Find out more about my Writing on the Mat project here.
Day 4 – Before Pilates
Today’s writing was rushed and quite negative – I had to write for 5 minutes, rather than the usual 10, in order to avoid being late for work. I paid attention to my immediate feelings, but jumped around from physical sensations (feeling tired, cold) to emotional concerns, and began attacking myself for not being disciplined enough.
It struck me that writing these things out seemed to be enforcing, rather than dismissing them. Often in my journals, I find that gathering my discomforts in one place helps me to see patterns in thoughts and behaviours, and sometimes it even helps me to look for solutions. This time, though, I ended up simply listing problems, without having time to explore them.
Having imposed a structure on myself – 10 minutes of writing, followed by 20 minutes of Pilates, followed by 10 minutes of writing – I felt a sense of failure at missing this target. It is notable in hindsight that I was flexible, and adapted my programme, rather than abandoning it altogether. However, I have only seen this positive note on reflection.
Unfortunately, my negative experience of writing carried over into my Pilates:
My mind is very busy and scattered today – I found it hard to focus on movement and at the same time felt quite tense… I’m already thinking ahead to the next part of my day.
Perhaps the lesson to be learned here is that both my writing and Pilates need time and space to be effective. I am lucky enough to have a dedicated room for Pilates in my home, and I always put my phone into ‘aeroplane mode’ as I go in. However, if I haven’t mentally cordoned off that time, then the troubles of the day follow me in. If my problems are with me as I write and exercise, I don’t have enough distance to reflect on them, and I don’t get the necessary break from them.
My sense of being rushed and angry at myself even followed into the exercises I chose:
Moved on to some more challenging exercises but my core was not up to it – I am being impatient!!!
Just as my body needs time and practise to achieve certain exercises, I need time and practise as a writer. It’s important not to expect writing to solve my problems immediately, but to give time, space, and patience for results to emerge.