fall tips from yoga, ayurveda, and me.

A lot of us are feeling sick, tired, anxious, or just kind of “off” these days. It’s no wonder, given that we’re in the heart of a transitional season right now. We all love the fall, but our bodies require different upkeep and attention than they do in other months. Thankfully, we can use wisdom from yoga and Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science that is based on the balancing of bodily systems) to attend to our specific needs this time of year.

We can understand what’s going on in our internal bodies by looking at what’s happening in nature right now. Leaves are changing colors as they prepare to drop from their branches, winds are picking up, the temperature is dropping, and days are shorter. In simplest terms, nature is processing and releasing the heat of the summertime in preparation for winter. Our bodies are trying to do the same thing, but our modern lifestyles often get in the way of this. It can be an especially hard time of year for us if we spent the summer doing things that create excess heat, such as: playing in the sun every day, pushing ourselves to physical extremes, drinking tequila around a campfire, socializing endlessly, hardly sleeping, listening to loud music, having a fiery summer romance, moving around from place to place, etc.

When our bodies are having difficulty releasing these things, it can cause a variety of issues like sickness, skin breakouts, bloating, sore muscles and joints, irritability, anxiety, feeling scatter-brained, sleep disruption, etc. To put it simply, the inability to process heat can cause inflammation.

Here are some simple yoga and Ayurveda-inspired tips to help balance and support our bodies this time of year. No need to change your entire life around here—just incorporating one of these things into your day can make a big difference. Have fun with it!

Eat seasonal foods: Incorporating seasonal foods into your diet is a great way to support your body during the Fall. You probably already know what these are: sweet potatoes, apples, squash, dates, avocados, beets, tangerines, garlic, onions, citrus, and nuts/seeds. You could even do a fall cleanse (um no, nothing involving fasting or maple syrup). A cleanse could be as simple drinking an extra glass or two of water during the day, eating more seasonal foods, having tea before bed, or cutting back on things that cause inflammation like processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, meat, and Donald Trump.

Media: Speaking of Donald Trump, for many of us this Fall is feeling particularly hard on our bodies because of the election, regardless of your personal politics. You can still stay informed about the happenings of the world without watching 18 YouTube videos of Hillary Clinton’s face superimposed over someone breakdancing. To keep yourself from getting sucked into the vortex of election media, limit your time watching the news, surfing the internet, and on social media.

Socializing: In the summertime, I’m a social butterfly. Meeting new people and spending every moment with my friends feels supportive. But once fall hits, I naturally need more alone time. Being around big groups of people or people I don’t know can also feel draining this time of year. If you feel like this too, don’t force yourself to go to any social events you’d rather not attend. Instead, spend time with your best friends and give yourself moments (or days!) to just be alone. Quiet activities like reading, making art, and listening to calming music are all activities that we naturally crave in the fall.

Rituals and routines: Our bodies and minds thrive off of routine this time of year. That doesn’t mean you have to change your life around—it can be as simple as creating a morning/evening ritual, writing for ten minutes on your lunch break, or mediating at the same time every day.

Sleep: You’ll likely notice that you need more sleep these days than you did in the summer in order to feel rested. If you can, head to bed a little earlier each night, even if it’s just by five minutes. You can help your brain get ready for sleep by avoiding stimulating things after the sun goes down, such as: bright lights, computer/phone screens, overwhelming conversations, heavy exercise, sugar, caffeine, etc.

Especially for athletes: Have you noticed that in the summer, you can wake up, run 20 miles, climb 15 pitches, drink beer all night with your friends, and then wake up the next day feeling totally recovered and ready to do it again? But then when we try to do that in the fall, we end up sore, exhausted, or even injured. That’s because our bodies tend to be more sensitive this time of year, especially when it comes to physical activity. That doesn’t mean you can’t go climbing or train, but you will likely need to spend more time warming up and recovering from your workouts. Before you even pull on to the wall, make sure your body feels warm and that your breath is moving well. And don’t forget to stretch, drink lots of water, and use your foam roller/lacrosse ball after your session.

Meditation and Yoga: Meditation is a great way to support yourself during this seasonal transition. You don’t have to do anything crazy, just sit comfortably with your eyes closed for a few minutes every day and see what happens. For physical yoga (or any physical activity) long, slow sequences of medium intensity are especially supportive this time of year. If you want a custom yoga sequence that’s unique to your needs and aligned with this season, don’t hesitate to contact me! (gleeabel@gmail.com)

And if you have any questions about any of this, get in touch! I love chatting about this stuff 🙂

All my love,

Georgie

 

 

 

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this summer and recently

Here’s a little update of what I’ve been up to recently. Much love to you all!

