Crevasse Climbing

Be a fountain, not a drain.” – Rex Hurdler

My day job is to help corporate clients collaborate – create structure for creating and finding documents, workflows to smooth out processes, write some white papers. It isn’t the type of work that is typically full of emergencies. But recently I’ve had a couple of situations that were the corporate equivalent of people running around with their hair on fire.

The client has a possible security breach – AHHH. Someone deleted the collab site that everyone was saving their files to – AHHH!

These situations have reminded me how hard it is to stay centered while everyone around is in a panic. Trying instead to be open and even while listening and contributing to the solution is a difficult practice.

On one of my first mountaineering expeditions, the guides were teaching crevasse rescue techniques. When someone on your rope team falls in and the first thing you do is self-arrest. And then once you are stable and have assessed the situation, you can set up a pulley system to pull them out. You just make it worse if you fall or jump into the crevasse yourself. You have to pull from the top instead of push from below.

So I’m envisioning the meditation equivalent of staying out of the crevasses. Dropping on my belly, digging into the snow with the tip of my ice-axe and the crampon on my toes to self-arrest instead of jumping in to the panic.

What I’ve learned is that there is real wisdom in slowing down when life starts swirling around. It is too easy to create secondary problems when blundering around in reaction.

The last person on a rope team is called the anchor. They earn that title when they can stay grounded while everyone else is sliding towards the abyss.

13 thoughts on “Crevasse Climbing

  1. Great analogy! I have seen too many drama inspiring people feel almost insulted when I choose not to jump feet first into the emotional drama they just created, as though it were a requirement for loyalty!

    People who remain calm when everyone else is jumping feet first into the drama are to be prized, because we really do help folks to calm down! 😉

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  2. I love when you incorporating either engineering or climbing analogies into your posts about wellbeing. I’m no climber but I can visualize and see your thought process in my mind.

    Those dang security breaches are annoying and as someone who relies on collaboration sites on the cloud, I can for sure relate to the panic.

    I think it’s so good to take a deep breath and calm down and assess and regroup. I try to be that person in a situation like you’ve described and definitely can see others in my life who are the opposite! 😆

    Thanks for this lovely post.

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    1. And thank you for such an encouraging comment, Ab! I am not surprised based on your writing that you are a source of calm and centeredness!

      The funny thing about mountaineering is there is a lot of time just sitting around telling stories as you wait for water to boil or a weather window in which to climb safely. The amazing climbers that I’ve been lucky enough to climb with are GREAT story-tellers so I suspect it rubs off. And I also think I’m a little nostalgic for some of those adventures!

      Thanks for your insights and comments. Always appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Wynne. Please rest assured I am far from calm and centered. 😆😆😆 I have many moments throughout each day that are anything but.

        But your process is definitely one that I do try to emulate and follow as it’s so important to do so.

        Mountain climbing sounds like such a wonderful activity. I couldn’t do it due my fear of heights. But very much admire it!

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  3. “Be still and know that I am God” KJV – King James Version . . . my unfailing anchor during life’s panic times.

    “And I got your back” FRV – Freddy Revised Version . . . my self-assuring reminder 😊

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  4. Both my husband and I are the type who would be considered anchors in our world of family and friends. Not to pat myself on the back, I believe I’m a little better at it than my husband. When the situation is getting rather tense, not only do I mentally step back (do a self arrest), if need be, I also do a physical one. My husband can’t always see the need for that physical step. Obviously, not only are you a natural at this technique, you’ve had the education so be an expert at this.

    What was your major in school?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How interesting that you take a physical step back too! What a great way to manifest gaining perspective on the situation. That’s brilliant! And I think you (and your husband) deserve a big pat on the back – we too often forget to celebrate what we do well!

      My degree is in electrical engineering.

      Thanks as always for the lovely and interesting comment, G.J.!

      Liked by 1 person

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