Rock climbing. One of the things I am normally least inclined to do, simply because I have a great fear of heights, even when my partner introduced it to me few years ago. But a friend, whom I just met once and immediately clicked, decided to buy us discounted vouchers for an hour of rock climbing. I couldn’t say no to her at this stage because somehow I knew deep inside I need to teach myself how to conquer this fear of heights. And also I needed to go out after staying in the house on weekends for far too long.
And so the Saturday of November 14 came. After presenting the voucher at the counter, I soon realized there were many very excited kids who obviously cannot wait to get on the walls. I was amazed at the same time motivated by their eagerness to it that I said to myself, “I can’t believe they’re so enthusiastic abut rock climbing while I’m here feeling a bit nervous and out of place, anxious on how it’s gonna turn out. Right, if they can do it, I can do it too.” I didn’t know how I was gonna do it, but I was determined to put those fears to rest.
For the first 15 minutes we were briefed by the instructor on how to use the harness properly, how to pull ourselves down after finishing the climb, etc. Although the kids were already excited to start, it was good to see them listening attentively to the instructor, albeit maybe impatiently. I also noticed that there were two Asian kids with their mothers, but it seemed they were a bit nervous to the point that one kid had a nosebleed. It could be a cultural thing that most Asians are not taught the same way as the Western kids but then again it may not be.
The first wall we climbed was what looked like the professional rock climbers would definitely choose. Many different sizes of handles and “rock” edges that I only did a few attempts on that particular wall.
For a while after that, I hesitated choosing another wall to climb. My friend was even egging me on to try another one immediately. But then I remembered my partner’s advice the night before to just pace myself, to breathe every time I attempt to reach for an edge to hold on to, just focus on the climb, and do each wall halfway through. Because my biggest concern was getting sore so easily when overexerting, I’m glad to hear from him that I don’t have to finish climbing up a wall to begin with. And also because the kids want to climb the same walls I’d like to try.
Armed with that reassurance, I then chose a transparent wall. This one is a bit better than the first wall I did. But my feet couldn’t grip onto the edges so I stopped a third of the way through.
The photo below is my most favorite wall. It has many different sized circles and many different colors. The best part is that the space between the main wall at the back and the wall with holes in front is deep enough for my feet to grip on to.
This time my fearful thoughts were really testing me. “The walls are gonna shake and will fall down on me.” It persisted and the wall did shake. By then I decided to calmly thought-talk my fears. “Look, the wall did shake but I’m sure it will stay upright as the people who set this up knew what they were doing. Otherwise, this wall would not have been here in the first place.” After that, I became more mindful of my steps and breathing. When the hour was up, I felt happy, accomplished, and less sore.
This activity has just proven that you can face your greatest fears and still come out of it victorious. Some of you may have listened to your fears for far too long that now it’s time to do something about it if you really want to succeed in life. Remember you have the power to reassure your fears that everything’s gonna be alright and that you are there to take care of each other. Instead of fighting back or avoiding your fears, just gently talk yourself into being successful doing it. You don’t have to do rock climbing; you just need do the things that make you genuinely joyful on the inside.