Boulders

 

Tawmbout belief, gratitude, visualization. Buzzwords that I’ve typically spent a lot of time avoiding!

Two days ago, while walking up to the Happies with Alex and Mae, I said in conversation how I’d like to focus on being a more positive climber. It doesn’t do you any good to artificially adopt a negative attitude! This is something I’ve been guilty of buying into, for whatever reason — a desire to appear humble in other people’s eyes, or the idea that a higher standard (needlessly high) will affect performance positively. It doesn’t.

The puzzle pieces started falling into place after it got dark. I was getting fed up, just a little bit; I sensed myself going into diva mode. I remember thinking that, as you continue the process of climbing, you lose sensitivity to the sensations happening in your body (fingers, hands, shoulders). The whole experience then becomes streamlined and condensed into a series of ideas — “I hit that hold well this time,” “I was strong in this position,” “I was fast through the bottom.” These ideas are further condensed into a good or a bad “go.”

These ideas, this knowledge (of “I did it good” or “that was kinda bad”) corresponds to the imagery of being in a certain sequence: the beta. (As a side note, compare first-person visualization to third-person visualization. The most useful rehearsal seem to be the one where you’re inside the experience.)

I realized I’d dialed in the bottom of the Hulk so much that it felt almost like a dream — the dissociation from sensory input while climbing it, the hopefully coherent stream of ideas and events, and the way I could recall and recreate its imagery. I could “dream” about it before taking a go. And if it’s a dream — maybe a lucid dream — then why not make it a good one? Why not just dream your way to the top?

Before each go, just sitting down, I reminded myself to stay excited and stay happy. I reminded myself to be grateful for the opportunity to dream. And, wouldn’t you know it, it worked. I realized what I needed to do for the crux, I did it, and then I held on. From that point on it was a victory lap to the top. A celebration.

As I struggle in daily life — in the midst of all the routines I’ve developed — to stay motivated and stay full of belief, I’d like to remember to keep this experience in mind. Through climbing, I aim at ever more climactic and ecstatic, jubilant, triumphant, and dream-like experiences. In other areas of life, too, let that mindset prevail.

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