Tuesday, February 12

Lessons from top roping

One of my resolutions for 2013 was to do one thing every month that scares me. It was time to fight the inner demons, and so I spent last three weeks tackling fear of heights - got enrolled in a top roping class. For someone who freaks out after climbing three meters, this was a bit extreme. But you gotta do what u gotta do. I did panic and felt that my heart will leap out of my chest, but I learnt - more than I expected.

Lesson #1. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

Thats the first thing our instructor, Ralf told us - the three important zones of our life.

Operating in the comfort zone is easy, but we hardly learn anything new. Panic zone completely shuts off our minds, and our basic survival instincts kicks in. I like fear, it challenges me to try what I feel I can't do. Not gonna lie, but I did my adrenaline shot once I started climbing beyond my comfort zone. I guess thats where I entered the learning zone. Fear of falling mixed with willingness to climb one step  higher was the perfect cocktail at this stage. But if we don't challenge to broaden our learning zone, its very easy to fall back in the rut and being comfortable.

Lesson #2. Getting to the top is not important, its how you get there

Climbing that 10 meters wall (with my condition) as a first timer seemed utterly impossible three weeks back. Panicking along the tricky routes did not help either. So what worked for my friends didn't actually work for me. It took me two weeks to figure out my style of climbing. I think the same goes for life as well. Often we get frustrated with our slow pace of what we define as "progress", especially when we see our contemporaries climbing up the "steps" much faster than us. We have made our lives a mere rat race competing with friends, family and neighbors, focussing only on the end goals with the inability to enjoy the journey to reach them. Whats the point of working towards something if we can't relish the moments spent in it? I have learnt my way to the top of the wall definitely with fear and scratches, but also with lots of laughter and camaraderie.

Lesson #3. Trust your partner 

In climbing, your life literally depends on your partner. More than the climber, its the belayer that plays the most important role of this sport. Not only your partner will help in your ascent, but can also break your fall and prevent you from hitting the ground, incase you miss a step and slip. This means having ton of trust and patience in your partner. When the climb is rough its very easy to lose cool, so great communication with ton of encouragement is a must. Just like real relationships, no? Whoever said the journey to the top is a lonely one, was definitely myopic. We all need 'belayers' in our lives who not only helps us in our personal growth, but will also watch our backs incase we happen to fall. Its all about having the best interests for each other at heart.

Lesson #4. Whatever happens, never let go

If you have made up your mind to climb the height, no matter how frightful it looks, don't let go. Tricky path means more challenge, not an excuse to give up.  Feel the fear, make it real but trust your arms and legs to keep you hanging up there. Because the joy of overcoming that threshold is ecstatic.

As for me, I will end the rant here with this pic, 'coz my arms are still sore from yesterday's climb. So whatever new you want to do with your life, climbing or otherwise, just do it, no excuses. But most importantly, enjoy it!
P.S. Hug a climber today, they are very friendly people. ;) 

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I did it my way by Tongue-Fu Lady is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.