Step by Step. That is the way. It's easy to get overwhelmed by life. But when we break it down into tiny steps, it's doable. I have always been able to do that in athletics - to be able to show up and do whatever is next. In life, this same mentality has been much harder for me to reach. It could be because I have always been a natural at sports. I know I will get it and excel, so I trust the next steps.
Climbing has been different for me. It has not come easily. It is my anti-sport. It requires slowing down intentional movements. I am a fast-action, no-thought, all-intuition kind of athlete. I am also terrified of heights. It's my only unnatural fear. Unnatural in the fact that I get vertigo and freak out for myself and everyone else around me, naturally near a cliff. I noticed it in my early 20s when I was in London with my ex-wife and on the ( ). I didn't want to leave the seat's safety in the center. Jessie, my ex, who had every other phobia, was delighted in my newfound fear.
Fear, in general, is something I try and turn on its head. I have taken the plunge into emotional and spiritual challenges in life, which means facing my fears. Selling my house and moving into Sprinter Van was facing fear. I didn't think I would love it- and it was generally hard for me. I learned the fun parts, but I knew it wasn't for me. I was right.
Everything was turned upside down in my life in the last five years. I, like an amputee, have had to relearn everything I once knew and do it differently. That is overwhelming a/f.
Step by step, I have had to, in the last year, face the world with my newfound powers. Step by step, I have had to reach out of my comfort zone every single day, follow my guides and trust that they have got me. So much easier said than done.
Climbing is like that for me. Last weekend my good friend Wenatche Dave took me up Monkey Face, a classic climb at Smith Rock in Bend, Oregon, where I live. It wasn't the most challenging climbing I have ever done, but it had some terrifying moments. Moments for me that would have turned me backward a year earlier. Monkey Face is the kind of climb that people stop to stare at you doing. People walking by said, " You are inspiring!" They stop and tell war stories about doing the climb. Others pull their cameras out and take photos and videos. It's a lovely spot.
The scariest part is when you come out of the monkey's mouth and hang out into space, not knowing until you are out there - where to go. I made a choice coming out of the monkey's mouth NOT to look down. Panic point is the name of the spot. Terrifying it is. However, if you keep your head up, don't look down; look for your next handhold, next foothold, trust them, breathe, and talk nicely out loud to yourself. Then make the committing move- pull up and repeat. Next thing you know- you are at the top of the mountain—one step at a time.