That pure and present moment of being

“Focus on the next hold…and climb.”  My doctor, a rock climber himself in his younger days, said those words to me shortly after I began climbing and was trying to get past my PTSD to climb.  It worked, and still does!  Later, I was having a hesitation problem on some of the bouldering problems.  This hesitation was due to not having a strategy for downclimbing, it turns out, and once I began practicing downclimbing from every new hold reached, the problem subsided.  There are lots of things that fellow climbers can tell you how to do, or offer suggestions on, but one thing that you have to figure out for yourself is how to get to that pure and present moment of being on the wall – in the moment.  It’s a little different for everyone, and no two people are alike.  There are certain conditions that can be met that make the probability of reaching this state higher, but don’t guarantee it.  Once you reach that state yourself, though, you’ll want to go back!!!  Fortunately or unfortunately, that state is not reached every time you climb, nor does it respond on command when you want it.  If you’re thinking about it, that pretty much guarantees you’re not going to get there, as a matter of fact.  It happens more rarely than we’d like it to, but it’s ever so much more precious and powerful when it does due to that somewhat mystical nature of the thing.  I find, though, that if I just focus on the next hold and climb, I reach that pure and present moment of being without knowing it until I’m in it, and sometimes not until afterwards!  Either way, it feels fantastic.  Your senses are all at their maximum sensitivity levels.  The outside world disappears.  Your mind shuts out the noise and clutter and chaos of the world and it’s just you and the rock – the minute details of your being connecting with this perfect part of nature, your nature itself coming out…  It may last for a moment, or it may last for a period of time, but when it’s gone, it leaves a sense of euphoria behind for you to bask in just to let you know it was there and that it will be back again.  Someday.  Unexpectedly.  It leaves you at peace and with pure joy, as it should be when a climber fully engages a magnificent specimen of rock with intense focus and fluid technical movement!!!  That is what truly allows you to BE, so go out as often as you can and BE!!!

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