"When You're Falling, DIVE"

Did I get your attention?  That's a pretty catchy title, "When you're falling, DIVE", the latest book I've been reading by Mark Matousen.  When I first saw the cover of this book on one of my amazon book scouting excursions (otherwise known as procrastinating) I was instantly drawn in yet it took me about a year to read it.  I kept picking it up and putting it down, I wasn't ready.  I was reminded of a lesson long ago from a father type figure in my life about actually falling down.  He said, "Marcia when you feel yourself falling accept it.  Go with it and just go limp then you will rarely get hurt."  I took the advice and because I'm me I've had to use this on more than one occasion.  He was right.  Gravity isn't as scary as it seems when you give in to the occasional tripping over your own feet, cat, or dog.  But I had never considered this advice for the big events in life that come like a punch in the gut.  You know the divorces, deaths, loss of jobs, loss of well everything.  

I went through a rough patch in my life.  Okay that's an understatement.  I got divorced, was forced to sell my house & garden, lost one dog, the other dog died, learned my husband had embezzled (is that the word when you steal from a marriage?), was a giant liar, and the final insult my sister chose a side, not mine.  As my dear friend Erin tells me my life really was a lifetime movie special but I corrected her because the last chapter pushed my life to the big screen.  These life changing events launched me through an exhaustive journey into self-growth, love, and courage.  I absolutely am a different person all for the better.  I did however have trouble opening this darn book!  I certainly was falling through this period in my life but giving into it seemed somehow wrong after all aren't I suppose to make lemonade out of lemons?  In this case no I needed to feel the pain, betrayal, grief, all the terrible pieces of pain that turn you inside out.  I know I had trouble reading this book because falling really meant failing to me, something until recently I found unacceptable.  Once I accepted my condition I could finally stand tall, taller than my small frame allows.  

I find words fail me as I try to describe the changes internally that happen when you go through great loss.  I'm sure I am not alone in this way.  But somehow through the story telling and wisdom in "When You're Falling, Dive" I felt myself saying, "yes this is what it was like, yes this is how it is now".  This Sufi story shared in the book is a perfect example of the changes I have felt through my journey.  I hope in some way it speaks to you as well.

"A group of tigers in a forest leaves a cub behind by mistake. The tiger cub is reared by sheep.  The sheep teach it how to act like a sheep.  It walks like a sheep and baas like a sheep and eats grass.  Many years later a tiger happens to be passing and sees this ludicrous spectacle of a half-grown tiger behaving like a sheep.  It is appalled and amused and drags the tiger to a pool in the forest.  There, it shows the young tiger its own reflection, and the tiger begins to wake up to what it really is.  The older tiger teaches the younger tiger how to roar.  At first all it can do is make bleating sounds.  But slowly the tiger roar begins in its throat, and then after weeks of practice, it comes up to its master and gives the roar of freedom.

​This is what survivors do.  As domesticated beings, we're fleeced into believing we are safe and special.  The the tiger comes out of the forest.  The truth is savage, but in its eyes--in the aftermath of the long tussle--we see that we are wild, too.  We only imagined that we were so timid."  --  "When You're Falling, Dive" by Mark Matouser

I didn't truly fall until I looked at the truth of the lie of my own life, and probably at some level was turning a blind eye to, eating grass and baaing away blissfully.  For a while I just wanted to eat the grass and pretend all was well, but alas outsmarting oneself doesn't really work very well.   Once I saw the reflection of first the facts, then myself being an absolute wreck, I could start to really live as a tiger.  Today I am fierce.  I fall down, make mistakes, make more mistakes, brush myself off, take risks I never thought I would,  love deeper, love truer, and am trying to find a way to love myself.  I will no longer be the tiger pretending to be a sheep.  When I fall, because I will again, I will kick down and dive a little further until I can see my own reflection and have faith that this too shall pass.  

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