Just the Rock

24 Tue, 2010 § 2 Comments

Fading away in dejection, two weeks had passed; I was still depressed, lacking appetite & the desire for human interaction.  Shut the door.  Block out the world, a part of me taunted.  Curl into yourself & sleep.

Instead, I succumbed to another part urging me to get over it: I reached for the door knob; twisting it, I entered the world again.  I had to get out.  I had to live.



I had only attempted it a few times & it had been weeks — maybe even a month — since my last go.  As I stepped through the doors of the climbing gym, I knew my melancholy had made me weak but I bouldered anyway.  I could not hide but still needed to get away & think — no, clear my head — be alone.

Just be.

That day, I only saw the plastic.  I only felt my hands grasping, reaching to the next hold.  I keyed into my foot pointing, toeing solidly into the wall.  I felt gravity but was more aware of my body —  my muscles contracting; my breath moving in rhythm.  Falling never crossed my mind.  I simply climbed.  My heart felt happy.  In that moment, only I existed.

I have found few things with which I can connect, fold myself into & become completely present.  Every time I touch the rock, I am seeking the presence I found that day at the gym.  Unfortunately, too often, that experience is not recaptured.  I am constantly distracted by & at war with my ego. When I do find presence, I climb harder & often — though not always — with a sense of ease.  More than that though, I appreciate what it offers & enjoy climbing most during these moments.  It is when I do not limit myself with assumptions about the route, the grade, my own expectations…when my ego fades & I do not compare myself to other climbers…& when fear is overcome…I can simply be.

Only the rock & my body exist.  I simply climb.  So tuned in, it is only my subconscious reacting.   Releasing my mind, I let my body connect with the rock.  When there is more, I fall.  When I let distractions in, I fall.

Falling is not a bad thing if you are pushing your limits.  In fact, falling is even good for the ego; but when it is because of the ego, more than just falling is at stake.  It taints our experiences, leading to frustration & obsession with external concerns.

I miss climbing.  I miss tuning into my body…connecting with the nature of the rock & working with it rather than fighting against it.  I miss finding presence through this moving meditation, taking what I learn & practicing it off the rock as well as on.  I miss giving my ego a bit of a beating. 😉

It is time to get back on the rock & recapture what I have lost: to see only the rock — to see, feel & concern myself with this moment only — to gently urge myself,

Be Here Now.


What have you lost to the world?  Are you ready to recapture it?

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§ 2 Responses to Just the Rock

  • Dave says:

    It was a struggle at first for me to not feel embarrassed in the gym – I was only able to traverse and the other climbers were GOOD! Over time I grew in confidence and was able to hold my own on the plastic and rock walls but even more importantly, I grew to enjoy being the “softest” climber out there. I relished watching more experienced climbers and taking away not only tips to climb harder but also an appreciation for their sense of focus and commitment. These mentors were different people during the 30 seconds they were off the ground. They’d fall and resume their former jovial mentalities but when on the rock, they were gods; the almighty presence surrounded by and surrounding their creative works. They did not belong to the rocks nor the rocks to them. They had a symbiosis that led to a changed persona while on the rock and it captivated me.
    Over time I too developed a focus level that led to a roommate of mine giving my climbing alter-ego it’s own name. He would call me by that name whenever I was “in it”. I find that I tend to be more focused, more present, and more loving of life and all it’s pitfalls when I am working a project. I am able to put myself to the test both physically and emotionally and then I give myself permission to truly emerge.

    • Allie says:

      Beautiful. I want that focus & commitment–I don’t have to be a god ;). One problem with the above though: you do not climb soft.

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