Hey guys! Just finished the second test of the week (General Pathology) and it was a 65/35 test: 65% I was confident on and the answers flowed like sweet honey in the heat and the other 35% of the answers were pried from the mind with a crowbar.
Either way, it’s done! I feel alright about it, and the mock lab exam was handed back with very positive results so I’ll just have to wait and hope.
Today I thought I might talk about stretching. Here’s the thing though, I find it hard to sit still or make my mind stop. I’m like the average child in this department, my level of chill internally is nil, nada, zippo. This creates an internal source of chaos and a constant stream of self talk which is relatively uncontrolled. That’s just how it is though, right?
While I’m not that great at sticking to a schedule I have been stretching for half an hour five times a week for the last five weeks. This week I keep putting off stretching in the morning (despite waking up with plenty of time to do it) and end up doing it in the evening. Either way I find there are some serious benefits.
I was pretty flexible to begin with so while my flexibility has increased somewhat and I make sure to challenge myself to do more, I primarily use this time for my mind. Letting my mind clear has always been difficult if I just sit and try to make it happen but using movement to get my head on straight has been really great.
I go through a set of stretches that I know from organized sports, classes, observation, and videos. This set stays pretty similar day to day with some small differences (if you really want to know what I am doing let me know, I can write it down).
I turn on my music (I personally listen to a folksy worship mix) and settle my mind into the present. Basically I follow a sort of step-by-step way of getting my mind ready for the day:
- I make a white box- Basically I picture my mind as an open expanse, however that might look on a given day, and I start building a white room. I generally start with a white wall right in front of mind-me, build all the walls, add a white ceiling, and finally a white floor. All the walls are smooth and there are no windows or doors but there is a mail slot. For my first few stretches I stay in the white box and thoughts come at me like paper airplanes. I open them, I consider them, I commit them to memory and I pass the paper out my white mail slot.
- I consider where I would like to be today- Hawaii? The rainforest? The prairies? With my pets or livestock? Alone? With someone? By a waterfall? Sitting on a rock? In a beach chair? Looking at the ocean? I decide on something, which may change later, and starting with the floor I move to that place. So I’ll imagine the rock under me, the clear pool of water in front of me and the waterfall in my periphery. I’ll turn my head around and see the rainforest around me (my eyes are still closed though). Then if someone is going to be spending this time with me I invite that someone or something into the space. Throughout this I continue to move through my stretches.
- I appreciate my surroundings- At this point this probably sounds ridiculous, I’ll admit I have a particularly vivid imagination. Anyways, I listen to the bird songs, or the rush of water, the wind blowing through the leaves, I smell the flowers. I stretch out in one area of the landscape and appreciate it. I listen to the lyrics of my music and think about the meanings.
- I ask- I ask the hard questions that I am going to have to face that day. I leave them hanging until the morph into ideas and actions and changes that need to happen in my life. I let my mind ruminate on things until something important sorts itself out, or until my half hour of stretching is done.
- I thank God- I give gratitude for what has or hasn’t been sorted out because I’m alive and things will get sorted out one way or another.
Now, you might be thinking, “Oh my gosh, this girl is a wack job!” I’m not going to argue with you. I have had a vivid imagination since I was a child. My grade one teacher thought I was deaf because I would be so in my own world I would ignore her saying my name multiple times until she was face to face with me and close enough to touch.
However, after five weeks hanging out with God in the morning I can say that I am kinder to myself and others when mistakes are made, I am calmer approaching obstacles or difficulties, and I am more aware of and more confident in the allotment of my time day to day. I spend more time studying pointedly and more time in self care because my studying is purposeful, I stop negative self-talk more often, and I don’t internalize mistakes as frequently.
Altogether, stretching my mind has been freeing. It has decreased my sense of unease in my body and mind, and it has kept life in perspective. Ultimately though, stretching may not be right for everyone. When I think back on high school I did this same thing in a different way: I rode horses and they forced me to clear my mind and usurp negativity because how I felt changed how I rode which changed how the horse acted.
Horses are no longer a part of my life for now but, I have found a new path to the same peace of mind. At times I still go to a hill in the prairies and watch all my horses and visit with them and lean against their solid warmth, but for now it can only be in my mind and it sparks a longing in me that brings tears to my eyes.