Make A Damned Choice

When I teach ice climbing I tell students, "the hardest thing to do is one thing at a time."

But ears are deaf and the brain bombarded so with a palsy-like, start-stop stutter the student scatters attention everywhere at once. He removes an ice tool then decides it would be better to move a foot but simultaneously figures he should look ahead to see where to move and suddenly one of the remaining two points of contact blows and the rope does its part. Hanging on it the student wonders what happened. As if he/she hadn't been present. Which is, practically speaking, the case: so overwhelmed by sensory input and the demand for decision/action a temporary autism results.

The hardest thing to do is one thing at a time. Whether in the moment or across the entirety of life.

Most people don't focus. Can't or won't. Perhaps, unwilling to risk missing an experience, they do many things simultaneously. Energy is finite though and the more activities or ideas one spends it upon the less is available for each area of interest.

"I can't decide what I should do."

"My desire conflicts with other's expectations."

"Ego keeps me from risking failure. I dabble so I am never invested."

I have seen it over and over through my life: climbers who didn't focus so never fulfilled potential, athletes who couldn't decide which sport to play so never learned to play one well, people who could not accept that their temperament and somatotype were ill-suited to the activity chosen for them by parents, by expectations, peer pressure, or a misguided life-long dream. Some simply go looking for an activity that makes them happy. But happiness is fickle so they flit from one activity to the next, dipping a toe, maybe wading in to the knees, never seeing or seeking depth, and never grasping that it is the process of mastering something, one thing, that grants access to deeper, universal understanding.

If you do not choose what to do and chase it like your life depends on it the choice will be made for you. In that case sit back and "enjoy" the ride but keep your fucking complaints to yourself.

Mark Twight
Mark Twight