I went rock climbing last weekend. It seems that climbing often brings me to a place of self-reflection. I haven’t gone scaling up walls in many months, and I felt my muscles working from the moment that my body left the ground. I was quickly reminded of how infrequently I ask my arms to support my weight. A friend held a rope below, ready to catch me, should I fall. With each climb, I felt acutely aware of my body. I also listened to the chatter in my brain as I navigated the ascents.
As we spent our afternoon climbing, my friend and I supported each other as we tried various skill levels, moving among the “wow, it’s like these holds are made for a hand to fit right in and support me” and the “seriously? I’m supposed to support my weight by putting my foot on that little nub?” After one of my friend’s climbs, she told me that she decided that she would push herself, and take risks that she might normally hesitate, figuring that I would catch her if she fell.
This theme was repeated, as I watched the more skilled climbers move on the more challenging walls. I watched as they moved up, only to fall when they reached higher or more inclined walls. Again, in conversation, one of the climbers mentioned that they were climbing today until they fell. They wanted to push beyond where they might stop. The only way to do that was to continue on, stopping not when their brain said, “I can’t go on”; rather, stopping when their body had moved as far as possible, or a hold was just a bit too far, and the attempt to grab it wasn’t accomplished.
And I thought to myself: what a beautiful philosophy, to reach, try to grasp beyond what I have grasped before, and to trust that if I fall, someone will catch me.
And I tucked that into my being to carry with me.