Ends and Beginnings

When I started writing this blog four years ago, I had few expectations. What I had was a need. A need to explore the ideas knocking around my neural net and to share them with other folks who might derive some value from them.

In my magazine editing days, the constant pressure of immoveable deadlines kept me producing finished pieces, thinking, hopefully evolving. Though oppressive at times, I grew accustomed to the rhythms of the print cycle and the increasingly important micro-rhythms of the web and social media cycles. When I left that world, I felt like I’d lost something. Hence this blog, which satisfied my creative habit and also grew to be something more than I’d expected. And yet things have changed, as they always and incessantly do.

Since starting The Stone Mind, I’ve gotten married, switched jobs, moved to a new state, and now my wife and I are expecting our first child in March. The pace of life has quickened. Days, packed ever fuller, seem to tick by like hours. The projects with which I occupy myself at work and at home seem only to grow larger, more complex and time-consuming. Many a Monday night have I sat with my laptop open, mentally and physically wrung out, wondering if I might not make my self-imposed Tuesday deadline.

In the past year or so I started to feel that this blog was actually standing in the way of other projects. The need I’d created the blog to address had morphed. Once an important motivator, the weekly schedule grew to feel like an imposition, leaving just enough time to crank something out after hours, but not enough step back, dig deeper, build bigger.

And so I’ve decided, at least for now, to take a break. That’s not to say I’ll never post again, just that writing weekly posts for The Stone Mind doesn’t make sense the way it used to. I believe that being responsive to our changing inner landscape is key to living well. As Steve Jobs once said, “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

The thought of putting The Stone Mind on ice makes me a little sad; the blog has become a part of my identity and has lead to more than a few great conversations. But it also calls to mind the metaphor of the stepladder that Shunryu Suzuki talks about: “Delusion is necessary, but delusion is not something on which you can establish yourself. It is like a stepladder. Without it you cannot climb up, but you don’t stay on the stepladder.” Not to say that this blog has been delusional (though, maybe…)—only that it has served its purpose. In fact it has been, for me, essential.

Now that I’m putting aside this particular stepladder, I’m excited to move on to the next one. It’s there, partially formed in my head and full of promise, as new things often are. I might even be posting about it on this site, which I’ll leave up for folks to explore. In the meantime, I’ll continue to share, albeit in an abbreviated manner, on The Stone Mind Facebook page and Twitter account. Feel free to stop by and say hi

So, if you’ve made it this far with me, thanks for your time and your attention. Here’s to the ends, the beginnings, and everything in-between.

Published by

Justin Roth

A busy mind that aspires to be still.

24 thoughts on “Ends and Beginnings”

  1. I will continue to refer to your past posts whenever I’m feeling too wound up about climbing and probably life in general. Thanks for showing fresh perspectives contrary to my current mindset, the contemplation has been good, hard, and many. So long :)

  2. I started climbing last year and have read your blog posts almost every Tuesday. I’ll miss it. I hope you enjoy your next project.

  3. Damn — now what will I read Tuesday mornings? You explored ideas big and small, some as epic as the rock landscape you love. Thanks! Best on your exciting future endeavors!

  4. As I know that everything must have a beginning and an end, I also know that you, sir, will be missed. Between reflective insight, aspirational ideals, or a good, old-fashioned chuckle, your posts have inspired and moved me over the last few years. May you find success where you next focus your spirit.

    1. On behalf of Ben Wiz and all the other flatlanders who get through their Tuesday with a dose of the Stone Mind, you will indeed be missed.

  5. My morning dumps just got far less interesting. But truly, hope this is the path for you and I will indeed miss your writing.

  6. Changes are often, if not always, good. Elective changes are best. But I’ll miss the good writing and sharp insight. Thanks.

  7. I don’t comment here (not much to say that’s insightful myself), but I’ve been a regular reader for a couple of years. I have enjoyed the humor and perspective that you provide. And I’m sure I will continue to refer back to various articles in the future.

    Congratulations on the baby! And best of luck with whatever else you choose to spend your time on.

  8. Having read every week for about a year, your blog is undoubtedly one of my favorites. Thanks for your great work and best of luck on all that’s ahead.

  9. Hey man, I just wanted to let you know how much I’ve loved reading this. You’ve definitely opened up conversations with myself about the whys and hows of climbing in ways that climbing news blogs and magazine articles couldn’t. I especially liked reading about your personal story as a sort-of misfit skateboarder (me too, along with a lot of my climbing friends–there’s a connection) getting into climbing as an outsider’s sport. I’m looking forward to what you’ve got to offer next!

  10. Well, the weekly koans from the Stone Mind will be much missed. Like Dave, above, I will stop by occasionally to see if a frog has recently leapt into the old pond. Goodbye for now and thanks for all the food for thought.

Your comments go here