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2 hands for 2 passions by Eline Le Menestrel

Le Rhino, Rocklands

I have decided to organize my life around my two passions: climbing and music.

One of the most evident questions that result from this dream is how I use and take care of my hands.

I need my fingers to be strong and powerful enough to carry the weight of my body when I climb and at the same time I need them to be fast and flexible in order to have a good dexterity to play the flute.

This is my starting point.

Day after day, I am searching for aptitudes to make it possible.

One of them is to have an attitude where I listen to my body and try to put my mind at his service in order not to get injured.

I feel like my body knows what it is good for him and that I need to be able to be receptive to the signals it gives. It is hard for me. I require so much from my body and I tend to get angry when I feel pain.

When I was a child I used to climb, ski, ride horses or do whatever sport until I would cry of tiredness and pain. My father taught me how to listen to the signals my body sent me in order to stop before exhaustion. So I took the habit to be very careful.

Now I have started training more seriously because I wanted to explore new aspects of climbing.

I am trying to combine my old habit with this will to push myself. There is an edge between “good” pain and “bad” pain and it is not always clearly delimited. Finding a balance between devotion and prudence is for me an everyday goal.

I easily fall in a one way exchange: my mind asks more and more to my body (climb harder, practice longer, train more often, rest faster...) and if pain shows up, a flow of reprimanding thoughts follows.

I am learning that it is important to celebrate what I get from my body.

My hands have all these skills that allow me to do my passions.

At the end of a climbing day, a training session or a long rehearsal I feel that I need to give something back to my body.

So I am developing the habit to take care of my fingers, even if I do not feel any pain.

Taking the time to stretch, massage my fingers with essential oils, do some hot and cold therapy is a way to prevent injuries but also to balance the very high expectations that my mind has with my body.

One of the other challenges I am facing is that I am surrounded by people who dedicate themselves fully to climbing or to music. Sometimes I cannot avoid to compare my way of doing to theirs.

Thoughts like "I would improve so much faster if I only had one activity" come to my mind.

It makes me feel weak and even arrogant to believe I can do both at a high level. But there are two things that keep pushing me to go for it:

First, there is a sense of meaning that I can feel deeply when I climb or when I play music.

It is a mix of joy and confidence. It is grace. I know I am doing the best thing I could do in that precise moment and place.

Of course I do not feel it every time I practice or train. Sometimes, I feel that what I do makes no sense. But being able to experience that flow every once in a while is enough to keep me going.

Secondly, I am starting to realize how much climbing helps me in my music and vice versa.

From a certain point of view, there is no real difference between giving my best in one activity or the other.

It is all about learning and improving in order to become the musician and the climber that I am.

I often lose so much energy thinking about what I have decided to do and what I could have decided instead. It is rational thinking that catches up and makes things look impossible.

It helps me to zoom-out and stop analyzing.

Climber, musician or both at the same time: the whole is always more than the sum of its parts anyway.

Finally it is only a matter of daring. If the mind is the body’s ally, sky is the limit !

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