Through it I have undoubtedly become stronger, more flexible and more balanced. I've understood how my body can manoeuvre itself into different positions and shapes to gain better hold and balance on the wall. I have also faced fears (some of which I didn't even know I had), gained confidence, learned to trust and had the odd few emotional moments half way up a rope where I've just had to work through whatever's been going on that's stopping me going further.
It's also given me a new way to connect mind and body, as in order for me to climb well one cannot work without the other. When my body is in flow my mind lets go and allows it travel. When my body is stuck my mind looks and feels for different patterns and angles and new directions. My body has to then trust the possibility of this solution and try it out. Together they get me further. When I am stressed, frustrated and rushed my climbing doesn't feel so good. When I am calm, open minded and curious I just get lost in my climbing.
Yesterday I was enjoying playing about with the different challenges of the bouldering room when I was presented with one of the most inspiring sights that I have ever seen. I watched a climber place himself onto the first hold of the route I had been struggling with earlier. I was curious to see how he would tackle it.
What I actually saw was pure art in motion. The lightness with which he lifted himself dazzled me. The ease with which he moved from one hold to the next memorised me. He stopped occasionally to consider where he was and where he would go next. He was quite literally hanging upside down, yet it looked as simple for him as if he were just looking up from reading a book for a moment of reflection. These pauses didn't interrupt his rhythm, they WERE part of his rhythm - like moments of peace within the overall movement. He was moving in positions I hadn't even thought possible on a wall and although I knew they must require great strength I couldn't see any effort in his muscles. It was hypnotic.
As I watched him I knew that I had seen so many great climbers, I have watched films of the world's best, but never have I witnessed anything like this. What I haven't been able to connect with before was the silence that went with this magnificent sight. You could have heard a pin drop and I was as lost in his climb as he was. When he finally came down, he dropped himself gracefully down onto the mats and shook his arms out. I breathed out. He had in every sense taken my breathe away.
I had to speak to him, and thank him for what I'd just seen. He was such an unassuming person who clearly just loved to climb and be at one with the wall. He seemed to have no idea how beautifully he moved.He certainly had no idea just what his climb had done for me. But he did infact show me just what is possible. He has motivated me to one day be able to move with such grace, strength and fluidity. He has given me even more desire to continue to experiment with movement in all planes and direction which can only benefit my work. More simply than that, he has given me a beautiful memory from which to draw inspiration from whenever I need.
Oh, and his name was 'Geek'. I liked that!