***

June came with that same sweetness it always has, making me feel soft-hearted and social and psyched to go rock climbing. I headed for the most joyful place I know—Wyoming in the summertime. Thankfully all of my best friends were on their way there too.

I woke up most mornings in Wyoming with an awareness of the fact that I had never felt so open hearted in my life. I’d wake up slow after a night of bright dreams, open the doors to my Subaru, look up at the canyon walls and hear my friends laughing as they made coffee. I felt like I had finally arrived somewhere I’d been trying to get to for years, somewhere I’d been homesick for. I chalked it up to being around my good friends, rock climbing, and not having a boyfriend.

I came into summer thinking I would probably be okay if I never loved anyone again, not in that way at least. It wasn’t a sad thought, it was comforting. In fact I thought that maybe I would even be happier that way, that my friends and family would be enough, more than enough, that maybe I just wasn’t meant for partnered life, that I could happily be that cool, older single woman at dinner parties who wears lots of turquoise jewelry and drinks gin and tonics and thinks about buying property in Costa Rica.

And then, as the story usually goes, I fell in love.

July always lights everything on fire, but its burning felt different this year than most. It was a slow burn, it wasn’t out to wreck or ravage or kill. Instead it smoldered, giving heat and unearthing something that had been there for a very long time.

August was spent in the high Sierra, climbing her mountains and saying wow a lot. I spent my days covering lots of ground, going fast and light, staying as close to the sky as I could get. All I wanted to do was climb the high peaks, fast, as if her summits contained a secret that I needed to know.

What I found in that golden granite was simple–if you’re lucky enough to find some small pocket joy in this life, stay there. Joy doesn’t come into our lives in an all-encompassing way, it comes in these little slivers that hang in front of us. We have to reach out and claim it, practice it. And this can be hard because real joy usually comes from things that society has diagnosed as useless or naive.

September came as if August didn’t even happen, it dropped the new season right in front of me with one big thud. At the height of summer, living a life of wandering and movement feels right, but as soon as fall hit I craved routine and direction. When I don’t have that during this season, as I rarely do, it sends me into this mode where I dig around frantically, smelling for anything that resembles stability.

But I know this feeling. These days I know how to be directionless, wandering, confused. I’d even call myself good at it, but that’s only because I know that those kind of feelings aren’t real. We’re always going somewhere, it’s just a matter of being able to see it.

September always means having one hand on wild life, the other on the keyboard of my laptop. I walk into cafes, freshly showered and mascara on my eyelashes, but with scabs on the backs of my hands. I can still smell the granite on my jeans. It’s a weird thing, to have been standing on top of 14 thousand foot peaks just a few weeks ago, and now I’m down here at sea level ordering americanos.

Letting go of my identity as a climber feels as if I just might die. My friends say I don’t have to let go of it, why would I, just keep climbing, just keep going—and some years I do just that. I have operated under the idea that it’s better to wander around aimlessly than to stay somewhere you don’t belong. But this season, I know I need some stillness. My body is screaming for it. My work needs it. It would feel unnatural to keep going.

More than being good at wandering, I’ve become good at asking myself what I need. Sometimes I get a clear answer: rest, water, laughter. Other times I can’t hear what it is that I’m craving, and in those moments all you can do is treat yourself like you would a baby that’s crying for reasons that you aren’t sure of.

It’s become hard to know what we need, because all day long we’re bombarded with things screaming at us: DO THIS! YOU WANT THIS! YOU NEED THIS OR ELSE YOU MIGHT JUST DIE! But sometimes those things aren’t what will actually feed us. We have to get good at knowing what’s bullshit, what’s “calling” us because we’re simply comfortable with it and used to it, and what our bodies and lives truly crave. It’s hard work.

No matter if the answer is clear or unclear, the act of giving yourself what you need is the important part, and the difficult part. Usually it will be inconvenient, untimely, the thing that you’re fighting against. Usually it is to take or practice one of your slivers of joy. Usually it is connection of some kind. Usually it is service, helping others. Usually, especially this time of year, it is rest.

