Les endroits difficiles

Posted: July 1, 2012 in climbing, Mindfulness
Tags: ,

[music: Orange Crush – REM]

The climber was stuck. Anne R. was belaying from a sitting position down below, the climber wasn’t going anywhere, she looked over at me and said “Dans les endroits difficiles, il faut aller vite.” (In difficult places, you have to move fast)

Anne R. was coaching a climber up the side of a cliff. Beginning climbers tend to cling to the wall, gripping the rock face tightly, pulling themselves up with their arms instead of trusting their legs to push them up to a higher handhold. They tire quickly and their forearms turn to jelly.

In difficult passages, you must be relaxed, aware and trust your knowledge, plan ahead, but do not overthink the rock face; don’t waste your energy, rest only when the wall lets you.

“Dans les endroits difficiles, il faut aller vite.” Her comment resonated with me and I commented that it was a good life lesson as well.

I believe that when faced with difficult decisions, deep down, most people know what they should do. The hesitation and confusion they face is part of the process of uncovering their inner truths. We are all changing and change in our lives is often what we fear the most. Resisting and challenging ourselves is how we learn.

I took a short break from indoor climbing and when I returned, I found that I was much more fluid and relaxed in my movements. I need to get back into shape (!), but that is simply a question of effort, my brain has assimilated the knowledge I developed through experience and what I could not believe possible a two months ago is now more natural. I don’t think in difficult passages, I trust myself and move forward.

Take a break to rest and let your brain do it’s work, but when you decide to affront change and climb the wall, you must move quickly in difficult passages.

Sometimes we fall, and that’s why we all need a wise belayer like Anne R.


  1. Edmond says:

    “In a structured subject, it is known what is known, what is unknown, what people have already tried and doesn’t lead anywhere. There you have to work on a problem which is known to be a problem. Otherwise you get lost. But a problem which is known to be a problem must be hard, otherwise it would already have been solved.” – Heinz-Otto Peitgen

  2. hook says:

    In general, I don’t like ALL CAPS, even in cartoons. When you said “affront the face” I think you meant “confront the face.” When you said that deep down inside we already know what we’re going to do, I have to disagree. I’ve struggled with some issues for years, sometime falling on this side of the line and sometimes on that, but never feeling comfortable with either position. I’ve learned to live with ambiguity. But that’s why we talk to one another; to see if we can’t learn something and, perhaps, move forward on one front or another.

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