Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Mentor: "A Reflection Of The Moon On Water"...

"A true mentor is like the reflection of the moon on water. When you see the beauty of it, and are awe-stricken, you're actually seeing your truest nature." ~Kundun

This week there has been a lot of snow in Bend. Rain, then sun, then grey skies, then snow...the weather seems to be changing by the minute. The Celts referred to spring as "the season between all seasons." Change is in the air. Mother Nature seems to be trying to make up her mind, with one foot still in winter, and one already in summer. I'm doing my best to be grateful for the beautiful snow, but I must admit, I'm ready for outdoor climbing season to arrive. I'm itching to improve my climbing skills this year, and am looking forward to many wonderful climbing adventures with Stan and my friends. I feel lucky to live in Bend. There is an abundance of beautiful rock here to climb: sport, trad., face, cracks...its all here, within 1/2 hr. of my doorstep. I'm grateful for the spiritual lessons climbing brings into my life: facing my fears, trust, the art of letting go, learning to quiet my mind during a climb, the beauty of friendship, the exquisite experience of the vertical world...the list goes on...I'm grateful for all the wonderful, empowered women, in particular, who have influenced my life as a climber.

I want to honor my dear friend and climbing mentor, Janet Linebarger. Janet is the epitome of strength and power, in my mind. She is an example of a woman, in her 60's, who has the strength of a 20 yr. old, and the grace of a seasoned dancer. To watch her effortlessly move on a rock face, silent...focused...skilled... is a wonder to behold. Janet is moving from Portland, OR. to Bellevue, WA. While I'm excited for Janet, and the new opportunities that are being presented to her, I'm selfishly very sad. I will always consider Janet my first climbing teacher. Its not that I won't ever see Janet, but our visits will be farther and fewer between.

Almine & Janet, "Club Sport," '09

Each month, when I've gone up to Portland to treat patients at my Portland office, I've gotten a lesson from Janet. If the weather is nice we climb outside. If its rainy we've climbed at "Club Sport." Each time I've walked away with more of a deep appreciation for what climbing has become to me: a metaphor for the inner world. It is because of Janet that I've faced some of my darkest fears with climbing. She's influenced me enough to want to do that for myself. Janet seems to have the wisdom to know when to push me when I need to be pushed, and to allow me to figure things out for myself when appropriate. The power of a mentor in our life is a blessing. One whose lessons seem to soak in a little more each day. I'm honored to call Janet my mentor & friend. I hope to be just like her when I grow up someday... ;-} I'll miss you, Janet...

Almine Climbing At "Smith Rock," '09


  1. My friend, I once heard Scott Hamilton say these very true words, {When your mentor becomes your greatest fan, you know you've achieved greatness.} I can see she feels the same way about you. I'm pretty dam sure that you've also shared in her life as well. Two women with the same lioness heartedness. Magical, beautiful, and most of all empowering. It now gives you more of a reason to visit. xoxoxo luv u. Keep climbing higher sis, now you know you can fly.

  2. Thank you, P'ua...
    I'll miss Janet terribly. Before I moved to Bend, she & I spent countless hours climbing together. Since I've moved to Bend, I've really only had the opportunity to see her 1x per mo., but its still been wonderful knowing that I would see her again the next mo., as I would drive away from Portland. Now, I will see her very little. I rarely go up to WA. Maybe now I'll have an excuse. ;-} I hear there's good climbing up in "Leavenworth."

  3. Beautiful story of friendship! To have a mentor who is always loved and remembered is a blessing. There is a message, when a mentor moves on for what ever reason, the student is ready to become a mentor to others. Interesting how life unfolds, we meet people at the right moment and then they leave at the right moment. We can always stay connected to our teachers, mentors, and friends, they are part of our life forever!

  4. I agree with Alana. Look, you've already put on a "climbing clinic" just a handful of months ago. I think being with Janet helped to make you a good teacher/mentor yourself. I really believe that Janet had such a great influence on you and one of the best strengths she instilled in you was to calm your mind when climbing sketch spots and dealing with anchors. I would love to possess her gracefullness and I try to everytime I get on the wall. It will take many yrs for me to get there and I think it's just plain natural for her to move in such ways...beautiful and inspiring! Go Janet!