"But What Really Interests Me Is The Struggle. And I Like To Be Interested." ~ Steph Davis, Climber, Author
"Waime'a Boulders, N. Shore, Oahu, 2010"
A friend of mine once said, "Almine, why would you climb? Its the fastest way to get to nowhere." While there may be some accuracy to this statement, what I'm interested in, as Steph Davis said, is the struggle. There is a place for resistance in life. We've been taught to not resist anything. That to "resist" is a negative thing. Women, in particular, have been taught to yield to all things. To please everyone around them. Saying "Yes" to everything denotes a kind of benign mother image. Yet isn't resistance the very power behind how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly? Isn't that how a baby is born? "Through contraction (resistance) and expansion (non-resistance) we experience the Tao", the great philosopher, Lao Tzu has said.
Climbing, for me, is a way of experiencing a natural cycle of frustration and accomplishment, which internally, makes me strong. Strong enough to encounter obstacles in my life and barely give them a glance. There is a dance of chaos and order in this universe. A delicate balance of yin and yang, as the Chinese say.
To actively dive into one's own process of experiencing the art of letting go, and resisting when appropriate, is the stuff of champions. "The body may be used as a platform for the mind," says centuries old martial arts wisdom. One may liken the body to a stage, where the drama of contraction and expansion plays out on the most minute level. From the opening and closing of the heart, the eyelids, and the lungs to the opening and closing of the mind itself. Notions, ideas and thoughts, become the "stuff" that allows us to be creators. Creators of our own reality.
I use my body as a stage to move through the landscape of the vertical world. In this vast sky matrix I experience the opportunity to master fear, and see with the vision of an eagle. I experience the joy of seeing how tiny we all really look from the heavens. When you see people, the size of ants below you, you marvel at how the birds must see us. Our lives, our conversations, those close to us all walking along the hiking trail next to the river. They cannot see you, but you hear their stories. Stories of sorrow, pain, joy & wonder. You understand how tiny and insignificant we all really are, yet what an impact each one of us can have on the eco-system at large.
Though you may not feel drawn to the sport of climbing, think about taking 5 minutes out of your day to contemplate what "With The Vision Of An Eagle" means. What does it mean to you? What if you were a bird, in its nest, peering hundreds of feet down below? How would you see the earth, its creatures and people on the ground? When life is seen from a bird's-eye view, a deep sense of compassion for the human plight ensues. You see the precious, delicate thread that weaves us all together. The mind switches into a place of tranquility realizing that really, deep down, all creatures just want to experience love. Everything that takes place on the ground, from a higher vantage point, is a result of some deep need to love and be loved. All else is commentary.
"I'm always inspired to work really hard and get better at those things that I'm not naturally good at. That is usually what drives me-if something isn't easy, if I flail a little bit." ~Steph Davis
Almine, & her friends, Julie & Brian, "Smith Rock", Terrebonne, OR. 2010
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