How do we scale a mountain, ascend a vertical rock or move forward in life?

– Marina Perry

mount beerwah

One tiny shuffle forward at a time. One ‘next’ grip hold or leg up, at a time.

Glue enough of these minuscule movements together and you’ve got yourself a steady path to get up and over anything. All you ever need is just the next one, in fact you can’t really climb it any other way.

Recently I hiked Mt. Beerwah. I’d been wanting to go on a hike for a long while… kinda aching for a great outdoor adventure. My wishes were answered when Olivia rung and said Hugo would take us as he’s been before. Enroute to our hike plenty of chat ensued on many topics of life, with only a little chat about the hike. You know: “it’s easy really…. you’ll have no problems Marina…. it’s really only the first little section that’s a bit rocky and can be tricky to climb. But we’ll be fine”.

As a result my mind’s eye is picturing a meter or two of ‘rocky’ stones at the base of a hike. My actual eyes  were not expecting what they saw…. a pretty well vertical rock face with zero human intervention (read: no nobs/or cut-in footholds) and no visible natural aids or crevices to obviously follow to ascend.

And of course there is a gaggle of hikers standing along the foot of the rock watching to see if and how people ‘make it’ up. No pressure! Awesome.

So given I’m with two highly athletic and competitive individuals there is no chat about how or where to begin….there is just ‘go’.

So. Go. I lurch myself up and onto the rock face …scrambling with the tips of my fingers and toes …Leaning hard into the rock and staying as low profile as possible. Sliding straight back down is a definite possibility.

My heart is pounding and everything else around me blurs away. Except for exactly where my right hand, left toes, left fingers, right foot are reaching for next. Literally as I find myself in a spot I am looking for the next finger hold or foot spot. Sometimes pulling myself up or lurching to what is outside my natural wingspan. Going down is not an option and pausing isn’t something my mind wants to contemplate. I’m focused on getting up.

15 minutes later I’ve scrambled my way monkey style (and fast) to the top of the rock face section.

Feeling exhilarated and alive on another level. I turn to realise I’ve left my companions well behind. Turns out I can climb.

Now I’m not going to dispute that I’m fit and strong… and days like this I appreciate the functional fitness I’ve created in my body. But there is no question in my mind that my rapid and seemingly graceful and masterful ascent came purely as a result of taking it literally one move at a time…taking only the next step (from where I was). I didn’t pause to overthink or paralyse myself with fear (something I have done at other times I my life!) …I was where I was and just looked for the next step. And the more ‘next steps’ I took, the better I got at it… the faster and quicker I could assess if the ‘next’ was viable and safe. Yes I would occasionally glance upwards to gain an overview of my general direction and any potential roadblocks. But I didn’t linger or lament on this.

It was absolutely the most fun I’ve had in a really long time and one of, if not my favourite hikes ever.

Those who know me, know I looove a good analogy and I’m especially obsessed with how my two greatest loves – physical movement/exercise and personal growth are an amazing metaphor or mirror for one another.

One of my favourite saying that I use for myself and with my clients is ‘From what I know, what do I choose’. It’s a great way to present us in the action of moving forward with our next step without staying in the ‘story’ or ‘baggage’ of the past. It works brilliantly on many levels. Like when your partner cheats on you, when you get a disconcerting feedback at work or when life throws you a random curveball of any description. Often we can find ourselves somewhere, not necessarily of our own doing, and instead of wasting time on ‘why’ am I here, ‘how’ could this have happened etc etc…. the phrase takes us straight into solution and empowerment.

I know that I scaled Mt. Beerwah like a billy goat because I essentially applied that principal to my physical propulsion up the rock face. ‘Well here I am, where to now’ . If I’d stopped and looked back or spent to long thinking about how much further I had to go I might have become overwhelmed or disempowered.

Sometimes we need to trust ourselves and our abilities to make the right choices and trust that there is always a next step that we can take, that will lead us onwards and upwards.

So you don’t have to know you can surmount that ‘thing’ ahead of you in life…. you just need to ask yourself ‘from what I know (or where I am), what do I choose (how do I move)’ … and trust that if  you just keep taking the next grip hold in the right direction, you’ll make your way to the top in no time!


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