Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Art of Bouldering

I've been climbing on a weekly basis now for 7 months. It has been such a life enriching decision for me and I now can't imagine my life without it.

Through it I have undoubtedly become stronger, more flexible and more balanced. I've understood how my body can manoeuvre itself into different positions and shapes to gain better hold and balance on the wall. I have also faced fears (some of which I didn't even know I had), gained confidence, learned to trust and had the odd few emotional moments half way up a rope where I've just had to work through whatever's been going on that's stopping me going further.

It's also given me a new way to connect mind and body, as in order for me to climb well one cannot work without the other. When my body is in flow my mind lets go and allows it travel. When my body is stuck my mind looks and feels for different patterns and angles and new directions. My body has to then trust the possibility of this solution and try it out. Together they get me further. When I am stressed, frustrated and rushed my climbing doesn't feel so good. When I am calm, open minded and curious I just get lost in my climbing.

Yesterday I was enjoying playing about with the different challenges of the bouldering room when I was presented with one of the most inspiring sights that I have ever seen. I watched a climber place himself onto the first hold of the route I had been struggling with earlier. I was curious to see how he would tackle it.
What I actually saw was pure art in motion. The lightness with which he lifted himself dazzled me. The ease with which he moved from one hold to the next memorised me. He stopped occasionally to consider where he was and where he would go next. He was quite literally hanging upside down, yet it looked as simple for him as if he were just looking up from reading a book for a moment of reflection. These pauses didn't interrupt his rhythm, they WERE part of his rhythm - like moments of peace within the overall movement. He was moving in positions I hadn't even thought possible on a wall and although I knew they must require great strength I couldn't see any effort in his muscles. It was hypnotic.

As I watched him I knew that I had seen so many great climbers, I have watched films of the world's best, but never have I witnessed anything like this. What I haven't been able to connect with before was the silence that went with this magnificent sight. You could have heard a pin drop and I was as lost in his climb as he was. When he finally came down, he dropped himself gracefully down onto the mats and shook his arms out. I breathed out. He had in every sense taken my breathe away.

I had to speak to him, and thank him for what I'd just seen. He was such an unassuming person who clearly just loved to climb and be at one with the wall. He seemed to have no idea how beautifully he moved.He certainly had no idea just what his climb had done for me. But he did infact show me just what is possible. He has motivated me to one day be able to move with such grace, strength and fluidity. He has given me even more desire to continue to experiment with movement in all planes and direction which can only benefit my work. More simply than that, he has given me a beautiful memory from which to draw inspiration from whenever I need.

Oh, and his name was 'Geek'. I liked that!


Welcome to my new blog!

This blog is intended to be a melting pot of stories about people, experiences and instances that have inspired me in some way, and which I hope will also inspire you.


CT x

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Bill The Swimmer

Well, if ever i was meant to meet someone then it was 'Bill'. I only know his first name and I may never meet him again but my brief meeting with him will stick with me for the rest of my life.

I'd been having a week outside my comfort zone both in terms of physical and mental challenge when I met him in the swimming pool. I had just finished my course in London which meant I'd literally spent 7 months relearning my body and understanding how it works, so that I can fully help others get the best out of their body. I'm toddling up and down the lane considering various movements and how they change what I do and how i feel in the water. If I'm being honest I was having a day when I reckoned that I now knew too much information and it'd be nice to be able to switch the head off.....

So I'm stopped at the end of the lane wondering if I should just go and do something different when the man in the next lane starts telling me all about his protein drink. Now I have to admit I have a bit of a pet dislike for people using these when really they dont need to and I'm thinking to myself ' why on earth does he need that for just being in the pool for a wee while'. Never judge a book.....

'When I got the point that your legs were looking like a good meal then I decided it was time to stop and have my drink. I'm so hungry. That's me been in now since 9am'

Quick check of clock tells me it's 12:15pm. Come again.....? Actually I think I gave a great big scottish 'Eh...?'

'Have you been swimming since 9am?' Proud as punch Bill (although I didnt at that time know that was his name) grins and tells me he sure has. He's got another hour to go and he's probably left it later than he should have done before having his drink (hence the reason my leg was looking so appealing!). Bill then launches into a whole story about his holidays and how he swims from island to island in the mediterranean and how he'd like to swim the channel if it werent for the hassle of organising escort boats and stuff. He's already swum 20 miles before so the extra 2 wouldnt be a problem, although he might have to give up his mountaining biking at the weekend for a short while in order to up his swimming distance just a bit more. And he might have to curtail his snowboaring holiday to save a little cash. He swims 4 mornings a week for 3-4 hours at a time and he sings away to himself during that time. Really he loses track of time and it was only hunger that's stopped him just now, but he's feeling better already for the half bottle he's already drunk. My leg should be safe for the remainder of my session. Sometime during his stories of endurance and adventure he lets me know that his name is Bill, but really I never got a word in edgewise..... He tells me all about his wife who is sadly departed now but he never ever forgets her face and her voice and she's still there strong in his heart. He misses her dearly but she told him at the end to live his life as fully as possible, so that's what he's doing.

He's about to take off again down the lane and I know he'll not be stopping before i get out so I have to ask the question: ' if you dont mind me asking, how old are you Bill' He grins at me and gets ready to swim again.

'I'm 76, but age is just in the mind'

Was there ever a truer word said...... And need I say more......