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Internalizing RRW Concepts
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Jul 10, 2006, 2:26 PM
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Registered: Mar 27, 2006
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Internalizing RRW Concepts
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OK this is kinda long, but I REALLY got some insight recently about the RRW conept in the true sense of what intention and giving is all about...

I started climbing this Feb and it was this April that I got the “Rock Warriors Way” and read it and felt that I had been exposed to a lot of knowledge. After first reading the book, I made some improvements in managing my fears, but even so, when I was on toprope I would have my belayer hold the rope so tight that as soon as things got ‘scary’ I’d rest on the rope then look around and make a ‘plan’ and eventually climb--with the rope tight—which provided for me a better feeling of control.

I kept going to the local cliffs pretty much 1 to 2 times a week, trying to apply the concepts that Arno writes of, I wanted to stop my tight-toprope-ways, so I tried leading as a sink or swim method. And, from putting myself in that situation, I just recently GOT the WISDOM of the RRW. At least the wisdom I needed to get past my fears of ‘loosing control’ and falling. It happened two weekends ago while trying to lead a climb that is well protected and safe to fall on, but at my limit of skill and pretty uncomfortable for me in parts of the climb. About 6 clips up, I was stepping above my last bolt, I was coming to a tough spot in the climb. I knew what to do, where to reach and step and started the motions as if I was going to do it -- but in the back of my mind, I wasn’t committed to making the moves, to risk a bigger fall—or really—commit to being so high above the last bolt when I’m lead climbing, so I down-climbed and eventually lowered off the route.

At first I was very upset with myself for being so afraid to fall that I didn’t try harder, but in that moment, I was very scared, and I must not discount how real the terror felt. Then I re-examined what Arno says about the “learning” process, and in thinking about my actions and what I had been doing on that rock, I internalized what intent and commitment (and giving) is REALLY about. When I was on that rock, I was not committed. I was not climbing with intent. I was “hoping” for some “inspiration” to continue past my comfort zone…I had a couple other options in mind that I could use (downclimbing and taking, or coming down), so I was not fully committed to the effort. How can I give my full attention to a task while I’m thinking about taking other options when/if things get too uncomfortable? I can’t!

So I knew what I had to do my next climb out. Yesterday I picked a climb that was well protected but slightly above-my-limit that I’d never done before and had my partner set up a toprope. I told him before I started climbing that I was not allowed to “take”, that I would climb or I would fall. Oh and the rope needed to be slack enough so I would fall a fair amount. I started the climb, and when the climbing got hard, I wanted to recant, but I re-focused to the rock, to my body and the climbing. I made good progress up the rock, and finally, while trying to move upward, and I fell. More than once, too!

But here was what I had to do myself and learn myself through exposing myself to the experience: because I was so focused on the climbing, I didn’t even really notice the falling, and when it happened, I was pleasantly surprised that it was not as scary and terrible as I believed it would be. And it was so freeing to have broken the power that the fear of falling had over me. I’m also aware that I have not been zapped by the rock climbing fairy and that that I always need to be aware of my intent and commit to each climb every climb.

I know that I still need to learn how to better accept getting out of my comfort zone, but I’m finally really internalizing the concepts of the RRW and it’s helping me work though some key problem areas in which I was stuck. I just wanted to share my experience, because fear was REALLY holding me back from truly enjoying climbing—and in the end it was myself that had to face my discomfort head-on, which has provided me with the thinking / perspective necessary to truly focus on the joy of climbing—that is, ENJOYING climbing! It really IS fun and I’m so glad I stuck it out!

Now I need to work on accepting the risk of lead falling...I figure that it will be the same process of committing with full intent to the moves…? Falling practice? Anything I’m missing?

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