Part of what first drew me to climbing was the opportunity for meditation, the necessity to focus on my movements and to remain absolutely present within myself, denying my mind its usual, incessant chatter. This has been key for me, and is probably my main motivation for going back to the rope again and again – yes, I love being in nature, and pushing the bounds of my own physicality, and even the rushes of adrenaline have grown on me. But when I really think about it, my greatest gratitude on the wall is everything that is not there with me.
So alluring is this release that it is becoming difficult to prioritize the other aspects of my life, counterintuitively, when I consider actual meditation and other meditative arts. It has always been my understanding that similar strategies of those seeking peace are useful in bringing balance to one’s world, not throwing it entirely off kilter.
Yet I can feel myself slipping into a cycle of reward behavior and dopamine release that rivals every drug I have ever done. I am both gifted and cursed with a personality of extremes, the tendency to throw the entirety of myself into that which I love and to be consumed by my own fervor, to both live and die by the sword of my passion. Which of those this new obsession will be remains to emerge, but until then I set my course for the sun.