PANIC BEAR

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Finally getting around to writing a bouldering post.

I always knew that I really loved that tree climbing part of my childhood.  We lived out in the country for many years so being out in nature, digging & climbing around was a normal activity.  We also went to the same campground Summer after Summer & I climbed many a tree there as well.  The memory of how I felt when I climbed has always stayed with me.  Similar to the peace I receive during vinyasa, my brain just shuts off & I find a deep purpose in just moving & being.

Outdoor rock climbing never really appealed to me, it all looked just too complicated & hard!  I recently started following different yogis who posted videos of themselves doing something called “bouldering” & I was instantly intrigued.   Most of these yogis do a lot of inversions very successfully so it seemed like a good way to cross train & build that upper body strength.  Here are some initial short observations:

*There are no ropes or harnesses.

*The walls are at 15 foot or lower.

*The floors are padded.

*You wear special shoes.

*You can do it both indoor at a bouldering gym or outdoors if you’re really crazy.

There had been a climbing/yoga gym on my radar because it was somewhat nearby, just a couple small cities over, & about a 15 minute drive from home.  It had been something that floated on the outskirts of my mind, but seeing it so much on Instagram made me get really interested in it.

That & a new student & I were talking about it & he had some extra passes.  That helped.

Starting a new adventure like this is scary!  Like the days leading up to my yoga teacher training program I found my mind filled with all kinds of doomful futuristic thoughts like, what if everyone knows I’m new?  Or, what if I fall on my ass?  And, what if I suck?  And much more of course.  Isn’t that how it always is with pushing yourself out of your comfort zone?  I see it a lot in classes I teach.  I’m always filled with a deep gratitude for students who walk in under a cloud of fear of the unknown.  I am always rooting for them because I know how it feels.

Luckily my desire to try it outweighed my fears.  What I’ve learned in the past two months since I’ve been bouldering on a 2 to 3 times a week basis:

*There is a term climbers use for a person who gets caught at the top of the wall, unsure how to get down & very tired:  Panic Bear.  Yes, I’ve been a panic bear.  It’s not fun.  It’s either grind out the down climb or jump!

*You climp UP then you climb DOWN.  Rock climbers rapel down whereas boulderers (is that a word?!) down climb.  This takes A LOT out of you.  The days after I bouldered the first time it seemed like every single last cell in my fingers, hands, arms, & shoulders were gong to be sore forever.  I struggled to take caps off pens and any other tasks you use your fingers for.  Also many people will hop off of the wall after getting pretty low to the ground.  I’m turning 40 in a week & I don’t want a ton of forceful compression like this on my knees so I try to always climb all the way down, unless I’m being a panic bear, lol.

*Shoes are a major thing part 1:  I rented the shoes at first at $6 a session.  I wanted to spend some time renting shoes because I didn’t know if I would really love bouldering or not.  After realizing I did love it I started looking for climbing shoes online.  After realizing they were muy expensive I started to research used climbing shoes.  I found a seller on craigslist selling 4 pairs at various sizes.  Research online had told me that it’s common for climbers to size down one or two sizes.  Basically if I’m an 8 & a half I might try 7 & a half or gasp 6 & a half?  Ouch.  I guess climbers like their shoes to fit tightly so they can really…… okay uh, I still don’t get this whole part all the way.  Stay tuned.

*Shoes are a major thing part 2:  Soooo I got some 7.5’s & damn gina these hurt my tootsies to no end.  I started noticing people taking their shoes off in between climbs.  I wondered if everyone at the gym was suffering like me!  I kept researching & finally came across the absolute best online article (which I can’t find or I’d link it here) that said in part, why are all the climbers killing their feet?  Get shoes that just fit like a glove.  So this really resonated with me, I couldn’t even focus on climbing because of theses tight shoes.

