Moments of Reflection: Climbing and the Inner Me

I am famous for saying, “Climbing fixes everything” because I believe it really does fix almost everything! There is something amazing about the sport of climbing and what it does to the Inner Me. And very recently, I have been moved and inspired by amazing accounts friends have been sharing of what climbing has done for them.  So…what better way to start this week…other than climbing affirmations!  Below are amazing accounts (all anonymous) from folks that have shared with me how climbing has positively affected the “Inner Me.”  Note I made no revisions, as they were sent to me I am posting, so that the energy is pure and organic, ENJOY!

I first started climbing during a very trying time in my life. That first climb gave me such a feeling of accomplishment that I knew I’d make it through anything else life could throw at me. Believe me, life has thrown me my share of curve balls, but you’d also better believe I’ve hit every one of them right back. (and that’s just ONE special thing. 

As much as I love climbing now, I hated climbing when I first started. It was frustrating and painful and scary and I wasn’t very good at it. Previously, when I wasn’t good at something, I never saw a reason to try to keep working at it. But due to my frustration and the time in my life, I knew there was something for me to learn…and so, for the first time ever, I decided to go ahead and work at enjoying and succeeding at something that was very difficult for me. Meanwhile, I was in the midst of clinical rotations and having a difficult time keeping my head on straight. I realized that something I had been working towards for a long time wasn’t something I was naturally good at. So I channeled all of those feelings of “failing” at my future career into “failing” at climbs. As I hit bumps in the road during clinicals, I got better at climbing, which then gave me confidence and perspective to confront my issues head on. Over time, I realized having goals and meeting them is succeeding, even if you’re not getting to the top. So I made a small goal every day at my rotation and when I succeeded at those, I would make bigger goals and reach those too. Needless to say, climbing changed me entirely. It not only made me more confident and easygoing, it has changed my entire way of living life. When I have fear about something, I face it head on instead of shying away. When I am upset, I channel my emotions into climbing instead of self-demolition. When I am going into something difficult, I take a deep breath and do my best instead of not trying at all. Climbing  confronts you with your worst attributes and forces you to overcome them (or you ain’t goin’ anywhere). Life is so much better without all those inner demons holding you back.

I have been always afraid of a lot of things especially heights.  I was one of those guys growing up who did not take any risks and never did anything, I just watched everyone else from afar enjoy life and only wished I had the confidence to do something, anything. After a number of disappointing series of events in my life, my sister was diagnosed with cancer.  I relocated temporarily to help my brother in law and knock on wood, its been 4 years and she is cancer free.  While helping my sister out, my brother-in-law invited me to go climbing at the local gym.  I declined because I am so afraid of heights.  Well I finally went and on my first climb, at 15 or so feet, I pushed off from anxiety and screamed like a girl.  I was so embarrassed.  But someone I did not even know screamed out “come on you can do it!”.  So I did, I finished that route to the top and when I came down I realized my fears made me feel things were far worse than what they were.  I never stopped climbing since and in the meantime while all this was happening, I always admired this friend from afar.  After climbing 6 months, I had so much confidence in myself that I asked her out.  She is now my wife of 6 years and addicted to rock climbing too.  Thank you climbing for helping find the courage from within me!

Climbing is one of my best friends. Best friends are always there for you, right?  When I have a bad day at work, the wall is there for me to curse internally as I push through every frustration out of my system.  When I experience a success in my life, the wall is there for me to push grades I can never climb because somehow that happy energy loves the wall and climbing moves. When I need to push through an impossible climbing move and scream, the wall does not judge me.  When I have elvis legs and have a moment of desperation, the wall is there to show me at the last minute what to do next.  The wall is there to help me push through hard days and good days.  I used to depend on the bottle to do this, but the wall and climbing helped me overcome that.  HELL YEAH!

Doris I know you dont know me but I saw this on your blog FB page.  I just started climbing about 6 months ago and I guess I am in that addicted phase that well hopefully will never end. I just recently went through a tough divorce (not my choice) and have felt lost because I did everything with my spouse. A co-worker invited me to climb and I met a lot of nice people but a few climbers reached out to me to join them anytime to climb.  I left feeling like I had a purpose again, for myself.  My co-worker literally moved a few weeks later so I took those girls on their offer.  6 months later, me, the shyest person in the world with no confidence in herself, invited another newbie to climb and we helped each other out. And since then, I now reach out to people to climb.  I also climbed my first 5.9 clean. May not be a hard grade, but I am not very coordinated and have worked so hard to get this. My climbing successes, climbing friends, and just climbing in general has taught me I deserve to have a purposeful and happy life, I can achieve anything I set my mind on and I can claim a social life even as a shy person.

I don’t have a serious story other than before climbing I was unhealthy and unhappy.  After climbing, I felt stronger, started a lot of other physical activities particularly mud runs and cross fit.  I am not a serious outdoor climber, but I climb once every week religiously.  In short, I am now a happy and healthy person, that is how climbing has helped me.

Thank you all for your contributions, sorry if I could not fit all in this post, but I hope to be able to touch up on climbing affirmations again.  Thank you climbing for making a better Inner Me!

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