How I Rose with Dignity, After Falling on My Face

This is a story about me actually, literally, falling on my face.  I was crossing Broadway at a very crowded intersection in New York City, when the toe of my shoe caught in the leg of my pants, and down I went!  Flat on my face, kissing the black asphalt, and an army of cars about to roll right over me.  Luckily, the light was red.  Unluckily, my body remained unmoving.  The light turned green, and taxi, SUV and garbage truck drivers pressed their gas pedals and commenced in my direction.  Did they see me laying on my stomach in their path?

traffic congestionDespite impending danger, I felt devoid of fear and quiet of mind.  Glancing up, I saw several people headed toward me.  I was aware that in the past, I would have felt mortified at being so clumsy, disruptive, and in need of help.  My style of perfectionism was to remain unnoticed, and a smooth quick death under the wheels of oncoming traffic would have almost been preferable to being noticed and helped.  At this moment, however, their approach produced a warm feeling in me.  There was the merest twinkle of embarrassment and then it evaporated as a thought arose, “It’s my turn.”

The rhythm of the traffic responded to my predicament–the lively allegro of pressured drivers switched to an unhurried adagio, allowing fearless pedestrians to intercede on my behalf.  Hands reached out to me, and lifted me gently to my feet.  I was disoriented, but it was a relaxed and pleasant sensation–if it was a sensation at all.

Mooji gentle smileOne face in particular came close to mine and asked, “Are you okay?”  “I don’t know,” I replied honestly, rather than stoically brushing him off and finding out later whether I was, indeed, okay.  “Would you like me to stay with you a bit?” he offered.  “Yes, please,” I replied.  The circle of people which had gathered around me melted away as he took over.  I had felt their love as they gathered, and I felt their love as they dispersed.   Everyone and everything felt caring.  The world was at my disposal–I was Loved.

The “stranger”* who was staying with me for a bit, looked into my eyes.  I gazed back into his.  A timeless love flowed between us.  There was no hurry.  And despite being on a very busy, crowded street corner in Manhattan, neither of us felt jostled or as if we were a nuisance to others.  We were Together.

Many times I had been the one to hold out my hand to another who was in need.  Many times I had assured people there was no need to be embarrassed and it was good to accept help.  Now it was my turn.  I accepted the Invitation to be Rumi lisa dietrichwith what was happening exactly as it was.  I fell down.  I lay there.  I judged not.  I assigned no interpretation.  I held no opinions.  Thoughts stopped.  And the whole world, in concert, came to my rescue.

Every person and every driver was my savior.  The Dance choreographed Itself around me, and then lifted me Up and safely set me Down totally in Love with the players who joined me in a portion of the dream.  I wasn’t rescued from bodily harm.  I was rescued from believing in bodily harm.  I wasn’t rescued from losing my “life”.  I was rescued from feeling the shame that keeps us believing in a false life which perpetuates a silly dream the ego insists is real.

What a blessing to fall on my face and uncover the dignity and grace that abides beneath the disguise of human frailty.

*I used a photograph of Mooji, a contemporary mystic, to represent the stranger who helped me, because the look in his eyes captures the steady calm and unconditional generosity I felt from that person.  And I put quotation marks around the word stranger to denote there are no strangers.  “God is not a stranger to His Sons, and His Sons are not strangers to each other.”  ~A Course in Miracles, T-3.III.6:3

Copyright © 2013 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.