Life lessons from rock climbing
My arms were quivering, my legs fatigued, and my fingers were killing me as they dug into the jagged limestone. I cautiously peered below me at the ground that seemed miles away. I was about to lose my grip and I couldn’t see any good hand holds above me. I took a deep breath, swallowed my pride, and yelled below me, “take!” Our Yamnuska rock climbing guide, Rob, made sure to cinch and lock the rope in place before hollering, “gotcha!” I immediately released my death grip on the rock and relaxed into my harness. I gingerly rubbed my aching finger tips while I sank a few inches as the trusty rope absorbed my weight.
I was stuck. It was my very first time rock climbing and after successfully ascending two different faces, I was in limbo on the last climb of the day. Before we even started this endeavor we were briefed on the proper rock climbing lingo. I learned what it meant to belay and how to communicate with the person who literally held my life in their hands. Rob explained that if I got tired, fatigued, or frustrated while climbing, I simply had to call down to my belayer and yell, “take.” That person would then make sure that my rope was locked and secure before they yelled, “gotcha!” It was then safe for me to let go and take a little break.
Rob explained that sometimes climbers get so caught up in getting to the top that they only focus on their hands and they forget to think about their feet. He encouraged me to sit back and relax in my harness, gather my thoughts, and look for a different way to get to the top. It wasn’t long before I found the perfect footing and easily scampered the remainder of the way to the top. Easy peasy.
It didn’t dawn on me how beautiful of an analogy this was until earlier this week. I was stuck on a piece that I was writing. Frustration had set in and I didn’t know where to take it from there. I literally threw my hands in the air, looked at Chris, and calmly whispered, “take.” Confusion briefly flashed across his face before realization hit. He warmly smiled and told me to take a break. We went out and got some coffee while I explained my dilemma. It wasn’t long before I was refreshed and had a slew of ideas on how to finish my piece.
It’s so true. Sometimes we are so focused on getting to the top that we have tunnel vision. We only see our hands in front of us as a means to reach the finish line and we struggle to find the right hand holds. A perfectly good solution might just be under our feet. I have been blessed beyond belief in that I have a number of people in my life that I trust as my belayers. These are the people that I know will yell, “gotcha” when I am fatigued, stressed, and gripping to that ledge for dear life. No matter what problems I may face, I need to keep my belayers close and remember that there’s usually more than one solution to any problem.
What about you? Who are your belayers in life? Have you ever been too focused on your hands that you forgot to look for other solutions? We would love to hear from you in the comment section below.