Move to Move didn’t start as a business; it was born from an idea. I was on a climbing trip in Kentucky with my husband, Bonar, when I blew my knee apart. Although painful, the injury was the start of a lifechanging transformation. 

One of my biggest challenges climbing is that I’m scared of heights. As soon as I get 20 feet off the ground, my breathing changes and I start to sweat. My brain starts to catastrophize, and I tell myself, “I’m not gonna die. I’m attached to a rope.” 

To become a better climber, I began to practice the mindfulness techniques I learned in the popular mental training book, “The Rock Warrior’s Way.” Warrior’s Way is about confronting the unknown by managing phantom fears. By concentrating my attention — through preparation, transition and attention — overcoming adversity becomes a mental posture. 

The sun was on its way down, and I was climbing a route called Tacit (5.12a). I had nearly made it to the anchor earlier that day when I slipped on the final hold. My body coursed with adrenaline because I knew I could do it. 

In the fading light, with enough strength for one last climb, I tied into the rope.
Looking up at faint chalk stains marking each hold, I spent some time visualizing myself climbing. I rehearsed my rest positions to focus on breathing and shaking the pump out of my forearms. Lastly, I repeated verbal cues under my breath: “go,” “feet,” and finally “rotate.” I use verbal cues to help myself focus during stressful situations by staying in the present. 

I was ready to send it; at least, I thought I was ready. 

I wasn’t prepared for the two loud popping sounds and a tearing sensation on the outside of my left knee while trying to climb through Tacit’s crux section.
Sheer panic ran through my body, and I screamed, “Take! Take! Take! Lower me now!” The tears started streaming down my cheeks as Bonar lowered me to the ground. Deep down, I knew it, and as our eyes met, he confirmed exactly what I feared when he said, “I heard it too.” 

At this point, I had mentally worked from move to move through the project, only to tear my posterolateral corner ligament (PLC). I was devastated, because the injury felt like a step backward. 

I think my mother-in-law said it best in an email when she wrote, “I hope that you can make lemonade out of this lemon you’ve been delivered.” 

I was daunted by the recovery time and saddened by the fact that I couldn’t climb. My injury gave me lots of time to explore internally and begin to accept change. During the rehabilitation process, I was able to learn the art of making lemonade. 

Ido Portal talks about what happens between the transitions from one movement to the next and calls it the invisible thread. 

At Move to Move, it’s not about sticking a handstand first try or contorting into some unattainable shape.

The journey through life, movement or rehab is about figuring out how all of the little movements piece together to create the bigger puzzle. It’s from that idea of wanting to get better where Move to Move was born. Each move you make along your journey works towards the bigger picture. 

Even though I was working through those physical and mental battles while climbing, I had to figure out the secret between each move to overcome adversity then build on the next and continue growing. 

Join me for my next blog post. I’ll talk about the philosophy of physiotherapy and how you can Move to Move too. 

Lea continues to challenge herself in rock climbing, and at the same time pursuing a movement practice. When she is not treating her patients at Move to Move you can find her climbing, mountain biking or moving in her beloved Rocky Mountains.


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