*Shoes are a major thing part 3:  This is getting silly now, but for me finding the right shoes really made me feel more confident.  Remember that climber student?  He had told me about this mecca called Next Adventure.  OMG this place!  I loved it!  They had new stuff on the main level & all sorts of used adventure gear in their basement.  Climbing shoes galore!  So affordable!  Even kids climbing shoes if H ever wants to tag along someday.  So I got a great pair that fit like a glove & feet are happy.  I do take them off between climbs as they are still a wee bit tight.  Lastly, I’ve been playing around with sockless climbs.  It feels very gross but I do have to say I can ‘feel’ the holds a bit better.

*Still on the same subject of the feet, my feet that feel so nimble & graceful during yoga, feel like awkward, wandering vestages  during climbs.  What in the hell are my legs & feet doing?!  This is a thought I often think during climbs.  And, look here legs & feet, arms & hands are killing themselves here, the least you could do is be a little more graceful!  C’mon!  Nope.  They just kind of flail around sometimes.  Plus, I’m hyper focus on the area around my eyes as I don’t want to be a panic bear or FALL DOWN.  I have seen some climbers hold their feet against the wall or even get some traction with the rubber undersold of their shoes until the foot can contact with a hold.  These climbers are usually the ones looking like they are doing a quick climbing ballet up & down the wall.

*Bouldering is humbling.  One day I went on the side of the gym that is kind of hidden so I could try a V3 hopefully mostly unseen.  I fell off on hold 3 to 5 (fourth of the way up) each time.  What I decided to be a 13 year old girl walked by me and flew up it in 5 seconds flat.  It kind of feels good to be so humbled.  I’m a beginner & I’m mostly okay with that.  I still experience a wall of fear when I park in the lot before walking in.  Climbers all sit & rest in between climbs & if you don’t have your phone with you there’s not much else to do besides watch what’s right in front of you which is other people climbing.  So this has been good for me to face my fear of failure & to let go (but hold on, lol).

*I got climbers arm.  Two weeks ago I started experiencing a fiery pain in my right elbow.  Back to the internet I went & I learned about a plethora of injuries one can get from climbing.  A severe case of climbing arm can force you to stop climbing for months.  Many recommended a serious work out before climbing which I had not been doing at all!  I found some good techniques & now head over to the workout section of the gym & take 15 minutes to warm up before beginning to climb.  I had also been pushing myself too hard.  I wouldn’t rest that much between climbs.  I would sometimes only go for a half hour so would think that I had to get as much climbing in as I could.  The sweet spot for me is to allow at least an hour for a climbing session.  I warm up for 15, I rest a lot, & I get plenty of climbs in.

*I’m afraid of heights!  When I get to the top of the wall at about 15 feet high, whether the route is easy or no, my heart starts beating fast, fear sweats the chalk off of my hands, & I start shaking!  So sometimes I don’t even go to the top.  I just suss out that I can get to the top hold then I head down.  Maybe this will pass, but it’s a thing right now.

I’m sure there’s more, another post or threaded into a different post later on.

Oh yeah, I got a new job!  It’s at the bouldering gym!!!!!!  I’ll teach Fridays at 7pm, I’m pretty stoked.  Climbing & yoga go together like peanut butter & jelly so I’m excited to teach there.

Wishing/hoping/vibing that all of you out there on the interwebs find a way to face a fear or embark on a new adventure soon.

Peace, love, & namaste~

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SOCIAL MEDIA & ME

I’ve recently been having a complicated relationship with social media.  Me, who quit Facebook back in 2012.  Me, who keeps a private Instagram, my only social media account.  I am now the proud facilitator of three Instagram accounts, two Pinterests, one Twitter, and four Facebook accounts.  These include work accounts that I regularly (except Twitter which gets ignored quite often!) post on.

What..is..going..on…  That’s what I would like to know.  How did I get to the place of checking each page, logging out under one password to log back in with another, and obsessing over ways to plug, plug, plug.  I am not some type of marketer.  Most of the social media I’ve begun, I am not getting paid for.  So why am I doing it?

