I was on my annual hiking trip last week and we tried rock climbing for the first time. A little background; it took my hiking buddies five years to convince me to do this, let me re-phrase this for me to convince my Self to do this. When I was asked the question I sat back and thought, why am I saying no? Is it because this is my habituated response? The answer, yes possibly. Is this because I like saying no just to get a response and engage in the dialogue of cajoling; perhaps. What belief do I hold about rock climbing, something I know really very little about? So I decided to say yes.
Then came the day, as it turned out I missed the early part of our guide’s talk as I had to move my car, you know all the stuff about the dangers of rock climbing, pretty clever on my part don’t you think? And as it happens I ended up going first… not part of my original plan. The night before we met a couple where we were staying and the woman told us when we are in the experience the only thing we would find ourselves thinking about is where our foot or hand will go for the next move, everything else would disappear.
On the first climb, my first experience of intellect and body came when I had to learn how to descend, which meant leaning away from the rock and letting go completely. Can you hear the dance that went on? My intellect was quite adamant that leaning back and letting go was NOT a safe thing to do, even though the guide was assuring me it was. It took a few moments of breathing for me to choose to let go and when I did, in that moment, my belayer looked away to answer a question, so I ‘dropped’ a few feet, instinctively held onto the rope, which I was not supposed to do and I was fine.
Now in that moment I could have chosen to go into my intellect and tell myself the stories of how I should have listened, to myself and not let go blah blah blah… instead I chose to take a breath and celebrate that in trusting to let go I was still okay. I learned how to descend and then climbed to the top!
My second intellect/body moment was on my last climb, I was so proud of myself I was about three quarters of the way up and had done it with no help/instructions from our guide. The woman we had met the night before was right, on the last climb the only thing I saw was the rock, I was the rock, feeling my way up, trusting each placement of my feet and hands, seeing ‘features’ that just a few hours before I would not have even noticed. Seeing through new eyes. So here I was stuck… I could not ‘see’ a way out or around where I was, so I called for help. My instructions were to put my right foot on top of my left foot, that I had in a small crevice, and then pull my left foot out. Again my intellect came in full force…”Are you crazy!” If I do that both feet with come out and I will fall. The guide then said the magic words, trust your body, trust your feet again another breath and I pulled out my foot, in this new position it was ‘easy’ for me to see new possibilities in my next move and I made it to the top in no time.
This experience that I created for mySelf was huge for me. It was a reminder of how, if I allow myself, I can easily let the story of the fear, created by my intellect, control the moment and how just as easily I can choose to take a breath and trust the sensation of my body, in this case there was no sensation of fear, my body knew I was just fine, I did not fool myself into thinking I held the sensation.
Notice did not title this intellect vs body… this was a mindful choice, we operate as a whole, each part of us has it’s own intelligence, and then there is the I Am, our essence/spirit etc… breathing in and out of every experience.
When was the last time you took a breath to check in to see if the sensation is real or if it is created by your intellect to keep you where you are? I am a different person because of this experience; this is living!