climbing, life, thoughts

small things, big differences

Climbing has taught me a lot about myself and whenever I climb, it feels like a giant metaphor for life. There are the obvious messages, like it’s not about getting to the top, but the journey on the way there, having fun, learning things, taking time to enjoy it. But then there are inner messages I get from myself, when I’m paying attention. Yesterday I lead three routes, which is huge for me, considering I’m just beginning to develop my leading skills. There was a time I thought I would never be able to lead, so scared I was.

I felt very solid on the rock, and I noticed that making small progress/changes can make all the difference. Sometimes moving my foot up just two inches puts me in a position where there are better hand holds. Sometimes a small shift in balance or body position makes a rest or a move feel much more comfortable, fluid, solid. I felt really in tune with this yesterday.

I think this is true in life as well. Sometimes taking small steps to keep a project or design moving is the best thing I can do, because it usually ends up sparking more ideas and gets easier. Sometimes shifting my perspective or coming at things from a different angle creates progress as well. This can be easier said than done, my mind likes to get stuck. But if I can remember not to dwell in the stuck and just make a small move or shift, that can get me moving along and progressing along my path. My goal is to keep this in mind.

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  • Reply chad S November 1, 2009 at 8:46 am


    Thinking about how your climbing analogy applies to my life.

    First thing is “If you have a difficult task, start doing the easy parts.

    One way of saying the second part about shifting positions abstractly is “If stuck, try jiggling.” Some examples: In a traffic jam, try different roads. Can’t find something at the grocery, try a different store. _____ ____ ____ __ __ _ ___, go on a road trip.

    For those examples, we know how to recognize being “stuck” and how to “jiggle”. We don’t get frustrated b/c we are experienced in doing something about the stuckness which has worked in the past.

    Harder is recognizing unfamiliar being stucks and figuring out how to jiggle. Maybe frustration is the first indication of being stuck?

  • Reply chad S November 1, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Oops! And I like (in my imagination at least) that when climbing you’re so close to the rock that you can’t see how current foot/hand placements will make climbing harder or easier farther up. Makes the climbing route is a life path analogy more connected.

  • Reply Melissa November 3, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Looks like your trip is amazing so far. So glad you sent me this link so I could follow along!

    p.s. I checked out your online bookshelf and seriously, almost every book on there is one I have read or is on my shelf waiting to be read.

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