Rock Climbing is an amazingly beautiful sport, for several reasons. There is the obvious; it allows you to enjoy places in nature, that few go or can go. Once there you have the possibility of seeing amazing sites. Climbing has also assisted me with progressing in life and feeling satisfied…content…right here, right now. Climbing is about trust, communication, confidence, commitment and is in my opinion an ultimate Zen experience.
A Journey with someone, but alone within yourself
I am by no means an amazing climber, but it does so much for me personally, when I get to go out and climb. I first began climbing at the rock climbing gym, where we were taught a series of call and responses, that to be exchanged between the belayer (the person who is holding the other end of the rope , supporting you as a climber) and the climber. The climber lets the belayer know that she/he is ready and then the belayer, once having checked his/her gear, knots, clips, etc. says something to the effect of, “Climb when you are ready”. The climber then responds,
“climbing”. The belayer then says “climb away or climb on or ok…” This in itself is beautiful to me. You are about to embark upon an unknown journey with someone, but alone within yourself. I mean isn’t that life?! That person that is there to support you, if you need it, takes care of themselves first (in the check, prior to climbing) and then (in a timely manner) lets you know they are in a good place to be of support to you. If you are feeling uncertain or uncomfortable with the belayer, you must trust your own instincts. It is up to you to voice this and if need be, find another belayer. With a sense of commitment, you announce that you are ready to take this voyage. Note: I used to always say this part of the call and response, with a bit of a question – “Climbing?” Ha! I kind of psyched myself up to begin the first step. Once I became aware of it; I observed that impulse in myself. I was in awe and wonder, but I also had not integrated my heart, mind and body. It was kind of like, “oh..oh..okay…are we doing this right now? Yea, it seems we are doing this right now…ok..!”
Climbing is a series of steps
Now, for instance when I go bouldering, it is a much quieter experience. I wait to get the message from myself that I am ready…sometimes I just touch the rock and really allow my body to focus in on the moment. To feel the amazing realization and reverence, that I am connecting myself with something that has been in existence for eons that it is allowing me to interact with it. There is definitely an appreciation for it allowing me the experience of coming closer to myself. After one has made the announcement, that they are climbing, the belayer calls back, to let you know she/he is ready, and then it is on you. If you did not commit to the first step; the two of you would just be there waiting there. After the first step then you must make another step. Climbing is a series of steps. It is always amazing and affirming for me to realize at the end of my small journey that I actually accomplished it.
If I am bouldering and after many tries, I do not make the problem (climbs are referred to as problems), I feel like it is not the right moment. Sometimes I go away and come back and my mind or body has worked it out. There is some mapping out but for me it is about being focused on and tackling each challenge as it presents itself.
Room to Grow
I am here…now I am right here…One very important reminder that was given to me on a longer climb, was to stop and look out and enjoy the view! I recommend climbing, even if it is a very low climb at the gym. Pushing your boundaries, a bit provides more room to grow.