For the last five years, I really haven’t stopped. Even in times of physical stillness, I was still moving in mind, I always had one eye on where I would go next. I lived in my car. I lived in the woods, the mountains, the deserts. I lived the endless summer. This is what fed me. This moved and processed things for me, it helped me become who I am. It made me a woman of knowing, a woman of trust. It made me brave, not in the sense that I’m never afraid, but it made me unafraid of being afraid.

But now, I’m psyched to settle down, even if only in mind.

I hope you have a great fall, thank you so much for reading.

***

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wyo love poem

 

people ask me:

georgie,

who are you writing about

in your poetry?

honey, the answer is easy:

it’s about you all,

it’s about you doll,

it’s you, it’s always you,

because you,

you are the salt of my earth.

you are love of my life.

you make the strife around here

a reason to believe in god.

you make the hate

a reason to hug each other for five minutes straight,

(do that if you haven’t today)

and i swear to you, the doves are coming.

do you know about that wyo love?

it’s all over these parts,

got it all over my heart

like i’m on drugs, like moth love,

like a lady bug

but more earthbound,

tangled in the planet is where i found

you,

you earth dream, you high country stream,

salt of my earth,

love of my life,

you got that wyo love

in the palm of your hand

from the fat of land,

you pressed it against my tongue

and it dissolved like a shooting star,

sizzled like a shooting star,

star death, on the crest

of the canyon, it salted the sky that night,

love

of

my

life,

that night

we fell asleep laying on the old highway

that night that lifted into day

that night, i still crave

your eyes, your eyes

are made of rosewater

and a brackish river,

salt

of

my

earth,

and as the nights grew hotter

i slipped into july like an oversized t-shirt

writing love letters all day

saying hey hey hey

to everyone i see.

you life loves. you earth salts.

you and me babe,

let me turn us into poetry,

let me tell you about

all the ways in which we haven’t failed each other.

let me tell you about

all the ways in which the world isn’t yet over.

iknowiknow, there’s evidence that it is, that we’re done,

every day, every goddamn day these days, i’m stunned

by this touch-starved planet.

but hold on tight,

loves of my life,

salts of my earth,

joy is coming, joy is here,

cause you’re here

to teach me love, and i’m here

to teach you love,

that wyo love,

that quiet love, safe love,

that slow love that you know so well,

like when you were just a child,

salt of my earth!

love of my life!

reminds you of how wild

you actually are, so give it up girl.

let your tightly folded corners unfurl

and get some air, let your hair

grow past your shoulders,

let that wyo love salt your earth,

then

give that shit away

every day, give more,

till you can feel their heart synapsing with yours,

smoldering with purpose, true with the fact

that we belong here,

that we belong together,

that we will save each other

with this love,

with this gentle tug of summer birth.

you love, you are the love of my life,

and

you are the salt of my earth.

 

 

 

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how to listen to Beyoncé if you’re a white rock climber

I had to leave. I filled my white Subie with climbing gear and kale, and headed straight for the desert. I blasted Lemonade as I left the Bay, and slipped into that nofucksgiven kind of car singing when you don’t stop dancing as you pass other people on the highway. Without even realizing it, I played the album on repeat for almost ten hours until I got tired and pulled to the side of the highway somewhere close to Wendover.

I turned off my car. The silence was so deep and still compared to the emotional and spiritual journey that is Lemonade, compared to those lyrics and that message, compared to Beyoncé.

I thanked B for getting me across Nevada. The entire time her voice felt like it was out in front of me, pulling my car through the desert. She warped time in a gracious kind of way and made the drive feel easy. I fell asleep excited to go rock climbing, singing “I ain’t sorry”, and wondering about this whole being a white girl thing.

Why the hell do I love songs about the struggles, emotions, stories, sexuality, spirituality, and culture of something so far from what I am — a black woman in the South? Why the hell does this album give me power and make me feel healed and held and hopeful?

Maybe because it’s because I can identify with the parts of the album that speak to being a woman. Maybe it’s because I too have been lied to and manipulated by men. Maybe it’s because I used to live in the South. Maybe it’s because I know about anger too. Maybe it’s because B is a business woman and she wanted me to blast that shit across Nevada.

But something about that isn’t right. I am overwhelmed with the fact that my femaleness, my experience with men, with the South, with anger is very, very different than Beyoncé’s, on account of I am white.

