Climbing Is My Gateway For Self Discovery

Climbing Is My Gateway For Self Discovery

I am Belal Abdussalam. I developed my character, discovered more about life and myself, and healed through nature and among the mountains. I like to share my personal experience with everyone I can reach. Here’s my philosophy on one of the outdoor activities that added a lot to my perspective about myself and about life: climbing!

Nature provides the optimal training ground for mind and body. Adventure sports can reveal a deeper aspect of yourself, help you see yourself as you truly are, keep you humble, allow for vulnerability, offer you a chance to challenge your limits, and ultimately accept yourself as you are and embrace it.

Accepting yourself and the mountains helps you deal with challenges without judgment. The more you sit in nature, the more you begin to see the vulnerability of human beings. Rock climbing, for beginners or experts, can provoke emotions of doubt, insecurity, fear, over-analyzing, fatigue, and failure. Whether expert or beginner, the physical challenge differs but the emotional response is the same.

The highs and lows of a day in the canyon can reveal true character and provide the optimal training ground for the social and societal challenges of modern-day living. We often don’t get the opportunity to be open and vulnerable in modern society. Nature provides us this chance to be open and humble. Trusting that the rope will hold, we climb the wall, gradually making exciting progress. With every step comes a new challenge. Our body starts to get tired, the mind loses focus, and our fingers are unable to find the next hold. Where to next? All of a sudden, feeling lost, stuck, and afraid. Panic starts to set in, heart rate increases, and doubt arises. Will this rope actually hold me? What happens if I fall? In life, we are met with these crossroads, and there seems no way forward. It's frustrating, energy-consuming, confusing, and draining. Bringing our attention to the breath can calm the nervous system; a calm internal environment allows for clear thinking and the ability to look for another solution. Try a new foothold, a new grip, push with the right or maybe the left. Channel the energy from the heart to generate enough energy to find a new way forward. If you fall, you try again. It's from trying and failing or succeeding that we can learn lessons. It's these lessons learned along the way that are most valuable. How do we respond when challenged? Challenge, failure, and success help us learn and grow. Learning and growth build new habit patterns, creating new neural pathways in the brain that strengthen over time. Eventually, we become comfortable with discomfort, learning to crave unfamiliarity and the valuable life lessons that come from it.

What is the difference between adventure sports in nature and an indoor workout?

- No risk indoors: fixed, limited, structured.
- Outdoors deals with elements, adjusting to nature, constantly changing, felt connection, authentic, no technology.
- Nature needs to give you permission; if nature doesn’t allow it, it is not possible.
- What happens if you go windsurfing, and there's no wind?
- Nature keeps you humble.
- Not just physical and mental capabilities but a reliance on nature to provide.
- You cannot compete with nature; you cannot win.
- A muscular physique does not necessarily mean strong.
- Technique is required, not just mental toughness.
- The mountains have been there a long time.
- They are a mirror to yourself, revealing your true character.
- Climbing in nature can help you see yourself as you truly are.
- Offers the opportunity to embrace yourself as you are.
- Celebrate yourself and your achievements, every step.
- One step at a time, gradual improvement.

What was the difference between expectations and reality? What was the difference between the first, second, and third attempts?

- The rock has not been built specifically for climbing; indoors has colors. It is not written on rock, but it shows you if you open your eyes and listen.
- The encouragement of the group was crucial.
- Loved the teamwork and atmosphere.
- Different texture of rock than the one I’m used to, requiring a new technique and approach.
- Came with no expectations, felt guided and safe, enjoyed the contact with the rock.
- Heart rate increased; was able to channel my energy to power myself up the rock.
- Learned to know when to stop when feeling fatigue.
- I learned today to trust in people. I learned to trust the guy holding the rope.

Being out in nature like this allows people to share in this way, open up, and be vulnerable. We are meant to be sharing, talking, and discussing feelings and observations.
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