Monday, 10 November 2014

Jay's Journey : 2014 ... 2015

It's been around eight or nine months since I began working with Jay as his climbing coach and five months as his support worker to assist with his challenges with autism and developing an achievable pathway for Jay towards a sustainable and more independent life.

It was a big decision for me to involve myself with the support network of working alongside Jay's social worker and her department because deep down I am a little too anarchic these days but when Jay volunteered his psychological profile report for me to read a few months ago, I knew the gravity of what he was doing and what he was asking of me with the gesture: its the same as handing over your difficult life story to a psychotherapist and that is simply trusting someone enough with who you really are. I know about that from the Pyrenees in 2012.

So in twenty days or so Jay and I will be flying in to The Pyrenees to show him some great rock climbing in a very special place where my own life began a profound change.

It's been great to see and be a part of the change in Jay's climbing from fighting with both hands to clip the quick draw on a 4c to seeing him onsight 6c and work his first 7a.

As he prepares his list of equipment from the climbing companies that have kindly sponsored him and meticulously plans his clothing for the trip. I am so proud of how far we have come together in this climbing journey and the level of mutual trust we have built to allow us to be all we can be, in his life and in mine.

So its not all been a breeze. Jay suffers weekly sometimes daily with anxiety driven by confusion which can lead to self harming and suicidal tendencies, stomach pains from stress and more. I understand all of this but most of all I admire his continued bravery, hope, and his inteligent ability to navigate the learning gaps he experiences to continue on his exceptional journey to push hard for the best life he can achieve for himself, so 2014 has been great for Jay and winning his category at the BMC Para climbing competition in the UK was such a great feeling for him and his family.

So what is on for 2015 for Jay 'stomping' Owen in the climbing world. Exactly that... The Worlds...

I want the IFSC to recognise and implement Autism as a World Championship Paraclimbing Category so that Jay and those like him can enjoy and express themselves as athletes on a world stage. So come on IFSC...

Referrals from clients:

"...This training season I decided to get all the help I can to speed up my improvement. I needed guidance to work towards my goals in long term. I also needed more vision and opinions about my exercises and weak links. I am glad I can share my training with Mark..." (Ville Mustonen, Finland)

" I met Mark in Glen Nevis on his return to climbing to check out some lines he had in mind for me, I wasn't really training at this point but after a day or two talking and training with him I had a much more structured idea of what to do to improve and I did" (Kev Shields)