I guess yesterday was a bit of a breakthrough for me in terms of my overall climbing in general. I had not experienced this very zen-like state for quite some time and it felt refreshing and invigorating to say the least. While I am sure that some of you have experienced this and experienced it regularly, for me there has been a solid amount of fear associated with this sport over the years.
I have regularly had bouts of serious fear and I confess times where irrational fear has flooded my veins and caused me to be mentally crippled in so many situations where if I had the tools to deal with it better I would had greater successes earlier on in my climbing life. That being said, it is never too late to experience bliss in the vertical world. That transient state where you are simply “in flow”.
Life has changed a little now, however my dogged determination to continue to improve and learn has not wained in any way shape or form. There is a greater sense of the realistic and my motivations for climbing have indeed changed over the past two years.
I was for many years trying to prove myself to my father. I wanted him to be proud of me and like all good dads he only ever wanted the best for me, but I had a different best in mind. I travelled a different path much to the disapproving attitude I saw on my fathers face. I know now he was very proud of me and what I had done, however it took a lot of long conversations later in his life where we agreed to disagree and we both needed to hear it.
Anyway, I continue to climb now because I love it. I also see it helping me grow and learn. It is indeed a guide on how my life is going and how my emotional state is at a given time. If I am stressed in life, it displays itself most unsubtly in the vertical, causing me to be gripped or negative in my attitude. So taking a different approach helps me destress both on and off the wall.
I now have these little mental tricks to defuse my outrageous expectations and it relaxes me a great deal throughout my days. I don’t rush to get to the crag, but my enthusiasm is still there. I have less desperation to do many routes and am happy to concentrate on a couple of harder things, even if I don’t send I have a good day because I am outside in the sun laughing loud, trying hard and fighting.
These are the things that I like to do and this is now how my lovely wife and I spend our climbing days together. We do not have rest days now, we have “us days”. Rest days are for fanatics (an opinion only, don’t take it personally). We also try not to forget how very fortunate we are to have the opportunity to live our lives the way we do. Gratitude is something that we are indeed full of and we appreciate every single moment together.
And to quote a young man named Brandon, whom I met in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky:-
– Love long, laugh loud and climb hard……..