I made a list last night of everyone that I admired who passed away this year. It was mostly climbers, from Johnny Copp and Guy Lacelle to Shane McConkey, but there were some others on the list. I had planned to write two posts, the first a retrospective on the past year, and the second a look forward into 2010. I’m going to do away with the first and say only that 2009 was what my climbing buddy Alex and I had decided that it would be: the year of stoke and ambition.
The reason that I’m choosing to forgo writing about 2009 is that it’s too easy to get bogged down in what I’ve done, how I’ve succeeded, how I’ve failed, etc., and it’s too easy to see my past as my identity. That’s stale at best. Going into the new year, I’d like to propose that we forget the naughts. Sure, there were lessons to be learned, and I spent most of my conscious life learning them in a ‘post-9/11′ world colored by some really worthless leaders and a lot of depressing news. But the stock market is going up and the unemployment rate is going down, and its time for a new objective.
I’d like to propose that 2010 be named The Year of Resurrection. Whatever it might mean to you, resurrection implies a new life, maybe even a new body. Implicit is a detachment from the previous mindbody, and the birth of a new mind. What is stopping us from achieving all of our goals in 2010? Fear of failure? Fear is a kind of memory, it can’t know anything about the future. Let’s drop the past and surpass the fear. Let be groundless and accept our groundlessness as our real condition. One of Brad Lewis’ mentors said that it is, “better to work without a net, or a saw guard. The intensity [is] greater, more concentration, total commitment, better results.”
To borrow (again) from Mark Twight and Gym Jones (I raise my glass to you guys), “You have to be willing to bite off more than you can chew, to overdose, and to fail. If you won’t risk the answer you won’t ask the question. If you lack the will to ask then consciousness will not unite with muscle and bone. I criticize such a lack of will (especially in myself) and ask, “What’s the worst that can happen?” The fearful part of me replies, “I may fall short of my expectations. I may not be who I pretend to others. My perception of self may be proven wrong, very wrong.” The confident part of me says, “So what … only after breaking myself apart may rebuilding begin.” So go ahead, break stuff. Break yourself on the once-hard edges of yourself. And recycle the debris into the foundation of your future.”
The priest Sekiso asked, “How do you step from the top of a hundred foot pole?” Another eminent master replied “You who sit on the top of a hundred foot pole, although you’ve entered the way it is not yet genuine. Take a step from the top of the pole and the worlds of the ten directions are your total body”.
He darkened the eye in his forehead
and clung to the mark on the scale.
Throw away body and discard life
and the blind one leads the blind.
Mumonkan, (The Gateless Barrier), Case Number 46
The first step after resurrection is direction. Direction needs a heading, so pick a goal. Then don’t hesitate to jump off the end of the pole and get after it.