engine. Good thing I was holding the left break which prevented the motorbike from shooting forward while on the floor. And then awareness hit me. I remembered what I was taught to do on a motorbike workshop in this type of situation: Turn off the Engine.
I was thankful to the Balinese man who helped me get on my feet, put my motorbike up and then, ride it again. Still in shock of what happened, I continued driving. I felt pain on the right side of my foot which hit the ground. Good thing I was wearing closed shoes else, the skin would have been scrapped off. The thought of never driving that steep road and the thought driving it again were battling in my mind. “Why do you keep passing that steep road when there is an alternative flat road?”, a part of my mind tells me while the other part says, “Drive that road again. Figure out what went wrong. Falling is part of learning.” Just before I get into another accident, I brushed off my thoughts and focused on driving.
It was raining this morning. The roads were wet. As always, I’d be driving my motorbike to my yoga practice. Do I take the steep road again or do I take the flat road?
I was riding at the back of our landlady’s motorbike when I first drove by this steep road three weeks ago. I was amazed on how effortlessly she drove up and down while I feared driving on it. Ironically, that same fear forced me to conquer my fear. Every day since then, I committed to driving on the steep road even if there was an easier and safer option. On my first day of driving, I cannot even put my feet up on the motorbike to balance. So, I walked my motorbike down to the end of the road. Driving on it everyday, I gradually gained confidence until I learned how to balance on downhill and uphill drives… until I fell off my motorbike yesterday.
Without a doubt, I drove on the steep road this morning. No one knows about my fall yesterday except for Nicole, the Balinese man who helped me and I. So, I drove down just like how I do every single morning on my way to yoga class. Except this time, I paid more attention on the road, on my brakes, on my speed and towards the end of the road where I had to do a complete stop. As I pulled the rear and front brakes on the end of the road, I gently landed my feet on the sides to keep my bike balanced. Wow! That was by far, the most flawless drive I had on this road.
This same realization applies to our lives – to my life. Now that I have the freedom to choose what path to take on next, why do I suddenly feel stuck? Isn’t this what I had been dreaming off – to detach myself of responsibilities and control my life – do whatever I want to do with it. I have my days to myself- my time to myself. No commitments, no responsibilities, nothing to worry about. I thought that it would be easier this way. But actually, it is not. It is harder. It is harder and by far scarier to realize this freedom and decide, “Now what? What are you going to do?”
I am not used to this. What I am used to is taking the ‘easier road’ – the flat road that most people take. Yet just like learning to drive a motorbike, I will not learn unless I commit to conquer this fear, unless I start to face my fear and allow myself to fall.
When I was learning to do a proper headstand, it took me weeks to get my legs straight up. I had no problem lifting my legs up but not as straight as they should be. There was a point when I resisted to straighten them further because of the fear of falling on my back. My teacher, Mia, told me to learn how to fall. She asked me to do a forward roll which gave me a feel on how it felt to fall on my back from a headstand. Since then, I deliberately practiced falling on my back. This allowed me to conquer my fear of falling which enabled me to get comfortable in pushing my legs further up to do that perfect headstand.
Unless I allow myself to fall, I will never learn. Unless I learn how to fall, I will never get to where I want to go.
Falling is not a signal for us to stop. Instead, it signals us to pause and pay attention to the experience it gives. It shows us the delineation between success and failure- that point where we learn how to succeed and how to fall.