Even Monkeys Fall from Trees

Climbing, swinging, sitting, eating, socializing, playing, and living in trees isn’t just second nature to monkeys.  It IS nature.  It’s their way of being.

But … “Even monkeys fall from trees”. – Japanese Proverb

Humans fall from “trees” too.  We slip, stumble, and fall literally and metaphorically.  Sometimes, someone else pushes us out of the tree.  We lie there, damaged physically, emotionally, and psychologically.  Our confidence took a major hit and we begin to question ourselves and even our self-worth. 

“Why am I living in a “tree”?” 

When we get up, we assess the damage, take emotional inventory, and process the moment.  We might cry, scream, or growl out a half-hour special on curse words.  Some of us will dwell on what just happened and question our very lives.  Some never get over it. 

“What am I even doing here?”

Do you know what the monkey would tell us?  Nothing; it’s a monkey.  They don’t talk.

But, they would be up in the tree, looking down at us, not understanding why we’re still sitting there.  Because, when monkeys fall from trees, they shake their head, regroup, and get back up there. 

That’s it. 

But, we’re humans and our brains are a bit more complicated.  We have the capacity to contemplate situations, replay the past (ooh, that damn past!), dramatize events, make mountains out of mole hills, beat ourselves up, and worry about the future. 

All this intelligence aimed in the wrong direction. 

Some falls do cause irreparable damage.  But … not everything damaged is useless.  There’s value in a different capacity, another way.  Another tree.  Maybe the ground.  Gorillas prefer the ground and they do pretty well.   

Then, there are those other humans who won’t let us let go of our mistakes.  They remind us of it, throw fuel on the fire, point fingers, and will have us burned at the stake.  These people have fallen as well, but choose to be broken.  They want others broken too. 

Ignore them.  Get away from them.  A different tree.  Maybe another area of the forest.

There are some monkeys that “slip” all the time.  They fall and fall and it’s not accidental or a mistake.  They’re just really bad at being a monkey.  They keep doing bad shit and make excuses and elaborate explanations, playing the victim, because the tree branch was brittle, they got distracted, they were pushed, and it’s never their fault.  

However, the majority of us are pretty damn good monkeys and even though we fall from time to time, we get back up in the trees, supporting our fellow monkeys, not pushing anyone off a branch, and helping others back up instead of keeping them down. 

All the while, we’re paying attention to what we’re doing, because we don’t want to fall again.  But, we probably will and that’s okay, because even us monkeys fall from trees.

Photo by Ugur Peker on Unsplash

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