The Wall

I was hiking on a trail new to me in Colorado the other day when coming round a bend was a gorgeous, ninety or so foot granite wall.  I’d gone out on the hike because I sorely needed a break from the devoirs relating to a small business my partner and I are attempting to lift of the ground. Sitting at my desk I had hit a solid wall of, until that moment, unseen and unknown regulations. This was just 72 hours before we were to have launched. The way forward seemed utterly unpassable, I couldn’t think, my circuits were blown. As I did not have the luxury of ‘a night to sleep on it’, I bolted out to the trail in hopes of effecting a mental reset.

Staring at Mother Nature’s granite wall, majestic though it was, seemed only to endorse my inner state. Wall. “Great! Now what?”I took a step…then a few more and it was plainly obvious that the path provided an, albeit narrow, way forward. OK…Keep moving in other words, trust that in doing so one can skirt the so-called obstacle.  Start of a mental reset but my brain again ran away with the tsunami of business tasks I didn’t have a clue how to navigate. I kept walking.

Doing so brought me right up to the slab, where I could begin to take in its complexities.  A chink, a crease, dimple, fissure, vein.  It was not merely a solid, flat slab, it had personality, It had movement, space between the molecules. I was reminded of the time, years ago when I had needed to learn something about rock climbing for a film I was about to do and had been given the privilege of taking several classes with Ranger and world class climber, Bruno Engler up in Banff. My first morning of class, formidable Bruno took me to the base of a magnificent, Rocky Mountain slab. Up until that point in my life walls had been impassable barriers, boundaries, certainly not something to be scaled. Perpendicular space had been inaccessible except on a swing, a ladder or in an airplane.  Once roped in and seeing my incredulity, Bruno showed me the tiniest little crack and invited me to put one toe there, one finger hold on a penny deep ledge and just as he’d promised, up I went.  Defying all laws of rationality, physics, gravity you name it I in fact was able albeit not too gracefully, to climb a wall.

At various points I’ve had the chance to climb a bit more. I don’t have anything close to the strength, mental fortitude nor talent required to be a mountaineer but from terra firma through friends who climb I’ve seen extraordinary acts of grace, of ballet worthy beauty as they’ve traversed their walls. I’ve seen leaps of faith, tremendous acts of courage, resilience and ingenuity. Witnessed the silent black hole of focus it has taken to reach beyond their mental edge. No two climbers alike, they have had to forge their own routes according to their strength, endurance, mental fortitude and physical endowments. Quite something to behold.

Moving forward with that, I thought how many times have any of us come up against a wall of heartache, disappointment or failure?  How many times have we witnessed strangers from afar, friends, even ourselves manage to execute a performance, write that play, even build the bridge, save the tree, endure that loss? On a greater scale, win the war, get to the moon?  OK…walls I guess then are not always what they seem. By forging ahead, holding to the intention, sometimes…let’s say most times… next steps appear.

Reset.  

Back to work.

One regulation at a time.

Breathe.

Step.

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