Understanding The Purpose Of the Expedition…by A.S.
As I sat down to write this Expedition Therapy blog entry, I initially felt overwhelmed. How do I encapsulate the week I have had? Two new group members, a personal milestone, three amazing sites…it’s hard to know where to start.
 
Personally speaking, the most valuable part of this week came while rock climbing.
 
 
I was attempting routes that were more challenging than anything I’d ever encountered. For the first few days, I managed to complete the routes I attempted.
 
 
The third day brought a somewhat different result. 
 
The route was intimidating – a puzzling overhang, followed by foot after foot of sheer rock face. We spent some time climbing it via the mock-aide method, which involves setting up small rope ladders attached to metal pieces wedged into cracks in the wall, all while being safely belayed by a top-rope.
 
Sounds easy, right?
 
I thought so too, but after forty five minutes of being unable to continue past four feet off the ground, I changed my mind. Mock-aide was the most frustrating task I had encountered that week. 
 
But I refused to give up on that wall. 
 
I went on long past the point of exhaustion, getting angrier as I fell off the rock again and again. I eventually became too tired to continue and had to give up. I could barely stand. 
 
 
Sprawled on the ground, I wondered why I felt so sad. I later realized that all of my focus had been on getting to the top, on reaching the goal. In retrospect, I now understand that there was no way I was going to get up that wall. Not even the most experienced climber in the group could.
 
I remembered watching another group member climb earlier that week. He never made it to the top. He took on some hard sections of rock and failed, over and over again. But at the end of the day he was smiling and laughing, fully satisfied with his efforts.
 
I guess it’s important to remember that in rock climbing, as in life, the expedition can matter more than the destination. We sometimes get so caught up in the goal that we forget to look around us, we don’t properly appreciate the road we are on at this moment.
 
 
I want to be the guy who smiles at the end of a hard day, no matter what the result.
 
Here’s hoping that the next week brings us all an expedition we can remember.