Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Racing the Rain & Why I Love Biking


This evening I decided to ride my bike to the gym! It looked like it was going to rain all day, and I heard that there were supposed to be isolated thunderstorms, but I didn’t believe it. I hopped on my bike and took my sweet time getting to the gym. When I arrived, the clouds looked only a little bit darker, so I figured I had enough time to do some quick core and arm exercises. About halfway into my gym session, I lost all enthusiasm to be at the gym. I wanted to go home, and I wanted to ride my bike as fast as I could home. I quickly packed up my things and powerwalked out the door.

As I was riding, I looked to the west and I saw ominous clouds. Needless to say, I decided to pedal my little heart out.As I approached the Root River Parkway, I saw lightning out of the corner of my eye. The lightning became more frequent within moments, and the temperature dropped. I passed runners, walkers, and other bikers who had also (I’m assuming) increased their pace. We were all stealing glances at the approaching storm, and we accepted the challenge to race it.

 When I finally reached my front porch it had already began to drizzle. I went inside, shut the door, and sighed. What a relief! As I poured a glass of water, I heard a low rumble of thunder, and within two minutes, literally, the rain began to pour, and strong gusts of wind punished the trees in my front yard. How lucky was I? I can assure you that I wouldn’t have gotten the kind of workout by staying at the gym.

 Aside from trusting my gut feeling to leave, I think there is something spiritual and special about biking. I don’t actually bike on the streets most of the time. In fact, I don’t have a road bike, I have a mountain bike. With the exception of riding mostly on the streets today, I have recently been taking my rides to the woods. 

I’ll tell you all the things I love about riding. I love the fact that you can’t completely predict the weather, so that can factor into your ride; I love that you can connect with nature by using a manmade contraption that jumps over roots, maneuvers through tight tree-corridors, and makes you fly headfirst over the handle bars when you hit a rock just right. All those things appeal to me.

 In the simplest form, I love the way biking makes me feel. I’m able to connect with nature, and I have moments to myself where I can think about what the clouds are saying to me. Biking challenges me physically, but it also challenges me spiritually. Riding makes me pay attention to the storms approaching, and I think God challenged me to a race today. He let me win this time.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Books for Inspiration

Dear Readers, One of my ultimate-favorite leisurely activities is writing. I love writing fantasy stories and daily in my journal, but lately I have been stuck! I haven’t been able to get past this section of my novella where my main character (a demon killer) is in a relationship where her boyfriend (a vampire) is obsessively controlling. Basically, she’s in an abusive relationship with this evil being, and she needs to find a way out, but a part of her doesn’t want to. There is also another sexy man involved who happens to be her partner in the whole demon-killing thing. That’s fun. So, to cure my writer’s block, I decided to pick up a couple books to burn through. Maybe these will help. I grabbed The Faith of a Writer by Joyce Carol Oates, Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, The Virginia Woolf Writers’ Workshop by Danell Jones, and A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. I’m hoping these will give me the edge I need to bust through this rut! Actually, while I was writing this I just had an epiphany of what should happen in the story! Horray! (Not kidding at all.)
The Faith of a Writer (On Amazon Kindle) Reading Like a Writer The Virginia Woolf Writers’ Workshop (On Amazon) A Room of One’s Own (Wikipedia)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Rituals: Mine and Importance

It happened again. I was sitting at my computer thinking about the fact that I needed and wanted to work out, but there were two major obstacles I had to conquer. #1: Getting out of my chair, dressed, and out the door, and #2: Getting in my car and driving to the gym. As I was getting ready, I twisted open the blinds and peered outside. There was an overcast, it was drizzling, and after opening the window I discovered it was also cool. For whatever reason, I was inspired to jog outside. 

I ran on a trail scaling the marsh and discovered birds, other wildlife, trees, and the flowers while soaking up the fresh mist of the morning. When I got home I was tired and drenched with sweat. My left upper-shin or knee (I’m not exactly sure which) ached in pain, but that short 5 mile jog left me wanting more. After coming home I decided to try a ritual. I have been reading the fabulous Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. 

In a nutshell, the book is a practical guide to harnessing your creativity. In chapter two Tharp writes about rituals. Tharp’s ritual is getting into a cab every morning in order to hammer out a 2-hour workout at the gym. My ritual is practicing yoga after a run and writing after yoga. I moved around the furniture in my living room, and I cleaned up. (I can’t practice yoga when the room is messy or cluttered.) I picked a sequence out of Yoga Journal magazine, changed up a few of the postures to make it my own, and ended with a 10 minute savasana. After completing my yoga practice, I vowed to sit down and write, whether that meant working on my novella, journaling, or writing a blog post. Sitting down to write was easy once I released endorphins, which in turn opened the door to my creative self. 

 In today’s world it’s difficult to find the time to engage in rituals. Many people juggle work (full-time, part-time, and multiple jobs) and kids, they struggle to balance family time with work, and often forget to pay attention to their own physical, social, and cognitive needs. Rituals are important for anyone! Young, old, middle-aged, rich, poor, or middle-class. Rituals help people find balance among the mind, body, and spirit. I may not have time to practice yoga after a run and write after yoga every day of the week, but I can take my practice and ritual slow by starting off with waking up 15 minutes earlier for work, engage in a short yoga practice, and vow to sit at the computer and write a paragraph every day after work. 

With that being said, I am challenging you to create your own ritual! Not sure what to do? Think about these questions: What are my hobbies? What do I want to do more of? Where in my day am I lacking energy? What are my strengths and weaknesses? How much time to I have to start devoting to my ritual? Next, tell your friends and family about your ritual via word-of-mouth, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or whatever floats your boat. Telling others that you’re setting a goal to create a ritual will help you keep it. Your mother, grandmother, or bestie will probably ask you how your ritual is going. You can even use the ritual to strengthen your relationships with them! 

Regardless of what your ritual is, finding time to do something you love and something that’s healthy for your body and mind is beneficial. People fail to recognize their own needs when they have the world sitting on their shoulders, so create some goals, engage in a ritual, and tell the world about it.