While on the Upper Spring Valley Trail with Freddi Hartz, Lor Sabourin began to find herself and her identity by focusing on a few emotions that would reveal and define her in her very first attempt to climb five New York Wall High-Eights.
Less than a year ago, Sabourin, 21, was a college junior who said she found little focus during her junior year at New York University’s Metropolitan College.
At a Regent’s Park music retreat, Sabourin explored her identity and started by feeling completely disconnected from herself.
“There were so many different emotions swirling around me,” Sabourin said. “I wasn’t sure where I stood in the body of who I really was and what I was actually doing in New York.”
Sabourin said she felt disconnected in her relationships. She’d also gained weight.
“I think a lot of it comes from being such a young, unsettled person and not knowing who I am,” Sabourin said. “When I look back, I don’t know where my sense of self has come from but everything I think about it has been through my work in engineering or my studies.”
After attending a yoga retreat, Sabourin shifted from feeling disconnected to feeling vulnerable. Her instructors called this ability the “Vulnerability Compass,” explaining that when a person practices this skill, their mind helps direct them into their identity and help them make connections and connections to the people they care about.
“I think I grew to trust my own intuition and developed the ability to hear people,” Sabourin said. “I went into the mountains feeling more vulnerable than I ever had before.”
“Going from feeling isolated to being in a group of people who I had no idea what I was doing helped me to understand where I was coming from. I grew to appreciate everyone else,” Sabourin said.
Instead of feeling disconnected, Sabourin found peace, and herself.
“I started to figure out who I was. I got to the ground floor. The landscape was totally new,” Sabourin said. “I started to feel vulnerable. I went up to the wall and reached the top, and I was nowhere to be found, and I realized that this was my little space and I would have a moment to be alone and find my place there.”
Sabourin said that at the top of the wall, she realized how much she belonged in the group. The group, who all passed between each other, looked out for each other in a way she could not and does not remember her friends doing before.
“The freedom was really empowering,” Sabourin said. “After I reached the top of the wall, it was weird because I could not find a way down. I took my shoes off, and in the afternoons, I would find a way down by falling.”
During Sabourin’s climb she said she felt confident and comfortable, and she thinks she was completely self-identifying with that sense of self. Sabourin said her personal growth can be summed up with her climb and that it’s something she’s working to do on her daily life.
“When I was working on my climb, I think it all came down to the sense of connectedness,” Sabourin said. “While it was scary and challenging to complete, I came out stronger from the experience. I was never worried about who I was or whether I had the confidence to continue or do the goal I set for myself.”
Sabourin wrote an article on climbing for Anxiety Online and got a reaction from a woman named Eva who was in a similar situation of feeling disconnected and feeling that she was pushing herself in some way that didn’t feel right, but was still her path. The two connected after Sabourin mentioned the article in an Instagram post.
“The entire sharing of this article in the context of anxiety has made me realize that I can do all these things,” Sabourin said. “When you feel in these vulnerable situations, you begin to see something that you didn’t see before.”