Clinging To Life – lessons from El Capitan

by DavalosMcCormack on October 22, 2008

Last weekend Kevin and I went to Yosemite.  We love living in San Francisco, but it is really nice to take some time to get away from our daily lives of work and urban living and just be in awe of natural surroundings. 

I love the quiet of the forest, the sound of the birds and russle of the wind through the trees.  I enjoy my life in the city, but it’s so nice to go somewhere without having to have quarters for a parking meter or wonder if your car is parked on the wrong side of the street on street cleaning day.

It was such fun to watch people making their way up El Capitan, taking up the challenge of climbing skill vs. sheer face of the Cliff.  I was really struck by the  people clinging to the rock mid-way up, they had so far to fall and so far to go to get to the top.

It struck me how really tiny these people were compared to the sheer rock wall.  How really small these precious little lives were and how each one is so important in the fabric of their own life.

As a hypnotherapist I work with people who have challenges all the time –  one wants to lose weight, another wants to be able to get over the phobia or fear of crossing a bridge, others just want to stop feeling anxious and desperate, some become so tainted with problems and things that challenge them that they stop feeling good about life itself.

I wondered if those tiny climbers  looked at life in the same perspective.  Maybe instead of seeing how far they could fall or how far they had to go, climbers have another take on it,  maybe they believe  that they had  already come so far with some success, looked at the challenges and the danger and met it eye to eye. Maybe facing it gives them the courage to continue the climb to the top, expecting success.

I think that’s a better way to look at it.  In fact, maybe it would be good to look at life like that –  “We’ve come this far, I guess we can continue on”.
When we got back to San Francisco there was a new study out by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, about the suicide rate in the United States.  The suicide rate increased for the first time in a decade, particularly among middle-aged white women.  Women between the ages of 40 to 65 are killing themselves in greater numbers than ever.

Why?  The study could not come up with a conclusion, but there are some things to consider.   What are these women up against.  Why are they in such despair to think that it is easier to end life than to continue on.

Maybe they can take a lesson from the climbers. Kevin said that when he looked at the climbers he didn’t think of how far they had to go, he thought about how they were focusing on just the next step, the next hand hold, the stone right in front of them and how they would handle that.

I like that idea too. Maybe we shouldn’t despair about how far we have to go, maybe we should look at how we need to handle things right now.

Maybe women have lost hold of who they are and where they want to go, not all women of course, but too many to lose.

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