Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.
What does it mean to “fall off the wagon”? The homey old expression comes from the days of unpaved streets when wagons filled with water traveled the roads wetting down the endless dust. In the early days of the Prohibition Movement, problem drinkers were encouraged to give up strong spirits and get aboard the “water” wagon instead. “Falling off the wagon” came to mean tumbling backward into the gutter, sinking back into the mire of hopelessness. Farewell to the chariot that was going to carry you home!
Today, “falling off the wagon” is used as a way to express your disappointment in yourself. You didn’t stick to your diet. You let yourself get caught up in the fearful frenzy of news media designed to scare you senseless. You stopped meditating because you were just too busy and overwhelmed. Falling off the wagon perfectly describes those times when you fall away from the good habits and practices you want to build. You know your best life lies ahead, and you need that wagon of good spiritual self-care to get there. Do you give up or try to catch up?
You know what I’m going to say, don’t you? As singer-songwriter Hayley Williams would tell you, “Sometimes it takes a good fall to really know where you stand.” Just as my recent tumble from a mountainside shook me awake to the real needs of my spirit, any fall you suffer may be the wake-up call for you. What’s happening in your inner world is reflected in your outer world. You may need to look close, think straight, and re-evaluate your life in spirit. Why aren’t you doing the things you know will help and heal and uplift you? Falling never means you have to stay down.
Here are some steps you can take to climb back on the wagon of spiritual growth and self-care:
First, forgive yourself! You fell off the wagon? Well, so have many great souls before you. Instead of beating yourself up for not sticking to your meditation practice, your yoga classes, or your vow never to engage in office gossip again, take a deep breath. You are a child of the Divine. Regarding yourself with love and gentleness is a reflection of your Source. Your falls are tools to build with, so use them to rise up and resume your journey.
Remember not to give in to fear in any form. Let love be your guiding emotion. Fear is a habit you can conquer with intention. I can, and I will! On the far side of everything that frightens you is freedom and the light of liberation. Don’t be afraid of failing or falling. Think about what you love and how much good your love can do in the world.
Focus on service and think about all you have to give. Your efforts to grow in spirit and to stay connected to the Divine matter to everyone. When you meditate, it isn’t just for your own peace of mind and well-being. You lift up the world with your love and your focus on oneness, harmony, and peace. Many others in the world have fallen and need help getting back up.
Reach out for help when you need it. Our society suffers from loneliness and isolation. By rebuilding the connection and community that humans need to thrive, you are helping to heal yourself and others. I have noticed that I am more effective as an energy healer if I have a roomful of participants. Gathering together in classes and workshops for spiritual study concentrates the love and intention you need to move forward. All hands are needed, whether they are reaching for a boost upward or lifting another back on board.
Re-engage right away! I recommend getting back to work on the heart of your spiritual practice—meditation. Be patient with yourself and keep in mind why you began meditating in the first place. Not only is it the best practice I know for self-transformation, it leads to better health and greater happiness. Your meditation practice helps you and contributes to the well-being of all. And the more you work at it, the more it won’t be work at all, but pure joy!
Each day is a new day, and a new chance to turn toward the light. Of course there will be obstacles. The secret is to accept them as challenges to strengthen you and building blocks for the best life ahead. You are not alone and you are infinitely creative and resourceful. As you take steps to grow in spirit, you add to your ability to help others do the same. Look down the road, and you’ll see that the wagon has paused to wait for you!