At the risk of sounding cheesy, there are books that leave footprints across my soul – books that touch the broken pieces and heal the inner wounds that haunt. The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft is one of those books. Eloquent. Beautiful. Exquisite. I am a better person for having read this book.
Penelope Sparrow only wanted to dance. After a traumatic fall from the balcony of her high rise apartment, she wakes partially paralyzed in a hospital bed and everything she ever wanted begins to fade away. Amnesia, friend or foe, prevents Penelope from remembering what caused her fall in the first place. With intense physical therapy, Penelope is able to walk and move once again… but the movement of dance isn’t welcome. Memories of rejection begin to replace the amnesia-void and Penelope isn’t eager to walk back into the dancing community. She rejects her hunger for movement, her creative thirst, and her dance cravings.
“It also hurts me, you know. To watch you suffer… you’re starving… you’ve got to find a way to feed yourself.”‘
When everything in Penelope’s life comes crashing down again, she learns to once again embrace the movement of true love, forgiveness, and hope. She learns the importance of feeding her body and soul and finds the courage to embrace the “divinity” of her creative talent… and she learns to value her expression whether the impact be, big or small.
Dancers and human beings alike all have their own metaphorical balconies. The plunge into the dark emotional void paralyzes desires to create and love and express the art of the soul. We strap ourselves to our “I-give-up-hospital-beds” and refuse to accept the rejection we feel in our lives. Fear of rejection, anxiety that we are not good enough, and the constant stress that we don’t have enough time, prevents us from embracing the expression of our souls. And at times, we jump while screaming into the wild void that “I will never create again.” We paralyze the soul, bruise the heart, and destroy dreams.
Kathryn Craft and Penelope Sparrow helped me realize that jumping into the “emotional void” isn’t healthy. It blocks my expression and cuts me off from God. The Art of Falling gave me the courage to embrace the vulnerability a little more and to avoid my metaphorical balcony. To live is to create and love and express the language of our souls.
“… and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.”