Tue, 2009-08-18 06:00
My preoccupation these days is climbing, a passion that I seem to have drifted towards, stepping away slightly from Parkour. There's a ton of similarities: training hard, pushing your body, challenging yourself, engaging in something incredibly physical, teaching others. And encountering fear, regularly.
A good friend of mine described us climbing instructors as a group who, though disparate in many ways, tend to see encountering risk as a beneficial and healthy experience. And who could argue.
With climbing, I'm just starting my journey. I will never be the strongest, the most talented, nor the bravest, and that's not why I do it. And I'm far from alone in testing myself, and regularly scaring myself. And nor do I do it as often as I should.
Most of you reading this will know what it's like to force yourself to do something despite the knowledge that if anything goes wrong, at best, you're going to seriously hurt yourself. Something that I notice is that after each time I do it, there's a tremendous sense of achievement but also the knowledge that what I've done was physically straight-forward and, in many respects, actually quite easy; it was simply the fear that made it challenging. Hopefully each experience is a step towards pushing myself harder next time, knowing how to suppress the fear when it's there and feeling confident in my physical strength and ability.
It's a strange conversation that takes place when fear kicks in, bringing our motives and values into focus. Something we should probably all do more often.