ONE HAND CLAPPING

“Fear and darkness are more powerful when alone compared to being shared and it’s usually easier to gain understanding from things powerful than things subtle. When solo I get to fight and yield in my internal reality — when sharing the mountains with others I get to dance with the subtleties in relationships.” Andreas Fransson.

I have decided to cut my trip short. My dream pilgrimage to Yosemite will fall short by a mere 3 hour bus ride (& several hundred metres of rock).

Over the past few years I’ve found solace in creating and chasing down personal challenges – living alone in a van, climbing mountains and cycling great distances. In respect to these tasks, I feel that almost every inch gained has been a result of my toil alone, I have tested myself to the highest degree that I feel I can. The physical, emotional & mental tests as well as those of my own skills have all been highly rewarding.

However, I find it impossible to live this intense lifestyle without being selfish. I realise that my personal focus and drive has come with costs. When I was young my Dad gave me this advice – “If you don’t like your job, then get a better one”. I decided to apply this to everything in life, believing that anything is possible. Dreams can come true. However, is it bad when dream chasing becomes such a self-involved obsession that it consumes the majority of my time and headspace? Is it bad that subsequently I lose touch with and in some cases completely forgo the most important thing we can find in life – relationships with others?

Of course.

I want to find a balance.

The experiences of the last 2 weeks in California have been some of the most rewarding, as well as reflective. Planning & training for a new kind of expedition in Yosemite has reminded me of what should be obvious, that the journey towards a dream is often more important & nourishing than realising the dream itself. That living the dream is about a constant journey. I can always keep check of how worthwhile a cause has been by registering my feelings when I have finally accomplished it. Often I gain infinitely more enrichment from the learning & preparation phase, than from the final achievement

Here, during my self-inflicted training, I have lived alone on a rock face, supported by great friends. New friends have been generous, given me their time (and lent or given me equipment). People in this part of the world are particularly kind and friendly, “Everyone in Truckee is on your side”. I have tried my best to break my reserved, British mindset. I have tried my best to break my all consumed, self obsessed, goal obsessed, mindset. To find a balance.

I have also been guilty of pushing someone else away that isn’t on the exact same program as me (understandably, who is!?). Someone that I really care about. Someone that I love. We all seek self-confidence in life. We all find things to hide behind – a job, drugs, alcohol, extreme socialising, a passion, studying, physical achievements. If a personal relationship gets in the way of or may mean that we have to sacrifice our own “confidence booster”, then we can feel scared or threatened. At the same time, believing that anything is possible, that dreams can come true and constantly chasing the next dream has also induced a lack of contentment. A super critical mindset, blinding me from the wonders of what I already have. Living a life of a constantly travelling dreamer has also meant that I end up in a situation where having a relationship is a logistical nightmare. Simply being in the same country just doesn’t happen often enough. As if this wasn’t enough to make my head hurt, I am also scared of commitment, so have invented even more reasons to push a relationship away.

At the end of the day I love a woman, my family and my friends, too much to be so constantly consumed. I don’t want to be the lone ranger anymore. I want to give something to others and not just to myself. I know they are proud of me for achieving my goals, but what am I giving them? I can take what I have learned and entwine it into their lives, our lives. We can grow together. Everyone’s dreams can be realised. Everyone’s restrictions can be un-cuffed with teamwork. I’m looking forward to signing up to work as a team with my best friend. I’m looking forward to learning from her, to sharing a smile, to new understanding.

I don’t want to see Yosemite with my own eyes yet, I want to wait and see it through both of ours. So I am going home, to London, to find all that I left behind.

If I stop trying to constantly win by myself then I would be ending the never-ending plight and maybe I can just start enjoying the ride. What if I am able to go out and keep aiming high but at the same time know in my heart that I am already exactly where I want to be? Living like that will be truly fulfilling.

The movie above is simply a couple of preview shots from one night of the trip. More to follow 😉

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2 thoughts on “ONE HAND CLAPPING

  1. I am very moved to read your most recent report. I am also very happy that you have made this decision, dream catching is a very time consuming activity, and while it is very rewarding I think you are right in stating that it can become all consumptive, self serving and lonely. However, it had led you to become the person you re and all the things you have learned are now there to share with others who mean a lot to you. Once again, thank you for sharing your thoughts Steve, it’s a truly wonderful thing to read Monday morning and my thoughts go to you and the one you love and wish you a great trip back to London. Hope to catch up with you when you have some time.

    • Andy, I really appreciated this response when you first posted it. It was the first feedback that I had read after coming clean online for the 1st time, so the affirmation was thankfully received. I’ve been travelling and generally re-settling since, so sorry for not thanking you sooner. And yes, you are right up there on the list of friends that I never get to see. Speak very soon.

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