The past couple of weeks I am really into rock climbing. I have been living in Yangshuo for more than 6 years, but never really did it. I just didn’t hang out with the climbers and I was focussing too much on Tai Chi.
But, since I came back, I have a student who is a climber and I was teaching during Chinese Newyear. On the first day of Chinese Newyear, we had a barbecue on the countryside near a good climbing area. He had his climbing gear with him and some of his friends came to climb as well. It was a perfect day!! And, even though my arms felt pumped mid-way I finished the route, which I was so proud of.
From then on I loved it and went climbing every weekend. I went to places around Yangshuo I had never been before and I met some of the best people. The climbing community is something special! Everyone is very friendly, want to help you, encourage you on your climb and share everything. It is so laid back and being in nature, with birds singing around you, is just a magical feeling.
The other, more magnificent, feeling is the feeling of victory, of overcoming yourself. Rock climbing is a little about technique, but much more about overcoming fear, being confident in your strength and to overcome your mind.
I started with not so easy routes and went to more difficult ones too quickly. I always wanted to give up mid-way (a couple of times I really had to, because it was too difficult), but then my friends would encourage me to try one last time and all of a sudden I could finish the route. So, it’s not my lack of strength or my lack of technique (though if you look at my arms and knees, I do need to work on my technique: I have scratches and bruises everywhere). Mostly, it is in my head. My mind is telling me that I am not strong enough or I suddenly feel afraid of falling and that the rope won’t hold me and I will die.
This is why I want to do rock climbing more often, because it will not only make my body stronger, but most of all it makes my mind stronger. And a strong mind is good in everything you do. If I believe in my abilities, if I overcome whatever fear I might have, I will succeed more in life. I will succeed in other areas in my life as well: finance, relationship, career, health,… Because I take well-measured risks, because I learn to know how far my body and mind can go and I learn to be able to push my limits a little bit higher each time.
I want everyone to know that you can do more and handle more than you think! Whenever you have a difficulty, you can bounce back easier or have more courage to face it and go through! Never let difficulties put you down or give up on something! Know that life gives you some difficult paths to walk on, but that makes it more interesting sometimes and it will make you a stronger person who will have a lot of life experience and will know how to handle a lot of things. You won’t be afraid to live life to the fullest anymore…
But also bear in mind, that you have to take measured risks. To think that you can handle just anything, is foolish. You have to know your limits and if it’s just too difficult, than it means that you have to give up, it’s not the right path for you to walk on. Try a different direction.
Everyone has a different path to follow and everyone will know in the end what it was they had to learn and overcome in their life. But the way towards the end, the learning process, is far more interesting and far more challenging.
This is what I have discovered while rock climbing. I gave up too easily all the time, I pitied myself sometimes for not having a good career, no money, not having a longlasting relationship. It is amazing that a kind of exercise made me realize so much about my life. Even though, rock climbing is laid back, you are also always aware of the feeling that, if something goes wrong, you lose your life. I think, this is what makes this sport so philosophical as well!