I don’t know about her anger, her men, her South, her femaleness. I don’t know shit about that because it’s not mine. I can learn about it, and Lemonade has in fact taught me a lot, but once I start thinking that she’s singing to me, for me, about me…that’s when things get dark. It’s wrong. It’s false. And it’s very white of me.

White people have a history of thinking everything is ours and about us, and when something is not about us we claim that we’re being oppressed. Oh god, I know I know, that’s like, so hard to hear but I started with that because I have something even harder to swallow coming up. I’ll offer it to you in the form of a question:

Can you think of something that is truly white, truly ours? You know, besides racism, besides enslaving people, besides regulating things we feel afraid of because of their wildness — the land, female bodies, queer people?

Holy shit! I know, right? What the actual fuck! Surely there is something that makes us who we are besides that kind of shit, right? What about Sheryl Crow? What about Sperry’s? What about Starbucks?

And what about the outdoors? What about nature? White people go outside! Really, we do! We love that shit! Maybe that’s our thing?

Okay, just to be sure, let’s talk about what we do when we go outside. We rock climb. Okay, let’s talk about how we rock climb. We try to get to the top of things. We view mountains as something to conquer, to stand on top of, to bag, to send. Then, after cutting down any trees and bushes in our way (often on indigenous land!), we cling to small fractures (that sometimes we’ve created on our own!) on rock faces and if we do it without falling, we grade it, call it ours, and name it something we find inspring or witty.

In a nutshell, we conquer and name things. You know, for funsies! This doesn’t make us bad people. It just reveals something—our whiteness, our privilege.

Of course, we don’t all climb with this mindset, but this is the foundation of our sport.

The outdoor community is the most privileged group of humans that I can think of. Yes, there are people of color who rock climb, queer people, women, people with bodies that don’t fit into society’s idea of “able”. But as a whole, we are overwhelmingly white. We are mostly straight. We are mostly male. We are mostly able-bodied. In a word, we are privileged. In fact, some amount of privilege is a requirement to even try our sport. And if you’re any good at rock climbing, if you’ve been able to spend years of your life climbing up rocks, then it’s impossible that you aren’t dripping in privilege.

Do you hate me yet? It’s okay, even I hate me a little right now! Is your brain going OH HELLLLLL NO, I worked for all of this and hey now ANYONE can be a climber if they want to and yeah I’ve led a good life but I’ve also been through some fucked up shit and who is this chick to tell me what I am and am not dripping with?

Stay with me. I know this shit sucks. But we, as a community, HAVE to start checking our privilege. Our privilege exists and it’s not going anywhere, but we have to identify it and think about it. We have to do this mostly because it’s really important, but also because we are making damn fools of ourselves.

First thing — our privilege doesn’t give us immunity to suffering. Our privilege won’t save us from going through things that are unspeakable, that leave us swearing the good days are over, that drains the color from the world for years at a time. Privilege and suffering are separate.

We have all been through really shitty things. Most of us climb because of those things, to heal those things, because we don’t know what else to do with all of this shit besides haul our ass up a cliff.

I think that’s awesome. I love that.

But here’s what I don’t love — when we think that art, songs, writing, and quotes that are about something so incredibly far away from us can somehow explain our struggles as white people who climb up rocks.

Not only does it not apply to us, but it isn’t made for us.

The song Freedom is not about that feeling I get when I watch the city get smaller and smaller in my rearview mirror as I head to the desert. It’s not even close. Formation sure as hell isn’t about me and my girlfriends. And I can’t slap quotes and messages from these songs onto my own experiences — even if I’m inspired by them, even if I swear to God that B is singing right to me — because it’s impossible to lift her words out of the larger story of black feminism. I can still blast her songs as I drive to Indian Creek, but I better be highly aware of the irony and I better laugh at myself. I better take the role as a student learning from a teacher. And I better not think it’s about me.

All of this isn’t to say that climbing is bad. I think that climbing is good! Like so good, so gouda, so fun, the best. Climbing has saved our lives, or at least shaped it in a way that feels like a saving of sorts. Transmuting suffering into physical movement in nature with risk and complex decision-making? Wow, rad, amazing, yes please, I’ll take two, tell me more.

But let’s not forget that while the emotions that come along with rock climbing can seem similar to a quote from MLK, to Lemonade — ohmygodholyshit — they are not the same. I want to know about the emotions involved with your projects, because they are super interesting and complicated and so human. But let us know about it without claiming the art about the suffering of someone else, someone not talking about anything close to rock climbing, as your own.

