It is the last day of January and I am thinking about rock climbing, 2014, and if it will ever rain again in California.
I haven’t climbed outside in almost a month, but my body is more sore now than it was when I climbed every day for two weeks straight last summer in Wyoming.
While I’m here, I try to take advantage of what the Bay Area has to offer–making money, seeing friends, resting, eating really good food, and training in the climbing gym (explains the soreness). I still don’t know if training in the gym actually makes me a stronger climber, but it can’t hurt (well, yes it can…), and more than anything I just want to climb something, even if it’s on plastic surrounded by shirtless bros who wear too much cologne.
But man, do I miss it all.
God do I miss real rock. God do I miss the mountains. God do I miss the stars and knowing what phase the moon is in. I miss being on top of a boulder, on the side of a face, on the road, on a ledge eating lunch. I miss looking at topos by headlamp, scabbed fingers pointing to belay stances and cruxes. I even miss alarms set for 4am, sleeping in parking lots, and making coffee on a tailgate.
So why am I here? Well, there are a lot of reasons.
I had the flu or some version of a cold for about a week. And wow–whatever it is going around is pretty gnarly. I haven’t felt that sick since I was a little girl. I hope all of you are well, take care of yourselves! Here’s the tea I chugged all week that made me feel a lot better. You could also add some turmeric to the mix for an extra boost.
I stayed in bed for a few days, watched movies about climbing and read articles about climbing, I talked to all of my friends who are climbing and begged them to tell me about their days. I wrote lists of climbs I want to do this year, places I want to visit, I schemed and dreamed with my friends about trips to take, climbs to send.
More often than not, when Ethan and I are together and not climbing, we are talking about climbing. We tend to lay in bed at night and get psyched out of our minds on certain climb, wall, or continent. Once one of us mentions anything even remotely close to climbing a rock, it’s over. Lots of OH MY GOD WE HAVE TO CLIMB THAT and other high pitched noises. When I finally do fall asleep, all I dream of is climbing and lots of air under my feet.
Spain. France. The Cirque of the Unclimbables. Lotus Flower Tower. Canada. Half Dome. El Cap. The Winds. The Diamond. The Needles. The Rostrum. Mesothelioma. Everything in Joshua Tree. Mt Tom. Smith. Ten Sleep. The Red. The New. Apparently I’ll love Hueco. Joe’s. Maple. Patagonia. Little Rock City. Rumbling Bald. Devil’s Tower.
So, I guess this is me, after not climbing for one little month. Great.
I think what I miss the most, even more than the act of climbing itself, is learning.
I have learned a lot over the past few years, but one concept keeps coming up for me, more so than the others. In yoga, we’re told that at the root of who we are, once you remove all the superficial layers of personality, thoughts, judgement, opinions, experiences–that only one thing is left: love. It is what we are made of. When we don’t know how to express that love, or are too fearful to express that love, we get sick. And I don’t mean with the flu. Our bodies turn toxic, our thoughts become negative, we resort to feeling sorry for ourselves, feeling guilty, feeling sad. Maybe we only see the worst in people, maybe we start drinking a lot or not appreciating a perfectly beautiful day. We do these things only when we aren’t recognizing what we are made of. You MUST express that you are made of love, somehow! Show it through your work, your play, by loving yourself or another person. This is not a choice. You must do this, or else you will start to die. Maybe not physically, but your soul or your spirit or your heart or whateverthehell you wanna call it will die. And at that point, well…
Your soul will fight like hell to stay alive. You’ll start drinking or drugging or being mean, being depressed and flipping people off on the freeway. All because you aren’t acting in accordance to what inside of you. Those negative actions are just your soul’s last desperate attempts to express love, except it’s wrapped up in this armor of extended middle fingers and tequila. Do yourself a favor. Peel off the mask of anger and hatred and self-loathing. That’s all just bullshit. Just go be in love. Drink it in. Live in that stuff. It’s already inside of you, it’s what you’re made of it after all.
So yes, it may be the last day of January, but the season is still ripe for resolutions and planning out the year. In case you don’t know how to do this whole “acting like you’re made of love” hippie yoga teacher stuff, here, I wrote you a little guide to use throughout this year. This was originally written for a different publication, I think I have to say that legally or something, but they edited the shit out of it and then said to redo it and make it less “bloggy” so I decided to just post it on here instead.
May you wear sundresses in the spring and sleep outside in the summer, I hope you pick pears when the fall comes and may your winter be about being together. I hope you write a love letter on Valentine’s Day and I hope it’s to yourself. May Easter remind you of when you were just a child. May you be with your best friends on the 4th of July. Dress up on Halloween. Spend Thanksgiving and the winter holidays listening to the Beach Boys. May you not celebrate any of these days if you don’t want to. Please don’t stop eating oatmeal cookies or salted caramel ice cream. But this year, please don’t eat as you’re standing in your kitchen or running out the front door. Bake the cookies, give some away. Eat them without watching TV. Spoon out the ice cream, sit on the couch with someone you like. Pass the bowl back and forth. Sing in your car. I hope you go swimming and make enchiladas, I hope you read really good books and have sweet dreams. Happy early birthday. May you do things that remind you of your divinity. May you always tell the truth. May you confess. I hope that when you aren’t sure if you’ve known someone long enough to hug them yet, that you hug them. May you rest. May you rest often and deep. May you hang out with yourself. Remember that day you spent at the lake, I hope you have more days like that. I hope someone falls asleep on your shoulder. Don’t forget to write thank you notes. Visit your sister. Don’t stop dancing in your undies. May you ride shotgun in a convertible. Go skinny dipping. Go to a very serious yoga class and get the giggles. I hope you spend some time under the moon and notice how she changes. Try something new and be really bad at it. Throw someone a surprise party. Please don’t stop telling that one joke you always tell. Don’t stop being weird. Forgive yourself. May you let any sad experiences make you more tender, may your heart and eyes be forever open, may you be gentle with yourself and all the other people that are difficult to be gentle with. Strive to be kind. Resolve to have fun.
So that’s where I’m at these days. Feeling a little stuck in the Bay and really wanting to go climbing, but despite all of those small matters, I am ridiculously happy right now.