“A mantra (Sanskrit: मन्त्र) is a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, word or phonemes, or group of words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and/or spiritual powers. Some mantras have a syntactic structure and literal meaning, while others do not.”
Here I am, in the French Alps, climbing for the 7th day in a row. My heels and hands are bleeding, I’m on a terrifying slab traverse with razor blade crimps that are so sharp my fingertips are leaving tiny droplets of blood with every minuscule move. The wind is blowing wildly. It’s the second to last pitch of this climb, my french climbing trip and the day.
I’m scared, beyond exhausted, every inch of my body is overwhelmed and battered by the past week of climbing. There’s no one around except for my belayer at the belay station below; if there was anyone around, all they’d hear is labored breaths uttering “I’m a fcking warrior princess, I’m a fcking warrior princess” every time I made a move.
“I’m a f*cking warrior princess” is my mantra.
It’s the sentence I use to program my thoughts when I’m scared out of my mind or when I have to edit out negative self talk. Diana Prince, AKA Wonder Woman has always been my hero, my idol in life. I channel my inner warrior princess when I know I have to fight and fight hard.
It’s easy to let negativity, fear, anxiety and negative self talk take over. It can consume us, shut us down. They are powerful forces out to break us down, tell us we aren’t enough, that we aren’t worthy, we aren’t strong and that we aren’t capable. That’s simply not true. Our brain controls everything about our body, so we need to learn to control it. It’s our brain, the second we let our lizard brain take over–our body goes too. Let’s remember what I’ve shared before today, climbing goes against every bit of our instincts, making for the perfect conditions to allow our brains to shut us down.
A tool we can use to reprogram our thoughts is having a mantra. In it’s origin, Sanskrit, a mantra is comprised of two elements: the protected speech and the object or activity itself. The word Mantra is derived from the word meaning to think and in the Hindu religion, mantras are often paired with meditation.
In the end, there is no real perimeters that define what your mantra can be, a mantra can be whatever you need it to be. It is designed to bring you back to the present and streamline thoughts to serve you better- helping you move past your mental blocks.
When crafting a mantra for yourself you’ll want to make a phrase that comes naturally to you, or natural enough that even in your most heightened state you can not only remember it, but it’s importance as well. When you get to the point where fear brain is taking over and the negativity creeps in that’s your trigger to start repeating your mantra. You can say it out loud, not just in your head. Yell it if you have to. The goal is to consume your entire active brain with the “good” words and not allow your thoughts room to wander and create space for anything else. The words that are empowering you, building you up and motivating you, if you can make those the only influence entering your thoughts and simpl allow your body to do the climbing(which you know how to do)–you’re golden! Our brains are powerful but can only focus on so many things at once, so use that to your advantage by clogging it with something that serves you.
Your Homework: So, Mantras are great…but how do you pick yours? Sometimes this is easy–you might have a sentence in mind already. Other times it might require you to think about what causes you fear in order to create a usefully opposing thought.
IE: I’m afraid of gear failure. My mantra could be as simple as “I’m safe”.
I’d recommend looking at what you have on your walls, what speaks to you? What books are huge for you? What things has someone said to you that made you feel empowered? Sometimes those close to you might know–ask them. Use your resources, try a few out. The goal is when you hear those words, you feel like your best self, an empowered self and your most confident self. Go put it into practice. Post and/or comment about what your mantra is and how it went on instagram. Tag @KahlMeTuesday and/or @TakeHoldLV.
Love and Sends,