I love rock climbing and I love Lemonade. But I love both of these things and all things from where I’m standing, from what I am, from being white.

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the last few months.

 

I haven’t done a lifey-update-style blog post in a long time, so I thought I’d write a bit about what I’ve been up to the past few months. I hope you all are enjoying the spring and feeling good. All my love, G.

***

I came into 2016 with both middle fingers extended towards the sky.

I wasn’t saying eff you to anyone or anything in particular. In fact, I was more in love with people than ever before.

I was just done abandoning myself.

I was in Bishop, big surprise. I had been there for three months, climbing and being cold and letting a past relationship dissolve into the Eastern Sierra. You know, as one does.

My physical body was so tired it hardly felt like my own, but my heart was all mine, polished and sparkling like granite.

I woke up early one morning in late January, and I knew it was time.

“I’m going home today,” I told my friends.

There was no thinking about it, talking about it, weighing of pros and cons. I just knew, and I knew with such a confidence and clarity that there wasn’t even a choice to be made. Heavy, inked storm clouds swarmed the peaks as I drove up 395. I rolled down my window, screamed THANK YOU into the wind and blew a kiss to the place that held me all winter.

***

“You were so sure of yourself in the beginning,” he said, almost mocking me.

We were in a coffee shop, I was barely awake. It took me a second to realize that he was implying that being sure of myself was a bad thing. I looked at him, feeling all of these gears fitting into each other, keys sliding into locks, puzzle pieces snapping together in my brain. With one sentence he had described perfectly why things didn’t work out.

***

I came back to the Bay Area with a powerful combination of a hugely open heart and a whole bunch of IDGAF. I wrote a lot. I wrote an eBook, heaps of poetry, and a few pieces about the climbing community/industry that got a bunch of reads. My voice sounded different though, like I was telling stories around a campfire after having two beers on an empty stomach.

There were some people who loved my writing, and some people who hated it. There were people who said terrible things behind my back and people who said wonderful things behind my back. In the past, this was how I defined myself. When someone liked me, I would like me, when someone hated me, I would hate me. Allowing my self-worth to be jerked around like that became exhausting.

The winter had done something to me though, something valuable, and even with the mass amounts of messages and comments I was getting on my writing (and who I was as a person), I didn’t feel built up or knocked down by anything anyone was saying.

Nothing could move me. I had already decided things for myself. I knew who I was, and I trusted that knowing, so when people said that I was a whiney negative crazy man-hating whore bitch, it didn’t touch me.

Well, sometimes it did. But with a few exhales, whether their words were of praise or disgust, I could come back to the center, to that knowing.

People sensed that about me, and a few of them didn’t like it. When I would stick up for myself or simply not respond to personal attacks and lies, something interesting happened. It made people mad. They would try to knock me down, fail, and then try in a different way, from a different angle, with a different weapon. But it hardly ever worked, and if it did, it only worked for a moment before I remembered that I knew.

I have learned how a person who “knows” is treated as a threat. And they are. They threaten the very ground we stand upon, the way society works. They don’t buy into the attempts at control, shaming, manipulation, cellulite creams. They have already made up their mind for themselves, and that’s enough. That’s more than enough. They are unable to be fucked with.

This makes them very dangerous. They threaten everything.

All of this talk about “knowing” doesn’t mean that I’m never wrong or that I’m not flawed. I am often wrong. And of course I have flaws, but being a man-hating whore bitch just isn’t one of them.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t listen when someone is like, uh, Georgie, you’re doing this thing that’s hurtful and annoying and I wish you would stop. Or when someone says, hey your writing kinda sucked here, here’s how to make it better. We can’t ever stop listening to that kind of stuff. The trick is to know how to decipher what’s real and what’s bullshit.

Our bodies already know how to do this. They always have.

So after a few weeks of writing and yoga teaching in the Bay Area, I left again. I went to the desert, to Joshua Tree and then Indian Creek, and it was one of the most nurturing, deep, glittery climbing trips I’ve ever been on. I laughed a lot. My brain felt light, my heart felt carbonated.

I came back home again and published my eBook. A week after that, I submitted a proposal to a major publishing company for my second book. I am working on that book now and waiting for them to review my pitch. In my free time, I write poetry and what I think is probably going to be a memoir, but one can never be too sure about that. I also teach yoga and go climbing when I can.