Because it makes me feel good.

And not in the watching Netflix all night while eating ice cream kind of way (although that is a well spent night in my opinion).  It makes me feel good to be doing stuff for others.  I haven’t had a sponsee since I moved here, so the moms group I started and the free yoga I’m about to start is giving me a deep feeling of usefulness in this world.  I am not advancing my career or able to buy a house, but I do feel pretty darn good about where I fit into the world right now.

Social media can be weird, it’s a lot of stimulation.  I hope it evens out over time.  I keep racking my brain about who else I can ask to plug my free yoga.  I keep emailing people.  My thoughts run in threes most of the time.  Thinking three things at once is too much.  I’ve also been teetering between ignoring the fact that I will be teaching yoga on a weekly basis, to being overwhelming scared of it.  This Thursday.  What if no one shows up?  This is my fear.  I have to remember I’ve done the footwork.  It’s up to the universe what happens next.  I’m glad I began the Mama Bear Group first.  No one showed up on my first try.  Last week and the week before, four besides me showed.  That was enough.  If that many show up for yoga, I will be fine.  In two weeks it moves from Thursdays to Saturdays as well.  This will help.  I am obsessing about it.  Thank goodness for meditation and yoga.  This has been calming my anxiety about teaching.

Something crazy happened at work.  I was hungry and trying to be patient for the lunch our office was going to at a local restaurant.  Somewhere between sitting down and ordering I had that ancient feeling of being high, I realized that my blood sugar must have just plummeted.  I zipped my lip, I know when I get loopy like that it’s best not to talk.  I did my best to act as if, I nodded a bunch and inserted half words here and there.  As it usually happens the topic of conversation got turned towards alcohol, like what they were going to drink, how much, and how they didn’t like it when they drank too much.  Suddenly one of my co-workers turned to me and said, you don’t really drink do you Liz?  And what did I say?  What could I have said?  I can tell you now.  I could have just said, no!  I fully blame the low blood sugar, there was zilch of pausing and praying, I blurted, actually I’m in AA, I’ve been sober for about 7 years.  Luckily no food had been served yet to them, their mouths plummeted open.  I immediately thought, what did you just say!  You’ve worked with them for a year and not a peep!  Why now?  I certainly didn’t feel like it was necessary.  Necessary is if someone needs help.  I will share anything in that case.

It may come back to bite me later, but the strangest thing happened.  I felt a softness from them.  And then they got vulnerable and started telling me their stories as relates to alcohol.  The food came, we ate, my brain was restored.  They asked for more details, it’s never hard for me to convince someone I should not drink.  All I have to do is tell them one story of what it was like.  It was not pretty.  Again, I don’t know if this will be a good thing in the long run, but it just happened.  It’s like letting my son eat on his own or paint.  Jam and colors everywhere, life gets messy sometimes.  I’m not perfect, and I gotta roll with it.  It was actually funny to me that it happened.

Here is the yoga flier I made:

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I went to the Wilsonville Art Festival last Sunday.  The student art blew me away, very impressive.  H and I had fun, looking at art, playing on the play structure, and eating ice cream.  Being a mom is the coolest thing ever sometimes.  Other pics are from the area surrounding the meeting I love on Wednesdays.  Two weeks ago I drove around after the meeting so I could just pray.  I was taken aback by how serene it was.  I love that I live in a place where I can just drive and find so much beauty only 5 minutes away.

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The inexpensive area.

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Indeed.

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There is a person there picking something. I could not figure out what they were doing and did not want to spook them.

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Life is all a lot right now and very beautiful if that in any way makes sense.  It is full and good.  I am so grateful to be in a position to give to others.  I really hope that I can help.  My teacher Jen would say, do your best and don’t get attached to the fruits of your labor.

If you think of it please send me good vibes these next months to the tune of teaching yoga well.  I’m at the cliff, I’m stepping off!