The place - Hueco Tanks.
The partner - my son, a stronger climber than me.
The story - humility.
I used to climb well. Some would say I still do. It is a perspective thing. I have one friend who tells me to never let anyone else define me. And she is right. The last time I was in Hueco was 2002. My son, seven months old and my body just recovering from breast feeding.
The time before that, 1998. I sent a V7... my first V7. From there, the grades continued to increase. Even after the 2002 visit, I sent harder problems. So imagine my shame, my disappointment, to be humbled by a V2 on our first day. And then on the third day to have a guide suggest the day will be too tough for me.
Rationally, I know I am many years and many 'non-training' days from 2002. Or even 2003. I made other choices with my time and energy. I do not regret those choices. I now have a very accomplished son who seems to be pretty mature and well adjusted. In my view, the best project I have ever embarked upon. I know my body is aging and it hurts more that it used to. It isn't as free moving as it used to be. It doesn't recover as well.
But I still felt humbled. I felt more than that, I felt disappointed.
And I could have walked away. After all, this body will not get younger, no matter how well I take care of it. I could have rationalized the end of my life as a climber. I could have rationalized all the choices that have led to this particular outcome.
Instead... I practiced RESILIENCY.
Resiliency is ADAPTABILITY. It is strength in action. It is not giving up. It is TRYING again, IN A DIFFERENT WAY.
The adaptability may be in how I define my success as a climber. It maybe in how I show up as a climber. It is shifting my expectations in order to shift my experience.
I never climbed in order to be the best at it.
I always climbed intrigued by how to move my body between the holds. That I can still do.
What I need to shift is my expectation of how those moves are graded by a subjective system. If I can't get away from my expectations around grades, then I can make up my own routes that don't have grades. I can worry about moves rather than routes.
What matters is that I still climb for a reason that matters to me. That makes me feel happy.
What is is about climbing that makes you happy? How do you use that to continue to strengthen your resiliency?
You can control how you think about yourself.
You can tell your own truth about the experience.
As Brené Brown says, "Shame cannot survive empathy." But the truth is, sometimes we have to be our own provider of that empathy.
We need to find the people who matter. Who will hold us and hold us to account.
And until we do, we have to hold ourselves.
Speaking our truth is the power of holding oneself with respect & love.
It is self care. No one else can speak your truth.
Between 1995 and 2003 I climbed a lot. I spent the early years living mostly in a car and climbing all over North America.
Of course when you put that much time into something, you get pretty good at it.
Fast forward a decade and a half and I find myself in old stomping grounds. Hueco Tanks.Now it is my son who is the strong one. He dedicates most days after school to climbing. His body is young and strong. He has fantastic climbing movement. While I may be pretty astute at movement, I am less strong and my body isn't always so happy.
My friend Michelle would tell me to just go and have fun. She studies old people and how to keep them engaged. While I respect the work she is doing, I am not so certain she gets how it feels to be getting older and less capable. The sadness one must overcome and the letting go of who you were in order to embrace where you are. It isn't easy.
It is life though.
We let go of being a student when we take on our first career that requires full attention. We let go of being single when we marry and being a young adult when we become parents. Eventually our parents get old and need us more, eventually dying and we let go of being a child. Then our children leave us or our partners leave us and we rediscover who we are again.
Life is continually changing how we see ourselves. Sometimes it is harder than others.
I don't want to be that young woman, living out of a car again. I enjoy being more well rounded in what I teach, coach. I enjoy being a mother and watching my child grow into an amazing human. I don't want the poverty that went with dedicating my life to climbing.
What I do want is people around me who share dreams with me. I do want to help people realize their dreams. I do want to spend time out in beautiful places like this park. I do want to continue to challenge myself. It will take work to let go of what I used to be able to do and be grateful for what I can do. But as I would say if I was coaching someone else, I will look for the success in the try, not the outcomes.
In an hour we will depart for the boulders.
I will suck. That is the mantra replaying in my mind.
Just get rid of the expectations. That's the problem... there are always expectations. Even the idea to get rid of expectation is an expectation. And so this is the seed of suffering. Expectation.
The trick then is to set an expectation that one can control.
The expectation to try for a number of times. The expectation to hike a certain distance, to get on x number of routes.
This morning the challenge is I don't even know what expectations are reasonable.
Here is where the practice begins.
Can I stay comfortable with not knowing no matter the outcome? Can I believe that whatever happens is happening FOR me?
I guess we will see. How about you?
I listened with wonder as he described his dreams. Climbing in Utah, Colorado, Texas.
"This is amazing, exciting." I said, as I silently thought, how? What if the car breaks down, you run out of money?
Turns out I became apart of that dream it became a reality, along with some of my worries. But it happened.
'How' stops most of us from dreaming big.
Give yourself a gift this Christmas; don't let 'how' limit your dreams for 2018. Dream big, get excited and tenacious, do the things that will help support the dream and just maybe the dream will come true.
If you need help with the strategy... sign up for the Goal setting session Sunday December 17, 10 am - 12 pm. email: email@example.com
Usually the answer to that question is no. But in the event that the answer is yes, ask yourself whether there is anything helpful to you in believing, thinking, being stressed about the thought? Here, the answer is definitely NO.
Repeat as often as necessary. With as many stressful thoughts as necessary. Check out Byron Katie... The Work.com
With a background in anatomy and physiology and an insatiable curiosity to understand the challenges I experienced when climbing, I eventually came to understand that the way I was climbing - doing multiple pull-ups - was preventing the development of my grip strength. I was also using more of the flexor muscles in my forearms, than the extensors and this muscle imbalance was causing the tendonitis. Fortunately, I knew how to develop the muscles I needed and I learned how to climb differently. Within a few weeks, I was able to get back to climbing at my best.
What would your performance look like if you climbed with better technique?
I recently learned how frightfully easy it is to become a coach. My experience as a coach says it is much harder to be one.
Coaches can help you understand your purpose. Coaches can offer tools and resources, but the client must bring the courage and the effort, the purpose and the direction.
Coaches must surrender their own hopes and dreams for a client, letting go of all of these elements and merely hold the space for the client's journey to unfold.
If you are looking for a little help finding your purpose & direction, just connect.
Climbing is Yoga.
Climbing can be the desire to fully express oneself freely and fully. Climbing can be to move beyond how one is defined. To move with clarity, not because it matters to anyone other than oneself.
When climbing is about winning, being THE best, the grade or the money, it ceases to be like Yoga and becomes constricted even when grades are increasing.
When Yoga becomes about deepest expression of a pose, handstand and a workout... it too stops being about Yoga. Freedom. It is constricted by the desire to be THE best.
"Free your mind and the rest will follow."
The best climbers know you cannot force a route. You cannot force success.
First, you learn the flow of the movement and you go with it.
If the only tool you have is a front step or a pull-up, the flow will be disrupted and you will work very hard to overcome, when perhaps, by moving with the direction of holds, it would have been less struggle and fewer falls.
Need coaching? Just send me a message.