I can feel myself ready to settle down somewhere, somewhere not in the back of my Subaru, somewhere close to rocks and friends.

I’m not sure where that is yet, but I trust that I’ll know soon.

“What keeps you going isn’t some fine destination but just the road you’re on, and the fact that you know how to drive. You keep your eyes open, you see this damned-to-hell world you got born into, and you ask yourself, ‘What life can I live that will let me breathe in & out and love somebody or something and not run off screaming into the woods?” -Barbara Kingsolver

This is crazy for me to write, but it’s true–I finally feel like I have become who I was supposed to become. It’s not because things are all perfectly set, it’s because I trust myself, my life, and that the things I’ve lost weren’t meant for me.

We have been told a lie. You become who you are not by gaining things, but by losing, losing everything, people and relationships and moments and car keys. The things we’ve lost, the things we swore we would die without, are what make up our skeletons. They are our framework. When we trust that, we can lose with wild abandon, we can let go easily and joyfully, because we know that this is how we go about becoming ourselves and becoming rich.

 

 

 

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magical realism

In April of 2008, the professor that molded me into the writer that I am passed away from cancer. He taught me Magical Realism. I didn’t know it at the time, but this is more than just a literary genre—it’s a way of seeing the world. It’s about seeing things that aren’t visible, tangible, or explained by science. It’s about seeing magic in the mundane, extraordinary in the ordinary, spirit in the standard. Recently I have come to realize that almost all of my writing falls into this category. I am a magical realist, on the page and in my life, because of Peter Christopher.

Watching him get sick and eventually pass was one of the most magically real experiences of my life. His voice is always in my mind as I write, and I am so thankful for that.

He would get me to produce writing that scared me. This piece is no different. Here is some magical realism for you all, and for PC. He would have ripped this apart and given me a B-. 🙂

***

You can’t even remember his name.

He’s Irish, but with your American ear he could be British or Australian. But once he tells you that he’s Irish, Irish is all you hear.

He says that he can hear faint twangs in the way you say certain words. Kind of Southern, he says.

His face is that of someone younger than you, you’re sure. He has unruly blonde hair down to his shoulders and watery blue eyes. He looks like most other boys except more curious, or maybe just young.

Yep, young.

Fresh out of University, he says. He tilts his head all the way back to finish the last of his whiskey. You’ve finished less than half of your white wine. He orders another round by smiling and nodding at the waiter.

When he takes off his jacket you smell cigarettes and Dove soap. His arms are covered in colorful tattoos. You can see the muscles in his hands.

You feel something pulling at your stomach. A faint, fragile thread pulls from the center of your core. It floats through the air, translucent and towards him. It’s so delicate that the slightest breeze knocks it off course, like smoke from a birthday candle.

The thread spirals into his belly. He hardly notices.

He tilts back in his chair, balancing on the two back legs. His ankle is crossed over the opposite knee. He’s not wearing socks. He interlaces his hands behind his head. The sleeves on his cotton shirt ride up. The valley between his tricep and bicep deepens and shadows. The thread starts to twist and build.

The silence feels fine. The sun is directly behind you, beaming onto his face. He has closed his eyes and barely breathes. You can tell that he is thinking of something. A faint smile moves his cheeks.

So you’re a writer, he asks you, eyes still closed. That’s really cool. But I can’t imagine you’re making loads of cash.

I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen a load of cash, you say.

That widens his smile. No teeth yet. So it’s hard then, to make a living? 

Well, you say. My kind of living isn’t that hard to make. You wonder where that came from.

That bursts his smile open wide. Teeth now, maybe even a filling. He opens his eyes and props himself up on his elbows and forearms. Yeah, I know. People always say it’s so expensive to travel. I can see the strands of green in his eyes. But it’s not. I barely spend anything. 

Me either, I say.

He holds your gaze as he nods his head. He returns to his own mind. The thread keeps spinning into itself, becoming fibrous and strong. It is the circumference of a pencil now.

He says that he would love to pay for your dinner but would never insist upon it. Some people like to pay for their own things, he says. And I would never take that away from someone.

As the waiter clears your glass, you try to remember when you switched to whiskey.

Well this was great, he says, putting a hand on your shoulder. He gives you this look that you can tell he’s been doing for years. It makes his face look more familiar and suddenly you can picture him as a child.

