Recently, I heard an interview with a dancer. The dancer said to free up organic movement she and her collaborators practice falling.
The interviewer, thankfully, had my reaction. How you do that?
The dancer, thankfully, had language around the practice.
The dancer said that the reason falling interrupts movement or hurts is because of our interaction with what we fall into. She said that if you visualize the floor as hard, if you expect it to be hard, your body behaves accordingly, tensing. This means that there is hardness in the interaction. The floor slaps your body, your body heaves to the floor.
However, it doesn't have to be like that.
When she practices falling, this dancer visualizes the floor as a soft, permeable, permissive surface. As she starts to feel a receptivity in the floor her body get softer. Her body responds to the floor as though the floor were soft and the interaction between body and floor gains that level of fluidity.
I am now practicing falling all the time.
Yesterday, I went to the ocean. The sky was beautifully, densely grey. The air was in the 60s and the water was colder than that.
I walked into the choppy dark ocean. When the water swirled around my ankles I gasped. My legs started feeling numb. A year ago, I would have shrieked and run from the water.
But I'm practicing falling.
I breathed and I started talking to the water. Well, I started talking to myself via the ocean.
I let myself feel invited into the water. I reminded myself of how grateful I am for oceans. Just watching waves soothes me. I wanted to be in that water. I wanted to be with the ocean. I started thanking the ocean and feeling at home in the swirling water.
My body started relaxing into the water. I walked out. I stayed in the water for some time. I dove under a wave.
The water was bracingly cold but when I was a kid, I didn't care. I was so excited to be in water that the temperature didn't register. It's only as an adult that I put myself at odds with my environment.
I'm practicing falling.
I think this perspective could expand. There are a lot of environments and situations where I feel at odds.
When I shift my understanding of them, I change. I respond differently. I fall in and am received.