The Natural World, Daily Prompt – Gate Buttress, UT

Inspired by today’s Daily Prompt:  Nature, I reminisce Growing up in Salt Lake City, UT, I was surrounded by so many outdoor natural adventures that as a child, I didn’t even realize were there.  My folks are indoor, watch TV, “don’t you dare try that” kind of people.  As predictable as the meat and potato dinner we would have almost every other night, except for pork chop night on Thursday.

This picture doesn't do it justice, but this is the east side of the Buttress

This picture doesn’t do it justice, but this is the east side of the Gate Buttress

When I hit my teen years, I began exploring the mountains with my friends Steve and David.  There is a canyon not far from our house called Little Cottonwood Canyon; it is known for world-class skiing at Alta and Snowbird ski resorts, but we were drawn to a little place called Gate Buttress which 20-25 years ago when we found it was a secret world to us.  We discovered huge boulders to climb on or over, trails leading to caves leading to massive granite cliffs.

We would come both in the summer when the heat was pretty bad in the valley and in the winter when there was six feet of snow on the ground to hamper us, but always we would fund our way up to the cliffs and traverse and hike and play.  It was wonderful.  What made this place groovy was that this is where I discovered rock climbing.  We had always seen odd men and women with dreadlocks and smelling funny hiking past us on the trail with ropes and packs and shoes that looked like ballet slippers but we had no idea.

My friend Steve and I found an old rope once while we were up there, frayed, old and weathered; probably measured twenty-five feet or less.  It was used on part of the trail to skirt a cave/crawl and you could hand over hand the rope over a boulder face of fifteen feet.  We both decided we wanted to rock climb and with the fervor of youth bought two army web belts, hiking boots and proceeded to cut the nasty rope.

Schoolroom, my first proto climb EVER

Schoolroom, my first proto climb EVER

We hiked to the cliffs full of ourselves and proceeded up one of the first cliff faces we found.  Steve, always the more gung-ho back then, Snapped the web belt around his waist and tied an overhand square knot around the cheap plastic buckle.  I did the same thing.  Seriously, this is what the other climbers were doing, right?  He began his climb and I felt that something was wrong, that there was something more I should be doing to protect in case he fell.  But he didn’t, he climbed as high as the rope let him, and I began.  More slowly than Steve, I caught up to him and there we were; both on the cliff face about 30 feet up not knowing anything.

Needless to say, we climbed another twenty feet before we realized something was wrong, we became terrified or the powers that be just put some good sense into us and we realized we were in way over our head.  We slowly and meticulously made our way back down the cliff, trembling hands and hearts.  When we were gathered back into our senses, we noticed a pack and a book nearby, I looked at the book and it was a climbing book called “Wasatch Climbing North”, I told Steve we needed that book to learn and find other places; he agreed we should buy it, but for once, I was the more aggressive and decided the boys who this belonged to were probably one hundred feet or more up on the cliff, and would never catch us, so yes, I stole the book.

We eventually learned how to safely climb, buying the right gear and learning technique inside and outside.  I climbed for ten more years until life settled me into a routine that had no time for nature as much, and it breaks my heart.  Currently the Church of Ladder Day Saints owns the mining rights to this buttress and it has not been the same.  I don’t know if I will ever get to share this magical place with my kids.  I have to lose some weight and oil off some rust before I climb again, but just the majesty of this grove, trials and cliff system amaze me to this day.  I found God as a young man in the changing colors of the trees, and friends on the trail.  It is a bond surely felt and discovered by those that have known its magical pull.

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The Have and the Have Not Knot

A fellow blogger of mine and I must be on the same wavelength, Awesome Ashilde (sorry my friend, I do not know how to add the diactric 😦 ), posted about the power of positive thinking and visioning called “What Can the Power of Your Mind Do?“;  Take a few moments and go check out her blog and then come back to this one.  Pretty awesome stuff eh?  Pretty bad pun there  forgive me.

For the past few weeks, since the end of May, I had been trying to figure out why I was not getting anywhere with my weight loss journey.  I was about to start my Weightloss 365 project, I was a member of Gym-Pact and going to the gym at least 4 times a week but still not losing, and in fact, I had gained a couple more.  Looking back, we were still not key on the food side and that was a big part of it, but an even bigger part goes back over 16 months now.  Probably to October 2011.

That was the month I stopped seeing me as a triathlete, a runner, a climber, a hiker or fitness rat.  Instead my vision changed to that of husband and father at 40.  And it scared me, it brought me a lot of stress, fear, doubt and anger at times.  Of COURSE this was in addition to all of the love, happiness, gladness, excitement and hope that overwhelmed the others like 4 to 1, but it was still a seed and my vision plan of Mike fell to the side.

When you are planning something big you simply cannot get off plan.  I had gotten just over halfway to my goal weight in a little over 1 year.  I had lost over 120 pounds in 13 months, that is freaking huge and I had so much more on my plate but decided I could focus on myself less and less and focus on the other roles first.

When we see professional athletes or musicians that are literally at the top of their game, what do we think?  sometimes we think arrogance and ego and we would not be wrong.  There is so much work to be the best at your game that you have to put yourself first and for right or wrong, sometimes that causes these men and women to make bad choices and cheat at their sport, or in their personal life.  But at the core of what they were doing, putting themselves and their game first, was absolutely correct.

Let me ask you a question, if you are out of shape and not taking care of yourself before ALL other things, how are you going to be around to take care of everything else?  You won’t be.

That was what I had forgotten, before my wonderful marriage and baby with Amanda it was easy, I was alone and could and would put my needs above all others.  I still have to, just tempered down a notch and I have to remember it’s not going to be as easy as it was before.  But I still can do it.  I don’t blame anyone or expect anyone sympathy for my loss of vision, that is what vision is, it belongs to the owner so nobody can take it away.  I alone lost it.

Think about Christian prayer, Wiccan spellcasting, pre-game drills and rituals, rally caps.  What do all of these have in common?  They are all part of the vision process and allow us to creatively see what we want, focus energy on it and make it happen, and believe me when I say i have cast a few spells and got EXACTLY what i wanted even though maybe I wasn’t 100% on target to what i wanted.

By seeing myself as a triathlete in making, a hiker and climber, I had  become these things.  I was riding my bike everywhere, I had taken up running and was looking for a swim team to learn to swim.  I was hiking at least every few weeks, both urban and nature, and was well on my way to climbing by the end of 2012.  Then my vision changed as I mentioned and I saw myself as father, husband and breadwinner.  I have to incorporate my earlier vision into my current vision.

To make this long post come to a close, last week I began to see myself as father, husband, breadwinner, triathlete in making, climber, hiker, and cheerleader for my kids and family and continue to use POSITIVE voice instead of NEGATIVE voice, I have made some folks smile, made a new friend or two and weight wise have lost over 5 pounds this week.  That is amazing and part of my vision.  The most awesome thing about this, is that creative visioning is self-perpetuating.

What do I mean?  The more I see myself in the way I want to be seen, the easier it is to meet my short to intermediate goals and when I meet those goals, it is easier to see myself in the way I want to be seen and so on.  Amazing!  It works.

So for this week I challenge YOU to post one positive thing in social media, to workout at least three times this week and more importantly, come up with one positive light to see yourself in this week and make it happen.  I KNOW you can do this, I can see it in you.

Before I forget to all those who are fathers or “fathers” or fathers to be, happiest of all fathers day to you.  It is the unsung hero of our generation who makes his kids feel like they can achieve anything.

Namaste.