Would it be alright if I kissed you? he asks. His eyebrows and the corners of his mouth move upwards in unison.

You know what this will cause but don’t even consider saying no.

Before he kisses you, he takes the sides of your face and holds your cheeks gently in his hands. He looks into your eyes and you wonder if anyone has ever been so unafraid to look at you. He runs his hands back until his fingers slide into your hair.

The thread spins faster now, its width equal to rope you used to climb in gym class.

He presses his lips against yours in a way that feels timeless, all Billie Holiday and Converse sneakers. You know that your love making would be effortless and earth-bound.

He pull his face away from yours, looking into your eyes again.

Alright, he says.

He takes a Swiss Army knife from his front pocket. He pulls the thread taut between your belly and his. The blade slices into the outermost fibers. He starts sawing toward the middle. You look away. Eventually he cuts through its entirety, the last strands snapping as they break.

Alright. Well that was great. Thank you. I hope to see you again.

He turns around and waves as he crosses the street, smiling like the 4th of July. The thick thread, frayed and hanging from your belly, telescopes back into your core. You try to let it dissolve, but feel it wrapping around your ribs.

Your breathing is labored, conscious, and you learn to move like this.

***

To make a donation to Georgie’s writing, click here. Donations of any amount are very appreciated!

 

 

 

 

my first eBook

Dear readers,

I am happy and proud to announce that my first book-length work is now available for purchase. This eBook applies the concepts of yoga, eastern philosophy, and western psychology to the sport of rock climbing. More specifically, it shows the reader how to use these methods to help improve their climbing performance.

Modern Redpointing Cover

 

I’ve seen the techniques in this book help everyone from a six-year-old girl panicking at the top of her first indoor climb, to Ethan Pringle on his send of Jumbo Love. It doesn’t matter how strong or experienced you are—this book is for everyone.

I want to thank the readers of this blog for all of their support over the years. Without your comments, readership, and donations I’m not sure if I would have had the gumption to write something of this magnitude. For that reason, this book is dedicated to all of you. Another huge thank you goes out to Sander DiAngeles and Natalie Siddique for their help with editing, formatting, and design.

An excerpt from my author’s note:

 

I pulled into the Buttermilks stressed out, broken hearted, completely out of climbing shape, and a few pounds heavier than normal. I only had two things: a desire to be surrounded by something other than rush hour traffic, and a faint flicker of climbing psych.

I told myself to not worry about grades or projects because surely I would not be climbing as hard as usual. At first, I was right. Climbing felt terrible. I felt heavy, tired, and frustrated. Just pulling off the ground for a warm-up took everything I had. A big part of me just wanted to leave and never climb again, but I had promised I wasn’t going anywhere until I came back to myself. So I stayed. I just kept climbing. And because of Bishop’s exposing high desert terrain and the vulnerable nature of rock climbing, escaping my emotions wasn’t available anymore. I had to let it all in.

And within a few weeks, something strange happened.

I flashed climbs that I assumed would take me the entire season. I sent a previous multi-year project on my first try. I sent my hardest boulder problem to date. The pain was still there, but I felt light, energized, and clear-headed.

I wondered, what the hell is going on?

I was confused because this went against everything I had been taught about the things that impact rock climbing performance. I was always told that performing at a high level or breaking into new grades required a training schedule, strict dieting, and hours in the gym.

This book is the answer to what the hell was going on.

There’s no denying that physical training is a key component in climbing performance. But this is only one part of the equation. Many climbers and trainers overlook the power of the mind, breathing, emotions, and attitude when it comes to sending a hard route. The teachings you’ll find in the next chapters are not a replacement for physical training, but a valuable and important addition to it.

This book was born because of a winter spent living in my Subaru in the Buttermilks, but I have been studying western psychology, eastern philosophy, yoga, and climbing for several years. I want to share this knowledge with you because of its incredible ability to enhance your climbing and change your life. Whether you’re a true beginner or a professional rock climber, projecting 5.8 or 5.15, spend hours on the hangboard or have never trained in your life—Modern Redpointing is for you.

This is what I’ve learned.

Love,

Georgie

If this book doesn’t apply to your interests but you still wish to support my work, you can make a donation to my writing by clicking here. Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated and help keep this blog alive. Thank you all for reading and the endless support.

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