The Spanish landscape reminded me of the long drives I’d taken in the southern states. The ground was dry and the air, fresh and crisp; it was akin to stepping into summer. The warm air filled the spot in me that had been longing to roam the Hueco Desert. The sun, it infiltrated me so deeply, I melted. This was pure enjoyment. My pre-coming wavering had been in vain. We were around a delightful combination of old friends and Sarrasonna rock. My body felt light and strong; movements came easily, relaxed and without thinking. It was back to basics; simple, pure and innocent. There were no expectations and no pressure. I was climbing simply because I climb.
A day in Sarrasonna
It seems ironic however, that after the first day of arriving in Spain, I volunteer myself to three weeks of complete abstinence from climbing. Though perhaps, it’s a bit dishonest to say ‘complete abstinence’. My body has not moved like a climber, but my mind has continued in other ways. While the small aches and pains which have accompanied me are slowly fading away, mentally, my insides are squirming. Once a year they say, one month off… I compromised with three weeks… ;)
I heavily weighed my decision to rest, having just arrived to such a place. But it felt right and the timing was perfect. There was snow in Albarracin and our friends welcomed us into their home where Cedar had met a new best friend. Ending after a good day of climbing seemed like a healthy imprint to leave encoded in my body. So it was decided; a commitment to rest.
There was an underlying fear that all my strength and abilities would fade away. Restarting could be heavy, slow and painful. Yet, the image of climbers such as Sean McColl and members of the Austrian team popped into my mind. These folks rested for the month of December and always came back just as strong. I decidedly put the fear behind and recalled the last time I rested that long which was over two years ago. The rest was spent touring London. Upon returning to Font, I was amazed at how refreshed not only my body felt, but also my mind.
Hiking in Montserrat, crazy rock...
With the New Year around the corner, it seemed an ideal time to reflect and reassess my goals for next year. Contemplating on my own wishes has led me to inquire into my own habits and decision making skills; or there lack of. This year there were a few things that didn’t go as planned that had an underlying theme of indecisiveness tinged with a tendency to listen to the echoes of fear over the voices of faith. (By faith, I mean Yoda style of course…)
Most might agree that humans tend to get in their own way. I’m no exception. Without the voices of chatter of what should be or can’t be; without the fear and worry of how dreams should come to pass; I find the answers to what I really want are fairly clear. But then, somewhat unconsciously, I do something that is to a degree, self-sabotaging. I make a decision which results in a big fat hurdle, put right in the middle of the path to my goals.
Looking a little deeper, it’s akin to providing myself with a predisposed excuse to not give 100%; an around the bend method to avoid full commitment. Such as, working as a setter in a gym… or eating too much junk… or better yet, paying too much attention to the self-criticizing thoughts in my head. “You can’t do this, you’re not good enough, and you are not like them”. And yet, you watch these thoughts, just like you look at the candy before eating it, feel their implications, sometimes believing them; sometimes not. Just like sometimes you eat the candy, sometimes you don’t. Most times, I eat it.
The self-sabotaging/ lack of commitment seem to serve as a source of protection. Failing hurts less when you gratify it with an excuse, especially, if it is a logical one. It seems that very deep down, my mind rationalizes; if I 101% fully commit, and if by chance I fail, it might really hurt. So in order to protect myself, in a sort of unconscious response, it chooses the safest path. My brain seems to miss the logic of walking away acceptingly, knowing that I gave my best; so long as it really was my very best, no self-sabotaging included. This is a very challenging position to get into; at least for me. My bad habits are tinged with sabotage and uncertainty around commitment.
Commitment can be very daunting regardless of the duration or severity of the engagement. That sidelong with the hesitancy that accompanies most of my decisions can be a very frustrating combination. So what to do? Live on in this wavering fashion or, do something about it?
It’s clear that I need a commitment to ‘the plan’, but how? Surely, all the grit built from cold nights in the van, walking up big hills with sand and wind blowing against me, raising a kid alone, that’s got to serve me somehow. Life is short and I certainly don’t want to look back and say, what if? What if I gave myself permission to succeed or for that matter, fail, provided I permitted myself the chance to work under the best conditions, AKA, I did not get in my own way…
The majority of my commitments I will keep to myself, however, I will share the main one which is most basic, yet incredibly hard as my track record proves. Ready? Not sure I am!! But here it is anyway: ‘I refuse to get in my own way’. That’s it! Simple. With clear intentions and commitment in my heart and mind, I will keep my focus. I pray compassion will console me if I fall off the line. In fact, anyone who witnesses me in self-sabotaging behavior; be it overtraining, believing the voices of self-doubt, or simply overindulging in crap food; have my written permission to stop me. Previously, I did this for friends who were trying to quit smoking and I must say; it is quite satisfying to be the anti-pusher! They do thank you in the end, and… so will I..!!
Thanks for reading.
PS- This post was incredibly hard to write. But the below poem which recently re-crossed my path has really helped remind me of what needs to be done and served as a nice kick in the butt. Its timing could not have been better. :)
Until one is committed There is hesitancy, the chance to draw back Always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and Creation) There is one elementary truth The ignorance which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: That the moment that one definitely commits ones self Then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one That would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision Raising in one’s favor all manner Of unforeseen incidents and meetings And material substance Which no one could have dreamt Would have come your way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. GOETHE
Spanish style human powered carousals
Rest day activities. Slow biking with walks in the wood