Saturday, January 30, 2016

"An Interesting Yin & Yang Of Climbing..."

"If hubris is the yin of climbing, humility is the yang..." J. Waterman

Pride does have a certain power, but likely loses its potency when it becomes presumption, loss of perspective, and at times even arrogance. 
An adventurer full of hubris is less aware of the cliffs between us and the horizon.
And this can be a dangerous precipice to balance upon.
Many ordinary adventurers I've met over the years have developed a kind of modest pride over their outdoor accomplishments, and then seem to carry themselves with a different quiet dignity. 
They not only are aware of the cliffs, but see way past them to the horizon. 
I admire that.
Theirs is a heightened sense of self - but self in relation to a respect for the wild places, others they travel with, and especially the inherent risks out there.
As for my own experience with hubris... 
There have been those days out where part of me believed I have climbed, kayaked, or trekked in perfect style. 
Only to then realize that where ever I was, on whatever path, there was always someone ahead of me, and someone just behind. 
That perspective allowed me to touch humility.
I would ask though, is it a vice to feel such confidence? Is there not an energy within such pride? 
Much here to muse over...
Over the years there have been many phases of each of these - hubris & humility, as goals were met, limits pushed, trials endured, and and when developing a bit of understanding of the dual impacts these two states may have, and how their elements affect our adventures and thus our lives.
What has also been surprisingly useful, is an awareness of caution, even of many anxieties, fears, and doubts that would balance out the giddy optimism and ego that adventures may give birth to.
I sense walking along this edge between optimism and reservedness keeps us safe while allowing for exceptional fun out in wild places.
I have also benefited from the sharing by adventure guides and mentors about these two perspectives.
Those who have themselves achieved that balance between real confidence while in dangerous surroundings.
Those who belay themselves across the high ridges, where we may surpass our limitations while still acknowledging our humanness in making mistakes and errors of judgement.
I recognize now too the importance of appreciation and gratitude in developing humility as the natural opposite of hubris.
Especially in beginning again after severe adversity; then dreaming about all the further possibilities out there. 
Also in acknowledging those who have gone before in setting our routes; while acting upon the need to pass forward to those yet to follow.
B. Blanchard, a Canadian Mountaineer of exceptional talent, said himself: "Humility is the key to being a good alpinist...".
Even though adventures are all about pushing personal limits, where confidence plays a potent role, there also seems a place for other levels of awareness.
I believe the crux between hubris & humility may be climbed past in developing an understanding that adventures in wild places are not just about 'me'... 
They are inherently about all of us, and the inevitable impacts we each may have in the wild lands.
Yet again it would seem that as in all things, especially adventures, and with these small stones, that the real summit to be attained is a balance within the experiences, lessons, and memories gained.
Maybe most significantly between hubris & humility..... DSD 

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